Friday, July 19, 2013

Wright Visits, Honors Wounded Warriors in San Antonio

By Maria Gallegos
Brooke Army Medical Center

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, July 19, 2013 – Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. (Garfola) Wright honored two soldiers who’d earned the Purple Heart medal and visited with other wounded warriors, families and staff at Brooke Army Medical Center here July 17.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
From left: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marshall Huffman, Southern Regional Medical Command; SRMC Commander Army Maj. Gen. Jimmie Keenan; Army Sgt. Anthony Ayers; Army Spc. Joseph Contreras; and Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. (Garfola) Wright, pose after the Purple Heart ceremony held at the Warrior and Family Support Center near Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, July 17, 2013. Wright presented the soldiers their medals at the ceremony. U.S. Army photo by by Rebekah Almquist

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Wright, who yesterday was nominated by President Barack Obama to become the permanent undersecretary for personnel and readiness, presented Army Sgt. Anthony Ayers and Army Spc. Joseph Contreras with their Purple Heart medals and certificates, while Army Maj. Gen. Jimmie Keenan, commander of Southern Regional Medical Command, was the host for the ceremony.
Wright, a retired military veteran with 35 years of service and the mother of a deployed soldier, voiced her admiration for the Purple Heart warriors at the ceremony.

“It’s clearly an honor to be here. I am humbled because I am a former soldier and a mom of a soldier … I am humbled to be here in your presence. Thank you very much for everything you have done,” Wright said.

“The fact that you have given your time and energy and yourself to preserve this intangible gift of freedom that we in the United States enjoy every day -- thank you very much for that,” she added.

Ayers, an infantryman, was conducting a combined dismounted patrol in Afghanistan on May 14 when he was struck by an improvised explosive device. Serving as a tank crewman, Contreras was conducting a mounted patrol in Afghanistan when his vehicle was struck by an IED on Aug. 4, 2011.

Contreras dedicated his Purple Heart medal to his grandfather, who was a World War II veteran.

“I know he would be proud of me right now if he was here,” Contreras said.

Wright saluted all service members who’ve earned the Purple Heart.

“We owe them the honor, we owe them the dedication and the respect -- not just today but every day of their lives,” she said.

Wright said she understands the apprehension that family members feel when a loved one is deployed. But, she said, the U.S. military provides the best medical care, equipment and technology in the world to support its service members.

“As a soldier, I have gone over [to Afghanistan] myself and sent a lot of people over there,” Wright told the reporter. “But as a mom, your heart goes -- and so my son is there and there’s not a moment in the day that I‘m not thinking about him and his safety.”

Following the ceremony, Wright visited with other wounded warriors, their families and staff at the Warrior Transition Battalion, the Center for the Intrepid, Fisher House, the Burn Center and the Emergency Department at San Antonio Military Medical Center. She thanked the warriors, families and staff for their dedication and offered encouragement and gratitude for their service to the nation.

"We couldn't do it without these people who give their time and energy. All of you are truly a gift from God," Wright said.

Wright is the deputy senior policy advisor to the secretary of defense on recruitment, career development and pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, 680,000 Department of Defense civilians, and she is responsible for overseeing the overall state of military readiness.

AFSEC Mentorship Motorcycle Ride

by Tech. Sgt. Kathee Mullins

6/18/2013 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Air Force Safety Center hosted a mentorship motorcycle ride on June 6, 2013. The ride focused on safety and riding capabilities of experienced and novice riders. The ride provided group riding on multi-condition road surfaces, as well as allowing for multiple riders to critique each other on skills and tactics for safe riding.

The day's events began at 8:30 am with a few words from James T. Rubeor, Air Force Safety Center Executive Director, followed by briefings by Mr. Arthur Albert, Motorcycle Program Manager and Mr. Tim Cahill. After the briefings the group assembled for T-CLOCS and personal protective equipment (PPE) inspections.

T-CLOCS is a method of inspecting your motorcycle to make sure the bike is safe to ride. T-CLOCS is a mnemonic developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for assisting you in doing a comprehensive pre-ride (or a pre-purchase) inspection of a motorcycle. It is easily memorized and very useful. The individual letters stand for the specific areas to check: 

T - Tires & Wheels
C - Controls
L - Lights & Electrics
O - Oil & Other Fluids
C - Chassis
S - Stands

"Mentorship rides often provide a larger dividend by allowing interaction among the riders," said Albert. "Even a very novice rider may provide an invaluable mentoring tidbit on something they experienced, turning their role from a mentored to a mentor. Remember, mentoring is open honest sharing of experiences, both those that work and those that may have ended in not so memorable experience. A good mentor is an excellent listener and feedback coach."

Mentorship rides are used to ensure riders are aware of available training, get a chance to interact with experienced riders and are conscious of proper safety gear and the hazards of riding.

"We put this ride together to give the riders a wide variety of the road issues they meet in this area," said Cahill. "These are high traffic areas, road construction and rural roads and they all present different hazards. Mentoring our less experienced riders is important. If we can save just one person from an accident, then it is time well spent. Today we rode safely through all types of hazards. It's a learning experience."

"There are really three simple steps to having a successful mentoring session: decide what environment and skills to share with other motor cyclists, accomplish a thorough Risk Assessment of the ride and mitigate or reduce as many hazards for those being mentored as you can, while still providing a realistic and challenging ride for the experienced and inexperienced riders," said Albert. And providing feedback sometime during the ride and at the end of the ride on the good things seen and to discuss the not so good things helps rider gain the most from the ride. Remember, everything that happens on the ride is another opportunity to be a good Wingman and to encourage good risk management."

