Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Stratcom Advocates for Current, Future Capabilities

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., April 2, 2013 – Faced with shrinking budgets and an ever-growing appetite across the military for the capabilities U.S. Strategic Command provides, the Defense Department is relying on Stratcom itself to help determine what assets are needed and where to dedicate them.

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U.S. Strategic Command serves as the Defense Department’s global synchronizer for capabilities that affect every combatant command: space, cyberspace, missile defense and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, among them. Here, the sun sets over some of the assets that provide those capabilities at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, Nov. 5, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Raymond Schaeffer

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U.S. Strategic Command serves as DOD’s global synchronizer for capabilities that affect every combatant command: space, cyberspace, missile defense and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, among them.

The problem, explained Kenneth Callicutt, the command’s director of capability and resource integration, is that there simply aren’t -- and never will be -- enough of any of these to satisfy every combatant commander’s requests.

“Every [combatant commander] wants more,” he said. “But there are only so many Aegis ships and only so many radars that can be deployed.”

More than 1,000 miles from the Capital Beltway and relatively insulated from political pressures, Stratcom leaders weigh requirements against assets to determine the best way to allocate what’s available.

“We take the viewpoint of how to do this globally, taking into account everyone’s requests,” Callicutt said. “What we try to build is a common understanding of where we can get the best bang for the dollars we are spending to solve the common set of problems, and to synchronize those efforts across the department.”
It’s an effort he said involves continuous communication with combatant commands to assess what they need now and how they expect those requirements to change in the future.

“We have a full team here that walks through that analysis each year and looks at current allocations,” Callicutt said. “But our advocacy role also looks to the future,” influencing the Pentagon’s acquisitions and investments in development programs.

Prioritization that factors in both short- and long-term requirements becomes particularly important in times of constrained resources, Callicutt said.

 “In this fiscal environment, you’re often left with a tradeoff between modernization and readiness,” he said. “And in many cases, as you focus on training and the ability to do something now, the tendency is to sacrifice investment or buying modernization equipment.”

That can have significant consequences in the future, creating capability gaps in vital areas that can’t be filled quickly or easily. Callicutt noted, for example, that fielding new satellites and other space-based systems typically takes 25 years. The design, development and deployment timeline for nuclear weapons can be even longer, approaching 35 years, he said, as in the case of the replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

“So we maintain a very long time horizon here,” Callicutt said. “The Defense Department relies on us to keep that longer-term view.”

“The No. 1 concern, from our perspective, is to ensure we always have the required capabilities,” said John Dodson, chief of staff for capability and resource integration. “You always want, whoever your adversary is, to have an upper edge. That’s how it has always been in history and will remain the future. And a big part of that is ensuring that you are state of the art.”

“So part of what we do here in our advocacy mission is to try to keep the balance” between current and future requirements, Callicutt said, and ensuring investments in modernization aren’t dangerously deferred.
“I don’t think we can, for the good of this nation, pay later, because our grandchildren will be the ones paying, with high risk,” Callicutt said. “So we have to continue to prepare for the future while at the same time, executing today. And how to do that has to be an informed discussion.” That discussion involves the combatant commands, the services and Pentagon leaders, he added.

“One of the biggest contributions Stratcom brings to this discussion is its global view,” Dodson said. “It enables us to synchronize and optimize the capabilities out there. For the Defense Department, that is huge.”

Snow-boarding Wounded Warrior Refuses to Be Sidelined

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo., April 2, 2013 – Eight and a half months ago, Army Sgt. Kristian “Dino” Cedeno was on the top of the world -- married six days before deploying to Afghanistan with the love of his life and soldiering with his band of brothers from the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade.

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Army Sgt. Kristian “Dino” Cedeno, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan, center, gets his ski boots adjusted by adaptive ski instructor Jill Reifsnider, right, and another instructor at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic at Snowmass Mountain, Colo., April 1, 2013, as his wife, Gwen, left, looks on. Cedeno snowboarded at the clinic for the first time since being wounded, another step in his impressive rehabilitation. DOD photo by Donna Miles

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Life changed in an instant when Cedeno stepped on an improvised explosive device during a firefight in Kandahar. His right leg was blown off just above the knee, and his left leg was so burned and peppered with shrapnel that his wife, Gwen, said it looked like a shark had chewed it away.
Cedeno begged Gwen to divorce him, fearing he had let her down and could never be the husband she deserved. But Gwen, a fourth-grade teacher at the Department of Defense Education Activity school at Fort Stewart, Ga., assured him that she knew what she was getting into when she married a soldier.

“I told him, ‘You are mine, and I am yours,’” she said, promising to stand with him as their lives took a new and unexpected turn.

Flash forward to today. After a month at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and four months after being discharged from the James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital in Tampa, Fla., Cedeno refuses to let what some would consider life-changing wounds define him -- or even slow him down.

Yesterday, Cedeno snowboarded down Snowmass Mountain during the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, surprising even himself at his accomplishment. The experience exhilarated Cedeno, one of just two active-duty troops among almost 400 disabled veterans participating in the clinic.

“In one word, I feel like I’m alive again,” he said while celebrating the success with Gwen and his adaptive ski instructor, Air Force veteran Jill Reifsnider, at his side.

Like so many other aspects of his life, Cedeno acknowledged that his first time on a snowboard since his injury wasn’t exactly as he remembered.

As Iraq veteran Tommy Sowers, assistant secretary of veterans affairs for public and intergovernmental affairs, asked Cedeno if he was ready to take on the mountain, Cedeno said he expected to do a lot of falling.

“That’s OK,” Sowers assured him. “If you’re not falling down, you’re not trying hard enough.”

Then, at one point during Cedeno’s downward run, air pockets formed around his new prosthetic leg, causing it to unexpectedly pop out of position midway down the slope. “It’s a little different, and I have to adjust. I have to relearn things I have been doing for 20 years,” he said. “But do you know what? I’ll take that over being told, ‘Hey, you can’t do that.’”

For Cedeno, the lessons he’s learning at the world’s largest and longest-running rehabilitative disabled sports event are life lessons: never give up and never stop reaching for new heights. It’s the can-do spirit that’s driven him throughout his recovery and rehabilitation, Gwen said.

Cedeno remains committed to his career as an Army infantryman. “I’m not done yet,” he said, hoping to one day serve as a drill sergeant so he can continue training other soldiers.

“And I know I have a few more deployments in me,” he added.

“I’m not unrealistic,” Cedeno insisted. “I know I have limitations and have to relearn things, and I accept that. But I’m 31 years old and not ready to hang my boots up.”

