Military News

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Communications Group commander

by Senior Airman Jake Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


7/25/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The 375th Communications Group met their newest commander--Lt. Col. Michael Cote--during a change of command ceremony June 26.

The commander shared his leadership philosophy, which consists of four things: mission, people, professionalism, and teamwork. He said all of these are critical to realizing where each person fits in the organization.

"It's important to see where you fit in the mission," he said. "I have airfield maintenance guys who directly affect the mission. Then in many cases, we have Airmen who are three or four layers deep, so it's harder for them to see where they fit in. But when you can see how you contribute to the mission, it makes you take more pride in your organization, while taking care of those around you."

His view on leadership also relates to what he expects out of his Airmen. The core values are what make up the Air Force and we should be held to that standard, he said.
"I expect dignity, fairness and respect from my Airmen," he said. "That's a good foundation for any situation you should run into. We are all professionals, so I expect professionalism just like they should expect it from me."

The commander said that the Airmen should expect the same qualities out of their leader, and they shouldn't be afraid to ask for help or speak up.

"I want my Airmen to push up the problem if you're not getting the intended result," he said. "If you don't get the answer then you are not serving those below you. There is nothing worse than an unasked question."

Out of all the people he looks up to, he said his leadership style is considerably derived from two people.

"I have been reading a lot about Abraham Lincoln. From what I've read, he led us through, arguably, one of the hardest times of our history. He also had a real personal touch. He didn't want people to come into his office; he was often the guy who was with the people. He understood people's strengths and weaknesses."

He said his other role model is his father.

"My father taught me a lot about life lessons, values, integrity and work ethic," he said. "We only had one car, so he worked down the street in a tool and dye shop. Every once in a while, he would take me there to show me everything. He encouraged me to be better than what I am."

"When I was either eight or nine, we were walking to the shop, and he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him that I wanted to work in a tool and dye shop. He looked at me and said, 'I want you to do better than that.' It took time for me to understand that, but really he was just challenging me to be the best I could be."

Cote is originally from Maine. He enlisted in 1986 and received his commission in 1992 as a distinguished graduate of the University of New Hampshire ROTC Program. His first assignment was Keesler AFB, Miss., where he attended the Basic Communications-Computer Systems Officer Course.

Cote's other assignments include serving as the commander of the 39th Communications Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; coalition C2 interoperability action officer, deputy chief, strategic engagement division, command, control, communications computer systems directorate, the Joint Staff at Washington D.C.; and commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Communications Squadron, Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

His last assignment before arriving at Scott was as the chief, capabilities and planning division, defense information system agency at Fort Meade, Md.

MacDill K-9 handlers give homeless dogs a "paw" up on adoption

by Senior Airman Melissa Paradise
6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs


7/25/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Members of the 6th Security Forces Squadron military working dog section volunteered their time and skills to train dogs at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Fla., July 19, 2013.

Staff Sgt. Shannon Hutto, 6th SFS MWD lead trainer, along with four K-9 handlers, trained 15 dogs using basic commands with treats, toys and praise to reinforce good behavior.

"Being able to use our training to get dogs adopted is very rewarding," said Hutto.

Most of the dogs learned quickly while the others were a little slower to catch on, but the handlers took their time until the dogs made progress.

"Our volunteers take the dogs from their cages to train and play," said Megan Montmeny, SPCA Tampa Bay behavior department manager. "Some days they are not out for as long, which causes the dogs to act out, deterring people from adopting them so it's great having these guys here to help us out."

Teaching the fundamentals to the future companions also taught the K-9 handlers how to train a dog with little to no previous training.

"This is a great opportunity for the handlers to be involved in the community especially since dogs are something they are all passionate about," stated Chief Master Sgt. Scott Blake, 6th SFS security forces manager. "It also benefits the handlers to prepare them for advanced supervisory courses on how to train the handlers and the K-9's."

This training opportunity proved to be beneficial for local families as well.

