Tuesday, May 28, 2013

U.S. and Vietnam prepare for exercise Pacific Angel 13-3

5/28/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- The United States and Vietnam will conduct humanitarian assistance operations June 10-14 as part of Operation Pacific Angel.

Officially in its sixth year, Operation PACANGEL is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance exercise led by Pacific Air Forces. Operation PACANGEL 2013 includes medical, dental, optometry, and engineering programs as well as various subject-matter expert exchanges.

Approximately 56 U.S. military members, along with local non-governmental organizations and host nation military forces will conduct humanitarian assistance operations in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam as part of this operation.

PACANGEL enhances participants' humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.

The exercise supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments, non-governmental agencies and multilateral militaries in the respective region to provide medical, dental, optometry, and engineering assistance to their citizens. This training can be used during future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

Since 2007, U.S. military members, together with host nation military personnel throughout the region, have improved the lives of tens of thousands of people through Operation PACANGEL missions

SFS joins Japanese defense forces in training exercise

by Airman 1st Class Kaleb Snay
35th Fighter Wing public affairs

5/23/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan  -- Airmen from the 35th Security Forces Squadron and Japan Air Self-Defense Force, along with the soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, 9th Division, 5th Infantry Regiment, Aomori, participated in the Guard and Protect Exercise here, May 19-22.

"The annual exercise is the result of a bilateral training agreement, between the United States and Japanese governments, which states during high threat situations in the country, JGSDF and JASDF will unite efforts with U.S installations," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Helguero, 35 SFS Exercise Evaluation Team inspector. "It basically helps us unify how we do security."

With allied forces training together, teamwork and efficiency are heightened as the bonds between both the Japanese and U.S. forces are strengthened.

"This is the fifth year of the Guard and Protect Exercise and every year we've become more fluid with security because of how well we work together," said Helguero. "The exercise allows us to communicate together and learn each other's tactics so we can better utilize our forces."

Various scenarios, staged by U.S. Airmen, were set up in several locations across Misawa Air Base. Airmen, posing as enemy forces or ordinary civilians, tried to breach base perimeters to test security members attention to detail. Using realistic threats, the bilateral defenders go through several scenarios.

"Typical scenarios we set up are people trying to bring toxic materials or Improvised Explosive Devices on base," Helguero added. "Sometimes we'd have a simulated special forces group try to infiltrate. We basically try and keep everyone on their toes watching for anything suspicious."

Using these methods, evaluators are able to determine what weaknesses and strengths they have and can alter training to better prepare troops.

"Exercises are meant highlight vulnerabilities and to build on strengths," said Master Sgt. Justin Crockett, 35 SFS EET inspector. "We always try to improve on the areas where we were deficient previous years."

Other side of the lens: Marine leaves lasting impact

by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau
460 Space Wing Public Affairs

5/22/2013 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- I had never met him. I had never seen him. I didn't even know his name before that day.

But then I stood on the flightline staring at a black coffin draped in the Stars and Stripes. It didn't matter whether or not I knew this Marine, because I could feel his impact.

Members of the base and local community showed up for this dignified transfer in force. A full formation of Marines divided the hearse from the series of cars that lined the aircraft hangar doors, with an honor guard ready to receive their fallen brother after he arrived by plane. More than 20 K-9 handlers and their dogs filled the flightline in respect of one of their own because the plane was not only carrying an American warrior, but also the remains of his military working dog partner.

So there I was, in full service dress, behind the camera's lens, capturing the final journey of this Marine for his family. I had never been in this position before, and it was a little eerie. As a photojournalist, I always try to get excited about putting out the best possible product; but as I stood next to the hearse, still close enough to hear the quiet crying of his family, excitement seemed out of place.

The six-man honor guard raised their white-gloved hands in a silent salute to the K-9 handler before the door to the black hearse closed. The Marine's wife stared at the vehicle through dark sunglasses, the tear streaks still on her cheek. His brother stood stoically beside her in his place.

This Marine, who was unknown to me until then, had spoken to me. Not through words, but through actions. He made the greatest sacrifice for his country any service member can make. He made it even though he had a family. He made it even though he had a future.

