Military News

Saturday, March 30, 2013

PACAF, Japan Airmen conduct ISR exchange

by Staff Sgt. Nathan Allen
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs


3/29/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Pacific Air Forces' Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Airmen visited their Japanese counterparts at Naha and Kadena Air Base, Japan March 11 to 13 to find new ways to enhance ISR bilateral cooperation between the U.S. Air Force and the Koku-jieitai, or Japan Air Self Defense Force.

The visit, co-led by Maj. Gen. Yoshinari Marumo, JASDF Operations and Intelligence director, and Col. Lisa Ann Onaga, PACAF ISR director, focused on a mutual desire to increase security cooperation in the Pacific.

"In order to maintain and develop the Japan-U.S. alliance, shared awareness is essential, and I believe that ISR exchange is an essential prerequisite for having this shared awareness," said Marumo.

The exchange began inside a JASDF YS-11EB ISR aircraft at Naha, before conducting a similar sharing forum at Kadena Air Base inside a U.S. Air Force RC-135 V/W Rivet Joint ISR aircraft.

"We've done similar ISR engagements with the Koku-jieitai in the past; however, not to this level of detail or interaction," Onaga said. "These types of events will only increase in number and scope as we explore opportunities to mutually improve ISR capabilities and capacity with Japan."

After the static display forums, the Japan-U.S. ISR exchange concluded with a roundtable discussion at Kadena AB.

"The Japan-U.S. ISR Airmen crew exchange is a good opportunity for professionals, at the front line who concentrate to carry out their missions in a tense environment, to learn about each other's intelligence collection and analysis procedures, and also share each other's ideas," Marumo said.

Marumo also said he hopes to continue an extensive Japan-U.S. ISR exchange ranging from general and colonel level to ISR crew level to help strengthen intelligence cooperation.

"Regarding activities such as maintaining sovereignty in territorial waters and airspace surrounding Japan, Ballistic Missile Defense, and Operation Tomodachi after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I am confident that having a bilateral working relationship with the U.S. Air Force ISR will contribute to the security and stability of the region, as well as help accomplish the JASDF missions," said Marumo.

Onaga said she was thrilled with the progress made during the exchange and expects ISR engagements between PACAF and the JASDF to continue to expand.

"This particular engagement was extremely successful and we look forward to stepping up these types of events in the future," she said.

Honorary Commanders Program bridges gap between Warren, Cheyenne

by Airman 1st Class Jason Wiese
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs


3/29/2013 - F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Civilian leaders from the Cheyenne community gathered March 19 in the Trail's End Club to be officially welcomed into the 90th Missile Wing Honorary Commanders Program.

"The Honorary Commanders Program is a program that matches a community leader with an Air Force commander in order to foster mutually beneficial relationships between the local community and F. E. Warren," said 2nd Lt. Christen Downing, 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs chief and Honorary Commanders Program coordinator. "The purpose of the program is so military commanders can keep a pulse on community concerns and learn about the civilian sector and for the community to learn about the Air Force, its mission, its policies and its programs."

Squadron, group and wing commanders are paired with their civilian counterpart from the local community, she explained.

Part of the mission of Air Force Public Affairs is to maintain a good relationship between the Air Force and the local communities its members live and work near. The Honorary Commanders Program is one of the many tools PA uses to further this end, she said.

"The Honorary Commanders Program has acted as a bridge between Cheyenne and F. E. Warren in the past," she added. "Both have been close partners since each were founded."

Honorary commanders are invited to attend many events on base with the unit commanders with whom they're paired, which gives insight into the inner workings of the military. It is a shared responsibility -- it is expected for honorary commanders to extend the same courtesy to their paired commanders, she said.

Those chosen to be honorary commanders are typically prominent members of the community whose job or position in the community somehow relates to the unit commanders with whom they're paired.

For instance, Col. Tom Wilcox, 90th Security Forces Group commander, is paired this year with Daniel Glick, Laramie County sheriff.

"I'm really looking forward to this," Glick said. "Any interaction with this base is good interaction. I've been at this for 33 years, and all our interactions have been great."

