Military News

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

McChord reserve C-17 maintainers train in Alaska

by Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


5/13/2013 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- A group of Reserve C-17 Globemaster III maintainers here spent their annual tour at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, April 21 - May 5 to accomplish required core training and to train mechanics from the 732nd Air Mobility Squadron.

"Elmendorf was selected to receive an en-route team because they needed training," said Master Sgt. David Timney, 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hydraulic technician, and team chief during the TDY. "We wanted to complete as much upgrade and refresher training for both 732nd and 446th team members."

Tech. Sgt. Eddie Maldonado and Tech. Sgt. Raymond Green, were also able to certify some of the 732nd AMS maintainers on core tasks so they could pass the training on to their teammates within the squadron.

"We did most of our training with the active duty," Timney, of Graham, Wash., said. "We brought two people from McChord who had the ability to certify the active-duty members on multiple tasks. This would allow the certified 732th members to branch out and train others."

Even with eight years of aircraft maintenance training under his belt, Staff Sgt. John Cannon, 446th AMXS jet engine technician, said this was his first offshore TDY, and he was curious how other C-17 maintenance units operated.

"I was hoping to contribute and see what it was like at other bases," said the Tacoma resident. "I was able to cover C-17 engine maintenance while the active duty trained."

Reservists, including Cannon, were also able to learn some of the duties outside of their specialties.

"I learned more about (Basic Post-Flight inspections), through flights (a type of flight inspection), and other crew chief tasks, such as integral jack (the use of onboard hydraulics to change tires without an external jack)," said Cannon, who works as a field service technician for Safeworks, a vertical access equipment company.

The 446th AMXS Citizen Airmen and the 732nd AMS Airmen developed a noble working relationship.

Cannon summed it up in six words.

"They were fun to work with."

Hanscom AFB-managed program helps save Airman's life

by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


5/14/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- A program managed here that helps get supplies safely to warfighters was recently used in Afghanistan to help save an Airman's life.

The Dynamic Retasking Capability Urgent Operational Need provides the ability for C-17 Globemaster IIIs and C-130J Hercules to be directed to an alternative location with up-to-date information.

According to program officials, with the DRC the flight crew can receive data such as threat information, weather awareness and text messages, ultimately leading to a potential change to a mission.

By early April, the system had been used in theater for more than 11,000 flight hours and supported air land and airdrop missions. For the C-130J, more than 1,500 missions were completed and for the C-17, 675. Although originally intended to increase the success of cargo airdrops, the team here knew there would be other unforeseen uses.

"As part of any mission those aircraft are participating in, they have the ability to use the DRC," said 2nd Lt. Joseph Silvio, a DRC program manager.

In late March, a C-130J was in use during a routine aeromedical evacuation flight in Afghanistan, conveying patients from forward operating bases to Bagram Airfield. Through the DRC, the crew received an urgent message to divert to an alternate location to evacuate a patient who medical personnel thought needed more care than was available at their location.

The patient, a combat controller, had been shot in the leg and also a broken femur. His current condition was "urgent but stable."

However, as the flight headed back to the next scheduled forward operating base per the original plan, the controller's condition worsened. He was losing blood and his blood pressure dropped.

The crew knew they needed to get him to a medical facility that could deal with the condition as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the crew was not able to use traditional methods to communicate the request to change their flight plan. However, by using the DRC, they were able to let their command and control know they were changing course to head straight to Bagram Airfield.

Medical crew members on the aircraft were able to control the bleeding during the flight and once arriving at Bagram Airfield, the patient had surgery, which saved his leg and his life.

"We knew there would be other uses for the capability," Silvio said. "It's gratifying to know something designed to support the airdrop mission was able to be used to save life and limb."

Airmen from the 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, who accomplished this mission, praised the abilities of the DRC as well.

"The system has become indispensable in our current operations," said Lt. Col. Sean Barden, the 772nd EAS director of operations. "We use DRC on every mission to accomplish everything from passing weather alerts and (Notices to Airmen) for retasked fields to assisting during emergency refrags/diverts."

As the system started out as an urgent operational need, in January it reached a decision point where three choices could have been made: keep it as an enduring capability; sustain the capability in theater; or dispose of it. After a capability transition review, it was decided that the system would be kept as an enduring capability.