All the days throughout my career I complained about it being too hot or there being a lot of work seemed insignificant. Frankly, I was embarrassed. I lost track of the big picture in those moments, and it was sad it took a hero to remind me of that.

The corporal's sacrifice reminded me of the important things. No matter what branch of service we are in, we are all in this fight together. We stand united against America's enemies and together in the aid of our allies.

His sacrifice also showed me how fragile life is for those who take the oath to serve our country. We sometimes see ourselves as invincible, but one day it could be me in that casket and my wife wearing black. Because I will deploy again; it's what I swore to when I joined the military.

As I watched the hearse pull away bathed by the lights of fire trucks and police vehicles, every available service member and civilian on the installation lined the road awaiting the corporal's final pass. I saw hundreds of base members, lined shoulder to shoulder, place their hands over their hearts or raise their arms and render a final salute.

And it hit me. This Marine not only impacted me, he had impacted all of us.

JBER security forces ready for high-risk situations

by Airman Ty-Rico Lea
JBER Public Affairs

5/23/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Airmen and civilians of 673d Security Forces Squadron performed their annual high-risk response training during Police Week, training that is part of a Pacific Air Forces-wide program.

The U.S. Air Force partnered with Analytical Services Incorporated to conduct a diverse range of high-risk response exercises. Headquartered in Shirlington, Va., ANSER is a public service research institute that worked with the Air Force in 1958 to help with the research and development of more proficient ways of assessing situations that threaten the security of America and its people. A cadre consisting of ANSER senior analysts devised several exercises, which utilized the concepts of responding to high risk situations.

"All throughout Police Week, we exercise training involving an active shooter that could appear anywhere on base," said Air Force 2nd Lt. Amber Evans, a 673d SFS flight commander. "Scenarios included places such as elementary schools at the base exchange."

Security Forces service members were trained on the key pieces of high-risk response principles, including the use of force, the history of active shooters and navigating through a hostage situation.

"The high-risk response training that took place at the [base exchange] was the culmination of all aspects used to train for any active shooter situation," Evans said. "High-risk responses are particularly challenging as you always have to go in with the mind-set that it's going to be a no win situation."

According to a public release written by Air Force Staff Sgt. Rogelio Diaz, 673d SFS training instructor, this type of training is used to avoid any type of loss, ranging from lives to property damage. Situations in the past have proven this type of training is critical as each one is variable and unpredictable. The Office of the Secretary of Defense advised all services to provide "active shooter" response training to all security personnel in response to the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting.

As part of the exercise, Air Force members from different squadrons also played the parts of hostages to gain the feel and experience of being in a hostage

"We all had fun participating in the high-risk response training," said Airman 1st Class Patrick Frick, 673d Communications Squadron cyber system operator. "Ultimately we were really glad to help out."

Evans said whenever responding to an active shooter situation, security forces members always use the implementation of non-lethal approaches unless instructed otherwise or if they deem the shooter hostile.

"When it comes to saving lives, saving one is better than saving none," Evans said.

F-15 aircraft crashes in Pacific, pilot ejects safely

by 18th Wing Public Affairs

5/27/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A Kadena-based F-15 aircraft developed a problem that ultimately resulted in the pilot ejecting from the aircraft over the Pacific Ocean approximately 70 miles east of Okinawa at around 9 a.m. today.

U.S. and Japanese rescue crews are responding to recover the pilot, who reportedly ejected safely and is in contact with rescue crews.

The cause of the incident will be investigated. More details will be released as they become available. The name of the pilot is not releasable at this time.

390th IS TSgt named language pro of the year

by Airman 1st Class Hailey Davis
18th Wing Public Affairs

5/22/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A white-board depicts the characters of a foreign language as Tech. Sgt. David Jang, 390th Intelligence Squadron airborne cryptologic language analyst, briefs other Korean linguists during a training session at the Kadena Language Learning Center.

Jang recently won the 2012 Language Professional of the Year Award at the Air Force level, and was the runner-up for the same award at the Department of Defense level.

"The Language Professional of the Year Award is (awarded to) the most well-rounded linguist we have in the Air Force culturally and language wise," said Lt. Col. Regan McClurkin, 390th IS commander. "He scores 100s on his physical training tests successively, excels at language and everything he does, but he is also extremely humble."