Local law enforcement regularly works with the 90th SFG to respond to and report suspicious activity in the missile complex, train and enforce the law; however, being part of the Honorary Commanders Program allows Wilcox and Glick to learn more about the individuals in each sector, military and civilian, Glick said.

"The Honorary Commanders Program brings us together in new environments in which we wouldn't get together otherwise," Wilcox said. "The sheriff is behind the base and the base's mission. We have to support each other back and forth."

Bridging the gap between the base and the local community is important, Wilcox said.

"It's the public's Air Force," he explained. "They can better understand and support the wing, the mission and the Airmen if they can better understand what we do.

"Everbody wants to tell our story. Our support comes from the public, and I think commanders at all levels are excited to get their stories. It reinforces the missile fields are in good hands."

DOD Releases Update to Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Policy

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – The Department of Defense yesterday released updated policies and procedures aimed at combating sexual assaults in the military and improving care for victims.

Senior defense officials said the updated policies and procedures provide a framework that improves safety for sexual assault victims, standardizes victim-assistance services across the force, enhances prevention efforts and provides victims added confidence to come forward to report assaults and seek treatment.

“Today’s release of an updated policy directive underscores the department’s commitment to combating sexual assault on every level within the military,” said Army Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton, director of DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

SAPRO officials said the policy changes came about through a coordinated effort among the services, the National Guard Bureau, the DOD inspector general, military healthcare providers, chaplains and the entire DOD community to improve every aspect of the department’s response to sexual assault.

“We have thousands of victims in the armed forces,” Air Force Col. Alan R. Metzler, SAPRO’s deputy director, said in an interview with American Forces Press Service. “We need to make sure that we prevent sexual assault from happening, and when it does, provide a response system that can care for people and hold people accountable so we can get the perpetrators out of the armed forces.”

The updated policies incorporate expedited transfers for victims, establish a hotline for crisis intervention, and require additional training as well as new, uniform standards for care givers.
“We have worked with the national certification body and codified into our policy that every victim advocate, every sexual assault response coordinator have a level of training and competence and national certification so that they are providing victims the best quality care,” Metzler said.

Senior Pentagon officials emphasize that the department has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault. In recent weeks, Patton has met with Capitol Hill lawmakers to discuss the department’s response to sexual assault, emphasizing that the Pentagon needs to do more to combat the crime while welcoming input from outside groups.

A goal of the new policies and procedures is to encourage sexual assault victims to have confidence in the system and to come forward and report crimes, which Metzler acknowledged are “vastly under reported.”

“The department takes this seriously, that when a victim tells us that they have been sexually assaulted, we will believe them,” he said. “We will protect their privacy. They will be able to have help and care because we understand the nature of this crime and we want them to come forward to get help.”

First female AF Academy graduate continues to lead

by Ken Wright
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


3/29/2013 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- The first 157 young women reported to the U.S. Air Force Academy June 26, 1976, following President Gerald Ford's authorization allowing women to enter military academies.

One of those women who marched up the Air Force Academy's legendary "Bring Me Men" ramp that day was Ricki Smith Selva, now wife of Gen. Paul Selva, Air Mobility Command commander.

"I think I have to speak for every single person who has entered a service academy, or basic training, when I say that day was traumatic," Mrs. Selva said. "It was profound, but at that moment I did not have an awareness of it being an historic event."

Mrs. Selva said it took decades to appreciate the significance of being a part of that first graduating class with women cadets.

Four challenging years at the Academy proved to be excellent preparation for the rigors of working in the traditionally male dominated field of Aircraft Maintenance.

"Which was a culture where a young woman constantly had to prove herself," Mrs. Selva said. "We should all be judged upon our merit without having to go through an extra step to make sure people understand we are tough and can make decisions without emotions, and we can be a leader on the flightline or anywhere else."

Despite those early difficulties, Selva said she credits many people for her growth as an officer during a period of great change. "My greatest challenge was to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could," she said. "It wasn't just my new job, although that was a big part of it. There was on-the-job-training with senior NCOs, and that was a tremendous learning experience."

