Military News

Friday, January 25, 2013

AF Reserve announces revised force structure actions

1/25/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Air Force Reserve Command is moving forward with force structure changes authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2013.

In response to concerns raised by state governors and Congress regarding the FY13 President's Budget submission - and subsequent Congressional marks placing proposed force structure actions on hold the - Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard leadership collaborated to develop one Total Force Proposal.

As enacted into law, the NDAA included the entire "amended" Air Force Total Force Proposal, as well as the retention of additional intra-theater airlift aircraft, retention of the Global Hawk Block 30s, and a delay of the retirement of 26 C-5A aircraft until 45 days after delivery of a new Mobility Requirements and Capabilities Study. It also directed a National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force and limited retirement of B-1 aircraft.

"In a difficult economy, the Air Force has to make tough choices," said Maj. Gen. Craig Gourley, vice commander of Air Force Reserve Command. "These force structure changes will take place over the next three years and are necessary to help meet Budget Control Act of 2011 resource levels."

New Air Force Reserve units authorized by the act include:

· 14th Intelligence Squadron, a classic associate unit at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
· 28th Intelligence Squadron, a classic associate unit at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
· 37th Intelligence Squadron, a classic associate unit at Fort Meade, Md.
· 41st Intelligence Squadron, a classic associate unit at Offut AFB, Neb.
· 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, Wright-Patterson AFB
· 960th Cyber Operations Group, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
· 960th Network Warfare Squadron, a classic associate unit at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland

Other force structure actions authorized by the act include:

· Barksdale AFB, La.--Inactivate the 917th Fighter Group and retire 24 A-10C aircraft and transfer three A-10C aircraft to Whiteman AFB, Mo.
· Beale AFB, Calif.--Inactivate the 13th Reconnaissance Squadron
· Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.--Gain 24 A-10C aircraft from the Air Force in 2014
· Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland--Retire 16 C-5A aircraft over the next three years and gain 8 C-5M aircraft from Westover ARB, Mass., in 2016 (C-5 retirements are delayed until 45 days after delivery of a new Mobility Requirements and Capabilities Study.)
· Westover ARB, Mass.--Transfer eight C-5M aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in 2016
· Tinker AFB, Okla.--Retire four KC-135 aircraft
· Whiteman AFB--Gain three A-10C aircraft from Barksdale AFB
· Robins AFB--Inactivate the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve
· March ARB, Calif.--Retire one KC-135 aircraft in 2013

The Air Force has convened an intra-theater airlift working group and is using a deliberate approach to develop courses of action to determine the placement of additional intra-theater airlift assets. Additional changes to Air Force Reserve C-130 units will be made based upon decisions made by the working group.

McChord Reservist presents employer with ESGR Patriot Award

by Airman 1st Class Madelyn McCullough
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2013 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- What seemed like the usual morning meeting at the Wal-Mart in Yelm, Wash., quickly turned into teary-eyed celebration when a 446th Airlift Wing Reservist, along with her squadron commander, presented an Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award to the store manager.

Staff Sgt. Stefanie McKee, who doubles as a member of the 446th Security Forces Squadron and an asset protection manager for Wal-Mart, nominated store manager John Peasley for this award because, although he is not her direct supervisor, he has supported her both as a co-worker and a military member.

"Any time it comes to anything in the military, he never says no," McKee said. "He always ensures Reservists have the necessary time off to make it to UTAs and annual tours without costing the associates any hours for the week."

The award is only fitting as, according to the ESGR website, it reflects the efforts made to support Citizen Warriors through a wide range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

This kind of support is not only found in McKee's civilian job; her boss in the Reserve decided to lend a helping hand by taking his own time to join in the celebration.

Commander of the 446th SFS, Maj. Ray Schierhoff, extended his night shift as a Washington state trooper to be the presenter in blues for Peasley's surprise award ceremony. Schierhoff awarded the framed certificate to a red-faced Peasley in front of more than 30 Wal-Mart associates, Peasley's wife, and his bosses.

After choking back tears and accepting the award from Schierhoff, Peasley signed a Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve, pledging to continue in providing the help and understanding his 57 Reserve and Guard employees need.

Peasley's commitment to the military comes partly from his father, a Vietnam veteran, and partly from his desire to have served himself, he said.

"This is my way of giving back," he said.

The ESGR has many more awards for supportive employers with a nomination process that can be completed online or over the phone. To nominate, call 800-336-4590 or visit www.ESGR.mil.

