Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Erase the hate: observing the atrocities of the Holocaust

by Airman 1st Class Sarah Breer
6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs

4/19/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- World War II saw the Axis powers and Allied powers fighting battles across Europe, the Soviet Union and the Pacific. While the whole world focused on the fighting that was going on between nations, something more horrific than war was going on in death and concentration camps across Europe from 1933 to 1945.

Adolf Hitler and the German Nazi party chose to imprison and systematically murder many groups of people who they considered inferior, undesirable or dangerous. Mainly, the plan focused on eliminating the Jewish population of Europe. Also targeted were Poles, other Slavic people, Soviet people, Gypsies, disabled people, homosexual and transsexual people, political opponents and religious dissidents such as Jehovah's Witnesses.

During World War II approximately 17 million people were killed in prison camps, including about six million Jewish people in what is known as the Holocaust.

As the war ended in Europe the camps were liberated by Allied troops, such as the United States and the Soviet Union.

Few people survived the death and concentration camps.

Philip Gans survived.

Speaking to members of Team MacDill April 11 at a Holocaust memorial service, Gans explained his life, struggles and survival of concentration camps, death marches and the Holocaust overall during World War II to a raptly attentive audience.

Born in 1928, Gans was just 15 when he and his family were arrested by Nazi soldiers July 24, 1943, his father's birthday after hiding for a year.

After being arrested, the Gans family was held at the Westerbork detention camp in Holland for about a month. From there the family was transported to Auschwitz.

His name changed to a number which is tattooed on his left forearm: 139755.

Gas chambers at Auschwitz II took the lives of his mother and sister. Gans, his brother and father were sent to Auschwitz III, a slave labor camp. During his time in the camps his brother and father would also die at the hands of their captors.

Humanity disappeared.

Gans described his day-to-day life at the camp, as well as some of his most impactful experiences. He outlined being beaten, starved, nearly frozen during the winters, wearing clothes that were not the proper size or made for the weather, wearing wooden shoes and getting blisters because the shoes had no laces and many other horrific details.

Gans told of how, while in captivity, he survived because of the words of his father.

"One night I asked my father a question, I don't remember the question now," Gans recalled, waving his hand in front of his face. "He said, 'we'll talk about it when we get home.' You see, he always expected to survive the camps. He never gave up hope."

The younger Gans refused to give up hope as well.

While surviving at Auschwitz III he did whatever he needed to in order to stay alive, but made a point to help his fellow prisoners.

One day another man was too sick to go to work. Gans stayed behind in the barracks where they slept to take care of him. When guards noticed they were missing, they beat both of them with a hose. Gans was able to proceed to work, so they let him go. The other man could not go to work, and so he was killed.

In captivity, he witnessed other people go through torture, watched others executed and witnessed those who tried to escape decompose as their bodies hung in the camps as a message to others: do not try to escape.

Through all of the terrible things he witnessed, Gans professed, he never gave up the hope his father gave him.

Captivity is something Tech. Sgt. Roger Zehr, 6th Operation Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist, knows a lot about.

"I also enjoy learning about the common trends of captivity throughout history," Zehr said. "Anyone who experienced captivity will tell you that they all had to deal with boredom, fear, shock, loneliness and an overwhelming desire to return home. I enjoy hearing how people dealt with and overcame these feelings."

He attended the event to learn more about Gans' experience.

"I attended for two reasons, to hear the unique story of Mr. Gans and to further educate myself on the topic of captivity," Zehr said. "I strongly believe that we owe it to Mr. Gans to take a little bit of time out of our schedule to hear his message. As a SERE specialist I also owe it to my students to take advantage of every opportunity learn about captivity."

Gans survived more than just captivity.

As the Germans moved prisoners around in April 1945 in response to the Allied advances, Gans left Auschwitz during a death march. Guards walked prisoners over long distances and if someone stopped even for a second, they would be shot. Gans remembers the march all too well.

"My shoes were wooden, and I kept wire in them to keep them tight," Gans said. "I bent to tie the wire and realized I was last in line. I caught up so that they wouldn't shoot me."
Allied troops liberated Gans and his fellow prisoners in April 1945. Gans was 17.

Not a sound could be heard in the room as Gans told his story, and as he ended, he made a point of telling those in attendance a few main points.

"Erase the word hate from your vocabulary, because that is what started it all," Gans said.

After his speech, Gans met with those in attendance and spoke to people. Tears clouded eyes as person after person thanked Gans for sharing his story.

Pictures depicting the horrors of the Holocaust were laid out on tables for people to view. As people looked at the photos, looks of disgust and confusion passed over faces. One woman put her hand over her face and gasped as she viewed a picture of a mother, her young child and her baby in a mass grave after liberation.

Holocaust observances and guest speakers like Philip Gans serve to keep the history of the Holocaust alive, bring a message of the dangers of hate, and the hope that the lessons learned will prevent future tragedies.

