Military News

Monday, August 05, 2013

Return with Honor: 185th Commemorate the Loss of a Siouxland Hero

by Tech. Sgt. Rich Murphy
185th ARW PA


8/4/2013 - SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- A week ago, the nation mourned the loss of one of its most distinguished military heroes, Col. George "Bud" Day. Across the country, friends, military members, and political leaders shared stories and memories of the most decorated military veteran since General MacArthur. The 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, Iowa, hosted a final farewell for this Sioux City native Saturday morning, celebrating Col. Day's life, accomplishments, and contributions to this nation.

Representative Steve King, U.S. House of Representative for Iowa's 4th Congressional district, spoke at the ceremony. "Col. Bud Day is still an inspiration to me. I am honored to have known him and to have been able to call him friend. I think the entire nation needs to know about Bud Day."

Col. Day was born and raised in Sioux City and attended Central High School. His second cousin, Geri Day spoke about growing up with Col. Day. "He would come out every summer to help out on the farm. You just knew, even at that young age, he was going to be something special."

Col. Day left high school early to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in World War II. After the war, he finished high school and earned degrees from Morningside College and the University of South Dakota.

He later earned his commission into the Iowa National Guard and after receiving pilot training, became a full time active duty pilot for the U.S. Air Force. He served in the Korean War and Vietnam.

Col. Day earned the Medal of Honor after he was shot down over North Vietnam and was held captive in a Hanoi prisoner of war camp. He was held captive in the "Hilton Hanoi" for five years and seven months. During his imprisonment, he served as an inspiration for many of his fellow Americans, including U.S. Senator John McCain.

After his time in the military, Col. Day became an important voice for veteran's benefits. Due to his leadership, the congress developed legislation introducing TriCare benefits for military veterans and their families. He also wrote an account of his military experiences in his book Return with Honor.

Col. Day's funeral was last Thursday in Pensacola Fla, where people from around the nation, inspired by Col. Day's life, came out to celebrate the life of this Siouxland native. Thousands of people lined Highway 98 while Col. Day's funeral procession to pay tribute to the national hero.

Chris McGowen, the president of the Siouxland Chamber of Congress and a guest speaker at the ceremony had the privilege of attending Col. Day's funeral. Fighting back tears, he said, "I think what moved me most while we were there, was seeing that Bud Day means as much to this nation as he does to us here in Siouxland."

The 185th ARW has plans to continue to honor Col. Day's memory by dedicating a bench in his honor next to the static display of an F-100. The same type of plane Col. Day flew during Vietnam.

Master Sgt. John Sandman, a member of the 185th and a key figure in the naming of the Bud Day Airfield, spoke about how Col. Day should serve as an inspiration to all future airmen. "We cannot be a Col. Bud Day, but we can emulate some of his best qualities."

Col. Brian Miller, commander of the 185th ARW, concluded the day's ceremony. He said, "Enough cannot be said about Col. Day. All I can add is that the world is a better place for having Bud Day in it."

25th OWS building dedicated to fallen Airman

by Airman 1st Class Josh Slavin
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/5/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 25th Operational Weather Squadron building was dedicated in a ceremony here to Capt. Nathan Nylander August 1. Nylander was killed while deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.

Nylander was deployed as an advisor in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when an Afghan Air Force officer suddenly opened fire on American service members and civilians at Kabul International Aiport. He was shot while attempting to subdue the Afghan officer and help other military members escape.

The 25th OWS building is now called the Nylander Building after the unveiling of the memorial sign at the building dedication ceremony.

During the ceremony Lt. Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, gave a speech to the more than 300 Airmen in attendance.

"I will never take for granted the sacrifices that Nate Nylander made on my behalf and on our country's behalf," Rand said.

Following the general's speech, the 25th OWS presented the Nylander family with flowers and a framed collection of photos.

He was awarded the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest award for combat valor, here on Sept. 24, 2011. Nylander's three children and his widow accepted the Silver Star on his behalf

EOD defends Andersen AFB from lingering WWII threats

by Staff Sgt. Melissa B. White
36th Wing Public Affairs


8/1/2013 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- When an explosive ordnance disposal technician is asked when the last time he responded to an unexploded ordnance and says, "Oh, around 9:45 this morning," it brings to reality the dangers of the island as a result of its history.

