Military News

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Face of Defense: Former Maintainer Recalls Journey to Pilot

By Senior Airman Jaimi Upthegrove
482nd Fighter Wing

HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla., July 16, 2013 – "I remember the first time I climbed into an F-16 [Fighting Falcon] and the canopy closed," Air Force Maj. Robin Lytle recalled. "I had my mask on, and it was so quiet. I was amazed at how quiet and peaceful it was. At that moment, I knew the cockpit was where I was meant to be."


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Maj. Robin Lytle, a reservist and F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot and chief of scheduling with the 93rd Fighter Squadron at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida, began his career as a weapons loader in 1989 at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jaimi Upthegrove
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
To get into that cockpit, Lytle had to navigate a long path. Lytle, a reservist and an F-16 pilot with the 93rd Fighter Squadron here, was born in Laredo, Texas, and spent the better part of his youth moving around with his military family. His father was a pilot, but initially Lytle had no intention of becoming a pilot.

However, he did have a calling to follow in his family's long line of military service, which goes back three generations to his great grandfather. Lytle joined the Air Force Reserve as a weapons loader at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, after he graduated high school in 1989.

"I spent a day shadowing the weapons loaders at Bergstrom and I knew it was the job for me," Lytle said. "I just liked watching them load the bombs and move the missiles around. I knew it was a vital job in the Air Force, and I wanted to be a part of it."
Lytle worked on the flightline at Bergstrom AFB while attending college. For four years he developed his skills.

"I loved taking something that needed repair, fixing it and being able to deliver a finished product to serve the mission," Lytle said. "I received a great amount of satisfaction from the job."

In college, Lytle majored in aeronautics, and during his career in the reserve he aspired to become a maintenance officer. He said he earned a name for himself as a dedicated airman.

"I learned early-on to let my work ethic speak for me," Lytle said. "The most important thing I learned from my time on the [flightline] is that a good work ethic is essential to earning the respect of others."
In 1995, Lytle graduated with his bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma. One day during military duty, Lytle’s director of operations asked him what he intended to do with his degree. Lytle told him he wanted to become a maintenance officer.

Later on the flightline, Lytle's career trajectory took a turn.

"One morning I was sitting on an F-16 fixing a gun issue that had been giving us trouble for a few days," Lytle said. "I watched the pilots walk out, get into their jets and take off. As I sat there, knee deep in a gun belt, I thought to myself that I wanted to do that."

Lytle went back to his director of operations and let him know he wanted to apply for pilot training. Lytle then started building his package to submit to the selection board.

"I was sweating waiting for an answer," he said. "There was a lot on the line. I really wanted it."

While waiting to hear from the board, Lytle was offered a weapons loader position as an Air Reserve Technician at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla. It was an opportunity, he said, that he couldn't pass up.
Shortly after moving to Homestead, Lytle received word he'd been accepted into pilot training.
"I was so excited when I found out I had been accepted into pilot training," he said. "Then the gravity of it all hit me, and I knew I couldn't mess up."

Before starting pilot training, Lytle had to find a base that needed a new fighter pilot. He was planning on filling a pilot slot back at Bergstrom AFB, but the base was on the verge of closing so he had to search for a new place to begin his life in the skies.

"I remember calling around to every fighter base, but I couldn't find a base that would take me," Lytle said. "The director of operations at my base spoke with the commander about my situation."
As luck would have it, the commander at his previous base was about to become the new wing commander at Homestead. Because of Lytle's good reputation, the commander said he'd ensure Lytle would have a spot.

"I was meant to be at Homestead," Lytle said.

Pilot training was “the most intense thing I have ever been through because they're throwing so much information at you all at once,” Lytle said.

“All my free time went to studying,” he added. “Being a pilot is hard work, but it's highly rewarding knowing you're keeping the guys on the ground safe."

Due to his experiences, Lytle truly understands what the maintainers go through, which gives him a unique perspective as a pilot, said Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Rusch, the 93rd FS director of operations.

"My heart is on the [flightline]," Lytle said. "I really enjoy the chief of scheduling role because I get to interact with the maintainers and it brings me one step closer to the [flightline]."

During a recent operational readiness inspection, Lytle was a key component in the 93rd FS's communications with maintenance, Rusch said.

"He efficiently and effectively gets the job done and considers his people while he does it," Rusch said.

Lytle said he still loves being out on the flightline and finds every possible opportunity to get out there. He considers his time as a weapons loader as a vital asset in his career.

"I know about the long hours that are involved in keeping this jet armed and mission ready," Lytle said. "This experience helps me be a better pilot because when there's an issue, I have unique insight as to what might have gone wrong. I've definitely been involved in situations where I drew from knowledge I acquired as a weapons loader."

AF encourages Airmen to be key part of SAPR solution

by Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs


7/16/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) --  In an effort to address the growing concern of sexual assault in the Air Force, the service has kicked off an initiative to give Airmen the capability for their voice to be clearly heard called "Every Airman Counts."

"I believe Airmen are a key part of the solution to this," said. Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, the director of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office. "They understand the problem, and they know what needs to be done to help conquer it. Now we need them to share those innovative ideas with us and each other. We need our Airmen talking about this issue."