McClurkin explained the normal path of a linguist is for them to take the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, which consists of analyzing a made-up language to see if they understand a given rule set and can apply them.

Scores received on the DLAB are used to screen people who appear to have an ability to quickly sort out rules of a language and give them an opportunity to go to the Defense Language Institute to learn a foreign language.

However, Jang bypassed DLI because his native language is Korean. He moved to Seoul, Korea, when he was 5 years old and spent 14 years learning the language and the culture.

After DLI, the second step for linguists is getting out and applying their skills to their unit and Air Force mission in a professional manner, said Chief Master Sgt. Mark Weinandt, 390th IS superintendent.

After being accepted to cross-train, Jang went straight to intelligence training at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, followed by survival and flight training.

Being able to head straight to the operational line put Jang one step above other language professionals.
"I'd rather be on the operational line using my language than sitting in a classroom learning something I already knew," Jang said. "The fact that I serve the country by doing something that I've been doing on a daily basis since I was young and utilize that skill set makes it very worthwhile."

Although he learned English a year before he joined the Air Force, learning a new language has given him the opportunity to help other linguists who struggle with doing the same.

The experience of learning English, which was a foreign language for Jang, has been able to help him understand what his students go through, said Jeff Bagwell, Kadena Language Learning Center command language program manager.

"Since he's got such a deep-rooted knowledge of the Korean Language, he helps out our linguists who struggle with maintaining a required level of proficiency," Bagwell added.

McClurkin, Weinandt and Bagwell all said that Jang's dedication to professionalism and language, excellence in all he does, and his ability to put in extra hours to help other linguists maintain proficiency in their language are what stood out and made him a candidate for this award.

"What I'd like people to know about him is the extra effort that he's put in; he has an ability that we needed and he was exceptional at his own job, but he didn't just rest at being exceptional at his job," Weinandt said. "He makes it a point to help the rest of the unit, which helps the unit mission and the Air Force mission (as a whole)."

Weinandt said Jang feels doing his job is doing everything exceptionally. Bagwell also said Jang works extra hours and finds time in his schedule to work with the other Korean linguists on Kadena.

"When (Jang) won at the (55th Wing) level, he was overwhelmed and didn't expect it," McClurkin said. "When he won at the Air Combat Command level, he was even more overwhelmed and when I announced that he won at the Air Force level, he was speechless."

Jang explained when his leadership brought up the idea of submitting him for the award, he initially turned it down.

"There are a lot of deserving language professionals in the Air Force and I thought I didn't deserve (winning the award) and wouldn't be competitive enough," Jang said. "Like every other professional in the Air Force, I'm doing what I'm supposed to do and giving my best in my specialty."

He added when he won at the ACC level, he thought it would be the final win due to other linguists at the major command level being more engaged in real-world missions on a daily basis.

"It was great to feel that my leadership thought so highly of me," Jang said. "I'm humbled to say the least, but at the same time it gave me a sense of further commitment as an appreciation to people who endorsed me. I take this as a cue that I should strive for further excellence, and continue to contribute what I can provide to the Air Force and our country."

EC prepares senior leaders with expeditionary mission support training

by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wilson
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center

5/28/2013 - JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.  -- A class of 17 commanders and superintendents recently completed the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's three-day Expeditionary Mission Support Group Senior Leaders Course here.

The EMSG course is designed for mission support group commanders and superintendents who are tasked to deploy to various geographic combatant commands across the world, said Pat Refsdal, EMSG course director from the Center's 422nd Joint Tactics Squadron.

"The course discusses the issues and challenges these leaders expect to face in the expeditionary environment," she said.

The course is held two times a year but the ultimate numbers of classes and students are based upon the needs and requirements of ongoing operations across the globe. Students attending the course will continue on to assume leadership positions in several combatant commands around the world such as U.S. Central Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

A main feature of the course is the inclusion of mentors; EMSG leaders who supported the expeditionary combat support mission directly and are available to discuss their lessons learned and offer advice to the incoming leaders. This month's course mentors were Col. Erik Rundquist, who previously served as the 455th EMSG commander at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, and Chief Master Sgt. Larence Kirby, who previously served as the 451st EMSG superintendent at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.