Navy Secretary: Rescinding Combat Ban Continues Inclusion Trend

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 – In a statement expressing his support of a Defense Department policy change that rescinds a ban on military women serving in certain ground-combat positions, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus noted that the Navy and Marine Corps already had taken steps to open up fields previously available only to men.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced the policy change yesterday and signed a joint memo to set the process in motion.

"I am pleased the Navy has completed an initiative I announced several months ago to open up one of the few areas not currently available to women, that of service on Virginia-class submarines,” Mabus said. “Three years ago, we announced a policy change allowing women to serve in guided-missile attack and ballistic missile submarines, and this is a planned continuation of that effort.”

Newly commissioned female officers have been selected for assignment to Virginia-class subs upon successful completion of the naval nuclear powered training pipeline, Mabus said.

“We expect these officers, along with female supply corps officers, to report to their submarines in [fiscal 2015],” he added. “We also plan to include female enlisted sailors in this process.

“The Navy has a long history of inclusion and integration,” he continued, “and I am proud we have achieved another important milestone during my tenure as secretary.”

Rescinding the direct ground-combat exclusion allows the Navy to expand opportunities for women in its riverine forces and in billets that directly support Marine infantry operations, such as hospital corpsmen and chaplains, Mabus noted.

He also pointed out that the Marine Corps -- which is part of the Navy Department -- already has opened officer and staff noncommissioned officer billets in unrestricted mission occupational specialties in ground combat units that were previously closed to women, such as artillery, armor, low-altitude air defense and combat engineer battalions.

“We will continue to seek female volunteers to train at the Infantry Officer Course to prepare women to serve in the infantry as part of a comprehensive research plan that will inform the Marine Corps' implementation plan,” the Navy secretary said.

As the Marine Corps moves forward with this process, he added, the focus will remain on combat readiness and generating combat-ready units while simultaneously ensuring maximum success for every Marine.

"Women continue to serve bravely and honorably at sea and ashore,” Mabus said. “Drawing from their talent in additional assignments increases our ability to maintain readiness.”

Marine Commandant: Focus Remains on Combat Readiness

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 – The Marine Corps will continue to focus on combat readiness and generating combat-ready units in validating occupational standards, the service’s top officer said yesterday.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, yesterday announced the end of the Defense Department policy that had barred women from serving in direct ground-combat positions.

In a statement released after the announcement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos said maintaining the highest levels of combat readiness and capitalizing upon every opportunity to enhance warfighting capabilities and the contributions of every Marine is “simply the right thing to do.”

“Our ongoing deliberate, measured and responsible approach to validate occupational performance standards for all Marines is consistent with [the defense secretary’s] decision to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women,” the general said. “As our Corps moves forward with this process, our focus will remain on combat readiness and generating combat-ready units while simultaneously ensuring maximum success for every Marine.”

The talent pool from which officials select the Marine Corps’ finest warfighters will consist of all qualified individuals, regardless of gender, Amos added.

13th reaches alert milestone

by Master Sgt. Jerry Harlan
AFNORTH Public Affairs


1/25/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 113th Aerospace Control Alert Detachment of the District of Columbia Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews passed a major air defense milestone January 9, responding to its 4,000th alert event since Operation Noble Eagle started in September, 2001.

An alert event is designated when the unit's F-16 fighters are alerted to the runway or beyond responding to a possible airborne threat.

"Day, night, rain or shine, our forces are on alert 24/7 protecting the NCR," stated Lt. Col. Chris Hardgrave, the 113th ACA commander. "I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the men and women of the 113th ACA detachment for hitting this alert milestone. It is a testament to the dedication, professionalism and daily sacrifice of our folks who have done the alert mission day in and day out for over 11 years."

The 113th ACA, protecting the National Capital Region (NCR), is the most active air defense unit in the nation; responding to more alert events than the entire nation's other ACA units combined. In 2012 alone the unit responded to 509 events and has been conducting steady state alert from Joint Base Andrews since the attacks on 9/11.

"The defense of the NCR is a team effort. We couldn't accomplish our assigned tasking without support from the Eastern Air Defense Sector, Joint Air Defense Operations Center, U.S. Coast Guard assets, 11th Wing, 89th Wing, Air Force District of Washington, and the FAA, just to name a few of our partners here at Joint Base Andrews and around the NCR," said Brig. Gen. Marc Sasseville, the 113th Wing commander.

Operation Noble Eagle is an ongoing NORAD mission started in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to protect the continental United States from further airborne aggression from inside and outside of U.S. borders. Since then, Continental U.S. NORAD Region fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.