"On the weekends we average 4-6 adoptions, but this weekend we had 18 dogs adopted with the help of the handlers," said Montmeny. "I can't wait to have them come back. I love that they are so willing to donate their time and talent to helping prepare these dogs for adoption and transitioning to their new homes."

The MWD handlers will continue to volunteer at the SPCA Tampa Bay periodically.
by Airman 1st Class Joshua Eikren
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


7/25/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The Airlift/Tanker Association inducted Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. William H. Pitsenbarger into the ATA Walk of Fame at Scott with the unveiling of his bust in front of 375th Air Mobility Wing headquarters July 18.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, then-Airman 1st Class Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor April 11, 1966 near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. He was also posthumously promoted to staff sergeant.

"What Sgt. Pitsenbarger did that day was nothing short of heroic," said Gen. Paul Selva, Air Mobility Command commander. "He put his life on the line over and over again."

On that date, Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties in an on-going firefight with the Vietcong. With disregard for his personal safety, he volunteered to lower to the ground and help evacuate the wounded.

Refusing evacuation, Pitsenbarger subjected himself to enemy fire to save the lives of Army soldiers on the ground, saving nine lives, giving first aid to countless soldiers and braving intense gunfire to gather and distribute vital ammunition to infantryman, said Selva.

"He gave his life that day so others might prevail. He showed that service and excellence are what we in air mobility are all about."

Pathfinders head overseas for combat airlift deployment

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


7/29/2013 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- Airmen from the 10th Airlift Squadron deployed July 28 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

More than 70 Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 10th AS "Pathfinders" departed for a 60-day deployment to the Middle East. They will be accompanied by Airmen from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Airmen will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

"This is what I joined for, to contribute to the mission making a difference in nations overseas and to serve my country," said 1st Lt. Althea Johnston, 10th AS pilot. "Deploying is never easy, but it's worthwhile sacrifice."

The unit will operate out of two bases, managing and flying missions in and around Southwest Asia. They are replacing the 7th Airlift Squadron, which is scheduled to return in early August.

The mission of the 817th EAS is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout the assigned areas of responsibility.

"I am excited to answer the call to duty and make my country proud," said Airman 1st Class Brian Baker, 10th AS loadmaster. "I know my training has prepared me for this day and the days to come."

The 62nd AW's four active duty flying squadrons share responsibility for the deployed squadron and rotate operating the 817th EAS continuously. The deployments allow Air Mobility Command to consistently position assets closer to the action.

Prosecution, Defense in Manning Case Make Closing Arguments


By David Vergun
Army News Service

FORT MEADE, Md., July 29, 2013 – Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's release of classified material did immeasurable harm to national security and put lives at risk, the prosecutor in the soldier’s court-martial here said during his closing arguments July 25.

The next day though, Manning's defense attorney argued the accused was a young, naïve but well-intentioned soldier who wanted to make a difference for the better by bringing to light wrongs that were done during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Manning, now 25, was an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010, working in a tactical-sensitive compartmented information facility, or T-SCIF, at Forward Operating Base Hammer near Baghdad. A SCIF is a restricted facility where secret materials are transmitted, collected and analyzed.

The prosecutor, Army Maj. Ashden Fein, stated that the facts clearly pointed to Manning's culpability, while the defense, led by David Coombs, argued that the prosecution's charges amounted to "diatribes not based in facts."

At the start of the trial on June 3, Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 21 original charges regarding having leaked classified information to the WikiLeaks organization, which then made the documents accessible to the public on the Internet and through media outlets such as the New York Times, the United Kingdom-based The Guardian and the Germany-based Der Spiegel.

Even the term "media" was argued, with the prosecution saying the WikiLeaks organization was not a legitimate news outlet and the defense arguing that it was.

Despite Manning's guilty plea to 10 of the charges, prosecutors went forward with the other 11 charges against him. Those charges stated that he leaked secret documents that he clearly knew from his intelligence training to be harmful to the United States and would result in putting lives at risk.