The Mentorship Ride acknowledges daily occurrences that all riders experience on a regular basis and how to deal with them safely and confidently. It gives riders a chance to ride in a group which has more eyes and a wide level of experiences throughout riders to critique, correct, foster, and mentor all riders. The wide variety of experience ranges from the novice rider to the experienced rider and gives is an excellent chance for all riders to gain from the participation.

"There were many riders of all kinds of motorcycles, they met and made new friendships and learned safe motor cycling skills. It was a win-win for everyone!" said Cahill.

"Mentoring involves more than just going on a ride with other experienced and inexperienced riders. It is a sharing of knowledge and lessons learned from one rider to another that truly exemplify mentorship," said Albert.

Martin assumes command of 60th Air Mobility Wing

by Nick DeCicco
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

7/19/2013 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Col. Corey Martin assumed command of the 60th Air Mobility Wing from Col. Dwight Sones during the wing's change of command ceremony Monday in Hangar P14 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

Martin takes leadership of the largest wing in Air Mobility Command in terms of personnel, arriving from Manas Transit Center in the Kyrgyz Republic where he was commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing.

"I'm proud to call the beautiful view outside the hangar home," he said, addressing Airmen, officers and community leaders for the first time.

Martin, who received his commission upon graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 1991, mentioned that during his more than 20 years in the service, he's continually heard about Travis' excellence.

"Your reputation around the world is rock solid," Martin said. "I am honored to be a part of that story."

Martin also has served as a C-141 Starlifter and C-17 Globemaster III examiner airdrop aircraft commander, chief of wing safety, squadron commander, and in various staff assignments at the major command and combatant command level. He also flew missions in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and served as a deployed squadron commander during Iraqi Freedom.

Martin is the second consecutive base commander to come to Travis from Manas, following Sones.

Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, 18th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony. After praising Sones' accomplishments, including leading the wing in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, the redeployment of troops and cargo from Iraq at the end of Operation New Dawn, $275 million in facility improvements, and unparalleled fuel efficiency standards, McDew said he has no doubt Martin will continue to ensure the wing's success.

"Under Dwight's leadership, this team has truly embodied excellence and earned a great reputation," McDew said. "Colonel Martin is the ideal choice to lead this wing and its critically important worldwide mission."

He called Martin "another great Airman who comes well-qualified to take the wing to new heights."

In his outgoing address, Sones thanked the base's Airmen and the community, highlighting the achievements of several service members and civilian employees.

"It's Airmen like you who make me stand taller," Sones told the crowd.

Sones was awarded the Legion of Merit for his efforts at Travis. He departs Travis for the Pentagon, to become chief of global mobility requirements at the air staff.

ACC Airmen win Air Traffic Controllers of the Year back-to-back

by Senior Airman Christopher Reel
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/18/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., -- For the second year in a row, Air Combat Command Airmen at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., earned the Air Force's Air Traffic Controller of the Year Award.

Not only is this year's recipient from the 325th OSS, but his trainer was last year's award recipient. Senior Airman Justin Loranger, 325th OSS air traffic controller, is the 2012 Air Force ATC award recipient. The Forest Grove, Ore. native and Forest Grove High School graduate joined the Air Force in August 2009.

"I think back to when he first arrived at Tyndall, not having a clue about air traffic control and now being awarded Air Traffic Controller of the Year for the United States Air Force, which is a tremendous honor," said Staff Sergeant Jamerson Watts, now 14th OSS control tower watch supervisor, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. and the 2011 Air Force Air Traffic Controller of the Year award recipient. "I will have to admit is also makes it very proud that he won this award just one year after I won it."

Individuals recieve the annual award for showing they can not only be proficient performing their work responsibilities, but also go above and beyond of what is expected of them.

Air traffic controllers help keep pilots and aircraft safe. It is their job to talk to the pilots and to ensure continuity of flight patterns of designated air space as well as ensure air craft area able to land and take off.

"Before I joined the Air Force I was working construction and a family member was an air traffic controller and talked me into [it]," Airman Loranger said. "I wasn't joining unless I could do that job, it is the only job I'd ever want to do."

"Shortly after Loranger arrived at Tyndall, I could tell he had a lot of potential to be exceptional at this career field," said Sergeant Watts. "He has more drive and competitiveness than most Airmen, which is a must with air traffic control. Like any other air traffic controller in training there were ups and downs, but he kept his head up and kept leaning forward. It was the training team that made him what he is. Each member of the team has a lot of time invested in each trainee and without one person on the team we wouldn't have excellent air traffic controllers like Senior Airman Loranger."

Airman Loranger earned both his control tower operator and radar approach controller, or RAPCON, qualifications, quicker than most Airmen in training, which aids the unit by setting a training standard and increasing management flexibility.

"Once we reach our qualifications for RAPCON or the tower, it is up to the individual to stay on top of learning and keep certifications current," Airman Loranger said. "When working radar approach control, we have a unique mission here at the wing. Two-thirds of the aircraft we work with are civilian traffic out of the local airport traveling to Atlanta, Ga.; Orlando, Fla.; or Houston, Texas."

Air traffic controllers go through continuous on-the-job training.

"We put our apprentice air traffic controllers through a very challenging training program that teaches them to make split second decisions with confidence," Senior Master Sgt. Mark McCann, 325th OSS control tower chief controller. "We are blessed with a great group of professionals at Tyndall who take pride in what they do. We expect nothing less than the best from our controllers, and they validate our program by consistently exceeding the standards.When a controller earns a Tyndall certification, they know that they are trained and equipped to succeed anywhere."

Air traffic controllers, like all Airmen, get out of their careers what they put into it, explained Airman Loranger.

"I am always studying the books," he added. "Regulations are constantly changing, and controllers always need to stay up to date. Once a controller is certified, the learning is in their hands."

Air traffic controllers are constantly training throughout their careers and at any time can be "washed-out" or let go from the job. Aside from training, air traffic controllers work six to eight hour shifts continuously, with little to no breaks.

