Military News

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Equality Motivates Air Force Firefighter


By Air Force Senior Airman Katherine Tereyama
31st Fighter Wing

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy, March 14, 2013 – Serving in a career field that once was closed to women is a source of pride for a firefighter assigned to the 31st Civil Engineer Squadron here.


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Air Force Airman 1st Class Emily Beckerjeck, a firefighter at Aviano Air Base, Italy, draws motivation from being able to prove women can work in jobs previously open only to men. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Katherine Tereyama
  

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"If something happens and you're in a fire, it doesn't matter who's next to you, as long as you can trust they can get you out," Air Force Airman 1st Class Emily Beckerjeck said. As a firefighter, Beckerjeck responds to aircraft, airfield and structural fires, hazardous material incidents, search and rescue missions and the many everyday tasks required of any male firefighter, including carrying gear that can weigh up to 75 pounds.

Beckerjeck said her motivation to become a firefighter stemmed from the idea of proving that women can do whatever men can do. "There's no limit anymore," she said.
Since the job is physically demanding, Beckerjeck and her fellow airmen must train every day to build up their strength and ensure they are able to carry out the mission. Firefighters here work 24-hour shifts and often are required to spend holidays and special occasions away from their families.

Though she misses her family in the United States, Beckerjeck said, the firefighters here have taken her under their wing.

"It's not a brotherhood anymore, since I'm in it," she said. "Now it's a family."

Beckerjeck and her firefighting family frequently welcome children into the fire station for tours and demonstrations. She also recently visited a school in Roveredo, Italy, to educate children about her job as a firefighter and to share her story as a woman serving in the military.

"I love being an inspiration to little kids, especially little girls," she said. "It's so awesome when they say, 'I want to be just like you when I grow up.'"
 

DINFOS Inducts Accomplished Alumni Into Hall of Fame


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

FORT MEADE, Md., March 14, 2013 – The Defense Information School honored seven alumni here today with induction into an inaugural Hall of Fame for excelling in journalism, photography and videography following graduation from the school.

Army Col. Jeremy Martin, commandant of DINFOS, described three of the seven inaugural honorees present -- Jim Bryant, John Roswell Camp and Clarence Page -- as part of a group who established themselves “among the best journalists, authors and visual information communicators in our nation.”

“This is a great day for the Defense Media Activity, and a great day for DINFOS,” Martin said. “And the culmination of a great deal of hard work and commitment resulting in a day to honor our esteemed Hall of Fame inductees.”

Martin saluted the honorees for their outstanding service, and for their “life-long commitment to professionalism and excellence which has propelled you to rise to the top of your profession.”

The commandant said he was pleased that the trio offered to “give back to the next generation of communicators who are here at our school” by talking to DINFOS students later in the day.

“In our enduring efforts to tell the story of our military to the American people and various audiences, we stand on your broad shoulders,” Martin told the honorees.

“Your portfolios and biographies are a testament to the obvious -- in your chosen fields of endeavor you are among the finest communicators of any generation,” he added.

And DINFOS is “tremendously proud to be associated with such great Americans and truly awesome professionals,” Martin said.

“You are charter members of the Defense Information School, Alumni Hall of Fame, Class of 2012,” he added. “Well done, and thanks for being here.”

Each honoree has a plaque and letter from Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, the assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, honoring them for serving in positions of prominence or creating award-winning work within the mass communications field.

Jim Bryant, who served in the U.S. Navy and graduated from DINFOS in 1980, is an award-winning freelance photographer and author.

During the ceremony, Bryant was praised for such achievements as winning over 60 state, regional and national awards for his work.

“It's an honor to stand here today among this distinguished group of people,” he said.
“Being in the craft for over three decades, I still get excited about a great picture or moving photographic essay,” Bryant said. “Photojournalism has been one of my great passions and made my life worthwhile.”

John Roswell Camp graduated from DINFOS in 1967. Camp served in the U.S. Army, and is a 1986 Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism. He uses the pseudonym John Sandford, and has published 31 novels which have all been featured on The New York Times Best-Seller List.

“It's been a very long and strange trip since 1967,” Camp said. “I spent 20 years as a newspaper reporter after I got out, and it was DINFOS that actually did that to me.”

Camp noted he had a history degree and planned to be a lawyer, but ended up stationed in Korea with Bob Keeler, another future Pulitzer Prize winner.

“I think I would have been a pretty good lawyer, but I don't think it would have been as interesting,” he said.

