Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ground Accident Investigation Board convened

2/27/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- The investigation into the February 17, 2013, accident in a building on Joint Base Andrews, Md., is currently underway. One Air Force military member died in the accident. There is not yet enough evidence gathered to draw any conclusions as to the cause of this accident. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

Lieutenant General Robert R. Allardice, Vice-Commander, Air Mobility Command, convened a Safety Investigation Board immediately after the accident in order to quickly determine the cause and to recommend measures necessary to prevent a recurrence. The Safety Investigation Board will not produce a publicly releasable report.

Lieutenant General Allardice also convened a Ground Accident Investigation Board to investigate the matter and to produce a publicly releasable report. The Ground Accident Investigation Board President is Colonel Glenn Chadwick, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

After Lieutenant General Allardice approves the report; it will be presented to the family of the deceased airman. After the family has an opportunity to be personally briefed, the report will be released to the general public.

Veterans Workshop Announces Blind US Veterans to Help Deaf US Veterans Make Phone Calls in New National Relay Service

The Veterans Workshop announces that training of blind veteran relay operators begins March 4th, with six Blind Oklahoma Veterans training on a Google+ platform to make phone calls for Deaf Veterans.
Washington, DC, February 27, 2013

Imagine for one minute you are deaf and you are a veteran of the United States Armed Forces. You can't hear anything because an IED has left you deaf. You want to call your mom at home and wish her a "Happy Birthday", but that task is next to impossible. Maybe you want to call your daughter at college and wish her well on her exams, but again, that task is too difficult. But now, with the help of the Veterans Workshop, all of that is about to change. A core group of Blind veterans from the state of Oklahoma are in training starting on March 4th with a mission. They are learning how to be "relay operators", where they can actually make relay phone calls for the veteran who has lost their hearing.

With funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) of Oklahoma City and the State of Oklahoma, Department of Rehabilitation Services, six Blind veterans are embarking on a training that will change the way that deaf veterans communicate.

Ken Coppinger, lead instructor for the training says "These veterans are my brothers, and teaching them how to use Google plus hangout technology to assist deaf veterans in communication is not a job to me, it's a mission".

One Blind Veteran is 90 Year Old, WWII Veteran Emory Finefrock - a Navy veteran who served in the Pacific. When asked why he has requested to join this training, Emory said, "These are fellow veterans, and if I can help just one, then I will have done my job."

The Veterans Workshop, a national veteran’s charity that has programs to teach Blind, Deaf and Paralyzed veterans, has developed a unique and challenging work assignment for the tens of thousands of Blind American veterans who have an unemployment in the low 90% range. This initial group of blind veterans is excited about the training and the opportunities it will bring to them.

About the Veterans Workshop: With offices in Rhode Island and Washington, DC, the Veterans Workshop has developed unique training programs for a subset of the disabled veterans community to include blind, deaf and paralyzed veterans. Training for Blind veterans is underway, with training for Deaf and Paralyzed veterans expected in early fall.

Face of Defense: Airman Serves Country On, Off Court

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenya Shiloh
52nd Fighter Wing

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany, Feb. 27, 2013 – They say the third time's a charm; however, for one noncommissioned officer assigned to Aviation Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group, six seems to be his lucky number.

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Air Force Tech. Sgt. Marico Gray drives the ball to the basket during a basketball game against the Army in May 2012. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class John Collins

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Six is the number of times Air Force Tech. Sgt. Marico Gray, a contracting NCO, was selected for the Air Force basketball team, and six is the number of consecutive times he and his teammates took home a gold medal in the all-services basketball competition. 

Of the 19 players who tried out for this year's team, including nine enlisted members and 10 former Air Force Academy players, Gray was among the 12 selected to represent the Air Force team.

"I started playing basketball at the age of 7," said Gray, who hails from Birmingham, Ala. "I remember sometimes going out in 30-degree weather to play basketball by myself."

All that practice paid off, because it enabled him to earn a spot on the Air Force team playing nearly every position. Even when he was chosen for the all-armed forces team and the all-tournament team, he said, he played multiple positions, such as forward and point guard, allowing him to hone his skills and help to groom younger players who one day will take his place on the court.

Playing in different locations such as Lithuania and Belgium helped him develop a special bond with his teammates, Gray said, not to mention continuing the friendly rivalry with other services’ teams. Gray said playing other services was like playing your closest friend.