"Airman Loranger has been a positive asset to our facility, squadron and the wing since the day he first arrived at Tyndall," said Sergeant McCann. "He excelled in training by always giving 100 percent effort, being receptive to constructive criticisms and refusing to give in to the challenges that he faced. His dual facility certifications are proof that his approach towards his profession has not changed. He always demands excellence from himself, which makes the unit around him better."

Accountability Citizenship

Stephen P. Tryon “holds a B.S. from West Point and an M.A. in philosophy from Stanford University.  Raised with seven siblings in a family where public service is a core value, he served as a soldier in the United States army for 21 years.  At the end of his army career, he served as a legislative fellow for Senator Max Cleland, as well as a legislative assistant to the senior general at army headquarters in the Pentagon.

More recently, Tryon has worked as a Senior Vice President of Human Resources and International Business at for nine years.  He has spent four years managing logistics and five years managing human resources and international business.  A current resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, Tryon has one son Jake, and a dog Peanut.  Fluent in English and able to converse in Spanish, Tryon also enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, outdoor recreation, exercising, reading, and writing.” Stephen P. Tryon is the author of Accountability Citizenship.

More information about Stephen Tryon.

Pilot logs record 5,000 hours in B-1B Lancer

by Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

7/18/2013 - ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- After a 19-hour flight from Southwest Asia, July 15 will be forever marked as the day Lt. Col. Timothy Schepper, 28th Operations Group senior evaluator and B-1 bomber pilot, became the first ever B-1 pilot to achieve 5,000 flying hours in the airframe. The record puts him nearly 1,800 hours ahead of any competition at Ellsworth, and nearly 800 hours ahead of all other B-1 pilots.

Schepper's homecoming was spared no fanfare. At the first sight of her husband, Schepper's wife, Tania, hosed him down to celebrate the most recent milestone in a dream that began before the two had even met.

"We're all very excited and proud of him," said Tania. "I can recall his mother showing me a particular picture of him as a small child flying a toy airplane he received for Christmas. Becoming a pilot is something that she always thought he was destined to do."

Of the 5,000 hours Schepper has flown throughout his 22-year-long career, 1,300 of those were combat hours.

"It seems like it's been a long time coming and yet it seemed to happen fairly quickly from my career standpoint," Schepper explained. "After all these years it seems like my body is perfectly formed to fit in that seat now. I'm thinking perhaps its adjusted my posture a little bit over the time I've spent sitting in there."

Schepper described the sense of joy he felt when seeing his family after taking the first few steps down from the B-1.

"My family has always supported me significantly," Schepper emphasized. "I've had five deployments over the past 10 years, and obviously as everybody knows, when you're away from home there are a lot of things that still need to be done. My wife and my kids have had to endure and do a lot of things to make up for when I wasn't around. I look forward to spending time with them."

Also present to congratulate the lieutenant colonel was Dan Ruder, Boeing B-1 advanced program manager, who has been working on the B-1 program since it was initially introduced to the Air Force 30 years ago.

"This is a huge milestone for both the B-1 platform and Lt. Col. Schepper," said Ruder. "The aircraft has nearly 10,000 combat missions logged and has been deployed for eight consecutive years. This day solidifies how the B-1 is still a critical element to our national security."

Tania said that breaking this milestone brought mixed emotions for both her and her husband.

"We have been a part of this community for so long," Tania noted. "He didn't just accomplish this on his own. It takes maintenance, and it takes the help and support of other pilots, and community members. As I watched him land, I felt a tinge of sadness knowing that he may not fly again."

Schepper added that it isn't clear yet what the future has in store for him and his family, adding that he planned to go home and take a nap before anything else.

"After that flight, I've been up for just about 24 hours now, and I haven't thought much about what I'm going to do past this evening," Schepper said. "I know I might be retiring soon, but nothing definitive as of right now. This was just another mission and it just happened to get me to that 5,000-hour mark. I want everyone to know that I truly appreciate their help and support."

Chaplain making an impact through local base ministry

by 1st Lt. Holli Snyder
188th Fighter Wing Chief of Public Affairs

7/16/2013 - FORT SMITH, Ark. -- For many, times of change bring about uncertainties in life and that has been no different for the members of the 188th Fighter Wing. During these times, there are some who stand out among the rest and serve as a beacon of hope and resiliency for the many members of the unit at Fort Smith. For the 188th FW, that man is Lt. Col. Thomas Smith, wing chaplain or "Chappy T" as some may call him.

Having been a chaplain, pastor and missionary in the Philippines for 10 years has enabled Chaplain Smith to embrace his calling and bring his ministry to the 188th. Chaplain Smith has been serving in the Arkansas Air National Guard for more than 18 years and has been working for, serving and ministering to the members here in various heartfelt and innovative ways.

"The ministry of presence has been a main focus of mine throughout my career," Smith said. "It is being able to just be a pastor to the Airman and to be able to help a family and minister to them."

In recent months, Smith noticed that there was a great need for a full-time chaplain presence at the base and has been working with the Airmen of the 188th through the mission conversion process. Through this, the brown bag lunch bunch was started as a weekly Bible study last spring. Each Wednesday, Smith and members of the 188th gather together to share fellowship, study the Bible in Protestant worship, and eat lunch. These short study sessions last roughly 30 minutes and are open to all members of the unit.

"I'm just glad to be here," Smith said. "I've always felt like there was a need, but after the last deployment I spoke with the commander and said there is a need for a presence here and he agreed and now we wonder how we ever did without it."

After receiving a low number of 12 on his draft notice for the Vietnam War during college, Smith was sure he was headed overseas in the military, but was given a deferment. When he enlisted in 1980 as a chaplain at the 123rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing in Kentucky, Smith noted, "I felt like I had an obligation [to the military] because I had been deferred without asking."

