Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Face of Defense: Soldier Hopes to Help Inner-City Students

By Army Sgt. Alexa Becerra
Task Force Longrifles

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti, June 18, 2013 – Throughout history, teaching has been considered one of the most noble of careers. Teachers work long hours and live on a modest salary, yet the impact they have is immeasurable.

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Army Cpl. De’Marcus Hopson, a Kentucky National Guard soldier deployed to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, hopes to teach in inner-city schools. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Alexa Becerra

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Another noble profession is that of a soldier. They endure long hours, hardships and separation from their families, also earn a modest salary and are willing to give their lives for their country.
The dream of one service member here is to be become both.

Army Cpl. De’Marcus Hopson, a native of Madisonville, Ky., is a National Guard soldier from the 2138th Forward Support Company deployed to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He also is a full-time student at Kentucky State University, majoring in secondary social studies education with a double minor in African-American studies and speech communication.

“I plan on teaching at an inner-city school,” Hopson said. “The military has a program called Troops to Teachers, where you have a commitment to teach at an inner-city school for two to three years with military incentives, benefits and stipends.”

Hopson said he always has wanted to teach in that type of environment. “I feel very strongly about teaching, because growing up, I can count with one hand how many male teachers I had,” he added. “Also, to teach in an urban, poverty-stricken community, you need to be able to connect with the kids.”

Hopson said he believes he has what it takes to connect with those students because of his military background, and because he does not have the middle-class mentality that most new teachers have and try to enforce when they teach inner-city students.

Hopson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and also plays in the university’s marching band.
His father was in the military, Hopson said. He initially joined the Guard to pay for school, he added, but now his motivation to serve has changed.

“I believe that everybody should serve their country,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to learn and grow, develop discipline and leadership skills, time management, and also get your school paid for.”

Hopson was selected as Soldier of the Year for the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, and next is Kentucky’s statewide competition for Soldier of the Year. He was first selected for a company board out of his platoon for his outstanding leadership skills, military bearing, physical fitness scores and other factors, he said. He won that board, and then competed against nominees from the battalion’s four other batteries.

In addition to being a team leader providing security for the ammunition supply point here, Hopson also participated in the Warrior Leader Course held here.

“I really appreciate being able to go through the Warrior Leader Course while deployed,” he said. “I learned a lot more in depth about leadership abilities and skills, which will help me a lot in my military and civilian career.”

Hopson, the second of six children, said he hopes to finish his school within the next year and a half, and also plans to stay in the Guard until retirement. He said he would recommend the Guard, and the military in general, to everyone.

“The Guard is enabling me to serve my country and go to school at the same time,” he added. “And it also is helping me accomplish my dream of being a teacher.”

Gen. Dempsey reinforces Minot's nuclear leadership

by Senior Airman Jose L. Hernandez
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

6/18/2013 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, paid his first visit to the Air Force's only dual-nuclear capable base, June 17.

The main focus of his trip here was to hear directly from Airmen and families, including local community leaders, about issues affecting Team Minot. The chairman led a town hall forum where he had the opportunity to address all.

Dempsey expressed the importance of letting those at Minot know how critical their role as nuclear stewards is to not only him as chairman of the joint chiefs, but to the country as well.

"I want to make it clear that we are all contributing to the security of the U.S.," Dempsey said of all Team Minot members. It has been a goal of his to instill in all military members the concept of a unified joint team effort between all branches of service.

As part of his stay he also had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the day-to-day operations of Minot's strategic deterrence mission.

Meeting with commanders and leaders of both the base's bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile forces, he learned of the work dedication of Minot's Airmen under even the toughest of winter climates.

Accompanied by Col. Robert Vercher, 91st Missile Wing commander, Dempsey toured one of the wing's missile alert facilities, all located across the northwest part of North Dakota. There he met with missile combat crew members to personally see the work they conduct in watching over missile sites 24/7 from their underground capsules.

While recent fiscal challenges facing the country have placed the defense budget on the chopping block, he reassured Team Minot that the Secretary of Defense is committed to prioritizing funds in the nuclear triad mission.

"As our country faces a historic fiscal correction, we are not going to put our nation at risk," stated Dempsey. "Our number one priority is to defend our nation."