General Selva said he learned a lot of lessons in leadership from his wife after they graduated from the academy in 1980.

"I watched her during the first few months we were married, working with a group of men that grew to respect her as an officer because she had high standards and she demanded those standards of her Airmen," he said. "When we all set high standards and demand them not just of ourselves, but of each other, that demand, that momentum makes our organization better. That is something we can't compromise. I learned that early on from watching her."

The success of Mrs. Selva and her female classmates and all the women before them helped pave the way not just for future generations of women who wanted to attend military academies, but also proved they could serve in positions once thought beyond a female's ability.

Mrs. Selva continues to lead alongside her husband to all Airmen across the Mobility Air Forces, with a particular interest in supporting Airmen and their families.

Hagel Commemorates Vietnam Veterans Day

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who’d served in Vietnam as an Army noncommissioned officer, today issued a statement commemorating Vietnam Veterans Day.

The secretary’s statement reads as follows:

“Today and this weekend, communities across the country commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day.
“This year we also mark forty years since the end of U.S. combat operations in Vietnam. On March 29, 1973, the last of our combat forces departed the country and the final release of American prisoners of war drew to a close.

“When Vietnam veterans reached their hometowns, many were not greeted with the appreciation and respect they very much deserved. In our time we must take every opportunity to thank all veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

“More than 1,600 service members remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Their families still seek answers. Today, the Department of Defense reaffirms its commitment to take all steps to account for our missing personnel and bring closure to their families. And we salute and thank our Vietnam veterans and their families.”

Face of Defense: Health Affairs Leader Reflects on Career

By Lisa Daniel
Military Health System

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – As the Defense Department observes Women’s History Month, its second-in-command for Health Affairs, Dr. Karen S. Guice, is a testament to how far women -- and men, too -- can climb when they reach out for new opportunities and have a strong support network.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Dr. Karen S. Guice, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, right, discusses work with Navy Cmdr. Karen Leahy at the Pentagon, March 28, 2013. DOD photo by Lisa Daniel
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
When Guice was in medical residency at the University of Washington to become a surgeon in the late 1970s, there were no female faculty members. In 1991, she became the first female faculty member in Duke University’s surgery department. Today, she noted, half of all medical students are women.

Guice attributes improved diversity at medical colleges to leadership growth and says the change is good for everyone.

“Your health care providers should reflect society,” she said in a recent interview with health.mil.

Guice has served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for two years, as part of an appointment that combined her years as a practicing surgeon and clinical researcher with a mid-career move into the policy arena. Her ambition and quest for knowledge carried her through multiple higher degrees, prestigious fellowships, positions at various major medical centers, a health care advisor to a U.S. Senate committee, then senior appointments at the Veterans Affairs Department, and now, the Defense Department.

Ask her about her greatest achievement and Guice doesn’t hesitate: her marriage of 32 years to Keith Oldham, chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and their two sons, Christian and Brian, who are college students also pursuing science careers.

Now that her children are grown, Guice said she takes much satisfaction in knowing that the couple raised “two great kids” while pursuing demanding careers that often had them working in different cities.
“It has been interesting deciding whose career takes precedence over the other’s,” she said.

The couple met during their medical residency and married during Guice’s last year at the University of Washington just before Oldham left without her for a year in Cincinnati for a pediatric surgery fellowship. She later joined him there as a research fellow in pediatric surgery.

Over the next decade, the couple would manage to both get faculty positions in surgical departments at the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, then Duke University. It was at Duke where Guice decided to go into public policy.

“It was the start of the Clinton health care reform, and I just got tired of everybody whining about stuff,” she said of her fellow doctors’ frustration with the health care system. “I decided if you want to be part of that solution, you’ve got to learn to play in that arena.”

Guice took a year of absence from her faculty position in surgery to obtain a master’s degree in public policy. She didn’t perceive a career in government at the time, she said.

“I just felt I needed to speak the language and have the tools,” she said. “The coursework at Duke was very challenging and really fun. I learned the politics and the economics of public policy, and really enjoyed putting all the pieces together and coming up with the strategy.”