To enable this dialogue, the Air Force SAPR office members designed a blog to share ideas, collect suggestions, concerns, stories, and questions for Air Force leaders and SAPR officials. The SAPR blog site asks Airmen to make inputs on how the service can better combat sexual assault.

"We can't fix this issue sitting in the Pentagon," said Gen. Larry Spencer, the Air Force vice chief of staff. "We need each and every one of you to get engaged in addressing this issue... this crime, and it is a crime. We need to know exactly where you feel the issues are, so we can address them with laser focus. I need every one of you helping us find ways to ensure dignity and respect are prevailing qualities in our daily relationships."

Content on the site will be driven in part by Airmen making firsthand posts. In addition to the blog, the Air Force is organizing web chats that will be moderated forums for real-time information exchange between Airmen, subject matter experts and senior leaders.

Various experts in the SAPR area will host these discussions to gain a better understanding of the issues at every level.

"We've been doing a lot of talking on this issue," Woodward said. "It's important that we listen."

The SAPR blog is just one of many actions the Air Force is pursuing to help address the issues sexual assault within the ranks and to offer support for victims. Other actions include the creation of the Special Victims Counsel program earlier this year, which provides constant support to sexual assault victims throughout the legal process.

Airmen can view the blog and make posts by logging into the Air Force portal with their Defense Department Common Access Card, and clicking on the photo tab titled Every Airman Counts or go to http://afsapr.dodlive.mil.

"'Every Airman Counts is about you, our Airmen, our most precious resource," Spencer said. "Our strength lies in our people, so we're asking all of our teammates to help us stop sexual assaults now. The American people place great trust and confidence in our military. We cannot and will not violate that trust."

Baseball All-Star Festivities Include ‘Tribute for Heroes’


American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2013 – As Major League Baseball showcases its top players at Citi Field in New York tonight, it will take time before the 2013 All-Star Game to honor 30 service members and veterans.

During the “Tribute for Heroes” campaign, conducted jointly by MLB and People magazine, 90 finalists were selected, and fans voted online to select one service member or veteran to represent each of MLB’s 30 teams.

Over the last two days, they’ve taken a private tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and attended a VIP reception at the All-Star Gala. They also took in All-Star Red Carpet Show and last night’s Home Run Derby. They will attend and be honored during the pre-game ceremony leading up to tonight’s game, which will be broadcast on the Fox network beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

The Tribute for Heroes campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans, an initiative of Major League Baseball and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which addresses the needs of veterans after they return from service, according to an MLB news release. MLB has committed more than $23 million for grants to hospitals and clinics that provide post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury treatment to veterans and their families in a public/private partnership with "Centers of Excellence" at university hospitals throughout the country, the release noted.

As part of its 2013 charity initiative, PEOPLE First: Help America's Veterans, 'PEOPLE' is partnering with Welcome Back Veterans and three other nonprofit organizations that are committed to providing assistance to military men and women, and will feature them in stories in the magazine throughout 2013.

Photos and profiles of the 30 service members and veterans being honored are available at http://TributeForHeroes.com.

USAF Thunderbirds to resume limited training flights

by Maj Darrick B. Lee
USAF Thunderbirds Public Affairs


7/16/2013 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Temporary funding for flying hours has been restored, allowing the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron to resume training flights again through the end of fiscal year 2013.

The team will not resume aerial demonstrations previously scheduled for the 2013 calendar year.

Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Combat Command commander, announced July 15 the temporary restoration of flying hours that will be allocated to combat aircraft and crews across the command's operational and test units, including the Thunderbirds. Due to sequestration, the team cancelled participation in air shows and stopped flying in April.

While the return to the skies means a return to crucial training and development for Thunderbirds pilots and maintainers, the leader of the Combat Air Forces' fleet cautions that this is the beginning of the process, not the end.

"Since April, we've been in a precipitous decline with regard to combat readiness," Hostage said. "Returning to flying is an important first step, but what we have ahead of us is a measured climb to recovery."

The restoration of flying hours only addresses the next two and half months of flying up until Oct. 1. Lt.Col. Greg Moseley, commander and leader of the Thunderbirds, clarifies that the return to flying does not mean the team has been cleared to resume performing demonstrations. The team will resume training flights with the anticipation that it may be able to resume a limited number of aerial demonstrations next calendar year.

"We have a long road ahead of us and will take it one day at a time," Moseley said. "This is the first step in safely returning the squadron to a mission-ready status."

In an effort to maximize training while anticipating limited 2014 funding, ACC has also announced an extension of the tour length for officers currently serving with the Thunderbirds.
Moseley says the decision was difficult but necessary.

"It takes a significant amount of training to get our pilots qualified to safely execute with the team," Moseley said. "Faced with limited funding in the future, we have to take every opportunity to ensure we put on a safe demonstration. Capitalizing on the experience we currently have is the right thing to do from a safety perspective, and it's the right thing to do from a fiscal perspective."

The 12 officer positions on the team are two-year tours of duty. By design, the position openings are staggered, allowing the squadron to maintain continuity of experience and leadership. This year, Thunderbirds 1,3, 6 and 8 were hired. The Thunderbirds announced the selection of these new officers in April. The decision to keep the current team rescinds this hiring announcement; the officers currently serving on the team will serve a third year.