Southcom Commander: Cooperation Vital in Confronting Threats

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 – Three months into the job as the top U.S. military officer at U.S. Southern Command, Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly is reaching out to partners in the region and emphasizing the importance of cooperation among nations directly to America’s south.


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Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, left, is greeted by Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, Jan. 22, 2013. Kelly visited Lima, Peru, to meet with senior defense and government officials to discuss shared security concerns and cooperation. Photo courtesy of the Peruvian Presidential Palace
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Kelly, who assumed command Nov. 19, returned to his Miami headquarters this week after a two-day visit to Peru. There, he met with President Ollanta Humala, Vice Defense Minister Mario Sanchez, and Peruvian Chief of Defense Adm. Jose Cueto to explore ways to strengthen the two countries’ military partnership and enhance regional collaboration in support of shared security goals, Southcom officials reported.

The visit followed one earlier this month to Honduras and El Salvador, where the discussions centered on enhancing the already-robust military-to-military relationships with both countries.
In Honduras, Kelly and other Southcom leaders met with President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales, Defense Minister Marlon Pascua, and the chief of joint staff, Gen. Rene Osorio, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske and the embassy staff, officials said. In El Salvador, they visited Defense Minister Jose Benitez, Defense Chief Maj. Gen. Cesar Acosta and U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte.

Central to the discussion was ways to cooperate closer to combat organized crime, drug trafficking and other transnational threats, and to improve natural disaster response and increase joint training opportunities, officials said.

Cooperation is vital in dealing with challenges throughout Southcom’s area of responsibility, which encompasses Central and South America and the Caribbean and covers about 15.6 million square miles, Kelly told members of U.S. Army South, Southcom’s Army component, while visiting its headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Jan. 15.

“What we do in this part of the world is very, very different than what some of the other folks are doing,” he said. “Clearly it’s different than what they’re doing in the Middle East, but it’s no less important. We have challenges in this part of the [world], and the nations down here want to partner with us.”

Kelly recognized the devastating toll of transnational threats, particularly narcotrafficking, and the need for regional nations to work together.

“[Nations within the region] have already been shouldering tremendous burdens in terms of drugs and narcoterrorism. Those are things that we want to help them get after,” he told the U.S. Army South staff. “The issue of drugs is an influence in our country that costs nearly 200 billion dollars and somewhere around 30,000 lives a year.”

Hosting defense and security leaders from 15 nations last month at the 2012 Caribbean Nations Security Conference, Kelly underscored the need to strengthen multinational security efforts to prevent traffickers from shifting their operations to the Caribbean.

“I’m very concerned about the Caribbean vulnerability,” he told the forum. “[In response] to shifts in any illicit trafficking that could be on the horizon, and likely is, I’m confident we can take steps now to ensure continued regional security. The U.S. will continue to be engaged in the Caribbean.”

While visiting U.S. Army South, Kelly recognized the key role members of Southcom play in helping stand up to these challenges.

“The first line of defense is here under Southcom,” he told the group. “I would say to all of the professionals, regardless of the uniform that you wear, what you do here is important and it has a direct effect on large cities and small towns in America.”

(Editor’s Note: Michael Wimbish and Jose Ruiz from U.S. Southern Command and Robert R. Ramon from U.S. Army South contributed to this article.)

U.S. Patriots Set To Begin NATO Missile Defense in Turkey

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 – The first elements of U.S. Patriot missile batteries deployed to Turkey earlier this month are expected to reach initial operating capability this weekend, a senior NATO officer reported.

Plans are on track for two PAC-3 Patriot anti-missile systems and about 400 U.S. personnel deployed to operate them to begin providing missile defense in the coming days, British Army Brig. Gen. Gary Deakin, director of the strategic operations center at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Brussels, reported yesterday on NATO TV.

Members of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command from Fort Bliss, Texas; 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery, based at Fort Sill, Okla.; and the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command and 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion in Europe deployed to Turkey earlier this month to support the mission. The 10th AAMDC will provide command and control for two Patriot missile batteries from the 32nd AAMDC.

“We are aiming for the first initial operating capability to be established this weekend,” Deakin said.

“NATO will have the ability to defend some aspects of the population of what we're going to actually cover in the big picture,” he explained during a news conference earlier this week. “The first units will arrive on station. They will plug into the NATO command and control network, and they will be then ready to defend the population. So that's what we're calling initial operating capability.”