Arizona reservists assist homeless veterans

by Staff Sgt. Joshua Nason
944th Fighter Wing

4/22/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Members of the 944th Fighter Wing volunteered their time to help homeless veterans at the 12th annual Arizona StandDown.

The Arizona StandDown, held at the Arizona State Fairgrounds Veteran's Coliseum, is a three-day event aimed at getting homeless veterans in the valley off of the streets and into a permanent living situation. The event, organized by the Valley of the Sun United Way along with help from various organizations in the valley, is the largest StandDown held in the United States with more than 1,500 homeless veterans participating.

Volunteers from the 944th Fighter Wing were tasked with ushering the homeless veterans, at a one to one ratio, through the coliseum to receive assistance from whomever the veteran felt could help their situation. Some veterans needed minimal assistance, while others were seeking assistance for a multitude of issues.

944th member, Senior Airman Melinda Charlton, 944th Force Support Squadron, volunteered her time for the event and was impressed by the magnitude of the event. "The training was very sufficient for all of the volunteers. I was surprised by the amount of resources and things that the veterans could take advantage of. The offerings were fantastic," she said.

Homeless veterans were able to get ID's from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division, remedy criminal charges and fines with local, county, and state courts, receive assistance in finding permanent shelter, get haircuts and grooming kits, as well as receive basic medical care.

Brittany Wright, a dental hygienist volunteering at the AZ StandDown stated "Primarily what we will be doing is providing oral cancer screenings, as well as giving the veterans information on how to receive free dental care."

The loyal canine and feline companions of the homeless veterans were not left out. Pets also received care at the event, as well as boarding while the veteran was receiving services in the coliseum.

Julie Carlson, a certified veterinarian technician volunteering at the AZ StandDown said "We anticipate 175 to 200 animals to arrive with the veterans. We will be giving vaccinations, grooming, performing basic health examinations, as well as providing food that the veterans will be able to take with them."

In addition to volunteering at the StandDown, prior to the actual event, 944th members collected over 150 pairs of gently used blue jeans to be donated to the homeless veterans.

"The goal of the event is that attendees at this year's AZ StandDown will find themselves in safe living situations by the time next year's event comes around," commented StandDown volunteer Maj. Elizabeth Magnusson, 944th Fighter Wing staff. "Regardless, the Airmen of the 944th Fighter Wing will be volunteering their time again next year to ensure that the veterans who came before us are taken care of."

Soldier Inspires Wife to Enlist

By Julia Bobick
U.S. Army Recruiting Command

FORT KNOX, Ky., April 23, 2013 – When Christy reluctantly agreed to meet Joshua, the nephew of a co-worker, he was home on leave from Germany for a second time. Her co-worker's prodding couldn't get her to stop by the first time he was home, but she gave in the second time and agreed to meet him. That quick "meet and greet," as she called it, was all it took.

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Army Staff Sgt. Joshua and Army Pfc. Christy Garlick play with their children, Camden and Keegan, at the Kingsolver Elementary School playground on Fort Knox, Ky. U.S. Army photo by Julia Bobick

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They talked the entire two weeks he was home in southwestern Pennsylvania, and it became a cell phone relationship when he returned to Germany. Her first cell phone bill was $1,200. It went down to about $800 the second month, and then they finally got the hang of it. He still refuses to tell her how much his first phone bills were, but they both agree "it was worth every penny."

Joshua and Christy Garlick have now been married for more than seven years and have two children: Camden, 6, and Keegan, 4. They've been stationed in Germany, as well as Fort Lee, Va.; Fort Drum., N.Y.; and now here, where Army Pfc. Christy Garlick works at Headquarters Company with the Army Medical Department Activity, and Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Garlick is a military policeman working in the Elizabethtown Recruiting Center.

Though he’s a recruiter, it was not Joshua who recruited Christy. He was selected for recruiting duty after she shipped to basic combat training, but it was his love of being a soldier that had such a great impact on her.

"It was something I always wanted to do, both being in the Army and being an MP," Joshua said.

Christy said she didn't really know anything about the Army or the Army lifestyle until she met Joshua. After the birth of their son, Christy took a year off from working and during that time decided she couldn't be a stay-at-home mom. She told Joshua, "I want to join the Army, and I want to be just like you."

While she had an incredible amount of determination, Christy said, becoming a dual military couple was not a decision they rushed into or took lightly, and it took Joshua about six months to come around to the idea. They spent a lot of time discussing the options with their families and seeking advice from his unit leadership. At age 34 and running out of time to enlist, Christy said, she didn't want any regrets in life -- it was something she wanted to do.

They are appreciative that their families were supportive of the decision. Though Christy's mother was hesitant, she said, her father was incredibly excited -- quickly becoming the proud bumper-sticker-displaying, ball-cap-and-T-shirt-wearing dad.

"Everybody said we could make it work, and it has," said Christy, who enlisted as a health care specialist.
Joshua is proud of his wife's service and uses her experiences when he talks with applicants and future soldiers -- especially women -- about Army training and opportunities. Since he's been on recruiting duty for only a few months so far, he said, he doesn't know yet whether he will remain a recruiter longer than one tour. Both, however, plan to make the Army a career.