Thunderbirds fans in the Las Vegas area should see the red, white and blue jets take to the sky in the next few days.

Additional F-35s coming to Luke

by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/15/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The Air Force announced June 27 that Luke Air Force Base has been chosen as the location for 72 additional F-35A Lightning II aircraft, bringing the eventual total number of the fifth-generation fighters expected here to 144.

The Air Force's initial decision to establish an F-35 pilot training center at Luke was announced in August 2012, following a three-year process that included an extensive environmental impact analysis.

"This is great news for Luke AFB and the West Valley community," said Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander. "The decision to base additional F-35 fighters here ensures the long-term viability of our mission and continues our legacy of training the world's greatest fighter pilots."

The F-35A, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is intended to be the Air Force's premier strike aircraft through the first half of the 21st century. It is a multirole fighter that is expected to eventually phase out the service's F-16s and A-10s.

Aircraft are expected to begin arriving at Luke in spring 2014, although exact timing will depend on production schedules. Construction on base to prepare for the aircraft is currently underway, with about $10 million of $57 million in projects already completed.

The 2012 Record of Decision cited several reasons why Luke was the service's top choice for F-35A basing, including facility and ramp capacity, range access, weather and capacity for future growth.

The base, which has been training fighter pilots for more than 70 years, also enjoys tremendous community support.

"We're surrounded by a very supportive community that is the envy of the Air Force," said Rusty Mitchell, director of Luke's Community Initiatives Team, who has worked with government officials and community stakeholders on behalf of the base for more than a decade. "We can't thank our West Valley neighbors enough for how they've come together in support of our mission."

In addition to training U.S. pilots, Luke will also serve as an F-35A International Partner Training site.

Gallantry earns Pararescueman Silver Star

by Senior Airman Christine Griffiths
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/16/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- Staff Sgt. Zachary Kline earned the Silver Star medal for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan April 23, 2011.

The Silver Star was awarded July 14, citing Kline's role is rescuing two U.S. Army pilots while under fire, defending a crash site and coordinating aerial counter-attacks. Kline, a pararescueman, is assigned to the 306th Rescue Squadron at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

"The Silver Star is way up on the continuum of honor," said Maj. Gen. Frank Padilla, Deputy Inspector General of the Air Force who presided over the event. "That means you voluntarily risked your life to save others, voluntarily risked your life to expose yourself to great danger in the service of your country. And that is exactly what Zach Kline did that day."

Kline endured approximately six hours under enemy fire, while in the process of recovering two U.S. Military members.

"It's an honor being recognized for just doing my job," said Kline. "I worked with some awesome guys and was nice being a part of it."

According to the award citation, Kline was a part of a rescue team tasked to recover two U.S. Army pilots from an OH-58D Kiowa that had gone down. While on the ground, Kline fought enemy fire while coordinating by radio with aircraft to target threats located behind his position.

During the engagement, an incoming round ignited fuel within the wreckage, which then erupted in flames. He continued to push through enemy fire to an alternate site while still guiding overhead aircraft to adversarial positions by radio.

"He leaves us with an example of an Airman that bands together with other Airmen to get the job done and to save others so that they may live," Padilla said. "When Zack leaves our Air Force he's going to leave it just a little bit better because of his accomplishments while he was here."

The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration for valor and is given for gallantry in action against enemies of the United States.

First black Marines recall struggles and triumphs

by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


7/16/2013 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va.  -- Five original Montford Point Marines visited the Exchange at Langley Air Force Base, Va., July 2 to share their story with local Airmen.

The retired Marines are part of the Tidewater chapter of the Montford Point Marine Association, a non-profit organization founded to memorialize the legacy of the first African-Americans to serve in the Marine Corps.

"These men are not only a part of military history, but American history," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Dawn McBride-Smith, Air Combat Command air traffic control training and operations superintendent. "They represent where we're from, and how far we've come in such a short time."

On June 25, 1941, just months before America's entrance into World War II, then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 which prohibited government agencies and defense contractors from refusing employment based on race, color or creed. The order required fair employment practices in all federal services, including the armed forces.

In 1942, Roosevelt established a presidential directive giving African Americans the opportunity to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps for the first time since 1778 . When recruitment for African-American Marines began June 1, 1942 , thousands of young men flocked to recruiting offices nationwide ..

The first African-American recruits were sent to basic training at Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C., a segregated training camp located adjacent to Camp Lejeune.

In July 1948, former president Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981, which required an end to discriminatory policies in the U.S. military.

By the time Montford Point closed in 1949, more than 20,000 Marines were trained within its walls. Following its deactivation, African-American recruits were sent to newly-integrated basic training at Recruit Depot Paris Island, S.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif., ending seven years of segregation.

The training camp was later renamed Camp Johnson in honor of the late Sgt. Maj. Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson, one of the first Montford Point Marines and a distinguished drill instructor.

The Marines who visited Langley trained under Johnson and other well-known drill instructors like Sgt. Maj. Edgar Huff, and provided unique insight into a pivotal moment in military history by answering questions and providing signed photos to members of the Langley community.

