Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Air Force's first female chief

3/5/2013 - FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- In 1960, Chief Master Sgt. Grace Peterson became the first female chief master sergeant. She was not only the first female chief master sergeant; she was part of the original group of senior NCOs to be selected for the rank of E-9.

At the time of promotion, Peterson was the first sergeant of a 400-person Women in the Air Force, or WAF, squadron at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.

Chief Peterson entered military service in New York City soon after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack that thrust America into the World War II and joined what was then called the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942.

During an interview at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in 2010, Peterson said, "I joined because of the horrors of Pearl Harbor and I felt I had to do something about it."

Peterson recalled the first momentous day she entered WAAC as a boot trainee. She was sent to the first WAAC training center, which she called hastily established, at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

The "genius" who prepared these facilities to receive the first females into the military will forever command her admiration, she said.

"Male OD coats were issued and trailed in the snow for the shorter girls. None of us needed mittens for the sleeves completely enveloped our arms," she said.

Four weeks later, she was assigned as company clerk to the second WAAC training center at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and in less than one year the "boot trainee" had risen to the rank of first sergeant.

To this date, Peterson maintains the "boot" expression derived from the heavy brogan shoes she had her charges wore in those days. After experiencing the rigors of basic training and a tight academic schedule - first as a pupil and later as an instructor- the precedent establishing experience of the veteran of six months was considered too valuable to relinquish.

She had, so to speak, found her niche in the Army...to greet and train the women volunteers who had followed her in steadily increasing numbers.

At this point in her career, Peterson said, "I was not only proud of my personal good fortune, but I felt an immense pride of my sex. Many of the volunteers we received - some a great deal older than myself- were college graduates and had established civilian careers but chose, instead, to serve with the armed forces. And I think the record points out the caliber of service women performed during the war."

Throughout the war years, Peterson remained in the United States except for a period of duty at Ladd Field, Alaska.

She served during both Victory over Europe (May, 7 1945) and Victory over Japan (Aug. 14, 1945) days.

(Courtesy of the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute. Staff Sgt. Zachary Wilson contributed to this article.)


Each Deserving Young Patriot Wins $5,000

SAN ANTONIO – Operation Homefront today announced the five recipients of the 2013 Military Child of the Year® Award.  The national non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance to military families annually gives the award to an outstanding military child from each branch of service – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

From a pool of more than 1,000 nominees, each award recipient was chosen by a committee including active duty military personnel, Family Readiness Support Assistants, teachers, military mothers, and community members.  The five awardees will receive $5,000 each and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C. for a special recognition gala on April 11, 2013.  The awards will be presented by senior leaders of each branch of service and an invitation to present the keynote address has been made to Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins, himself a military child.

“The sons and daughters of America’s service members learn what patriotism is at a very young age,” said Jim Knotts, President & CEO of Operation Homefront.  “Children in military families demonstrate leadership within their families and within their communities.  This is what the Military Child of the Year® Award honors.”

Following are 2013 Military Child of the Year® award recipients.

Nicole Marie Daly, 16
Fort Lee, Virginia

Nicole, age 16, has moved 9 times and so far, attended 3 high schools.  Despite these constant changes, Nicole is ranked first in her class with a 4.7 GPA, a weighted score based on her coursework of Honors and Advanced Placement classes.  She has earned varsity letters in both cross-country and track, and runs half-marathons with her father.  Nicole served as the Military Child Education Representative for Fort Lee on a panel determining ways to help military children transition between schools.  Nicole also volunteers with a Family Readiness Group, the Fort Lee Spouse’s Club, and spends weekends visiting National Guard and Reserve units to teach soldiers and dependents about their education benefits.  Nicole was nominated by her school counselor, Tara Bauman-Seely, who wrote, “She is truly an example of a well-rounded student and immediately embraced her new environment and involved herself with extra-curricular activities.  She certainly stands out to me as a role model for military students!”  Nicole is the daughter of Cathy and Edward Daly.