Joshua said his best experience in the Army is not any one thing -- it's a combination of things during his 11 years in uniform.

"I have met great friends, had awesome leadership throughout my career, and have gotten to see things I never thought I would," he explained.

"Once you get in the Army life, it's amazing," Christy said. "The camaraderie and the family atmosphere make up for your far-away family. This is where I'm meant to be. I love it. I love the structure of the Army.

"I've been blessed every step of the way, for as old as I am and as out-of-shape as I was, every place I have been has been a blessing," she continued. "Though I wish I would have done this 10 to 15 years ago when I was younger, I'm probably in the best shape of my life now."

As the February MEDDAC soldier of the month, Christy is preparing for the upcoming soldier of the quarter board. The tables are turned now, and Joshua is helping Christy study for promotion and competitive boards, just as she helped him when they first met.

Christy said she feels like she started everything late in her life -- having children at age 27 and joining the Army at 34 -- but that it's been the right time to find happiness.

"I'm so excited I did this," she said. "I feel like this is the second half of my life, and I'm living it with true happiness. I'm finally getting everything I wanted. Our kids are still young, but we always try to impress upon them they can do whatever they want to do in life at any time."

Readiness, Modernization in Flux, Air Force Secretary Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 – The Air Force will see few force structure changes this year, but readiness and modernization accounts will be in flux this year and next, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said here today.

The secretary also told the Defense Writers’ Group that now is the time for another base realignment and closure process.

Readiness and modernization will be problems for the service, Donley said. Air Force readiness has declined since 2003 as the service concentrated on providing support for counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, he explained, and providing combat power for the full spectrum of operations has decayed.
“Air-to-air combat, suppression of enemy defenses [and] operations in a contested air environment have not gotten the attention they deserve, and readiness has declined in that respect,” Donley said.

The service had been working to rebuild readiness, he said, but sequestration spending cuts have thrown that effort out the window. Troops and aircraft deploying in support of operations are top notch and receive the training, equipment and supplies they need, the Air Force secretary said, but stateside training has been slashed.

A flying hour reduction of 18 percent is concentrated in the last six months of the fiscal year, and only to stateside-based units, Donley said.

“We are standing down nine fighter squadrons, three bomber squadrons, … and there will be an additional bomber squadron this summer when it returns from deployment,” he added. “It will make the challenge of readiness in [fiscal year 2014] that much harder.”

Some of the recovery from this drawdown will take months, but for depot-level maintenance, which the service is deferring, recovery may take a year or more, he said.

Modernization remains an overarching problem for the Air Force, the secretary said. The average age of the air fleet is increasing, with some aircraft -- B-52 bombers and KC-135 tankers -- being far older than their crews, he noted.

The Air Force must modernize across the board, Donley said. In addition to its fighters, bombers, tankers and trainers, he said, the service also must modernize satellite capabilities and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

“Every mission area that you can think of needs to be modernized,” he added.

The fiscal situation could be the Air Force’s best chance to eliminate excess infrastructure, Donley said.

“It’s a significant forcing function,” he added, noting that Air Force officials estimate the service has roughly 20 percent excess infrastructure by square footage. Eight closures conducted during the 2005 base realignment and closure round, he said, were relatively small.

Since then, the Air Force has retired more than 500 aircraft, and the number of personnel has shrunk. The best way to do this is to retire aircraft and eliminate the infrastructure that supports those aircraft, Donley said, but aircraft retirement decisions and base closure decisions are made in separate worlds. The Air Force did do this in a drawdown during the 1990s, he added, but has not since then.

Hagel Places Jordan Among Most Important Middle East Partners

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

AMMAN, Jordan, April 23, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here today with Jordan’s Lt. Gen. Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein and Gen. Mashal al-Zaben, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Jordanian armed forces, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, meets with Jordan’s Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein in Amman, Jordan, April 23, 2013. Hagel is on a six-day trip to the Middle East, where he is visiting counterparts in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

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The United States and Jordan -- which Hagel said is one of the most important U.S. partners in the region -- share concerns about the crisis in Syria and continue to consult closely on issues including chemical weapons and demands posed by the influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence, Little added.
During the meeting, Hagel reaffirmed the closeness of the U.S.-Jordan strategic relationship and reiterated the DOD commitment to working with the Jordanian armed forces to address common challenges, the press secretary said.

The leaders discussed Hagel’s decision, announced April 17, to sustain U.S. military personnel in Jordan to foster even closer planning, improve joint readiness, and prepare for a range of scenarios, Little noted.

Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the secretary ordered the Army deployment to help Jordanian forces defend their border with Syria. The contingent will enhance the efforts of a small U.S. military team that has been working in Jordan since last year on planning related to chemical weapons and preventing a spillover of violence across Jordan’s borders, Hagel told the Senate panel.