The charges to which Manning pleaded guilty could result in a maximum possible prison sentence of 20 years. The most serious of the 11 other contested charges, "aiding the enemy," could result in a life sentence if the judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, finds him guilty and gives him the maximum penalty. Even if she finds Manning guilty, his sentence will be reviewed by the Military District of Washington commander, Army Maj. Gen. Jeffery S. Buchanan.

Manning chose to have a trial by the judge alone, rather than a trial by a panel, which is the military's version of a jury.

Manning's rigorous and thorough training as an intelligence analyst instilled in him the importance significant activities, or SIGACTS, have on whether soldiers succeed in battle, fail or are killed, said Fein, the prosecutor.

Yet despite this knowledge, Manning downloaded some 470,000 SIGACTS from the SIPRNET to a memory card, which he later transferred to his home computer. Some 380,000 documents were from Iraq, and 90,000 were from Afghanistan.

The SIPRNET is the military's classified section of the Internet.

In addition to SIGACTS, Manning released Apache attack helicopter videos and thousands of State Department cables, Fein said. A SIGACT, he explained, could include anything from where an attack or improvised explosives device detonated to how an attack helicopter engages the enemy and numbers of casualties resulting from an ambush or IED.

He said commanders decide their main supply routes, plan their battles and base other tactical decisions on SIGACTS, which are even plotted on maps to provide a clear picture of where dangers, as well as where opportunities lie.

If the enemy gets these SIGACTS, they will have access to the Army's "playbook" and can then deduce the tactics, techniques and procedures, or TTP, used and can devise effective countermeasures or adjust fires, Fein said.

A number of foreign governments would gladly pay millions of dollars to have this sort of information, Fein added.

Having released the information soon after deploying to Iraq, Manning "basked in the amount of press he was receiving" and even posed and smiled in a photo he had taken of himself, holding his memory card containing the data, Fein said.

He clearly was on an ego trip and knew the information he'd released would harm U.S. national security, Fein said, adding that Manning even wiped his machine seven times during a three-hour period to ensure his tracks were covered. Wiping a machine means deleting everything on it. Traces of information often remain so multiple wipes are preferred as a more effective scrub.

In short, Fein said, Manning "wanted to be hailed as famous" without regard for the lives of his fellow soldiers. "The flag meant nothing to him," he added.

Coombs, Manning’s attorney, said Manning had access to the entire SIPRNET, which contains millions of documents, and that he probably could have downloaded and released the entire SIPRNET. Yet, he selectively chose to download and pass on only those secret documents that he felt would show how U.S. policy exploited third-world countries and harmed a lot of innocent lives, he said.

If Americans learned about what their government was doing, Manning truly believed they'd see the light and demand changes, Coombs said.

Coombs argued as well that classified documents were arbitrarily labeled "secret," and that most released by Manning could arguably be deemed appropriate for declassification by any reasonable person.

Far from being a traitor, Manning was acting in a way he thought was patriotic, Coombs said, citing recorded conversations Manning had with his friend Lauren McNamara, and with Adrian Lamo, the man who ultimately turned him in to the FBI.

Wiping his computer seven times was normal procedure, Coombs said, as the software often got corrupted and had to be reinstalled. Additionally, Manning continued to use his computer to gain classified materials for several months and never subsequently wiped it, the defense attorney said.

As to TTPs, playbook and SIGACTS, Coombs said those and other terms are "buzzwords" designed to cast aspersions on Manning. In fact, the enemy already was adjusting fires and adapting based on their own observations, and doing so effectively, he said.

Coombs said WikiLeaks was a legitimate news organization, having been recognized with journalistic awards, vetting its sources and publishing information that turned out to be highly accurate. The press, including WikiLeaks, has a responsibility to provide government oversight as part of its Constitutional 1st Amendment rights, he added.

The Watergate scandal that led to President Richard M. Nixon’s 1974 resignation never would have been brought to light had it not been for intrepid journalists, the defense attorney told the judge.

Coombs concluded that there is absolutely zero proof Manning ever even hinted that he was knowingly aiding the enemy. "He really did care what happened to people and hoped to spark a worldwide debate with discussions and reforms," he said.