Guam was a strategic stronghold during World War II. It was captured by the Japanese in 1941 shortly after their attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, triggered American involvement in the war. In order to regain it as a U.S. possession, the island sustained heavy bombardment for days from American aircraft and navy vessels in July 1944 before ground forces moved in with more artillery.

"At one point, there was a Marine unit that fired more than 1,000 rounds within two-and-a-half hours and then sent 2,280 75 mm and 105 mm shells later the same day," said Jeff Meyer, 36th Wing historian. "With all these construction projects that are ongoing, we're going to be constantly unearthing UXOs for a while - anything from rounds and shells to grenades that may have fallen off uniforms during the war."

The historic battles on the island have been keeping the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal crew busy by causing them to respond for UXOs regularly. Since the beginning of 2013, EOD has been called out to dispose of 34 UXOs. Their expertise will continue to be required as storms loosen the ordnances from their resting spots throughout the years and as construction workers constantly dig them up from the ground.

"This is the base where it's good to get all this exposure," said Airman 1st Class Antonio Barbour, 36th CES EOD technician. "It provides a lot of real-world, hands-on opportunities versus training all the time."

When someone finds a UXO, Barbour said the most important things to keep in mind are to not touch them and to call emergency responders, such as the fire department or security forces, immediately so EOD and the proper authorities can get to the scene as quickly as possible. Other items to keep in mind are to provide a 50-foot cordon around the area, don't use cell phones until at least 50 feet away, and take note of the size, color or any distinguishing factors with the object.
"The most important thing is safety first, so don't touch it," said Barbour. "Any UXO can pose a threat to civilians and military members, regardless of whether it's been there for decades or centuries. They still pose an explosion risk."

He also said people shouldn't focus on the island's historical dangers negatively or be afraid to enjoy the outdoors, but just use situational awareness and know what to do in the event an ordnance is found. After all, Guam wouldn't be the place it is today if all the scenarios that left the island covered in UXOs never occurred.

"They just celebrated the island's liberation recently," said Meyer. "If we didn't drop all those bombs during WWII, who knows what it would be like today? This region was a key spot and the war could've possibly lasted longer if we didn't take over the island when we did."

Hagel Hosts Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister at Pentagon


American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2013 – In a Pentagon meeting with Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked his counterpart for his country’s support to efforts in Afghanistan, including the sustained deployment of Azerbaijani forces with the International Security Assistance Force, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.


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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, walks with Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev to a meeting at the Pentagon, Aug. 5, 2013. The two defense leaders met to discuss issues of mutual importance. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, Little said Hagel also thanked Abiyev for the valuable role Azerbaijan plays in providing ground, air and sea transit access for logistical support to Afghanistan.
 
"The two leaders agreed to continue to work together on issues to include North Atlantic Treaty Organization interoperability, counterterrorism, defense transformation and maritime security,” the press secretary said.

The defense leaders also discussed the regional situation, Little said. Hagel raised the recent inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, he added, and reiterated that it is imperative that Iran take quick steps to resolve the international community's deep concerns over its nuclear program.

"Secretary Hagel recognizes Azerbaijan's role in fostering regional security and stability,” Little said, “and he looks forward to continuing the strategic partnership.”

Pentagon officials said the Defense Department partners with Azerbaijan, as well as with other South Caucasus nations, to strengthen Azerbaijan's security development and better enable it to contribute to security and stability in the broader region. U.S. support to development of Azerbaijani defense and security institutions includes training and advising in civil-military relations, professional military education, and emergency management, they added.

Meanwhile, officials said, the United States assists in development of NATO interoperable units in Azerbaijan, including its Peacekeeping Battalion, which has deployed forces in support of international operations in Kosovo and Iraq, and fields troops in Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force.

Azerbaijan also provides key ground, air, and transit access for the logistical sustainment of international efforts in Afghanistan as part of a complex network of supply lines, playing an important role in the diversification of those supply lines, officials said.

Last month, Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, led bilateral defense consultations with Defense Ministry officials in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.

Pacing the Wolf Pack to their potential

by Senior Airman Jessica Haas
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/1/2013 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Some people stress out at the thought of taking the Air Force fitness assessment. People who normally run with ease may experience difficulty on the day of the test for a variety of reasons.

Well, lucky for those needing an extra push, there is now a program available to help Wolf Pack Airmen: the Pacer Program.