Clarence Page, a 1970 DINFOS graduate, also served in the U.S. Army, and is a 1989 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary. Page has a syndicated writing column in over 150 newspapers, is a regular panelist on the “McLaughlin Group” and appears on the Public Broadcasting Service’s “NewsHour” with Jim Lehrer.

“I am truly humbled by this honor, and any of you that have seen me on ‘McLaughlin Group’ know that humility is not one of my usual emotions,” Page joked. “I just want to say that DINFOS gave me so much that I was not expecting.

“I am here today because I really wanted to beat a path back to DINFOS to … revisit my past,” he continued, “and also to just touch on the new generation coming up.”

Page credited DINFOS with bringing him discipline and organization -- especially important since he later was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.

“Military journalists are in a position of being a bridge between the military world and the civilian world,” he said. “The older you get the more and more you see how different these two worlds are.
“Let me say 'thank you' to DINFOS,” Page added. “Thank you for this honor, which I cherish on so many levels.”

Joining Page, Bryant and Camp in the 2012 Alumni Hall of Fame class are former Vice President Walter Mondale, who’d served in the Army; author and teacher LouAnne Johnson, who’d served in the Navy and the Marines; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Les Payne, who’d served in the Army; and Arizona State University journalism professor Stephen Doig, who’d served in the Army.
Doig’s work as a research editor was part of a team effort that was instrumental in the Miami Herald winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1993.

New combined test force established for AEDC's newest test capability

by Philip Lorenz III
Arnold Engineering Development Complex Public Affairs


3/14/2013 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Arnold Engineering Development Complex's leadership recently heralded two firsts at the Complex -- the activation of the Space Combined Test Force, and acceptance of the new test and evaluation mission that the CTF will execute.

The CTF integrates Air Force engineers with Aerospace Testing Alliance contracted engineers and support personnel to jointly conduct testing in the Space Threat Assessment Testbed, a recently activated space test chamber.

STAT is the newest ground test capability at the Complex since the Large Rocket Test Cell came online in 1993. STAT will reach Initial Operating Capability in April, followed by Full Operational Capability certification by September 2013.

"The CTF is responsible for two missions: space sensors testing in our 7V and 10V chambers and space environments testing in STAT," said Chris Smith, technical director for AEDC's Space and Missile Test. "Our chambers will continue to be government-managed and contractor-operated. However, STAT will operate under the construct of integrated USAF/ATA test planning, design and operations."

Once fully operational, STAT will be able to simulate realistic operational environments for testing hardware using multiple space weather generators. STAT will subject test articles to conditions found outside the Earth's atmosphere, including near-vacuum, extreme cold and the combined effects of natural and man-made phenomena.

"With commencement of STAT test operations and realization of the CTF, we will have military personnel, government civilians and contractors participating collaboratively in test planning, coordination with test customers, test execution and test data reduction," said Mike Ketron, Space CTF director. "ATA will be providing support as they always have with the various test chambers."

Mike Scott, an ATA Test Director for the STAT, sees this organization as a positive step for the future.

"Bringing Air Force and ATA personnel together to work directly toward the common goal of satisfying test customers will help morale and make for a more efficient test team," he said.

Army Aviator Wraps Up Career

By Army Sgt. Christopher Calvert
1st Air Combat Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division

FORT HOOD, Texas, March 12, 2013 – More than three decades ago, 12-year-old Wayne Turner had a dream of one day becoming an aviator.


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Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wayne Turner, left, and Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kourtney Roundtree, AH-64D Apache helicopter pilots, conduct communications checks before Turner makes the last flight of his 20-year military career at Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 28, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Calvert
  

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Today, after more than nine years and four back-to-back deployments with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Air Combat Brigade, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wayne Turner is hanging up his flight suit.

Turner, an AH-64D Apache helicopter pilot with the brigade’s Company B, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, conducted the last flight operation of his 20-year military career here Feb. 28.

Turner didn’t have the opportunity to fly at first when he entered the Army, he said.

“I enlisted in the delayed entry program in July 1992 as a working dog handler with the [military police],” the Marietta, Ga., native said. “I enjoyed that job; however, I always wanted to be a Delta pilot. My dad was a flight instructor, and he took me up for my first flight when I was 12. After that, I was hooked forever.”

Turner said he employed hard work and persistence to break into the aviation field.

“My commander at the time saw the potential and passion within me,” he said. “She introduced me to her husband, who was a pilot, and it was him who got me in touch with a senior warrant officer who mentored me and assisted me in putting in my packet.”