Among the Marines sat retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Jim Hargrove, a Montford Point Marine pleased to share his story with fellow Service members.

"At first, I didn't give [being a Montford Point Marine] much thought. I was just doing my job," he said. "Looking back now, it's rewarding to feel we set goals and provided guidance to the younger generation of Service members."

Hargrove and the other members of the association feel it's important for Service members of all branches of the military to learn about each other's legacies. This sentiment was echoed by those in attendance.

"It's important to share what these men have done for Marines and all Service members. They represent what the military is today," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Stephens, an event attendee. "The Montford Point Marines are where we've come from, not just as African-Americans, but Service members of all races, colors and creeds in all branches of the military."

In recognition of their important contributions to U.S. history, the Montford Point Marines received the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian honor s, on June 27, 2012, further cementing their place in history, while setting a shining example of pride and resiliency to Service members everywhere.

Kadena Airmen awarded AF, Navy, Marine Corps medals

7/15/2013 - U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, awards U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Carlisle, 31st Rescue Squadron operations flight commander, the Distinguished Flying Cross with valor at the Officer’s Club on Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 10, 2013. Carlisle was awarded for his heroic actions during a seven-hour, 320-mile rescue mission under direct enemy gunfire in Afghanistan, Aug. 4, 2012. During the mission, Carlisle aided three critically wounded coalition soldiers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Naoto Anazawa/Released)

27th SOW commander receives 1st star

by Airman 1st Class Eboni Reece
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs


7/8/2013 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.  -- Brig. Gen. Buck Elton, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, received his first star during a promotion ceremony in the Landing Zone at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., July 2.

Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander, presided over the ceremony.

Elton's brigadier general stars were pinned to his uniform by his wife, Karen, his new epaulet ranks were slid on and fastened by his parents.

Before assuming command of the 27th SOW in July 2011, Elton commanded special operations forces at the squadron, group and twice at the expeditionary group level as well as holding staff positions within AFSOC and United States Special Operations Command.
Commentary by Jo Rowe
81st Inpatient Operations Squadron


7/16/2013 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- It was one of the first beautiful days in a very long while in and around Bolling Air Force Base, District of Columbia. Rain was predicted, but I was hoping it would hold out until I completed the walk to my on-base residence.

As I was about to walk out of the Maisey Building, I noticed three enlisted members, three officers and one civilian with her newborn waiting by the exit doors; such a big pile-up for this time of day.

My heart sank. Could it be those deep blue skies and white puffy clouds turned dark gray with huge raindrops just waiting to signal the burst? Or was the rolling of the thunder and the dancing of the lightning enough to crowd everyone back into the building until the coast was clear? Nope...Neither.

To my extreme disappointment, these people were "self locked" inside, because they didn't want to be caught outside during the playing of our national anthem.

I was very saddened.

As my husband and I approached the door, everyone parted for us to get past. As we were walking through the doors, the music stopped. Everyone piled out as if a store had just announced 75 percent off at a day-after-Christmas sale.

I said to my husband, "You know what, honey? I am really sickened when I see people who refuse to come outside and acknowledge our nation anthem. Have they forgotten that this song, along with other things, stands for our freedom? What are they afraid of? The cowards!"

Even I, a dependent spouse at that time, am familiar with the courtesies we are supposed to observe when the national anthem is being played. Even though my husband was shocked to hear me call people whom I did not know cowards, he said he understood.

I have always felt this way. If you appreciate what you have, who you are and where you come from, you should appreciate the national anthem and all it represents.

My husband tried to tell me that hiding like that was, indeed, against military courtesies, but I tuned him out as I continued to ramble on about how insensitive I felt these people were.

What on earth was keeping those folks from standing proud and saluting or placing their hand over their hearts? No excuse is acceptable.

So I looked around as everyone rushed to their cars and I thought of the men and women fighting for our freedom. I thought of how proud I am of each and every one of them and how they wouldn't be proud of those Americans who chose to stay inside instead of coming out to salute their flag -- the very item that drapes the coffins of our fallen to their final resting place.

Maybe my words here will help change for the better, the courtesies we render, or ought to render, during reveille and retreat on base.

Don't cower from the nation anthem. Be proud. Go outside and salute the flag, or place your hand over your heart and stand tall. If not for yourself, then do it for your American brothers and sisters fighting to keep you free.

Joint Enabling Capabilities Command Postures for Future Ops

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2013 – Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, the Defense Department’s 911 call force for joint force headquarters operations and bridging joint operational requirements, is implementing a new, five-year strategy to position it for future operational demands, its commander reported.

The new strategy, “Force for Today, Force for the Future,” is designed to better align the command with the priorities U.S. Transportation Command, its higher headquarters, began instituting last fall in its own five-year strategy, Navy Rear Adm. Scott A. Stearney said during a telephone interview from Norfolk, Va.

Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III, Transcom’s commander, unveiled the most-sweeping strategic planning effort in the command’s 25-year history in October. In a nutshell, it aims to make Transcom the department’s “transportation and enabling-capability provider of choice,” Stearney said.

