Military News

Friday, February 01, 2013

Farmland roots bear 80 years of American Freedom

by Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


2/1/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- More than 80 years ago a 22,000-acre cotton field gave birth to more than just the cotton planted by a Northwestern Louisianan, from that fertile soil grew Barksdale Air Force Base and home of the oldest bomb wing of the Air Force.

The dedication of Barksdale Field, in honor of 2nd Lt Eugene Hoy Barksdale, on Feb. 2, 1933, would begin an illustrious career that has housed many units over its 80 year span and has been in many of the country's engagements throughout the military's history.

Even before the official dedication of the base, the 20th Pursuit Group, which later became the 20th Operations Group at Shaw AFB, S.C., began aerial training here with Boeing P-12's for engaging hostile air targets.

By the mid-1930s the 3rd Attack Wing, which is still serving today at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, brought the Curtis A-12 and Northrop A-17 to make Barksdale Field its new home. Both the 3rd Wing and 20th Pursuit Group used Barksdale Field to hone gunnery and bombing skills that would be used in the coming wars.

After November of 1940, Barksdale transitioned into an Air Corps flying school where the airfield trained many of the replacement crews and entire units that were sent downrange to fight in World War II. The 17th Bomb Group, which would later be led by Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, trained here after completing their famous raid on Tokyo.

After the Air Force became its own service in 1947, Barksdale Field was renamed Barksdale Air Force Base in 1948. The following year, Barksdale became the home of the first Air Force strategic reconnaissance and bomber aircraft, the North American RB-45 Tornado, entered into the Strategic Air Command.

A decade later the B-52 landed and set up camp for its permanent home here. After a few years of waiting the 2nd Bomb Wing arrived at Barksdale to form the perfect marriage of wing and plane and promptly sent the eager young aircraft on its missions to Southeast Asia to support missions such as Linebacker II, Arc Light and Young Tiger during the Vietnam War. During the war, the 8th Air Force Headquarters was installed here and began the partnership of more than three decades.

Barksdale has had many accomplishments during these past 80- years some of which include: a visit from space shuttle Columbia in 1990 and space shuttle Endeavor in 2008, Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm where we flew the longest combat sortie in history at that time; 35 hours. Barksdale even provided a safe haven for former President George Bush on Sept. 11, 2001. Barksdale then played a key role in Operation Enduring Freedom providing devastating combat capability.

For the past 80 years Barksdale has paved the way and provided stepping stones for other major commands within the Air Force and continues to enable the success of our expeditionary Air Force. Barksdale and its Airmen will remain ready to conduct air operations - from training and maintaining our wartime proficiencies to ensuring our families are prepared to endure our absence during a deployment.

North Korean Nuke and Missile Tests Undermine Stability


American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 – North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a serious threat to international peace and security and undermine the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula as well as the Northeast Asia region, officials from the United States, Japan and South Korea said in a joint statement.

The Defense Department issued that statement following the annual Defense Trilateral Talks, held in Tokyo Jan. 30-31.

The discussions covered a wide range of issues, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, non-proliferation, the regional security situation and North Korea, according to the release.

The joint statement said if North Korea carries out any further provocations, including a nuclear test, it will bear responsibility for the consequences for disregarding the overwhelming views of the international community.

The United States, South Korea, and Japan will closely coordinate to deter a potential North Korean nuclear test and to respond to ballistic missile threats, according to the release. In this process, the release said, the three countries will closely cooperate with the international community, including China and Russia.

The DTTs are a regular cooperative dialogue between the United States, Japan and South Korea and have been held annually since 2008.

Louisiana Recruiters to Carry Colors at Super Bowl

By Jennifer Villaume
Baton Rouge Recruiting Battalion

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 1, 2013 – Local service members will present the nation’s colors to kick off Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes Benz Superdome here Feb. 3.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Members of the Joint Color Guard practice for the Super Bowl at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, La., Jan. 15, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Jennifer Villaume
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
But before the kickoff service members carrying the nation’s colors will march in unison, representing the whole of the military force which preserves that American identity and culture.
 
“This is a unique experience because this will be the first time I will have the opportunity to work alongside every branch of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Antonio Frese.
“Usually joint operations involve two to three service components, so this is a rare opportunity to be exposed to all branches.”

The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard is made up of local recruiters from each branch which serves New Orleans and surrounding areas.