The speed of Cedeno’s recovery attracts a lot of attention that he admits makes him uncomfortable. “I hate being told I’m a hero or an inspiration,” he said. “I have always been that guy to do his job, not for the ‘Good for you’ or the congratulations.”

But Gwen regularly reminds her husband that he’s a role model for his fellow wounded warriors who inspires awe in those who meet him and learn his story. “Do you not realize just how amazing you are?” she asks him, reminding him of how far he has come during the past eight months.

In fact, Cedeno said, it’s those around him -- his wife, his fellow soldiers, his caregivers -- who inspire him to press on. Talking privately with his fellow platoon members, he tells them, “You motivated me to continue this fight that I thought I had lost.”

That fight continues this week at the winter sports clinic, where Cedeno said he’s found a support network that will be a big factor in his continued progress -- here on the slopes and in life.

Looking up at the mountain, Cedeno said he was ready to tackle it once again, perhaps even faster this time. “It’s just like my job. Of course I’m going back out there!” he said.

“The important thing here is for the veterans to feel challenged,” said Sowers as he joined Cedeno for a run down the mountain. “They get that joy of moving fast again. They get that experience of taking on something new.”

What participants experience during their week at the winter sports clinic continues for the other 51 weeks of the year, Sowers said.

“They go back to their local communities and work with their recreational therapists to make sure they continue to challenge themselves,” he said.

They’ll also take with them the camaraderie and support of their fellow veterans and wounded warriors, Sowers said.

“We form lifelong friendships here that continue well after this event ends,” he said. “It’s part of what ensures that what begins here at the winter sports clinic continues encouraging them.”

The winter sports clinic, co-sponsored by the Veterans Affairs Department and the Disabled American Veterans, is open to U.S. military veterans with disabilities ranging from spinal cord injuries and orthopedic amputations to visual impairment and neurological conditions.

During the six-day program, veterans learn adaptive Alpine and Nordic skiing and are introduced to rock climbing, scuba diving, trapshooting, snowmobiling, sled hockey and other sports and activities.

DOD Works to Ensure Access for Special Needs Families

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013 – Defense Department officials are working to standardize a program designed to help service members get care for family members with chronic health issues or special needs who otherwise might face forgoing an assignment or having to cut short a deployment because of an inability to find such care.

The Exceptional Family Member Program supports military families with special medical and educational needs, and the program is now in the process of being standardized across the force to make it easier for such families as they move from one assignment to another, regardless of location or military affiliation.

“Right now, each service has its own program, so by having one policy and one set of procedures, it’s going to make it much easier for families,” Ed Tyner, DOD’s acting deputy director of community support for families with special needs, told American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

DOD officials say the goal is to make sure no service member’s career is negatively affected by having a family member who requires special care.

The major benefit of standardization is making sure before a military member receives an assignment that special medical or education services are available in that location, Tyner said. Until now, such services have varied by military branch and location, creating additional hurdles for families requiring special medical care, he explained.

The 2010 Defense Authorization Act required the Defense Department to move toward standardization, Tyner said. “It’s going to be a multiyear project,” he added.

About 120,000 military family members are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program. More information about it is available on the Military OneSource website.

Through Airmen's Eyes: An immigrant's climb to the top

by Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
Air Force Public Affairs

4/2/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- For decades, America has been known around the world as a place of opportunity, a reputation that has drawn people from all corners of the world to inhabit there.

It's this reputation that motivated a husband and wife to leave a former communist nation of Yugoslavia with their two boys in tow in 1961 at the height of the Cold War.

This is the backdrop of one Airman's story; an Airman who today serves as one of the service's top leaders.

Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc was born in the former communist country of Yugoslavia. There, his father worked as a tailor and mother served as a midwife. Though his parents worked hard, he said, there was something even hard work couldn't buy there: opportunity.

In America, your ability to succeed is directly proportionate to what you put into it, Gorenc said in a recent interview.

"The message to me was if you work hard in America, you can succeed," he said. "That was something that was not present in Yugoslavia. That's why they left -- opportunity for them, opportunity for their children."

Opportunity is not only what motivated young Gorenc to join the Air Force, but what he's helping Airmen realize 34 years into his military career.

"The motivation and attitude of the Airmen, for me, is a primary," Gorenc said. "I'll take an Airman with a lower score or less experience, if they're motivated or have a great attitude. You can't test for those things. It comes from the heart."

When Gorenc talks about this upbringing, it's clear that in these young Airmen, he sees himself.

'Two Ships Passing in the Night'

When Gorenc was 4, his family emmigrated to the United States, settling in Milwaukee, Wis. There, they joined other family members from Yugoslavia.

"We chose Milwaukee because my dad had brothers who had settled there," the general said. "And at the time, Milwaukee was a very blue collar kind of town [with] many blue collar job opportunities available."

His family arrived in America with motivation and only about $100 to their name.

His father found familiar work as a tailor and his mother worked in a factory while taking English and constitution classes to become American citizens. This was their routine for five years.

"I saw firsthand, though I didn't recognize it then, what a sacrifice they made in their lifestyle in order to provide the opportunity that came along with living in America," the general recalled.

Fulfilling their dream became part of his own, he explained.

"My father worked on the day shift, and my mother had a night shift job because there were not childcare options available like there are these days.  Plus we didn't have money for childcare" Gorenc said. "For years, they were two ships passing in the night ... it motivated me because I didn't want to disappoint them."

Gorenc was a motivated child from the start. While most children were learning basic math, Gorenc had to learn those things plus English. It was sink or swim.

Raised in an ethnic community, Gorenc said the goal was to "learn English as fast as we could, and to understand everything that America had to offer." "We recognized the fact that knowing English well, knowing America well, was a way to move forward," he added.

As Gorenc grew, so did his love of school, he said. He didn't just love the academics, but what the entire environment offered him.

For most of his childhood, his parents, he said, were "... otherwise occupied trying to sustain the family." "My entire life revolved around going to school; it was a safe place for me."

An Airman in the Making

His extra-curricular activities included his school's math club, football team, weight lifting club, band and more. Unknowingly at the time, he was preparing himself for a life of service in the Air Force.

The phrase "whole-person concept" is well-known across the Air Force and Gorenc has been living this lifestyle since an early age. The concept focuses on Airmen becoming well-rounded through unit and community involvement, active pursuit of off-duty education and excellence in their career fields.

"I feel like I've been an Airman since day one," Gorenc said. "The way I grew up and the motivation of my parents was represented well in the Air Force that I came into."
The general noted that the Air Force seeks more than singular talents.

"We value the whole person, as they come into our Air Force and as they move up in our Air Force."

Growing up, there was only one institution Gorenc wanted to attend after high school -- the Air Force Academy. Gorenc's older brother, Stanley, was attending the academy then. The elder brother retired from the Air Force in 2007 as a major general.