"The pacer, someone who has at least a minute faster run time than the person requesting assistance, will meet the individual at the track at the designated time of the test," said Airman 1st Class Patrick Shappley, 8th Communications Squadron cable and antennae maintenance journeyman and creator of the Pacer Program. "Pacers will provide a few different things. Not only will they pace to a pre-determined time set by the requester, but they will also advise on strategies like lap split times, running form and energy saving techniques."

This program isn't designed to only help people pass their test - that train of thought is discouraged. Instead, pacers are meant to provide an extra push to the runners who have already put in the hard work.

"Pacers are for the runners in the beginning, middle and end of the spectrum," the avid runner said. "I used this program for my test in May and decreased my time from 8:58 to 8:43, so I encourage anyone to use it."

Shappley has always been a fairly talented runner. He ran all through middle school, high school and some in college.

"I've had some success in running and feel like if you have the ability to do something well, why not lift others up with you," the running enthusiast said. "Running is something I am passionate about - especially racing. Essentially that's what you are doing in a physical training test, so any chance I have to be a part of that, I take it."

The program has been running since April of this year. Any Airman may use the program and anyone can volunteer as a pacer as long as they have a minimum fitness test score of 80 percent.

"Not only do pacers need a minimum score of 80 on their test, but they also need to have general knowledge of running mechanics and general running competition," Shappley said. "Also, a positive attitude is a must-have."

The Pacers Program is a supplement to the Fitness Improvement Program. After individuals go through the 30, 60 or 90 day FIP, they are encouraged to use the Pacers Program as well.

For more information on how to use this program or become a pacer, email Airman 1st Class Patrick Shappley at Patrick.shappley@us.af.mil.

HH-60 helicopter crashes near Camp Hansen, Okinawa

by 18th Wing Public Affairs

8/5/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A Kadena-based HH-60 helicopter crashed in the Central Training Area near Camp Hansen, Okinawa, at about 4 p.m. today. U.S. fire and rescue crews are responding to the scene of the mishap.

There were at least four people on board, and their status is unknown at this time.

At the time of the mishap, the helicopter was conducting a local training mission.

The cause of the incident will be investigated. More details will be released as they become available.

He fought to live so he could live to fight

by Senior Airman Jessica Haas
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/24/2013 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- "The doctor told me I had cancer in the top of my shin bone," said Staff Sgt. Robert Timms, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron unit fitness program manager. "Two days later, I was medically evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., to begin my treatment."

Timms is the squadron's physical training monitor at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, and is also a certified personal trainer. He is, and always has been, a very active person, which is why being diagnosed with cancer was such a shock to him and those who knew him.

"My life revolved around physical activities," the personal trainer said. "At the age of eight, I was enrolled in Sho-To-Kan karate and have been hooked on physically bettering myself ever since."

Years passed and Timms continued to expand upon his athletic repertoire. He practiced kickboxing and later went on to play semi-professional football for the Italian Football League while stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

"I loved playing football," he said. "It was just another way for me to have fun and get physical. But playing football is how I realized something was wrong with my leg. I went to the doctor and was told it was bursitis or tendonitis, so I was given medication, which ultimately did nothing to help."

After seeing his doctor, receiving a large amount of cortisone shots and being through one too many x-rays for almost a year, he requested a different doctor.

"The new doctor took more x-rays and noticed something the other did not - my left shin showed black at the top," Timms said. "That's when he told me it was cancer."

On Christmas Eve of 2008, the athlete went in for his first biopsy so the physician could take a sample of the cancer from his leg. Later, Timms was required to go back in again for a second biopsy on New Year's Day.

"After both biopsies, I began chemotherapy," Timms said. "Everything you can possibly imagine happening during chemo is what happened. I lost my hair, couldn't eat and was weak and tired all of the time."

While the kickboxer struggled through his therapy, he started working at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., under the patient squadron in the systems flight.

"While recovering from the cancer, I really enjoyed the work I did in the medical field; so much so I considered cross-training into that career field," Timms said. "I looked at all the people who had helped me, and really wanted the chance to give back."

Time passed and before he knew it, the cancer victim completed his last round of chemotherapy. He was cancer free by June 2009.

"I felt empowered; like I had beaten one of the biggest ailments to ever attack the human race," he said. "Even though I have beaten it, I still have to take tests every year to ensure that it is gone and hasn't come back. But I'll take that any day over the pain I felt in my leg."