“It is quite an honor to be selected to lead our team in presenting the National Colors at such a huge event. I am a soldier and a recruiter. Not only will I be representing the Army; I am representing what it means to serve,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ervin Davis. “It will be a positive message for all the young men and women watching who may have a desire to serve their country to see the professionalism and pride of our men and women in uniform.”

The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard has met for practice two days a week leading up to the Super Bowl at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chase, La. The full dress rehearsal is being conducted today.

“Every branch has different drill and ceremony procedures so practice is essential,” Army Staff Sgt. Lester Scott said.

For a 10-member color guard practice does make perfect.

“We have to be able to execute by time and feel, instead of sight, since we are not standing next to each other,” Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Stephen Howell said. “Many of my friends and family will be watching, and I want them to be proud of my effort. We will be the face of the Marine Corps.”
Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Daphne Gilles arrived at her new unit just four months ago.

“I am extremely honored that I was selected,” Gilles said. “I was given the position of Captain of Coast Guard District Eight Color Guard and Honor Guard Team upon my arrival. It is a tremendous privilege to represent the Coast Guard.”

Even with all the practicing and precision required, to everyone involved it will be a memorable and fun day.

“I will be able to point to a large-framed picture on my wall of me holding the Air Force flag at the 50-yard line and say proudly, ‘The United States Air Force trusted in me enough to represent the service in front of 100 million people worldwide.’ It doesn’t get any better than that,” Frese said.

The Super Bowl provides a connection to home for many service members deployed overseas.
“I have been deployed twice, both for one year each. I missed my baby’s birthdays and other special events. The Super Bowl was the only event that I requested off while overseas, knowing that we were all watching together,” Scott said. “Something about this football game brings us all together no matter what is going on. This game has meant the world to me by connecting me to home, and now I get to be a rifle man next to the American flag. It is an honor.”

This year, they get to watch together. Scott’s two children will be in the Superdome cheering on their dad.

Other Joint Armed Forces Color Guard team members include:
-- Staff Sgt. Joshua Reyes, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, New Orleans Company;
-- Gunnery Sgt. Toland Howard, U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Battalion, Baton Rouge Company;
-- Petty Officer 2nd Class Holly Diaz, U.S. Navy Recruiting Battalion, New Orleans Company;
-- Staff Sgt. Adrian Munoz, U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Battalion, Baton Rouge Company; and
-- Lance Cpl. Randy West, U.S. Marine Corps Band, New Orleans.

Since the Superdome opened in 1975, it was the site of six Super Bowls. The “dome” underwent a six-year major renovation after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is now the fifth largest NFL stadium in the country.

Fairchild helicopter pilot wins AETC award Posted 2/1/2013 Updated 2/1/2013 Email story Print story Share by Senior Airman Mary O'Dell 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs 2/1/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE- Wash. -- A helicopter pilot from the 36th Rescue Flight was awarded the Air Education and Training Command Aviator Valor Award for the year 2012. Capt. Ashly Barnes, the standardization and evaluation liaison officer, 36th Rescue Flight, distinguished herself as a pilot during a mission to save the life of a United States Air Force survival student who suffered a severe head injury. "It's a bittersweet business because we never want to have to search for a missing person or medically evacuate an injured student, but that's what we're here for," said Barnes. On Aug. 10, a 26-year-old Airman in training to be a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist tripped, fell over a log and struck his head on the ground. He vomited and became lethargic and confused. Due to the mountain's high density altitude and the nature of the medical evacuation, the risk for this mission was assessed as high. Barnes and her crew had to be hastily recalled to do the rescue. Flying at maximum airspeed, the crew arrived on scene within 20 minutes. The student, located at about 6,000-feet elevation, could not be hoisted alone because of his deteriorating condition. As the patient was being lifted, the helicopter descended toward the trees. Barnes skillfully walked the aircraft forward, to keep her survivors safely suspended over the trail surrounded by 100-foot trees. "We learn a lot from all of our missions and we are always tailoring our training so we're better prepared for the next one," said Barnes. The Minnesota native said she didn't always want to fly, but became a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter pilot after she graduated from the Air Force Academy. "I enjoy what I do," said Barnes. "We have the most diverse Huey mission in the Air Force here at Fairchild Air Force Base." Barnes said she's honored to win this award, but that every mission they accomplish is a team effort and in her eyes, the entire rescue flight and 336th group won this award. According to her award package, Barnes performed 40 days of MEDEVAC alert during eight temporary duty assignments, totaling 271.2 flight hours for the year. She has also trained more than 4,900 SERE students and 23 SERE specialist training candidates. The RQF also assists with civil search and rescue, hoists, rappelling, parachute operations and other aircrew proficiency training to maintain mission readiness. "Captain Barnes' determination and hard work enabled her to upgrade from a co-pilot to an instructor pilot within a single year," said Maj. Matthew Johnson, the 36th RQF commander. "Such a feat is rarely accomplished and then only by the best of pilots."