Smith spent three years in the 123rd TRW and then transferred to the 188th where he stayed until 1989. That year, he left the Air Force to serve as a missionary in the Philippines for 10 years, never thinking he would put on the Air Force uniform again.

In 2001, Smith did just that and returned as a traditional Guardsman in the chaplain office here. He has since been working for this unit through the many changes and challenges that have arisen.

Another way Smith combats those challenges is the "kisses ministry," which started in 1985 as a way to break down barriers with Airmen and foster relationships with them.
"When I first started this [kisses ministry] in Gulfport, Miss., in 1985, I walked up to an Airman on the flight line and asked him if he had 'gotten a kiss from the chaplain today,'" Smith said. "He laughed and I handed him some chocolates and that ministry has not stopped since then."

This ultimately became the grounds for a ministry of handing out small chocolates to Airmen or leaving them on the desk as a calling card to show presence and care to the members. During Unit Training Assembly weekends, Smith can usually be spotted handing out chocolate candy to the Airmen on base.

Through a long-serving career in the Air National Guard, Smith has no doubt impacted numerous Airmen and their families through his ministries and presence at the unit. He is looking forward to many more years of service with the Air Force and looks forward to whatever path God may lead him down.

"Spirit of Arizona" Dedication Ceremony

by Tech. Sgt. Susan Gladstein and 1st Lt. Rebecca Garcia
161 ARW Public Affairs

7/16/2013 - PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE  -- The 161st Air Refueling Wing dedicated the "Spirit of Arizona" June 14 after weeks of painting the Arizona flag on the vertical tail section of the KC-135R Stratotanker 62-3516.

"From nose to tail, the pride of our home state and the appreciation of our unit members is symbolized on our aircraft," said Col. Gary Brewer, 161st ARW commander. "This tail symbolizes how the Arizona National Guard is different; that every time our nation calls, we are always there to provide support."

The tail painting project, which was completed in about three weeks by 40 maintainers, was spearheaded by Col. Joseph Wilson, 161st Maintenance Group Commander

"It looks 100 times better than imagined and I am so proud of the Airmen that volunteered and took ownership of this project," Colonel Wilson said.

The ceremony, which included more than 300 distinguished guests, was designed to promote esprit de corps, pride and teamwork and to recognize the Guard's connection with its community partners.

Joining the "Spirit of Arizona" was the US Airways A319 "Arizona" and Southwest Airlines 737 "Arizona" as a celebration of the partnership with the local community and with Sky Harbor International Airport.

"Almost 70 percent of our workforce is traditional guardsmen and women who work day-to-day throughout our local communities," Colonel Brewer said. "We recruit that 70 percent from our communities and throughout the state which infuses us into the local community."

The US Airways "Arizona" was taxied in by unit member Master Sgt. Andrew Tyree, a traditional guardsmen assigned to the 161st Maintenance Group. Southwest Airlines "Arizona" was taxied in by unit member Lt. Col. Jim Gloss, 197th Air Refueling Squadron Commander.

"We would never be able to fulfill our commitments to our nation, state or community without the support of great organizations like Southwest Airlines and US Airways who I know feel the pain when we pull our employees to cover our nation's needs and deploy them regularly for long periods of time," Colonel Brewer said. "To all of the employers of our guardsmen and women, I salute and thank you for your sacrifice."

B-2 pilot's dream comes full circle 17 years later

by Retired Lt. Col. Frank Cavouti
29th Training Systems Squadron

7/18/2013 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- On a sunny Florida day at MacDill Air Force Base in October 1996, a young man saw a B-2 Spiriti stealth bomber in flight for the first time.

Jasen Hunter, who had just graduated from high school, witnessed the naming ceremony fly-by for the Air Force's newest B-2, the Spirit of Florida. Something caught his spirit, and the rest is history.

Two weeks later, Hunter enlisted in the Air Force for two years before being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy Prepatory School. After receiving his commission, he spent three tours as an instructor pilot and a KC-10 Extender pilot.

Throughout his tours flying trainers and tankers, Hunter never gave up his dream to someday be involved with the B-2.

Last year, Hunter applied for and was interviewed in the highly competitive selection process to become a future B-2 pilot. During his interview with the previous 509th Bomb Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, they were both surprised to find a common point: Vander Hamm was the pilot who flew the Spirit of Florida during the naming ceremony that sparked Hunter's life-long dream.

Once the selection process was complete, Hunter was chosen to train as one of four new pilots in the 69th B-2 initial qualification training class.

On July 10, now-Major Hunter took the final step with his wife, Angela, and two daughters, Savannah and Charlotte, of a journey that began in 1996. On this day, he became the community's newest B-2 pilot with assistance from his instructor pilot, Maj. Ben Kaminsky.

In a tribute to the inspiration that first set Hunter on the path to Whiteman, Team Stealth was able to work the schedule so Hunter flew his first B-2 ride ever in the exact same aircraft he initially saw fly during the ceremony on that day in 1996 -- the Spirit of Florida.

In his own confident but unassuming manner, Hunter said, "I am not quite sure how this become a reality, but I do know for sure that many, many good people helped me get here and made it happen ... thanks."

Joint training mission provides free medical care to Tennessee residents

by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski
Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs

7/16/2013 - MARTIN, Tenn. -- Approximately 130 service members from the Air National Guard, Army, Navy, and Navy Reserve, have joined together to participate in the 'Hope of Martin' Innovative Readiness Training mission July 8-19, 2013 in Martin, Tenn. The military medical specialists gathered from more than 29 states from across the country in support of this critical humanitarian mission. They have served more than 2,000 patients with over 4,000 procedures completed at an estimated value of $300,000 in medical services, during the first week of the mission.

