Thursday, March 07, 2013

Virginia Air National Guard Achieves LCAP Excellence

by Master Sgt. Carlos J. Claudio
192 Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/5/2013 - Langley Air Force Base, Va. -- Airmen of the 192nd Fighter Wing Virginia Air National Guard and 1st Fighter Wing maintenance teams here scored an 'Excellent' 91.37 percent in the Air Combat Command Logistics Compliance Assessment Program assessment Feb. 8-13.

The LCAP provides leadership with an evaluation of a unit's ability to perform key logistics processes in a safe, standardized, repeatable and technically compliant manner.

"The LCAP inspectors validated what we already knew; the strength of the 1st and 192nd Fighter Wings Total Force Initiative relationship has resulted in the best maintenance organization in ACC," said Col. Robert Grey, Jr., 192nd Fighter Wing Maintenance Group commander. "We continue to develop strong working relationships and seamless integration between RegAF and ANG maintainers, capitalizing on the strengths both organizations bring to the fight. We strive to be the example for how well TFI can work.

The LCAP dates ran through the Virginia Guard's unit training assembly which is once a month. That allowed the majority of its part-time members an opportunity to participate in the evaluation.

"The leadership of the 192MXG couldn't be more proud of the performance of our full-time and part-time members," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Bouley, 192nd Maintenance Group chief.

Since the beginning of TFI, each unit training assembly weekend operates like an Air Expeditionary Force rotation.

"Friday we operate with a predominant active duty force," said Bouley. "Saturday we swap 300 maintainers to drill status guardsmen and the maintenance machine never misses a beat. Sunday to Monday the process reverses."

Five 192nd MXG warriors were selected as 'superior performers' by the Logistics Compliance Assessment Team, further solidifying the 192nd FW's drive for perfection not only in higher headquarters inspection, but also in their daily maintenance performance.

Family practice physician earns Air Force medical award

by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/6/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Scott Air Force Base is home to the best company grade, family physician in the Air Force--Capt. Amanda Schaefer--who serves as a family health medical director.

She recently received the 2012 Air Force Medical Service Clinical Excellence Award.

"I enjoy the versatility of family medicine," Schaefer said. "I love my patients. Every patient is an individual with a unique story to tell. As a doctor, I love to fix problems.

"A big part of my job is patient education and guidance. I love that my job is always evolving and changing, which inspires me to a lifetime of learning and teaching."

The doctor has only been in the Air Force for two years, but she has already made the transition from a new service member to a key player in the 375th Medical Group. As medical director, she reviews the quality of all care provided by the clinic, supervises two physicians' assistants and is responsible for 3,150 patients.

On Tuesdays, she volunteers in the Belleville Family Practice Residency program, where she guides and educates the doctors who are working toward certification as family practice physicians.

Schaefer said her mother inspired her to become a doctor because she started college when she was a child and eventually became a family nurse practitioner.

"When I was 15, she opened a rural health clinic in a small town in Texas," she said. "I worked there summers and after school. It was truly an honor to become such an integral part of families and communities."

Some the other duties she has taken on include providing school physicals, peer audits, and helping launch the MiCare portal.

MiCare is a website that provides beneficiaries with tools and information that will eventually enable them to view and give input to their Personal Health Record. It also allows patients to send questions or requests for routine appointments to their health care team.

"MiCare breaks down barriers for communicating between patients and primary care teams," Schaefer said. "That is critical to providing good care."

Communication with her patients helps with providing good care.

"She has a sincere dedication to supporting the wellness of her patients," said Maj. Paul Schroth, Scott Family Health Clinic flight commander. "Her patient satisfaction ratings have remained consistently higher than 98 percent, which is difficult to achieve and even more difficult to sustain."

Working with Schaefer is a pleasure to other physicians at the clinic.

"Dr. Schaefer's leadership and efforts in Scott Family Health have helped the clinic to produce preventative health and continuity of care metrics that are among the best in the Air Force," said Col. Michelle Lavey, 375th Medical Operations Squadron commander. "She is innovative and energetic, and her enthusiasm is catching. You can see her reflection in almost everything the clinic does."

In addition to her work duties, Schaefer focuses on being a productive member of her community.

"I am active in my community, coaching a youth soccer team, helped raise $750,000 for charities and am working toward a cure for cancer," Schaefer said. "I also completed the Aerospace Medicine Primary Training course to become a flight surgeon."