"When I was a freshman in high school, I went to parent's weekend to visit [him]," he said. "I walked on the campus with my parents -- from that moment on, it was Air Force Academy all the way. It was very high-tech looking, so it attracted me visually. I knew it was an organization that had the future in mind."

The 'X-factor'

Throughout high school, Gorenc's grades, though above average, did not stand out. But what was distinctive could not be quantified.

When asked what he attributes receiving his nomination to and eventual acceptance into the Academy, he said it's an "x-factor," ... the "thing" numbers can't define. The thing he looks for in Airmen today.

Gorenc said his scholastic aptitude test scores were just 10 points above the minimum for acceptance into the academy. "I had to take the SATs three times just to get that score." At the Air Force Academy, academics were important, but so was athletic and military training ," the general said.

"Being well rounded was more important than pure academic achievement [and] our Air Force is like this," Gorenc said, crediting his academic, athletic and community involvement for helping open Academy doors to him.

In order to apply for military academies, applicants must be nominated by one of their congressmen. Gorenc began with his senators, both of whom denied him.

"I kept the (rejection) letters," he said. "I have them at home. The senators said, 'Thanks for applying, your SAT scores are too low.'"

But that didn't stop him. Gorenc then applied through a man he already knew who'd already significantly impacted his life and still does, Congressman Clement J. Zablocki.

Zablocki, who represented the people of Milwaukee for more than 30 years, sponsored the Gorencs' immigration to the states, and even nominated brother Stanley for the Academy.

The congressman, Gorenc explained, took a more involved approach than the senators for vetting potential academy nominees. Zablocki commissioned a three-person panel of community members, including a local businessman, a housewife and a priest, to interview candidates on their future goals and desires. Additionally, the congressman based his academy nominations on the Wisconsin civil service exam, not the SAT scores.

Clearly, they saw something special.

Today, Gorenc is one of about 200 Air Force generals on active-duty. He serves as the assistant vice chief of staff and Air Staff director in the Pentagon.

As one of the service's senior leaders, he uses a Zablocki-inspired approach to identify exceptional Airmen, some of whom will go on to earn stars on their shoulders and lead the future Air Force, a fact not lost on the general.

"The legacy that I want to see for me is in the end people will say 'yeah, he knew his mission, he did his mission well, and he helped train a whole group of Airmen for the future.' That's the only thing I give a (darn) about," Gorenc said.

From seeking opportunity to overcoming adversity, Gorenc offers many lessons, though none are arguably more important than one he learned as a young Slovenian immigrant with high hopes.

"In America, if you work hard, you succeed -- that's what I believe," he said. "And I believe that is true in the United States Air Force."

(Joel Fortner contributed to this article)

Air Force Band of Mid-America gets in tune with local middle school

by Staff Sgt. Amber R. Kelly-Herard
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

4/2/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Children can access music on the radio, TV or by streaming it online, but it's not every day they are able to listen to a live band perform.

Air Mobility Command's Band of Mid-America broadened the musical exposure in about 70 children at the Valley of St. Louis-Scottish Rite Cathedral March 14.

Band of Mid-America's concert band of more than 45 musicians performed a variety of songs including pieces from "Les Miserables" and "Dreamgirls."

"It was inspiring to see all that talent and to have them share it with us," said Lora Partney, Wolf Branch Middle School choral director. "The kids just finished their (Illinois Standard Achievement Tests) so this was a good pick-me-up for us to finish out the year."

Coincidentally, the chorus was also working on "Les Miserables".

"This is the best band I've ever heard," said 12-year-old Daniel Frew, Wolf Branch Middle School student. "I really liked the 'Les Mis' stuff a lot. I've seen it at the Fox, I've seen the movie and we're singing it in chorus. My friends and I are really big fans."

Following the band's performance, members of the band interacted with the children and some of them sang together.

This performance was held in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force Band Educational Outreach Program.

"Normally smaller groups will go out and perform at schools, but this was the first time in the seven years I've been here that we have brought the entire concert band to children," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Jordan, Band of Mid-America Operations coordinator. "Playing for children is one of the most rewarding things I do in addition to honoring our active duty members and veterans."

On top of serving as coordinator for the band and playing the bassoon, Jordan was recently awarded the Col. Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award.

JBER Airmen are top AWACS crew

by Johnathon Green
JBER Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Look! Up in the Alaska sky ...is that a jet giving a UFO a piggyback ride!? No, it's a United States Air Force E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System jet. This is a long-range airborne surveillance, detection, identification, and command and control platform created by modifying a Boeing 707, America's first jet airliner, designed back in the 1950s.

When the Boeing 707 was made, it was designed to have a four-man crew to pilot the aircraft. That still holds true today for the E-3 Sentry. It takes a pilot, co-pilot, navigator and a flight engineer to fly the aircraft safely. An additional individual is needed to operate the E-3, a "safety observer", who sits in seat 5, but to just fly the aircraft requires four individuals.

The 962d Airborne Early Warning and Control Squadron was first activated July 8, 1955, as a unit of the 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing, with headquarters at Otis Air Force Base, Mass. The squadron, equipped with various models of the propeller-driven C-121 Constellation aircraft, was a unit of the Air Defense Command.

In October 1992, the squadron was assigned to the 3rd Wing, then Elmendorf Air Force Base, under Pacific Air Forces, and acquired the additional mission of being ready to deploy in support of the commander of Pacific Command. In August 1994, the 962d AEWCS was redesignated the 962d Airborne Air Control Squadron.

As in any military unit or squadron, each entity works and trains hard to be the best they can be. The 962d AACS has proven themselves the best in Pacific Air Forces 2012. They received the Airborne Air Battle Management Crew of the Year for Crew 5 and Airborne Battle Management System Operator of the Year.

A crew for the E-3 Sentry consists of 20 to 25 Airmen to accomplish a full mission. Every member of the crew must work together to make the E-3 Sentry the effective combat multiplier it is.

"It's a big aircraft," said pilot and aircraft commander of Crew 5, Air Force Capt. Nathan Dever. "The largest one I flew before this was a T-1 [Jayhawk], which is basically a small corporate jet and we use those in pilot training, and so to step up from there to this aircraft, it was a big, big challenge. Initially it was learning on the technical aspects of flying a big aircraft, learning how to land it safely and, as I progressed from a co-pilot to an aircraft commander, then the challenges became more of, OK, we have the front end and we have the back end, which work together to accomplish the mission.