by Senior Airman Mary O'Dell
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


2/1/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE- Wash. -- A helicopter pilot from the 36th Rescue Flight was awarded the Air Education and Training Command Aviator Valor Award for the year 2012.

Capt. Ashly Barnes, the standardization and evaluation liaison officer, 36th Rescue Flight, distinguished herself as a pilot during a mission to save the life of a United States Air Force survival student who suffered a severe head injury.

"It's a bittersweet business because we never want to have to search for a missing person or medically evacuate an injured student, but that's what we're here for," said Barnes.

On Aug. 10, a 26-year-old Airman in training to be a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist tripped, fell over a log and struck his head on the ground. He vomited and became lethargic and confused.

Due to the mountain's high density altitude and the nature of the medical evacuation, the risk for this mission was assessed as high. Barnes and her crew had to be hastily recalled to do the rescue.

Flying at maximum airspeed, the crew arrived on scene within 20 minutes. The student, located at about 6,000-feet elevation, could not be hoisted alone because of his deteriorating condition.

As the patient was being lifted, the helicopter descended toward the trees. Barnes skillfully walked the aircraft forward, to keep her survivors safely suspended over the trail surrounded by 100-foot trees.

"We learn a lot from all of our missions and we are always tailoring our training so we're better prepared for the next one," said Barnes.

The Minnesota native said she didn't always want to fly, but became a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter pilot after she graduated from the Air Force Academy.

"I enjoy what I do," said Barnes. "We have the most diverse Huey mission in the Air Force here at Fairchild Air Force Base."

Barnes said she's honored to win this award, but that every mission they accomplish is a team effort and in her eyes, the entire rescue flight and 336th group won this award.

According to her award package, Barnes performed 40 days of MEDEVAC alert during eight temporary duty assignments, totaling 271.2 flight hours for the year. She has also trained more than 4,900 SERE students and 23 SERE specialist training candidates.

The RQF also assists with civil search and rescue, hoists, rappelling, parachute operations and other aircrew proficiency training to maintain mission readiness.

"Captain Barnes' determination and hard work enabled her to upgrade from a co-pilot to an instructor pilot within a single year," said Maj. Matthew Johnson, the 36th RQF commander. "Such a feat is rarely accomplished and then only by the best of pilots."

Scott firefighters save mechanic's life

by Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


1/30/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- A team of firefighters raced down the flightline at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing to arrive at what looked like a normal KC-10, but the real emergency was inside the plane.

Firefighters deployed from Scott Air Force Base, assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Wing Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, rescued an unconscious maintainer inside the belly of the aircraft.

Airman 1st Class Jeffery Simcoe, 375th CES firefighter, said, "When we got the call, we were told that it was a medical emergency. That's all the dispatcher knew at the time."

They were told that the victim was incapacitated outside the aircraft, but when the rescue crew arrived at the scene, they found the victim not outside, but inside the fuel-cell of the plane.

Staff Sgt. James Fligor, 375th CES fire department crew chief, said, "When we got there, the crew was still determining how to get in the aircraft--we had to get in there."

The crew climbed a ladder to reach the belly of the aircraft. From there, they had to move through four small, fuel-soaked passages connected by a small corridor that had just enough room for one person to crouch in.

"I thought the passageways were vents," Simcoe said. "They were just big enough to put your arms through and slide in."

To reach the unconscious maintainer, the firefighters removed their protective gear except for their breathing apparatuses. They also removed the air tanks from their backs to strategically maneuver their way through the passages.

After 15 minutes of struggling with the firefighter's tanks, the maintainers hooked up their on-board supply air respirator, to allow the firefighters to move through the passages easier because of its 300-foot hose instead of the 2-foot hose they had before.

"When we got to him I thought he was dead," Simcoe said. "He was face-first in this pool of fuel. He wasn't moving."

The victim had passed out because of exposure to the fuel and heat.