The program office here is not purchasing any new systems, but working to support what is already fielded.

And although Barden said there could still be some improvements made, he said the technology is sound.

"In all, the technology has proven very reliable given the relative youth of the system." He added that it's also "surprisingly user-friendly."

The DRC team here is pleased the capability is improving missions, not only as anticipated, but beyond.

"It's great to see a system we fielded helped with saving someone's life," said Bill Herbert, the DRC deputy program manager.

Marines Dominate Warrior Games Shooting Competition

By Shannon Collins
Joint Hometown News Service, Defense Media Activity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 14, 2013 – As a hush went across the spectators, two Marines, tied in the finals for shooting an air rifle, lined up their final shots in a shoot-off. A tenth of a point on the last shot meant the difference between winning gold and silver for these two Marines.


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The Marine Corps shooting team gathers to celebrate its dominant medal count in the shooting events during the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 13, 2013. The Marines won 13 of 24 medals, including four gold medals. DOD photo by E.J. Hersom
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
These Marines were two of 13 Marines who made it to the finals and won 13 out of 24 medals -- four gold medals, five silver medals and four bronze medals -- during the 2013 Warrior Games shooting competition at the U.S. Olympic Training Center here yesterday.

Gunnery Sgt. Pedro Aquino, who beat teammate Cpl. Angel Gomez in a shoot-off by a tenth of a point, won the gold medal in the SH2 prone air rifle category during his first Warrior Games. The scores range from 0 to 10.9.
“We were confident we would dominate,” said Aquino, who shot a 10.7 against Gomez. “We trained hard, focused and showed discipline. I went into the finals for the SH2 prone for the air rifle and was tied with an Army competitor. We got down to the last shots, and I saw him flinch. I kept my composure and persevered.”

Gomez didn’t leave empty-handed. He took the silver in the prone and standing air rifle competitions during his fourth Warrior Games. He said he continues to compete for the thrill of the sport.

“I love shooting, just looking at those sights and shooting, the feel of the rifle,” he said. “We worked hard, and it paid off. We were determined to win those medals.”

Sgt. Clayton McDaniel also had a close win. He won the bronze medal in the prone open air rifle category during his first Warrior Games. He was a tenth of a point from third place when he went into his final round. He shot a 10.7 and catapulted himself into third place for the bronze. McDaniel said he was honored to win a medal for the Marine team. Though intensive training had him mentally prepared for the physical challenges of the competition, his challenge was the pressure of having friends and family there, watching him compete.
“I was able to tune everybody out, but keeping my heartbeat under pressure was another story,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel said he’s proud of his teammates and competes to honor the fallen.

“They’re amazing; they are my heroes,” he said. “They find a way to pick themselves up on a bad day and come here and pull it off on game day and pull out the win. I look up to them a lot. I compete for my Marine Corps and for the fallen.”

Retired Maj. John Schwent has coached the Marines team for almost four years and trained Marines in shooting for 20 years. He said he is proud of his team.

“We had new shooters with a lack of experience this year, and there’s always a learning curve, but we overcame it and took the majority of the medals. They earned it,” he said. “It came down to the very last shot in the finals a few times, but we won the medals. I’m very proud of them.”

Schwent said tenths of a point can mean the difference in winning a medal, and the Marines team trained to meet this challenge.

“We train as if it’s going to come down to the very last shot and you’ve got to perform. These guys did that today,” he said. “They train to be able to perform, to shoot when the pressure is on, on and off the battlefield. We did that, and it’s a testament to the Marine Corps.”

For Master Sgt. Dionisios Nicholas, the competition was more about defending his three-time gold medalist title in the SH1 pistol category. He won gold and kept his title and added a silver medal in the rifle SH1 match.

He shot rifle right after winning a gold medal in the pistol. He said the challenge is to keep the nerves down, focus and push through any pain or spasms he may feel from his spinal cord injury. Nicholas shot a few 10.9s, perfect scores, during the competition and a perfect score for a full 40 shots in practice.

Nicholas said he is proud of his team and that shooting is par for the course for Marines.