By March 2010, the cancer-survivor moved to Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and went back to his previous career field as a weapons loader.

"My intentions to help people went to the wayside until I deployed to Afghanistan in March 2011," Timms said. "But once I arrived in the desert, I decided to better myself - and that's what I did."

The bodybuilder was 100 percent committed to the gym and working out. This is when he decided on a career field geared towards helping others.

"I thought if I can help others without changing my career and, at the same time, increasing my knowledge in an area that I love, why not get certified in personal training?" Timms said.

The weapons loader returned to Moody AFB with 60 extra pounds of muscle and an eagerness to use his newly acquired certification in personal training.

"I only tell people my story to motivate them, because I used to be the guy who saw commercials on television about cancer and always said, that will never be me," he said. "So when people say they can't do something, I show them they can through my experiences."

Timms' passion for fitness is fueled by the idea that if a person wants something badly enough and believes failure is not an option, then it won't be, and anything is possible.

"I love people and I enjoy helping them," Timms said. "When someone is smiling because they feel good about themselves, I feel good. I can't think of anything better than that."

"Spirit of Tuskegee" adorns Alaska Reserve F-22 flagship

by Capt. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs


8/2/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- An F-22 here has been transformed into the 477th Fighter Group flagship with the words "Spirit of Tuskegee" painted across the tail, a nod to the units Tuskegee Airmen heritage.

"We are part of history. Whether we realize it or not, what we do on a day to day basis is writing the pages of history," said Col. Tyler Otten, 477th Fighter Group commander, who was the first pilot to fly the group's flagship after the paint job. "Maintaining our connection to our lineage provides a foundation on which we build. The Tuskegee heritage of the 477th is rich with courage, service and commitment, which serves as a guide to our efforts today."

Coordination began in 2011 to have the Reserve flagship tailflash painted with "Spirit of Tuskegee" to recognize the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen. A flagship is a dedicated aircraft with the name of the unit commander and dedicated crew chief's names painted on the aircraft The 477th Fighter Group was previously the 477th Bombardment Group, a Tuskegee unit activated in 1944. The group's 302nd Fighter Squadron historically was part of the 332nd Fighter Group, also known as "The Redtails" the famous all-black unit that fought both American prejudice and the axis powers in Europe.

"The group's Tuskegee heritage is at the core of our history," said Otten."The courage, dedication and patriotism exhibited by the men of the 477th Bomb Group and the 302nd Fighter Squadron serve as motivation and examples for our service today. Against incredible opposition, the Tuskegee Airmen served their country. We should strive to emulate their courage and commitment in the face of whatever challenges are presented to us today. That is the Spirit of Tuskegee."

The 477th was reactivated here in October 2007 when the group became the Air Force Reserve Command's first F-22 Raptor unit and the only Air Force Reserve unit in Alaska. The 477th Fighter Group associates with the active duty 3rd Wing to maintain and fly the F-22's assigned to the active duty.

"We have different challenges today on the national, Air Force, and personal levels yet our Airmen continue to serve. Despite our current challenges the men and women of the 477th continue to serve their country, and do so admirably. The Tuskegee Airmen changed the shape and future of the Army Air Corps of their day. As we go forward with our Total Force Endeavor, we are shaping the future of the Air Force as well. While our challenges are not as systemic as the opposition the original Tuskegee Airmen faced, we do have challenges; they serve as great examples of courage and dedication."

Face of Defense: Soldier Volunteers Time in Community

By Army Spc. Leon Cook
20th Public Affairs Detachment

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., Aug. 5, 2013 – Spc. Cody Peckham has been in the Army for only two years. But in the short time since he arrived here, he has volunteered much of his off-duty time in the nearby community of University Place, Wash.


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Army Spc. Cody Peckham unloads a shipping container Aug. 2, 2013, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Peckham volunteers in a nearby community is his spare time. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Leon Cook
  

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“I was in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts growing up, and I did a lot of volunteer work with them,” Peckham, a native of Pendleton, Ind., explained. “I just became accustomed to doing something to help the community on my weekends.”

Peckham said he never earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, because he moved before he could complete the community project required to reach the rank, but he planned to build handicapped-accessible ramps for local businesses in Clayton, Ind.