That goes beyond the transportation, airlift, sealift and distribution support Transcom is well known for, to include less-recognized but critical contributions like those provided by Joint Enabling Capabilities Command.

The JECC is DOD’s “A team” for the capabilities needed to quickly stand up and operate a Joint Task Force, with experts in operations, plans, knowledge management, intelligence, logistics, communications and public affairs. They deploy anywhere in the world within just a few days’ notice, organized in teams tailored to the specific combatant commander’s mission to augment assets already on the ground.

“We send very high-performing, small, mission-tailored teams that are very experienced” in joint task force headquarters operations, Stearney said. “They bring those joint skill sets that are required to make those task forces truly joint.”

The JECC and its three support elements -- joint planning, joint communications and joint public affairs -- have supported every major military operation since 9/11. That has ranged from contingency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in Pakistan, Haiti and Japan. Most recently, the command supported Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in the United States and operations in U.S. Africa Command with its supporting role to the French in Mali.
Based on a year-long review, the new strategy aims to increase the JECC’s capability by more closely aligning it to combatant commanders’ requirements.

“The nuance here is that we look to an end state where we are even more connected and more interdependent with the combatant commanders we operate with,” Stearney said.
The strategy focuses on four additional areas:

-- Training and building experience to be ready to respond to emergent joint operations;
-- Engaging with combatant command customers to prepare and enable seamless joint force headquarters solutions;
-- Innovating with an eye to expanding joint force commanders’ expeditionary command-and-control capability; and
-- Operating in complex environments with high-performing, mission-tailored teams that Stearney said “provide the right force at the right time to meet and accomplish global mission requirements.”
“The end state is that we are going to deliver unmatched joint operational command-and-control enablers to the joint force commanders who are conducting full-spectrum military operations,” he said.

“This strategy leverages the JECC core competencies and targets those capabilities most needed by our combatant command customers when resources are tight, time is short and risk is high.”
Stearney and his team now plan to develop directives that spell out how the strategy will be implemented.

With strict belt-tightening measures underway, he said this process will help the JECC prioritize its efforts to best support its mission and those of the combatant commands it supports. This will be particularly important, he said, in the event that more cuts are required.

“But in my view, the JECC is already a high-value and highly efficient organization,” Stearney said. “We are very lean in the headquarters and have just enough to get our mission done. We try to put most of our muscle and our personnel, as well as our resources, into the elements.”

Looking to the future, Stearney said he sees no downturn in the appetite for the specialized skills and experience those elements provide. The defense strategy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s Capstone Concept for Joint Operations both recognize that contingency operations are likely to become more -- not less -- frequent in the decade ahead, he noted.
Whether for combat operations or a response to a humanitarian disaster, U.S. military forces will be called on to provide support, he said. And wherever they operate, it will almost assuredly be as a joint force that deploys with little advance notice and hits the ground running.

That means they’ll need a command-and-control structure able to spring into action with them at full throttle -- the forte of the JECC.

“We provide the rapid joint task force enabling capabilities for the Department of Defense as a 911 force that provides these skill sets to any type of JTF that would stand up as a result of any type of emerging crisis,” Stearney said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Pacific Command or Central Command or Southern Command or another command. We support them all.”

And during the next five years, he said, the JECC “will assume an expanded role in how our nation responds to emergent global events.

Fallen Air Force hero returns home

by Airman 1st Class Sam Fogleman
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


7/12/2013 - SPOKANE, Wash. -- A member of the Air Force team has finally returned home nearly 44 years after falling in combat.

The remains of Maj. Larry Hanley arrived at the Spokane International Airport July 11 for a repatriation ceremony.

Hanley, piloting an F-105D Thunderchief, crashed in Khammouan Province, Laos, while attacking an enemy antiaircraft position Nov. 4, 1969, during the Vietnam War.

Some of Hanley's family was in attendance for the repatriation and reflected on their experience.

"Our hopes and wishes have been fulfilled," said Darlene Allen, Hanley's sister, who was in attendance upon his arrival. "The Air Force has handled this wonderfully."

JoAnn Aliverti, Hanley's other sister said, "We went through 43-and-a-half years of not hearing; the whole thing didn't seem real. It's never going to be over, but our prayers were answered."

Hanley's remains, within an American flag-draped casket, were met by a seven-member Honor Guard team from Fairchild that provided planeside honors. Several members of Team Fairchild leadership were on hand to pay their respects, including Col. Brian Newberry, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Wendy Hansen, 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief.

"It's important for me to be here to honor what he represented," Newberry said. "This country will never leave an Airman, soldier, sailor or Marine behind."

Neither Hanley's wingman nor the Forward Air Controller directing the attack witnessed the crash, so Hanley's exact location remained unknown for decades. Hanley was listed as Missing in Action. On February 24, 2012, investigators with the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command obtained remains recovered from Hanley's crash site. The remains were identified by JPAC March 8, 2013.

"We celebrate Maj. Hanley's return -- it is indeed a good day for his family, our Air Force and America," Newberry said. "He is now home and can rest in peace. It is also a good day because it gives us an opportunity to remember him as the heroic Airman he was who gave his life for us defending freedom over the skies of Laos and Vietnam."