Concerns of the sequestration's effect on military readiness have continued to be a central topic of discussion for DOD personnel, as the department's 800,000 civilian employees await the beginning of furloughs in July.

"We must stay positive," said the chairman. "This isn't the first time we've gone through this (fiscal correction)."

Dempsey said it has been with great reluctance to have to accept and move forward with across the board cuts, but looked to history as a way of reassuring all that we have gotten through tough fiscal times before and that, "we will get through it."

The chairman also took time to speak candidly on sexual assault, an issue that has sparked a national conversation about a systemic problem.

It is an issue that has sparked a national conversation about a systemic problem the chairman calls a failure.

"We can't tolerate a climate of lewdness, innuendos, of harassment, because it's that climate that eventually leads to the failure that is sexual assault," stated Dempsey.

He added the recent scandals have reminded service members that it's still an issue which must be faced. It is a problem he believes can be fixed with good leadership by ensuring all, throughout the ranks, not put up with bad conduct.

Ultimately, he asked all service members to take a hard look at how they wanted their profession to be perceived as.

"Don't tolerate it," he expressed. "We can fix this through those who lead."

24th Special Operations Wing turns one

by Rachel Arroyo
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

6/12/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The first Air Force wing devoted to special tactics celebrated its one-year mark June 12.

Members of the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., commemorated the occasion by focusing on the cornerstone of organizational success - what constitutes good leadership and how to cultivate it on and off the job.

Retired Lt. Gen. Bruce Fister, former commander of Air Force Special Operations Command and one of the early champions of developing a global special operations forces presence, led a professional development and leadership session for 24 SOW Airmen.

Fister focused on the idea of servant leadership.

Instead of viewing oneself at the top of a pyramid where work and feedback is always pushed down to subordinates, leaders should place themselves at the base where they solicit feedback from their subordinates and work to enable their success.

By demonstrating concern for those they lead, individuals set an example that makes a lasting impression.

On one mission, Fister's C-130 landed in Saudi Arabia for emergency maintenance. The mechanic tasked with repairing the C-130 would be working through the night with no light save for the flashlight he was holding in his mouth, Fister said.

"Could I repair the plane? No way," Fister said. "But, I'll tell you what, I could be there. I don't know anything about changing props, but I can hold the flashlight."

He differentiated between leadership derived from positions of authority and leadership exercised outside the scope of authority. Exercising authority is not the same as exhibiting leadership, he said.

"You all are proven leaders," Fister said. "You have to exercise leadership because you operate in joint environments."

In the joint environment, special tactics Airmen must frequently use their technical expertise and core convictions to influence those with authority to agree to a suggested plan of action.

Ultimately, Fister said the key ingredients to being a good leader are simple - work to protect your core values, guard your organizational culture, act with integrity and accept accountability, and strive to be a servant leader.

As the 24 SOW moves into its second year, wing commander Col. Robert Armfield encouraged his Airmen to make a continuous study of Fister's lessons in leadership.

"It is the simple things that are the true foundation of leadership," Armfield said.

Maj. Edmund Loughran, commander of the Special Tactics Training Squadron, said instructors at the squadron strive to routinely exhibit servant leadership as part of their training mentality.

Students are fully immersed in instruction and mentorship. Battle-tested operators return to pass their guidance and experience on to the next generation.

"I routinely observe a mentality at the schoolhouse from our operators and instructors that says it is no longer about operator qualifications but about qualifying the operators below me."

Capt. J.D. Rulien, a student at the Special Tactics Training Squadron, said he appreciates the fact that his leaders place such emphasis on professional development.

"Special tactics is one of the few communities that puts this type of investment in its leaders," Rulien said. "It is not often that you see the wing commander at a professional development session taking notes. It sets a great precedent."

In addition to the professional development session, the 24 SOW began its birthday with memorial pushups to honor and remember their fallen brothers-in-arms.

The youngest Airman at STTS, student trainee Second Lt. Brandon Fix, and the oldest member of the 24 SOW, retired Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Norrad cut a birthday cake marking the occasion.

The 24 SOW is the most highly decorated wing in the USAF since the Vietnam War.