Guice soon applied for a Robert Wood Johnson fellowship and was accepted for the year-long program in 1996 to serve as a health policy advisor to the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Labor. Her husband and two young boys stayed behind at Duke and she flew home on weekends.

Guice credits her family’s support -- and that of a good, full-time nanny -- with allowing her to take opportunities like the one in Washington. When the fellowship ended and the committee’s chairman, Sen. James M. Jeffords, asked her to stay on for another year, her answer was “yes.”

“Spending that first year of marriage apart is how we learned to accommodate each other’s needs,” she said of her marriage. “We talk about career choices all the time. When I came back to D.C., [Oldham] was very supportive. He said having a happy wife who comes home weekends is better than having a grumpy wife who lives with me.”

In 1999, the family relocated to Milwaukee so Oldham could take a faculty position at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Unable to find a good job fit in Milwaukee, Guice went to work at the American College of Surgeons in Chicago, making a 90-minute commute by train each way every day. Not minding the commute and arriving home by 7 p.m., Guice said they were balancing as they always had, but with one difference: their nanny had not wanted to move north and they had been through a series of child care providers.

One night at dinner, they announced to their children that they had to let their latest nanny go, Guice said. Their older son, who was not yet in middle school, replied, “There goes No. 9.” The couple was incredulous, she said, until their son named all the nannies they had employed in just two years.

“There are times when you have to make choices,” Guice said. The couple agreed that she would give up her position as director of fellowships at the association to become an independent health services researcher, working from home. That change worked out well, she said, allowing her more time with her sons while they were at an impressionable age.

Asked about tips for success, Guice said it’s important to be self-aware and reflective, take risks, and pursue opportunities. Also, she said, mentoring is important -- not only to those being mentored, but also for mentors themselves.

Guice recalled her first interview with the chairman of the University of Michigan’s surgery department, who became her mentor.

“He said, ‘What can I do to help you? Because if you look good, I look better,’” Guice recalled.
“I always remembered that because if your people excel, it makes you look like the smartest kid on the block,” she said. “If your people perform extraordinarily well, the leader of whatever group it is, wins -- big-time.”

People should seek out mentors -- even where there aren’t formal programs, Guice said, adding that younger professionals ask if they can talk to her about careers, and she’s happy to help.

“You need different mentors for different things,” she said. “All you have to do is ask somebody. The worst thing they can say is, ‘No, I don’t have time talk to you.’ Most people, if you ask them, they will say, ‘Sure.’ I’ve never had anybody say, ‘No.’”

Living legend imparts raid experiences on Goodfellow

by 1st Lt. Leanne Hedgepeth
17th Training Wing Public Affairs


3/29/2013 - GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Team Goodfellow members and downtown guests filed into the base theater, March 26, anticipating the arrival of Doolittle Raider, retired Army Air Force Lt Col. Richard Cole.

17th Training Wing Commander, Col. Mark Damiano was the host for the afternoon. He opened the floor with a brief history of the Doolittle Raid then presented a historical video of the raid.

Throughout his career, Cole was involved in more than 500 combat hours and 250 combat missions.

In 1942, Cole was asked to volunteer for a top secret mission. According to Damiano, Cole received the request in a very modest manner.

The mission entailed travelling to the Pacific to drop bombs on Tokyo. On April 18, 1942, Cole, alongside Lt Col. Jimmy Doolittle, departed for Tokyo. The crew had to take off much sooner than planned because of escalating conflict; the aircraft fuel levels were low. They took off knowing it was likely a one way mission and would end up in the Chinese fields if they survived.

Nonetheless, the crew met the challenge with a "gung ho" attitude. "We were determined to get the job done and get the heck out," said Cole.

The early take off worked much to the crew's advantage. They became the beneficiaries of a long tail wind allowing them to make it to China after dropping bombs over Tokyo and bailing out of their aircraft.

When Cole made it to the ground, he was in enemy territory. His only hope was to find a Chinese nationalist establishment. He made a hammock out of his parachute and prepared to venture out into the country the following day.

