Military News

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

AF medic receives AFCAM

by Airman 1st Class Ashlin Federick
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


4/9/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- Senior Airman Daniel Shimanski, 436th Medical Operations Squadron emergency medical technician, was awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal April 5, 2013, at the base theater on Dover Air Force Base, Del.

The AFCAM recognizes any Air Force military member who has been under direct and hostile fire while operating in an unsecured space or physically engaging hostile forces with direct and lethal fire. An individual airman basic through colonel can be awarded this medal for ground or air combat.

On Sept. 28, 2012, while deployed with the Army's 414th Transportation Company, a Reserve unit based out of South Carolina, Shimanski's convoy was bombarded with small arms fire and improvised explosive devices. The second vehicle in his convoy was the first to be struck by an IED. Shimanski's team along with a wrecker drove up to where the vehicle was struck. As soon as they pulled up a second IED went off underneath the wrecker and injured two Soldiers on the ground. Shimanski began taking care of his patients when they started getting shot at from all directions. His gunner and he returned fire for approximately 15 minutes. A couple of hours later a third IED detonated approximately 20 meters away from Shimanski while he was taking care of his patients. Fortunately it only shook up everyone on the convoy. Twelve hours later they were finally able to return to base.

Tech. Sgt. John Carlton, 436th Medical Group executive officer, said Shimanski certainly deserved the award because of his outstanding performance of medical care and personally taking part in combat operations. He made it possible for those patients to be recovered as well as the recovery of the damaged vehicle and the eventual safe return of the remainder of the convoy.

"I know Shimanski to be a loyal Air Force member who has proven many times his worth as a medic, but whom also has now proven his courage in battle," said Carlton, who was also Shimanski's supervisor at the time.

The medal features an eagle grasping arrows in one talon, representing the preparedness for war. And an olive branch in the other talon, representing the goal of peace. The eagle is attached to a ribbon of scarlet with diagonal yellow stripes.

Shimanski said it is an honor to be one of the few Air Force medics to receive this award. He said it holds sentimental value to him.

"I think it will show all other medics that even though you might work in a clinic right now, you never know when you could get orders to deploy with the Army," said Shimanski. "You have to keep the mindset that you are a warrior medic."

KC-46 progressing on track

by Daryl Mayer
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


4/9/2013 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio -- The top acquisition priority in the Air Force -- acquiring a new aerial refueling capability -- is proceeding "on track" according to Maj. Gen. John Thompson, program executive officer for tankers.

Two years and several key milestones after the contract was awarded, a great deal of progress has been made. The Preliminary Design Review completed last year ensured the basic design would meet the key performance parameters required by the Air Force. Now, the program is steaming toward the completion of the Critical Design Review later this year, setting the stage to build and fly the first KC-46 in 2015.

Initial concerns that sequestration could force a contract renegotiation appear to be allayed based on increased flexibility afforded by the recent continuing resolution.

"There is no final assessment yet, but it appears positive," Thompson said.

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46 tankers to begin recapitalizing the KC-135 fleet. The initial delivery target is for 18 tankers by 2017. Production will then ramp up to deliver all 179 tankers by 2028.

"When the final KC-46s are delivered in 2028, they will replace KC-135s that are on the order of 80 years old," Thompson said, emphasizing the criticality of meeting program milestones.

The KC-46 contract has been widely cited as a model for future programs. Characterized as "fair to both parties" by Thompson, financial risk for the Air Force is limited to $4.9 billion for the development program, which includes the initial four aircraft.

The general was quick to add that Boeing has the contract, which is "worth about $32 billion in then-year dollars, goes from about two years ago out into the 2020s and is something that they will be able to leverage into a very important weapon system for the United States Air Force for decades to come. Absolutely, it is a win-win."

The KC-46 is a commercial derivative based on the Boeing 767-200, according to Col. Shaun Morris, KC-46 system program manager. When a new 767-2C is completed in the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., it will be flown to a Boeing facility in Puget Sound to complete the military modification that turns it into a KC-46.

The aircraft brings a wide range of new capabilities to the warfighter. It is 15-20 percent larger than the KC-135 and can carry 58 passengers, 54 aeromedical patients and 18 cargo pallets -- all substantially more than the legacy aircraft. Performance is also improved with the ability to perform boom and drogue refueling operations on the same sortie, though not simultaneously, using the 1,200 gallon-per-minute fly-by-wire centerline boom or the 400 gallon-per-minute Centerline Drogue System. In addition, the KC-46 can be equipped with two 400 gallon-per-minute Wing Air Refueling Pods that can be used to refuel two aircraft simultaneously.