DOD personnel and interagency partners are helping Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and other Syrian neighbors counter the threat posed by Syria’s chemical weapons, Hagel said during the hearing.

The secretary, Prince Faisal and Zaben agreed to continue to work closely together to support mutual objectives, develop capacity and provide military assistance as needed to the Jordanian armed forces, Little said.

Hagel commended Jordan on its decision to keep borders open to refugees fleeing the violence in Syria, the press secretary said, adding that Jordan now hosts nearly 500,000 Syrian refugees.

In addition to about $409 million in humanitarian assistance the United States has provided to those affected by the violence in Syria, Little said, DOD has provided more than $1.2 million in goods such as food, water, medical supplies and power generators through the Jordanian armed forces to help in the care and transport of refugees coming across the border.

DOD also has provided more than $70 million to Jordan this year to help secure its borders and prevent chemical-weapons transfer, Little said.

Hagel’s trip to the Middle East, which began April 20 and will end April 26, also will take the secretary to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to discuss common threats and interests in the region.

Hagel: Defense Partnership Anchors U.S.-Saudi Relationship

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2013 – On his inaugural trip to the Middle East since taking office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here today with Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, the country’s deputy defense minister, for a welcoming tea ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2013. Hagel is on a six-day trip to the Middle East, where he is visiting counterparts in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

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During their talks, Hagel and his Saudi counterpart reiterated the longstanding, steadfast relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and emphasized the strong defense partnership that anchors the two nations, Little added.

They also discussed the release of standoff weapons to Saudi Arabia that will provide strategic precision defensive capabilities to the Saudi F-15 fleet, Little said. Such smart weapons can navigate to their targets and are more precise and can be fired at further distances.

“Both agreed the release reflected the close bilateral partnership and would enable long-term cooperation in the pursuit of common security policy aims of a peaceful and stable region,” Little said. The two defense leaders also consulted on regional issues, including the need for Iran to abide to international commitments on its nuclear program, the situation in Syria, and the political transition in Yemen, he added.

Hagel’s trip to the Middle East, which began April 20 and will end April 26, began in Israel and Jordan and tomorrow will take the secretary to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to discuss common threats and interests in the region.

Air Force Secretary Describes Morale Among Airmen

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 – Deployed airmen are ready and motivated, but those based in the United States face fiscal challenges that sap morale, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said here today.
“The airmen that we send downrange are well-trained -- they are pumped,” Donley told the Defense Writers Group. “There’s no doubt they are doing what they signed up to do in the military. They are doing their jobs in a combat environment.”

Donley, the longest-serving Air Force leader, said he has been struck by how connected and educated the force is. “I can go downrange to an airman’s call at Bagram [Airfield, Afghanistan] and get questions on sequestration, or tuition assistance or the retirement plan,” he said.

Airmen are connected, and they follow what defense leaders and Congress are doing, the secretary said.
“They know we are living through challenging times,” he added.

In his experience, Donley said, this “connectedness” is a change for airmen that has had an effect across the institution. Airmen listen when Congress talks about sequestration or budget cuts that last 10 years, he said. For many of the younger airmen, he noted, this is their first experiences with a constrained fiscal environment.
“Those who have been in 20 to 30 years know there are ups and downs,” he said.

Airmen also know the Air Force faces huge modernization challenges, the secretary said. “Equipment they are operating is beyond what we thought its service life was going to be,” he said. “And they know that the training environment they come back to … is not as robust and not as demanding as it used to be.”

Donley took over as acting Air Force secretary in June 2008, after then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asked for then-Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne to resign over concern about the Air Force’s focus and performance in its nuclear mission. That was a low point for morale in the Air Force, Donley said, adding that he believes morale has risen overall since then.

“Airmen downrange are performing magnificently,” he said. “Air Force men and women know they are making a difference in the lives of those who serve on the ground.”

The Air Force is key to operations in Afghanistan and around the world, Donley added.

“The Air Force is providing a lot of glue to hold current joint and coalition operations together,” he said.

U.S. Committed to Pacific Rebalance, Carter Says at Harvard

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 – Even given fiscal constraints, the U.S. military still can carry out the strategic rebalance to the Pacific, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at the Harvard Institute of Politics tonight.

The Asia-Pacific region has enjoyed 60 years of peace in large part due to the American security umbrella, Carter said, and the American military will continue its strategic shift to the area.

North Korea is an important exception to the general atmosphere in the region, the deputy secretary said. “First Japan rose and prospered, and then South Korea rose and prospered, and then Southeast Asia rose and prospered,” he added. “Today, India and China – in their different ways – rise and prosper. That’s a good thing. It was all assisted by the United States, but none of it was a sure thing, given the shape that Asia was in at the end of World War II.”

The principles included a commitment to free and open commerce, a just international order that emphasized rights and responsibilities of nations, open access, and the principle of resolving conflicts without force.
“We believe that our strong security presence in the Asia-Pacific has provided a critical foundation and in one sense our rebalance says we are going to continue to provide this balance into the future,” Carter said. U.S. partners in the region welcome American leadership and robust engagement, and the values that underlie them, he added, so the rebalance will be welcomed and reciprocated. He stressed that the strategy is not aimed at any one country or group of countries.

