Military News

Monday, April 08, 2013

Face of Defense: Soldier Feeds Joint Task Force Troops

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
Joint Force Headquarters, New Hampshire National Guard

SONSONATE, El Salvador, April 8, 2013 – Army Sgt. 1st Class Edward Haggett loves to feed troops, whether it’s in Iraq, New Hampshire, or on a mountainside here overlooking a beautiful city, where he can see the sun rise on his mobile kitchen every morning and watch it set every night.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Sgt. 1st Class Edward Haggett prepares the evening meal for members of Joint Task Force Jaguar during the Beyond the Horizon exercise in Sonsonate, El Salvador, April 1, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Working out of a mobile kitchen trailer in a northern section of El Salvador at a camp called Military District 6, Haggett said he knows that after a long day working in extreme temperatures, soldiers just want a good meal to eat.

“I love it when they come through the MKT and see smiles on their face just after they finished working their tail off on a job,” the Joint Task Force Jaguar food services noncommissioned officer said. “They’re smiling because they’re looking forward to a good, hot meal. I love being the one who provides it to them.”

Haggett and other soldiers are here as part of a select joint task force that will carry out Beyond the Horizon El Salvador, a humanitarian exercise that began in late March and will run through late June.

Army Lt. Col. Raymond Valas, the task force commander, said Haggett was the first person who came to mind when he and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Speltz began selecting their team.

“I served with him in Iraq and saw firsthand how serious he takes feeding soldiers,” Valas said of the 23-year food service veteran.

Valas and Haggett served in Iraq with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry. Haggett said that’s when he began to appreciate his role in the fight.

“I went into a staff meeting in Iraq with the command sergeant major, who was talking about how much respect he had for soldiers who went outside the wire on missions,” he said. So after the meeting, he added, he approached the sergeant major and asked if he could provide a cookout meal from time to time for the 180 soldiers who went out on patrol every day.

The command sergeant major replied, “Sergeant Haggett, you bring me that memo once a month, and I will sign it,” Haggett said.

For the soldiers, knowing what awaited them when they returned made their work a little easier.

“It was a little piece of home for those of us that went outside [the wire] each day,” said Army Staff Sgt. Derek Downey, Joint Task Force Jaguar medical plans noncommissioned officer in charge. “Sergeant 1st Class Haggett cares very much about what he does, and it shows by the effort he puts into it.”

Haggett said his “best memory in the military” happened on the same deployment to Iraq.

“I was able to go to a school in Iraq and have an opportunity to play the harmonica for Iraqi children,” he said. “The kids were amazed by it, and surrounded me wanting to hear more.”

Later that, he said, he told the commander he would try to have 30 harmonicas donated and asked if could he go back and give them to the children at the school.

“After I had the harmonicas, I went back to the same school and taught the kids how to play it,” Haggett said. “I then gave them to each of the kids to keep. They were thrilled.”

Haggett said it’s that same spirit that drives him to be the best food service soldier he can be.
“When you do something and people reward you with a thank you, it’s all I need to know they appreciate the effort I put in,” he said.

Luke reservist marks 3,000 hours in F-16

by Senior Airman Kate Vaughn
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/5/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Reaching 3,000 F-16 flying hours is a milestone few pilots reach in their career. On the first day of spring, one more name was added to the list of pilots to reach that milestone.

Lt. Col. Kevin Aunapu, 69th Fighter Squadron director of operations, callsign "Werewolf'  flew his 3,000th hour in the Fighting Falcon on March 21 after a quarter-century of flight.

"Having a fighter pilot for a father extremely limited my career aspirations," Aunapu said, a native of Homestead Air Force Base, Fla.

"There was never any question on what I wanted to do. When I was in high school, I saw the first F-16s land in Europe, and, just like the first time I met my wife, I've been smitten ever since."

After graduating from high school at Hahn Air Base, Germany, Aunapu attended the Air Force Academy and obtained a fighter pilot slot. He attended undergraduate pilot training at Vance AFB, Okla., and eventually transitioned to the F-16.

One of Aunapu's most memorable moments involves seeing the work he had put in as an instructor pilot pay off in combat.

"I will never forget deploying to Afghanistan as a reservist within an active-duty fighter squadron in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," Aunapu said. "Though I had previously deployed to Iraq a number of times, deploying to Afghanistan was the most rewarding professionally. Many of the pilots in the 4th Fighter Squadron had, at one time or another, been students of mine."

Aunapu also said he wouldn't be here without those Airmen who keep him flying safe every day.

"Quite simply, I would like to thank our dedicated aircraft maintainers," Aunapu said. "I've been very fortunate. Flying jets that are older than many of the maintainers working on them is testament to the hard work and dedication they put into their profession. Every time I climb up the ladder, I do it with the extreme confidence of knowing countless hours of care have been put into the jet for my one hour of flight -- truly amazing."