Chairman affirms nuclear deterrence as top priority

by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Dow
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

6/18/2013 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey spoke with Airmen, spouses and local community members during a Town Hall meeting at Dock 1 here, June 17.

More than 1,000 attendees from Team Minot attended the event.

During his opening remarks, Dempsey said he came up to Minot because he wanted a chance to interact with those performing what he called, "the vital work for our nation."

He went on to say that throughout the life of the B-52 and intercontinental ballistic missile force, there has been a history of silent, dedicated service often in times of hardship and uncertainty.

The over-arching topic of discussion for the event was budget concerns. The concerns ranged from how sequestration would affect the nuclear mission to whether or not Airmen's base pay will be cut.

On the topic of readiness and the nuclear enterprise, Dempsey said, "Our Nation will never fail to do what is right. We will find the resources to do what is needed."

He continued by stating, "Our number one priority is the defense of the homeland. What does that mean? It means making sure we maintain a credible and reliable nuclear deterrent."

"The nuclear enterprise is a top priority because it has kept us safe for the last 60 years," he added.

Dempsey also fielded questions from the audience relating to the isolated environment that Airmen from Minot face on a daily basis.

He regaled the audience about the three years he spent patrolling the West German border as a young lieutenant in a remote and austere environment, quite similar to North Dakota.

But the general said this gave him a sense of service and duty, probably before many of his classmates.

"There is something extraordinary about doing something above and beyond what others are doing," said Dempsey.

He also said there must be a balance of character and competence in one's life.

"You need to wake up in the morning and think about how to be a better person," said Dempsey. "In our profession, you need to be able to count on the person to your left and right."

Dempsey also discussed the importance of tackling the issue of sexual assault in the military.

"We are working this issue as hard as anything, and at the highest level," said Dempsey.

He said leadership is looking for additional measures to combat sexual assault, some via the Uniform Code of Military Justice and some via policy changes. There is a need to get a hold of the issue on the front end in order to change the climate.

"What I need is the leaders at the tactical level to not accept it (sexual assault)," said Dempsey.

In his closing remarks, Dempsey noted the majority of the questions pertained to budget concerns. He said it is his responsibility to try to give civilian and military members a sense of certainty with regards to budget cuts and sequestration.

He stated that going year by year is what causes the uncertainty and the goal is to forecast budgets in order to allow servicemembers to plan for the future.

Puerto Rican proud to be an Airman

by Airman 1st Class Janelle PatiƱo
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

6/17/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Meeting new people from different places is refreshing to many people. It teaches people other cultures, introduces them to new food and exposes them to interesting stories they'd never imagined possible.

Senior Airman Alberto Garcia-Vidal, born and raised in Puerto Rico, is one of many Airmen who came from a different place. Garcia is currently stationed here and works in the 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron as a firefighter.

The Puerto Rico native's grandfather was a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army while his father was in the Navy.

"I've always wanted to be in the military because of the stories I'd heard from my grandpa and dad," Garcia said. "They both inspired me to be who I am today."

Like every other Airman, Garcia has had several reasons to join the military; however, one historic day made his decision to join the Air Force.

"After seeing all the first responders running toward the tower to save as many people as they could during 9/11, I told my dad I wanted to be one of them," he said. "It was that very moment when I realized I wanted to help and save people from danger."

Because of his dream to be a first responder, he felt the U.S. Air Force would be the perfect place to start. He also chose to leave Puerto Rico because of a promise he made to his wife and their child.

"One night, I was talking to my son in my wife's belly and promised to give him the best possible life," said Garcia. "At the same time, I thought what better way to make my dad and grandfather proud than to follow in their footsteps."

Garcia faced several challenges in joining the military and leaving Puerto Rico, which he thinks influenced him to become a better person.

"While in Puerto Rico, I had to practice and become proficient in the English language before flying to the Texas for Basic Training," he said. "Another transition I had to make was changing from a college student without responsibilities to an Airman with a family to support."

According to Garcia, he feels blessed to have the opportunity to be part of the Fire Emergency Services here at Fairchild.

"Being part of the Fire Department, in my opinion, is one of the most important jobs in the Air Force and anywhere else," said Garcia. "It makes me proud knowing that people at Fairchild can sleep safe at night because we're here to give them high quality patient care and an excellent fire prevention."