Meanwhile, four additional Patriot batteries from the Netherlands and Germany arrived by sea in Iskenderun, Turkey, earlier this week, he said. They are now fanning out to their designated sites along Turkey’s southwest border.

The U.S. Patriots are in Gaziantep, the Dutch will position theirs in Adana, and the Germans in Kahramanmaras, Deakin reported.

“Those locations were decided in close coordination with our Turkish allies, based on the size of the population [and] how we could get the equipment to get the best effect,” he said. “A number of factors were considered to get the best deployment options with the resources available from the nations that made the offers in this case.”

The next milestone -- achieving full operational capability -- is expected by the month’s end, Deakin said. This involves getting all six Patriot batteries in place, plugged into the NATO network and coordinated with Turkey’s air defenses. It also includes the full roll-out of the associated sustainment package, consisting of the fuel, logistics and manpower support required to continue the mission long-term.

Once fully in place and at full operational capability, the NATO missile defense systems will help Turkey defend an estimated 3.5 million Turkish citizens, Deakin said.

Although the length of the NATO missile defense mission in Turkey is unclear, he said, all the three nations supporting it have committed assistance for up to a year.

NATO foreign ministers agreed in late November to provide Turkey the air defense support it had requested. The request came after shells from Syria’s political unrest -– which a new United Nations report estimated this week has claimed 60,000 lives -- spilled into Turkey.

“NATO has decided to augment Turkey's air defense capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the alliance's border,” the ministers said in a statement released following the meeting.

“Turkey is an important NATO ally, and we welcome the opportunity to support the Turkish government’s request in accordance with the NATO standing defense plan,” said Navy Vice Adm. Charles Martoglio, U.S. European Command’s deputy commander.

Martoglio emphasized that the deployment will be defensive only, and won’t support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.

Air Force to Pursue Opening Remaining Combat Positions to Women

Air Force News Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 – With 99 percent of Air Force positions already open to women, the service now will pursue opening the final 1 percent, the Air Force chief of staff said yesterday.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced yesterday that the Defense Department is rescinding a policy that had barred military women from serving in certain direct-combat positions.

"2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the Department of Defense allowing women to serve as combat pilots," Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said. "By rescinding the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule, we can pursue integrating women into the seven remaining Air Force career fields still closed, all associated with special operations. We're focused on ensuring America's Air Force remains capable and ready with the best-qualified people serving where we need them."

The Air Force will partner with U.S. Special Operations Command and the other services to review opening these positions in a deliberate, measured and responsible way, officials said.
Positions now closed to women in the Air Force are combat control; combat rescue and special tactics; and special operations weather officer positions for commissioned officers, and the combat control, tactical air command and control, pararescue and special operations weather specialties for enlisted airmen. These career fields represent about 3,235 positions, officials said.

Doctor Outlines Global Health’s Tie to Security Operations


By Erika Christ and Lisa Daniel
Military Health System

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2013 – Defense Department efforts to improve global public health are an important and growing part of military stability operations around the world, the director of the department’s Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine said.

Dr. Charles Beadling reflected on the center’s mission and operations during a recent interview with health.mil.

“We do feel that there is a strong link between global health engagement and security,” he said. Such engagement adds to security by improving the ability of governments to meet the needs of their populations, thereby reducing the tendency for insurgency or terrorism, he explained.

“Since 9/11, we know that we cannot ignore the global situation and rely on security only within our borders,” Beadling added.

Until recently, the director noted, U.S. national security operated from two mostly independent pillars: diplomacy and force projection. Today, he said, national security is based on the “three D’s” of diplomacy, defense and development.

For its part, the center, which is part of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., operates under the premise that health is “a global common good,” Beadling said.
“Along with safety, education and other public benefits, people expect their government to help provide health care,” he said. “By assisting legitimate governments to build capability and capacity in health, the United States can create political stability that leads to our security.”

Beadling’s Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine has been doing just that with its “global health engagements.” Through its partnership with U.S. Africa Command, the center has focused engagements in about a dozen countries in eastern and western Africa, holding workshops and exercises to explore how those nations would respond to a global pandemic, he said.

“The general intent is to assist each partner nation to build capacity and capabilities to protect their population from natural or manmade disasters, reducing human suffering and death,” Beadling said.
As part of that work, the center created the Emergency Management and Preparedness Program and was invited by the government of Mozambique to make it the first country to partner in the program, the director said. Beadling was among those who traveled to Mozambique in December as a first step. Center and Africom personnel are scheduled to travel there again in April to finalize plans, which are to be tested in an exercise next year.