Aunapu is one of 253 pilots in the world who have hit 3,000 hours in the F-16.

First some hard learning, then celebration at TEC

by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
I.G. Brown Training and Education Center


4/8/2013 - MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- It started with introductions, like formations, like group discussions - and then sharing personal experiences.

It gave them presentations, homework and tests that broke through comfort zones, like a gauntlet.

It put up barriers of physical fitness and uniform inspections outdoors in the hand-numbing winter air.

But amazingly, officials say, the hundreds of Airmen who arrived here many weeks ago for some tough leadership training made it through to their graduation day at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center.

There were many outstanding efforts. Officials from the Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center announced high achievements in the recent Noncommissioned Officer Academy and Airman Leadership School during an April 4 graduation ceremony.

"I'm proud of you," said Chief Master Sgt. Donald Felch, Lankford EPME Center commandant. "You are to be better leaders as a result of it."

Noncommissioned Officer Academy's, Tech. Sgt. Brian Zeisel, from Alaska, and Airman Leadership School's Staff Sgt. Merci Sand from Minnesota, earned the Commandant Award.

Academic achievement awards were presented to NCOA's Tech. Sgt. Sharlene Shuler from South Carolina and ALS's Senior Airman Adam Wilde from Illinois. There were 33 other Distinguished Graduates in the combined group of 323 students.

The John L. Levitow Award, the highest award bestowed for any Air Force enlisted PME, was earned by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Huber, from Whiteman Air Force Base, and Senior Airman Joseph Pico from New York.

"It's amazing," said Pico, after receiving the top honor. "I would not have been able to achieve it without my flight." He made lifelong friends during the school, he said.

Pico is assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing, New York Air National Guard, in Long Island.

He said his course work challenged and rewarded him. "I can take this with me in my civilian job and as an Air Force weapons instructor."

Guest speaker, Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, challenged the graduates to achieve their best.

"It does not matter where you came from or what your background is, you can choose what you put your minds to," she said.

"I believe that leaders make themselves available for opportunity," she said.

Jelinski-Hall said that the hopeful leaders should remember to follow and expect the highest standards from their Airmen, using the Air Force's Core Values as well as the best standards and ethics. "Keep grounded on them and you will be successful."

Be the best that you can be, Jelinski-Hall said adding that "professional Airmen lead professional Airmen."

"Congratulations on your graduation," she said.

Alaska National Guardsmen rescue snow researcher after 80-foot fall into crevasse

by Maj. Guy Hayes
Alaska National Guard


4/8/2013 - CAMP DENALI, Alaska -- Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued a snowmobiler who fell 80 feet into a glacier crevasse April 4.

According to the Associated Press, Tom Douglas, 41, of Fairbanks, landed unhurt on his feet on a ledge at Jarvis Glacier near Delta Junction.

Alaska State Troopers notified the 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at 6:15 p.m. that a researcher conducting ice and snow tests needed assistance after he and the snowmobile he was riding fell into a crevasse.

"Because of the nature of the mission and need for a specially equipped glacier rescue team and possible hoist requirement, the Alaska Air National Guard was requested to support the rescue," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Carte, superintendent, 11th Air Force RCC. "They accepted the mission at 6:35 p.m. and were airborne at 7:22 p.m. enroute to the scene."

Using an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and HC-130 "King" aircraft, Alaska Air National Guardsmen with the 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson flew to the scene 33 miles south-southeast of Delta Junction.

The HC-130 was first on the scene at 8:30 p.m. and the HH-60 arrived 20 minutes later with Guardian Angels onboard both aircraft.

"The HH-60 set down gently on the surface of the glacier at 8:50 p.m., while the Guardian Angel team assessed the safety of the area," Carte said. "The team leader stepped out onto one of the skis of the helicopter and probed the snow to check the stability and once he determined it was safe, the Guardian Angels departed the helicopter, roped up together for glacier operations."

Traversing 100 meters across the glacier in two-man rope teams, four Guardian Angels moved slowly across the potentially unstable surface to the three-foot wide crevasse where the snowmobiler had fallen into hours earlier.

"The survivor was discovered about 80 feet down into the crevasse," said Maj. Joe Conroy, commander of the 212th Rescue Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard. "There was some concern about him getting past the snow machine, which was on some kind of ledge, so we lowered a harness and climbing tools down to him so he could move himself up safely past the snow machine before Guardian Angels helped him the rest of the way."

At 10:20 p.m. the Guardian Angels secured Douglas and safely airlifted him to Donnelly Airfield where he was dropped off with Alaska State Troopers with no injuries at 11 p.m.

Douglas said he blamed himself for the mishap, saying in the Associated Press article that he has spent a lot of time on the glacier. Venturing into an area he didn't know was safe was a mistake, he told the AP.