"The biggest challenge for me as mission crew commander is to make sure that the crew is focused," said Air Force Maj. Rodney Pretlow, mission crew commander. "We have 20 to 25 different personalities. We have the flight deck, we have the mission crew, and within that the mission crew, we have other dynamics. We have a radio operator, computer technician, radar technician ... if these systems don't work, we can't execute. It's a lot of dynamics there. Just dealing with the dynamics and making sure that everyone is focused on the mission."

Since the E-3 Sentry was originally designed and flown by four crew members, "Not having one of those players would be a very large deficit," said Air Force 1st Lt. Joshua Roose, co-pilot of the E-3. "To say that you would lose anyone of them, I suppose the plane would be flyable, but the workload would be exponentially increased. This airplane, everybody has a job and it's an important job."

"It was no surprise to me that our [Air Expeditionary Force] crew was awarded the [Pacific Air Forces] Airborne Air Battle [Management Crew of the Year]," said Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Erickson, 962d AACS commander, about the Crew 5 award winners. "This team of seasoned aviators worked hard during the spin-up process through a combination of academics, simulators and live-fly exercises. They coalesced as a crew during spin-up, and their positive attitudes and hard work yielded [Command and Control] excellence for the [Central Command] theater."

Enlisted crew members have an important function on the Sentry. "My job on the jet: I am an air surveillance technician," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Culhane, PACAF Airborne Battle Management System Operator of the Year for 2012. "I have different hats I can wear on that jet as well. I can be an evaluator, I can be an instructor, or I can be just a regular crew member. It's actually a pretty important job as far as presenting our mission capabilities as far as surveillance. That's our bread and butter in my section of the jet - surveillance and detection of aviation aircrafts.

"There are different kinds of challenges," Culhane continued. "Physically, a lot of times we have early show times and long flying durations that can start to wear and tear. But just the challenge of knowing the different kinds of aircraft and anticipating what their maneuvers are going to be. I think the squadron does a good job in preparing all of its members, being ready to go out and complete the mission."

"Staff Sgt. Pat Culhane is the gold standard for NCOs," Erickson said. "As a flight examiner at the [operations] group level, his expertise has contributed greatly to our squadron's and this wing's readiness for combat. He participated in every Red Flag-[Alaska] exercise last year."

Crews operating the E-3 Sentry are the largest crew for any single aircraft in the Air Force.

"What makes our 962d Airborne Air Control Squadron work the way it does?" Pretlow asked, "This unit is really small and tight knit. I think it comes down to morale; keeping the crew, the morale and camaraderie up. That makes for a better crew."

International Military Student Office a passport to medical training

by Esther Garcia
AMEDDC&S Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON -- A first-time visitor to the International Military Student Office, located on the first floor of the Army Medical Department Center and School, might think they have walked into a small museum, as the office is decorated with artifacts from more than 80 countries.

Students from countries such as Algeria, Armenia, Germany, Egypt, Mongolia, Denmark, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, Norway, Slovenia, Singapore, Sweden, the Philippines, Canada, Georgia and Hungary - just to name a few - pass through these doors to attend a variety of medical courses at the AMEDDC&S.

The artifacts are small gifts from the students presented to the office as thanks for the hospitability they receive while attending medical training.

Officials from the State Department decide which countries participate in the training under the DOS/Department of Defense Security Assistance Training Program. The daily population is 30 to 60 students attending multiple courses, with the longest being the captains career course.

"We currently have more than 70 courses that are made available to the international community. These range from initial entry training such as the health care specialist and combat medic courses, to post-graduate courses or short courses," said Oscar Ramos-Rivera, director of the International Military Student Office. "We recently opened the Baylor Health Administration program which is a master's degree program."

Students, whether officers or enlisted, attend courses such as the health care specialist course, basic officer leader course, the medical logistics course, or the biomedical equipment maintenance technician course, just to name a few.

"If the candidate meets the affiliation requirements, then we can accept them in the program," Ramos-Rivera said.

"We have veterinary doctors attend the enlisted course for food inspectors," Rivera said, adding that veterinary courses are very popular with foreign countries, particularly those with large armies that have their own farms for animals and produce.

In addition to AMEDDC&S, students attend formal and observer training at a variety of locations, including the Noncommissioned Officer Academy; the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute and at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine at Fort Rucker, Ala.
Non-English speaking students also attend the Defense Language School at JBSA-Lackland. The State Department requires a certain score in the English language, with enlisted personnel scoring 70 percent and officers 80 percent.

"For the most part, we use simulation training and limit some things to observation, but the student must meet all the same requirements as their American counterpart in order to graduate," Ramos-Rivera said. "We have a policy letter from the office of the Army surgeon general that regulates the scope of practice that international students and exchange officers can engage in while here."

Most foreign students wear more than one hat in their respective armies, so after attending medical training at AMEDDC&S, they might move to Fort Benning, Ga., for airborne training or to Fort Bragg, N.C., to spend one year with Special Forces, or head to other schools to attend non-medical training.

Ramos-Rivera said the program is a long-term investment for the United States.

"Many of the young officers I met in the 1970s or 1980s are now senior officers and or civilians working in support of the American coalition," he said. "It is a way for us to promote a great way of life."
Working with foreign students came naturally for Ramos-Rivera. During his military career, Rivera was a military advisor in Latin America, spent a year in Saudi Arabia, worked with NATO and was also in the Middle East during the first Gulf War.

In 1972, he was involved with humanitarian efforts and deployed with teams to other countries which led to his position as security assistance training officer. Ramos-Rivera speaks Spanish, Portuguese and some German, so he sometimes acts as an unofficial interpreter for the students.

A key program in the International Student Office is the Field Studies Program. The director of the Field Studies Program is a position mandated by Congress and each international student office must have this position.

"We have the students see our democratic system, to include our penal, judicial and political systems," said Ervin Talley, program manager for the field studies program and deputy to the director.

"Students in the Captains Career Course have a chance to visit Washington, D.C. Students also visit the Texas capitol in Austin, as well as Dallas and Houston," Talley said.
"It is almost like Congress is saying we want you to bring them over and teach them about our democracy. We want them to go back to their country with an emphasis in human rights. Hopefully, we taught them something right."

Fire training collaboration aids AF mission

by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley
36th Wing Public Affairs

3/29/2013 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Andersen Fire and Emergency Services Airmen hosted Saipan fire officers for joint fire training here during their visit to the island March 25-29.

The four Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands fire officers observed the Air Force and Navy training programs and emergency response techniques to see what is currently being used within the Department of Defense Fire Emergency Services so they can take the techniques back to Saipan and apply them in future situations.