The team placed a self-contained breathing apparatus on the unconscious airman after verifying he was still alive. The team also began the tedious task of getting him out.

"Once he started to stabilize, we moved him," Fligor said. "By that time, my team and I had to leave because our air bottles were running out, so we were replaced by two other guys."

Teams of two rotated in to drag the victim out of the fuel cell, because the teams only had a limited amount of air to use on the maintainer, forcing them to trade out for more oxygen.

"After he woke up a little, he was disoriented and didn't know where he was, so he fought back a little," Airman 1st Class Kendall Fair, 375th CES firefighter, said. "He was pulling off the mask we put on him. We understood the situation that was happening, but he didn't."

Forty-five minutes and three teams later, the firefighters pulled him out to safety. The maintainer was sent to the hospital and made a full recovery by the next day.

"It was the first time I have ever saved a life," Fair said. "It made me like my job even more. Day-to-day gets pretty slow sometimes, but when you do get that call it makes it all worth it."

Innovative Thinking: 19th OG converts to 4-day fly week, increases training

by Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


1/31/2013 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Nearly a year ago, the 19th Operations Group at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., truncated their fly-week from five days to four, leaving one day a week explicitly dedicated to training. Group leaders said the switch has led to increased training rates and improved deployment readiness, while saving taxpayer dollars.

Lt. Col. Toby Sernel, 19th OG deputy commander, said the change came about after examining the efficiency of the group's five-day flight week.

"What we saw with the five-day fly week, was ... our flying and training was not as efficient as it could be," said Sernel.

The group determined that with a little flexibility they could simultaneously improve their training and make more efficient use of their flying hours, and thus the four-day fly week, with every Friday dedicated to training, was born.

"What we wanted to do was come up with a way to improve our deployment readiness," said Sernel. "We wanted to improve the training that our C-130 members were getting at our four flying squadrons here."

Previously the 19th OG dedicated just one day to training a quarter, which led to bloated schedules and a dearth of time, said Sernel.

"They (the old 19th OG's training days) were jam-packed with stuff," he said. "Maybe we got 30 minutes to do two hours of training on top of 30 minutes to do another four-hour training block. It really wasn't very efficient or effective."

Allowing for a training day every Friday has led to more relevant, focused and thorough training for the 19th OG, from the group level to the squadron level down to the individual, said Sernel.

"We've increased training 12 to 14 fold of what we had before," he said. "The benefits extend to everyone throughout the group."

While more time for training and interaction at a ground level is a good thing for Airmen and their supervisors, decreasing the flight week from five to four days means packing what was previously five days of work into four. To execute this plan required innovation and focused planning, and it's a challenge the 19th OG met, said Sernel.

"What we did was pack five days worth of flying into four days," he said. "To do this we had to focus on certain events on certain days. In a lot of ways this made us improve our planning because a four-day fly week requires greater focus and planning at the group and squadron level."

After nearly a year of flying one less day a week, Sernel said he thinks the Airmen of the 19th OG are even better prepared to go to war than they were before, while saving time and money.

"We're getting the same, if not more focused, training in those four days," he said. "Our crews are more prepared for CENTCOM AOR now than they were a year ago. We've saved 640 flight hours in calendar year 2012. We're doing what we can to make more effective and efficient use of our flying training hours; those are expensive hours."

Sernel said the 19th OG typically completed 95 percent of their training requirements in years past. From July - Dec 2012 the group produced a 98 percent completion rate. He credits this to increased focus in training.

"We're getting more precise, more focused, more realistic training on par with previous year's completion rates in four days," said Sernel. "That's a good thing."

The benefits from the four-day fly week extend from the top down, said Sernel. 19th OG Airmen, at the group and squadron level, are getting more time for professional development. Another added bonus is the group is able to maximize the use of the flight simulators on base, a move that allows flyers to log realistic training while saving taxpayer dollars.

While the move to a four-day fly week has benefited the 19th OG immensely, Sernel said the innovative program extends benefits to other groups on base as well.

"The Maintenance Group and the Mission Support Group reap benefits," he said. "They have more time to take care of training, more time to take care of airplanes. They have more time to focus on what they need to do on that day."

More time for training, improved efficiency of mission and training time, and helping their Airmen improve their careers is what the move was all about, said Sernel, and nearly a year into the switch, the plan appears to be working.