Joe Mirasole, 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector, said Garcia always has great stories, but his co-worker is all business when it comes to being a Civil Engineer Airman.

"Garcia shares quite a bit of his culture with other firemen, like telling us stories from his childhood as well as sharing with several people how their government and social structure works," he said. "When it comes to work though, he's the first to step up to any task and the last one to quit for the day. He's an outstanding leader on and off duty."

Although he comes from a different place, Garcia managed to excel in everything he did.

His personal motto is, "It doesn't matter where you come from, what matters is how you handle yourself.

"I would like to thank my mentors Tech. Sgt. Christopher Engelke and Mr. Joseph Mirasole for guiding me down the right path in becoming a great Airman and for giving me all the tools to be a better fireman," he added. "It doesn't matter what obstacle comes your way; nothing can stop you from accomplishing your goals. You just have to live one day at a time and never give up on your dreams."

Fly-away security teams stay vigilant for mission-critical assets

by Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe
Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

6/18/2013 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Rifle at the ready, eyes watchful and wary, sweat beads form on their brows and trickle down their chins, exhaust fumes and gritty sand fills their noses, words can barely be heard over the whine of engines, yet the Airmen of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron's Fly-Away Security Teams maintain a constant vigil over the aircraft, personnel and cargo coming in and out of the airfield here.

FAST members are required to fly on specific missions, to certain locations, to ensure the aircraft and crew are protected from hostile fire or on-board security breaches.

"If the aircrew is safe, they can focus on their mission," said Airman Brandon Gibson, a 455th ESFS FAST team member. "This just helps everything run more smoothly."

Gibson is deployed from Hector Air Field, Fargo, N.D., which is also his hometown. Even though the schedules can be unpredictable, with various show times and unknown mission duration, Gibson said he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I have the sweetest mission on base," he said. "I like traveling and interacting with career fields other than security forces."

The missions requiring FAST members can vary from carrying hazardous materials, personnel under control, medical units and mission-essential personnel. When flights travel to forward operating bases with limited airfield security, the FAST members play a vital role in protecting Air Force assets.

"We're in a hostile country, and we're the sole protectors of a multi-million dollar aircraft," said Senior Airman Michael Bullen, a 455th ESFS FAST team member. "We're really the only people protecting the crew, and protecting the mission."

Bullen is also deployed from Hector Air Field, N.D., and hails from Minot, N.D. The protection FAST members provide exists both on and off the aircraft. During the flight, the two-person team executes flight-deck denial; upon touchdown, they exit the aircraft and provide 360 degree security and overwatch during the unloading and reloading of cargo and passengers.

"I love to fly," Bullen said. "I love being in the air and still doing our mission."

He explained how he enjoys the interaction and cooperation with the aircrews.

"It's more than just saying 'hello' when I check your ID at the gate in the morning," he joked.

The respect and appreciation is mutual between the FAST members and aircrew.

"They are definitely an asset to the team," said 1st Lt. Whitt Hollis, a 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules co-pilot. "It's peace of mind knowing we have riflemen outside the plane providing security."

Hollis is a Denver, Colo., native and is deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. He explained the importance of the FAST members to missions, especially in hostile areas.

"They help provide more situational awareness when we're on the ground," Hollis said. "They're all highly motivated and professional. As intense as the job is, they're able to keep a cool head."

Both Bullen and Gibson said they hope to extend this first deployment for an additional six months.

"I'll never get this mission again, and I'm already in Afghanistan," Gibson said. "It just makes sense to stay for a year. Plus I don't want to go back to Fargo at the beginning of winter."

Bullen echoed his teammate's sentiments, stating his love of the FAST mission.

"If I could do this job stateside, I would do it forever," Bullen said.

Wireless Spectrum Essential to Defense Operations, Official Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 – The Defense Department depends on the wireless spectrum for nearly all of its activities, the DOD chief information officer said here today.

Essentially, everything at the Defense Department is connected to the network, Teri Takai told attendees at a Washington Post forum.