In addition to the charge of "aiding the enemy," which carries a life sentence, the 20 other charges Manning faces could result in a combined maximum sentence of 154 years in prison.

Not your typical prototype: Block 45 upgrades take off

by Airman 1st Class Jose L. Leon
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


7/25/2013 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Pilots from the 22nd Operations Group flew the first training mission with Block 45 upgrades in one of the wing's KC-135 Stratotankers July 22, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.

Block 45 addresses critical obsolete aircraft equipment and safety of flight issues including a new auto pilot, a new radio altimeter and an LCD screen that replaces analog gauges as well as other minor changes.

Two of the 62 Stratotankers assigned to McConnell AFB have been retrofitted by Air Force Material Command for testing as prototypes before initial production begins on 17 additional KC-135's.

"Having Air Mobility Command pilots flying prototype AFMC aircraft is a very unique and unprecedented situation," said Maj. Christopher Brockman, 22nd Operations Group KC-135 Stratotanker Block 45 program chief pilot. "These flights provide the cadre an opportunity to develop techniques to best utilize the new equipment."

The cadre, Maj. Scot Stewart and Capt. Travis Neal, 22nd OG instructor pilots, worked a sequence of events confirming the modifications on the aircraft as described in the technical orders and training materials during the flight.

"The jet flew as advertised," said Stewart. "[I] was impressed with the new automation and believe this enhanced modification will bring increased capabilities to the tanker fleet."

Block 45 is the fourth series of major modifications to add capability to the aging KC-135 fleet.

"This new equipment will allow pilots to fly more precisely while increasing their situational awareness and margin of safety," said Brockman. "This is also the first time the plane was flown with training objectives in mind instead of system validation."

Stewart, who was the aircraft commander for the flight, will be assuming the Block 45 program chief pilot position. He shares a similar passion as Brockman when it comes to the KC-135.

"I am very excited to be a part of this program," said Stewart.

Hagel, Winnefeld Honor Korean War Vets, Those Still Serving There

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Navy Adm. James Winnefeld remembered the Korean War as the first time the world united under the banner of the United Nations to stand up to aggression and support the rule of law.

The men spoke today at the ceremony here marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice ending active combat on the Korean peninsula.

More than 1.7 million Americans served in Korea during the 1950-1953 war. A total of 36,574 Americans were killed.

“We stood with our fellow citizens of the world, even though they lived on the other side of it,” Hagel said during the ceremony. “And we did not do it alone.”

Today, one of America’s closest allies is the Republic of Korea. All told, 22 countries fought aggression under the banner of the United Nations.

“The Korean War teaches us an important lesson – that alliances and international institutions are extensions of our influence, not constraints on our power,” Hagel said. “And they are critical to our long-term vision of peace and stability, especially in the Asia-Pacific.”

The American, Korean and allied sacrifices were not in vain. The war in Korea began an unprecedented era of growth, security and prosperity in Asia, and that was made possible by America’s leadership, Hagel said.

“To sustain this security and prosperity in the 21st century, the United States is strengthening its economic, diplomatic, cultural, and security ties with countries throughout Asia,” Hagel said.
But the bedrock alliance remains Korea. The United States still maintains 28,500 U.S. service members in South Korea. “Just as veterans of the Korean War held the line from Pusan to Panmunjom, so too do these current-day defenders stand ready to help guard freedom – and to promote peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and throughout East Asia,” the secretary said.

“For many of us it’s personal – a parent, a brother, a relative, a friend who served far from our shores,” the admiral said. “And I’m no exception – my own father, as a young Navy ensign, served with honor alongside the more than 36,000 heroic Americans who gave the last full measure of devotion to this war.”

The sacrifice of those Americans cemented the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance, and serves as an inspiration to the newest generation to defend the peninsula. All allied forces in South Korea know the motto Katchi Kapshida, or “We Go Together,” Winnefeld said. “For them, for every warrior who served before them, and for those who are serving today in harm’s way, we will always remember,” he said.