"There are benefits at all levels," he said. "Commanders get more time with their people. Supervisors get more time with their flights, whether they're loadmasters, or pilots or (Aircrew Flight Equipment) technicians. There are a lot of support agencies in the ops group that get time with their supervisors they wouldn't get every week if we flew five days a week. By taking a break, I think everyone would say it's a good thing to get more time with their leadership, getting more time to do what we call unit maintenance."

Air Force to hold meetings on proposed F-16 transfer

Release Number: 010213

2/1/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- The U.S. Air Force is holding a series of public meetings in the Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, communities to invite public comment on potential environmental impacts of a proposed transfer of an F-16 aircraft squadron.

The Air Force is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement on a proposal to relocate the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, in Anchorage, Alaska. Under the proposal, the Air Force would plan to re-size the remaining wing overhead and base operating support functions at Eielson in fiscal year 2015. The EIS will also consider a No Action alternative, which is to keep the squadron at Eielson. No decision has been made on the proposed move. The EIS is part of a process required of federal agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The Air Force is proposing the move to reduce defense spending and support congressionally mandated deficit reductions, as outlined in the Budget Control Act, and as part of its priority to prepare for future challenges and protect the broad range of U.S. national security interests.

The 18th Aggressor Squadron consists of 18 assigned F-16 aircraft, three back-up F-16s, and associated support and maintenance Airmen. The proposed relocation includes removing 623 military personnel from EAFB in fiscal year 2014, transferring approximately 542 positions to JBER, and eliminating 81 positions. Beginning in fiscal year 2015, the Air Force proposes an additional reduction of approximately 749 military and 179 civilian authorizations at EAFB appropriate to the command structure required for the remaining operations. Current planning estimates call for a proposed end state of approximately 769 appropriated funds personnel at EAFB after FY15 (559 military members and 210 civilians).

If the proposal is ultimately approved, Eielson will continue to host the Red Flag and Distant Frontier training exercises with the 18th Aggressor Squadron operating out of JBER under one of two possible alternatives. Under Alternative A, the F-16 aircraft would fly to and from exercises using aerial refueling. The participating F-16 aircraft would not routinely land at Eielson for refueling. Under Alternative B, the 18th Aggressor Squadron would deploy to Eielson for the duration of the exercises.

Under either alternative, the aircraft would operate in the same air space as currently used for Red Flag and Distant Frontier exercises. Transient aircraft and personnel from outside of Alaska participating in these exercises would continue to deploy to and operate out of Eielson.

To effectively define the full range of issues to be evaluated in the EIS, the Air Force will determine the scope of the analysis by soliciting comments from interested local, state and federal agencies, as well as members of the public. The Air Force's public scoping meetings will provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the proposal and participate in the process by providing input. Public input supports the Air Force in making informed decisions.

During the scoping meetings which are open to the public, the Air Force will describe the NEPA process and outline opportunities for public involvement throughout the process. Scoping meetings and the dates and times for each meeting are provided below.

 February 4, 2013
6:00 - 9:30 p.m. with the presentation at 7:00 p.m.

Alaska State Fairgrounds
Glenn Highway, Hoskins Building
Palmer, Alaska

February 5, 2013
6:00 - 9:30 p.m. with the presentation at 7:00 p.m.

Tyson Elementary School
2801 Richmond Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska

February 6, 2013
12:00 - 3:30 p.m. with the presentation at 12:30 p.m.
AND
6:00 - 9:30 p.m. with the presentation at 7:00 p.m.

Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge
Edgewater and Jade Rooms
4477 Pikes Landing Road
Fairbanks, Alaska

February 7, 2013
6:00 - 9:30 p.m. with the presentation at 7:00 p.m.

North Pole High School
601 North Pole High School Boulevard
North Pole, Alaska

Each scoping meeting includes a half hour presentation and approximately three hours for an open house and oral public comments. The presentation will provide information on the purpose and reasoning behind the F-16 relocation proposal and an explanation of the NEPA process. The public will be provided an opportunity to provide oral comments on the analysis process to help identify potential environmental impacts. Community members will be able to relay information directly to Air Force members during this time.

Public comments are encouraged and will be accepted either verbally or in writing at the scoping meetings. Comments may also be provided via mail to the point of contact listed below. The Air Force will accept comments at any time during the environmental process. However, to ensure the Air Force has sufficient time to consider public input in the preparation of the Draft EIS, please submit comments to the below point of contact by March 1, 2013.

