Military News

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Program Launches to Educate Communities on Family Needs

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2013 – A new publication series designed to educate civilians on the specialized needs of military and veteran families in their neighborhoods launched here yesterday.

Charles E. Milam, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, spoke at the launch event at the Army-Navy Club for the “How to Help Military and Veteran Families, Before, During and After Deployment” initiative.

“Today, more than two-thirds of our military families live in communities, and in many cases, 20 miles away, [from the installation],” Milam said.

In addition, he said, some military families settle into communities outside their installations for the schools, churches and activities available there.

“In over a decade of deploying service members to active war zones, we’ve paid careful attention to the changing demographics and impact of these deployments on the well-being of our service members and their families,” Milam said. “We have prioritized programs and services that support families and help with overall preparedness and resilience. Our family readiness system is the network of agencies, programs, services and individuals, and the collaboration among them that promotes the readiness and the quality of life service members and families deserve.”

The initiative comprises a series of pamphlets on topics such as military and veteran families’ needs for higher education, early childhood education, financial assistance and more, Defense Department officials said.
Milam said the series will allow the Defense Department and its partners to connect with a variety of third-party subject-matter experts to reach communities of support.

“The key is being able to approach specific groups with a common interest,” he said. “Whether you are a medical professional or a member of a faith-based organization, there is a specific publication that addresses how you can become engaged [with military and veteran families].

The launch event also celebrated the Month of the Military Child and the second anniversary of Joining Forces, an initiative to build public support for military members, veterans and their families, which is championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
The publications -- produced in partnership by DOD, the Agriculture Department and a variety of organizations, including the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University and the National Military Family Association -- will be distributed throughout U.S. communities and are available on the Military OneSource website.

“The program really is definitive Joining Forces -- the idea of a public-private partnership,” Navy Capt. Todd Veazie, Joining Forces executive director, said at the program launch. “In 2014, we will no longer be a nation at war. We’ll see our families reintegrating. Now, more than ever, we need Joining Forces types of activities exactly like the one you’ve put together.”

Service members will be returning home following the conclusion of the war in Afghanistan, Veazie noted.
“They will need all of America’s sectors to support … to reintegrate,” he said. [Your program] is a phenomenal resource.”

Forming new partnerships and strengthening those that already exist in civilian communities will be key, Milam said.

System provides 24/7 perimeter security

by Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


4/16/2013 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Motion detection, night-vision cameras and sensor zones may bring an action movie to mind, but they are also a few of the pieces that make up a Tactical Automated Security System.

TASS is an intrusion detection system used to protect the perimeter and resources at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.

"TASS uses different technologies and equipment to collectively secure the base," said Mike Tabbara, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron resident field engineer and Dallas native. "The system is deployed all over the area of responsibility."

Tabbara explained that the system is used for contingencies because of its ease of use without any outside support.

"It's self-dependent - you can literally set up a sensor zone and have no power coming into it and no communication infrastructure for it because the system works on a radio frequency link and it gets power from the solar panel and battery," he said.

The system acts as an enemy deterrent by providing eyes on the base perimeter at all times.

"If someone breaks, bypasses or shakes a part of the system, a communication module will let an operator know that someone came through," said Staff Sgt. Gary Chitwood, 380 ESFS TASS administrator. "The cameras will automatically look to where the sensor was triggered; he'll see that on the screen and dispatch the patrols. Then the individual will be apprehended."

Not only does the system protect the perimeter, it also protects 380 AEW assets.

"TASS is able to secure locations that would require personnel 24/7," Tabbara said.

"We know through Air Force Instructions what needs to be secured and the security level we need to have on it," Chitwood added. "So we make sure we have every protection-level resource covered by what the Air Force requires."

The ability of TASS to monitor these resources and its ability to run on 50 percent solar power here saves the Air Force countless dollars and man-hours.

"It's mandated that if there wasn't TASS, security forces would have to walk and patrol the perimeter of the base," Tabbara explained. "TASS assists security forces patrols by allowing them to focus on the more vulnerable locations."