The leaders come to the course with decades of experience within the mission support areas of the Air Force - force support, civil engineering, communications, security forces and logistics -- but face added mission requirements due to the deployed missions they are tasked with, such as leading aerial port operations, Refsdal said.

"We tweak each class based upon what's happening and where the students are headed," she said. "Right now we are focusing on logistics, contracts, airlift and incident management. The drawdown (in Afghanistan) is a significant mission right now."

One of the main benefits the course provides is to allow members of a unit leadership team to meet and bond over the three days prior to taking on the mission. Group commanders, deputy commanders and superintendents attend together to build the relationships that will prove to be vital, said Refsdal, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who served as a senior logistician in the U.S. Central Command area-of-operations prior to arriving at the Center several years ago.

"The course began (in 2006) focused on commanders, but we have now opened it up for the superintendents and deputy commanders as well," she said. "This really allows the teams to come together."

The course features a unique blend of classroom-based instruction on topics ranging from organizational roles and responsibilities, the roles and missions of Joint Expeditionary Tasking and Individual Augmentee Airmen, insider threats, command and control and casualty affairs. Additionally, the course mentors share their specific experiences with the group and lead discussions.

"The class also reviews established Air Force Tactics, Techniques and Procedures publications for their specific missions and work through and discuss real-world case studies," Refsdal said.

Expeditionary missions have changed dramatically over the last several years and more changes are coming, but Center officials stress that expeditionary operations for the Air Force are a continuing requirement and the Center stands ready to continue offering world-class training opportunities as the Service's expeditionary combat support center of excellence.

"Though operations have significantly drawn down in Iraq and we are continuing drawdown operations in Afghanistan, growing uncertainty in the world mandates a continued focus on rapid expeditionary basing. It is imperative we continue to refine and educate future leaders supporting expeditionary combat support operations through programs like the EMSG course," said Brig. Gen. Martha Meeker, Expeditionary Center vice commander. "This is a skillset that is very much a part of the Air Force's core mission in today's operating environment and will continue to be as vital in the future as it has been over the past 20 years."

Travis hosts Gold Star Ruck March

by Airman 1st Class Amelia Leonard
349th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

5/23/2013 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Hundreds of Airmen and their families banded together to participate in the third annual Gold Star Family Ruck March in honor of fallen service members and their families here May 18.

The purpose of the event was to bring awareness to the base and its community about Gold Star Moms and their families. Although fallen service members are the ones who ultimately pay the price with their lives for the nation, their families are left behind with holes in their hearts.

The Gold Star Moms program brings families together to gain strength from one another in a time when they are suffering most.

"This event is for a great cause," said Senior Airman John Krueger, 22nd Airlift Squadron. "I'll definitely be back out here next year."

"I wanted to honor all the families who have lost a loved one," said Staff Sgt. Steven Kreidler, 60th Medical Operations Squadron. "It's a good way to keep them alive. It felt good."

The participants walked or ran the 10K course that winded from Bldg. 924 to 381 . There were three different divisions to participate in: military heavy, which consisted of the Airman Battle Uniform and a 30-pound backpack; military light, which included members in uniform without the backpack; and a civilian division. Participants could walk, run or even crawl during the event. Some participants competed alone, while others joined forces and competed in a four-man team.

Senior Airman Tyler Saulsgiver, 60th Civil Engineer Squadron, participated in one of the four-man teams.

"It was tough," he said. "We trained every Friday for two months. It was an experience for sure."

Maj. Daniel Craig, 60th CES, ran alongside his wife, a civilian, and their baby in a jogging stroller.

"This was my wife's first 10K and what better way to do it than for the Gold Star Moms," he said.

Each participant was fitted with a laminated sheet of paper that included a picture of a fallen service member, their age, hometown and unit. The paper served as a reminder of all we've lost in battle and to remember them and their families.

U.S., EU Lead Global Nonproliferation, Biosurveillance Efforts

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 – As nuclear, biological and chemical threats continue to evolve worldwide, partnership between the United States and European Union countries to counter such threats remains critical, a senior Defense Department official said today in Helsinki.

Andrew C. Weber, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, spoke at a meeting of the Atlantic Council on U.S.-European Union cooperation in countering the use of weapons of mass destruction.

The Atlantic Council is a public policy institution founded in 1961 to promote transatlantic cooperation and international security.