Marine Corps
Abigail MaryRose Perdew, 17
Kingdom of Bahrain

Abigail is student council president and captain of the cross-country team and track and field team.  She carries a 4.1 GPA as a full International Baccalaureate (IB) senior with advanced placement courses in economics, calculus, European history and physics.  She has volunteered over 200 hours this year including math tutoring and as president of Student 2 Student, has grown the outreach of this group which helps new students acclimate to their new school and host country culture.  Linda Berger, the IB Coordinator for Bahrain School, wrote, “In my nearly thirty years as a secondary school educator, I regard Abigail as one of my top students.  She is intelligent, talented, highly motivated and positive.”    Abigail has earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and plans to study development economics and Arabic.  She would like to work as an attaché or Foreign Area Officer and in the long term, as a diplomat or run for public office.  Abigail is the daughter of Jessica and Jason Perdew.

Alexander Ray Burch, 17
Grand Forks, North Dakota

Born at 25 weeks and 1.5lbs, Alexander Ray Burch was not expected to survive the night.  He pulled through but at age four, doctors discovered he was hearing impaired and would continue to lose his hearing with age.  Instead of limiting him, Alexander excels in doing for others.  While living in Guam, then nine-year old Alexander collected food and water and delivered supplies to villagers who lost their homes in a devastating typhoon.  Since then, he has grown into an honors student and chess enthusiast who immerses himself in volunteering, over 400 hours this past year including producing a video for an Anti-Bullying Campaign.  He is a member of the golf team and on homecoming court.  Dawn Thompson, Director of Youth Programs at Grand Forks Air Force Base wrote, “There is nothing he will not do and ‘no’ does not appear to be in his vocabulary.  He is an inspiration for all kids and many adults.”  While his hearing disability prevents Alexander from pursuing his dream of a Navy career, he plans to study at the University of North Dakota for a career in government supporting the military.  Alexander is the son of Joanne and David Burch.

Mark Newberry, 17
Medical Lake, Washington

Mark moved for the 10th time, from Virginia to Washington state, the summer before his senior year.  He carries a 4.25 GPA with a course load of Advanced Placement statistics, anatomy, physiology, European history and literature.   Mark earned three varsity letters in cross-country and placed third at the state championship.  He earned the prestigious rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts at just 13 years old.  Mark teaches Sunday school, visits shut-ins every other weekend and volunteers at the local VA thrift store and elderly village.  His school principal, John McSmith wrote, “Mark is a person of character who always does the right thing.  He is thoughtful and considerate to everyone, willing to help and work for the success of the team.”  He participated in the Duke University TIP Program for clinical psychology and shadowed a neurosurgeon for 20 hours for his senior honors project, all in pursuit of a career in medicine.  Mark will study pre-med and has been accepted to John Hopkins University and Vanderbilt.  He is the son of Jill and Brian Newberry.

Amanda Wimmerberg, 18
McGuire AFB, New Jersey

Amanda is a gifted and talented senior with a 4.0 GPA and is captain of the varsity soccer team and track team.  She is a member of the Peer Leadership program which helps freshman acclimate to their new school by providing an older student to talk to about problems and make sure they aren’t getting bullied.  Amanda was the Teen Panel member of the Military Family Action Planning Committee and volunteers with her soccer team, student council and National Honor Society to organize beach cleanups and fundraisers.  She conducts senior citizen home visits with her church youth group.  Amanda is Red Cross CPR and First Aid certified and works as a lifeguard at the local community college.  Amanda was nominated by her school counselor, Kelly Reising, who wrote, “Frequent moves have always been a part of her life and so Amanda adapted quickly to her new environment. From the beginning, it was clear that Amanda was resilient, hard-working and intelligent.”  Amanda will begin college at the University of Central Florida where she will study to be a physical therapist.  Amanda is the daughter of Christina and Richard Schultz.

United Technologies Corporation (UTC) is the presenting sponsor for the Military Child of the Year® Award.  UTC, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company that provides high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries.

Additional event sponsors include: Wounded Warrior Project, Military Times, Soldiers' Angels, Veterans United Foundation, Bank of America, Express Scripts, TeenCentral, LaQuinta Inn & Hotels, Flextronics, and Northrop Grumman.

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About Operation Homefront:  A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 6,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has met more than 741,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002.  A four-star rated charity by

New ANG Command Chief's key aim points to Airmen

by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston
Air National Guard Special Staff Public Affairs

3/4/2013 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The new Command Chief of the Air National Guard met with ANG Airmen in the National Capital Region for the first time during an enlisted call at the ANG Readiness Center here Thursday.

Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, who assumed his role Feb. 4 as the 11th Command Chief of the ANG, took the opportunity to introduce his family and discuss his three key aim points; the profession of arms, the health of the force, and recognizing and renewing commitment to Airmen.

"First, I am going to focus on us renewing our commitment to the profession of arms," said Hotaling. "We have to do professional development, we have to deliberately develop ourselves, we have to go to the right schools, we have to educate ourselves. All of those factors are what we will focus on because we are a profession of arms."

Hotaling said he would dig down into the details of issues such as changes with enlisted performance reports and how having a Community College of the Air Force degree may impact an Airman's future. He said he would frame EPR and CCAF decisions on the profession of arms.

"[My] second focus point is the health of the force," Hotaling said. "If you read any job description of any of the enlisted starting at the supervisory level all the way up to the command chief, we are supposed to take care of people."

Hotaling said taking care of people is the ANG's business and that Airman and family readiness programs will be significant for he and his wife, Marie.

"We are going to look at this together," said Hotaling. "We are going to make sure that we are taking care of Airmen, it is very important."

Other aspects of the health of the force discussed by Hotaling included working with a resiliency mindset during challenging times and sexual assault and prevention to make sure make sure we take care of Airmen holistically.

"The last focus point is to recognize and embrace our achievements," said Hotaling. "Tell our story; what we do is an incredible thing for our nation every single day."
He said it is imperative to show Airmen in the ANG how they fit into the mission.

"It is very important that the lowest ranking Airman understands what his or her responsibility is," said Hotaling, "and why we are the most dominating Air Force in the world."

Hotaling concluded by emphasizing the need to show Airmen sincere thanks for the hard work they do.

"We can't just keep patting people on the back and saying great job, see you again tomorrow," Hotaling said. "We have got to make sure that they are recognized for what [they] do, because we are professionals, and that is a part of what we do."

As the ANG Command Chief, Hotaling represents the highest level of enlisted leadership in the ANG. He is responsible for matters influencing the health, morale and welfare of ANG personnel and their families.

Mattis: Iran ‘Most Significant Threat’ To Regional Stability

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2013 – Iran’s behavior poses the greatest risk to stability in the Middle East, the commander of U.S. Central Command said here today.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis said “Iran remains the single-most significant regional threat to stability and prosperity,” adding that the Iranian government’s “Reckless behavior and bellicose rhetoric characterize a leadership that cannot win the affection of its own people or the respect of any responsible nation in the region.”
Iran’s continued support for the Assad regime in Syria, Mattis said, coupled with its maligned activities in the Middle East raise the risk of Iranian miscalculation sparking a disastrous conflict.
The general cited Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen and Gaza as places where Iran has attempted to derail stability in the region.\

Globally, Mattis listed Sudan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Thailand, India, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Nigeria as other sites for Iran’s clandestine activities.

“Even here in Washington, D.C., [Iran made] an attempt to kill the Saudi ambassador,” he said. Iran remains a threat elsewhere in the world, as well as in the cyber domain, he said.

On Syria, Mattis was asked by a committee member if all options, including a military option are still available to President Barack Obama, and if so, if a plan was fully prepared.

“Those plans are fully developed,” he said.

Mattis also said he would have reservations about arming Syrian rebels battling the Assad regime.
“The situation is so complex that I have to get some degree of confidence that the weapons that we would be arming them with would not be going to people who are enemies,” he said.

“[This] would be the one caveat that I would put on any military advice to go forward along those lines,” Mattis added. “We don’t want, inadvertently, with the best of intentions, to arm people who are basically sworn enemies.”

Mattis noted he has not been tasked with such a mission and hadn’t “looked deeply” into implementing such a plan.

The general was also asked by the committee how long he believed rebels can sustain their resistance to the Assad regime, and if President Assad would be able to maintain control in Syria.
“We’re dealing with a fundamentally unpredictable situation. However, [the rebels are] eroding his power base,” Mattis said. “It is eroding the geographic base he controls daily.

“You see him using ballistic missiles to impact the areas he’s lost control [over],” the general continued. “Notice how the increased use of those missiles over the last month or two has been evident.”

Though Assad is losing ground, Mattis said, it’s difficult to forecast how long his regime can hold out.