"We are friends before we get on the court, joking and laughing with each other," he said. "But once the game starts, the friendship is put to the side. We're trying to do whatever we can within that rectangle to win the game and ultimately take home that gold medal."

Air Force Senior Airman James Lewis, a member of the 52nd Comptroller Squadron and Gray’s teammate, said Gray is "relentless" when it comes to the team. He shows that same passion when it comes to performing his duties as a contracting specialist for the detachment.

"He produces an energy that is seldom matched, and he has a knack for continuing to push when others simply can't anymore, and it’s due to his will to win," Lewis said.

Having the ability to pursue his passion while also serving his country is what Gray said makes him proud to be in the Air Force instead of trying to play in the National Basketball Association.

"I never felt as strong of a desire to play in the NBA like I feel to serve my country," Gray said. "You hear most individuals in the NBA say they love to give back, and they do, but most times it's only to certain individuals who are fortunate enough to receive it. By serving my country, everyone benefits -- it's the ultimate fulfillment."

Despite his grueling schedule of work, practice and travel, Gray said, he wouldn't trade this experience for anything, and he encourages others to pursue their dreams as well.

"If an airman wants to try out for any Air Force-level team sport, I say give it your all and play the game that got you invited to the trials in the first place," Gray said.

Pacific Air Forces wins highest AF safety award

by Master Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

2/27/2013 - Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii -- Pacific Air Forces earned the Secretary of the Air Force Safety Award, Feb. 12, recognizing the most effective safety program in the Air Force for fiscal year 2012.

"Receiving this top safety award is a testament to our professional Airmen, both on and off duty," said Lt. Gen. Stanley Kresge, PACAF vice commander.

Air Force Safety Award Board officials made their selection for the Air Force's highest safety accolade based on the effectiveness of the safety programs of major commands, direct reporting units, and field operating agencies. Pacific Air Forces Airmen demonstrated this with the lowest mishap rates the command has seen in ten years.

"I am extremely pleased that the Airmen of this command are being recognized at the Air Force level," said Col. Robert Jones, PACAF safety director. "It is through their commitment to safe operations that PACAF won this award."

Pacific Air Forces' safety statistics for 2012 included a ground safety mishap reduction of 25 percent, a mishap costs reduction of 21 percent, and a lost duty day decrease of 26 percent.

"Commanders and supervisors at all levels incorporated safety principles into their plans and programs and ensured the application of sound risk management while accomplishing our goals and objectives," Jones said. "Our leaders emphasized the tenants of Commander's focus, supervisor involvement and individual responsibility to energize mishap prevention

Proactive safety initiatives in aviation also led to historic minimums and zero fatalities. Class B mishaps, or damage to assets from $500 thousand to 2 million, were at their lowest level in ten years, while class C mishaps, or damage to assets from $500 to $50 thousand, were at their lowest in five years.

Pacific Air Forces has approximately 45,000 military and civilian personnel serving in nine strategic locations and numerous smaller facilities, primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, Guam and the Republic of Korea. Approximately 340 fighter and attack aircraft are assigned to the command with approximately 100 additional deployed aircraft stationed rotationally on Guam.

USO Tour Sparks Excitement for Sailors in Spain

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Alston and Morgan Over
Navy News Service

ROTA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2013 – The USO brought all-star entertainment to Naval Station Rota on Feb. 26, the first stop on a spring tour to visit troops abroad. 

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World Series-winning pitcher Curt Schilling talks with a military family on Feb. 26, 2013, at Naval Air Facility Rota, Spain, after Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld, Jr., the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, decorated three U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal technicians with medals they earned during a recent deployment to Afghanistan. Schilling and nine other professional athletes, American Idol performers, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and an NFL coach are travelling with the admiral and his wife, Mary, as part of the USO Spring Troop Visit that began Feb 25, 2013. DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh

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Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the star-studded group of athletes, coaches and musicians.

"I am thankful for those who wear the cloth to serve our nation and serve our country overseas," Winnefeld said.
The show kicked off with opening remarks from the naval station's commanding officer, Navy Capt. Scott Kraverath.
"I'm honored to have the opportunity to host such a distinguished group of individuals," he said. "Events like these are great for morale and show our service members that their hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed."
During the show, members of the tour thanked service members for the sacrifices and service to the country.

"I'm so honored to be a part of this [USO tour]," said Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson. "This being our first stop, obviously you guys are very special, and I'm excited to be here. I'm a military brat. On the flight over, talking to these guys -- [Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning] and some of the other athletes and cheerleaders -- one way or another, we all seem to be related to someone in the military.

