Thursday, July 18, 2013

TACP service members honored at Colorado Springs Veterans Memorial

by Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

7/16/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Bagpipes played in the background July 5 as two Airmen slowly lifted the white cloth covering a marble block with a single word etched on top, TACP. It was the first opportunity for the family members of the fallen Airmen to see their loved ones' names engraved in stone on a new memorial in Colorado Springs' Memorial Park.

The six names listed on the front of the marble block represent the lives and sacrifices of those air controllers and support members who selflessly gave their all during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. The Tactical Air Control Party Memorial is co-located with the Forward Air Controllers Memorial, which also received an additional name during the ceremony.

The names that are remembered on the new TACP Memorial include:
Maj. Gregory Stone, 124th Air Support Operations Squadron (OIF)
Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier, 169th Air Support Operations Squadron (OEF)
Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano, 14th Air Support Operations Squadron (OEF)
Master Sgt. Steven Auchman, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron (OIF)
Senior Airman Bradley Smith, 10th Air Support Operations Squadron (OEF)
Maj. David Gray, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron (OEF)

The name of Lt. Col. Andrew Matyas, 22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron (Vietnam), was added to the FAC Memorial.

Guest speaker Col. Samuel Milam, 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing commander, Moody AFB, Ga., talked to the audience about the heavy burden of responsibility that these men willingly accepted.

"They do the same things that Army and Marines do on the ground, hauling 70 pound rucks, sometimes jumping out of the back of airplanes and then they have to fuse in the Air Force piece of controlling aircraft to put bombs precisely on to a target," said Milam.

"We have been able to build a very tight relationship with the Army that was not necessarily there before 9/11. We have gained that trust and integrated very well with our ground counterparts," said Milam when speaking about the unique relationship that the Army and Air Force share on today's battlefield.

The TACP community only accepts the absolute best, both physically and mentally, into their ranks. With an attrition rate of nearly 50 percent, the graduates of the TACP School located at Hurlburt Field, Fla., go on to become the "face of the Air Force" to many supported units throughout the Army.

"It's difficult, but it is that way for a reason. These guys have to carry all of the things that infantrymen have to. Plus radios, batteries and all of the other gear that goes a long with doing their job every day," said Lt. Col. Cory Jeffers, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron commander located at Fort Carson, Colo.

"They go out and get the job done. Some of these men get selected to be part of Special Operations and will go along with the unit as the soul Air Force guy. It is incredible; these are super high caliber individuals," said Jeffers.

The fallen Airmen being honored at the memorial are the first to have their names placed alongside their Vietnam War era predecessors.

"The controller mission has evolved, they represent the next generation of controllers," Jeffers said.

Navy Unveils New Initiatives in Battle Against Sexual Assaults

Navy News Service

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 – Navy leaders have announced their newest sexual assault prevention initiatives in a message and a policy letter designed to continue the service’s battle against this crime.
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, outlined additional fleet initiatives from the San Diego fleet concentration area, and Fleet Training Center Great Lakes, Ill., and directed the rest of the fleet to implement some of the best practices proven to help in combating sexual assault in the Navy.

Greenert named Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck, director of the 21st Century Sailor Office, to direct the Navywide implementation of effort.

"Everyone, from [seaman recruit to admiral], must take responsibility for promoting a climate of dignity and respect and an environment that does not demean individuals or tolerate sexist behavior, sexual harassment or sexual assault," Buck said. "The execution of the sexual assault prevention and response initiatives across the fleet is an imperative that I believe will have an impact on reducing, with the goal of eliminating, the crime of sexual assault from our Navy."

The new initiatives are part of the Navy's ongoing efforts to provide for the safety and security of every sailor, the admiral said.

"We also are emphasizing other programs like Keep What You Earn and Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions to help our people understand the negative impact that alcohol can have on their lives and how they can support and help their shipmates make good decisions," he added.

While the programs and initiatives are primarily focused on prevention, they also serve as a deterrent and reinforce commanders’ responsibility for victim support, Buck noted.