That partnership will follow standard protocol of the center and Africom to build trust in bilateral relations, Beadling said. “It is important that the U.S. representatives act as facilitators and let the host nation lead the process so that it is an appropriate plan for them,” he added.

The center developed a study to measure the effectiveness of its health engagements. The study is designed to develop a standardized process across the Military Health System and the services to evaluate the effectiveness of the engagements in meeting strategic security objectives, Beadling said.
Beadling noted the success of Operation Pacific Angel, in which the Air Force partnered with the Australian air force, Nepalese army and others in September to provide two weeks of treatment in Nepal and surrounding countries. And a successful conference in Ghana in August was part of the center’s pandemic response program with Africom, he said.

“We are still in the early stages of defining our roles in [the health engagements] and determining how to best use them to improve our national security,” Beadling said.

It is imperative, he added, for the center to work in close coordination with the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations to meets its goals.

Face of Defense: Dentist Looks Forward to Humanitarian Mission

By Marine Corps Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
1st Marine Logistics Group

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Jan. 25, 2013 – A Navy dentist with 1st Dental Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, is preparing for a deployment to the Philippines, where he will provide free dental care for the local population.


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Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) William Lyons has dedicated nearly 25 years to providing humanitarian aid in developing countries. He is preparing to deploy to the Philippines to provide dental care. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
  

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Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) William Lyons, a native of Dubuque, Iowa, has been serving in humanitarian assistance projects for nearly 25 years. “It’s one of the best things I think a person could do,” he said. “It’s rewarding in more ways than money could ever be.”

Lyons recalled a girl in Vietnam who was about 10 years old and had broken off a front tooth. “She didn’t have it fixed for a long time, and I was able to put on a restoration to restore the contour and aesthetics,” he said. “The smile that little girl gave me back is just something I’ll never forget.”

Lyons has been to Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam to provide dental care.

“Every place has its own unique experiences, meeting the different people,” he said. “They are friendly and just all-around good people. It makes you happy just to provide treatment for them.”

Lyons is prepared to deploy to the Philippines in early March, and said he is very excited for another opportunity to help a community.

“If one wants to go to a country and meet the people, volunteer work is an excellent way to do that,” he said. “You’re going to link up with some local people, and they’ll take you into their group and show you things you wouldn’t see as a tourist.”

Lyons said he learns new things every time he volunteers. Whether on the home front in San Diego or overseas in an impoverished country, he said, he is ready to help.

“Regardless of what you are doing, it improves you in a sense that is not easy to explain,” he added. “You get a lot of self-satisfaction out of it.”

Special tactics receive special delivery

by Rachel Arroyo
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs


1/25/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The Cub Scouts have a longstanding tradition of giving back to the military community, but this time they were able to put a face to the Airmen who often receive their donations miles from home.

Six Cub Scouts from Cub Scout Pack 104 out of Navarre, Fla., donated $760 worth of popcorn to Airmen from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 24.

This marks the first time members from Pack 104 were able to give their donations in person.

The six Scouts, ranging in age from 7 to 12, were representing 47 of their peers from Pack 104 which raised $4,190 in military donations in addition to what was purchased directly in popcorn.

The $4,190 will go to central fundraising at which point popcorn will be purchased and sent to military personnel on Pack 104's behalf.

The boys also made thank you cards to be distributed to military personnel along with the snacks featuring crayon drawings of Airmen, American flags, aircraft and tanks.

In exchange for their generosity, a handful of combat controllers from the 23 STS donned their tactical combat gear and received their visitors in front of a Humvee and a motorcycle.

"This is a great opportunity to show the Cub Scouts we are serving them, protecting them and that we are here for them too," said Staff Sgt. Steven Pillar.

Eyes were wide as the Cub Scouts were hoisted into the Humvee for a quick ride around the compound after handing off their popcorn.

Smiles stretched across their faces when combat controllers demonstrated rappelling off a tower. They had the boys pass the boxes up to them as they remained suspended in the air.

The consensus among the Scouts was the rappelling demonstration was the coolest part. Pack 104 has been rock climbing, but they have yet to attempt the rappelling part, they said.

One of the Cub Scouts, whose name is withheld because his father is currently deployed, was eager to donate the popcorn to help his dad.

He called the experience "great" and passed on some words for his father.

"I miss you. I can't wait for you to come back," he said, adding "I'm proud of him."

As the boys loaded a large utility bag with popcorn, the combat controllers jokingly told them to carry it back to their compound after it had been filled.

Without skipping a beat, the six Scouts each grabbed a portion of a bag much bigger than them and started to hall it off together before the Airmen took over.