The new tanker will be fully capable of day and night operations and also be a receiver itself, meaning it can be refueled in flight which will improve loiter time -- all important characteristics offering increased flexibility for mission planners.

Inside the digital glass cockpit, pilots will find complete flight and weather data on 15-inch displays. Immediately behind at the boom operator station, 24-inch displays will offer a three-dimensional view just below multiple monitors that show a panoramic 185 degree field of view. Pilots will also be able to bring up refueling operations on cockpit displays.

On the near horizon, the Program Office is looking to award a contract for the Aircrew Training System, which includes a KC-46 simulator. Then in 2014, the office, in concert with Air Mobility Command, will begin serious initial requirements work on the second phase, known as KC-Y, of the three-phase program to replace more of the aging tanker fleet.

Strategic Command Priorities Chart Way Forward

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2013 – With a broad array of challenges and a new defense strategy based on a leaner, more agile and technologically advanced force, U.S. Strategic Command has widened its aperture to focus on priorities that extend beyond its historic nuclear deterrence mission, its commander reported.

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Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, shares his command priorities, all focused on providing strong U.S. deterrence and readiness capabilities, with members of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce near his command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., March 9, 2012. U.S. Strategic Command photo by Dan Rohan
  

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“My No. 1 priority remains the same: to deter a nuclear attack with a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force,” Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler told American Forces Press Service.

It’s a mission he said will remain paramount for as long as nuclear weapons exist.

Ensuring a credible nuclear deterrent -- one the president could call on to go operational, if needed -- requires maintenance of the triad of ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable heavy bombers, an assured warning and command-and-control system and a safe, reliable nuclear stockpile, Kehler said.

While emphasizing the need for modernization -- and, in the case of the Ohio-class submarine, replacement -- Kehler verified the viability of these systems to Congress earlier this month.

“I can assure you that today’s nuclear weapons and triad of delivery platforms are safe, secure and effective,” he told the Senate and House armed services committees.

Recognizing that deterrence in light of today’s threats and challenges requires a broad range of capabilities, Kehler reported several command priorities that align with Stratcom’s full spectrum of missions and responsibilities:

-- Deter nuclear attack with a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force;
-- Partner with other combatant commands to win today;
-- Deter nuclear attack with a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force;
-- Respond to new challenges in space;
-- Build cyberspace capability and capacity; and
-- Prepare for uncertainty.

Unlike most U.S. combatant commands that focus on a specific geographic region, Stratcom works hand in hand with every other combatant command to provide capabilities their missions demand, Kehler said. This includes satellites that allow them to communicate, cyber defenses that protect their networks, and GPS capabilities that help them navigate and, when necessary, to lock in on and engage targets.

“We believe we are standing in the theaters, shoulder-to-shoulder with theater combatant commanders,” Kehler said. “We are essential to the function of the geographic combatant commands. And we are critical in the fight.”

After a decade of conflict, Stratcom is working with its partners across the Defense Department to institutionalize lessons learned, and improve the support it provides to current operations and responses to future threats, he said.

In addition, concerned by increased activity in space and the proliferation of capabilities that could threaten space-based operations on which the U.S. military depends, Stratcom is focused on ensuring its systems are available, whenever and wherever they are needed, Kehler said.

“If space and cyberspace are the great enablers for the American way of warfare, and I believe they are, then we have got to make sure those remain enablers,” Kehler said. “What we don’t want is for them to become points of vulnerability to exploit, and to prevent us from waging the American way of warfare.”
The command has spent much of the past year improving its contingency plans and enhancing the resilience of its systems, the general told Congress.

Kehler also noted the explosive growth in hostile cyber activities -- both in quantity and intensity -- and the threat they pose to military operations. Working largely through its subordinate command, U.S. Cyber Command, Stratcom is continuing its efforts to protect U.S. military access to and freedom of action in cyberspace, the general reported.

Despite the myriad security challenges the United States faces today, Kehler said he’s made a concerted effort to get the Stratcom staff to look over the horizon to discern threats yet to materialize.

“We expend considerable effort trying to understand the emerging strategic environment to avoid or limit the impact of surprise which military history makes clear is a deadly enemy,” he told the congressional panels.

“The question for us is, as we prepare for the future, 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?”