Face of Defense: Marine, Wife Save Family After Car Crash


By Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Reeves
1st Marine Division

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., July 29, 2013 – With help from his wife, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman serving here with Charlie Company, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, helped to rescue a family of four after a car crash July 9.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Skates and his wife, Jacqueline Skates, helped to save the lives of four people after a car crash. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Reeves
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Skates and his wife, Jacqueline, were traveling with their 2-month-old son when they noticed a large cloud of dirt and debris on an exit ramp from state Route 78 to Interstate Highway 5. As they drove closer, it became apparent to them that a vehicle had veered off the road, through a fence, and overturned into a ditch.
 
“At first, we thought it was a dust storm,” said Skates, a 25-year-old native of O’Fallon, Mo. “Once we got closer, I thought maybe a motorcycle had hit the fence because of the way it was damaged. Then as we came up to it, I saw a car pointing its nose straight up to the sky.”

Despite having been released hours earlier after treatment for injuries he suffered in a separate incident, Skates didn’t hesitate to rush to the crash site.

“I saw the fence was broken down and the power line pole had been knocked in half,” Jacqueline Skates said. “As I came to a stop, Richard jumped out, and I called 911. He just instantly knew what to do and how to help. He just got in there.”

Skates assessed the situation once he reached the vehicle and realized that the family needed to evacuate the car quickly.

“I could hear them screaming for help as I got to the car,” he said. “Everyone in the vehicle was injured and struggling to get free. I remember seeing the little girl in the back with her brother, and she was trying to be brave.”

Making a split-second decision, he reached through the back window and started pulling the children out first. Despite the chaos in the vehicle, Skates kept his cool and rescued both children from the back seat and a teenager from the passenger seat. He helped them out of the car and into the care of other motorists who had stopped to help.

“He was in there for what seemed like forever,” Jacqueline said. “There were other men outside holding the car up by hand so it didn’t roll over and hurt anyone else. Everyone at the scene was in helping mode. ”

Skates crawled in through the passenger-side window once the children were safely out. He assessed the driver of the car and talked to her to keep her mind off of the crash and keep her conscious.

He was able to use his combat lifesaver training to recognize that although she was bloody, she was able to move both of her arms and legs without restriction from her injuries.

“I got everyone out but the driver,” he said. “A California Highway Patrol officer told me to sit tight and remain in the vehicle, because the car was shaking too much.” The officer instructed them to wait for emergency services and towing crew, who would help stabilize the vehicle by rolling it onto its roof. Skates told the driver to place her hands on the roof of the vehicle and make sure her feet were planted firmly on the floor to brace for the rollover.

“The car was on its side in the ditch with my husband and the driver still inside,” Jacqueline said. “He helped her position herself in the car so the roll wouldn’t hurt her.”

Both the driver and Skates got out the car safely after the fire department and towing crew rolled the vehicle.

“As soon as the car rolled, I helped her turn and crawl out of the window to the CHP officer,” Skates said. “After that, we had to evacuate the area, because the power lines were knocked down, and it was too dangerous to hang around.”

Skates credited his decisiveness to combat lifesaver training and other first-responder training he has received with throughout his career.

“We all received basic lifesaving techniques in recruit training,” Skates said. “It’s funny how quick that stuff comes right back when you need it. It just hit me. I thought, ‘This is how I do it, and this is what needs to happen.’”

Jacqueline said her husband is a good Samaritan at heart who doesn’t mind assisting anyone in need.

“It’s a really good thing we have someone like Richard out there,” she said. “He just wants to help everyone.”

“He is the definition of what a [noncommissioned officer] and a professional Marine sergeant should be,” said Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Hohl, “both engaging junior Marines and his peers and dealing with them on a daily basis for myself and the master sergeant. He is a ‘fire-and-forget’ Marine, always keeping the leadership and myself in the loop so we don’t have to worry.”

Skates has been deployed twice, and stopping to assist in the rescue of this family is typical of the behavior his chain of command has come to expect of him, Hohl said.