Mr. Allen Richmond, AFCEC/CZN
2261 Hughes Ave, Ste. 155,
Lackland AFB, TX 78236-9853
Telephone: (210) 395-8555

For further information please go to http://www.afcec.af.mil/f-16_eielson_eis/index.asp

605th AMXS breaks ice

by Airman Sean M. Crowe
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs


1/31/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron works through less-than-ideal weather conditions to ensure the 305th Air Mobility Wing's mobility mission continues.

Aircraft deicing has come a long way in recent years said Master Sgt. Kenyon Blough 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent.

Aircraft maintainers historically would drive simple cherry pickers to the aircraft, and then spray them down with hoses from the bucket. Maintainers now use global deicing trucks which have an enclosed compartment to control the automateddeicing nozzle, said Blough.
The 605th AMXS's service members ensure all aircraft here are free of frost and ice shortly before takeoff during the winter.

"We hold a meeting regarding the snow a week or two before the first predicted snowfall," said Blough. "We schedule deicing teams and ensure the global deicing trucks are postured for use."

Deicing teams comprise three-man teams: a global deicing truck driver, a spotter on the ground and a bucket operator who controls the deicing nozzle.

The deicing nozzle is not a water gun. The deicing nozzle uses a combination of hot air and Type 1 deicing fluid to accomplish the mission.

"Deicing fluid is more efficient at melting ice and in turn more cost effective," said Blough. "It's even more effective when propelled by hot air making the device twice as efficient as past technology."

A team sets out to deice an aircraft in the one-hour window prior to takeoff. The deicing team is notified by the maintenance operating center anytime there is frozen precipitation on an aircraft. Staff Sgt. Steven Betz, 605th AMXS flying crew chief, described a typical deicing sequence.

"The operator begins spraying at the aircraft's nose and works his way to the tail," said Betz. "We let gravity help us on our mission spraying from the top and moving down. We focus on critical areas including the flight controls and hydraulic systems as these are crucial to flight. The spotter on the ground ensures the sprayer doesn't miss any areas he might not have the best view of. We then finish by coating the aircraft in Type 4 anti-icing fluid."

Type 4 anti-icing fluid is a liquid agent which prevents the plane from icing over again before takeoff, whereas Type 1 deicing fluid is solely used for the initial deicing.

"The aircrew then double checks the aircraft to ensure we did a thorough job," said Betz.
The 605th AMXS ensures 305th Air Mobility Wing aircraft readiness throughout the New Jersey winters here. Leadership credits their mission's success to the junior service members who work tirelessly in freezing temperatures to deice aircraft.

"It takes a great deal of coordination to accomplish the timely process, from the superintendents all the way down to the truck operators," said Betz.

Hagel: Accountability Key Factor to Defense Management


By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 – Accountability is at the heart of managing the Defense Department, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.

Hagel, President Barack Obama’s choice to succeed retiring Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, provided eight hours of testimony to the Senate panel.

Senators asked Hagel how he will manage the largest institution in the United States.

Hagel said you don’t really manage the department, you lead it.

“It’s not about me. The secretary of defense, he leads, he advises the president, but it’s really about the people who have the accountability and the responsibility to manage every aspect of our defense apparatus,” Hagel said.

The department has roughly 50 presidential appointees, so that leaves most of the day-to-day management to officers and senior civilians, and those officials must be accountable, he said.
“We’re all accountable, and the emphasis on accountability I don’t think could ever be overstated,” Hagel said.

It is important to give managers the resources they need and the flexibility to make the best use of them, he said.

“You give them direction and expectations … but not to the point where you don’t want their input and their ability to be flexible with their management,” Hagel said. “I think that's the … key to anything, but surely it is the key to something as large as the Department of Defense.”

Hagel said he has a lot of learning to do if he is confirmed as the next defense secretary.

“I will be the leader. I’ll be responsible. I’ll be accountable,” he said. “But I’ve got to rely on the right teams, the right people, bring those people together.”

AF selects primary, alternate test pilot school candidates



by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – More than 50 Air Force officers have been selected as primary or alternate Air Force and Navy test pilot school selectees, and one will attend the Epner Test Pilot School in France, Air Force Personnel Center officials said today.

“Selectees, identified during the 2012 selection board, will fill July 2013 and January 2014 classes,” Howard Peterson, AFPC pipeline and trainer assignments.