"Commanders have the responsibility for ensuring victims of sexual assault are supported, provided options in accordance with Department of Defense guidance,” he said, “and that the allegations will be independently investigated and offenders held appropriately accountable."

The initiatives, to be implemented by Oct. 1, include increasing leadership visibility with roving barracks patrols led by chief petty officers or experienced officers, and augmented with first class petty officers to deter behavior that may lead to sexual assault or misconduct.

Also the Navy will assign dedicated sexual assault prevention and response officers -- lieutenant commander or above -- to U.S. Fleet Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Naval Surface Forces, Naval Submarine Forces, Naval Air Forces, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, the Navy’s four systems commands and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command who will report directly to their respective commander.

In addition, the Navy will deploy resilience counselors to CVN and LHD/LHA commands by the end of fiscal year 2014. These counselors will be dedicated civilian professionals with sexual assault response coordinator training, certification and credentials, and they will be able to take restricted and unrestricted reports of sexual assault.

The counselors will deploy with carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups and amphibious ready groups to provide services, support and coordination for sexual assault prevention and response and continuity of care for suicide prevention, stress reduction and other situations.

Additionally, the latest initiatives include implementing best practices from fleet concentration areas throughout the fleet and revising alcohol sales policies at Navy exchanges worldwide.

Changes in liquor sales will be implemented over the next 90 days. Liquor will be sold only at main exchanges or at dedicated package stores, and the footprint of alcohol displays and merchandise in stores other than package stores will be no more than 10 percent of the retail floor space. NEX facilities also will make single-use alcohol detection devices available to customers.

The new initiatives also direct commands to ensure all sailors residing in barracks attend indoctrination training within 30 days of occupancy.

To reduce vulnerability of sailors while walking on base, commanders will survey facilities to identify areas that require better lighting, visibility or other safety improvements.

Each Navy installation and fleet concentration area will have a senior flag officer designated to lead the area sexual assault prevention and response program. This flag officer will establish routine coordination meetings with installation, local command representatives and local community and civic leaders to review program efforts.

Duties also will include ensuring a community outreach and engagement plan is part of each area's program. The plan must include base and region commander cooperation, coordination and consultation with local law enforcement, hospitals and hotels.

"Ensuring a command climate of respect, trust and professionalism is critical to combating sexual assault," Buck said. To this end, he added, commands must review their compliance with command climate surveys, ensuring one is conducted within 90 days of a new commanding officer assuming command and every 12 months thereafter.

Also, commanders must ensure they have briefed their immediate superior on their most recent command climate assessment using the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Organizational Climate Survey, including a plan of action and milestones for corrective actions.

2 SOPS' GPS operations center answers firefighting call

by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel

7/17/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- Capt. Tim Bouma, Army Space Support Team 27 operations officer, stood in the midst of the West Fork wildfire June 25 when he noticed firefighters on the ground having trouble getting accurate position readings from their commercial GPS receivers.

With the fire burning out of control and threatening the town of South Fork, Bouma knew just who to call.

He contacted the GPS Operations Center here and asked for assistance.
The GPSOC members jumped into action immediately and began providing analysis products to Bouma the same day.

"First, we needed to figure out why firefighters were having trouble getting accurate GPS signals," said Steve Tanksley, GPSOC lead mission analyst. "From there, we then determined the best and most useful product for the users."

The GPSOC team determined mountainous terrain and trees were interfering with the GPS signal, so they produced analysis, which indicated "dead spots" on a map for firefighters.

"We know where the satellites are on orbit at any given time, so based on that knowledge, we were able to determine the areas where signals could be interrupted," said 1st Lt. Carson Cleveland, 2nd Space Operations Squadron, Weapons and Tactics Flight officer. "Using the product we provided, firefighters were able to move constantly to areas where they could receive signals."

The information proved invaluable to firefighters on the ground.