More than 40 cameras, more than 170 sensor zones and night vision cameras that can see up to 3.1 miles are just a few pieces that make up TASS. The system helps detect intruders before they can compromise the mission.

"TASS is a proactive system," Tabbara said. "As soon as someone intrudes the alarm, we are immediately aware of it and we dispatch, so we're no longer waiting for the guy to be inside the base and then for someone to notice him."

Airman is Best-of-the-Best five years in a row

by Master Sgt. Beth Holliker
Public Affairs


4/14/2013 - SWANTON, Ohio -- 180th Fighter Wing Command Post Controller, Tech. Sgt. Levi Shadle has been recognized as the best of the best for the fifth time in four years.

Shadle was recently named as the 2012 Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, First Air Force and Air Force Northern Command's Aerospace Control Alert Command Post Controller of the Year.

True to the 180th FW's mission statement, to be The Best Fighter Wing in the World, the wing has a long history of top performing Airmen at the Air National Guard and Air Force levels. Again, this year, Shadle brought the wing another step closer to helping the wing accomplish that mission.

Driven to serve after the horrific attacks on our country Sept. 11, 2001, Shadle enlisted in the active duty Air Force in April, 2003, as a Command Post Controller, he spent the first year of his career at Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, followed by technical training at Keesler AFB, Miss. After completing his initial training, Shadle spent two years in the command post section of the 305th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire AFB, N.J., before transferring to the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th FW in 2006.

When Shadle first transferred to the 180th FW, the command post office was typically manned only during normal flying operations before moving to 24-hour operations as the wing stood up the Aerospace Control Alert mission in 2008. Shadle was a key player to the command post and the alert mission from the beginning, as noted when he and the command post team earned Best-Seen-To-Date marks during the wing's very first NORAD Alert Force Evaluation in 2009, just one year after bringing the alert mission to a fully operational status.

Continuing to be one of the wing's top performers, Shadle was instrumental in the command post team earning the title of Air National Guard Command Post of the Year in 2010 and a Superior Performer Team Award during the Air Combat Command Operational Readiness Inspection in 2010.

Following his own motto, "Always be learning," Shadle has made it his goal to learn something from every situation, positive or negative. "The mistakes I've made in the past have helped to shape the noncommissioned officer I am today," Shadle said. "I am a firm believer in learning and moving forward."

His drive to learn his mission critical job inside and out helped to earn him two individual national-level awards, back-to-back. In 2011 he was named as the Air National Guard Command Post Noncommissioned Officer of the year, followed by his 2012 NORAD title of Aerospace Control Alert Command Post Controller of the Year.

One of the things Shadle enjoys most about the 180th FW is being a part of a winning team. "I have been afforded the opportunity to be a pivotal member of a team and a mission that makes a difference," Shadle said. "And I will do my best to continue that trend to the day I retire."

Though he has been recognized as the best-of-the-best several times, Shadle plans to continue doing his part as a superior performer to ensure that the 180th FW is the best fighter wing in the world. His next project is to perfect the wing's command post controller training program in efforts to make it a model for other ANG and AF command post sections to follow.

As he builds his long-term career plan, shooting for the rank of Chief Master Sgt., Shadle's immediate goals are to keep learning to prepare himself for any challenges that come his way and for promotion to Master Sgt.

"I plan to continue to help keep the 180th FW command post as the best in the entire country," Shadle said. "I want to help prepare the people I train and supervise so that they can be better than I am."

Ambitious Exercise Program Keeps Stratcom Mission-ready

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., April 16, 2013 – U.S. Strategic Command’s exercise program, once focused solely on nuclear readiness and command and control, has gone global, now encompassing all its mission areas and crossing into every combatant command.

Stratcom exercises as it would fight, Patrick McVay, the command’s director of joint training exercises, told American Forces Press Service. That means integrating all the capabilities it could be called on to provide regional combatant commanders: space, cyber and ballistic missile defense capabilities, among them.