Soldier Missing from Korean War Identified




The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a serviceman, who was unaccounted-for from the Korean War, has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr. of Washington, Ind., will be buried April 17, in Arlington National Cemetery.  Faith was a veteran of World War II and went on to serve in the Korean War.  In late 1950, Faith's 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, which was attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), was advancing along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir, in North Korea.  From Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 1950, the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces (CPVF) encircled and attempted to overrun the U.S. position.  During this series of attacks, Faith's commander went missing, and Faith assumed command of the 31st RCT.  As the battle continued, the 31st RCT, which came to be known as "Task Force Faith," was forced to withdraw south along Route 5 to a more defensible position.  During the withdrawal, Faith continuously rallied his troops, and personally led an assault on a CPVF position.

Records compiled after the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, to include eyewitness reports from survivors of the battle, indicated that Faith was seriously injured by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, and subsequently died from those injuries on Dec. 2, 1950.  His body was not recovered by U.S. forces at that time.  Faith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor¬¬ - the United States' highest military honor - for personal acts of exceptional valor during the battle.

In 2004, a joint U.S. and Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (D.P.R.K) team surveyed the area where Faith was last seen.  His remains were located and returned to the U.S. for identification.

To identify Faith's remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, compiled by DPMO and JPAC researchers, and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparison.  They also used mitochondrial DNA - which matched Faith's brother.

Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.  Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American teams.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

Future joint leaders wrestle with fictional world in crisis

by Courtesy Public Affairs Center of Excellence
Air University


4/9/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al  -- Imagine a worst case scenario for the world 10 years from now. What if -- almost simultaneously -- the major military powers of the world find themselves in situations that could rapidly escalate beyond control? Terrorist attacks once again rattle America's cities, refugees flee across borders while pandemic diseases ravage mega-cities and cyber and space attacks disconnect major sectors of our information-driven world. Too extraordinary to happen? In fact, none of these events is beyond the realm of possibility.

On Monday, Lt. Gen. David Fadok, commander and president of the Air University, will welcome 132 students from six senior-level military colleges and the National Intelligence University for the 30th annual Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Exercise, or JLASS-EX. The wargame runs through April 19 at the Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education.

The event provides future leaders an opportunity to confront these kinds of serious issues in a learning environment before dealing with them in reality. JLASS-EX is a showcase wargame that integrates all the senior-level colleges across DoD, according to Maj. Gen. Walter Givhan, LeMay Center commander.

During the five-day exercise, students and faculty from the Air War College, Army War College, Marine Corps War College, Naval War College, National War College, the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and the National Intelligence University will critically analyze key issues at the strategic and operational levels of war.

Students from the service-specific colleges generally represent geographic combatant commands, while the Eisenhower School and National War College students role-play national-level policy makers. In addition to the students, more than 100 faculty members, subject-matter experts and technical and support staff keep the game focused and on track.

The exercise director, Army Col. Jim Muskopf, emphasized that not all the simulated problems require a U.S.-only military solution.

"Students will use diplomacy and combined forces to execute national- and theater-level strategies, which also helps each school meet their desired learning objectives," he said.

Reggie Harper, JLASS-EX intelligence director, said the in-depth fictional scenarios are designed to challenge this select group of future senior leaders to their limits. While addressing multiple global contingencies, students will wrestle with issues related to anti-access and area denial, homeland security, weapons proliferation and information operations.

The exercise occurs in two phases: a distributed phase at the parent senior-leader colleges' home station and an execution phase at Maxwell. During the distributed phase, students communicate via web contact, telephone and videoteleconferencing to develop theater strategies, select courses of action and request initial force laydowns.

One of the highlights of the execution phase is the face-to-face, student-to-student interaction, where students collaborate and plan in a time-compressed environment, said Steve Crawford, JLASS-EX senior wargame specialist.

The exercise environment isn't limited only to adaptive mission-planning processes. Students also face simulations of real-world challenges, such as media and public pressures. To set the stage, students view a "special report" by the fictional Global News Network that recaps events leading to a world on the brink. Daily updates by GNN and an Early Worm news digest inform and impact how the students play the game, said George Daniels, JLASS-EX senior controller.

"Simulating press coverage exposes students to some of the public pressures they face while responding to complex situations," said Lt. Col. Don Langley, JLASS-EX media cell chief and deputy director for the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Center of Excellence. "Our goal is to show them the need to be effective public communicators and identify the skills they need to develop in that area."

The PACE team is supported by approximately 10 total force public affairs volunteers from all over the United States, who role play the media and develop realistic news products based on the progress of the exercise.