After graduating from flight school in 2000, Turner was stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., with Renegade Troop, 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and then at Camp Eagle, South Korea, with B Troop, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment.

In April 2004, Turner was sent to 1st ACB, where he fitted right in with his battle buddies, he said.
“The time I’ve spent with this unit has been great,” he said. “The camaraderie within the unit is amazing. We truly are a band of brothers here.”

During his time with the unit, Turner went on to deploy three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, where he flew countless hours in support of four different campaigns.

“Every deployment brought something different to the table, but we always were successful,” Turner said. “I remember flying more than 12 hours over Sadr City, Iraq, in the summer of 2004, all the while encountering multiple engagements. The missions where we helped soldiers on the ground always meant the most to me. I knew we were making a difference.”

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Carl Fox, an AH-64D attack pilot assigned to Turner’s company, said he worked side by side with Turner for the better part of a decade.

“We’ve worked together for at least six years, and we’ve knew each other longer than that,” said Fox, who hails from Huntington, W.Va. They had the opportunity to fly together to secure Iraq’s elections during their 2009-2010 deployment, he added.

Despite battling a difficult operational environment in Iraq, Fox said, Turner helped to keep up the unit’s esprit de corps.

“He has a great sense of humor, and when you start flying for six to eight hours, jokes and stories are imperative,” Fox said. “He always knew how to put levity in a serious situation. It’s because of individuals like him that we still have an extremely tight group. There’s no doubt in my mind 1-227 is a battalion of heroes, and Turner has been an important part of that.”

Reflecting on the past 10 years brings back many fond memories and emotions, Turner said, noting he’ll miss his Army comrades after retirement.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “I’m going to miss the camaraderie and the soldiers I’ve met throughout the years.”

Canadian birds fly south for the winter; train at MacDill

by Senior Airman Melanie Bulow-Kelly
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


3/14/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The roar of CF-18 Hornet engines echoes throughout MacDill Air Force Base as student and instructor pilots from the Royal Canadian Air Force prepare for takeoff.

Fifteen CF-18 Hornets from the 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, Alberta Canada, are conducting training missions here through March 15.

Every year, around this time, the Royal Canadian Air Force migrates to warmer climates to increase flying time. Usually, Naval Air Station Key West hosts the Canadians but this year MacDill was selected to host our NATO allies.

"The weather plays a significant role in us being able to accomplish our training mission," said Maj. Chris Miller, 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron operations officer. "We've been able to sustain a higher flying rate, and we really appreciate MacDill allowing us to come down here and get done what we need to do."

During the first tactical phase of training, the new pilots learn basic fighter maneuvers such as, how to handle aerial combat when in a one-on-one situation and two-on-one scenario, which teaches them how to work together.

The two-hour training takes place about 20 miles west of Sarasota, Area 168, a 40,000-square-mile air space.

"This is great continuity for the pilots; they will be flying more than five times a week," said Lt. Col. Paul Doyle, 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron commanding officer.

Launching more than 15 flights a day, instructor pilots train new pilots on a two-seat multi-role jet.

"The day I stop learning is the day I stop flying," said Capt. Andrew Jakubaitis, 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron CF-18 student pilot.

Aside from pilots, the Canadians brought more than 120 Airmen to include, mechanics and other crew members vital to the completion of the mission. They also brought an Airbus A-320 aerial refueling tanker for the students to become accustomed to in-flight refueling which MacDill specializes in.

"Being able to walk away with more service qualifications under my belt when I leave here is one of best things about this experience," said Cpl. Tanya Roach, 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron aircraft structure technician.

However this mission accomplished more than just training for both nations.

"The camaraderie that we are developing with everybody on the base and all the folks in the Tampa Bay area is important," said Chief Warrant Officer Rick Robertson, 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron chief warrant officer.

During their time here, the partnership between the two forces grew as they worked together to maintain the CF-18s.

"The U.S. Air Force people were fantastic. They were able to get us a hangar to protect all our jets during the Tornado warning," said Roach. "It was awesome to see everyone come together and make it happen. Within an hour and a half we had all the jets secured in the hangar."

From providing shelter to aircraft parts, both forces played a role in making sure that the pilots' training was a success.

"The U.S. Air Force provided materials that we were unable to bring with us. They also assisted us in a non-destructive inspection," stated Roach. "Some of the requirements that we needed to get done would not have been accomplished without MacDill's support."

AFGSC commander visits Whiteman Airmen

by Capt. John Severns
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


3/13/2013 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo.  -- Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, visited Whiteman Air Force Base this week to meet the Airmen charged with operating the nation's only B-2 force.