Hanley was born in Spokane in 1943, and raised in Walla Walla, Wash. He received his commission as a second lieutenant in 1966 upon graduation from Central Washington State College (now Central Washington University) in Ellensburg in 1966 after being a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps there.

Hanley's sisters had many fond recollections of their brother. Allen's husband Greer took Hanley to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to catch his plane for his last tour in Southeast Asia. Aliverti said that Hanley volunteered for that fateful second tour because he was single, easing him of family obligations.

"That attitude is why we're here today," Newberry said upon hearing that story.

Hanley's sisters also shared that their brother received his wings upon graduation from flight school at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, from Brig. Gen. James Stewart, the famous actor, in 1967.

"It's a remarkable closing chapter on a person and a career," said retired Brig. Gen. James McDevitt, Hanley's roommate at the University of Washington prior to his academic transfer. "He was a good-looking, red-headed guy, a true American through and through. The most important thing I remember about him is that he was a dedicated cadet, a dedicated officer." Hanley was also McDevitt's best man at the latter's wedding.

"He was very proficient," McDevitt added. "Always a smile -- always a positive guy."

Hanley received numerous awards and decorations: the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with Two Silver and One Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with One Silver Service Star, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

"This also gives us an opportunity to teach our younger Airmen of his legacy of excellence and long blue line we now build upon," Newberry said. "Lastly, let us not forget our noble Air Force and nation who never gave up on one of our Airmen, even 43 years later -- we leave no one behind!"

Fairchild provided full military honors at Hanley's committal service July 13 at Mountain View Cemetery, located at 2120 South 2nd Avenue in Walla Walla, Wash.

B-1 test squadron demonstrates anti-ship missile

by Senior Airman Charles V. Rivezzo
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


7/15/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron successfully completed their first captive carry test of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile on-board a B-1 Bomber June 17, marking a significant step forward toward the B-1's role in the maritime environment.

Designed and developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Research, the LRASM is based off the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range and was constructed as part of an effort to overcome challenges faced by current anti-ship missiles penetrating sophisticated enemy air defense systems.

"This is a big stepping stone toward fielding an anti-surface warfare cruise missile," said Maj. Shane Garner, 337th TES. "However, at the end of this program, this particular missile is not going to be a fielded weapon; it's what we call a technology demonstrator. The point of this program isn't to field a missile, but to demonstrate the new technologies they want to put into an anti-surface warfare JASSM variant."

Because the LRASM leverages the state-of-the-art JASSM-ER airframe, it proved to be a seamless transition for the B-1 in terms of compatibility, significantly reducing the time and costs associated with traditional weapons testing.

"When the B-1 looks at this missile it just reads it as a JASSM-ER," said Capt. Alicia Datzman, 337th TES. "In turn, DARPA was able to exploit that capability and simply add on the new technology to expedite the cost. Currently, JASSM officials are doing everything they can to take this missile's technology and move it into a program that would eventually become operational."

However, while the LRASM does utilize the airframe of the JASSM-ER, it incorporates additional sensors and systems to achieve a stealthy and survivable subsonic cruise missile as well as a weapon data link and an enhanced digital anti-jam GPS to detect and destroy specific targets within a group of ships.

"One of the biggest improvements of this weapon is its ability to receive target or coordinate updates in-flight," Garner said. "Unlike the JASSMs 'fire and forget' mentality, this new technology gives you the chance to 'fire and change your mind.' Because of the standoff feature these weapons possess, they tend to be in-flight for some time. For us to be able to change its coordinates on the fly provides us with a large range of flexibility."

The overarching concept behind the B-1's rise in the maritime environment can be attributed to the Department of Defense's much discussed Air-Sea Battle concept, in which long range bombers serve as a key tenet.

ASB is designed to guide the four branches of the armed forces as they work together to maintain a continued U.S. advantage against the global proliferation of advanced military technologies and anti-access/area denial capabilities.

Furthermore, should the LRASM technology be fielded into a variant of the JASSM-ER, the B-1 presents itself as a premier platform to carry the weapon, as it is currently capable of carrying 24 of the long range missiles, tops across all Air Force platforms.

The 337th TES is scheduled to complete its first live-fire test of the missile in the coming months.

Beale welcomes Reserve's newest RED HORSE squadron

by Senior Airman Adam Hamar
940th Wing Public Affairs


7/14/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Air Force Reserve Command's 22nd Air Force stood up the 583rd RED HORSE during a ceremony here July 13.

The ceremony introduced the newest RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers), in the Air Force Reserve and the first located on the West Coast.

"Today is a very important day for our new West Coast RED HORSE squadron," said Brig. Gen. Curtis Williams, 22nd Air Force vice commander. "The 940th Civil Engineers will be a part of an elite community of outstanding people."

Beale AFB was selected as the home for the new RHS after a multi-year selection process lead by AFRC. The amount of available land to build new facilities, the local economy's ability to support the squadron's requirements for materials, and the ability to fulfill recruiting needs with skilled tradesman from Northern California were all important factors in the decision.

"As soon as I got through the front gate here at Beale, it was absolutely evident that I was coming to a first class organization," said Williams. "This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a professional environment with some the hardest working individuals. I know you will be successful and you're going to do a great job."