“He did really well while deployed,” Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Tyrel Camble said. “Tactically, he has always been a sound individual. He’s the one who takes charge in the heat of the moment. When everyone else seems to be at a loss, when no one knows what to do, he is the one who knows what to do and directs everyone accordingly. He is your top-tier NCO, and he is motivated.”

Breedlove: Detachment in Poland Reflects Commitment to Europe


By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2013 – The ongoing air training detachment mission in Poland stands as just one example of the fact that, despite the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, the United States remains committed to building strategic partnerships in Europe, the top U.S. and NATO commander reported in his latest blog post.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, center, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks with airmen assigned to the rotational U.S. Aviation Detachment at Lask Air Base, Poland, July 24, 2013. The Air Force established the first permanent U.S. military presence in Poland in October 2012. DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove called the standup of the Aviation Detachment in Poland last fall a significant step in the 236-year U.S. relationship with Poland. The detachment represents the first full-time U.S. military presence in Poland, with the fourth rotation preparing to begin operations soon.
 
“Our security relationship has never been closer,” Breedlove said of the U.S. and Polish militaries, which fought together during World War I and in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. “Increased cooperation, like the kind evident in the aviation detachment, will continue to strengthen our interoperability and partnership.”

The detachment “represents a wider, broader trend of continued commitment and engagement in Europe,” Breedlove said.

“Our engagements with our European allies and partners is rooted in shared history, interests and values, cemented through NATO and the ironclad commitment to our mutual security,” he said. “Whether on the ground, at sea or in the air, [U.S. European Command] and NATO remain engaged across the continent to promote interoperability, capability and increased military capacity.”

For example, U.S. Army Europe took part earlier this month in the bilateral Atlas Vision exercise with Russian ground forces, he noted. U.S. Naval Forces Europe recently joined its counterparts from nine other regional nations during the Sea Breeze exercise aimed at improved maritime safety, security and stability engagements in the Black Sea.

In addition, U.S. Air Forces in Europe currently is taking part in the bilateral Juniper Stallion 13 exercise in Israel designed to promote cooperation between U.S. and Israeli defense forces and by extension, enhance regional peace, stability and security.

In November, NATO will conduct exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013 in the Baltic states and Poland.
“Exercises with our European partners, whether bilateral or multinational, increase the capability and interoperability of all of our military forces,” he said.

Breedlove noted increased cooperation between the United States and Poland that he said supports both countries’ national interests as well as NATO’s collective security. As the aviation detachment plays a role in Poland’s continued defense modernization and standardization with U.S. and NATO forces, it promotes closer cooperation in regional security efforts, he said.

Increased cooperation like the kind evident in the detachment will continue to strengthen interoperability and partnership between the two nations, Breedlove said. “The United States and Poland, as well as all of Europe, share an enduring and cooperative relationship which I am confident will continue in the decades ahead as we secure our future together,” he said.

Cruise missile flight Airmen protect aircrews, aim for excellence

by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Raughton
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


7/26/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- There's one place on base where a critical part of the Barksdale mission fuels, maintains, loads and tests missiles under one roof.

Barksdale's 2nd Munitions Squadron cruise missile flight sustains Air Force Global Strike Command's only Conventional Air Launch Cruise Missile stockpile.

"Our number one goal is deterrence," said Master Sgt. Scottie Cantrell, NCO in-charge of launcher maintenance. "We work on a fascinating weapons system that is guaranteed to work."

"One can think of a cruise missile as a small aircraft that doesn't come back," said 2nd Lt. Dayna Grant, 2nd Munitions Squadron assistant cruise missile flight commander. "It is one of the smartest weapons in our inventory and provides a long-range strike capability."

However, cruise missiles boast more than just a longer range over conventional munitions.

"The cruise missile has a jet engine, flight control surfaces, and internal navigation controls which act like a pilot to steer the missile," said Capt. Andrew Cooper, 2nd Munitions Squadron cruise missile flight commander. "It can change altitude or direction and make multiple passes over its target."

Cruise missile technology allows B-52H Stratofortress aircrews to launch them far from harm.