During his visit, Kowalski met face-to-face with Airmen at all levels, from the First Term Airman's Center to chiefs and commanders.

The general's first stop was a breakfast with 15 "unsung heroes," Airmen from across the 509th Bomb Wing who play a vital role in keeping the B-2 running, but due to their particular duties often miss out on the spotlight. The Airmen who ate with the general shared some stories, and afterward said that his visit was an opportunity to meet one of the Air Force's most senior leaders.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Benton, a mission planner in the 509th Operations Support Squadron, was one of those Airmen.

"It was a chance for us to ask questions about a lot of issues that have been on everyone's mind lately," he said. "Tuition assistance was a big one, and he also talked about the nuclear force structure, the future of the command, and how the sequester is going to impact the Air Force."

Later in his visit, during an all-hands call, Kowalski spoke on a variety of topics, from the consequences of the budget sequestration to the continuing need for a robust strategic deterrent in the face of new global developments.

On the impact of the sequester, Kowalski was unambiguous about the impact of the $50-billion cut being levied across the Armed Services this year.

"There will absolutely be an impact on our readiness," he said. "The furloughs, in particular, will impact our mission, our communities, and just as importantly, the families of our civilian Airmen."

As a result of the budget sequester, Department of Defense civilians are expecting to see 22 discontinuous furlough days between April and the end of the fiscal year. This will result in approximately a 20% reduction in their salaries during that time period.

During the question and answer session, the general touched on a widely held concern - the fate of the Air Force's popular Tuition Assistance program. While the program is vital to helping Airmen achieve their educational goals, in an environment where civilian Airmen are forced to take a 20 percent pay cut, TA may simply be unsustainable.

Indeed, the general's words were prescient. The next day, the Air Force announced that Tuition Assistance was being suspended for the remainder of the fiscal year.

For much of his all-call, the general spoke about the continued necessity for nuclear deterrence.

"We seek a world with zero nuclear weapons, but as President Obama said [in his speech in Prague], as long as these weapons exist, we need to keep them safe, secure and effective."

The general also met with Airmen going through the First Term Airmen's Center as part of their acclimation to the Air Force. He spoke with them about some of the challenges they would face entering the Air Force in the midst of steep budget cutbacks, as well as the opportunities they would have as the next generation of America's Airmen.

Mobility Airmen work together to move two Army Brigades

by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs


3/14/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- More than 15 Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing recently played a crucial role working with mobility Airmen from multiple locations to assist in the exchange helicopters and equipment assigned to two large U.S. Army units.

Beginning in mid-January, United States Transportation Command tasked the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst based contingency Airmen, another 100 Airmen from the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover AFB, Del., and three C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft to assist in the multimodal movement of two aviation Brigades into and out of Afghanistan. The mission concluded with the last flight of the contingency operation Feb. 21.

"It took a full month to move more than 1,500 tons of cargo, but we didn't miss a single delivery date," said Lt. Col. John Hardee, contingency operation mission commander from Dover's 9th Airlift Squadron. "The upgraded C-5M was so capable, we only needed to use three aircraft instead of the usual four or five C-5B models we would normally deploy for a multimodal of this type."

A multimodal mission uses more than one type of transportation to get cargo to a final destination. In this case, both sealift and airlift was employed.

Helicopters assigned to the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, Task Force Iron Knights, from Fort Hood, Texas, were delivered via ship to a port on the Iberian Peninsula. There they were transferred onto a C-5M for a flight to Afghanistan. After offloading the aircraft and support equipment of the 1st ACB at one of three bases in Afghanistan, departing helicopters from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Ready, were uploaded for a return flight to their home station in Katterbach, Germany.

After unloading in Germany, the C-5M would fly back to the Iberian Peninsula to begin the cycle all over again. In total, the aircraft would fly more than 28 hours on every trip around the circuit.

The operation was kept in the air by two maintenance teams from the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Del., who provided en route maintenance and repairs in Afghanistan and at the home base for the conop on the Iberian Peninsula.

In addition, a small fifteen-Airman contingency response team from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., provided communications and command- and control support for the deployed aircraft and aircrews. They operated from two tents they set up on the edge of the Mazir-E-Sharif parking ramp.

"The 621st Contingency Response Wing set up and operated a satellite data link and mobile command post for the entire duration of the month-long mission," said Master Sgt. Tibor Puskas, 621st CRT team chief. "Our primary function downrange was to coordinate between the Army units that were leaving and the NATO base aerial port operation to make sure the proper cargo was prepared and waiting for the aircraft when it arrived each day.