"We show them it's not just about going in there and putting the fire out, it's about going in there safely, getting the job done and coming out safely," said Stanley Torres, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services assistant chief for training. "All the firefighters in the Air Force train the same way, and the reason why we train is to make sure that when we respond to a real-world situation, like an aircraft crash, a house or a facility fire, we get the job done, we do it safely, and we do it the right way."

The CNMI fire officers participated in various training exercises during a three-day period on Andersen. The other two days, Saipan firefighters visited Naval Base Guam Fire and Emergency Services and the Guam Fire Department . While working side-by-side with their Air Force and Navy counterparts, the Saipan firefighters observed a barrier engagement response and exercise, an aircraft emergency response and egress exercise, and structural fire exercises. They also learned to develop a live fire safety briefing, fire department training program, and an incident commander emergency response checklist.

Fire Lt. Jesse Mesa, search and rescue chief at the Saipan Department of Public Safety Fire Division, said he picked up some skills such as communications management and taking charge on the scene.

"They are willing to share their knowledge and at the same time, they are willing to accept some experience that we have," Mesa said.

This was the third time the Andersen fire department hosted and trained firefighters from Saipan. This visit was at the request of the CNMI fire chiefs and the expense of their trip was funded by the CNMI government. However, the first two times, the wing invited and brought CNMI airport firefighters to train on Air Force aircraft should any need to divert to their airports on Rota, Tinian or Saipan during an emergency.

In recent years, aircrews flying to and from Andersen have had numerous aircraft conduct emergency landings at airports on nearby islands. Saipan responding and recovering an aircraft after an emergency helps the Air Force mission to continue sooner and safer instead of waiting for Airmen to arrive in Saipan from Andersen.

If an aircraft was to shift to Saipan in an emergency, the training will help them share the information gathered this week so the responders would be knowledgeable and know how to react in that situation, Mesa said.

Saipan firefighters said they were grateful for the training they received while Team Andersen firefighters said they look forward to the opportunity to host training for the CNMI fire officers in the future should it occur again.

"We're all firefighters; we wear different uniforms ... but we train the same way, we respond the same way, we fight the same thing," Torres said. "We do the same thing by getting together and learning from each other."

Air Force Deputy Undersecretary attends Malaysian exhibition

by Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

4/2/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, Heidi Grant, attended the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2013 at Langkawi Island, Malaysia, as part of ongoing efforts to build relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, March 24 through 28.

The Deputy Undersecretary said the United States Air Force remains committed to engaging U.S. partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region, and around the world, by participating in aerial events such as LIMA-13, in an effort to promote regional security interests, support friends and allies, and demonstrate U.S. military capabilities and resolve even during times of fiscal constraints.

"Sequestration, as a near-term fiscal challenge, should not be interpreted as a lack of long-term commitment," said Grant. "Our alliances and partnerships bring with them years of mutual trust and respect, significant interoperability, and information sharing -- all of which build multilateral relationships and underpin security and prosperity in the region."

In 2011, more than 230 delegations from 35 countries attended LIMA-11 along with approximately 33,000 trade visitors and more than 120,000 public visitors. About 75 aircraft and 40 warships and vessels from the U.S., Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, China, the Republic of Korea, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Singapore and Thailand also participated in LIMA-11.

After much consideration, Pacific Air Forces' event planners opted to cancel the F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration team's participation in LIMA-13 due to significantly constrained flying hour programs and support costs. PACAF leadership pursued and received Headquarters Air Force approval permitting the C-17 Globemaster III demonstration team to attend LIMA to preserve the Air Force's aerial footprint at this biennial international event.

"PACAF has and will continue to make cuts in supporting theater engagements, we know that," said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander. "We just have to do them smartly, so that we maintain our rebalance and pivot to the Pacific and maintain our capability to do what we need to do in support of our friends and allies."

PACAF's support for these events and international commitments are the backbone of the Command's mission to continue these key engagements and build partnership capacity throughout the region. Historically, PACAF supports 20 U.S. Pacific Command exercises and 19 PACAF-sponsored events annually, some of which include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief focused operations. Also, annually, there are approximately five international trade shows or aerospace exhibitions like LIMA.

First organized in 1991, LIMA provides participating countries a venue for promoting increased understanding and interoperability with the purpose of fostering regional stability and security across the Pacific theater. LIMA is a leading international trade show for aerospace and maritime manufacturers targeting the Asian market in defense, enforcement and commercial sectors.

C-145As take final flight at Cannon AFB, relocate to Duke Field

by Senior Airman Alexxis Pons Abascal
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

4/1/2013 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.  -- As day broke to the east, crew members with the 318th Special Operations Squadron made preparations for the final two C-145As to depart the flightline for the last time at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 28.

The squadron's C-145A aircraft will continue its mission under the vision and leadership of the 6th Special Operations Squadron at Duke Field, Fla.

Originally activated May 1, 1944 as the 318th Troop Carrier Squadron at Camp Mackall, N.C., the squadron actively participated in the southwest pacific theater during World War II. The squadron was inactivated March 25, 1946 and reactivated November 15, 1971 at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., as the 318th Special Operations Squadron.

"A handful of C-145 personnel have already relocated to Duke Field after being selected to join the 6th SOS," said Capt. Scott Whitmore, 318th SOS executive officer. "Our crew members are sad to see these planes go, but with that comes an eagerness to see what new opportunities will be available in Air Force Special Operations Command."

Serving under the 1st Special Operations Wing, the 318th SOS provided unconventional warfare capabilities in Vietnam until it was again inactivated, June 1, 1974. On July 27, 2007, Hurlburt Field, Fla., reactivated the squadron once more and relocated aircrew members to Cannon. The squadron was officially re-designated as the 318th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon, May 16, 2008.

Under the 27th Special Operations Wing, the 318th SOS executed global mobility missions for AFSOC. The squadron utilized skilled Air Commandos and the C-145A, also known as the M-28 Skytruck, to enable special operations airlift support worldwide.

Non-Standard Aviation augments AFSOC operations by providing rapid mobility and transportation of Special Operations Forces in global theaters.

"The C-145A executed its first deployment on March 7, 2011 as a flight of three C-145As departed from Cannon to Afghanistan in support of village stability operations," said Capt. Christopher Sutton, 318th SOS pilot. "Three months after returning aircraft from Afghanistan, the C-145A crews assumed new mobility responsibilities and worked diligently to stand up a new site in Africa. The airdrop capability of the C-145A was a benchmark for combined operations in eastern Africa, allowing SOF teams to operate in isolated, forward-deployed locations."

The C-145A flew missions in support of two theater special operations commands in Africa and Afghanistan. The C-145A provides precision combat airdrop and short takeoff and landing capability to landing zones with minimal support.