“Marines shoot -- that’s what we do,” he said. “We try to do our best in spirit de corps, in professionalism and in executing the fundamentals. I love being a Marine.”

Staff Sgt. Phillip Shockley, who won a gold medal in the open pistol category, echoed the sentiment.

“It goes back to the basics: ‘Every Marine is a Rifleman,’” he said. “It goes back to the lessons we learned at boot camp, going to the rifle range and learning the emphasis the Marine Corps places on marksmanship and how you’re suppose to perform a certain way because every weapon is a gun in the fight.”

Shockley, who raced 12 miles in cycling the day prior, brought his years of experience of being a primary marksman instructor and Marine Corps shooting team member to his first Warrior Games. He said that though he won gold, he could do better.

“I’m going to try to get one of these air rifles so I can train on it and dominate next year,” he said.
Marine veteran Cpl. Richard Stalder won a gold medal in the SH2 standing air rifle competition, his first medal in his first Warrior Games. He said he would have been OK with the second or third place win, because his competitors were his fellow Marines. They took the gold, silver and bronze in the category.
“I would’ve easily let them take first, because they’re my brothers,” he said. “The Marine Corps had a great day shooting. “

The shooting classification groups were modified from the Paralympic rules. Athletes from the Army, Air Force and Navy, a joint team from the U.S. Special Forces Command and a team from the United Kingdom competed in the pistol open or pistol SH1 category or the rifle open, SH1 or SH2 category. Some athletes competed in both the pistol and rifle.

The open category includes competitors who do not have a permanent physical disability, such as someone who has a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. The SH1 category includes all competitors with a permanent physical disability, such as a spinal cord injury or leg amputation. The SH2 category includes competitors who do not have the ability to support the weight of the rifle with their arms and therefore require a spring stand. Athletes in this category could have an arm amputation or other upper body injuries.

Each athlete shoots 40 shots at a distance of 10 meters. They use single shot rifles and pistols with iron sights firing a .177 caliber soft lead match pellets. They cannot use any sight with a lens. Each competition could have anywhere from seven to 30 competitors. The top eight of each category made it to the finals

Wounded Special Ops Warriors Thrive on Competition

By David Vergun
Army News Service

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 14, 2013 – Extremely tough mental and physical training and experience give the special operations team’s wounded warriors a competitive edge, said their cycling coach.


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Coach Jeth Fogg prepares for the upright- and hand-cycling races at the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 12, 2013. U.S. Army photo by David Vergun
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The athletes’ background in special ops prepared them well for the 2013 Warrior Games, said Coach Jeth Fogg, prior to the upright and handcycling races at the Air Force Academy here May 12.
 
However, Fogg quickly added that the advantage is no guarantee they’re going to win. “We’re always the underdog, because we’re smaller than the other services and don’t field as many folks.”

The special ops team has athletes from the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps -- some active, some medically retired, some old, some young.

It makes sense to have a separate special ops team, Fogg said, because it’s a unique part of the military in which members of each service operate as a team, often in arduous conditions. They know each other very well and develop close-knit bonds.

Fogg himself is not a wounded warrior, nor was he ever in special ops, but he said during the course of his Air Force career he worked alongside them numerous times and understands their mindset.

Also, he said, is familiar with special ops wounded warriors, because this is his third year at Warrior Games coaching them. The Warrior Games started in 2010, but special ops didn’t field a team until 2011, the year after Fogg retired from the Air Force.

The Warrior Games are for wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans and teams represent each of the services and one from the United Kingdom, in addition to special ops.
There are basically two levels of competition here, he said: “Complete and compete.” The first goal for the athletes, he said, is just completing the course - going the distance. That’s the initial standard. After that, they need to show a real desire to go further “and actually make it to the podium,” he said.

Here, just completing the course is a “huge deal” and the competitive aspect is at the high end, he added. He provided an example of an athlete last year who could barely move about, but made substantial progress and made the team. And another lost 48 pounds in a year to compete.
And then there’s the ultimate goal for some, he said: leaving the team.

“Some guys eventually get in such good shape that they pass the Veterans Affairs disability standard and can no longer compete,” he explained. Once that happens, they can join the Paralympic team and try out for the 2016 Olympics.