"The B-52 can fly into a region and the missile will cover the rest of the distance while the B-52 flies home without being in danger," Cooper said.

Due to the missile's highly technical construction, Airmen who work on them require diverse training that begins at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

"This career field is one of the most versatile career fields in the Air Force," Grant said. "It encompasses a variety of different skill sets, to include technical expertise in fuels, structures, weapons loading, electric maintenance, avionics and handling."

In pursuit of excellence, cruise missile flight Airmen work hard to accomplish the deterrence mission.

"The world doesn't know where our nuclear-capable submarines are and they don't know the status of our intercontinental ballistic missiles," Cooper said. "But they can see Barksdale generating B-52s on the flight line which can be enough to quell conflict in a region because they know America's capability. The rest of the world can see the B-52 fleet and its arsenal of weapons and know that we can reach out and touch them."

The fleet is complete

by Airman 1st Class Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


7/29/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas  -- On a rainy day in April 2010, one of the Air Force's most reliable airframes was reborn for the 317th Airlift Group, when the unit's first C-130J Super Hercules was delivered by then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz.

The arrival of the first C-130J began the 317th AG's three-year transition from a 33-bird C-130H fleet into the largest J-model organization in the world.

On July 25, 2013, under equally dark and rainy skies, the final C-130J taxied onto a Dyess Air Force Base runway, announcing that the 317th Airlift Group's order of 28 C-130Js had been fulfilled. Air Force tail number 5726, piloted by Gen. Paul J. Selva, Air Mobility Command commander, marked the fleet's completion, bringing with it an increased mission capability for the group.

"The J-model offers substantial performance improvements over previous models, which will allow the 317th to efficiently and effectively accomplish our mission of saving lives and sustaining our nation's operations by training, mobilizing and employing these combat aircraft worldwide," said Col. Walter Ward, 317th Airlift Group commander. "The Air Force has entrusted these highly-capable aircraft to the hardworking, innovative men and women of the 317th, and we understand that--now more than ever--we have a responsibility to the American people to make the best use of our available resources."

For more than 60 years, the C-130 has served in every theatre of military operations and has supported humanitarian efforts in response to natural disasters worldwide. Lockheed Martin's newest variant, the C-130J, is the most advanced and fine-tuned model to date.

"The C-130J model is a modern marvel, it's better than our previous C-130s in almost every aspect," said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bolender, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who served as the crew chief on the final J-model's flight to Dyess from the Lockheed Martin plant where it was conceived. "It's faster, stronger, cheaper to fly and easier to maintain. It has increased our productivity substantially because of how capable the aircraft is."

On Sept. 26, 2012, Dyess and the 317th Airlift Group said farewell to its final two C-130H models, ending the legacy that lasted more than 35 years, but solidifying the unit's relationship with its new and improved J-model aircraft.

With the sleeker and stronger C-130J, the 317th AG has become the hub of ground-breaking advancements in airdrop capabilities. In 2009, Dyess became the primary center for testing and training in low-cost, low-altitude airdrops. LCLA airdrops provide enhanced precision of provisions to troops operating in remote areas, allowing ground forces quicker and easier access to much-needed supplies. The 317th AG has also pioneered the testing and fine-tuning of joint precision airdrops.

"The 317th Airlift Group has become one of our go-to units for precision and reliability," said General Paul J. Selva, Air Mobility Command commander. "For the last 10 years, 317th Airmen and aircraft have been a critical resource to our forces overseas, bringing much needed support at amazing rates."

From December 2003 to April 2013, the 317th was continuously deployed overseas in support of combat operations. Over the course of 3,378 consecutive days, the group flew more than 57,000 sorties and recorded 95,000 flying hours, all while transitioning their fleet and aircrews from the C-130H to the C-130J.

While in route to deliver the 317th Airlift Group's last C-130J, Capt. Beau Tresemer, 39th Airlift Squadron, aircraft commander for the flight, said that looking forward, the 317th AG and C-130J will continue to be called upon as a combat-proven combination.