While the doctor feels honored to receive this award, she gives credit to the people she works with.

"An award like this is never earned in a vacuum," Schaefer said. "I have an amazing support staff with the best nurses and medical technicians in the Air Force. This award is really theirs. It is a reflection of their professionalism, dedication and work ethic."

Commander Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to South Korea

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

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2013 – The top U.S. and United Nations commander in Korea today reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to South Korea’s defense and urged North Korea to cease provocative actions.

Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command, addressed a recent North Korean threat to nullify the 1953 armistice that ended open warfare on the Korean Peninsula.

“For 60 years, the armistice agreement has ensured peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “It concerns me when any signatory to a mutual agreement makes a public statement contrary to that agreement.
“As the UNC commander, I am charged to fully enforce the conditions of the armistice,” Thurman continued. “The success of the armistice has enabled the Republic of Korea to become a vibrant democracy, and we remain ready to defend the Republic of Korea.”

The United States calls on North Korea to refrain from additional provocative actions that would violate its international obligations and run counter to its commitments, the general added.

The latest provocations come on the heels of the U.N. Security Council agreeing to new sanctions after a third North Korean nuclear test last month.

Threats of provocations will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia, said Army Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, a Pentagon spokeswoman. “The United States is firmly committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability,” she added.

Wilkinson also noted that annual defense-oriented training exercises such as “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” are designed to increase alliance readiness to defend South Korea, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Survivor not taking gift of giving for granted

by Tech. Sgt. Jay Ponder
908th AW Public Affairs

3/7/2013 - Maxwell, AFB, AL -- When one experiences a traumatic life event, it can either strengthen or weaken personal resolve to face such an event's challenges and give hope and inspiration to others.

As Airmen of the 908th trained and took care of regular military requirements during the January UTA, few were aware of one Airman's overcoming one of life's greatest ordeals and her long journey back.

The LifeSouth blood mobile made one of its frequent stops at the 908th, and while many Airmen made donations, Senior Master Sgt. Martha Roy, a survivor of breast cancer, chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, hasn't been able to give for five years.

With an ear-to-ear grin, Roy expressed to LifeSouth technicians how happy she was to once again be allowed the privilege of donating blood, and speaking about the experience came easy for her while giving thanks for her recovery.

"I thank the Lord every day for the support and encouragement I have received from family and friends," she said.

There had been dark days to face in 2007 as she learned about her cancer, which had already robbed her of loved ones, and began treatments.
"My oldest sister had died of breast cancer in 1995 and my middle brother died of pancreatic cancer in 2005."

Knowing what was in store, Roy's husband Andrew knew it would be a team effort, and being retired, he would have the necessary time.
"It was a 'walk' we had to do together," he said.

"As I look back on when I was first diagnosed with cancer, it became a long road ahead of me that had to be walked," she explained, "Once it was confirmed I had cancer, I was immediately scheduled for various surgeries."

But the surgeries were just the beginning. Along with the surgeries came chemotherapy treatments and five years of having to take Arimidex, used to treat breast cancer by lowering estrogen hormone levels in an effort to shrink a tumor and slow its growth.

"Even though the medicine was necessary, it still had negative effects such as body aches and pains, upset stomach, weakness and thinning hair," she said.
"Throughout the whole thing, I asked myself if I would be able to overcome what she did," Andrew said. "But we're Christians __ all of our strength came from above."

Friends and family also provided encouragement and support.

The 30-year veteran of the Air Force and Air Force Reserve said she finally learned of her victory in December.

Roy is still facing obstacles to allow her body to heal, but she's feeling almost completely back to normal and has a positive attitude.

"I was overwhelmed with such joy and excitement," Roy summed up, "that I had finally crossed the finish line and the Lord gave me the strength to be victorious."
Now, she's back at her job with the 908th Force Support Squadron doing what she does best, staying in the thick of things.

And in regard to his wife donating blood as soon as she was able, Andrew said, "This is her way to help give back, but she could not until the Arimidex was over. What better thing to give than your blood if it's going to save someone else's life?"

So there she was sprawled out on the sofa seat of the blood mobile still grinning with happiness. The gift of life had been returned to her, and now, she can once again give a gift of life to others.

New Command value focuses on Airmen as innovators

by Carla Pampe
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

3/7/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- As Airmen at all levels continue to look for more efficient ways to do business, Air Force Global Strike Command has added a new command value focused on innovation.