"I was really impressed how smoothly it all came together," Puskas continued. "The plane performed flawlessly, the maintainers did a phenomenal job, and everyone worked together to complete this complex operation without missing a single beat."

The contingency response wing deploys mobility operations and builds partner capacity across the globe. The CRW extends AMC's global reach by mobilizing the fight, providing relief and advancing peace. The wing's personnel are trained to adapt and overcome difficult circumstances, while accelerating air mobility operations anywhere in the world.

36 AS is best airlift squadron in PACAF

by Senior Airman Cody H. Ramirez
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


3/14/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Pacific Air Forces recently recognized the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, as the Best Airlift Squadron in the Pacific.

In addition to being the best squadron, a 36th AS aircrew was recognized with the General James H. Doolittle Trophy, highlighting the most outstanding Air Mobility Command aircrew that best characterizes and epitomizes qualities and traits for which Doolittle is famous.

The crew earned the trophy for their performance during Operation Christmas Drop in December 2012.

According to Capt. Andrew Booe, the aircrew pilot and aircraft commander, the crew pulled off a last minute, in-flight navigation to ensure Christmas Drop maintained a 100 percent drop-rate success.

"My crew and I were flying the final mission of the operation," Booe said. "My aircraft and our sister ship took off from Andersen AFB, Guam, to accomplish humanitarian airdrops to multiple remote island drop zones."

On the last day of the operation, Booe said his aircraft was loaded with extra bundles of supplies, but after completing their scheduled drops, there were remaining bundles.

"We contacted the University of Guam, our liaison to the islands, to ask where they wanted our remaining bundles," Booe recounted. "We had heard on our common frequency that our sister aircraft had had some problems with a couple of their drops, so we thought that some of the islands might need our additional supplies."

Receiving coordinates from their sister aircraft, Booe and his crew headed for the islands with missing bundles.

"We plotted the island's location more than 150 miles from our current position," he said. "We determined that we would have the necessary fuel reserves to deliver the extra bundles and still fly back to Guam safely."

The other aircraft remained on site until the trophy-winning aircrew arrived and dropped the remaining bundles successfully, supplying all islands.

According to Booe, overall Operation Christmas Drop delivered more than 20 tons of critical supplies to 56 remote islands in the South Pacific.

"It is an amazing honor to be the PACAF nominee for the Doolittle Trophy," Booe added. "When you consider what General Doolittle accomplished during his career, it is incredible to even be thought of for this award.

Booe said if it wasn't for the support of the 36th, his team wouldn't have been recognized with the trophy. He added that his crew's actions and the overall success of Operation Christmas Drop 2012 assisted the squadron in being named the 2012 Best Airlift Squadron in PACAF.

Tech. Sgt. Pablo Herrera, 36th AS loadmaster on the Doolittle-winning aircraft said, "this award represents a lot of teamwork from everyone involved at Operation Christmas Drop -- the CMF riggers who created the bundles, the maintenance teams that launched us with a mission-ready aircraft and all the training back at Yokota to get us trained and ready for these type of humanitarian airdrops."

The recipients of the 2012 General James H. Doolittle Trophy are:

Capt. Andrew Booe - Pilot
Capt. Derrick Monnier - Pilot
Capt. Dillon Deutsch - Copilot
Capt. Joe Cziko - Navigator
Tech. Sgt. Robert Dela Caza - Engineer
Tech. Sgt. Pablo Herrera - Loadmaster

Iranian Jet Fails to Intercept Unmanned U.S. Aircraft


By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2013 – An Iranian military jet tried to intercept an unarmed American MQ-1 remotely piloted aircraft over international waters March 12 but it was discouraged from accomplishing that mission, Pentagon officials said today.

The MQ-1 aircraft was conducting a routine classified surveillance flight over international waters in the Arabian Gulf.

Iran sent an F-4 Phantom 2 jet to intercept the unmanned aircraft. “The closest point of approach between these aircraft was approximately 16 miles,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a written statement.

Two U.S. military aircraft were escorting the Predator, and the Iranian plane broke off pursuit after a verbal warning.

“All U.S. aircraft remained over international waters at all times,” Little said.

In November, Iranian aircraft fired on an American remotely piloted aircraft operating over the Arabian Sea. The Iranian aircraft fired two missiles at the drone and missed. After that incident, the U.S. government informed the Iranian government that its behavior was unacceptable. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the time that the U.S. military will continue to fly these missions and will protect its aircraft.