“Whether it's a grandfather or a niece or nephew, brother or sister-in-law, we all know somebody who has served in our military,” he added. “For myself, it was my father."

Jackson talked about his experience moving overseas and experiencing the military life as his father served in the Army.

"I don't like to make a comparison to the military and football -- sports, even, because you guys are on the front lines,” he said. “You're dealing with live ammunition, doing something extreme. You're protecting our freedom, creating world peace and we pretty much, on Sundays, entertain people for four hours.”

However, he added, there are some parallels between the National Football League and the military.

"The leadership, the sacrifice, the communication you guys have, the training, the bonding, the unselfish mentality that you have to have to create a team atmosphere," Jackson said. "Just like a football team, we come from all walks of life. You work together, you train to accomplish that mission, you build bonds and relationships that last a lifetime. That's kind of what we do as athletes."

Four-time World Series pitcher Curt Schilling also spoke of his appreciation.

"‘Thank you’ doesn't even begin to describe what we think, what we feel and how we feel about you and your families," he said. "I grew up the son of an airborne paratrooper. My dad served in the 101st [Airborne Division] for 20 years.

Schilling noted that this tour is his second with the USO.

“The first one was eight days that I'll never forget. This one is starting out to be unforgettable as well,” he said. “Thank you. To the families, I know there's a price to be paid in uniform and by the families. It's just apparent that … when we walk away today, that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. We wish you nothing but the best."

Manning also expressed his appreciation for the commitment service members have for the country.

"Thanks from the bottom of my heart," he said. "The one thing that has always motivated me playing football is being accountable to my teammates. What's really driven me for the past 16 years playing football is being accountable, doing my job at the very best that I can to be accountable to help my teammates. I know that's exactly what you believe in, as it's really what the military is all about."

Manning and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie threw autographed footballs to service members in the audience.

After the performance, members had a chance to meet with Winnefeld and the entertainers for a photo and autograph session.

"This is my third time on a USO tour, and my first time here in Spain," said Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Jackie Bob. "I'm so thankful and honored for you all to come up here and see us. It's an honor for us to be able to say 'thank you' for those that serve us."

Why Obama Picked Chuck Hagel

Commentary by Lt. Colonel John Lewis Cook, USA (ret.)

The nomination battle over the next Secretary of Defense is now over and the winner is the Obama administration.  The loser is the U.S. military along with the American people.  The Republicans in the Senate put up a good fight but, in the end, they simply didn’t have enough votes.  The Democrats voted right along party lines and it was enough to push a certified idiot into the top slot at the Department of Defense.  

In all fairness, it was a brilliant move on the part of President Obama.  If he was after the perfect fall guy to cover all his mistakes as Commander in Chief, it is hard to image a better choice.  Chuck Hagel is, without question, the perfect guy.  He makes Obama look like a bipartisan statesman, reaching across the aisle to pick a Republican to lead the nation’s military.  However, Hagel is a Republican in name only, which makes him a Rino. So why did Hagel agree to do this?  It’s the same old story in Washington, DC, where guys like Hagel are very vulnerable to an appeal to their ego.  

To be sure, for a president to reach across the aisle can be a great thing.  President Reagan did it when he selected Cap Weinberger as the Secretary of Defense and that turned out to be a stroke of genius.  Weinberger literally rebuilt the Defense Department after Vietnam and convinced the Soviet Union that the United States would win the arms race.  In this head to head battle, Weinberger won and deserves most of the credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Without question, he is the most successful Secretary of Defense in the modern era, dwarfing all those who have come after him.  A modest man with an incredible intellect, we may never see his likes again. His accomplishments are even more dramatic when you consider that both houses of congress belonged to the Democrats during this period and both houses hated Reagan.  

Unfortunately, Chuck Hegal is no Cap Weinberger.  Weinberger was a giant and Hagel is a pigmy.  Reagan picked Weinberger to rebuild the nation’s defenses.  And that’s what he did.  Obama picked Hagel to be a fall guy and Hagel fell for it.  Hagel is no Weinberger, no matter how hard the White House tries to spin this story.  His performance before the Senate during his nomination hearing was beyond bad, it was shocking.  Any man with any decency would have simply withdrawn on his own at this point, realizing that he was not up to this awesome task.  But there is precious little decency left in Washington and it all comes down to votes.  And the Democrats had the votes and Omaba got his guy and Hagel will get his day in the sun.  