He walked all day until he saw a building with Chinese national flags. There he was reunited with Doolittle and a few other crew members. "I felt very lucky to have met the nationals," said Cole.

Out of the 80 crew members involved in the raid, only 64 returned.

After the raid, Cole continued to fly missions. He is the recipient of three Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star and two Air Medals.

His advice to young Airmen is to pick out a training specialty and go as far as you can, keep up with the training and do your best.

Air War College's international fellows festival fosters cultural understanding

by Lt. Col. Tricia York
Air War College Class of AY 2013


3/29/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Nearly 1,000 people enjoyed a sampling of international food and friendship at the Air War College's International Fellows Cultural Festival, held March 23 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

The annual event featured native culture and food from 41 different countries, represented by the 44 international students attending Air War College this academic year. Students, staff, faculty and their families sampled dishes as diverse as kangaroo sausage from Australia, cous cous from Kuwait, desserts from Morocco, knafah from Jordan, and hand-rolled Japanese sushi. As they did so, they had the opportunity to learn more about other nations by examining photos, clothing, jewelry and other representative items.

"It's exciting to see leaders from so many nations literally breaking bread together, in an effort to build life-long friendships that contribute to international peace and stability," said Maj. Gen. Scott M. Hanson, commander and commandant of Air War College. "The many opportunities we have to interact with our international students is a prime reason the Air Force gave Air Education and Training Command the lead role in building international partnerships."

"As the world gets more collected and more globalized, we're always going to have to work together," said Air War College student Group Capt. Clive Blount, Royal Air Force, United Kingdom. Blount, along with Col. Enrico Pederzolli, from the Italian Air Force, were lead planners for the annual event.

"Partnership building is what it's all about," continued Blount. "This event is a way of breaking down barriers and getting to understand each other's culture."

Many international fellows who attend Air University courses later become senior leaders and decision makers after returning to their home country. Air University's International Officer School maintains an honor roll of more than 400 foreign military students from 89 countries who have risen to senior positions--including equivalents to the U.S. Air Force chief of staff.

"Maxwell Air Force Base has a unique opportunity to shape global relationships and we're very proud of that role," said Col. Trent Edwards, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. "We're especially grateful to our community partners from the Montgomery region, many of whom host our international guests and introduce them to the United States."

The lasting impact of these civilian "goodwill ambassadors" was recently noted by Gen. Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Joint Staff of the Japanese Self-Defense Force. During a visit back to Air University, the general recounted that his first stop was to see his former host family.

"For many of our students, this year might be the best opportunity they have to get to know their peers from other nations and exchange ideas about global security," said Hanson. "They get to be ambassadors for their country, and at the festival I was struck to observe the bonds of friendship being formed here."

AMC announces annual award winners

from Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Six Airmen and two teams learned they were AMC's annual award winners as they received phone calls from the AMC commander and command chief, March 25, 2013.

The categories of annual award winners are Airman, NCO, Senior NCO, First Sergeant, Honor Guard Member, Honor Guard Program Manager, Honor Guard Team and First Sergeant Council.

Chief Kaiser said, "Every year I am amazed by the quality and superb accomplishments of our annual award winners. The accomplishments and caliber of our winners continues a strong record of recognizing phenomenal Airmen. They represent a diverse mix of specialties, yet they all share a thread: they are the epitome of our Air Force Core Values. We are so proud of them all. And very thankful for their supervisors, commanders, and enlisted leaders in recognizing their families for enabling our award winners to serve our country."

The recipients are:

AMC Airman of the Year
Senior Airman Devin Jaggers, 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill AFB, Fla., is a Phoenix Raven team member and was the AMC Raven and 6th Mission Support Group Airman of the Year. A Below-the-Zone promotee to Senior Airman, Jaggers' accolades continued when the MacDill Chiefs Group selected him for their Warrior Award. One night, while working the MacDill gate, he detected an intoxicated driver, searched the vehicle and seized 1.7 grams of cocaine.