"They had pilots in the air ready to drop slurry on the fire, but they needed accurate GPS coordinates to relay to those pilots," Tanksley said. "They were also cutting fire lines and coordinating teams on the ground, so they needed the most accurate picture of the area they could get."

The GPSOC provided firefighters with GPS prediction charts of the wildfire area near Pagosa Springs, Colo., every day from June 26 through July 3 and even developed post-event analysis the following week.

To date, the West Fork Fire Complex has burned more than 109,000 acres and is 50 percent contained.

"Considering we have members of our team here who were evacuated from the Black Forest fire area, helping to fight the West Fork wildfire had a special significance for us," Tanksley said. "Sometimes we don't get feedback on the effects we provide, but with this project, we could simply watch the news and know that we contributed to the firefighting effort."

Providing charts, graphs, analysis and support to people in dire circumstances is nothing new for the GPSOC. Bouma knew just who to call because ARSST teams have routinely asked for GPSOC support when conducting warfighting operations in Afghanistan.

"They are our regular customers," Tanksley said. "They know us and they know what we can provide. For us, these types of supports are exciting. It's satisfying to know we're helping warfighters prevent IED [improvised explosive device] explosions. Now to know we're helping pilots drop slurry on wildfires in our own community is extra gratifying."

Soldier Missing from Korean War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and have been returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. Bernard J. Fisher of Wilkes Barre, Pa., was buried July 16, in Arlington National Cemetery.  In January 1951, Fisher and elements of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment (IR), 24th Infantry Division (ID), were deployed northeast of Seoul, South Korea, where they were attacked by enemy forces. During the 19th IR attempt to delay the enemy forces from advancing, Fisher and his unit moved towards a more defensible position, when the unit suffered heavy losses.  It was during this attack, that Fisher was reported missing. 

In July 1951, the U.S. Army Graves Registration recovered the remains of four men north of Shaha-dong, near Seoul, South Korea.  The remains were buried in the United Nation Cemetery at Tanggok, South Korea, and were disinterred and transferred to the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan for laboratory analysis.

During the analysis the remains of three men could not be positively identified. In March 1955, a military review board declared the remains of the fourth to be unidentifiable.  The unidentified remains were transferred to Hawaii, where they were interred as “unknown” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the “Punchbowl.”   

In 2012, U.S. officials reevaluated Fisher’s records and determined that with advances in technology, the unknown remains could likely be identified.  Following the reevaluation, the decision was made to exhume the remains for scientific analysis identification. 

In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparison and chest radiograph – which matched Fisher’s records.
Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials.  Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. 

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at or call 703-699-1420.

Air Force Will Discharge Sexual Assault Offenders

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

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 – Airmen who commit sexual assaults will be discharged, and senior commanders must review actions taken on sexual assault cases under new Air Force initiatives that took effect recently.

Air Force Capt. Allison DeVito, chief of victim issues and policy branch for the Air Force judge advocate general, said both recent changes are part of the Air Force's initiative to combat sexual assault and to foster mutual respect and dignity among airmen.

When combined with existing programs, the Air Force's efforts to end sexual assault and support those who report it have been increasing significantly throughout the past year, DeVito said. At the same time, she added, the Air Force is experiencing a surge in its prosecution rates for sexual assault, reflecting results similar to those in the other services.

As of July 2, commanders must initiate administrative discharge processing for any airman -- officer or enlisted -- found to have committed a sexual assault offense after completing any disciplinary action.
This new requirement, which covers a wide range of sex offenses, is triggered by a finding that the airman committed the offense, DeVito said.

Once a commander has information alleging that an airman has committed a sexual assault offense, the commander must promptly refer the case to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. If the commander believes that the evidence uncovered in the investigation substantiates the allegation, then the commander will take appropriate criminal or administrative action, and following that, must process the offender for administrative discharge, she explained.

In addition to the recent policy change, DeVito said, a new provision explicitly states that an airman who engaged in an unprofessional relationship while serving in a special position of trust -- such as a recruiter or military training instructor -- also is subject to administrative discharge. Airmen who are involuntarily separated from the Air Force under these provisions may receive a discharge under "other than honorable" conditions, DeVito said.