Shortly after graduating from Pendleton Heights High School in 2011, Peckham volunteered to put his life on the line in the military. After completing advanced individual training at Fort Rucker, Ala., he was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company with the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Soon after arriving at his new duty station, he volunteered to assist the unit and its partnered community of University Place.

In November 2011, Peckham was mentioned in an article covering the 21st annual “Make a Difference Day.” Peckham, then a private, was quoted as saying “It’s not every day you see yourself making a difference.” Since then, he has continued to volunteer his time and labor to the local community.

Peckham participated in every volunteer opportunity his unit offered, including activities such as the restoration of parks for two “Make a Difference Day” events, reading to children in the University Place library, and serving as a judge in a middle school science fair.

Peckham was recently sent to the 4th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, in an interbrigade transfer, but he is still well-remembered at the 16th CAB headquarters.

“You could always count on Specialist Peckham to show up to every community outreach event we did,” said Army Capt. Deborah Chen, Peckham’s former company commander at Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade.

“It got to the point where I didn’t need to look for volunteer work; they’d come to me and ask if I’d help, so I’d say yes,” Peckham said.

Peckham helped his former company during its 2013 I Corps command inspection. When the company’s leadership needed a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear officer to ensure the company’s assets were ready for inspection, they turned to Peckham. Despite the additional duty being outside the scope of his job description and above his pay grade, Peckham worked countless overtime hours to fix deficiencies. Ultimately, the company earned a “commendable” rating in the inspection, and Peckham earned by-name recognition from the corps inspector.

But Peckham doesn’t just help out his unit; on his own initiative he also volunteers his spare time assisting the less fortunate.

“Helping the homeless is what always stays on my mind,” Peckham said, noting that he’s assisted with canned food drives for homeless shelters and has been a server in soup kitchens. “You really get to learn a lot about people when you help the homeless. Everybody has a different story to tell, and I like listening to every single one of them.”

Because of his military performance and volunteer work, Peckham was selected as I Corps’ nominee for the American Legion Spirit of Service Award, an award given by the American Legion every year to the soldier, airman, sailor, and Marine who best exemplify the spirit of service.

“I’ve never sought out recognition for what I do,” Peckham said. “I feel undeserving. To be selected out of all the people out here, … that’s a lot to put on somebody.”

As he reflected on his volunteer accomplishments, Peckham said at least one positive outcome occurred to him.

“If I get the award, maybe more people will ask me to do volunteer work,” he said.

Kids Learn That Air Guard Members Care

by 2nd Lt. Marcie Mascaro
134 ARW Public Affairs


8/3/2013 - MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn.  -- 
Small feet pounded the pavement here July 18 in near-unison as a young lady led her battle buddies on a path of exploration as part of the Knoxville Police Department's Kids Boot Camp.

Squad leaders formed up their troops with the same gusto given to Airmen and Officer Candidates during their first weeks of military training.
"You already owe me 20 pushups!" shouts one police officer.

Police Officer Eric Heitz is a 22-year Army Reserve staff sergeant with the 253rd Military Police Company in Lenoir City, Tenn. "It's a really good program," said Heitz. "I wish we could keep them longer than a week, but we take what we can get."

The kids' trip to McGhee Tyson ANG Base is just one stop in their program co-sponsored by the Philip Moore Outreach Center to show kids options beyond their communities.
Col. Randall E. Gratz, vice commander of the 134th Air Refueling Wing, told the formation of about 30 at-risk youth that life is about choices. "Listen to your leaders, and they'll set you up for success."

Members of the Maintenance Squadron shared their morning with the kids. They inspected engines, discussed paint markings, and climbed aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker for a view from inside the boom.

"It's fun seeing their enthusiasm, and they ask endless questions," says Tech. Sgt. Derrick Dirmeyer, crew chief.
The kids were told how the aircraft's hydraulic system for the landing gear was like the hydraulics on a car, and they asked if the aircraft could "bounce."

Their tour continued to the Security Forces Squadron where Tech. Sgt. Mark Curry and Master Sgt. Michael Curry showcased M-4 rifles and 9mm pistols to teach gun safety.
"You don't pick up a gun or push the trigger because there might still be a bullet in there, and you might kill yourself or somebody else," Marquis Ellis said after the lesson.

The kids also tried on chemical gear and combat vests before heading to the Fire Department to wear more gear. "We got to put on stuff that was too heavy, I could barely lift my feet off the ground," said Maurice McKenzie, a fourth grader.