Aircrew members with the C-145A operate in sensitive areas, providing efficient movement of the nation's elite SOF troops. The aircraft are routinely used to enable flights in austere, semi-prepared airfields.

While the C-145As are leaving Cannon, the 318th SOS will continue operation of PC-12 Pilatus aircraft at the 27th SOW.

"Our crews wanted to make this transition with the aircraft to the 6th SOS and are excited overall about the changes coming to the C-145As," Whitmore added. "The mission of the 6th SOS is unique and will provide new areas for growth."

Airman's pre-deployment story leaves a mark

by Master Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

4/1/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- When Senior Airman Jeremy Goss stood up during a Yellow Ribbon event to reflect on why he joined the military, his story brought home a special meaning of serving this country to one of the support staff.

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is a Department of Defense effort to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle.

Goss, who is now deployed to Southwest Asia, attended the pre-deployment YRRP event Jan. 18-20, in San Diego, Calif., and never expected his "little" story would get the response it did.

During a breakout session about resilience, one of the Cadre speakers asked to hear from the youngest Airman in the group on where they were during the 9/11 attack in 2001.

"I remember (that day) at school everything changed. Teachers were shielding the students from something," Goss said. "You could tell something had happened, because there was a lot of sadness in their faces. I wanted to do something."

"At the age of 15 or so, I talked to my parents about enlisting. My father had been in the Air Force, so he was okay with it, but mom never was," he said.

According to Goss, at the age of 17 his parents signed for him to enter the U.S. Air Force.

"People were surprised," he said. "I don't think they expect it."

Unbeknownst to Goss, the Command Chief Master Sergeant for Air Force Reserve Command  was in attendance at the YRRP.

The next morning, Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen Buckner introduced herself to the group and told Goss' story, and then asked him to come up and join her on stage.

"Airman Goss' story has changed my life forever, and it will be the strength I need as I continue to be the voice for over 55,000 enlisted men and women serving in AFRC." Buckner said. "Airman Goss is just one of the thousands of highly skilled, motivated and patriotic warriors we have serving our great nation in our armed forces. It has been indeed a privilege and a blessing to have served with and for them all!"

"Remember the name Jeremy Goss - he will continue to do great things and is already more than qualified to serve in my position or better yet - the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force!!" she said.

It was a memorable moment for Goss.

"I didn't think my story meant that much. I was really honored by Chief Buckner's presentation. You don't meet the Command Chief every day. It was pretty cool," Goss said. "I'm not going to lie, Goss said. "I was almost in tears."

Goss is scheduled to return to the states sometime later this year.

Pentagon Spokesman: North Korea Should Stop Provocations

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013 – North Korean leaders need to stop their harsh rhetoric and provocative actions, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

During a news conference, Little stressed that the U.S. goal is peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. “We hope to preserve peace and stability, and we hope that others seek to do the same,” he said.

Little seemed to evoke the old saying “a soft answer turneth away wrath” during his briefing. In a matter-of-fact manner, he discussed North Korea’s provocations and American defensive responses.

The press secretary cleared up some of the initial reporting about U.S. missile defense actions yesterday. The sea-based X-band radar is not at sea in response to North Korean provocations, he said. “The SBX is underway,” Little said. “They’re undergoing semiannual system checks. Decisions about further deployments have not been made to this point.”

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Decatur and USS McCain have arrived at stations in the western Pacific, “where they will be poised to respond to any missile threats to our allies or our territory,” Little said.
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, regularly deploys a mix of assets in the region to respond to missile threats, the spokesman said.

“We’re cognizant of the missile threats that are always there for North Korea,” he added. “We regularly conduct missile defense missions, sea-based and land-based, in the Asia-Pacific region. That's for obvious reasons. And we will continue to perform these missions regardless of what tensions may or may not be at a given time.”

Missile defense is an important mission in the region. U.S., South Korean and Japanese forces all have anti-missile capabilities. The United States maintains Patriot missile batteries and terminal high-altitude area defense missiles in South Korea. Sea-based capabilities augment these platforms, Little said.

In addition, the United States and South Korea are consulting with each other under auspices of the new counter-provocation plan. This plan, signed last month, formalizes bilateral consultations to coordinate efforts between the United States and South Korea to respond to North Korean provocations. The plan itself is classified, but Little allowed that “we do have options at our disposal to respond effectively to any North Korean provocation.”

All of this is happening against the background of Exercise Foal Eagle. The exercise, which started March 1, is the latest in the 60-year alliance between the United States and South Korea.

Little called on North Korean leaders to cease their provocative actions. He noted that North Korea has tested a nuclear device and conducted missile launches, though the regime signed accords saying it would stop such actions.

North Korea has threatened to launch missile strikes against the United States and has threatened Japan and South Korea. The United States will stand by its allies, Little said.

“I’m not going to get into the specifics of where our assets are in South Korea or elsewhere, but we stand ready to defend South Korea from external threats wherever they may originate,” he said.

After The Battle: The flying ICU

by Senior Airman Chris Willis
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/2/2013 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan  -- Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a four-part series about the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing's medical response capabilities and the various teams within the wing who play a role in the care and transportation of combat wounded troops throughout Afghanistan.

Three critically injured patients need immediate transfer to a medical facility outside of Afghanistan. One has a shot to the head, the other has missing limbs and the last has an open abdominal wound. Without a mobile intensive care unit, these patients will not make the flight out.

For members of the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Critical Care Air Transport Team, this is go-time.

A CCATT crew consists of a physician, intensive care nurse and a respiratory therapist. Together they can turn a regular medical transport aircraft into a flying intensive care unit, making it possible to move severely injured or gravely ill servicemembers by air to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Starting with the aeromedical evacuation of the patients from forward operating bases, to treating them at the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility and then transporting them out of the country through a C-17 Globemaster III "Reach" mission to LRMC, moving patients throughout the area of responsibility takes a working team with multiple parts.

At the Craig Joint Theater Hospital on Bagram Airfield, the CCATT crew unplugs the patient from the hospital's power and respiratory machines and into mobile units that are positioned along with stretchers. Then with the help of the hospital staff and the CASF crew, the patients are moved to the flightline where an aircraft awaits, already configured for their needs.

Once on the aircraft, each patient is attached to the central air and power supply and prepared for take-off. Since the majority of the CCATT's patients are unconscious during the trip, great care is given to monitor their vitals and wellbeing.

"We make a promise to these men and women that no matter what happens, we will do everything in our power to bring them home," said Capt. Mario Ramirez, CCATT physician. "Being a part of CCATT is a great honor and allows me to help fulfill that mission."

While other passengers are getting some rest, the CCATT crew stays constantly on their feet observing the patients and watching for any signs of immediate medical need.