In the end, it didn’t make any difference that Hagel was exposed as an anti-Israel bigot, regardless of the fact that the only true ally we have in that part of the world is Israel.  Nor did it matter that he was willing to throw Israel under the bus.  The only thing that mattered to the Democrats in the Senate was that this was Obama’s boy and they would confirm him, come hell or high water. 

Perhaps, in the end, it doesn’t make a lot of difference since no candidate for this office could perform as we would expect in today’s political environment.   Since Obama has managed to castrate all of his senior military officers, any candidate for the highest office in the Department of Defense would have to be a eunuch.  And Chuck Hagel fits this position perfectly.  This is something Cap Weinberger would never agree to, but it’s a different world now, where winning the nations’s wars in no longer a high priority, or even a condition for the job.  

What Hagel doesn’t understand is why he was selected in the first place.  If he had an IQ higher than room temperature, he would have realized why he was selected and might have reconsidered, but he didn’t.  Obama wasn’t about to select a loyal Democrat for this position because the coming heat is going to be very hot.  Hagel is going to have to take the heat for the eventual defeat in Afghanistan, not Obama.   Looking at it from Obama’s perspective, Hagel was the perfect choice, a washed up former politician from Kansas, who managed to get himself elected to the Senate as a Republican was a gift from heaven.  And on top of all that, he wanted the job.   So, in the end, Hagel is Obama’s firewall.  And, if necessary, Obama will not hesitate to throw Chuck under the bus, blaming him for losing America’s longest war, where Americans keep dying, every day, to prop up President Hamid Karzai’s interlocking criminal enterprise. 

Will the American public buy it?  The answer is yes.  Those few that were paying attention have already moved on, waiting for the next episode of Survivor.  This is just a blip on the radar screen.  

About the Author
Lieutenant Colonel John Lewis Cook, United States Army (Retired), “served as the Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Interior in Kabul, Afghanistan, with responsibility for developing the force structure for the entire Afghan National Police.  As of 2012, this force totals 157,000.  From March 2008 until August 2012, his access and intimate associations with all levels of the Afghan government and coalition forces have provided him with an unprecedented insight into the policies which will determine the outcome of the war.  It is this insight, coupled with his contacts and associations throughout Afghanistan that form the basis of Afghanistan: The Perfect Failure.

Click to read more about Lt. Colonel John Lewis Cook

JCS Vice Chairman, Spouse Accompany USO Overseas Tour

By Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh
Joint Staff Public Affairs

OVERSEAS WITH THE USO TOUR, Feb. 27, 2013 – Early in the evening of Feb. 25, the C-40 aircraft carrying Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his wife, Mary, support personnel, several professional football and baseball stars, an NFL coach, two American Idol finalists as well as a pair of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, took off en route on a weeklong USO tour to meet with overseas-deployed service members.

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Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., signs a poster for the morale and welfare center at Naval Air Station Rota in Spain as part of the USO Spring Troop Visit, Feb. 26, 2013. Members of the tour include professional athletes, a NFL coach, American Idol performers and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. The team began their trip at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., before heading overseas to perform before and meet with service members. DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh

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This, the second USO tour headed up by Winnefeld since he assumed his post in August 2011, is the first for some of the talent while others are tour veterans.

"We’ve got an amazing group of talented athletes and performers with us -- one of the best groups you could get,” Winnefeld said. “We’re welcoming back our favorite American Idols and have a whole team of other very talented men and women.”

The rest of the USO tour team consists of Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach, Clyde Christensen; Superbowl ring-wearing Denver Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning; Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl receiver, Vincent Jackson; former Indianapolis Colt receiver, Austin Collie; World-Series winning Boston Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling; American Idol stars, Ace Young and Diana Degarmo, and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Jackie Bob and Cassie Trammell.

The tour began on the afternoon of Feb. 25 with the talent, fresh off their flights from around the country, traveling to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to meet with patients and family members in the physical therapy section. The patients, mainly amputees fitted with cutting-edge prosthetics who grasped footballs and baseballs for autographs, smiled and posed for photos as they shared a little of their stories with the headliners and the vice chairman.

"We had the honor of meeting some wounded soldiers at Walter Reed to start this tour off," Manning said. “It was humbling to see those guys in there with their positive attitudes and working hard at getting better. We can’t thank you enough for what you do.”