RED HORSE squadrons are specialized in multiple aspects of base construction, from plumbing and electrical to building runways and hangars and are able to take on large construction projects in remote, high threat areas anywhere in the world. The 583rd is also capable of responding to emergencies in the local community such as floods and earthquakes, and can deploy at a moment's notice.

"The 583rd can essentially design a project, procure the materials needed and execute that project, on its own," said Col. Timothy Lamb, 583rd RED HORSE interim commander. "When I arrived, I could feel the excitement. I could see it in people's eyes."

Over the next several months, members of the 940th Civil Engineering Squadron will transition into the 583rd squadron along with their counterparts from the 9th CES to form an active associate unit.

"I'm truly thankful for what everyone has done, the host wing and the local community, during this transition and look forward to working with every one of you," said Lamb.

RED HORSE or rapid engineer deployable heavy operations repair squadron engineers is a mobile, self-contained unit that includes medical, food services, vehicle and equipment maintenance, and supply personnel.

The squadron will create approximately 10 new full time and more than 100 traditional reservist positions over the next few years.

F-16s being regenerated into drones

by Teresa Pittman
309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group


7/11/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.,  -- Less than three months after the last F-4 phantom II departed from the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group for drone conversion, maintainers here are already turning the wrenches on Air Combat Command's fourth generation of aerial targets, the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

With AMARG's entire F-16 regeneration team gathered to document the event on July 1, Col. Robert Lepper, AMARG Commander, took the opportunity to congratulate workers for being ready and prepared to transition so quickly from the F-4 to the F-16.

"Each and every one of you is significantly contributing to the future success of our fifth generation fighters," Colonel Lepper said. "By preparing and delivering these modern, more agile F-16s, they're providing a more realistic training environment for our warfighters."

The first aircraft officially inducted into the full-scale aerial target regeneration program here is the F-16C, serial no. 85-1455 it is also the first aircraft to occupy space in

"Hangar One" since process improvement and time-saving modifications were completed in the building.

Anticipating the QF-16 program's requirement for AMARG to regenerate and deliver 210 F-16s on time, the newly painted hangar floors will be marked and tailored for five of the smaller (maximum capacity) jets versus four of the 1960-era Phantoms. AMARG will have the capacity to produce 22 F-16s per year.

According to Rob McNichol, the F-16 regeneration program's supervisor assigned to the 576th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Squadron, the hangar's added mezzanine is for the storage of parts that will be removed from the aircraft during maintenance.

"The aircraft will undergo an extensive maintenance program to ensure flight safety," McNichol said. "Panels and avionic boxes will be removed, and the additional area off the maintenance floor will allow us to store the parts for quick and easy access."

The F-16s destined for the drone program have been in storage from three to 12 years they will complete all time compliance technical orders required for test flights during maintenance activities.

It is slated to take approximately six months, or 180 calendar days, to produce an F-16 for delivery to Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla., where Boeing will install the QF-16 drone modification package.

Boeing was awarded the QF-16 full-scale aerial target engineering, manufacturing and development contract in 2010 and delivered their first QF-16 to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group for testing at Tyndall AFB, Fla., in November.

The F-16 regeneration program is anticipated to continue at AMARG through fiscal year 2021.

McChord maximizing training on every mission

by Sandra Pishner
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


7/12/2013 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- With cuts putting the squeeze on the Air Force budget, Reservists at the 446th Airlift Wing here are maximizing training opportunities to get the most out of every mission.

In May and June, aircrew Reservists completed flight training tasks while also carrying rice and beans to Haiti on a humanitarian mission. On these same missions, the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Reservists conducted their training.

When the 446th Security Forces Squadron deployed to Patriot Defender training at Fort Wolters, Texas, they took advantage of a scheduled 446th AES training flight to hop a ride. This saved the Air Force Reserve and the wing the costs of 16 commercial flight tickets. Some of the security forces team "paid" them back by adding extra flavor to the aeromedical team's training by playing the roles of patients.

"Not only did we save the unit money by not having to fly commercial air to our training, but we got to participate in the aeromedical squadron's training. It was a win-win," said Master Sgt. Michael Pate, 446th SFS.

When the aeromedical Reservists conducted training in May, they coordinated a flight with the 313th Airlift Squadron. The pilot on that mission found an opportunity to enhance his crew's training by volunteering for a humanitarian flight to Haiti.

"I saw that there was a Denton mission on our scheduling board and I had never seen one of those before. So I talked to (Loretta Miller) down in ops. I asked her what this Denton mission was and she educated me. It's a way we can use the military airlift to provide humanitarian aid," said Maj. Michael Masuda, 313th AS pilot.

The Denton amendment provides for humanitarian and civic assistance in conjunction with military operations. Such supplies may be transported only on a space available basis.

Always looking for training opportunities, the medical team from the 446th AES jumped onboard the flight, conducting they're training on the McChord to Charleston AFB, S.C., leg of the mission (and back). The pilots and loadmasters on the mission gained Invaluable training as the crew brushed up on skills needed for flying into less than optimal environments.