AMC NCO of the Year
Tech. Sgt. Jose Ramon Jr., 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif., is an airlift and special mission aircraft maintenance craftsman. He was the 60th Air Mobility Wing NCO of the Year. Ramon prepared the first aircraft from Travis to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in only six hours. The jet was loaded and en route two hours later. He also fixed the Air Force's only C-5C enabling the transport of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble telescope. Ramon led the team for a maintenance group "elephant walk" and led the group effort to launch 12 aircraft in 23 minutes.

AMC Senior NCO of the Year
Senior Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron, JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., is the unit's air freight superintendent. As a first sergeant, he managed a deployed member family crisis where he secured the spouse's medical care and returned the Airman from the overseas location all in less than 48 hours. Rendon also managed a post-suicide response and coordinated the military support, memorial service and crisis management for the family and the unit's 419 Airmen.

AMC First Sergeant of the Year
Master Sgt. Kristopher K. Green, 87th Civil Engineer Squadron, JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, has been a first sergeant since 2011. His accomplishments include preventing a suicide and being the 87th Air Base Wing First Sergeant of the Year. Following Hurricane Sandy, he recruited more than 100 volunteers to assist with local recovery efforts that strengthened community bonds.

AMC Honor Guard Member of the Year
Staff Sgt. Alexandra R. Crawley, Grand Forks AFB, N.D., is the NCO in charge of the Honor Guard. She led the training for 14 Honor Guard members and was unanimously selected as the Honor Guard's Airman of the Quarter and as the Elite Ceremonial Guardsman. In addition, officials handpicked Crawley to instruct flag etiquette at local school for more than 500 students. As the weapons manager, she strictly controlled 54 rifles and tracked 1,200 rounds of ammunition.

AMC Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year
Master Sgt. Gary Knight, JB MDL, N.J., is the NCO in charge of the Honor Guard at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Knight trained the Honor Guard members that inspired thousands at 15 major league baseball, football and hockey games. He led a joint honor guard that honored fallen military and New Jersey police members. Knight also coordinated 20 dignified transfers at seven international airports. Knight also created an eight-day training program preparing 600 active duty and Reserve component Airmen for duty seven days faster than previous training programs. Informed of a last-minute tasking, he flawlessly rendered a same-day saber salute to the Italian Prime Minister.

AMC Honor Guard Team of the Year
The Honor Guard Team of the Year is from JB MDL, N.J. In 2012, they rendered 2,600 funeral honors and 600 civic events in their five-state area of responsibility -- the largest in the Air Force. Among the funeral honors were those rendered for eight fallen heroes and for an original Tuskegee Airman. The team also honored fallen military working dogs, which bolstered Security Forces resiliency. In the community, they participated in the Navy's Fleet Week in New York City and organized the Armed Forces Week drill and parade sequence, training 50 joint colors teams. The honor guard also sorted 900,000 pounds of supplies over seven days to speed relief to 30 townships affected by Hurricane Sandy.

AMC First Sergeant Council of the Year
The First Sergeant Council of the Year is from JB MDL, N.J. The council significantly improved the joint base quality of life through numerous events and programs. Among those were providing funds to 500 new parents, new couples and deployed spouses who were in need. They empowered an independent dorm council that reinvigorated the group. They also promoted 15 social events for deployed families by going door-to-door inviting people to attend. In advance of Hurricane Sandy, they hand delivered 6,000 MREs to dormitory residents and sustained all 574 members during the crisis. After the storm hit, they distributed $5,000 before FEMA could respond. As family liaison officers, they escorted 100 family members as they honored nine air advisors killed in action.

Missing World War II Pacific Theater Pilot Identified


American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – The remains of a serviceman from World War II have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced in a DOD news release issued today.

Army 1st Lt. John E. Terpning, of Mount Prospect, Ill., will be buried on April 3 in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. On May 7, 1944, Terpning was a pilot of a B-24D Liberator aircraft that departed Nadzab, New Guinea, on a bombing mission.