Once the students return to their respective schools, the multi-service JLASS-EX Steering Group immediately begins to plan next year's exercise.

"The steering group is instrumental in making the wargame experience an exceptional one," said Daniels. "The group meets on a quarterly basis, which is crucial in fostering an ongoing discussion between the schools as we strive for continuous improvement."

JLASS-EX and its earlier iterations have graduated nearly 3,000 senior leaders since the initial exercise in 1983. The list of graduates includes Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and at least 30 general officers still on active duty in each of the service branches.

Robins reserve combat comm unit supports African Lion exercise

by Bo Joyner
AF Reserve Command Public Affairs


4/10/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Fourteen members of Air Force Reserve Command's 55th Combat Communications Squadron here are in Morocco providing critical communications support for African Lion 2013, an annually scheduled, bilateral U.S. and Moroccan sponsored exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's tactics, techniques and procedures.

The reservists and five pallets of computers, cables, switches, satellite dishes, tents and other supplies left Robins on a KC-135 in early April. After their arrival in Agadir, Morocco, the comm specialists from the 55th set up the communications network that will serve as the backbone for African Lion, which runs through the end of April.

"We are providing SIPR (secure internet), NIPR (non-secure internet), voice and some VTC (video teleconferencing) for this large-scale exercise," said Senior Master Sgt. Bart Sawyer, 55th CBCS superintendent.

"Our folks have been training hard," added Lt. Col. Lee Mumford, 55th CBCS commander. "We finished an ORI in December of 2010 and a UCI in August of 2012 and we're ready to put our training to the test and show that we can provide comm to the war-fighter in an austere location."

Providing communications for Africa Lion is a challenging mission. More than 1,400 U.S. military service members are joining more than 900 Moroccan soldiers in various regions of the country to take part in a wide variety of training, including command post operations, life-fire and maneuvering, peace-keeping operations, amphibious operations, and aerial refueling and low-level flight training. In addition, exercise participants will provide medical, dental, pediatric and optometry care to thousands of Moroccans throughout the country.

"This is a great opportunity for our people to train in a joint environment with people from the other services and other countries," Mumford said. "Providing comm to all of the participants who need it will definitely put us to the test."

"This exercise is the real deal," Sawyer added. "Our mission is to deliver tactical communications systems for dominant combat operations anytime, anywhere and we're ready to prove we're up to the challenge."

Military representatives from close to 20 different nations are expected to check out what African Lion is all about this year. "The embassy has invited a host of nations this year to expand African Lion into a true multi-lateral exercise," U.S. Army Maj. Barrett McNabb, U.S. Embassy Rabat liaison officer, said in a recent Marine Corps Forces Africa news article. "The intent is to invite our partner nations from Europe and Africa to act as observers this year and expand to participation in the years ahead."

Mumford said he is hoping that Reserve combat communications participation might also expand in the years ahead. "We're hoping that our participation in African Lion this year might open up some more doors for us in the future," he said. "This training is a perfect fit for us and we'd love to do more of this type of thing in the years ahead."

The 55th CBCS is one of four Reserve combat communications squadrons that fall under AFRC's 960th Cyberspace Operations Group. The combat comm squadrons provide theater-deployable communications during wartime and contingency operations or humanitarian missions in austere locations.

Northwest Region Captures Three CNO Safety Awards

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Brown, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
SILVERDALE, Wash. - (NNS) -- Two commands and a Sailor within Navy Region Northwest won awards during the 2012 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Shore Safety Awards April 3 for significant contributions to Navy safety and occupational health.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Northwest won the small industrial category while Naval Magazine Indian Island (NMII) was the runner up. The individual award for military enlisted was awarded to Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class James Vasileff, assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Northwest.

Commands excelled in directly supporting the Secretary of Defense's 75% mishap reduction goal by reducing mishap trends and costs, and in demonstrating strong safety leadership.

"I'm very proud of our folks' continued commitment to their personal safety and the safety of their co-workers." said Capt. Chris LaPlatney, commanding officer, NAVFAC Northwest.

NAVFAC Northwest has seen dramatic drops in its civilian mishap trends. The Employee Driven Safety Committee involvement, safety training, operational risk management - identifying, reporting, and correcting hazards, documenting and reviewing high risk activities, supervisory and professional safety oversight has yielded significant declines in the civilian safety metrics.

"We are very committed to safety at NAVFAC," said Mark Hurst, safety manager, NAVFAC Northwest. "From the top of the command down to the bottom, everyone put forth great effort in keeping the workplace safe for each other."