The value, "Persistent innovation at all levels," directly ties to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's idea of "every Airman an innovator."

In the newest Air Force Vision, released in January, Airmen are encouraged to look for ways to improve processes.

"Every Airman should constantly look for smarter ways to do business," the Vision states. "The person closest to the problem is often the one with the best solution. Leaders should empower Airmen to think creatively, find new solutions, and make decisions."

Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, AFGSC commander, believes reviewing processes and finding efficiencies is even more important in a time of fiscal austerity.

"In my mind, the biggest silver lining ... if there's a silver lining to all of this [the budget cuts], is that it creates an atmosphere where people are more willing to be innovative," he said. "They're more willing to listen to new ideas - different ideas on how to do things more efficiently."

"We put some processes in place to allow Airmen and supervisors to pass information up to us," Kowalski added. "Then we are working a lot of that with Headquarters Air Force ... to try to become a little smarter about how we're doing business."

In an example of innovation, Air Force Global Strike Command instituted a unique program called "Strike Now," to provide a means for Airmen and their supervisors to submit process improvement ideas directly to AFGSC Headquarters.

Through the program, any AFGSC Airman can submit an innovative idea that improves mission efficiency, effectiveness or readiness.

"Persistent innovation at all levels" joins the original seven values put in place when Air Force Global Strike Command stood up in 2009:

- Individual responsibility for mission success
- Critical self-assessment of our performance
- Uncompromising adherence to all directives
- Superior technical and weapons system expertise
- Pride in our nuclear heritage and mission
- Respect for the worth and dignity of every Airman
- Safety in all things large ... and small

With the addition of this value, the command continues to focus on building behaviors that, over time, become a culture, Kowalski said.

"Our Airmen are entrusted with the special trust and responsibility for the most powerful weapons in our nation's arsenal," he added. "By constantly looking for ways to do this better, we are continuing an Air Force culture of innovation and excellence."

Montana Citizen-Airman named senior enlisted advisor to chief, National Guard Bureau

by Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

3/7/2013 - ARLINGTON, Va. -- Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell Brush will be the next senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Army Gen. Frank Grass announced Wednesday.

Brush, currently the Montana Air National Guard's state command chief, will be the Bureau's fourth senior enlisted advisor, replacing Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall. She retires in June after three years serving in the highest position ever held by an enlisted woman in the U.S. armed forces.

The senior enlisted advisor advises Grass, who is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on all enlisted matters affecting the force, such as training, health and enlisted professional development.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity to represent the enlisted force," Brush said. "There is much that people are unaware of about the sacrifices that our Guard members make every single day: We are police officers, plumbers and teachers in our communities who make a seamless transition to Soldiers and Airmen when our states, territories or nation call."

Prior to assuming his current position in Montana, Brush served as 1st Air Force command chief at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. A true Citizen-Airman, Brush has served as an officer in the City of Billings Police Department for more than 21 years.

He enlisted in February 1987, serving six years with Air Force security forces on the active-duty side before taking a break in service to pursue his civilian police career. He re-enlisted in the Montana Air National Guard after an 18-month break, again serving with security forces.

"We were fortunate to have a number of extremely qualified candidates," Grass said. "It speaks to the excellence and professionalism of our senior enlisted leaders in the states and territories. Chief Brush is going to provide outstanding advice at a critical time when we face fiscal constraints and changing missions.

"He also joins us at a crucial moment as we restructure the National Guard Bureau," Grass added. "It is important we continue to meet the enhanced responsibilities given us as a direct result of the performance of our Guard members since the Sept. 11 attacks."

Brush is married. His wife, Blaire, and he have three sons, Davis, Parker and Cooper.

"My family's been very supportive and they too bring a perspective as a Guard family that hopefully will benefit the enlisted force," Brush said. "All Guard families sacrifice so that our Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen can perform their double duties as civilians and service members."

Chief Brush said he is looking forward to starting his new position in May and ensuring America's investment in the National Guard continues to pay dividends.

"One of my concerns as we work through sequestration is that we make deliberate, well-thought-out changes to our force, not lose the best and the brightest and not hollow out the force," he said. "It is critical that we not lose the extraordinary professionalism and capabilities that the National Guard has achieved in more than a decade of contributing to our nation's warfight."

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Leonard was the first senior enlisted advisor. He was followed by Army Command Sgt. Maj. David Hudson, who served until Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall became the third advisor and the first drawn from the Air National Guard.