"It's all about these guys and girls who put their life on the line for us, the least we can do is give them the most optimum care we can provide," said Senior Airman Delton McClary, CCATT respiratory therapist. "If we can get them from Afghanistan to Germany with no problems and better than when we received them, then we did our job."

Every CCATT mission has its own unique challenges and is different than anything that exists in civilian medicine. They are trained to be a medical, surgical and trauma multi-specialty team, all in the back of an aircraft with limited resources.

"I work with an outstanding team, and together we are able to give these troops the same level of care they would get in America's best intensive care units," said Ramirez.

Pre-mission planning and good team communication is vital to the execution of CCATT mission, the job cannot be done by just one or two members of the team.

"We have learned to trust each other," said Capt. Suzanne Morris, CCATT nurse, "During a mission there is a lot going on and you have to rely on your teammates if you want to succeed."

Flexibility is also very important when it comes to the CCATT missions. They can be flying to an unexpected location to pick up an unexpected patient, or flying a mercy mission to reunite an injured servicemember with their families.

"Every mission has a particular place in my heart, some with great endings...some not," said McClary. "But even more importantly, we get the patients to their family and that's the feel-good part of my job that I love to do."

Even though the patients have a far longer journey to go for full medical recovery, they are now out of Afghanistan and at a higher level of care, thanks to the men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Alaska rescue center, manned by Air National Guard, completes 5,000th mission

by Kalei Rupp
Alaska Air National Guard

4/1/2013 - CAMP DENALI, Alaska -- Searching for overdue aircraft, rescuing injured hunters, locating lost hikers, helping those stranded at sea, it's all part of the mission of the Alaska (11th Air Force) Rescue Coordination Center, and those missions have added up.

The RCC, located on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, completed its 5,000th mission (since July 1, 1994) on March 27 when it coordinated the Alaska Air National Guard's successful recovery of a pilot who crashed a Super Cub aircraft near the Bering River northeast of Cordova.

"Our mission is to provide a safe and timely response to aircraft events over the land mass of Alaska," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Carte, superintendent of the RCC. "In addition, we assist any other search-and-rescue agency should they need military assets and coordination, so we're often involved with ground searches and missions in Alaska's waters as well."

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center has been operating in Alaska since 1961, but beginning July 1, 1994, the RCC became manned solely by Alaska Air National Guardsmen under the operational active-duty commander of the 11th Air Force. Since that time, the men and women of the Alaska Air National Guard have been keeping watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week, coordinating an average of more than five missions a week for nearly 19 years.

"When we get a search-and-rescue mission, we first verify distress and verify jurisdiction of which agency has the lead on the mission depending on the type of incident and location," Carte said. "Once jurisdiction has been established, we hand off search-and-rescue control if we don't have jurisdiction, or if we do, we switch to incident command mode and manage and coordinate the search-and-rescue to the end. We organize fuel for aircraft, assign search grids to participating search aircraft, de-conflict air space and coordinate hospital delivery to make sure emergency medical staff are aware of the situation."
With the active-duty fighter jet presence in Alaska, also comes the job to ensure military pilots training in Alaska airspace have the response they need should something happen.

"Our primary focus is the inland search-and-rescue mission dictated by the national response plan, but we're also here to support the air sovereignty mission in Alaska for the U.S. Northern Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command to make sure any ejection-seat aircraft flying in the state receives top priority should help be needed," Carte said. "These aircraft are the F-22 Raptors, F-16 Fighting Falcon and any foreign military partners that are flying in Alaska during an air-related exercise."

The 12 Alaska Air National Guard members who work in the RCC on a rotating schedule all have a background in either rescue operations as a member of the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th or 212th Rescue Squadrons, or they are command and control specialists with a background in rescue control operations.

The RCC relies heavily on the support of other agencies during search-and rescue missions. Aside from the Alaska Air National Guard and Alaska Army National Guard, during a mission, these agencies can also be called upon: Alaska State Troopers, U.S. Coast Guard District 17, Civil Air Patrol, National Park Service, North Slope Arctic Borough Search and Rescue, Alaska Mountain Rescue, SEADOGS K-9 Search and Rescue Team, Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol and various other volunteer search groups.

"As attention turns to the arctic, the RCC is also the primary controlling agency for any aviation mission in that region as well, working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and international partner agencies," Carte said.

Busy season follows the weather trend with an increase in search-and-rescue missions toward the end of summer into the fall hunting season. But ask anyone in the business, and you'll hear that no two search-and-rescue cases are alike. Throughout the years, there have been many high-profile missions that have led to the 5,000 total.

In 2002, Jack Tackle, an experienced climber from Montana was stuck on Mount Augusta in St. Elias National Park more than 9,500 feet above ground with a broken back, fractured neck and bruised spinal cord. The RCC coordinated his rescue and the Alaska Air National Guard pararescueman, Chief Master Sgt. David Shuman, who rescued Tackle was awarded the Airman's Medal for Heroism, and the entire rescue crew received the Earl Ricks Memorial Award for national rescue of the year.

In 2006, the MV Cougar Ace, a Singapore car carrier vessel,,, lost power more than 200 miles south of Adak and listed 60 degrees to port. The RCC coordinated the U.S. Coast Guard assets and Alaska Air National Guard rescue of all 23 crew members onboard.

In 2010, a single-engine float plane crashed 17 miles north of Dillingham killing five onboard, including U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. The RCC coordinated the efforts of the Alaska Air National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard to get to the scene and rescue four survivors.

Recently, the RCC was recognized for its outstanding contribution to commercial aviation safety and its response to numerous aviation incidents throughout the state with the 2013 Alaska Air Carriers Association Emergency Response Award.

"The RCC approaches each mission as if it were one of our family in distress," Carte said. "We know the citizens and state depends on us, and it's not a responsibility we take lightly."

Yokota evac plan promotes bilateral ops

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

3/31/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen hosted a Noncombatant Evacuation Operation demonstration for Lt. Gen. Masayuki Hironaka, Air Support Command commander, and other Japan Air Self-Defense Force service members at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 28, 2013.

The demonstration was conducted to promote bilateral training between the U.S. Air Force and JASDF in future exercises and to allow learning and engagement opportunities between the allies.

A NEO is a Department of State ordered evacuation of U.S. government civilian employees and dependents, U.S. Armed Forces family members and designated U.S. Armed Forces military personnel. As the sole airlift hub in the Western Pacific, Yokota would need to provide a temporary in-transit staging area for evacuees until flights are made available to safely deliver them from the Pacific theater to the U.S. or a safe haven. NEO staff receive evacuees, provide security and comfort while the evacuees transition through the base.