Staff Sgt. Zachary Troup, a firefighter, helped Sierra Dale, a second grader, aim a hefty stream of water from a fire hose. "Can we go to a bigger hose?" she asked, smiling.
"It's good to give back by giving them an up close and personal tour and hopefully have a positive influence on them," said Troup.
Hietz said the kids learn structure and teamwork as well as discover that National Guard members care.

"There's a lot to see here and hopefully for some of these kids ... an opportunity to see what they can become if they put their minds to it," said Hietz. "It's something to aspire to in or out of the military."

Airmen take training to the Rockies

by Maj. Melanie Englert
139th Airlift Wing


8/4/2013 - GRANBY, Colo. -- More than 30 Airmen from the 139th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) conducted an array of Mission Essential Task Training Lists (METLs) while working on various projects throughout the 5,000 acre YMCA camp here July 22 - Aug. 2. The Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program provides "hands-on" readiness training opportunities, while at the same time, providing a direct and lasting benefit to communities.

YMCA of the Rockies benefitted from every aspect of the 139th CE professionals: construction of a sun shade, groomer building, kids park summer snow tubing concessions and water testing lab. The airmen brought special skill sets that allowed them to complete projects such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning at the pool and administrator's office, setting a three stage pad transformer, and surveying for two future projects.

They were one of the seven squadrons rotating through Snow Mountain Ranch participating in the IRT program this year, while on their two-week annual training.
"This is the first year within the IRT program, we are so excited to partner with the Air National Guard" said Trueman Hoffmeister, the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch director, "we are benefitting from several projects that we would have never been able to afford without the help of the labor of the Air Guard."

The presence of service members is not new for Snow Mountain Ranch. Another service of the camp is for Wounded Warriors. These veterans are able to use the ranch during reintegration with their families upon returning from a deployment.

"We have several programs that serve the military, said Hoffmeister. "Currently we have get-away weekends, where a family of four can stay in our lodging and have their meals provided for a discounted rate."

Commanders of units approve IRT initiatives that are compatible with their METL, which supports their wartime mission, and/or the military occupational specialties of their personnel. Civil-military initiatives provide a commander a unique type of "hands-on" morale enhancing training.

"We were the last team of the rotations, our mission was to come in and finish any projects that had not been completed, and there was one project that was at the very beginning stages, that we had not anticipated doing that one. But as usual they chimed right in luckily we had union plumbers that knew what they were doing," said Lt. Col. Grace Link, 139th CES commander. "They always do an outstanding job. They represent not only the 139th Civil Engineer Squadron, but the Missouri Air National Guard as a whole in an outstanding manner, really proud of them."

Link added, "all of the training they receive here helps them, because in a deployed environment you have no idea what you're going to face until you get there. So every skill-set they gain, no matter how they gain it, is always an asset to us down the road for contingency."

Civil-Military IRT program is a partnership between requesting community organizations and the military; therefore resource support is a "shared" responsibility. Individual IRT projects provide commanders another option to meet their mobilization readiness requirements, enhancing morale and contributing to military recruiting and retention. As in overseas deployments, these projects should be incorporated into future unit training plans and budgets. The YMCA and Boy Scouts of America are two of the nationally approved IRT partners, and currently there are 14 state approved projects as well, according to the Department of Defense official website.

"We had a ten team rotation scheduled for this year," said Maj. Brock Childers, 140th CES duration superintendent, Colorado Air National Guard, who works as a liaison, coordinating projects to match the skills and abilities to the units. "This project [YMCA over The Rockies] has approved funding for five years."

DRMKT Serves it up in Tenn.

by Master Sgt. Carlos J. Claudio
Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs


8/2/2013 - MARTIN, Tenn. -- At first glance the trailer looks like any other mobile transport you see on the highway, but upon closer inspection, the vehicle takes on a different appearance with professional graphics, modern liquid crystal display brake lights and exhaust pipes protruding from the top. But what is it you ask?

"It's a disaster response mobile kitchen trailer (DRMKT)," said Master Sgt. Krista Lindsey, Services NCOIC, 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Kentucky. "Its purpose is to provide meals in a disaster response situation for all personnel, whether it's a state or a federal mission."

The trailer was used at Martin Middle School in Martin, Tenn., in support of the Hope of Martin community outreach project, an Air National Guard-led initiative providing medical care during the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission.