Cubmaster Glen Copeland credited the members of his Pack for their hard work and giving spirit.

"I am extremely proud of all our boys in Pack 104 for their eagerness and efforts in honoring our servicemen and women," he said.

Master Sgt. Carlos Villarreal, first sergeant at the 23 STS said he was more than happy to help support an effort that helps warriors experience a "touch of home."

"This lifts the spirits, and it supports our guys by having them see something from their children downrange," Villarreal said.

Etter nominated as 1st Air Force commander

by Master Sgt. Jerry Harlan
AFNORTH Public Affairs


1/25/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Maj. Gen. William H. Etter, assistant to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters, the Pentagon, was nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as commander, First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) and commander, Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region here.

If confirmed by the Senate, Etter will replace Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clark III, who is departing to be the Director of the Air National Guard. Clarke led CONR-1AF (AFNORTH) since August 2011.

As commander, Etter will be directly responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting full-spectrum U.S. Air Force air and space operations in CONUS, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as over the maritime approaches to the United States. The organization is also responsible for providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities as the air component to U.S. Northern Command.

During his current assignment, Etter is responsible for providing the Chairman with timely insights on the National Guard which are enabled by collaboration with the Office of Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, unified combatant commands, service staffs and Reserve components. He also serves as the Chairman's liaison with the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs), the Reserve component chiefs and the various Reserve forces policy boards. In addition, he provides subject-matter expertise to the Joint Staff on force integration, operational employment and strategic engagement of the Reserve components.

Etter is a command pilot with more than 3,500 hours in the T-37, T-38, and F-16 A/B/C/D aircraft. He has served as Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and as numerous positions at National Guard Bureau including Director of Strategic Plans and Policy and Director, Domestic Operations.

All calls increase Warren's awareness of Strike Now! program

by Airman 1st Class Jason Wiese
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs


1/25/2013 - F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Sometimes the best source of information about ways to improve operations comes from those actively engaging in operation. For this reason, Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, initiated the Strike Now! program, which allows all Global Strike personnel to submit ideas for improving the way we do business.

Master Sgt. Jesse Boyd, AFGSC Strike Now! Program coordinator, visited Warren and briefed its personnel about the program at multiple all calls.

Strike Now! is a program through which AFGSC personnel can submit ideas directly to senior command leadership without going up their chain of command, Boyd said.

With budget cuts looming, finding ways for Airmen to perform their missions efficiently while being good stewards of tax dollars is very important. This program will help Airmen do just that, Boyd said.

Both attributed and anonymous submissions will be accepted.

Out of 450 submissions submitted thus far, 80 have been approved, Boyd said.

One approved idea, submitted by a senior airman, was to purchase new kitchen equipment to prevent wasting food. Over time, this can save AFGSC considerable amounts of money, Boyd explained.

The fact that the idea was submitted by a junior enlisted Airman and approved by a general officer shows anyone's voice can be heard using the program, Boyd said. In fact, no matter who submits an idea through the Strike Now! program, it will not be reviewed by anyone beneath the rank of colonel or GS-15.

Other ideas under consideration include the combining of various inspections to avoid costly redundancy and a First-Term Airman Center analog for first term officers, Boyd added.

The Strike Now! initiative is complementary to the Air Force's long-running Innovative Development through Employee Awareness -- commonly called the IDEA program, he said.

Airmen will receive command recognition for approved, innovative ideas, and may be encouraged to submit to the Air Force IDEA program if appropriate, he said. The IDEA program offers both nonmonetary and monetary awards

"The program has been well-received by commanders, senior leadership and Airmen," he said.
"Everybody wants to be heard, so if [Lt. Gen. Kowalski] is saying, 'Speak to me,' it is a big deal."

Strike Now! will allow the command's Airmen to "be able to tell us directly where improvements can be made without needless roadblocks and bureaucracy," Kowalski said.

"If Airmen have thought of a better way to do their jobs, we want them to tell their leadership,
but here at the headquarters we also want to hear about it," he added. "Strike Now! provides a process to give ideas more attention at all levels and to allow us to track them to a conclusion. This puts discipline in our suggestion process and allows us to build a culture that seeks to be 'faster-better-cheaper. Don't be bashful, put in the idea -- and Strike Now!"

Those wanting to make a Strike Now! Suggestion can do so by visiting the AFGSC or 90th Missile Wing sharepoint site, emailing Boyd at jesse.boyd@us.af.mil or calling DSN 781-8284.