“We’d never do nuclear operations in a vacuum,” McVay said. “It is never going to be just nuclear. … It is going to be in space and in cyber, and we are going to have to use all our capabilities.”

Except in the event of the most devastating of conflicts -- engaging nuclear forces -- Stratcom would serve in a supporting role to a regional combatant command, McVay explained. But even those lines would quickly blur, he said, causing a ripple effect across the homeland and ultimately, the entire U.S. military and interagency.

“It is an interdependent world, and no combatant command is going to be fighting the fight on its own,” he said. “We are going to be interdependent, supporting and supported by one another.”

That recognition has transformed the command’s exercise program, now closely linked with those of U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Southern Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, as well as U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Transportation Command.
All, McVay explained, understand the capabilities Stratcom would provide them in a conflict, and the need to establish the necessary relationships and procedures now.

“If something happens in an area of responsibility and the first time our commander talks to their commander about what their requirements are in a crisis, that is not an optimum situation,” he said.

“That’s why we do our exercise program with them: to establish those relationships and those linkages, so they can understand what our capabilities are and what Strategic Command brings to the fight in terms of space and cyber capabilities, [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and other support.”

Stratcom participates in nearly every major combatant command exercise, injecting intelligence-based scenarios to add realism, said Chris Real, chief of the command’s joint exercise division.

“All our exercises are based on real-life events, real-life actors, real-life capabilities and threats,” he said.
With increasing frequency, Stratcom also includes interagency operations into its exercises. “In the past, we focused only on the military part because we are a military organization,” Real said. “But in the real world, there is never a time when the military does anything on its own. It is always working with the State Department and other agencies and organizations and the whole-of-government, so we are working to replicate that in all our exercises.”

The goal is to ensure the exercise program provides “a dress rehearsal of everything we think we would do in a real crisis,” Real said. “That way, if something bad happens next week, we are more ready to do it, because we practiced everything as realistically as possible.”

While integrating these elements into its own exercises and the exercise support it provides other combatant commands, Stratcom maintains a stringent training schedule for its nuclear deterrence mission.

“That’s critical, because for this mission, every day is game day,” McVay said. “You can’t afford to mess that up, because the standard is perfection.”

Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Stratcom’s commander, and his headquarters staff and component leaders rehearse nuclear operations scenarios daily, with McVay’s team working in unexpected twists to ensure they’re familiar with the latest procedures. The global operations center exercises its procedures several times a day as well.

“This is something that you practice and practice and practice all the time to make sure the command stays on top of the procedures,” McVay said. “The philosophy of the training is to maintain that edge every day.”
Two major annual exercises, Global Thunder and Global Lightning, test out capabilities across the nuclear enterprise, with bombers, submarines and land-based missiles participating.

Effective deterrence requires “having the capability to do what we say we will do” if attacked, McVay said, as well as the national will to use it.

“So if we let our nuclear capability atrophy or become unreliable, we lose that capability,” he said.

With its ambitious exercise program ensuring the command remains mission-ready, McVay said, Stratcom’s most important goal is to provide the deterrence that helps prevent conflict from breaking out.

“The optimum situation is that [Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Stratcom commander] never has to fight this fight, [and] we don’t have to defend our space assets -- we don’t have to fight off a cyberattack, we don’t have to do a global strike against an adversary, we don’t have to conduct nuclear operations -- [and] instead, we deter an adversary from taking the steps that would result in that,” McVay said.

“That’s what strategic deterrence is all about, and the goal of everything we do here at U.S. Strategic Command,” he added.

Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on the Ongoing Investigation into Explosions in Boston

The Attorney General released the following statement today on the ongoing investigation into the explosions in Boston: 
 
“I want to express my deepest sympathies to the victims of yesterday’s heinous attack in Boston, to those who suffered injuries, and to those who lost friends and loved ones.   All of you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
 
“As our nation struggles to make sense of this attack, I want to assure the citizens of Boston – and all Americans – that the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and all of our federal, state, and local partners are working tirelessly to determine who was responsible for these unspeakable acts, and to make certain they are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and by any means available to us.   To this end, I have directed that the full resources of the Department be deployed to ensure that this matter is fully investigated.   We will continue working closely with the Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police – who have performed superbly – to respond to this tragedy, to maintain a heightened state of security, and to prevent any future attacks from occurring.
 