In an effort to ensure commanders are fully informed of activities in and around the battle space, the department has moved beyond just wireless voice and data transmission, Takai said. Video now is part of many military platforms, she explained, and that is just one sign of the department’s growing need for wireless spectrum.

“The bulk of our training is done in the U.S.,” she said. “This isn’t just an international use of spectrum. We really are very heavily concentrated -- in terms of the utilization of spectrum -- around all of our [U.S.] bases.”

The department needs spectrum in the United States, Takai said. “We do 80 percent of our training here,” she noted. “The safety of our men and women overseas is really based on their … ability to train.”

The civilian market is increasingly reliant on wireless communications as well. Many countries, including the United States, already have more wireless connection points -- phones, tablets, hotspots, etc. -- than they have people, according to CTIA, one of the forum’s sponsors. As of December 2012, nearly 36 percent of U.S. households were wireless-only, compared to just 15.8 percent in 2007.

The explosive growth of wireless communications has resulted in a shortage of available spectrum for both federal and civilian uses. In response, President Barack Obama last week issued a memorandum establishing a spectrum policy team that will monitor and support spectrum-sharing technologies in concert with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. In the memo, federal agencies are tasked with finding ways to enhance spectrum efficiency and free up more spectrum for consumer services and applications.

Defense activities also are becoming heavily dependent on commercial wireless providers, Takai said, so the department naturally is concerned about its spectrum capacity.

Spectrum crowding already happens, said Mary Brown, Cisco Systems’ director of technology and spectrum policy, government affairs. “Anyone who tries to use their phone during the rush hour in a big city already begins to experience what life is going to be like if we don’t get to work on putting more spectrum out there,” she said. Dropped calls and slow or no data connections will become more common, she added.
As government and industry begin to investigate spectrum-sharing scenarios, several challenges emerge, Takai told the audience. Sharing can happen in a variety of ways, she said. For example, spectrum could be shared geographically by being assigned to federal agencies in high-density areas, but used by commercial entities in less-populated areas. Or, multiple users could share the same piece of spectrum at different times, Takai said.

To do that, she said, requires knowing who owns the spectrum, and when and where they’re using it.
“I think one of the challenges is there’s certainly opportunity for us to do spectrum-sharing in, for example, rural areas, where we don’t have the bases,” Takai said. “Unfortunately, those aren’t the areas where there’s the commercial demand.”

The next task is developing devices that can use the shared spectrum, she said.

The Defense Department will continue to seek out ways to operate while using the least possible amount of wireless spectrum, Takai said. “That’s a challenge, because historically, we have a lot of equipment that uses spectrum in a lot of different ways, so making a change isn’t something we can do overnight.”

But, DOD recognizes the need to balance national security with consumer needs, she said.

“Even though there may not be a financial incentive for us [to share spectrum], there is an operational incentive, because we have to weigh not only our responsibility to the nation, but also our operational responsibility,” Takai said. “I think it’s important from a national security standpoint to recognize that we have a certain amount of spectrum that we utilize which is exclusive to us from a national security and an interference perspective.”

Pentagon Announces Progress in Opening Jobs to Women

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 – The services and U.S. Special Operations Command have completed plans to gradually open jobs to female service members that used to be closed to them, senior Pentagon officials announced today.

Joined by senior service officials at a Pentagon news conference, Juliet Beyler, the Defense Department’s director of officer and enlisted personnel management, said today’s announcement is a milestone.

She noted that in January, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rescinded the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule. That policy barred women from jobs -- such as tank mechanic and field artillery radar operator -- performed near combat units. It also prohibited women in jobs such as intelligence, communications and logistics from assignment at units smaller than a brigade.

“Our goal is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender,” Beyler said in prepared remarks. This year, she added, the services and Socom have worked diligently to plan two lines of effort aimed at integrating women:

-- Currently open occupations that were restricted: for example, administrative clerk in a tank battalion or truck driver in an artillery battery; and

-- Currently closed occupations that require review and validation of occupational standards: for example, infantry, armor and combat engineer.

The services and Socom have filed separate plans, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reviewed, she noted. Beyler added that while the plans differ, they all involve work with scientific and research agencies to review occupational standards and ensure they are current, operationally valid and applied on a gender-neutral basis.