Another change to the discharge process requires that airmen be advised of their right to request review by a general officer. The case can be reviewed if an airman believes the commander's recommendation for involuntary separation was initiated in retaliation for having made an unrestricted report of a sexual assault within the previous 12 months.

This change eliminates the perception that an airman who reports a sexual assault may be subject to discharge simply for reporting, DeVito said.

In addition, a June 27 directive issued by the undersecretary of the Air Force directed that any commander who makes a disciplinary decision regarding an airman who commits a sexual assault must report that decision to the servicing general court-martial convening authority, a general officer, who then will review the intended disposition and take any further action deemed appropriate.

This change also requires that the general court-martial convening authority must review the case and its disposition after all disciplinary and administrative action is completed and must report the actions taken in the case to AFOSI in writing. Upon receipt of this report of command action, AFOSI will close out the investigative file by attaching a copy of the report of command action to the case file.

DeVito said that, to date, 369 service members, of which are mostly airmen, have received legal services from an Air Force special victims counsel. The SVCs attend interviews by AFOSI, the prosecution and defense counsel. They also attend trials with the victim-client, assisting victims in obtaining expedited transfers, and helping victims receive military protective orders to ensure the assailant does not contact the victim except as needed to prepare for trial. The Air Force is the only service providing SVCs to service members, DeVito said.

"Sexual assault has no place in our Air Force," said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff. "We live in a culture of respect. We cherish our core values of integrity, service, and excellence. But in order to ensure all airmen experience and benefit from those values, we must eliminate sexual assault in our ranks."

Dempsey, Winnefeld Discuss Syria at Confirmation Hearing

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 – The chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Armed Services Committee today that momentum in Syria’s civil war appears to have shifted in favor of President Bashar Assad, but they declined to say what recommendations they have given the president regarding possible U.S. military intervention.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. were asked about the situation in Syria and possible U.S. intervention during a hearing called to consider their nominations to serve two more years as the nation’s top military officers.

“Currently, the tide seems to have shifted in [Assad’s] favor,”= Dempsey said, with Winnefeld adding, “If I were to have to pick who’s winning, it would be the regime, but not by much.”
Dempsey said the military has provided President Barack Obama with options for Syria and that the administration is deliberating over whether to use “kinetic strikes” against Syrian targets. However, he said, it would be inappropriate “to render an opinion in public about what kind of force we should use,” pledging that as the military considers options, he will articulate whether he thinks they’ll be effective and what the risks would be for U.S. forces.
Dempsey said unless the momentum in the two-year Syrian civil war shifts, the chances for a negotiated settlement appear remote. Both military leaders agreed that a decision by Russia -- a major weapons supplier and Syria’s largest ally outside the region -- to stop supporting Assad would be a “game changer.”

But the Syrian leader, Winnefeld said, is going to “fight to the death,” and he predicted Assad will still be in power a year from now if Russia, Iran and Hezbollah continue to support him.
After determining in June that pro-Assad forces had used chemical weapons, including sarin gas, on their opponents, the Obama administration announced that it would supply the resistance with small arms. But Dempsey expressed reluctance about any option that seeks to simply better equip the rebels, noting this could cause the situation to deteriorate further. “This opposition has to not only be prepared militarily, but it has to be prepared if it achieves a position of governance inside of Syria,” he said.

Dempsey said the consequences of Syria’s civil war are having a destabilizing effect on the region, agreeing with the assessment of one member of the panel that the influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refuges in Jordan could soon threaten the rule of King Abdalllah. He noted that the conflict already has destabilized western Iraq.

Ultimately, Dempsey told the committee, any decision by the United States to use military force in Syria rests with the president.

“We’ve given him options,” the chairman said. “The members of this committee have been briefed on them in a classified setting. We’ve articulated the risk.”