"Alaska Guardian Angel teams are specifically trained in glacier operations and pararescuemen from around the country and world come here to hone their skills," Carte said. "Our Alaska Guardsmen are skilled instructors at glacier operations and are very well equipped to handle situations like these, which makes our team one of the most highly skilled glacier rescue teams in the world for pararescue."

The Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded one save for this mission.

Strategic Command Plans for Unexpected, Commander Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., April 8, 2013 – The last thing Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler -- the point man for the U.S. nuclear arsenal as well as space, cyber, ballistic missile and other capabilities -- wants is to be caught by surprise.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, speaks with participants at the command’s 2012 Deterrence Symposium to explore a broad range of deterrence issues, Aug. 8, 2012. Kehler regularly challenges his staff to think about the unexpected so they are prepared to respond to whatever comes their way. U.S. Strategic Command photo by Steve Cunningham
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
As commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Kehler’s job is to ensure U.S. deterrence remains so strong that it dissuades potential adversaries from challenging it.

In the days of the Cold War, the concept of deterrence was relatively straightforward, with both the United States and former Soviet Union recognizing that a nuclear attack by either side would result in “mutually assured destruction,” he told American Forces Press Service.

Today, deterrence is a whole different matter, he said, with a broader array of potential adversaries, all operating in different ways and guided by different motivations. The challenge is to ensure that as the United States confronts this whole new ball game, it doesn’t get dealt a devastating curve ball.

So Kehler regularly challenges his staff to think about the unthinkable to ensure they’re ready for whatever comes their way.

“The question for us is, ‘Are we ready to deal with uncertainty?’” he said. “Have we prepared ourselves in a way that acknowledges that surprise is going to happen -- and that surprise can be deadly if we allow it to be so?”

Being open to “alternative futures,” he said, “helps us think about things we are not thinking about today, and therefore, prepare as a matter of course for things that may not unfold the way we think they will.”

Kehler is such a firm believer in out-of-the-box thinking that he’s made “prepare for uncertainty” one of his top five command priorities. He and his senior staff regularly gather around a conference table to ponder “what ifs” that may seem inconceivable to many.

“This isn’t about what happens if Martians land,” Kehler said. “This is about coming up with some plausible scenarios that make you step back and go, ‘Hmmm ….’”

Doing so presents situations in a new light, and sometimes with new insights, the general said.

“I believe you can train yourself to recognize that you probably don’t have it right, and that there is going to be something else out there,” he said.

Kehler cited historical examples when an unrecognized “something else out there” had a devastating effect on the United States.

“I think it’s our responsibility to go back and ask ourselves, ‘What were we thinking on 6 December 1941, and then on 8 December 1941?” he said, referring to the dates surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor. “And what were we thinking on 10 September 2001, and then on September 12?”

Kehler said he largely agrees with those who blame the 9/11 attacks on “a failure of imagination.”

“If that is so, then we had better be imaginative now,” he said. “Because as complex and uncertain as the world is, we are not going to get all this right. It is not going to be all neatly presented to us in a planning problem. And that makes it more important than ever that we understand the things that are out there.”
Tabletop exercises and brainstorming sessions might not identify the exact next threat or predict who will launch it, and when, he acknowledged.

“But at least we will have given ourselves a bunch of challenges to think about that I believe help us prepare for the day when something has happened that you just didn’t foresee,” Kehler said. “That way, we’re not left flabbergasted and flat-footed here because something happened, because we weren’t so locked in on things that we didn’t recognize that it could happen.”

New Horizons engineering assistant makes a difference

by Master Sgt. James Law
Task Force Mahogany Public Affairs


4/5/2013 - BELIZE CITY, Belize  -- Two airmen arrive at the construction site of the future Crooked Tree Primary Government School in a three-quarter ton truck, step out and unload a few tools of their trade.

Staff Sgt. Joel Bradley, an engineering assistant assigned to the 823rd Red Horse Squadron, carries a tripod over his left shoulder and an auto level in his right hand as he walks toward and surveys the site he will be working at for the next 90 days

Bradley, deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla., is one of approximately 500 airmen who will be participating in a training exercise known as New Horizons.

As part of the exercise, Red Horse airmen will be partnering with Belize engineers to build school structures at four different locations in Belize.

"This is a great opportunity and makes you feel proud," said Bradley. "Knowing the schools we are building will provide added opportunities for the children for years to come is what is most rewarding."

Although this son of a U.S. Marine has deployed multiple times before, this is the first deployment in his six-year career as a member of Red Horse. Bradley explained how this training exercise is providing him an opportunity to grow.

"Here we get to do more than just our job. We get to learn and have hands-on experience with the different jobs within civil engineering," said Bradley. "I enjoy it. It makes you more well rounded and gives you a better perspective of what everyone does."

Bradley's work ethic and eagerness to always put forth his best effort has also earned the attention of his supervisor.