All the plans are incremental in opening closed positions, which requires congressional notification, she said.

“Each service and Socom is conducting thorough doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy analyses to ensure deliberate and responsible implementation,” she said.

Pentagon officials said the department expects to issue a report to Congress later this summer detailing more implementation specifics. Full implementation across the services should occur by Jan. 1, 2016, officials said.
The services and Socom have identified decision points by which they will make final determinations to open occupations and positions or to request an exception to policy to keep a position or occupation closed, Beyler said. The defense secretary and the Joint Chiefs chairman must personally approve any exceptions to policy, she added.

Hagel Dedicates Pentagon Korean War Exhibit

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today dedicated what he called a “magnificent” permanent display in the Pentagon to honor veterans of the Korean War.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, center, Ahn Ho-young, South Korean ambassador to the United States, left, and Lewis M. "Lew" Ewing, national director of the Korean War Veterans Association, cut the ribbon June 18, 2013, to dedicate a new permanent display in the Pentagon to commemorate the Korean War. Hagel thanked Korean War veterans at the event for their service, and said the war and their service will never be forgotten. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The display opened in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, and of the U.S.-South Korean alliance.

“We not only acknowledge you, we thank you,” Hagel said to Korean War veterans who attended the dedication of the display, located on the first floor of the Pentagon’s “A” ring. “We assure you that through this dedication today, your efforts and your noble cause will live on. You have helped shape history in a unique and magnificent way.”

The exhibit comprises a collection of photographs, videos, weapons and other artifacts of the Korean War. It also highlights the advancements of women, medicine and technology and the integration of African-Americans into the U.S. military.

“The Korean War has been known in this country too long as ‘The Forgotten War,’” Ahn Ho-young, South Korea’s ambassador to the United States, said at the dedication ceremony. “We should change it to ‘The Forgotten Victory.’”

Since the war, South Korea has made significant economic progress and a transition to democracy, Ahn said, and has an important role in global issues. “[The war] was a victory and must not be forgotten,” he added.

Echoing Ahn, Hagel said the South Korean people have come far in many ways.

“I know of no other nation that has done as much in such a little bit of time to improve their people and the region, and I know of no country [that is] a better ally to the United States than the Republic of Korea,” the secretary said. “We are grateful for this relationship, [and] … what anchors it … is that special bond of people wanting a better life, who are willing to risk anything for it.”

Referencing his recent trip to Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit, Hagel emphasized how the 60-year bilateral relationship between the United States and South Korea was evident in the two nations’ relationships with Japan, the Philippines, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Chinese and European allies.

“This special relationship is bigger than just the Korean Peninsula or the North Asia region,” the secretary said. “It has affected the world.”

The secretary said he is particularly proud of the Americans who left their cities and towns and “went far away to a very bloody conflict in a distant land, where very few knew a lot about the Korean Peninsula.” Yet when the veterans returned home to the United States, he added, little acknowledgment of their service awaited them.

“Very few people knew where Korea was,” he said. “But … it was just as important in any conflict we’ve been in. The Republic of Korea still plays a key role as a very key ally in maintaining peace, stability and security in that part of the world.”

Hagel offered his gratitude to Korean War veterans on behalf of the Defense Department’s men and women.
“We acknowledge your service, everything you’ve done, what you mean to this country [and] the world, and the model you’ve provided for our young men and women for generations to come,” Hagel told veterans. “It will be evidenced by this great display that we are dedicating today.”

U.S., Russia Agree to Cooperate on Cyber, Nukes

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 – Cooperation at many levels will help to reduce misunderstandings between the United States and Russia, the leaders of both countries said after meetings in Northern Ireland yesterday.

Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin agreed to cooperate on a number of different aspects of the bilateral relationship. The men spoke at Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, as part of the G-8 Summit.

Putin said the United States and Russia “have an opportunity to move forward on most sensitive directions.”
The two leaders discussed Syria. While they do not agree on all points, they said, they both want the violence in the Middle East country to stop. “We agreed to push the parties to the negotiations table,” the Russian president said.