Sailor Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and have been returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael B. Judd of Cleveland was buried on July 15, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On June 30, 1967, Judd was aboard a CH-46A Sea Knight helicopter that was attempting to insert a U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance team into hostile territory in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam.  As the helicopter approached the landing zone, it was struck by enemy fire from the surrounding tree line, causing the aircraft to catch fire.  The aircraft crashed landed.  Although most of the reconnaissance team to survived, Judd and four other crew members of the team, died in the crash.

n 1993, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams investigated the case in Thua Thien-Hue Province.  The team interviewed local villagers who claimed to have discovered an aircraft crash site in the nearby forest while searching for firewood in 1991.  The team surveyed the location finding aircraft wreckage that could not be associated with a CH-46A.

During the 1990s, joint U.S./ S.R.V. teams continued to investigated the loss in Thua Thien-Hue Province.  In 1999, the team interviewed the same local villagers who provide relevant case information and the joint team surveyed the crash site again, this time uncovering aircraft wreckage consistent with a U.S. military helicopter.

In 2012, joint U.S./ S.R.V. recovery teams began excavating the crash site and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage from the CH-46A helicopter that Judd was aboard. 

Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, including dental comparisons in the identification of Judd remains. 

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at or call 703-699-1420.

Bold Tigers return to sky

by Airman 1st Class Brittany A. Chase
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/18/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 391st Fighter Squadron resumed flying July 17 after budget cuts required the squadron to stand down April 8.

The restored flying hour program represents Congressional action on the $1.8 billion overseas contingency operations reprogramming decision, making peacetime dollars available. The Air Force Council has approved the use of $423 million of those dollars to restore flying hours for affected units.

The money restores vital training and test operations for the combat fleet across the Air Force for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. This impacts not only MHAFB but other Air Combat Command units.

The return to the skies means a return to crucial training and development for Airmen.

"Returning to flying is an important first step but what we have ahead of us is a measured climb to recovery," said Air Combat Command Commander, Gen. Mike Hostage. "Our country counts on the U.S. Air Force to be there when needed--in hours or days, not weeks or months. A fire department doesn't have time to 'spin up' when a fire breaks out, and we don't know where or when the next crisis will break out that will require an immediate Air Force response."

The restoration of flying hours only addresses the next two-and-a-half months of flying. With hours restored until the end of FY13, the Bold Tigers will continue training in order to stay combat ready.

"Since our grounding we have worked tirelessly to sustain a limited degree of tactical proficiency," said Lt. Col. Richard Dickens, 391st Fighter Squadron commander. "Unfortunately, nothing replaces the experience of actual flying training, which will regain the combat readiness our nation expects and demands."

Airmen will be able to progress in training as the Fighter Squadron takes to the skies.

"Many of our newest controllers have been placed in a stop-training status awaiting an increase in traffic," Dickens said. "The only way to restore normal career progression and reduce the massive training backlog for our incredibly talented support personnel is to resume flying."

Although the 391st FS does not know what's in store for FY13, they're happy about the hours they've received.

"The 391st Bold Tigers are incredibly excited to start flying again," said Dickens. "In the true spirit of the Gunfighters, the Bold Tigers are prepared for this challenge to return to the skies."

"This decision gets us through the next several months but not the next several years," Hostage said. "While this paints a clearer picture for the remainder of FY13, important questions remain about FY14 and beyond. Budget uncertainty makes it difficult to determine whether we'll be able to sustain a fully combat-ready force."

Furthermore, the reinstallation of hours comes at a cost to future capabilities, including reduced investment in the recapitalization and modernization of the combat fleet.

"We are using investment dollars to pay current operational bills, and that approach is not without risk to our long-term effectiveness," Hostage said. "We can't mortgage our future. America relies on the combat airpower we provide, and we need to be able to continue to deliver it."

(Editor's Note: Information from this story was collected from ACC's Combat air forces to resume flying at

Biden: Asia-Pacific Rebalance Promotes Prosperity, Security

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 – Emphasizing that economic development and peace and stability are intertwined, Vice President Joe Biden said today the goal of the increased U.S. focus and engagement in the Asia-Pacific region is to make it not only more secure, but more prosperous as well.