Due to mechanical troubles, the B-24D was delayed in departing the airbase and was unable to join the formation after takeoff. The aircraft, Terpning, nor the nine other crewmen aboard the plane were seen after takeoff. In 1946, the War Department declared all ten men to be presumed dead.

In 1973, a Papua New Guinea Forest Department official reported a wartime aircraft in the mountains northeast of the city of Lae. In October 1973, a team of Royal Australian Air Force members responded to the report and visited the site, where they found aircraft wreckage that corresponded to that of a B-24D.
At that time the RAAF recovered possible human remains, which were transferred to the U.S. Army Mortuary in Tachikawa, Japan. However, given the limited technology at that time, no human remains were individually identified. In 1974, the remains were buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery.

In April 2008, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team was sent to investigate and survey the crash site. The team recovered aircraft wreckage from a B-24D and additional remains, including a radio call sign data plate that matched the aircraft.

To identify the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA, which matched Terpning's brother.

At the end of World War II, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans. Today, more than 73,000 Americans are unaccounted-for from that conflict.

First woman to lead air campaign

by Airman 1st Class Alexander Riedel
Air Force News Service


3/30/2013 - FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- In early 2011, the world watched in horror as the aging dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi turned his weapons against his own people in what became a bloody civil war in the North African state of Libya. Soon, the Libyan army was bearing down on Benghazi, the second largest city in the country, threatening an estimated 700,000 civilians in its path to crush the rebellion.

In March 2011, NATO officials agreed to take control of a no-fly zone, limiting Gaddafi's air force, while at the same time targeting his ground units with coalition forces.

During the resulting Operation Odyssey Dawn, Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, then the 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa commander, led the American air campaign, making her the first woman to oversee a U.S.-led air war -- a mission that came rather unexpected.

The 17th Air Force was a unit that supported humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in Africa. From the very beginning of what became known as the "Arab Spring," Woodward's command was involved in providing air support to North Africa, monitoring the unfolding situation and preparing to support the State Department with noncombatant evacuations and humanitarian assistance after political protests in Tunisia began in December 2010.

"These operations were important, not only because they helped provide relief for the people of North Africa, but also because they provided a very visible reminder of American resolve and concern," Woodward said.

As conditions deteriorated in Libya, AFAFRICA's mission quickly grew in scope and urgency because it called for a new, sustained no-fly zone, and included a mandate to protect civilians.

Despite the difficult task, and only days after the first jets took to the Libyan sky, Gaddafi's air defense system was successfully disabled.  The move effectively protected thousands of noncombatants in the area from indiscriminate air strikes and land raids.

From her headquarters in Germany, Woodward oversaw the operations via intelligence feeds and satellite communications, coordinating naval units and international cooperation, orchestrating units spread widely throughout Europe.

"This was not just a joint operation; it was also a coalition operation and one of the most challenging aspects of Odyssey Dawn involved coalition integration," Woodward said.

"The speed with which this coalition grew was extraordinary and presented a major integration challenge since each partner came with unique employment caveats. However, each partner also came with unique capabilities that made us much stronger than we would have been as individuals."

At its peak, the 17th Air Force grew to about 320 Airmen and civilians, while coordinating air operations across Africa and promoting air safety, security and development throughout the continent at a time of high tension.

"In fact, in just a two-month span, our Airmen planned five noncombatant evacuation operations for citizens in Tunisia, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Egypt and Libya," Woodward said. "Now, every one of these efforts was a test for a very lean command of only 300 people, but nothing was a greater test than the Operation Odyssey Dawn air campaign, the Air Force-led effort in Libya."

Woodward later said commanding the 17th Air Force was "The greatest privilege of my life."

For her part in the historic mission, Woodward was recognized as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2011.

But Woodward has been preparing for her role among the Air Force's top leaders for decades.

After her 1982 graduation from the Arizona State University, Woodward joined the Air Force, following in the footsteps of her grandfather who flew in World War I. She once said for as long as she can remember, she wanted to be in the pilot's seat. Yet, when she joined pilot training in 1983, women were not allowed fly fighter jets into combat.