The rebalance is possible because the U.S. effort in Iraq has ended and the American presence in Afghanistan is winding down, Carter said. There will be a higher percentage of American naval power in the Pacific than the Atlantic -- a reversal of current strategy – and the Air Force will increase its posture and presence in the region, he told the Harvard audience.

Allies will see more of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps in the coming years than they have in the last decade. “Why is that? Because they have been in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now they are coming home to the Asia-Pacific,” Carter said.

Working with allies and friends is a huge part of the shift, the deputy secretary said. The United States is working with the Japanese, South Korean, Philippine and Australian governments to enhance contacts and cooperation. Australia is hosting a rotational Marine Corps presence in Darwin. Japanese and American officials are working on a basing plan for American forces in the country, including the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the Japanese island of Okinawa, Carter said.

The United States and South Korea are working together to defend South Korea from North Korean aggression, and American service members are continuing to work to strengthen the Philippine military.
Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region is happening on a global scale, and it is happening within the region, Carter said. Northeast Asia always has been the center of gravity for American forces, he added, but now, more forces will be in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean area. “This is a recognition of the importance of Southeast Asia and South Asia to the region as a whole,” he explained.

Friends and allies recognize this, Carter said, and the first or four U.S. littoral combat ships arrived a few days ago in Singapore. The United States is working closely with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and will conduct exercises with the nations of that group. And after decades of no contact, there is now limited contact with the Burmese.

India is a key nation in the region and the world, Carter said. “Our security interests with India converge on maritime security and broader regional issues including India’s Look East policy,” he added. “We’re also looking to broaden our industrial base policy with India, moving beyond a vendor/purchaser relationship to co-develop and co-produce with the Indians.”

The list goes on, Carter said.

The United States military is investing in the personnel capital that will be needed to ensure the new strategy works, the deputy secretary said, and American service members are going through the language and culture training needed to understand the nuances of these countries.

CE units combine forces to catch planes

by Airman 1st Class Riley Johnson
460th Space Wing Public Affairs

4/18/2013 - BUCKLEY AFB, Colo. -- Airmen from the 460th Civil Engineer Squadron and 140th CES, Colorado Air National Guard, received assistance from the 200th RED HORSE, Ohio Air National Guard, to install two Barrier Arresting Kit-12 systems April 12 on Buckley's flightline.

The team of power production Airmen assembled and installed the BAK-12 systems during a five-day span.

"We did it in a short timeframe. Everyone started on Monday, and we had the certification run on Friday. We saw all inclement weather conditions, from snow to high winds, and zero visibility," said Master Sgt. Joshua Barnett, 140th CES power productions NCO in charge.

The barrier systems were installed on Buckley in preparation for upcoming flightline construction.

The BAK-12 is an emergency stopping system for tail-hook equipped aircraft to prevent crashes and give assurance to pilots should their aircraft experience maintenance issues.

The system consists of a cable stretched across the flightline that is attached to the braking mechanisms on both sides. As the aircraft engages the system, the braking mechanism will slowly apply pressure until the aircraft comes to a stop.

After the week-long assembly, the BAK-12 proved it was capable of stopping a 29,000 pound F-16 Fighting Falcon traveling at a speed of more than 100 mph.

"The most rewarding part was seeing the plane hit the catch line. When I first went out there it was a patch of grass and a flightline. We got to see what we had worked so hard to do," said Senior Airman Taquan Kelley, 460th CES power production journeyman.

Eight Airmen from the 200th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers provided Buckley's power production teams with manpower, assets and expertise.

"This effort is a great example of leveraging guard and active-duty assets to complete a mission. Installing two Barrier Arresting Kit-12 systems in one week is not easy. The entire team of power production and heavy equipment personnel should be proud of their achievement and how well they were able to integrate operations," said Maj. Gibb Little, 460th CES operation flight commander.

Face of Defense: Airman’s Sharp Eye Saves Air Force $348K

By Air Force Senior Master Sgt. George Thompson
386th Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 22, 2013 – As Air Force officials seek to institute a culture change through the "Every Dollar Counts" campaign, one deployed airman's determination helped to save more than a third of a million dollars.

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Air Force Master Sgt. Ernest Harrison, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, poses for a photo at the U.S. Army Logistics Civil Augmentation Program port in Southwest Asia, April 16, 2013. Harrison saved the Air Force more than $348,000 when he found a misplaced U-30 aircraft tow tractor that had mistakenly dropped off the inventory list during changeover with his predecessor. Courtesy photo

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Air Force Master Sgt. Ernest Harrison, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron transportation management office superintendent, was working his liaison officer duties at a host-nation port when something caught his eye.