The team has lost a number of athletes because they’ve improved to that degree, he said. Some, however, enjoy the Warrior Games so much, they return year after year. “For them, they’ve made that higher level already,” Fogg said.

Athletes come to the program at various levels and with various types of illnesses, injuries or wounds, he said. Some are missing an arm, some a leg. That is one of the factors that will determine if they use an upright bike, which is a normal-looking bike, or a handcycle. Both types of bikes are sometimes tricked out to suit the needs of the athletes, he added.

Next, a power test is given. Special training bikes are equipped with power meters that measure watts of energy the athletes can generate. That level of energy is one of the factors that go into customizing an athlete’s individual training program, which begins about a year out from competition.

Then, the tactics of racing are instilled into each athlete, Fogg said. Before a race, the coach said he takes each of them individually through the course and talks them through each segment.
“For some guys, this is their first time ever doing a bike race,” he said.

Then more tactics follow.

“Some hard chargers spend themselves, because they go until they pop, which might be halfway through the race,” Fogg said. “They suffer the remainder of the race. The grey-haired guys seem to be able to pick up on the tactics better than the younger ones. They take what you say and use their smarts. They don’t let physicality rule the situation.”

Fogg said the younger guys tend to have a lot of physical energy but they overuse it at the wrong time,” he said. “When they do, someone takes advantage of them. It’s hard for them to understand you don’t always need to be the guy in the front. You gotta go ahead and use your smarts first, and then use your physicality at the right time.”

Fogg said he’s been blessed to be this team’s coach. He admits that he doesn’t really have to do much emotional or psychological counseling with his athletes.

“They all know how to suffer,” he said. “They know the pain they can put their bodies through.”
He said they all want to get to the podium, and his advice to them is to be aware they’re going to have to do a lot of suffering. “And they do,” he said.

Marine Missing from Vietnam War to be Buried with Crew

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, was recently accounted for and will be buried along with the 12 other servicemen who were lost in the same crash.

Marine Corps Pfc. Daniel A. Benedett of Seattle, Wash., will be buried May 15, at Arlington National Cemetery, along with Air Force 2nd Lt. Richard Vandegeer of Cleveland, Ohio; Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Bernard Gause Jr., of Birmingham, Ala.; Hospitalman Ronald J. Manning of Steubenville, Ohio; Marine Corps servicemen Lance Cpl. Gregory S. Copenhaver of Lewistown, Pa.; Lance Cpl. Andres Garcia of Carlsbad, N.M.; Pfc. Lynn Blessing of Lancaster, Pa.; Pfc. Walter Boyd of Portsmouth, Va.; Pfc. James J. Jacques of La Junta, Colo.; Pfc. James R. Maxwell of Memphis, Tenn.; Pfc. Richard W. Rivernburgh of Schenectady, N.Y.; Pfc. Antonio R. Sandoval of San Antonio, Texas; and Pfc. Kelton R. Turner of St. Louis, Mo.

On May 12, 1975, Khmer Rouge gunboats captured the S.S. Mayaguez in the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of Cambodia. After the vessel was taken to Koh Tang Island, U.S. aircraft began surveillance flights around the island.  When efforts to secure the release of the ship and its crew failed, U.S. military forces began a rescue mission.

Three days after the Mayaguez seizure, the Air Force dispatched six helicopters to the island.  One of the helicopters came under heavy enemy fire and crashed into the surf with 26 men on board.  Thirteen of the men were rescued at sea, leaving Benedett and 12 other service members unaccounted-for from the crash.

Between 1991 and 2008, investigators conducted more than 10 investigations and excavations, led by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).  On three occasions, Cambodian authorities turned over remains believed to be those of American servicemen.  In 1995, U.S. and Cambodian specialists conducted an underwater recovery of the helicopter crash site where they located remains, personal effects and aircraft debris associated with the loss.  Between 2000 and 2004, all of the missing service members from this helicopter, except Benedett, were accounted-for.

On Jan. 30, 2013, Benedett was accounted-for.  Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and DNA process of elimination to account for his remains.