Obama stressed that discussions on Iran and North Korea were productive. “We both agreed to consult closely on the North Korean issue,” he said in his remarks. “On Iran, we both … expressed cautious optimism that with a new election there, we may be able to move forward on a dialogue that allows us to resolve the problems with Iran's nuclear program.”

Obama noted that Russia and the United States are the world’s two nuclear superpowers. “We have a special obligation to try to continue to reduce tensions, to build on the work that we did with New START, and to lead the world in both nuclear security issues and proliferation issues,” he said. As part of that, the United States and Russia signed a convention to continue the Nunn-Lugar program to counter potential threats of proliferation and to enhance nuclear security.

“By working together, we not only increase security and prosperity for the Russian and American people, but also help lead the world to a better place,” Obama said.

The two nations also negotiated a range of steps designed to increase transparency and reduce the possibility that a misunderstood cyber incident could create instability or a crisis in the bilateral relationship. Part of this will result in better links between the two countries’ Computer Emergency Response Teams, officials said.

Dempsey to Minot AFB Airmen: Nuclear enterprise is top priority

by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Dow
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

6/18/2013 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNS) -- More than 1,000 Airmen, spouses and local community members turned out here June 17, for a town hall meeting with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said he came to Minot AFB because he wanted a chance to interact with those performing what he called "the vital work for our nation," noting that throughout the life of the B-52 Stratofortress and intercontinental ballistic missile force, there has been a history of silent, dedicated service, often in times of hardship and uncertainty.

The overarching topic of discussion for the chairman's remarks was budget concerns, ranging from how sequestration spending cuts would affect the nuclear mission to whether or not Airmen's base pay will be cut.

But when it comes to readiness and the nuclear enterprise, Dempsey said, the United States "will never fail to do what is right. We will find the resources to do what is needed."

The Defense Department's No. 1 priority is the defense of the homeland, he added, which means maintaining a credible and reliable nuclear deterrent.

"The nuclear enterprise is a top priority because it has kept us safe for the last 60 years," the nation's top military officer said.

Dempsey also fielded questions from the audience relating to the isolated environment that airmen at Minot AFB face on a daily basis. He regaled the audience about the three years he spent in the 1970s patrolling the West German border as a young lieutenant in a remote and austere environment, quite similar to what Airmen experience in North Dakota. This gave him a sense of service and duty, probably before many of his U.S. Military Academy classmates, he said.

"There is something extraordinary about doing something above and beyond what others are doing," he said.

Dempsey also urged Minot AFB Airmen to maintain a balance of character and competence in their lives. "You need to wake up in the morning and think about how to be a better person," he said. "In our profession, you need to be able to count on the person to your left and right."

The chairman also assured the Minot AFB audience that the issue of sexual assault in the military is receiving the attention it needs from Pentagon leaders.

"We are working this issue as hard as anything, and at the highest level," he said. As leaders consider changing the Uniform Code of Military Justice and changing policies to address the problem, he added, there is a need to get hold of the issue on the front end to change the climate that has permitted it to fester.

"What I need is the leaders at the tactical level to not accept (sexual assault)," he said.

Turning again to the defense budget, Dempsey said it is his responsibility to try to give civilian and military members a sense of certainty. Going year by year in the budget process causes uncertainty, he added, and the goal is to forecast budgets to allow service members to plan for the future.

PACAF implements campaign to recognize Airmen for cost-saving ideas

by Dakota Chance
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

6/18/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- As Air Force budgets continue to be affected by sequestration, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces implemented its Every Dollar Counts campaign June 3, 2013, as a long-term spin-off of the one-month Air Force effort in May.

PACAF is continuing the Every Dollar Counts campaign to allow PACAF Airmen the opportunity to submit their money-saving ideas in order to improve mission readiness in the midst of budget reductions.

PACAF leadership recognizes the need to push for a more cost-conscious culture for mission success. "As we move forward in these very difficult times, each of us must find innovative ways to fly, fight, and win," said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, PACAF commander.

Colonel James Peccia, PACAF's Director of Financial Management and Comptroller, echoed the commander's guidance. "PACAF continues to be affected by budget constraints under sequester," Peccia said. "It's everyone's responsibility to be aware of how we spend our dollars, and identify ways we can more efficiently use our scarce resources."