“In the coming years,” Weber said, “our countries must continue to work together to raise safety and security standards, strengthen the Global Partnership and the [Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons], detect and report threats in real time, and promote disarmament.”

The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction consists of 25 countries, including 12 members of the European Union, works to reduce the global risk.

Such threats, Weber added, “are evolving in ways that affect all of our countries.”

Increasing globalization, advances in dual-use technologies, and the emergence of new microbes and drug-resistant pathogens are complicating the ability to meet nonproliferation and counterproliferation goals, the assistant secretary observed.

Advances in technology and the work of illicit networks are making it easier for nonstate actors to access materials needed to produce weapons of mass destruction, he added, and the regimes in Syria and North Korea “are proving that we must maintain our focus on state-sponsored programs.”

The European Union and the United States have made firm commitments to addressing the full range of concerns about weapons of mass destruction, Weber said.

“As Finland’s 2012 Security and Defense Policy report points out,” he continued, ‘In the era of global challenges the EU and the United States, being close strategic partners, are expected to cooperate to achieve lasting solutions.’”

Cooperation is especially important in addressing threats of this magnitude and complexity, he said. “As Finland’s defense policy report notes,” he added, “the U.S. administration believes strongly in using partnerships and cooperation to mitigate global threats.”

Weber called this a guiding principle for efforts to counter weapons of mass destruction threats.

In December, he noted, President Barack Obama said the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction, or CTR, program to reduce nuclear, biological and chemical threats is one of the most important U.S. national security programs and a perfect example of the kind of partnerships needed to meet challenges that no nation can address on its own.

“For two decades, our cooperative threat reduction work focused on the former Soviet Union and on reducing nuclear threats. Since then, it has evolved both geographically and by focus area,” Weber said. That evolution, along with other collaborative efforts, is increasing the cooperative threat reduction focus on biological threats, he noted.

“The United States looks forward to working with international partners to launch, enhance and link global networks for real-time biosurveillance, expanding International Health Regulation capabilities across the globe and developing novel diagnostics,” he said, adding that many European Union countries with advanced biological-science sectors are helping to build global reporting networks.

Weber said that uniting the health, security and emergency-response sectors in the United States and European Union countries is critical to preparedness for any kind of threat.

“By applying this principal to our international partnerships, both the EU and the United States are contributing to more resilient communities around the world,” he added.

The European Union and the United States also lead the world on a path toward disarmament, the assistant secretary said, and strengthening the nonproliferation treaty and other nonproliferation initiatives remains a core principle of their defense strategies.

Weber recognized Finland’s leadership on this and its commitment to moving toward a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone in the Middle East. He also commended the efforts of Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, Finnish undersecretary of state for foreign and security policy, to set the conditions for making this vision a reality.

“For the United States,” he said, “President Obama has set a bold vision for disarmament and continues to prioritize the Nuclear Security Summit process … [and] established ambitious goals for a world safe and secure from biological threats.”

The assistant secretary quoted part of Obama’s 2012 address before the U.N. General Assembly: “We must come together to prevent and detect and fight every kind of biological danger -- whether it’s a pandemic like H1N1, or a terrorist threat, or a treatable disease.’”

Under the president’s leadership, Weber said, “the United States now has national strategies for countering biological threats and advancing global biosurveillance capabilities.”

Total Force ops in Libya change air refueling tactics

by Col. Bob Thompson
Air Force Reserve Public Affairs

5/24/2013 - WASHINGTON -- The world's top experts in air to air refueling recognized the Total Force contributions to NATO's Operation Unified Protector during an April meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Flown from March 19, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2011, the no-fly zone over Libya was patrolled by aircraft from 16 countries and fueled by flying tanker aircraft from nine partner nations. The aerial refueling effort was coordinated by a team of 55 Airmen in the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre, in Poggio Renatico, Italy.

According to the "Founders Award," the team successfully scheduled and delivered 4,407 tanker aircraft sorties and offloaded about 250 million pounds of fuel to more than 15,000 patrol aircraft. During the operation, the team obtained clearances never before considered, ensured better interoperability among the allies and created new processes and information sharing procedures.