"After more than a decade of war, the Guard and the Reserve are at their highest level of readiness they have been at in generations. IRT projects keep them trained and ready," said Air Force Col. Damon S. Feltman, deputy director of training program management for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

The purpose of the Civil-Military Programs like the IRT is to improve military readiness while simultaneously providing quality services to communities throughout America. These programs are in keeping with a long military tradition, leveraging training to benefit both units and their home communities. They are strongly supported by The Department of Defense, Congress, the states and communities.

The military services have always brought to bear their extensive resources to help meet some of the country's civil needs. In recent years, DOD has realized the simultaneous benefits these civil-military programs can offer to military readiness.

The military medical specialists are providing care for residents from West Tenn. communities, where some patients seeking care traveled more than a hundred miles and waited hours to be seen and treated. The IRT provided medical care including physicals, mental health, dental and eye exams. Patients also have access to an occupational therapist, dietician and pharmacy services. Vision care includes screenings and free glasses created on site in the Mobile Optical Lab where more than 500 pair of glasses have been made to date. Information about additional medical resources and health care facilities in the community are also provided on site.

"This is by far the most rewarding Annual Training I've ever done in a joint environment that helps our fellow countrymen," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jeff Tabor, Navy Reserve Medicine Education Training and Command, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla. "Its challenging dealing with the public when we can't meet their expectations to provide all services that are needed, but we push through and continue to provide quality care to the people that we see."

The unique part of this mission is the joint aspect and the chaos of just beginning in a different environment, working with different people, said Navy Capt. Janie Brier, the Medical Director of 'Hope of Martin' Innovative Readiness Training from the Navy Reserve Medicine Education and Training Command, Jacksonville, Fla. The Service Members come in from different states and different branches of the military, the initial disorder of not knowing the location or just what to expect brings questions of just how we are going to complete the mission, but within just a few hours we were able to establish a good way to provide comprehensive care to the residents of West Tenn., said Brier.

"Compared to previous trainings, this is more innovative, due to the limited supplies. We had to decide how to best use the supplies-on-hand and step outside our comfort zone to get the mission done," said Navy HM3, Adrian E. Rodriguez, a medical corpsman with the Expeditionary Medical Facility, Detachment N, Dallas.

"We had one patient who came in and said she hadn't smiled in 2 years because she was so embarrassed about her teeth," said Air Force Maj. Tiffany Harper, a dentist assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. "When she left she was smiling and extremely grateful."

"This is the best visit I have ever had to a dentist," said Wayne Alexander, a Martin resident.

Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Ky., and the 134th Air Refueling Wing, Knoxville, Tn., provided food for the service members utilizing the new Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen assigned to the Kentucky Air National Guard. The 280th Combat Communications Unit, Dothan Ala. utilized the Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive or GATR Inflatable Satellite system, a rapid deployment satellite that provides high-bandwidth communications for transmission of secure or non-secure data, voice and video. The 280th CCU provided communication support that facilitated mission essential information to be distributed while also providing support to the service members via an Internet café.

"We faced challenges with serving all the people who needed care due to budget cuts, but we were still able to complete the IRT training mission and provide the care to those in need," said Air Force Lt. Col. Dwight Kenneth Hall, the Air National Guard Innovative Readiness Training Program Manager, Joint Base Andrews, Md.

173rd Med Group rehearses disaster response with state agencies

by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
173rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/13/2013 - LAKE OF THE WOODS, Ore. -- Members of the 173rd Medical Group practiced giving life-saving care to a large number of injured in an Oregon Disaster Medical Team sponsored exercise at Lake of the Woods, Ore., May 30-31. A number of other agencies participated including the 304th Rescue Squadron in Portland, Ore., local law enforcement, and first responders.

The scenario unfolded over two days and involved first locating the accident site and then responding to a large number of injured patients, in this case 26 medical dummies decorated with moulage simulating bleeding and various injuries. The accident scenario featured a bus overturned in a remote forest area. Responders assessed each patient and practiced triage, the process of directing care to those who need it the most and medical transport to a staging area where more sophisticated care was available.

Interagency cooperation provided the bedrock for the exercise, mirroring the aftermath of a real emergency response here in the State of Oregon. ODMT planners even brought in ham radio operators to keep communication lines open even with the loss of cell phone towers, land lines and other means of communication. Those radio operators have proven their value in real-world situations like the 2011 flooding of Vernonia, Ore., and surrounding area, when all other communication, save their own, failed. Since then, many emergency response exercises are designed to include their capability.

In addition to valuable integration, Kingsley medical troops took the opportunity to leverage the event and integrate their go-bag concept. The 173rd Medical Group recently added a significant first response capability instituting a program they call the Medical Rapid Response Team. The overall capability is more than a bag, however and refers to a light and lean response designed to bridge the 72-hour gap known to exist in reaching those in crisis.
The bags themselves are backpacks outfitted with enough medical supplies, food and shelter to make a team of 25 or more people self-sustaining for three days. The concept is the brainchild of Col. Robert Gentry, the State Air Surgeon for the Oregon National Guard and formerly the 173rd Fighter Wing Medical Group Commander.

"One of the biggest threats we face in Oregon is an earthquake on the coast followed by a significant tsunami," Gentry said. "This equipment package leverages us to be able to respond in a short amount of time with a minimum amount of difficulty to wherever we are needed within those first few hours when casualties are getting sicker or dying."

And so the thinking went for this mass-casualty exercise 'why not utilize the go-bags?' May 30 found Senior Master Sgt. Jarod Taylor dropping off a large stack of the black bags and the medical folks pulling out tents, sleeping bags and mats in preparation for the evening. The next morning they awoke and continued the exercise, assisting the local emergency responders fostering cooperation across four different first response organizations, and honing the new capability to respond on short notice.