"Joel is one of the hardest workers we have," said Master Sgt. Michael Carlson, engineering assistant noncommissioned officer in charge for New Horizons. "He is very knowledgeable in our career field and always willing to lend a hand wherever it is needed."

Life as a first sergeant

by Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/8/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- While most jobs have normal office hours, a first sergeant works around the clock. When asked when his normal duty day starts, he laughed at the question.

"I don't have set hours; I don't come to work every day and sit in my office at 7:30 a.m.," said Senior Master Sergeant Joseph Krussick, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron first sergeant.

A typical day for this first sergeant usually begins around 5 a.m., when his alarm clock somehow convinces him to get out of bed. Once he's up and ready to go, he heads to the gym to start his morning workout.

"I typically go to the gym before whatever is going on that day, even on squadron physical training days," said Krussick. "I will typically go and work out on my own first because I want to be able to help push people during PT. If I get a good workout in first then I've already taken care of myself, and I can focus on helping push other 35 LRS Airmen."

After PT he attends any morning meetings he has, takes his children to school whenever he has the chance and then heads to the office to begin his work day. He walks through his office door and barely has a chance to get settled when Airmen start coming to his door and his phone starts ringing.

"I don't have an exact list of things I do every day," said Krussick. "Every day can be different and challenging."

Some of the challenges that he faced recently were visiting an Airman in confinement, dealing with emergency leave issues and out-processing an Airman that was getting discharged.

"The worst thing about being a first sergeant is when you realize that no matter how hard you try, you just can't help somebody," said Krussick. "Whether it's because you're going to end up kicking them out of the Air Force or they're just going to continue to make bad decisions. Sometimes it feels like you care more about their career than they do."

Though his job as a first sergeant is quite hectic, he still makes time to go around his squadron and see his Airmen -- all 235 of them.

"I wish I could see the faces of all the Airmen in the 35 LRS every single day," said Krussick. "Unfortunately, it doesn't quite happen like that. From the moment I got here this morning there's been a line outside of my door, but I typically try to get out of my office once every couple of days to walk through the entire unit and see everybody."

Every day may not be the same in terms of being a first sergeant, it could be good news or it could be bad.

"I chose to become a first sergeant because I wanted to let people know that we really do care about each and every Airman that comes in the door," said Krussick. "I wanted to make sure that if someone reached out or needed a hand, they got the help they needed. I wanted to be the person that provides that help. I may not have all the answers, but I promise you I know a lot of smart people that can get me those answers and get me that assistance so I can take better care of my Airmen."

Regardless of the situation, Krussick is prepared to be the best first sergeant he can be.

"I just can't put into words what I do every day with the exception of this: I do whatever I can to support my commander and to support every Airman in the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron. If I'm doing those things then I'm doing my job," said Krussick.

Airman saves friend's life half a world away

by 1st Lt. David Liapis
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


4/8/2013 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFNS) -- Most Airmen have accomplished computer-based suicide prevention training and are familiar with the "typical" scenario - a bold Airman asking the right questions to someone who isn't acting "right." In these training modules, the interaction is almost always in person, face-to-face. But, as one Incirlik Airman recently learned, this is not always the way it happens.

Staff Sgt. Leilani Bass, 39th Aerospace Medical Squadron service technician, was recently on a video-conference call with her best friend from a state side Air Force base when she knew something wasn't right. Based on conversations during a recent visit with her friend and what she heard and saw that night, she knew she had to take action. Of course, being more than 6,000 miles away, there was not much she could do except talk to her friend ... and someone else.

"When I saw the gun, I thought, 'this is real,'" said Bass. "I picked up a DSN phone while keeping my friend on Face time and dialed zero."

Even though Bass ran into difficulties getting connected with the right people, her persistence paid off and she was eventually connected with the 9-1-1 dispatch in her friend's local area. Meanwhile, the situation was intensifying.

"She held up the gun and told me to tell her I love her and then to hang up," said Bass. "I told her, 'No way. That's not going to happen.' It was then she chambered a round and made sure I could see the bullet load. Then she hung up."

Bass made multiple failed attempts to reconnect with her friend, desperately wanting to know if she was OK. Unable to do anything but wait and hope, she called her friend's mom and let her know what was going on. She then called the dispatcher back and asked for an update. She was instructed to wait 20 minutes and then call her friend's mother to get details.

Distraught and feeling powerless, Bass anxiously counted the seconds as the 20 minutes passed. During that time, her friend answered a call from her mother and remained on the line with her until the police arrived.

Once Bass was able to speak with the mother, she was relieved to learn her friend was found unharmed and taken to a hospital. The mother was in shock, but was able to voice her gratitude to Bass.

"She said, 'You saved her life. Thank you," said Bass.

Bass' friend called her not long after that night to thank her for helping to save her life.