"Now, more than ever before, the 317th will be capable of providing critical resources to coalition forces and foreign countries, doing so for less in these constrained times," said Tresemer. "The C-130J is the future."

During a ceremony held at the base theater immediately following the aircraft's arrival, commemorating the fleet's completion, praise for the new and improved aircraft was high; but Selva, who served as the guest speaker for the event, focused on the Airmen whose efforts have capitalized on the potential wrought by the C-130Js.

"Although the C-130J is one of the most technologically-advanced aircraft we have, it's still just a piece of metal without Airmen," said Selva. "This aircraft is important, but even with everything it can do, it still can't have emotion or be innovative," Selva continued. "When we add our aircrews and crew chiefs to it, these aircraft can do anything."

Obama: Korean War Vets Brought Freedom, Victory to 50 Million


By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2013 – While the Korean War ended just about where it started, “that war was no tie,” President Barack Obama said today. “Korea was a victory.”

The president spoke at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War. He said the 60-year remove from the war makes it clear that the war, which claimed more than 36,000 American lives, was a victory for freedom.

“When 50 million South Koreans live in freedom, in a vibrant democracy, one of the world’s most dynamic economies, in stark contrast to the repression and poverty of the North, that is a victory and that is your legacy,” Obama told the Korean War vets who sat among the audience of 5,000.

And U.S. service members continue the mission – because the armistice didn’t end the Korean War, it just stopped the shooting. More than 28,000 Americans are on the peninsula today to guarantee that if the North again tries to step over the 38th Parallel, the world will stand against them.

“For generations to come, when history recalls how free nations banded together in a long Cold War and how we won that war, let it be said that Korea was the first battle, where freedom held its ground and free peoples refused to yield,” the president said.

The president spoke of the legacy of the Korean War and of its veterans. “Korea taught us the perils when we fail to prepare,” he said. He noted that the troops sent to fight in Korea in the early days were under-equipped and under-trained.

“Today, as we end a decade of war and reorient our forces for the future, as we make hard choices at home, our allies and adversaries must know the United States will maintain the strongest military the world has ever known, bar none, always,” he said. “That is what we do.”
While President Harry S. Truman integrated the military in 1948, it wasn’t until the pressure of war in Korea that integration actually occurred. “Korea taught us that as a people we are stronger when we stand as one,” Obama said. “On President Truman’s orders, our troops served together in integrated units.

“The heroism of African-Americans in Korea and Latinos and Asian-Americans and Native Americans advanced the idea, if these Americans could live and work together over there, surely we could do the same thing here at home,” the president continued.

And the war has lessons for today’s veterans, Obama noted. “Korea reminds us that when we send our troops into battle, they deserve the support and gratitude of the American people, especially when they come home,” he said. “Today let us remember that.”

With American troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan, the American people must welcome them home, and make it “our mission to give them the respect and the care and the opportunities that they have earned,” he said.

The president urged all Americans to simply listen to Korean War veterans – most now in their 80s. “Listen and hear how these Americans faced down their fears and did their duty, clutching their rifles, hearing the bugles in the distance, knowing that waves of enemy fighters would soon be upon them; in ships offshore, climbing down the ropes into the landing craft, knowing some of them would not leave that beach; on the tarmacs and flight decks, taking off in Corsairs and Sabres, knowing that they might not return,” he said.

Americans need to listen to the tales of gallantry amid some of the most brutal combat in modern times, the president said. Americans need to know how their fellow citizens “held the line at the Pusan perimeter, how they landed at Incheon and turned the tide of the war, how surrounded and freezing they battled their way out of Chosin Reservoir, and how they fought foxhole by foxhole, mountain after mountain, day and night at the Punchbowl and Heartbreak Ridge, Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill,” he said.

America owes much to the veterans of the Korean War, Obama said, and he spoke directly to them. “In the spring of your youth, you learned how short and precious life can be,” he said. “Because of you, millions of people can keep on living it in freedom and in peace. Your lives are an inspiration. Your service will never be forgotten. You have the thanks of a grateful nation, and your shining deeds will live now and forever.”