The program exists to develop specially trained pilots, combat systems officers, flight test engineers and remotely piloted aircraft pilots to monitor, manage, and perform flight tests on research, experimental or production-type aerospace vehicles and weapon systems, Peterson said.

“Graduates have profound strategic impact on the development of future combat capabilities,” “so selection is highly competitive,” Peterson explained. “Program graduates are future senior leaders who will help shape our national security, so identifying the right people for this opportunity was critical.”

New chief selects attend AFGSC orientation

by Airman 1st Class Joseph A. Pagán Jr.
AFGSC Public Affairs


2/1/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Chief master sergeant selects from Air Force Global Strike Command bases and units attended a 4-day orientation course this week at Barksdale AFB.

The course was intended to teach the chief's tools to help them lead at the top level of the Air Force enlisted rank.

"As a chief master sergeant, especially the new chiefs, we have to continue to develop," said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Hornback, AFGSC Command Chief. "There are tools they will need to lead at the highest level of enlisted rank."

The 31 chief selects in attendance learned the importance of not only being a chief from an AF level but also from a command level.

"It is important we teach them about our MAJCOM because we have certain expectations of our chiefs," said Hornback. Each MAJCOM has a different focus and he said there is "a special trust and responsibility" within this command.

The orientation replaces the Chiefs Leadership Course, formerly taught at Maxwell AFB, Ala.

"The challenge was having the funding to get all the chief selects in the AF together," said Hornback. "Soon, chiefs coming up will be able to get an orientation from both their MAJCOM and a big AF institution."

He added when he attended the Chief Leadership Course they mainly focused on why chiefs were important to the AF and not enough about the MAJCOM they were working for.

Senior Master Sgt. Ray Lapham, 2nd Maintenance Group Weapons Manager, an attendee and chief select, he said he believed the course at AFGSC would teach him about his responsibility within his MAJCOM as opposed to being with chiefs from another command.

"It has been a great opportunity to be here with peers and with chiefs who have a lot of experience," said Lapham. "I've learned about our roles for AFGSC and what it takes to make what you do a little bit better for the lives of your people both professionally and personally."

Senior Master Sgt. Brian Cerney, 28th Comptroller Squadron superintendent, Ellsworth AFB, is a chief master sergeant select who is moving to the AFGSC headquarters in February.

"Since I'm coming into Global Strike, having the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the nuclear enterprise and the leaders within the command has been invaluable," he said.

This year, there were 1,981 senior master sergeants eligible for promotion. Only about 1 percent of the enlisted force achieves the rank of chief master sergeant.

Deployed Troops Resist ‘Groundhog Day’ Mindset

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 – It’s a running joke among many deployed troops: every day feels like Groundhog Day.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Pfc. Jesse Wilkins, right, assigned to the 25th Signal Battalion in Kabul, shoots pool with Army Spc. Wayne Thompson of the 810th Medical Detachment. Wilkins said he strives to keep his deployment interesting and resist falling into a rut that could lead to complacency and impact the mission. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Marvin Baker
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Tomorrow, as Punxsutawney Phil emerges from hibernation to check for his shadow, many U.S. forces in Afghanistan will feel like they’re characters in the old “Groundhog Day” movie in which Bill Murray plays a weatherman who repeatedly relives Feb. 2.
 
They’ll rise from their same bunks, put on their same uniforms, eat the same chow at the same dining facility and conduct the same mission they do every single day throughout their deployments. But most say they make concerted efforts to break the routine – not only to keep their sanity, but to keep their edge in a tough operational environment.

Several deployed service members spoke by telephone with American Forces Press Service today, describing the strategies they use to stay sharp.
Just one week into his nine-month deployment to Afghanistan’s Ghazni province in Regional Command East, Army Sgt. Andrew Tobin said he’s already adjusting to a familiar routine. He wakes up each morning at about 7, shaves and showers, then heads off to work.

“You hope to fall into a good routine and you just fall into the groove,” said Tobin, who already knows the ropes after a yearlong deployment in 2010. “You roll day to day and forget what number day it is and you forget what day of the week it is. It’s just another day.”

But with bad weather grounding aircraft that would ferry Tobin and his fellow troops to their advise-and-assist mission with Afghan national security forces, he admits that he’s already starting to get a case of cabin fever.

Army Sgt. Ramel Thomas, who’s almost midway through his second one-year deployment to Afghanistan, understands that all too well. He spent his first one-year deployment in Kabul, overseeing food service operations at a dining facility.