During the demonstration, Col. Mark August, 374th Airlift Wing commander, stressed the importance of having a NEO plan, but more importantly, the effectiveness of its implementation.

"It's not only about having a great plan and facility, but it's also about exercising that ability to ensure it is ready to be stood up in a moment's notice," August said. "We exercise this ability any chance we get to ensure it is just that."

August added that there will be opportunities in the future for Hironaka and JASDF service members to observe and participate in exercise operations.

Hironaka said the JASDF has similar responsibilities in the case of an emergency, and that seeing how Yokota operates was a great learning opportunity for him and his staff. He also thanked the Yokota service members for their demonstration and said it had been a beneficial experience for all those involved.

Sexual Assault Has No Place in DOD, Official Says

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013 – Sexual assault has no place in the Defense Department, a senior Pentagon official said here today, calling on the workforce to be part of the solution.

In a keynote address kicking off Aberdeen Proving Ground’s observance of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright said sexual assault is a national issue that also affects the Defense Department’s military and civilian workforce.

The theme for this year’s observance -- underscored in a message that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent to the department’s workforce today – is, “We own it … we’ll solve it … together.”

“Although we address sexual assault in the month of April, this is an issue that needs to be addressed every day of our lives,” Wright told an audience of service members and civilian employees.

The Defense Department is a microcosm of America, she added, where employees bring their values and how they were raised to the workforce.

“I often say if we're in Afghanistan and we [see] something unsafe, [or] not akin to the values we have grown up with, we would tell that person to stop what they’re doing, because they’re going to affect our well-being and their well-being,” she said. “Yet when we are here in the United States, and we do something that’s not akin to … values in a social network, sometimes we have a hard time crossing that boundary and saying, ‘This affects the life of a service member or a civilian we work with, and it’s inappropriate.’”

The Defense Department doesn’t condone sexual assault, Wright said. “We don’t tell jokes of a sexual nature, we don’t condone unwanted sexual behaviors, and we clearly don’t condone sexual assault,” she added.

Just as everyone knows people who drink a lot of coffee, exercise a great deal or are “Facebook junkies,” Wright said, everyone also knows someone who doesn’t live by the Defense Department’s values and ethos.
“I ask that if you know that person, tell [him or her] to stop it, and make sure you report bad behavior should you see it,” she added. “That’s the only way we’re going to stop it.”

Wright said she joined the military in 1975 as a member of the Women’s Army Corps, at a time when having a drink at the post club was condoned. “But in our military now, … we don’t condone drinking [or] drinking and driving. We don’t have those social things like we used to, because it’s just not who we are,” she said.
The military culture has changed radically with regard to drug and alcohol problems and racial tensions it had in the past, Wright said, adding that she doesn’t see sexual assault any differently.

“I ask each and every one of you to take back a message with you today that says, ‘Every single day, we don’t condone [sexual assault],’” she said.

Sexual assault awareness and prevention must be part of all levels in the organization, she added, whether employees work with a small group in an office or in a field situation.

“We have a sexual assault problem,” Wright said. “We need to jump on top of it and stop it. And it is incumbent upon all of you to do it.”

Combined Force Arrests Haqqani Facilitator in Paktia

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013 – A combined Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Haqqani network facilitator today in the Zurmat district of Afghanistan’s Paktia province, military officials reported.

The facilitator is believed to have procured, transported and distributed weapons to insurgents in Paktia and Khost provinces. He also allegedly planted improvised explosive devices for attacks on Afghan and coalition forces.

In other recent Afghanistan operations:

-- A combined force killed a Taliban leader named Mukhlis in Helmand province’s Washer district yesterday. Mukhlis exercised control over a cell of fighters responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and facilitated the movement of insurgent weapons.

-- Abdullah Wakil, the leading Taliban official in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district, was killed in a March 31 operation. He and his network were responsible for the assassination of Afghan civilians, facilitating weapons for insurgents and attacking Afghan and coalition forces.

-- A senior Taliban leader was arrested in Helmand province’s Nad-e Ali district March 30. He allegedly was plotting a campaign of sustained military attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, and he and his subordinates are believed to have participated in numerous recent IED and small-arms attacks.

AF Reserve Command announces 2012 Airfield Operations Awards

4/2/2013 - ROBINS AFB, Ga. -- Air Force Reserve Command announced its 2012 Airfield Operations Award winners April 1.

The winners are:

Unit Award:
Airfield Management Facility of the Year: 934th Operations Group, Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minn.

Airfield Operations Flight Complex of the Year: 440th Operations Support Squadron/OSAW, Pope Field, N.C.

D. Ray Harding Air Traffic Control Facility of the Year: 452nd Operations Support Squadron/OSAT, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.

Individual Awards:
Col. Derrel L. Dempsey Airfield Operations Officer of the Year: Richard Holtzmand, Pope Field, N.C.

Air Traffic Control Manager of the Year: Bernard Blackburn, Pope Field, N.C.

Air Traffic Control Watch Supervisor of the Year: Raymond Stone, Pope Field, N.C.

Airfield Management Craftsman of the Year: David Edge, Pope Field, N.C.

Airfield Management journeyman of the Year: Jacqlyn Dutes, Pope Field,  N.C.

Air Traffic Controller of the Year: Robert Buford, Dobbins ARB, Ga.

Military Officers Association of America selected as one of the 2013 “Best NonProfit Organizations to Work for”

Alexandria, Va. (April 1, 2013) — Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has earned the distinction of being selected as one of the 2013 “Best NonProfit Organizations to Work for.”  A special publication profiling the 50 organizations selected was published in the April 1, 2013 issue of The NonProfit Times.

In order to be selected, MOAA underwent a workplace assessment process that included surveying employees, as well as taking an inventory of organizational benefits, policies and offerings.  The information was processed and analyzed and used to determine the “Best NonProfits to Work for.”

“We are very gratified to receive this distinction,” MOAA President Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, Jr., said.  “We believe our people make us who we are and they are our number one strength.”

In addition to being a part of the list, the program provides each company that underwent the assessment a report of understandable and actionable information.  The information allows participating companies to adjust their policies and activities to meet organizational needs.

MOAA, ranked #32 in 2013, also received the “Best NonProfit Organizations to Work for” in 2011.

About MOAA:
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest officers association with more than 380,000 members from every branch of service, including active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, and former officers and their families and survivors. MOAA is a nonprofit and politically nonpartisan organization and an influential force in promoting a strong national defense.  MOAA represents the interests of service members and their families in every stage of their lives and careers, and for those who are not eligible to join MOAA, Voices for America’s Troops is a nonprofit MOAA affiliate that supports a strong national defense. For more information, visit www.moaa.org. or www.voicesfortroops.org/.