Biden spoke to a Center for American Progress forum at George Washington University before leaving next week for economic and strategy discussions in India and Singapore.

The security the United States has provided over the past 60 years “has enabled the region’s people to turn their talents and hard work into an economic miracle,” Biden said. “Now, we want to hasten the emergence of an Asia-Pacific order that delivers prosperity for all the nations involved.”

The U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region reflects the importance of a region that, despite remarkable promise, struggles with uncertainty and risk, the vice president said. “We are focused on the risks of disruption of commerce, proliferation, humanitarian disasters, conflict between nations and the persistent threat caused by North Korea,” he told the audience.

Standing up to these challenges, he said, requires strong alliances, institutions and partnerships that tie regional countries together so they work together toward goals that benefit all. They also promote understanding and avenues for countries to peacefully resolve differences, he said.

Toward this end, the United States wants to be a partner in creating “21st-century rules of the road” that would clarify acceptable international behavior, Biden said. Such rules would extend from economic to security issues, benefitting “not only the United States and the region, but the world as a whole,” he said.

Recognizing maritime disputes in the South China Sea, Biden urged China and the Association of South East Asian Nations to work more closely toward a code of conduct that establishes universally acceptable standards of international behavior.

“That means no intimidation, no coercion, no aggression and a commitment from all parties to reduce the risk of mistakes and miscalculation,” he said. “It is in everyone’s interest that there be freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, respect for international laws and norms and a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes.”

Biden also cited broad agreement that North Korea’s nuclear missile program “presents a clear and present danger to stability,” particularly in East Asia. The United States is working closely with Japan, South Korea, China and Russia to get North Korea to stop these activities, he said.

The vice president also expressed the U.S. willingness to engage directly with North Korea – but only, he emphasized, if agrees to “genuine” negotiations and commits to giving up its nuclear ambitions.
“North Korea can have peace and prosperity like the rest of the region, but only without nuclear weapons,” he said. “We are open to engaging with any nation that is prepared to live up to its international obligations.”

As the United States expands its engagement in the region, Biden called its long-standing alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Thailand the cornerstones of the strategy. “Across the board, with these alliances, we are at a high-water mark in terms of cooperation between our leaders, both military and political, and the support of our people,” he said.

He emphasized, however, that the rebalance does not mean the United States is losing its focus on the Middle East and Europe.

“We are not leaving Europe,” he said. “Europe remains the cornerstone of our engagement with the rest of the world. That is a fact. We are not going anywhere.

“As a matter of fact,” he continued, “we are absolutely convinced that our engagement in the Pacific is in the overwhelming self-interest of Europe. Europe, just like the United States, will benefit greatly as well from stability in the Pacific.”

Cheyenne Mountain gets new commander

7/16/2013 - CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. – Col. Chris Crawford (left), 21st Space Wing commander, passes the 721st Mission Support Group guidon to Lt. Col. Travis Harsha July 11 at the Cheyenne Mountain AFS Minuteman Park. The 721st MSG, located at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, operates, maintains, secures, sustains, mobilizes, tests, and controls the worldwide warning and surveillance system for North America, normally referred to as the Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) weapon system. Harsha is the CMAFS installation commander and 721st MSG commander. He takes over from outgoing commander Col. Joseph Turk who is retiring. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robb Lingley)

Refueling the Spirit

by Capt. Zach Anderson
931st Air Refueling Group Public Affairs

7/16/2013 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- A B-2 Spirit assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., closes in on the refueling boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., during an air refueling training mission, July 15, 2013. The KC-135 was being operated by an aircrew from the Air Force Reserve 18th Air Refueling Squadron, 931st Air Refueling Group, at McConnell. 

Citizen Airmen from the 931st routinely conduct air refueling training missions in order to maintain proficiency in air refueling operations.  Air refueling acts as a force extender and a force multiplier, and allows the Air Force to project its reach around the globe.

The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the United States Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years.