Command announces 2012 media contest results

3/5/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Two reservists won more than three individual awards in the 2012 Air Force Reserve Command Media Contest. Their work, along with other qualifying entries, advanced to the Air Force Media Contest in San Antonio, Texas.

Staff Sgt. Brent Skeen, a broadcaster from the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md., was the top command winner. In addition to military broadcaster of the year, he won the television news report, TV feature report, TV sports report, TV newsbreak and video field production categories.

Tech. Sgt. Samuel King Jr. from the 919th Special Operations Wing, Duke Field, Fla., took the military photographer of the year award. He also captured the feature photo, portrait and picture story categories.

Airmen and civilian employees from 27 organizations throughout the command submitted 290 web, print, graphic, photographic and broadcast entries to the contest.

"I commend them for their dedicated service, superior work and continued enthusiasm," said Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, AFRC commander, in a memorandum March 2 announcing the contest results.

Other winners in the command contest are:

First Lt. Zachary Anderson, 931st Air Refueling Group, McConnell AFB, Kan. - commentary, photojournalism and news photograph categories.

Staff Sgt. Mikhail Berlin, 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio - pictorial photo category.

Staff Sgt. Steve Collier, 302nd AW, Peterson AFB, Colo. - human interest feature article and illustrative photo categories.

Senior Airman Kelly Galloway, 439th AW, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass. - documentation photo, sports photo and outstanding new photographer categories.

Tech. Sgt. Danielle Johnston, 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo. - military print journalist of the year, news article and personality feature article categories. Her feature represented the command in the Air Force contest's feature article category.

Shawn Jones, 514th Air Mobility Wing, JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. - sports article and civilian print journalist of the year categories.

Senior Airman Andrew McLaughlin, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB, Ind. - outstanding new writer and graphic layout & design categories.

Tech. Sgt. Brannen Parrish, 931st ARG, McConnell AFB - news feature article category.

William Pope, 439th AW, Westover ARB - graphic illustration category. Pope's photo portfolio also advanced to the Air Force contest in the civilian photographer of the year category.

Staff Sgt. Shawn Rhodes, 927th ARW, MacDill AFB, Fla. - series category.

Chaplain (Capt.) Joseph Eggleston outscored other contributors to win the command's stringer writer category. He was with the 439th AW, Westover ARB, at the time he wrote his commentary. He is now assigned to the 459th ARW at JB Andrews.

Shannon McKay and Senior Airman Trevor Saylor of the 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station, Minn., had their work advance to the Air Force contest. McKay is representing the command in the graphic animation category, and Saylor is in the outstanding new broadcaster category.

Unit award winners are the 302nd AW, Peterson AFB, in the website category; 315th AW, JB Charleston, S.C., in the video documentary category; and 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick AFB, Fla., in the outstanding initiative in new media category. These entries are representing the command in the Air Force contest.

The Freedom Flyer magazine from the 514th AMW, JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, was named the command's best publication.

The Heartland Warrior online magazine from the 434th ARW, Grissom ARB, placed second in the publication category. It is representing the command in the web-based publication category in the Air Force contest.

In announcing the contest results, Jackson thanked the print journalists, still photographers, graphic artists, broadcasters and contributing writers for keeping AFRC people and the American public informed about the important missions performed by their units, the Air Force Reserve and the U.S. Air Force. He extended "best wishes for success" to the individuals and units who had their work advance to the Air Force Media Contest.

Results of the Air Force contest are expected to be announced by March 8.

Other runners-up in the AFRC contest by category are:

Website - second-place tie - 439th AW, Westover ARB, and 94th AW, Dobbins ARB, Ga.

News article - second place - Tech. Sgt. Jeff Williams, 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP ARS, and third place - Senior Airman Meredith Thomas, 916th ARW, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.

News feature article - second place - Tech. Sgt. Timm Huffman, 439th AW, Westover ARB, and third place - Master Sgt. Greg Steele, 307th Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, La.

Human interest feature article - second place - Huffman, 439th AW, Westover ARB, and third place - Staff Sgt. Anna-Marie Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB.

Personality feature article - second place - Senior Airman Shen-Chia McHone, 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB, and third place - Master Sgt. Steve Staedler, 440th AW, Pope Field, N.C.

Commentary - second place - Col. Michael Underkofler, 514th AMW commander, JB McGuire-Dix-Lakerhurst, and third place - Maj. Shannon Mann, 916th ARW, Seymour Johnson AFB.