What started out as a typical video-conference call to a friend turned into a dramatic life-saving event. Bass was determined not to let distance or lack of courage prevent her from taking the necessary steps to save her friend's life. It was obvious something was wrong, and she had the courage to do something about it.

"General Breedlove, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, has asked all Airmen to be 'sensors,' which means to be proactive about preventing suicide," said Chief Master Sgt. Nancy Judge, 39th Air Base Wing command chief. "Sergeant Bass did just that, and now she is more than just a perfect example of a sensor, she's a hero!"

Bass may be a true hero, but she also admitted she has been through times in her life when she thought it would be better not to go on. However, she reached out in her times of need and found friends and mental health staff who cared for her and helped her through.

"Asking for help is not a weakness. It's a strength," stated Bass. "You've got to be able to admit you need help, and that takes strength."

Editor's note: If you or someone you know is thinking about hurting yourself or others, help is available! Contact Mental Health, a chaplain, Family Advocacy or someone in your chain of command today. You can find helpful resources on your base's Resiliency Webpage or the Air Force's suicide prevention Webpage.

422nd JTS makes first trip down range

by Capt. Sybil Taunton
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs


4/8/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ -- Members of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's 422nd Joint Tactics Squadron recently traveled to various deployment locations supporting operations in and around Afghanistan to conduct face-to-face interviews with deployed Airmen and collect real-time tactical lessons learned directly from ongoing combat support missions.

The primary mission of the of the 422nd JTS is to collect lessons learned and best practices from the field and use that information to develop tactical-level doctrine in the form of Air Force Tactics, Techniques and Procedures used to improve cross-functional mission effectiveness and continuity.

Maj. Gen. William Bender, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, recently authored an editorial drawing attention to the need for greater cross-functional Air Force support in gathering the information needed for the TTP process. As a result of this article, the 422 JTS requested and received U.S. Air Forces Central approval for the trip in order to open channels of communication directly with Airmen in theater. Building upon Bender's vision, the trip looked at combat operations with a cross-functional perspective.

"This endeavor was the first time any Air Force organization has traveled to the area of responsibility to capture real-time tactical lessons learned and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures that directly support expeditionary combat support Airmen," said Lt. Col. Wesley Kirk, 422nd JTS commander. "The information we garnered through our discussions and interviews will be used to update pre-deployment training, as well as update existing and identify new and emerging TTPs. We can now ensure all ECS Airmen deploy with the most current training and TTPs that reflect the current fight, minimizing spin-up training once Airmen arrive at their deployed location."

Kirk added that in the current fiscal environment a lot of discussion went into the importance of face-to-face interviews. It was decided that the trip, which directly contributes to vital predeployment training, was important enough to warrant spending unit travel funds on.

"It was important for us to go in person and show Airmen that we truly care about the work they are doing, and not just sitting behind our computers sending them surveys," said Tech. Sgt. Jose Herrera, 422nd JTS.

Capt. Anthony Behney, TTP flight commander for the 422nd JTS, elaborated on the importance of the face-to-face interviews.

"There is a lot going on down range that has never happened before. So if they had tried to explain in just an email, we wouldn't have understood the full scope of what was happening," said Behney. "When you're there in person you can ask them to clarify and say, 'what do you mean?' or 'show me the technology you are using.'"

The small team of 422nd JTS personnel visited with Airmen at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, the Transist Center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, as well as the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and 609th Combined Air and Space Operations Center at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. During the visits they were able to collect information from a variety of combat support career fields including security forces, civil engineering, logistics, intelligence, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

"In talking with the various career fields, we not only gained support for TTPs we are already working, but also found new ideas for future projects as well," Behney said.

According to Behney, the 422nd JTS hopes to travel back to deployment locations at least every six months to continue getting up-to-date information on lessons learned and best practices.

"We want our trips to be based on need, and not just objective numbers," said Behney. "We want to take notifications of when innovative things are happening, and get a small team out there to see it first-hand and document it."

Airmen at all levels and from all units can get involved in the development of future AFTTPs and help improve the way Expeditionary Combat Support Airmen operate. The 422nd JTS has developed a repository where Air Force personnel with access to Air Mobility Command's Enterprise Information Management Site can submit lessons learned from contingency operations directly to this repository.

Tech. Sgt. Aubrey Vasquez, another member of the 422nd JTS team that traveled down range, emphasized the importance of getting more Airmen involved in the information gathering process.

"People need to know and understand that there is a tactical lessons learned process, and it needs to become a part of our Air Force culture," said Vasquez.

To read Maj. Gen. Bender's editorial, please follow this link: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2012/07/10439399

The lessons learned repository can be found using this link:
https://eim.amc.af.mil/org/afec/ttp/default.aspx

For more information regarding the 422nd JTS and the TTP process, please contact the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs office at (609) 754-7500.