Multilateral Pacific Mission Boosts Disaster Response Capacity

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 – Two months into the largest disaster response preparedness operation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, participants in Pacific Partnership 2013 are taking the mission to the next level in ways the mission commander says will help to ensure its long-term viability despite budgetary constraints.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, greets children during a visit to Kiribati to meet with local officials and personnel supporting Pacific Partnership 2013, July 17, 2013. Working at the invitation of each host nation during Pacific Partnership, U.S. Navy forces are joined by non-governmental organizations and regional partners that include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and New Zealand to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance and strengthen disaster-response preparedness. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II

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USS Pearl Harbor, an amphibious dock landing ship serving as the mission’s primary command-and-control platform, arrived earlier this week for an 11-day visit to Kiribati, Navy Capt. Wallace Lovely said during a telephone interview shortly after arriving at the Pacific island nation.

Kiribati is one of six host nations participating in this year’s mission, which kicked off in May, and has paid 10- to 12-day visits to Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, Lovely reported. Later this month, the participants will continue on to the Marshall Islands before wrapping up the mission in the Solomon Islands.

U.S. Pacific Command, operating through U.S. Pacific Fleet, launched the Pacific Partnership initiative in 2006 after a devastating tsunami swept through Southeast Asia two years earlier. The annual mission was designed to reinforce relationships formed through the tsunami response and lay the groundwork to ensure future preparedness.

Over the past eight years, Pacific Partnership has stood as a model of multinational, interagency and nongovernmental organization cooperation. This year’s mission, for example, includes participants from the United States and nine partner nations: Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.

Working alongside them are representatives of four U.S. agencies and 28 nongovernmental organizations, many of them volunteers who use their vacation time to participate.

Doctors, nurses, dentists, veterinarians and other medical professionals make up the lion’s share of the participants. Navy Seabees with construction skills, as well as experts in disaster preparedness and response, security and other specialized areas, round out the team.

As during previous Pacific Partnership missions, they are working alongside their hosts to provide medical and dental care, optometry clinics, health education, water filtration system evaluations, school refurbishments, bridge repairs and other services.

But this year for the first time, the primary emphasis is on helping host nations manage their own disaster response through capacity building, not direct care, Lovely said. Rather than concentrating their time with individual patients, participants are heavily engaged in information-sharing forums and exchanges with their host-nation counterparts in issues ranging from mass-casualty care to firefighting and safe boating techniques.

This serves a greater purpose, Lovely explained, increasing skills and expertise that benefit the host nations immediately, supporting host nation long-term improvements, and paying even greater dividends in the event of a natural disaster.

It also builds confidence among host nations that the United States and its partners will be there to help and support them, if needed, he said.

“We are all focused on the same thing in this region,” Lovely said. “We are preparing ourselves for humanitarian assistance [and] disaster relief in the event that we have to respond collectively.”

This year’s Pacific Partnership is introducing another major change, as two partners share leadership responsibility for the first time in the mission’s history. Australia led the mission in Papua, New Guinea, with HMAS Tobruk serving as its command platform. New Zealand assumed the command lead in Kiribati, and will do so again during the final leg of Pacific Partnership 2013, in Solomon Islands. There, New Zealand Navy Capt. Tony Millar will maintain the command lead aboard HMNZS Canterbury, with Lovely aboard, as USS Pearl Harbor steams back home to San Diego.

This arrangement is a win-win situation, Lovely said, that promotes leadership development and interoperability and helps to ensure the long-term sustainability of Pacific Partnership.

“Sharing of lead responsibilities and logistical resourcing among partner nations will keep this incredibly impactful mission sustainable in light of future fiscal challenges,” he said. “I could not be more proud of the multilateral planning effort that has gone into this year’s mission. It has been a true team effort.”

Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander and a big advocate of Pacific Partnership, visited Kiribai yesterday to check in on operations underway.

“I have the daily privilege to view operations conducted by our sailors that help keep America secure,” Haney said. “While sailors of all nations are always proud of the work they do, there is a distinctive sense of accomplishment among everyone participating in Pacific Partnership. I believe this pride stems from knowing how this mission touches lives like those here in Kiribati, while also increasing regional stability which enhances economic prosperity.”

Haney expressed thanks to all participating nations and civilian organizations, stressing the importance of continuing multilateral missions like Pacific Partnership despite tough budgetary decisions.

“The U.S. Pacific Fleet is always prepared for battle, but we also operate to preserve the peace,” Haney said. “Ultimately, missions such as Pacific Partnership strengthen relationships that are critical to deter conflict. They build trust, enhance cooperation, increase interoperability, and open dialogues between leaders -- a multilateral approach that benefits all Pacific nations, including the United States.”

More than midway through the mission, Lovely said, Pacific Partnership 2013 is exceeding all expectations. “I can’t even emphasize positively enough how well this mission has gone in every nation we have visited. It has been superb,” he said. “This is partnership. No word sums up what we do any better than that.”

Working together to help in building partner capacity, the mission will have a long-term impact on a region that experiences frequent natural disasters, Lovely said.

“Pacific Partnership represents a lasting return on investment for all participating nations and organizations by helping to ensure the international community is better prepared to work together as a coordinated team when disaster strikes,” he said.

This effort “makes a real difference for the people of our Pacific Island host nations,” Lovely added.

Mobility Airman support massive U.S.-Australian exercise

from 18th Air Force Public Affairs

7/16/2013 - Scott Air Force Base, Ill. -- Mobility Airmen, including C-17 and KC-135 aircrews from across the U.S., will join more than 28,000 of their fellow Airmen, Soldiers, and Sailors, and Australian counterparts in northern Australia for Exercise Talisman Saber 2013.