"Those fields are not always suitable for certain aircraft. Fortunately, the C-17 is very versatile," said Masuda.

Some of the skills the aircrew used at the airfield in Haiti included becoming familiar with flight clearances within the Caribbean.

"I had to get into the clearance guides and make sure I understood what applied for flying into the Caribbean part of the world; each part of the world has different rules. Haiti is actually very mountainous. I thought island, flat place; but no it's surrounded by some pretty decent size mountains that if you're not cognizant of what's there you could get in trouble if there's bad weather. So the terrain was not daunting, but it needed to be respected," said Masuda.

While most of McChord's C-17 aircrews have been routinely flying into hazardous Afghanistan for the past 10 years, flying to Haiti almost proved more challenging.

"Flying into places like Afghanistan or Germany the routes and challenges are well known and almost routine. But we almost never fly into Haiti. Poorer countries don't always have the best facilities," said Masuda. "When I started doing the mission planning, I thought it would be simple, run of the mill stuff; go to Haiti, drop stuff off, come back. When you fly into a field like Haiti, you have to kind of use more cumbersome methods to fly approaches. You have to reference several sources to make sure that you are legal to flying under these specific kinds of approaches. Those approaches a little more crude than what use when flying to places like Germany."

Security forces Ravens were also on the flight to Haiti. Ravens are teams of two to four specially trained and equipped security forces Airmen deployed as aircrew members to provide close-in security for aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or additional security is needed.

"Being on the ground is more of a threat than being in the air because there are people running around everywhere," Masuda explains.

Another method for economizing today's limited resources is mixing Reserve and active-duty aircrew.

"We had an active-duty co-pilot on the crew," said Masuda. "I think we're going to see more of that in the future, especially with the cut backs. It's one of those things now where it's about what is the best force you can put forward versus we're going to live in our stovepipe society.  The best use of our assets sometimes is to mix, say an aircraft commander who is Reservists, with an active-duty co-pilot who is relatively new and can learn from the more experienced Reservist. We're doing that on our deployments as well. "

Economy of force takes on a whole knew meaning when talking about the bargain that is the Air Force Reserve.

Face of Defense: Enlisted Leader Runs Construction Project

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Garas
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, July 15, 2013 – Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Ronald Stocker stood in the blistering sun, carefully watching his Seabees pour concrete. “Without this labor force, this job just couldn’t be done,” he said.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Ronald Stocker coordinates activity to complete a runway expansion project at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 22, 2013. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Garas
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“You talk to anyone on this camp and they’ll tell you that the Seabees are the only ones working before 9 o’clock in the morning,” Stocker added in an unmistakable Boston accent. “We are on that job site religiously every day at 7 o’clock in the morning.”

Stocker is the acting officer in charge for the Regional Command East Seabee detachment.

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15, a reserve unit from Belton, Mo., were using more than 2,000 cubic yards of concrete to add more than 1,500 feet of runway for Regional Command East -- the largest current construction project in the Afghan theater of operations.

Stocker used effective planning and management to ensure his team’s success. Breaking his crew into three teams, he divided the work by the Seabees’ specific specialties. Scheduled shifts help to fill gaps in work to complete other tasks, such as allowing steelworker Seabees to prepare the steel and rebar while builder Seabees construct the frames for the concrete. This way, when the concrete is ready to pour, the Seabees simply need to lay the rebar inside the frames, Stocker explained.

“We try to pour concrete every three days in cycles,” he added. “We try to maintain that schedule for the entire detachment.”

The consistent work schedule allows the Seabees to have zero down time, meaning no disruptions or slack during the process, Stocker said. It has also allowed the Seabees to be ahead of schedule two months into the project, he added.

Stocker is no stranger to building large projects under a tight schedule. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Stocker was given control of a small detachment and tasked with building Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“I took a group of 75 Seabees there and built the camp,” he said. “It was a lot of concrete and steel work -- pretty much the same pace as this project.”

But the similarities to building in Cuba end there, Stocker said. “The biggest thing here is getting our material,” he explained. “If we don’t have it, we don’t get it.”

If tools break, the Seabees must fix them on site. If equipment breaks, they must salvage parts from other equipment. But the resilience it takes to work through such issues is a Seabee hallmark, Stocker said.

“If we don’t have it here, we’re not getting it here, so we have to make do,” he added.

Stocker started his career on active duty as a young man, but left the service in 1987 to run his own construction company in Boston. He re-entered the military in 1991.

“My civilian construction business in Boston is similar to what we are doing here,” he said.

Stocker’s assignment here is a position usually occupied by a commissioned officer. Though officers tend to be more educated than enlisted sailors, he said, some of them lack the job experience. Officers may manage construction projects, he noted, but they usually don’t work them. Both roles are challenging, Stocker said.

Stocker admits he micromanaged the project when he first arrived on the site. But the first class petty officers began to step up and take charge, he said, and as they did, the lines of communication opened up and he was able to achieve his desired effect.

“You have to let your leaders find themselves,” Stocker said. “Leaders are leaders, regardless if they are a first, second or even third class petty officer.”

The senior chief was quick to give his Seabees credit for the progress they’ve made. “This job isn’t done by me. This job is done by those 30 guys out there,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”