Moulage, making wounds real

by Airman Ty-Rico Lea
JBER Public Affairs


4/8/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- More than 20 Airmen participated in exercise Polar Force 13-3, simulating victims of various scenarios at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson April 7.

During these exercises, groups of augmentees are used as moulage victims; they are first given cards that detail what their injuries are; then, trained moulage artists go to work.

Once individuals are done being moulaged, they are transported to designated areas such as mortuary settings, simulated deployed locations and Self-Aid Buddy Care stations.

"The majority of what I do for moulage is for exercise purposes, but I also perform moulage crafts at the simulation center," said Will Enfinger, a simulation operator with the 673d Medical Group.

Will Enfinger is also an ICF international employee, which is a company contracted by the Air Force to work the medical modeling and simulation training program.

Enfinger conducts training programs educating individuals on proper techniques of moulage crafting for emergency medical technician training, trauma nurse training and pediatric training.

"Taking the time to do the moulages can range anywhere from five minutes to an hour," Enfinger said.

Service members from the 673d and 176th Medical Groups saw first-hand what moulage make-up can create.

"The moulage makes this portion of the exercise more realistic and gives us a visual we can work with," said Senior Airman Krystal Bell, an aerospace medical technician journeyman with the 673d Surgical Operations Squadron.

Moulage can alter anyone's appearance to resemble minor injuries or casualties.

"The use of moulage during the exercise almost had me convinced that the injuries were real," said Airman 1st Class Sean O' Brien with the 176th Medical Support Squadron aerospace medicine technician apprentice.

Strategic Command plans for unexpected, commander says

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service


4/8/2013 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFNS) -- The last thing Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler wants is to be caught by surprise.

He is the point man for the U.S. nuclear arsenal as well as space, cyber, ballistic missile and other capabilities. As commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Kehler's job is to ensure U.S. deterrence remains so strong that it dissuades potential adversaries from challenging it.

In the days of the Cold War, the concept of deterrence was relatively straightforward, with both the United States and former Soviet Union recognizing that a nuclear attack by either side would result in "mutually assured destruction," Kehler told the American Forces Press Service.

Today, deterrence is a whole different matter, he said, with a broader array of potential adversaries, all operating in different ways and guided by different motivations. The challenge is to ensure that as the United States confronts this whole new ball game, it doesn't get dealt a devastating curve ball.

So Kehler regularly challenges his staff to think about the unthinkable to ensure they're ready for whatever comes their way.

"The question for us is, 'Are we ready to deal with uncertainty?'" he said. "Have we prepared ourselves in a way that acknowledges that surprise is going to happen -- and that surprise can be deadly if we allow it to be so?"

Being open to "alternative futures," he said, "helps us think about things we are not thinking about today, and therefore, prepare as a matter of course for things that may not unfold the way we think they will."

Kehler is such a firm believer in out-of-the-box thinking that he's made "prepare for uncertainty" one of his top five command priorities. He and his senior staff regularly gather around a conference table to ponder "what ifs" that may seem inconceivable to many.

"This isn't about what happens if Martians land," Kehler said. "This is about coming up with some plausible scenarios that make you step back and go, 'Hmmm ...'"

Doing so presents situations in a new light, and sometimes with new insights, the general said.

"I believe you can train yourself to recognize that you probably don't have it right, and that there is going to be something else out there," he said.

Kehler cited historical examples when an unrecognized "something else out there" had a devastating effect on the United States.

"I think it's our responsibility to go back and ask ourselves, 'What were we thinking on 6 December 1941, and then on 8 December 1941?" he said, referring to the dates surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor. "And what were we thinking on 10 September 2001, and then on September 12?"

Kehler said he largely agrees with those who blame the 9/11 attacks on "a failure of imagination."

"If that is so, then we had better be imaginative now," he said. "Because as complex and uncertain as the world is, we are not going to get all this right. It is not going to be all neatly presented to us in a planning problem. And that makes it more important than ever that we understand the things that are out there."

Tabletop exercises and brainstorming sessions might not identify the exact next threat or predict who will launch it, and when, he acknowledged.

"But at least we will have given ourselves a bunch of challenges to think about that I believe help us prepare for the day when something has happened that you just didn't foresee," Kehler said. "That way, we're not left flabbergasted and flat-footed here because something happened, because we weren't so locked in on things that we didn't recognize that it could happen."

Hagel Seeks to Limit Convening Authority Powers Under UCMJ


By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will ask Congress to change military law so that commanders cannot overturn major convictions, the secretary announced in a written statement issued today.

Article 60 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice currently gives power to “convening authorities,” or commanders, to set aside a conviction or decrease punishment following a court-martial, although convening authorities cannot change a “not guilty” verdict or increase a sentence.

Under the secretary’s proposed changes, a convening authority would no longer have the authority to set aside a conviction for major offenses such as sexual assault. The accused will continue to have the right to appeal the conviction. Also, convening authorities would be required to explain in writing any changes made to the findings or sentences of a court-martial.