Talisman Saber is a biennial training activity jointly sponsored by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Joint Operations Command and the U.S. Pacific Command to train forces from both nations to operate as a combined joint task force. The Air Mobility Command contribution to the team will include C-17 aircrews from the 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and the 437th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, S.C., supported by KC-135 Stratotankers from the 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. As part of the exercise, Mobility Airmen will support the air drop of more than 400 U.S. Soldiers as well as a combined air drop of cargo alongside the Royal Australian Air Force. Australian Talisman Saber 2013 spokesman Brigadier Bob Brown said the exercise would mobilize both nation's forces to react to a "peace enforcement" scenario, with the combined task force setting the conditions for hand-off of responsibilities to a follow-on United Nations peacekeeping force.

"Talisman Saber is a unique and invaluable opportunity to exercise combined and joint Defence capability between Australia and the US. As with the previous Talisman Saber exercises, this activity is a major undertaking reflecting the Australian and US alliance and the strength of the military-to-military relationship," Brigadier Brown said.

Approximately 21,000 US and 7,000 Australian Defence Force personnel will be involved in the exercise, along with other Australian Government agencies including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AusAID, Australian Federal Police, and Australian Civil-Military Centre.  Talisman Saber 2013 runs from July 15 until Aug. 6, 2013.

Area Army Air Corps vet receives French Legion of Honor medal

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

7/16/2013 - Spokane Valley, Wash. -- Del Casper, Army Air Corps veteran who participated in 35 aerial combat missions over occupied Europe during World War II, was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal at the Spokane Veterans Center in Spokane Valley, Wash., July 15.

The award, the highest honor given by the government of France, was given to Casper by a decree coming all the way from the top: French president Francois Hollande.

Among the attendees were Col. Brian Newberry, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, Chief Master Sgt. Wendy Hansen, 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief, and Spokane Valley mayor Tom Towey.

Following the playing of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, and the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner, the award was given to Casper by Jack Cowan, Honorary Consul of France to Washington state.

"His courage, faith and dedication contributed more than 60 years ago to defending and preserving the independence of France and to save our common values of freedom, tolerance and democracy," Cowan said. "I would like to extend this tribute to all his fellow soldiers from World War II and especially to all of those who did not make it back to their country and families."

Casper, a Salt Lake City native and now a Spokane resident, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in November 1942 at the age of 19. He ended his military service in May 1945, arriving home with the first convoy to reach New York City, days before V-E Day. The count of 25 aerial missions was considered the capstone of one's flying career during that period. Casper flew in 10 more missions during the war.

Casper primarily flew in the B-17 Flying Fortress, a precursor to the B-52 Stratofortress that was a mainstay at Fairchild in the 1950s. Casper began as a ball-turret gunner. He was ultimately a togalier, a rare assignment for an enlisted flyer.

"You taught us that freedom is never free," Newberry said to Casper after the award presentation. "World War II was an incredible event for this entire world. It was global. Millions of Americans went out to fight and you were one of them. You freed France and so many other countries. You gave freedom another chance."

Casper is a man of few words.

"I'm flabbergasted," Casper said of receiving the award. "I don't know why they would pick me. There are other people a lot more deserving than me. I'm highly honored."

AMC Airmen learn resilience

by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/17/2013 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Air Mobility Command continues to support its Airmen's morale and well being through a resiliency training program.

A one-day resiliency course is required for all AMC active duty Airmen and must be completed before the year's end.

Resilience training was developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and was first implemented into the Air Force in 2011.

"[Developing resilience] can help you succeed in your career, take on new challenges, and thrive from them," said Tech. Sgt. Amanda McDowell, 22nd Force Support Squadron vehicle operator and AMC resilience course instructor.

They are looking to implement something that can help people cope with the stresses of life that we all go through in the military, she added.

The class focuses on the four pillars of comprehensive Airman fitness: physical, social, mental, and spiritual. The structure derived and expanded from the Army's five dimensions of strength.

"I thought the [class] atmosphere was really good," said 1st Lieutenant Evan Johnston, 384th Air Refueling Squadron pilot. "People were very open and relaxed, which is the best way go. When they are intimidated by rank or situations, it's less constructive."

Research conducted by the Navy revealed some of the positive outcomes from resilience training.

"They observed certain units who went through resiliency training and other units who didn't," said McDowell. "The ones who went through the training had succeeded much higher than the ones who did not, in terms of morale, productivity and dealing with stress."

Students are engaged in a variety of group discussions during the eight-hour course.

"As the instructor," said McDowell, "I want to keep it as low-key and open-forum as possible, because I believe you learn more from other people's experiences rather than reading through a bunch of slide power points that we could just send you."

Classmates are encouraged to share positive experiences they have experienced over their previous 72 hours and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

They also learn different techniques on how to address problems with other people without directly attacking their personal beliefs and ways they can avoid "thinking traps," such as jumping to conclusions and emotional reasoning.

A series of inspirational and humorous videos are used as examples of the lessons between group exercises and lectures.

"I thought the videos were good," said Johnston, "because it lightens the mood but at the same time, if you ask the right questions you will see that there is a point to the videos. They were more than just something to laugh at."

The course provides Airmen with a set of tools to help them through difficult situations such as getting out of bed in the morning or adjusting to a serious life changing event.

"I think resiliency is being able to take a challenge or a stressor of any kind," said McDowell, "and just place one foot in front of the other and keep taking that step to improve rather than just sitting and waiting for something to fall into your lap. It's a growing experience, and that is the most important thing, to grow from your challenges and adversities or others."

Col. David Kumashiro assumes command of the 62nd Airlift Wing

by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/17/2013 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- A change of command can be defined as an event that drives the plot of a story and occurs just before one adventure begins and another adventure ends.