After the stop at the hospital, the tour made its way to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and departed for Rota, Spain, the first of many stops. The first order of business for the vice chairman upon landing in Spain was to award the Bronze Star and two other awards to explosive ordnance disposal sailors Chief Petty Officer Samuel Crumbaugh, Petty Officer 1st Class John Christmas and Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Mallsup. The EOD technicians earned their awards while deployed to Afghanistan for six months where, combined, they disposed of more than 41,000 pounds of explosives.

After a brief tour of the EOD facility, the USO team took to the stage to thank the military members for their service as the athletes and cheerleaders addressed the audience.

“I come from a military family,” said Jackson, whose father, a former Army first sergeant, served 21 years on active duty. “I couldn’t be prouder to be invited. This is my first USO tour and hopefully I’ll have another one down the road. It’s been amazing -- the people we’ve met, the places we’ve seen. It’s really exciting to be a part of this.”

The first leg of the whirlwind tour wrapped up with the entire team on stage singing “God Bless America” before heading to a photo session with service members, then back to the aircraft, logging a few hundred more air miles en route to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. At NAS Sigonella a pair of unmanned aerial vehicles parked next to the travelers’ aircraft awaited the team, along with a few of the UAVs’ pilots.

Upon completion of the tour, the hundred or so sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines and family members emerged from the hangar to greet the team. Within what seemed to be only seconds, the number of people brandishing footballs, baseballs, T-shirts, jerseys and other souvenirs for signature doubled.

A lucky few from the audience were brought up on stage by Manning, Jackson and Collie and were subject to a mini-combine where they faced away from Manning. At a point, he yelled “ball” and that was their cue to turn and catch a pass, which each of the three participants did.

Just before the closing act, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Tammell and Bob, representing the squad on its 76th USO tour, showed their moves as Ace and Diana belted out their rendition of rock group AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

The group then headed on to their second Italian city, Naples, for another meet-and-greet and performance for more than 400 troops from all the military services as well as their families.

With the first day of three events in three separate locations in two different countries, the team got their first chance to wind down with an overnight stay in Naples, and a chance for some team bonding before moving on to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, and other locations.

Admiral Delivers Prestigious Awards to NMCB-11

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 Public Affairs

GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Mark A. Handley, commander of 1st Naval Construction Division (NCD) presented Cmdr. Lore Aguayo, commanding officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, with the Battle Efficiency Award plaque and pennant as well as the Peltier Award plaque Feb. 26, at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport.

The early morning ceremony took place with the battalion in formation on the NCBC grinder. The award citations were read aloud by Lt. Cmdr. Chris M. Coggins as Handley presented the pennant and plaques to Aguayo.

The pennant was hoisted alongside the battalion colors by Master at Arms 1st Class Michael A. Knight, originally from Goose Creek, S.C.

Handley praised Aguayo and the battalion for all of their efforts that resulted in winning the awards, and he specifically mentioned NMCB-11's successful 2012 deployment to Afghanistan.

NMCB-11 was selected as active component awardee of the Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Force (NCF) Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") award and the recipient of the Rear Admiral Eugene J. Peltier Award for fiscal year 2012.

NMCB-11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance. The battalion's homeport is in Gulfport, Miss.

Airmen should review personnel records, accomplish transactions before MilPDS upgrade

by Tech Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

2/27/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Department of Defense and Air Force officials are encouraging Airmen to review their personal data in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and accomplish personnel transactions before the service upgrades the Military Personnel Data System in March.

Personnel actions accomplished using MilPDS like reenlistments, enlistment extensions, promotions, unit transfers, discharges and retirements should be completed before the MilPDS upgrade in March to avoid processing delays with military pay and benefits eligibility issues. Airmen are encouraged to access the milConnect website at to review their personnel information prior to March. Airmen can use milConnect to check personnel information listed in DEERS as well as view their TRICARE coverage, Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, life insurance coverage, and other benefits.

"milConnect is an excellent tool available 24/7 for Airmen to review and update certain DEERS data at any time," said Mary Dixon, Defense Manpower Data Center director. "milConnect will be particularly valuable to assist Airmen in ensuring their records are up-to-date if changes occur during the shutdown period."

DMDC receives more than 1 million transactions each year from the Air Force and about 66,000 represent new enlistments in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, or Air National Guard. Information sent to DMDC also determines TRICARE eligibility for almost 1 million sponsors and family members and plays a critical role in medical, dental, and pharmacy claims processing. Data sent to DMDC and DEERS supports the transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for more than 87,000 active-duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen.