“These changes, if enacted by Congress, would help ensure that our military justice system works fairly, ensures due process, and is accountable,” the secretary wrote in today’s statement. “These changes would increase the confidence of service members and the public that the military justice system will do justice in every case.”

His proposal has the full support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the service secretaries, Hagel said. “I look forward to working with Congress on these proposals and others to improve accountability for these crimes,” he added.

Hagel ordered a review of Article 60 in March, after convening authority Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, the 3rd Air Force commander, overturned the sexual assault conviction of Air Force Lt. Col. James Wilkerson. Last year, a panel of military officers found Wilkerson guilty in court-martial proceedings at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The judge sentenced him to a year in prison and dismissal from the Air Force.

Franklin was the convening authority for the court-martial and reviewed the finished case and sentence. The general used his Article 60 authority to dismiss the charges against Wilkerson, who returned to service and was reassigned.

Defense officials speaking to reporters on background today said the proposed changes to Article 60 are not based on that case alone, but are part of a range of comprehensive actions the department has taken and will take related to sexual assault in the military.

Hagel acknowledged in his statement that despite the efforts of senior leaders throughout the department, the crime of sexual assault “is damaging this institution.”

Thousands of victims in DOD, both male and female, have seen their lives and careers upended by sexual assault, Hagel said.

“And that is unacceptable,” he said in his statement issued today. “The current situation should offend every single service member and civilian who, like me, is proud of their association with the United States military.”

The secretary said he is reviewing other options to strengthen the department's sexual assault prevention and response efforts, and he will announce his decisions soon.

“Consistent with the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, I will soon be naming individuals to sit on independent panels to review and assess the systems used to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving sexual assault, and judicial proceedings of sexual assault cases,” Hagel said. “I will closely review their recommendations when complete.”

The secretary said he’s committed to taking steps that bring about tangible change and real results.
“Addressing the problem of sexual assault will remain a top priority for the department's leaders for as long as this crime continues to hurt our people and weaken the force,” Hagel said.

U.S., foreign officers exchange ideas during Pacific Unity

by Tech Sgt. LuCelia Ball
PACAF Public Affairs


4/8/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Pacific Air Forces Airmen hosted civil engineers and security forces personnel from several Asia-Pacific nations as they participated in a subject matter expert exchange as part of Pacific Unity/Defender April 1 through 5 here.

Members of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Forces, Royal Thai Air Force, Royal New Zealand Army and Royal Cambodian Air Force participated in the exchange, part of U.S. Pacific Command's Theater Security Cooperation Program, co-hosted by senior civil engineering and security forces personnel from PACAF.

The purpose of the event is to build partnership capacity with foreign nations so we can interact with them more efficiently, said Capt. Khary Davis, PACAF CE planner, who facilitated the SME exchange for the CE personnel.

PACAF Installations and Mission Support partnered with PACAF International Affairs Division to develop an event curriculum and select a list of attendees. About five SME exchanges take place every year at PACAF.

"Depending on some of the topics that were discussed in a previous year, we may also schedule a SME exchange in a different country," said Davis.

During the event, twelve foreign participants began with an overview of PACOM and PACAF and then toured military units and civilian organizations to observe key facilities and programs, training, tactics and techniques used by CE and SF personnel.

"At the moment, I'm working in an operation-level headquarters and it helps to understand the area of where PACOM has interests and where PACAF has bases and where they do engagements," said Royal New Zealand Army Maj. Jono Meldrum, who is participating for the first time. "These are things that New Zealand does as well. It was good to get an understanding of how it works here."

The group toured facilities such as the Navy Facility Command Hawaii's Wastewater Treatment Plant, the 647th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight and the East West Center, an organization that promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Each person was able to learn about U.S. capabilities for infrastructure, disaster response and security and discuss each other's methods for the same.

The event also allowed for a greater understanding of how civil authorities and military members work hand-in-hand in some situations.

"We visited the (93d Civil Support Team) unit and it was interesting to learn how they are one of the few U.S. units who can respond for the state as well as for the federal government," said Meldrum. "There are some similarities with how it happens back home. Our local commanders have a certain authority to respond in a similar manner."

The relationship also made an impression with the members of the RTAF.

"I was amazed at the unity of command and control and the level of cooperation between the military and civilian units," said RTAF Wing Commander Watchara Sakunrat, who works in his unit water and sanitation division. "This is something that our country is trying to strengthen."

On the security side, the personnel learned about non-lethal weapons options, basic military security missions, how U.S. security forces units are set up and how they execute policy and development from PACAF headquarters.

"The purpose of the event is to foster relationships with our partner nations; get to know their capabilities as well as limitations and they in turn learn ours so that when we go out on future engagements, such as contingency operations, we know how each other operates," said Mr. Frank Deniz, security forces readiness specialist and Pacific Unity/Defender program manager.