"I saw this massive piece of equipment, but had no idea it was an Air Force asset," Harrison said. "My predecessor gave me a list of all the assets I needed to track, and this was not one of them."
The item in question, a 50-ton U-30 aircraft tow tractor, had somehow dropped off the inventory list during the changeover.

"Normally it's dark when I finish my work, but on this particular day, I finished early and took a couple of pictures of this thing," Harrison said. "I wrote down the weight and the tag number and sent it to the Air Forces Central guy in charge of all the vehicles in the region."

As it turns out, AFCENT was in the process of ordering a new U-30 to support the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing's C-17 operations.

"He wrote me back and said, 'Where did you find this thing?' and I said, 'It was sitting out here in the middle of a field all by itself,' and the best part was it started right up," Harrison said.

Harrison's detective work allowed AFCENT to cancel the equipment order and scratch the C-17 mission slated to transport the 100,000 pound U-30, saving the Air Force $348,571.73.

Though Harrison will not receive a monetary award, as do those who submit money-saving ideas through the Air Force’s Innovative Development Through Employee Awareness Program, he’s glad he was able to save his service a substantial sum.

"As you know, the budget is tight,” he said, “and just knowing I saved the Air Force this money is a great feeling."

Sniper ATP-SE makes operational debut with Dyess bombers

by Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

4/22/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- B-1 Bombers from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, received a significant upgrade to their targeting capability April 15, becoming the first operational platform to employ Lockheed Martin's Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod-Sensor Enhancement modification.

Building on the technology of legacy ATP pods, sniper pods in the new ATP-SE configuration provide an even greater capability via new enhanced sensors, a two-way data link, advanced processors and automated non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance modes.

"Sniper-SE incorporates the greatest set of upgrades to the advanced targeting pod since its inception," said Capt. Artur Kosycarz, 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron Sniper-SE rated project officer. "Standardized across the combat air force, Sniper-SE equipped jets will be able to execute a myriad of mission sets with capability in the realm of maritime operations, ISR and video data-link."

A new facet to the modification is the pod's Net-T, or network tactical capability, which enables a point-to-multipoint networking architecture that, when employed with other platforms, provides beyond line-of-sight range capability allowing operators, analysts and decision makers access to real-time situational awareness data.

This targeting pod enhancement can provide the commander real-time information, videos, images, maps or coordinates from the forward deployed elements without relying on satellite, radio or other forms of traditional communication.

"The legacy sniper pods only have one way data-link capability," said Master Sgt. Jesse Williams, 7th Maintenance Group wing avionics manager. "However, the new Sniper-SE pod brings in the two-way option, allowing ground receivers to relay high-resolution streaming video to forward-deployed forces for rapid target coordination.

"Very similar to other aircraft's Link-16 network, the added capability can be relayed around to other aircraft or ground units across all services," Williams added. "Simply stated, the pod acts almost like a wireless router or Wi-Fi hot-spot that can be bounced around to other aircraft or ground units with the data-link capability."

Furthermore, a unique enhancement to the new targeting pod not previously available is its ability to record the video and images captured, significantly enhancing the employing platforms ISR capability.

"With previous, pods once the data was displayed it's pretty much gone," Williams said. "But with the Sniper-SE pods, aircrews can record every single mission and use that for training, further analysis or whatever the case may be."

Sniper ATP is the only pod with advanced integration across all Air Force air-to-surface fighter and bomber aircraft. Like the legacy targeting pod, Sniper ATP-SE will also be capable of employment on the B-52 Stratofortress, F-15E Strike Eagle, A-10 Thunderbolt II and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

However, with the B-1s ability to carry the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, as well as the aircraft's speed and superior handling characteristics which allows it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages, the B-1 presents itself as a premier platform to employ the new targeting pod.

Dyess aircrews are currently training and familiarizing themselves with the new pod in preparation for future deployments and could become the first unit to employ the new targeting pod in the area of responsibility.

Doolittle Raiders greet, inspire Air Commandos

by Senior Airman Joe McFadden
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

4/19/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Exactly 71 years ago to the day they and their fellow Airmen turned the tide of the U.S. war effort, three World War II legends spoke to dozens of Hurlburt Airmen at the 319th Special Operations Squadron auditorium April 18.

Lt. Col. Richard Cole, Lt. Col. Edward Saylor and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher all served alongside 77 fellow then-U.S. Army Air Corps Airmen taking off in 16 B-25s in the April 18, 1942 bombing over Japan known as the Doolittle Raid.

The raid, designed and led by then-Lt. Col. James Doolittle, served as the first air raid by the U.S. military in response to the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, while both bolstering the morale of the American public and instilling doubt among the Japanese people.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Col. William Holt, vice commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, before introducing the Raiders. "In my 22 years in the Air Force, I never imagined I'd be standing in front of three Doolittle Raiders. Without a doubt, this is the highest honor I've had."

After the three Raiders entered the squadron through a sword cordon from the Hurlburt Field Honor Guard, the Air Commandos opened the discussion by asking questions about their memories and impression of the raid's chief architect.