The upgrade project is scheduled to take about 23 days to complete while the Air Force Personnel Operations Agency here upgrades and transfers MilPDS to the Defense Information Systems Agency's Defense Enterprise Computing Center. During this time, MilPDS will not be available.

MilPDS is the records database for personnel data and actions that occur throughout every total force Airman's career. MilPDS is also used to initiate Airmen's pay actions, maintain Air Force accountability and strength data. MilPDS also supports a host of interactions with other active-duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard systems and processes that rely on this personnel data.

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members are not required to take any immediate actions unless they are notified by their military personnel section. MPSs will receive specific instructions for active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve on unique personnel and pay processes related to accessions, unit training assemblies and participation, mobilizations and activations and casualties. Other personnel and pay processes will be held during the cutover period and processed once the upgrade is complete. Servicing MPSs will notify their affected members as soon as possible of any required personnel follow-up actions.

Air Force officials will continue to release additional information and guidance to the Air Force's manpower, personnel, services and pay communities and total force Airmen to continue to educate them on how the service will perform critical personnel and pay tasks during the MilPDS upgrade.

More information is available on the ARPC public website at and the myPers website at For more information about DMDC, visit For more information about the MilPDS upgrade, visit the myPers website at

AFRC commander visits MacDill reservists

by Staff Sgt. Shawn Rhodes
927th Air Refueling Wing

2/27/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- The commander of Air Force Reserve Command visited the 927th Air Refueling Wing here February 20.

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson took the morning to visit with 927th ARW command leadership and Airmen from multiple sections.

"I really appreciate the opportunity to visit with you," Jackson told a group of 927th ARW's full-time enlisted Airmen during breakfast. "Few people turn down an assignment to MacDill Air Force Base ... everyone loves living here."

Jackson's visit included briefings from both the 927th ARW and 6th Air Mobility Wing, tours and meet and greets with the Airmen who keep the wing running between unit training assemblies.

The general then traveled to the 927th Operations Group where he spoke with the pilots and boom operators, then toured a KC-135 Stratotanker and greeted the Airmen working to ready the jet for takeoff.

Among them was Tech. Sgt. Anthony Abney, 927th ARW aerospace crew chief, who was cited as an outstanding performer by Chief Master Sgt. William McKinley, a supervisor with the 927th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The general thanked and recognized Abney for his efforts to maintain the wing's KC-135s.

From there, Jackson visited the command post where he saw integrated operations between the 927th ARW and 6th AMW. Next, he visited with the 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and ended the afternoon at MacDill speaking to Air Force reservists currently serving at HQ U.S. Central Command.

Buckley UPSS saves money, eases unit purchasing constraints

by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau
460th Space Wing Public Affairs

2/26/2013 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Buckley is cleaning out their closets in an effort to save money, clean up and help out unit purchasing constraints.

The Unit Purchased Supplies Surplus system was created for units to take a good, hard look at what they really need and what they have in excess. Then, units can list these items on the Buckley SharePoint, the internal website, for other units to search through and gain, saving the base and the Air Force money.

"This program is about sharing resources," said Pamela Worrell, 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron deputy. "Especially in our current environment with tight budgets and restricted spending, it's really beneficial to fill your needs without making a purchase."

UPSS was initiated last May when the vice chief of staff of the Air Force sent out a memo directing units to find extra materials and put them on a website for everyone else to be able to see and get a hold of, according to Worrell.

Team Buckley is a joint base with multiple services; and this system, while it's primarily an Air Force tool, is available to all units.

"The primary target audience is Air Force Space Command units, but we have distributed items to the Marines and the Army," stated Worrell. "We're saving the Department of Defense money wherever we can, and that helps everybody."

When it comes to the fiscal situation, saving money is the hot-button issue. This program offers Buckley AFB a chance to cut spending.

"So far, we have saved about $50,000 in three months, and we haven't even fully launched the site yet," explained Worrell. "I think we could easily get over $100,000 (in savings) this year."

Furniture, including desks, table and chairs, has been the biggest moneymaker so far, Worrell said. But she believes once people start really digging into their cabinets and closets, more items will be put up on UPSS.

However, the system is not only about saving dollars. Sometimes it's about making life better for your brother and sisters in arms, according to Jim Byrne, 460th Force Support Squadron management analyst and Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century representative.

"It's not only that you're going to have a clean area or increase your square footage, but the real payoff is the people" receiving items from UPSS, said Byrne. "You get a little benefit, but I think the guys on the back end are getting the biggest benefit."

For more information on UPSS, contact your unit representative or call 720-847-9106.