“As President Obama stated earlier today, we are treating this event as an act of terror. This morning, I met with the President and my fellow members of his national security team to discuss our continuing response.   Although it is not yet clear who executed this attack, whether it was an individual or group, or whether it was carried out with support or involvement from a terrorist organization – either foreign or domestic – we will not rest until the perpetrators are brought to justice.   The FBI is spearheading a multi-agency investigation through the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force.   They are devoting extensive personnel and assets to this effort – and have already begun conducting exhaustive interviews, analyzing evidence recovered from the scene, and examining video footage for possible leads.   In addition, the ATF is providing bomb technicians, explosives assets, and other substantial investigative support.   The DEA and U.S. Marshals Service are providing further assistance.   And the Office of Justice Programs will coordinate victim support that the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may request under the Anti-terrorism Emergency Assistance Program.
 
“As our active and comprehensive investigation unfolds, these federal assets are coordinating with prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and federal agencies across the government – including members of the Intelligence Community.   This matter is still in the early stages, and it’s important that we let the investigation run its full course.   I urge members of the public to remain calm, cooperate with law enforcement, and be vigilant.   The FBI has set up a tip line – at 1-800-CALL-FBI – for anyone who has information, images, or details relating to yesterday’s explosions along the Boston Marathon route.   We are particularly interested in reviewing video footage captured by bystanders with cell phones or personal cameras near either of the blasts.   In an investigation of this nature, no detail is too small.
 
“Finally, I want to recognize and thank all of the brave law enforcement officials, firefighters, National Guardsmen, medical staff, bystanders, and other first responders in Boston yesterday afternoon who heard the explosions, or received reports of casualties, or saw the shattered glass and rising smoke, and rushed to provide assistance to those in need.
 
“Each of these remarkable women and men placed the safety of others above their own.   Their heroic actions undoubtedly saved lives.   And their stories of courage and selflessness remind us that – even in our darkest moments – the American people have always displayed an extraordinary capacity for resilience.   We will always be strongest when we stand united.   And although today our hearts are broken, my colleagues and I are resolved to bring those responsible for this cowardly act to justice.   We will be relentless in our pursuit of the individual or group that carried out this attack, while staying true to our most sacred values.   And – as our investigation continues, I am confident that our nation will recover, and that we will emerge from this terrible tragedy not only safer, but stronger, than ever before.”

U.S. Air Force F-22s, F-15s pair with JASDF Eagle partners

by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman
18th Wing Public Affairs


4/15/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A squadron of U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base, Va., partnered with F-15 Eagle pilots from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force from Naha Air Base, Japan, for bilateral training April 5.

The training, the fourth of its kind since 2007, gave both U.S. and Japanese pilots the opportunities to integrate fourth and fifth generation aircraft in support of the common defense of Japan and the Asia-Pacific theater, as part of the Mutual Security Treaty between the two nations.

"Training with such a high-technology aircraft improves our ability to fight and defend Japan," said Lt. Col. Hiroaki Murakami, JASDF 204th Tactical Fighter Squadron commander. "By training with the fifth generation aircraft and understanding their capabilities, we are able to improve our tactical skills. (Hosting the) bilateral training promotes mutual understanding and communication and leads to improved interoperability and a stronger U.S.-Japan alliance."

Lt. Col. Jason Hinds, 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, said training with the JASDF is an integral piece of the U.S. Air Force mission and to the strength of allied forces defending the Asia-Pacific region.

"Our training that we did with the JASDF yesterday and today absolutely helps the bilateral agreement that the U.S. and the Japanese have," Hinds said. "It's a unique opportunity."