Sports article - second place - Staedler, 440th AW, Pope Field, and third place tie - Tech. Sgt. Kent Kagarise, 442nd FW, Whiteman AFB, and Staff Sgt. Carl Berry, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB.

Series - second place - Staff Sgt. Valerie Smock, 910th AW, Youngstown ARS, Ohio, and third place - Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB.

Photojournalism - second place - Lt. Col. Jim Bishop, 439th AW, Westover ARB, and third place - Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB.

Outstanding initiative in new media - second place - 911th AW, Pittsburgh IAP ARS, Pa., and third place - 442nd FW, Whiteman AFB.

Outstanding new writer - second place - Senior Airman Elizabeth Van Patten, 94th AW, Dobbins ARB, and third place - Staff Sgt. Samantha Wagner, 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP ARS.

Air Force military print journalist of the year - second place - Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB, and third place - Staedler, 440th AW, Pope Field.

Graphic illustration - second place - Master Sgt. Robert Barko, 910th AW, Youngstown ARS, and third place - Tech. Sgt. Joseph McKee, 914th AW, Niagara Falls IAP ARS, N.Y.

Graphic layout & design - second place - Collier, 302nd AW, Peterson AFB, and third place - Tech. Sgt. Brenda Cosola, 910th AW, Youngstown ARS.

Documentation photo - second place - Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston, 307th BW, Barksdale AFB, and third place - King, 919th SOW, Duke Field.

News photo - second place - Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston, 307th BW, Barksdale AFB, and third place - Ann Skarban, 302nd AW, Peterson AFB.

Feature photo - second place - Steele, 307th BW, Barksdale AFB, and third place - Tech. Sgt. Mark Orders-Woempner, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB.

Sports photo - second-place tie - King, 919th SOW, Duke Field; McLaughlin, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB; and Master Sgt. Wendy Lopedote, 916th ARW, Seymour Johnson AFB.

Portrait/personality photograph - second place - Tech. Sgt. Scotty Sweatt, 916th ARW, Seymour Johnson AFB, and third place - Berlin, 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB.

Illustrative photograph - second place - Staff Sgt. Megan Tomkins, 910th AW, Youngstown ARS, and tied for third place - Berlin, 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB, and King, 919th SOW, Duke Field.

Pictorial photograph - second place - Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB, and third place - Galloway, 439th AW, Westover ARB.

Picture story - second place - Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB, and third place - Steele, 307th BW, Barksdale AFB.

Outstanding new photographer - second place - Van Patten, 94th AW, Dobbins ARB.

Air Force military photographer of the year - second place - Steele, 307th BW, Barksdale AFB, and third place - Orders-Woempner, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB.

Command publication - third place - Falcon Flyer, 94th AW, Dobbins ARB.

Stringer writer - second place - Tech. Sgt. Randall Lynch, 307th BW, Barksdale AFB, and third place - Capt. Adam Ebacher, 96th Airlift Squadron, Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP ARS.

Niagara Airman earns local, command scholarships

by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Caya
914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/5/2013 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- A 914th Airlift Wing Airman was recently awarded the Air Force Reserve Command Total Force Top Three Academic Scholarship and the 914th Chief's Group Scholarship.

Senior Airman Travis Packard, a material management technician in the 914th Logistics Readiness Squadron, was selected as the most deserving candidate of the $500 scholarship by the AFRC Total Force Top Three Committee. Prior to this he was awarded $700 from the 914th Chief's Group Scholarship.

"It's impressive that we have Airmen that can communicate their thoughts, plans, as well as ambitions and be able to put that down on paper. Being able to do that makes them very competitive," said 914th AW Command Chief Master Sgt. Scott Scharlau.

"Obviously Airman Packard did phenomenal by winning scholarships at the local level and then went on to win the Top Three Scholarship, so that's fantastic," added the Chief.

Packard said he applied for the Top Three scholarship after seeing an announcement in the 914th Force Support Squadron publication, "The Loop."

"More people should apply for these scholarships," said Packard; mentioning that his winning essay did not take him a very long time to produce. "There is no reason not to apply for them."

Packard said he feels great to have won these scholarships and will use the funds to pay for his books, which he said can be pricey as he is pursuing a biology degree at D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY, with the aspiration to be a physician's assistant.