Today, more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

Peterson EOD tech competes in this year's Warrior Games

by Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer


5/14/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Combat can take its toll on the body both physically and mentally but the Warrior spirit is not limited by such things. For many wounded warriors, the tolls of combat could have diminished their abilities and reaction times, but the internal fire of the Warrior Spirit remains untouched and vibrant.

"When you are injured, people love to tell you what you can't do. I don't believe in that, I don't believe there is a box for me," said Master Sgt. Benjamin Horton, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician.

This is Horton's second time competing in the Warrior Games, representing the Air Force in the Men's 100-meter Freestyle Open. While Horton is disappointed that he will not be competing in sprints and cycling this year due to knee injuries, he remains honored and excited to be a part of the games.

"Everyone has limitations. We all talk about them, we share ideas on what works and what doesn't work. You can learn new tricks to get your body to perform better," Horton said when asked about his experiences with the Warrior Games.

As a highly decorated Airman with many honors and prestige, Horton remains humble when talking about his combat experiences and points out that with his multiple shrapnel and blast injuries, he is nowhere near as bad as many of the other service members participating at the games.

Horton went on to talk about his most memorable Warrior Games moment and spoke about a triple amputee Marine that was also blind, competing in the 50-meter swimming event.

"As they lowered this Marine into the pool, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up," he said.

"With only one arm he gave his absolute all. Everyone was screaming so loud, nobody cared who had won the race. They were just amazed at the effort and heart he was putting into it," Horton said with pride. "The most important thing about the games is the inspiration you get from the people around; it's just amazing," he added.

"People go to sporting events and it is all about being the absolute best, the fastest or strongest. You go here and you see the more important things, you see compassion, you see heart, you see pure effort," he said. "That is what makes it amazing."

Homestead Airmen conduct live ordnance loading area operations

by Ross Tweten
482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/14/2013 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- Homestead Air Reserve Base recently conducted a series of live ordnance loading area operations.

More commonly known as LOLA, the operations consist of loading live ordnance on F-16s in an authorized area on the flightline away from people and buildings. The munitions are loaded in an isolated location in case of, in so many words, inadvertent blasts or firings.

"Safety plays an integral part in determining how far away the LOLA has to be," said Lt. Col. David Sundlov, 93rd Fighter Squadron commander. "The weapons are usually loaded on a remote portion of the runway. Currently we are working on a new LOLA across the runway that will have room for a few more jets."

The 482nd Fighter Wing's F-16s then dropped their ordnance on Pinecastle Bombing Range in northern Florida.

Once the flying schedule calls for live munitions on flying sorties, the aircraft are positioned on the LOLA and weapons load crews are dispatched to perform the live loading operations. The aircraft remain on LOLA until takeoff or until live munitions have been downloaded.

The recent operations consisted of eight sorties, dropping more than two dozen MK-82 500-pound bombs, all hitting their intended targets on the bombing range.

Aircraft maintenance Airmen have requirements to be trained on loading live ordnance just as pilots have requirements to drop live ordnance.

"LOLA ops are important from a maintenance prospective in that it gives our weapons personnel valuable training in handling and loading live munitions; munitions they would normally only see in a deployed environment," said Master Sgt. Desmond Ojeda, 495th Fighter Group, Detachment 93, Weapons Flight chief.

According to Lt. Col. Adam Meyers, 482nd Fighter Wing Chief of Safety, the LOLA is the one place on base where all three safety disciplines - ground, weapons and flying - converge.

"There's zero room for cutting corners when we're talking about literally tons of explosives being loaded on jets," said Meyers. "It's a good thing we've got diligent professionals doing it right."

Air Force shooters final in three events; take silver

by Senior Master Sgt. Dean J. Miller
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs


5/14/2013 - Colorado Springs, Colo.  -- Monday was Day 2 of the 4th annual Warrior Games featuring the start and conclusion of the .177 caliber air rifle and air pistol events at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Both air rifle and air pistol events included a pre-qualification phase requiring athletes to fire 40 rounds in an hour and fifteen minutes. Scores from the pre-qualification phase identified finalists who participated in competition courses of fire. These included pistol, prone rifle, and standing rifle.