In front of representatives from 19 nations at the conference in Orlando, the Air Refueling Systems Advisory Group recognized seven Air Force Reservists for their outstanding contributions that will change the way future NATO missions are flown. This included: Brig. Gen. Ken Lewis, Air Force Reserve Plans and Programs, Pentagon; Col. Doug Planner, 4th Air Force Operations, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; Lt. Col. Josh Owens, 4th AF Operations and Training, March ARB; Maj. Miles Marshall, 349th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif; Maj. Ed Schierberl, Air Force Reserve Strategy Division, Pentagon; and Capt. Todd Cramer, 312th Airlift Squadron, Travis AFB.

The no-fly zone was established by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970 and 1973 to protect Libyan civilians during the overthrow of Dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Air Force Reservists - known as Citizen Airmen - have served in every U.S. combat and humanitarian operation throughout the world including Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Mali and the Horn of Africa.

Approximately 2,000 Citizen Airmen are currently deployed and, 3,000 are on active duty status in support of combatant commander requirements.

Face of Defense: Soldier Taps Experience to Aid Tornado Victims

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Kasey Phipps
137th Air Refueling Wing

MOORE, Okla., May 28, 2013 – Oklahoma is known for its volatile weather and tornadoes, prompting state officials to dedicate countless hours toward educating and preparing its citizens for when disaster strikes.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army 1st Sgt. Michael Treanor poses next to his emergency response vehicle while performing equipment maintenance after the May 20, 2013, tornado response in Moore, Okla. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Bruce

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Unpredictable events in Oklahoma are not, however, confined to weather. Its history remains shadowed by the tragedy of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing on April 19, 1995, in which 168 people lost their lives.

However, Oklahoma has gained perhaps a stronger reputation for the resilience of its people and their ability to come together as one to rebuild communities stricken by disaster.

Today, Oklahomans once again are picking up the pieces left scattered by the devastating May 20 tornado that left a 17-mile long path of destruction and resulted in 24 deaths, 10 of which were children.

Army 1st Sgt. Michael Treanor of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 63rd Civil Support Team relies on his firsthand experience with tragedy to aid and comfort the tornado’s survivors.

On the morning of the Murrah building bombing, Treanor’s parents, LaRue and Luther Treanor, took his step-daughter, Ashley, into the Social Security Administration office for a routine appointment to settle some paperwork. After the appointment, their plan was to take Ashley to lunch and walk around the city. When the fateful blast happened, only a single glass pane separated them from the detonation.

At the time, Treanor was a member of an Army National Guard unit in Ponca City, Okla., but they had not yet been tasked to assist in recovery efforts.

“It’s hard to sit on the sideline,” he said. “It was one of those things where it was just like, ‘There has got to be something more.’ So, in 2000, when I heard about the civil support teams being created and their mission, I decided at that point it was a job I had to have at some time in my life. So I’ve kind of been working to get to where I am ever since then.”

Now, as a safety officer for the 63rd CST, Treanor is able to get on the ground with his team members, who are trained to respond to a number of emergency scenarios, including search and rescue and the control of hazardous materials. They also have communications on the ground to track National Guardsmen and other emergency responders.

“I’m trained to be a first responder. If something happens, it’s a guarantee that my team will be involved and I really take a lot of satisfaction in that,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”

He understands the need to help, especially those who are from his native Oklahoma. But he also understands the emotional toll disasters have on his fellow citizens.

“The loss, the pain, the confusion as to what to do -- we went through all of that,” Treanor said. “You never completely forget or get over that loss; you just learn to deal with it. In doing that with our family, it’s helped us to help other people. It’s been a really educational experience for me.”

He again witnessed the unification of Oklahomans and their overwhelming generosity in the aftermath of the May 20 tornado, even as those affected sift through the rubble to recover whatever belongings that might help return them to normalcy.

“There was a lot of professionalism and courtesy to the victims,” he said. “I think every time a sad event like this happens, we learn something from it and improve on it.”

As disaster and tragedy continue to befall Oklahomans, each instance provides a little more experience and strength to use the next time disaster strikes.

Oklahoma has used the recent tornado and past disasters to build a unified and unfaltering resilience to support both the physical efforts and the emotional needs left by the damage.

“When it happens again, because Oklahoma means tornadoes, we will be even better prepared to respond,” Treanor said.