"Colonel Doolittle was a very persuasive individual," said Cole, who also served as his co-pilot on the lead aircraft. "He was very charming. He treated everyone with respect and was very polite. He was a team person, and it vibrated throughout all 80 people."

Cole also described Doolittle's dedication to his Airmen as a testament to his leadership.

"Outside of being in awe of him and being able to fly with him, we observed the way he treated his people," he said. "For instance, he would go to an air base and would not leave the airplane until the crew chief had finished gassing it up and doing the things that needed to be done. He'd make sure the crew chiefs were taken to their barracks before he was taken to his. It indicated to me that he treats his people in a very, very polite way."

Prior to leaving the continental U.S., the Raiders spent a portion of the training for the mission at what is now Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for three weeks of intensive training in March 1942. Given the base's proximity to the water, one Airman asked if the three had any downtime to enjoy the Emerald Coast.

"We did not receive any time off," Cole said. "We were based in quarters and not allowed to go off the base."

The questions then turned to how the Raiders personally prepared for the mission -- an element the team said they had little time to react to but enough resolve to ultimately see it through.

"When they presented the request for volunteers, we were given no information other than it was a dangerous mission," Cole said. "We were practicing takeoffs and so forth. It was very obvious we were going to takeoff from a carrier. We thought we were being transported to some place with a different carrier so we could takeoff and go to an island some place in the Pacific and land and start fighting the war."

"When they announced over the loudspeaker our target was Japan, there was a huge shock that went all over the carrier," said Thatcher, who served as an engineer and gunner in the raid. "No one knew where we were supposed to go, especially the Navy personnel."

"We all volunteered, and I went not knowing what it was," said Saylor, then an engineer. "My feeling was that I hope I could do the job as well as it needed to be done. The responsibility of the airplane was very heavy on my mind. That's how I felt about going in -- I hope I could do the job."

The air raid stormed over the Japanese island of Honshu, with none of the U.S. aircraft being gunned down. While heading across the East China Sea, the Raiders faced harsh conditions both during the flight and in their crash landings in China and the then-Soviet Union, especially under the threat of possible capture by enemy forces.

"I would advise you to be prepared as much as possible for any situation," Thatcher said. "We were in a situation we didn't have any control over. We crash landed on a Japanese-occupied island. There were no Japanese there at the time, and the Chinese Underground who were working on that island helped us escape."

News of the raid's success quickly reached American news outlets, rejuvenating the country's morale for the budding war effort. However, the Raiders said many did not know of their reception in their homeland until years later.

"When I came home, the sense that the whole country was gung-ho to get on with the job -- it was a pretty good feeling," Saylor said.

Shortly after the raid's completion, Doolittle, who had been promoted to brigadier general and received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, had the idea for a reunion among all the surviving Raiders, Cole said.

"Each day after the mission was over [Doolittle] said he was going to throw a party like one we'd never been to before," Cole said. "In 1945, the first party was at McFadden-Deauville Hotel in Miami. The people who were able to come came to it. The party grew to talking and conversations, and somebody suggested 'Why don't we do this every year?' And then Doolittle said 'Wait a minute, fellas -- I'm paying out a lot of money here!'"

Eventually, the reunions led to visiting bases and cities throughout the country. The gatherings soon began awarding out Traffic Safety Awards and recognition to deserving Airmen and later evolved into providing scholarships for local students beginning in 1962, Cole said.

As the session came to a close and the Raiders prepared for their final reunion weekend in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Saylor concluded by giving his endorsement of the men and women who followed in their footsteps by serving in the Air Force today.

"I look this gang over, and I think we're in good hands," Saylor said. "I want to make sure we give you guys everything you need to get the job done. I'm hopeful."

Cole, an Ohio native, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in November 1940 and received his pilot's commission in July 1941. After serving in the Doolittle Raid, he continued to serve in the Burma-Indo-China theater as one of the original Air Commandos. He is the recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

Saylor graduated high school in Montana and enlisted Dec. 7, 1939. He served both in the United States and overseas throughout the war until March 1945. He accepted a commission as an aircraft maintenance officer in October 1947. He is the recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Chinese Army, Navy, and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

Thatcher graduated high school and enlisted in December 1940. After the raid, he served in England, Africa and California before being discharged from active duty in July 1945. He is the recipient of the Silver Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Chinese Army, Navy, and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

Archaeologists tour Luke's 5,000 year old site

by Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/19/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Thirty professional archaeologists and students toured the Luke Air Force Base Solar-Power-Array project area April 12 to learn about the find at the site and its rich history.

Luke members teamed with the Arizona Public Service, a major electric company in the Phoenix area, to construct and operate the solar array during the planning phase. Archaeologists discovered artifacts on the surface.

"The finding of these surface artifacts clued us in that there may be more underneath," said John Hall, Statistical Research Incorporated project director. "In the summer of 2010, we began excavating doing backhoe trenches and mechanic stripping, which is removal of the top soil."