“It can feel like Groundhog Day,” if you don’t try to break up the monotony, he said.

Thomas said the variety of his current deployment, assigned as a driver and liaison for the 3rd Infantry Division at the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command headquarters in Kabul, offers a reprieve. The work is interesting and challenging, he said, and gives him the chance to learn new skills.

“You have to stay sharp,” he said. “I take pride in what I do with my job, and at the same time, it is helping my time go fast. I am always learning, and the military is all about learning.”

Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace, operations branch chief for ISAF’s Force Reintegration Cell, said regularly getting “outside the wire” to work with the Afghans gives her more diversity than many deployed service members.

“I’m lucky because the job is different almost every day,” she said. “I get to work with the Afghans every day, so it’s not a job that confines us to a FOB or base.”

But when she returns to her base, Wallace, too, experiences the routine of deployment. “We go to the same dining facility every day, the same laundry service every day, the same gym every day,” she said. “For the most part we work, we eat, we sleep and we work out. That is about it.”

The problem, many deployed services members said, is that too much routine can spill into the mission.

“You definitely can’t fall into complacency, and there is definitely no room for that on the battlefield,” said Tobin, who’s assigned to Cross-functional Team Warrior at Forward Operating Base Arian. “Just because you patrol the same area every day doesn’t mean that if nothing happened yesterday that something won’t happen today. You definite have to stay vigilant and situationally aware of everything.”

“If you don’t break the routine a little bit, you can lose that edge,” agreed Air Force Maj.

Demetrius Mizell, joint secretariat liaison officer with the Force Integration Cell in Kabul.

“Especially being out here and doing what we do, it could be the difference between life and death.”
Every deployed service member has his or her own formula for keeping every day of deployment from becoming a carbon copy of the last, Tobin said. “Some go to the gym to relieve stress. Some like to read a book or watch movies,” he said. “It’s all about staying sharp and not driving yourself crazy.”

Variety can come in many forms. When  Mizell, found himself eating the exact same breakfast every single day – French toast, bacon, one egg and yogurt – he intentionally started throwing in an occasional breakfast burrito or bowl of oatmeal, he said.

For many deployed troops, Mizell said, communicating with loved ones at home is the biggest way to break routine. He called Friday morning Skype sessions with his wife and 7-year-old son the highlight of his weeks.

Tobin said he avoids routine, even when calling home. “I try not to set a pattern that I’ll call on this day at this time because if I break that pattern, people back home will worry,” he said. “And the last thing I want to do is cause them any more worry than I already have.”

A month after arriving in Afghanistan, Army Pvt. Jesse Wilkins is taking the advice he’s received to heart. “They told us that you have to mix it up during deployment,” said Wilkins, assigned to the 25th Signal Battalion in Kabul. “They said that if you do the same thing every day, and you just stay in your room on the computer watching movies or YouTube all day, it’s not a good idea because you could go insane.”

So after getting off his night shifts, he treats himself to one episode of the old Dragon Ball TV series he downloaded to his cell phone. But he also hits the post exchange, shoots pool at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center and is learning to play guitar.

“It’s very important to mix it up and try something new,” he said. “If you like working out, try taking a Crossfit class. If you want to learn a new language, try learning French. You can go to the education center and take college courses and better yourself while you are out here.”

After pulling his 12-hour shifts through the night, Thomas said, he spends much of his time on professional development and using tuition assistance to pick up college courses.

Army Capt Morgan Samuels, a rotor wing current operations liaison with the ISAF Joint Command, said she’s taking advantage of serving on a NATO compound by increasing her own language skills. She’s teaching German to a Canadian officer, who in turn is teaching Samuels French.

It’s fun, breaks up the monotony and fends off complacency that could affect the mission, she said. “Keeping yourself busy keeps your mind fresh, and by keeping your mind fresh, it helps you do your job,” she elaborated. “So when things come up, you’re able to react fast because you haven’t allowed yourself to get ‘too settled in.’”

As they resist falling into that trap, many deployed troops say the best way is to lean on each other. They hang out together and look forward to special events they plan, such as Thursday night pizza-and-movie nights at Wallace’s and Mizell’s office.

The biggest secret to resisting Groundhog Day, Mizell said, is to keep a positive outlook. “Everyone has a good sense of humor, so we do a lot of laughing,” he said. “If you come to this building, you probably hear more laughing than in any other building, because we know you have to have fun. You have to keep your sense of humor.”