Each competition had a supported and open category. Supported categories provide specified assistance to the shooters within that category. Examples include a mechanical device to support the heft of a weapon, assistance with loading a weapon, or shooting from a seated position. Athletes fire their weapons unassisted in the open categories.

Team Air Force shooters qualified to shoot in three open events -- pistol, standing rifle and prone rifle competitions.

Pistol shooters Josh Robistow and Stephen Otero shot 429.4 and 411.3, respectively. Robistow finished a mere 3.3 points from the Bronze winner. Top scores in the event were 439 for the gold, 438.6 for the silver and 432.7 for the bronze, respectively.

Standing rifle shooters Gwen Sheppard and Jael Hansen fired 394.3 and 369.8, respectively. Top scores in the event were 436.7 for the gold, 436.3 for the silver and 415.1 for the bronze, respectively.

Prone rifle shooter Mitchell Keiffer took the silver medal with a score of 496. Top scores in the event were 497.4 for the gold and 493.8 for the bronze, respectively.

The results had team Team Air Force all smiles.

"My goal for the team was for each athlete to shoot within 10 points of their personal average," said Alex Callage, Air Force Warrior Games pistol coach, "With the pressure and distraction of competition, everyone on the team shot a personal best or was within 10 points of their average - I couldn't be more proud of them."

Local shooter Scott Bullis, of Air Force Space Command Headquarters, Peterson AFB, Colo., was extremely excited for fellow rifle Mitch Kieffer.

"The fact that Mitch did so well is great - he earned silver, and that alone was pretty amazing," said Bullis, "He is competing in multiple events and he got off to a great start with his shooting."

Other results from the 2nd day's competition:

Wheelchair Basketball
Air Force defeated SOCOM, 37-25
Army defeated Air Force, 59-9

Sitting Volleyball
Marines defeated Air Force
SOCOM defeated Air Force

Pentagon Seeks to Establish ‘Cost Culture,’ Official Says

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2013 – In an effort to maximize investments of defense business opportunities during austere times, the Defense Department is seeking to establish a “cost culture,” a senior Pentagon official said here today.

Elizabeth A. McGrath, the Defense Department’s deputy chief management officer, spoke to an audience during the Excellence in Government Forum about DOD’s efforts to optimize business opportunities in support of the department’s core mission.

McGrath’s office advises the defense secretary and deputy defense secretary on matters relating to the management and improvement of integrated defense business operations.

“We’re looking at establishing a cost culture within defense,” McGrath said. “We’re really, really good at putting together a budget. We do it every year without fail. We do budget formulation. We even do execution of that budget. But what we are really focusing our attention on now is the cost of operation.”

McGrath said this cost analysis plays a crucial role in considering business investments.

“Do you know how much it costs per transaction?” she asked. “Do you know what makes up the cost elements?”

Every company, McGrath said, looks at what is driving cost when they evaluate what is profitable and what is not.

“We do this every day at home,” she said. “We look at what’s driving our costs. There are cost decisions we make every day. It’s applying that same thought process that businesses have -- that we have as individuals -- to the execution of the business space.”

When evaluating these cost drivers, McGrath said, there should be a consideration of whether there is a good return on investment. “If it’s not there, we have to say no,” she added. “We’re not going to make that investment, because in this fiscal environment we just don’t have the dollars.”

This approach requires thinking differently, McGrath said.

“It has been a very difficult conversation within the Defense Department, within the business space,” she told the audience. But that approach makes it possible to make informed decisions, she said, if there is an understanding of exactly what the cost drivers are.

McGrath noted the Defense Department is “for sure, the largest government entity,” and in terms of numbers, would be the 16th-largest country in the world, with 3 million to 3.5 million people, 5,000 locations worldwide and a multi-billion-dollar global supply chain. DOD also is the largest health care provider in the nation, she said.

McGrath used information technology as an example of considering the right strategy to achieve the right outcome in the business space.

“Annually, we spend about $7 billion, and we have over 2,000 IT systems,” she said. “In my opinion, that’s too many, but what we don’t want to do is say, ‘Well, let’s just cut 10 percent of those,’ not understanding the strategic impact of doing that.”