This is the second straight year NAVFAC Northwest has won the CNO Safety award.

"It just shows that we have built safety into our workplace culture here at NAVFAC," said Hurst. "We wouldn't be where we are today without Capt. LaPlatney.

"[LaPlatney] really takes every incident personally and immediately wants to know how or why it happened so we can get it fixed and never have it happen again," said Hurst. "That is why we are so strong in our safety culture. We do not repeat mistakes from the past."

Coming in second place in the Small Industrial award category was NMII.

"Safety is integral to our mission," said Cmdr. Michael Yesunas, commanding officer, NMII. "The hardworking professionals on Indian Island make safety their top priority every single day, so it is an honor to be recognized as a runner-up at the Chief of Naval Operations level for our safety program. We will continue to strive to get even better, so maybe we will win next year."

Winning the individual CNO Safety award for military enlisted personnel was Vasileff.

"I am honored to receive this award," said Vasileff. "Safety is a very important to us. I feel that if we keep the individuals safe we will be able to complete our mission effectively and in a timely manner."

Homestead munitions load crews square off

482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/9/2013 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- The 482nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron held their quarterly load crew competition here April 7.

The members of the winning load crew were Tech. Sgt. Valerie Carde, Senior Airman Jose Contreras, and Senior Airman Bryon Jay, all of the 482nd AMXS.

The load crews were evaluated in four areas: dress and personal appearance, tool kit inspection, a general knowledge test, and speed and proficiency in munitions loading.

Face of Defense: Soldier Reflects on 30-year Career

By Army Sgt. Ashley Hayes
86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

JERICHO, Vt., April 10, 2013 – His smile widens as he recalls his fondest memory, one that journeys all the way to the top of the Italian Alps, the official destination of his first flight and first time out of the country.


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Army Staff Sgt. David T. Rondeau receives the Meritorious Service Medal at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vt., April 6, 2013. Rondeau spent all 30 years of his service with the Vermont National Guard’s Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ashley Hayes
  

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The opportunity to travel to Italy and work with the Alpini troops was a fantastic experience and set the tone for 28 more years of dedicated service to his country, said Army Staff Sgt. David T. Rondeau, a mountain infantry soldier with the Vermont National Guard’s Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment. Rondeau, a logger, has spent all of his years of service with one unit. Right from the beginning, Rondeau said, he knew Alpha Company was a perfect match for him, because it was the only mountain infantry unit in the state.

“It’s a special company. It’s an elite unit,” he said. “It’s a little hard for me to leave. I don’t want to leave. It’s not just a Guard unit -- it’s been my home for 30 years.”

Many of his military colleagues recognize his loyalty. One of those soldiers is Army Command Sgt. Maj. Forest T. Glodgett, command sergeant major for the Vermont National Guard, who met Rondeau in 1986 when he was a squad leader in Alpha Company.

“He is the epitome of a mountain infantry soldier,” Glodgett said of Rondeau. “You couldn’t ask for a better soldier, because he’s there when you want him to be and when he needs to be. You wish that all your soldiers had loyalty like that.”

Rondeau’s lengthy service has given him the opportunity to create part of the Vermont National Guard’s history. He was among the first class to go through the Army Mountain Warfare School.

“They were still writing the book at that time,” he said.

For two years after attending the summer and winter phases, Rondeau worked at the school as an assistant instructor.

Rondeau not only was part of the foundation of the Mountain School, but he also was the first soldier fresh out of basic training to join Alpha Company. He recalled helping to train some of the soldiers who had joined the unit because they were from different backgrounds.

“They weren’t infantry -- they didn’t know how to deal with taking apart an M-16,” Rondeau said. “I was actually training them as a private.”

After spending so many years with one unit, Rondeau said, he considers it to be part of his family.

“They made me who I am. That’s why I stayed so long,” he said. “I’d do it all again. I can’t think of anything else I would have done different.”

Despite the tough aspects of infantry life, Rondeau had nothing but good things to say about his experiences.
“A lot of people will complain of bad stuff,” he said. “There are so many good times and adventure that it overshadows the bad times. The only bad thing now is that I have to leave.”

Rondeau’s advice to younger soldiers who may soon be taking over his position was a statement that reflected his experiences as a soldier.

“I would tell them to experience everything they could as far as what the unit has to offer,” he said, especially opportunities to attend training and schools.

“Don’t just come to drill and sit back,” he added. “Get involved. Push for more training, push to go places -- that’s the biggest thing.”