Men and women of Team McChord witnessed such an event when Col. David Kumashiro assumed command of the 62nd Airlift Wing from Col. Wyn Elder during a change of command ceremony, July 17, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

"It is with faith, courage, passion, patience, and humility that I dedicate myself to this great team," said Kumashiro in his change of command speech. "This will never be about me. This will always be about us, working together, serving together as a team, and continuing to build a culture of dignity and respect for all."

Kumashiro assumed command of more than 2,300 active duty military and civilian personnel along with 48 permanently assigned C-17 Globemaster III aircrafts, combined to support worldwide combat and humanitarian airlift.

He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1992. His experiences include service in Air Mobility Command as an evaluator pilot and in Air Combat Command as a Predator instructor pilot. He has served at the Headquarters U.S. Air Force level, commanded an operations support squadron and has been a deployed deputy operations group commander.

He is a recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with valor.

A command pilot with more than 3,400 flying hours in the C-17, C-5A/B and the Predator, Kumashiro comes to McChord Field with a vast experience in multiple aircraft and looks forward to working with the C-17 and the men and women of the 62nd AW.

"The thundering roar of the mighty C-17 Globemaster III, the awesome majesty of Mount Rainier - this pales in comparison to the sense of awe I feel for your extraordinary professionalism, commitment and dedication," said Kumashiro.

While the colonel looks forward to this next chapter of his story, he could not go without thanking those at McChord who have paved the way for him.

"Colonel Elder, you have built an absolutely incredible team," said Kumashiro. "And although I know you would deflect all credit and accolades to the men and women standing before us in formation, I know your leadership, passion and love for this wing have made it what it is today."

He went on to thank the partners of JBLM, the civic leaders and community partners in the Pacific Northwest, his family and finally to the men and women of the 62nd AW.

"Together, we will [all] continue the tradition of unrivalled excellence here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord."

As the change of command ceremony came to an end, the story of Col. David Kumashiro, Commander, 62nd Airlift Wing, begins.

62nd Port Dawg makes 12 OAY list

by Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/16/2013 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- An Airman from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron here was recently named one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

Senior Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 62nd APS air freight superintendent, will travel to Washington later this year be recognized by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody at a reception hosted by the Air Force Association.

"I was awe struck when I picked up the phone and was congratulated by General [Paul] Selva [commander of Air Mobility Command]," said Rendon.

As one of the 12 OAY, Rendon will take his mentorship and leadership experience to the Air Force Enlisted Council where he will serve for one year. As part of the council he will report directly to the CMSAF and weigh in on matters pertaining to the enlisted force. He will be responsible for making recommendations on Air Force policy and quality of life issues on behalf of all enlisted Airmen.

Rendon says he is looking forward to taking the trip to Washington with his family, whose support he credits for much of his success to date. He also gives credit for his accomplishments to the Airmen of the 62nd APS and the 62nd Maintenance Squadron.

"I am thankful to represent the outstanding Airmen of the port, maintenance and Team McChord," said Rendon. "As a senior NCO, I don't achieve anything on my own. This accomplishment is a result of working with an exceptional team."

Second Lt. Michael Weber, 62nd APS air freight flight commander and Rendon's supervisor, said that he is confident Rendon is not only deserving of this award, but that he will also do great things as part of the Air Force Enlisted Council.

"He brings out the best in everyone he works with," said Weber.

In the time he has been assigned to McChord, Rendon also served as a first sergeant, overseeing and mentoring more than 400 Airmen, and he served as the Top 3 president, leading more than 270 SNCOs.

"I plan to continue to help Airmen achieve their goals and make places better than when I found them," said Rendon. "I look forward to the opportunity to make a positive impact on Airmen's careers and lives in the Air Force."

As one of the 12 OAY, Rendon will be awarded the Outstanding Airman of the Year ribbon with the bronze service star device and the Outstanding Airman of the Year badge. But he said that awards and recognition are not why he strives for success.

"The work is its own reward," said Rendon. "Being acknowledged for it is just icing on the cake."

Bronze Star: People notice work ethic

by Senior Airman Jared Duhon
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/16/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Tech. Sgt. Doug Beish, 436th Operations Support Squadron C-5 Globemaster III loadmaster trainer, received the Bronze Star Medal here July 10, 2013, for his deployment with the Army in 2010.

Beish deployed to Iraq in July 2010 and served as a liaison to the U.S. Special Operations Command Air Mobility Director and conventional airlift commands.

"I was just a small piece of that puzzle," said the Dover, Del., native. "It is a team effort you can't do it alone or you will fail."

While assigned to the 9th Airlift Squadron, Beish's extensive experience with scheduling and planning led to him being picked for his deployment.

"Going to Iraq was exhilarating, but there was also thoughts of doubt, am I cut out for this, am I capable of doing this," said Beish. "My big fear was failing, because I was working with other branches of service and I felt I was representing the Air Force. I'm going to make mistakes, we all do. I did make mistakes, but I learned from them and grew."

Beish's adaptability has served him well in his career.

"He follows instructions very well," said Master Sgt. Mike Meinhold, 436th OSS training superintendent / aircrew training C-5 M Flight Engineer training manager. "He's a very fast learner. If I give him a tasking, it gets done and I don't need to give him step-by-step instructions."

Beish made a great impression on the army leadership he deployed with.

"I only know the Air Force process," said Meinhold. "The Bronze star was given to him by the army, because at the time he was in an army chain of command. And he had made such an impression on the commanding officer that they told him he was going to get a bronze star. "

Gen. Paul Selva, Air Mobility Command commander, presented Beish with the Bronze Star.

"It was a humbling experience," said Beish. "I felt honored once I found that out, it was almost like the Super Bowl. I want this Bronze Star to represent the teams I am a part of."