Hinds said hosting the training has opened doors to the alliance for the mutual security of the Pacific and has further prepared both forces for any contingency in the region.

"The 94th Fighter Squadron and the U.S. Air Force are absolutely more prepared for any kind of contingency operation in the Pacific theater now that we've flown with the JASDF and due to our theater security package deployment to Kadena," Hinds said. "When we have that opportunity to go to Kadena, we get to see the locations that we would operate from, and we get to meet the people we would fly with in any kind of future contingency operation."

Though the squadron frequently works with other aircraft in day-to-day operations, the deployment to Okinawa to work with the 18th Wing's multiple airframes in addition to JASDF assets has provided an exclusive training experience for those involved.

"Usually when you fly with other fighters that are from a different base, you typically just meet up in the airspace, do the mission, and then debrief over the telephone," he said. "In this case we had the opportunity to meet with them the day before, talk about the tactics we would use, execute the tactics the day of, and then have a face-to-face debrief, and that (gave us the chance) to meet them on a personal level as well. That, to me, was the best part."

Murakami said he also enjoys the interaction with U.S. forces and hopes for the opportunity in the future.

"I think we should do more bilateral training, especially with the fifth generation aircraft, using every opportunity available," he said. "We were able to better understand bilateral operation procedures and learn about the force's employment that maximizes the characteristics of the fifth generation aircraft as the JASDF begins to integrate the F-35 into our fleet of fighter aircraft."

The Japanese Ministry of Defense announced in December 2011 that the Japan Self-Defense Forces will begin purchasing F-35 Lightning IIs in the near future.

The F-22s arrived at the beginning of this year and are slated to leave in the spring.

62nd APS Airman named AMC SNCO of the Year

by Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


4/16/2013 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- An Airman from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron here was recently named Air Mobility Command's Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

Senior Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 62nd APS air freight superintendent, was named the command's top senior NCO in an announcement made by AMC late last month. The announcement means he will now go on to compete for that title at the Air Force level.

"Rendon was selected for this award, because of his outstanding performance, attitude, humility, passion and leadership as a senior NCO," said 1st Lt. Jason Loucks, 62nd APS air freight flight commander, and Rendon's supervisor. "He is the most well-rounded senior NCO I know."

One such example of Rendon's leadership was demonstrated when he assisted in averting a family crisis in which the wife of a deployed Airman required immediate medical care. As the Airmen's wife was unconscious and unable to provide consent for doctors to operate, Rendon took immediate action to get the deployed Airman in contact with the hospital in order to approve his wife's procedures. Rendon then helped to coordinate and secure travel arrangements for the Airman to return home to his wife in less than 48 hours.

Another of Rendon's accomplishments was managing the operation to load more than 20 civilian power trucks and support equipment onto C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Since they were not designed for transport on military aircraft, the vehicles and equipment had to be carefully weighed and measured before being loaded onto the C-17s. Rendon and his crew worked from the early morning to the late evening to ensure the vehicles were ready to get where they were needed.

"Since this was the first time these civilian teams were flying on military airplanes, all of their hazardous materials had to be certified by Sgt. Rendon's team," said Lt. Col. Robert Farkas, 62nd APS commander. "This was a true cradle to grave operation and he made it look easy."

Rendon said he enjoys knowing that he has an opportunity to make an impact on Airmen's lives and that he tries his hardest to ensure the impact he makes is a positive one.

"I want to be known as a person who cares about my Airmen," said Rendon.

Loucks said he believes it is Rendon's selfless leadership that made him stand out for the award.

"Sgt. Rendon deserves this award because of the countless hours he's invested in taking care of Airmen and their families," Loucks said. "His leadership both motivates and inspires everyone he comes in contact with."

Rendon said he also recognizes the role that his coworkers played in receiving this award.

"I'm flattered, humbled, and thankful to be selected for this award," he said. "As a senior NCO, I know that I can only succeed if my team succeeds, and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of Airmen."