Airmen unload 40,000 books for children

by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/8/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Sixty-four Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., assisted First Book Tucson with unloading approximately 40,000 books at the Bookman's warehouse in Tucson, Ariz., April 2.

First Book Tucson began in 2008 and is one of 150 First Books around the U.S. Their mission is to give children from low income families the opportunity to read their very own books.

Airmen unloaded, sorted and stacked books for children from pre-kindergarten to high school.

"When we got here, all the books were packed up," said Staff Sgt. Brianna Riedel, 25th Operational Weather Squadron weather forecaster. "We opened all the boxes, unpacked all the books and then started organizing them against the walls in piles base on the titles, so that people can sort them even further tomorrow."

First Book Tucson won these books by participating in a First Book National contest.

"We've never had an event like this before," said Tami Arthur, First Book Tucson's grants/events chair. "We participated in a First Book National contest. Each organization needed to sign up at least 300 groups from around the state in a four month period. So, as a thank you to all those who participated and signed up, we are holding this distribution event for them."

As a result, each teacher should receive 130 books for their students.

Arthur stated the premise of First Book is to always give children their own books. The books are never given to a library or a teacher to keep in the classroom. If teachers or libraries would like books for themselves, they can purchase them through the marketplace on the First Book Tucson website.

Approximately 6,600 children will be receiving a book throughout Tucson, and the
majority will be from lower income families.

"That's the criteria," Arthur said. "At least 70 percent of the children we serve are at or below the poverty level."

Mary Harvey, First Book Tucson chair, stated that military children and schools are also allowed to participate.

"Military children are eligible, whether they are low income or not," Harvey said. " We have not reached out to military children or schools before, however, we would like to partner with them. Military members can join First Book, and they can purchase books and ask for grants. They can apply through us."

Kentucky Soldiers make big impact on small Comoros island

Click photo for screen-resolution image
MORONI, Comoros (4/8/13) - The last place Soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard ever thought they would be is on the Comoros Islands (officially called Union of the Comoros) off the coast of Eastern Africa.

After all, they were deploying to Djibouti, 1,600 miles north of the Comoros.

But that is exactly where Capt. Matthew Doughman, 1st Lt. Justin Gilliam, and Spc. Ryan Stull would end up. The mission was a 1-week military-to-military exchange to provide 28 Comoran soldiers “best practices” in first aid.

The Comoros is roughly twice the size of Louisville and is made up of three islands of more than 700,000 people. It is strategically located in the mouth of the Mozambique Channel in the western Indian Ocean roughly 200 miles east of Mozambique and 200 miles northwest of Madagascar.

In April 2012, heavy rains caused the worst flooding in decades in the Comoros. These downpours triggered landslides, collapsed bridges, contaminated fresh water supplies and isolated many communities from evacuation. With approximately 46,000 people displaced, France and India, along with the Red Crescent and Red Cross and funding from the U.S.’s USAID, began sending disaster-relief teams and supplies to the affected regions of the country.
To better prepare Comoros to handle future disasters, the country submitted a request to the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar, which also serves as home for the U.S. ChargĂ© d’Affaires to the Comoros, for a U.S. military-to-military team. The team would provide medical training on first aid, casualty evacuation procedures, CPR, and field hygiene to the Comoran military, whose members are often the first responders to a disaster.

After receiving the request at the embassy, it was sent to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) offices in Djibouti, where the Kentucky National Guard’s Task Force Longrifles was selected for the mission.

Doughman, a native of Crestview, Fla., served as mission commander and said he was thrilled to get an opportunity to visit the Comoros and work with the Comoran military.

“You can probably count on your hand the number of times National Guard Soldiers of any state have gotten to train in this beautiful country,” said Doughman.  “You could tell the Comoran Soldiers had a huge sense of accomplishment and took the training very seriously as well,” he added.

Gilliam, of Lexington, Ky., a medical services officer for Task Force Longrifles, was also selected to provide support for the mission. His responsibilities included teaching preventative medicine, CPR, and casualty-evacuation techniques.

“Many of these Soldiers have never received formal CPR training and I think the floods of 2012 have really provided them an experience that emphasizes why it is so important,” said Gilliam.

1st Lt. Yasser Said, the Comoran Liaison Officer who helped coordinate the mission, is excited about future partnerships as well.

“It’s a good thing to have the U.S. Soldiers here and we hope to have more of these kinds of partnerships in the future,” he said at the completion of the training.

All of the Task Force Longrifles Soldiers agreed the best part of the exchange was seeing how proud the Comoran soldiers were to have first aid skills so that they can better serve their fellow soldiers and civilians in times of crisis.

“The Comoran Soldiers were incredibly thankful to receive this training and I hope we made as big an impact on them as they have on us,” Doughman said.