Woodward, however, amassed more than 3,800 flight hours, mostly in tankers such as the KC-135 Stratotanker, which allowed her combat flights early on. She flew and commanded in operations Just Cause, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, making her an expert authority in the practical use and application of air power.

"I was still smarting under the fact that I couldn't go fly a fighter, and women couldn't fly in combat. Thankfully, that changed over time," Woodward told the Tampa Tribune in a 2005 interview. "Generally, you're accepting of it, but there are times when it just all piles up on you, and you kind of lash out against it."

From 2007 to 2009 she was the first woman to command the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., home of Air Force One, and after less than three decades in her olive-drab flightsuit, Woodward led a whole air campaign into war.

"It has been an evolution," Woodward told CNN in 2011. "I remember in my early days, thanking the women that came before me, that flew in WWII and made it possible that women could fly. And I'd like to think that what we did in the early days of my generation made it possible for the women who are flying fighters today."

Leaving behind the air campaign in Africa, Woodward continued her commitment to the Air Force in a new assignment. On Sept. 17, 2012, she took on the responsibility for all Airmen's well-being as the Air Force's chief of safety.

Within weeks on the job, Woodward took on a battle of a different sort, leading the investigation into sexual misconduct charges against military training instructors at Joint-Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The large-scale investigation included 215 in-depth interviews, surveyed more than 18,000 personnel and conducted focus groups with basic military trainees and training-instructor spouses.

Woodward's team produced 22 findings categorized into five major areas: leadership; MTI selection and manning; MTI training and development; misconduct reporting and detection; and policy and guidance -- as well as 46 recommendations to improve those areas.

"It is important to remember ... honorable men and women throughout the Air Force continue to serve every day with distinction," Woodward said in her final report. "These dedicated Airmen build our Air Force one person at a time and remain proud of their mission and themselves. Their efforts continue to produce the world's greatest fighting force."

Woodward's career is varied and has had impact on countless lives, yet she contributes it to being part of a strong team of Airmen she strives to protect as chief of safety.

"The thing that kept me in the Air Force is the folks I work with -- the people, the Airmen you are able to command," Woodward told the German magazine The Spiegel in 2011. "They are the most incredible people I can imagine. When you watch their dedication and their expertise -- there's no way to describe the emotion and the pride you feel. I'm just very proud to be part of a team like that."

Centcom-area Troops to Get Commercial Tickets for R&R Flights

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2013 – Beginning in April, service members and others serving overseas in U.S. Central Command’s area of operations will be issued commercial airline tickets to travel to their rest and recuperation leave destination, officials said.

Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., Centcom’s overseas AOR encompasses a region stretching from Egypt to Afghanistan, officials said.

Previously, the only R&R travel option was to fly charter air to Atlanta or Dallas from Kuwait, said Army Lt. Col. Dave Homza, chief of the R&R Task Force. Now service members will be issued individual commercial tickets to their approved R&R leave destination, be it stateside or elsewhere in the world.

A pilot program that started Jan. 15 offered commercial tickets to some service members and DOD civilians when flying home from Kuwait on R&R.

Full transition to commercial tickets for all R&R passengers begins April 1 as charter flights end, an Army official said.

The Army has been serving as DOD’s executive agent for Centcom’s R&R Leave Program since it started in 2003, Homza said. About 96 percent of the passengers taking R&R flights over that timespan have been soldiers.

Eligibility requirements for R&R flights remain the same, he said. The person must be on at least a 12-month tour within the CENTCOM overseas area of operations, with at least 270 days on the ground.

At peak troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1,000 passengers a day were flying charter air to Atlanta or Dallas, Homza said. Today, that number has fallen to several dozen passengers daily.

As the drawdown in Afghanistan picked up last year and as tours began decreasing from 12 to nine months, the Dallas R&R gateway was closed, consolidating R&R passengers traveling to the continental U.S. in Atlanta, he said.

Also, smaller aircraft were chartered to save additional money, he added.

During peak troop levels, the charters made good economic sense, Homza said. Now, transitioning to individual commercial tickets is more economical and gives soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and DOD civilians more travel flexibility, he added.