After three years of hard work, archaeologists uncovered approximately 46 acres through mechanical stripping, revealing 3,500 features or remnants of past activities such as fire pits and housing structures.

"We consider the people who lived here archaic, since radio carbon dates show that the features are anywhere from 3000 B.C. to 1400 A.D.," Hall said. "This site is also one of a kind because it's so old and no one in the Phoenix basin has ever found this many archaic features before."

Because of the uniqueness and rarity of the site, it is important for Luke to reach out to local professionals and students in the area.

"The purpose of the tour was to share information about the project and the features found," said Jeff Rothrock, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight chief. "The tour gave professionals and students an opportunity to examine in detail the cultural heritage of Luke, the Phoenix basin, Arizona and the greater U.S. Southwest."

The archaeologists also took a walking tour of the different archaeological features, including pit houses, armadas and storage areas.

"This site is very interesting because it covers a period of time that is relatively unknown and a time we rarely see," said Walter Duering, Arizona Museum of Natural History archaeologist.
The amount of features found made it even more special.

"It's remarkable to find so many features in one site associated with this early time period," said Sandy Haddock, Arizona Archaeological Society vice president. "I'm glad to have been able to see such an important, rare and large site."

The project is slated to be completed by May 1. Once all the excavated dirt is put back and compacted, the site will be ready for APS to begin the solar array project by October.

Guard Troops Battle Rising Waters in Missouri, North Dakota

By Bill Phelan
Missouri National Guard

CLARKSVILLE, Mo., April 23, 2013 – About 100 Missouri National Guardsmen from units in St. Louis, Hannibal and Cape Girardeau joined community volunteers to work in support of flood relief operations in affected areas.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Spc. Bryan Sholts, left, and Army Spc. Alex Preszlerof from the North Dakota Army National Guard’s 191st Military Police Company control traffic in Fargo, April 22, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
And in North Dakota, about 70 troops were on duty today, as Guard members set up additional traffic control points in Fargo to assist with sandbag levee construction along the Red River.

After more than 5 inches of rain fell in parts of Missouri last week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon mobilized the National Guard on April 19 to help protect lives and property from rising flood waters, especially along the Mississippi River.

In addition to the weekend Guard response in Clarksville, about 50 soldiers were called yesterday to help with sandbagging operations in Dutchtown, about 150 miles downriver, near Cape Girardeau.
"Missouri's citizen-soldiers and -airmen have proven themselves as true leaders during times of need, and they again are meeting the challenges of this year's floods," said Nixon, who toured Clarksville on April 20 with Army Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, Missouri’s adjutant general.

"Winning these fights to protect lives and property takes close cooperation and coordination between state and local officials, Missouri Guardsmen and volunteers from across the region, and that is what is taking place right now on the Mississippi," Nixon added.

“We are always happy to come to the aid of our fellow Missourians,” Danner said. “We will work directly with the Department of Public Safety, other state agencies and local authorities to answer this call. We are going to ensure that we strengthen that levee wall and do anything else we can to assist.”

Within an hour of being mobilized, airmen from the St. Louis-based 121st Air Control Squadron, the 131st Civil Engineer Squadron and soldiers from the 70th Troop Command were on their way to Clarksville. There, Guard members immediately began to assist with construction of a 1,500-foot sandbag levee. Soldiers from the Hannibal-based 2175th Military Police Company were also called up to help with the effort.

“Our primary mission is to fill a lot of sandbags,” explained Army Capt. Wesley Dickman, of Columbia, commander of the 2175th. “My troops have been working throughout the night to build up the main levee and the side levees protecting some of the buildings. The effort here is really impressive.”

In addition to National Guardsmen, city officials, area residents, Boy Scouts and prison inmates worked around the clock to build up the levee wall. The Guard’s arrival in Clarksville was a welcome sight to volunteers who had been working on the sandbag levee since April 17.

“With this kind of manpower, we can really get things done,” said Ray Wagner, of St. Louis, one of numerous AmeriCorps volunteers working on the wall. “We really appreciate the Guard’s help, because we have several projects that we have not started yet.”

“When AmeriCorps arrived on the scene, we breathed a huge sigh of relief, and when the National Guard arrived, we breathed a bigger sigh of relief,” Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley said. “Their arrival has relieved us in so many ways I can’t even describe it. This effort would not be successful without them.”
Founded in 1817, Clarksville is no stranger to flooding and has adapted an impressive flood management plan that clearly impressed everyone who saw it implemented.

“This town has been here a long time, and I expect that when the waters recede, Clarksville, Mo., will be open for business as usual,” Nixon said.

Soldiers of the Cape Girardeau-based 1140th Engineer Battalion and the Perryville-based 880th Engineer Team -- both part of the 35th Engineer Brigade, based at Fort Leonard Wood -- were called to fight flood waters in Dutchtown.

"This is one of the reasons we put the uniform on. It's our way of giving back and protecting our community, and we are ready and prepared to help the community and people of Dutchtown,” said Army 1st Sgt. Haskel Rooker of the 1140th Forward Support Company.