McGrath said it is critical to understand how to tie the investment to the strategy to achieve the desired outcome. “What business outcome are you trying to achieve?” she asked. “How does the IT enable you to get there?”

McGrath acknowledged that this “deliberate thought process” isn’t always employed by government.
“Typically, it’s oftentimes a blunt-object approach to cutting costs,” she said. “And I really think that the government -- especially over the last couple of years, but certainly historically -- has cut a lot of the easy things.”

McGrath said the current fiscal environment requires different, more strategic, thinking about how to make budget cuts and achieve the mission within the fiscal targets that are provided without disrupting the mission.
Certainly, she said, national security is the Defense Department’s core mission.

“What I often tell many people is you have to sort of look up and out across the enterprise,” McGrath said. “We execute from an end-to-end perspective. There’s nothing that is just financially focused. There’s nothing that is just personnel focused. Every personnel action has a financial transaction.”

In the current and projected fiscal environment, McGrath said, defense officials must think differently to optimize available dollars. And that’s difficult in a culture that favors certainty, she added.

“We really are risk-averse,” McGrath said. “We don’t like to take the risk. We want to ensure success before taking a risk. I think the fiscal environment really allows us to take a little more risk to execute, if you will, bigger and bolder thoughts about how we execute the mission. And so, I really do think it’s time to think differently.”

Kadena welcomes new 18th Wing commander

by Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins
18th Wing Public Affairs


5/13/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- Brig. Gen. James B. Hecker assumed command of the 18th Wing during a change of command ceremony at Kadena Air Base, Japan, May 13.

Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella, U.S. Forces, Japan, and 5th Air Force commander, presided over the event held inside Kadena's Airborne Warning and Control System hangar where Airmen, Soldiers, sailors, Marines, distinguished guests and members of the Okinawan community attended the ceremony.

"It's great to be back at Kadena for this momentous occasion," Angelella said. "I'm absolutely honored to be here to bid a fond farewell to Brig. Gen. 'Zap' Molloy and welcome Brig. Gen. 'Scorch' Hecker back to the Keystone of the Pacific."

"After more than a decade of war in Southwest Asia the United States security strategy has refocused and rebalanced to the Pacific," Angelella continued. "I can proudly say 'Zap' successfully postured the wing to transition to America's Pacific sentry. I know our Team Kadena is sad to see 'Zap' and his family leave Japan; however I'm confident the Air Force has selected an outstanding new Airman warrior to fill 'Zap's' shoes."

Hecker is taking over the position from Brig. Gen. Matt H. Molloy, who was selected as the deputy director of operations, Headquarters, U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Molloy served as commander here from June 2011 to May 2013.

"Two years ago when I took command of the wing I used two words to describe my feelings that day, blessed and grateful. Today I can't think of two finer words as I close out command," Molloy said. "I have been blessed by the Lord for this command opportunity and so very grateful to do that alongside and shoulder-to-shoulder with the Shogun Warriors."

After the tradition of passing the guidon, which dates back to the 18th century, Hecker addressed his new family, Team Kadena.

When it comes to working with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, Hecker said, "We need to make sure that we are not just coordinating (our forces). We need to be integrated everyday and make sure we (can) bring combat airpower (together) should we need it."

"We are on the tip of the spear here," Hecker continued. "There are heightened tensions here in the Asia-Pacific region and we need to be ready. My charge to you is simple: you need to have tactical excellence in your wartime mission, and at all times of every day be ready to go should we need to."

Hecker most recently served as the commander of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and is a command pilot with more than 3,200 hours in the F-15 Eagle and F-22 Raptor.

He also served as a weapons officer for the 44th Fighter Squadron here from July 1996 to August 1998 and was the director of operations, operations directorate, U.S. Forces Japan at Yokota Air Base, Japan from July 2009 to June 2011 were he was responsible for coordinating both civilian and military disaster relief and humanitarian assistance during Operation Tomodachi.

Hecker said he looks forward to growing a better personal and professional relationship with the Japanese community leaders to bring the 18th Wing and the Japanese community together as a team.

During his remarks, Hecker expressed his love for the Japanese culture and the politeness of the people and looks forward to working with Team Kadena again.

"It's great to be back in Japan," He said.