According to Peccia, some goals of the open-ended PACAF campaign is to encourage Airmen to reevaluate how we do business, and then to recognize those Airmen who have come up with better, more efficient ways to accomplish the mission. This includes considering alternatives to standard practices, whether it's to re-check equipment surveys, identify redundant requirements, eliminate waste or find other savings where possible.

"Our Airmen use resources every day in their job, across the spectrum of operations. Our Airmen know what's required, and what can be done to save our resources," said Peccia. "This program is designed to reward people who have already acted on those ideas and achieved savings."

Peccia said more than 80 ideas were submitted in the first week of the program, five of which were exactly what the command is looking for - ideas that already generated savings at their unit and can now be shared as a best practice with other units.

Staff Sgt. James Kliewer, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, discovered that by buying 180,000 gallons of deicing fluid through the Defense Logistics Agency versus different vendor, the squadron could save $246,000 a year. Kliewer did in-depth market research while working closely with DLA representatives and the 773rd Civil Engineering Squadron to ensure the quality of the deicing fluid met military specifications. Kliewer's proposed deicing system, implemented May 2, is anticipated to save 120 personnel-hours, and cut 60 days off the original deicing fluid procurement process.

When PACAF Airmen submit an idea that has garnered savings at their wing, they may be rewarded for sharing that idea through the PACAF Every Dollar Counts program.

When an Airman submits five ideas, or one idea that saved PACAF $10,000 or more, the reward is a personal recognition letter from the PACAF commander. If an idea yielded savings of $100,000 or more, the member will receive a two-day pass. When PACAF savings amounted to $200,000 or more, that Airman will be awarded an achievement medal or a three-day pass.

"Great ideas are just the starting point," Peccia said. "If you've taken them, acted on them, and implemented something, now you have real progress which can be shared across PACAF and the Air Force. This program is centered on capturing those ideas which have been successfully implemented, and encouraging our Airmen to continue to come up with new and innovative ideas to make the best use of the resources we have."

59th MDW Airmen honored for performance at 2013 Warrior Games

by Senior Airman Courtney Moses
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

6/17/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Eight Airmen from the 59th Medical Wing Patient Squadron were recognized for their performance at the 2013 Warrior Games during a ceremony held June 12 at the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center.

Capts. Sarah Evans and Wesley Glisson, Master Sgts. Shawn Schwantes and Sherri Nel, Staff Sgts. Jason Caswell and Lara Ishikawa, Senior Airman Orion Orellana, and Airman 1st Class Clint Williams were honored amongst friends, family and colleagues when the 59th Medical Wing Vice Commander Col. James McClain, commended their ability to recover, reintegrate and thrive after overcoming significant physical and behavioral challenges.

"Without your tenacity and dedication, this accomplishment would not have been possible," McClain said. "I know that successes like this are not automatic and are the result of practice, hard work and sacrifice, and I hope this unique experience has helped you in your recovery process."

Although each Airman was physically successful, some had to look past their doubters, as well as within.

"Just because somebody says you're done with this and done with that, doesn't mean you are," said Caswell, who won a bronze medal in both shot put and discus. "The biggest challenge I was faced with was not to hide behind my injury."

The eight wounded warriors brought home six of the Air Force's 30 medals, to include gold in the women's 100, silver in the women's 200, silver in men's tandem cycling and men's 1500, as well as bronze in shot put and discus. Held May 11-16 in Colorado Springs, Colo., the 2013 Warrior Games showcase the resilient spirit of wounded, ill or injured service members from all branches of the U.S. military.

Evans, who lost her leg to bone cancer in 2012, said she garners motivation by observing the achievements from those who have come before her.

"It was a big learning experience," Evans said. "When you're freshly disabled you think that you can't do these things anymore and when you can see others that are able to do these incredible events and perform at a high level. That's what motivates me."

Participation in adaptive sports activities is an important part of healing and recovery for wounded, ill or injured personnel, but Caswell said mental determination is the key to accomplishing any obstacle he may face.

"You have to find that internal drive, and once you find that internal drive grab a hold of it and you will be surprised by what you can do," said Caswell. "The world never stops, your life doesn't stop. You get injured and then you learn to adapt. That's why it's called adaptive sports."