The 123rd AW has a 4-person team and the 134th Air Refueling Wing, Knoxville, Tennessee, has a 6-person team led by Tech. Sgt. Jacob Daniels. Both teams shared cooking duties while supporting the IRT mission. "The advantages of this trailer are that it is mobile, portable and has safer, enclosed burners for cooking," said Lindsey.

Once the DRMKT is filled with 50-gallons of water for cooking and cleaning, it is considered completely self-sufficient, even generating its own electricity via a built-in generator.

This trailer houses two fuel tanks. The first tank is for burners and accepts diesel, kerosene and JP-8 fuels. The second tank is for the generator and only accepts diesel fuel. The entire vehicle can be loaded into a C-130 cargo plane and be transported anywhere to support a disaster or a mission like the Hope of Martin.

This mobile kitchen is equipped to serve a large number of people, 2000 people per meal or 6000 people per day, that's double that amount of the regular MKT. It's designed for fast set-up and teardown as well, this enables the DRMKT to serve at multiple sites in a single day if needed. According to Lindsey, set up time with an experienced crew, is approximately 40 minutes depending on meal requirements.

The DRMKT was first tested in January at the inauguration in Washington where the 123rd AW served 350 meals, three times a day to military security teams, plus a midnight meal. "There were no major issues," said Senior Airman Dwight Trowell, who worked the inauguration.

The DRMKT can cook meals en route to a location, but safety and distance logistics need to be worked out.

It comes equipped with a modern-day and very handy resource built into the wall.

"The trailer computer is a great tool that serves as a mini learning center," Lindsey said. "Services personnel can read Word documents, recipes, watch cooking videos and read equipment manuals simply by using the touch screen."

The computer also saves space in the vehicle by not having to carry recipes cards boxes or cooking books. It allows each unit to customize menus for specific missions.

A convenient tab on the computer also allows personnel to view accumulated "gray water" (dirty water), generator wattage and outside and inside temperatures on "live" gauges.

The IRT program is designed to train U.S. military medical personnel and provide assistance to underserved communities. The IRT mission assisted more than 3000 patients, performed more than 8000 procedures and made more than 1200 glasses a total value of $600,000 worth of services for the Martin community.

Special program brings international air cadets to Midwest, Offutt

by Delanie Stafford
55th Wing Public Affairs


8/2/2013 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Six air cadets from around the world traveled to America's heartland July 26 - Aug. 5 as part of the International Air Cadet Exchange program.

The program, which was established in 1946, exchanges air cadets with other cadet programs across 20 different host countries with the goal of promoting international goodwill and fellowship.

"IACE is a life-shaping experience," said Maj. Tom Pflug who is a member of the Nebraska Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. "IACE participants will receive special access to factories, airports, engineering laboratories and government agencies; learning about how [the cadet's] host country contributes to the aviation community."

All of the cadets visiting the U.S. first met in Washington D.C. for two days where they received an orientation and toured the nation's capitol. From there, they traveled to their respective host CAP units across the U.S. The cadets chosen for Nebraska had the opportunity to participate in many aviation and recreational activities over the course of their stay including a visit to Offutt Air Force Base where they each took turns flying a $15 million state-of-the-art RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft simulator.

"You don't really notice that you're in a simulator because the visuals are just amazing," said Ashley Jansen who is a police officer from the United Kingdom and a six-year member of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets program. "You look out and you see cars driving along; and you don't realize that it's just computerized."

"The acceleration on the ground was very realistic," said Lachlan Price who is a senior air cadet from Australia and a first year college student pursuing an engineering degree. "The kind of mathematics and design that would have had to gone into that simulator in order to make it feel like you are actually accelerating is pretty phenomenal."

The cadets visiting Nebraska this year were from Turkey, Australia and the United Kingdom. The cadets were hosted by local families associated with Nebraska's CAP. According to Pflug, the interaction between the cadets and the host families helps build a better understanding of their various cultures, which is one of the most beneficial parts of the program.

"They get to know each other as people," Pflug said. "There's more laughter and more late-night stuff that goes on just because they are getting together and having fun with each other. They get a tremendous appreciation for what we do as a nation militarily, but at the same time they're developing relationships with one another that last."

Time was also set aside to experience Midwestern culture through activities that included hose-back riding, a rodeo, a Winnebago Indian pow-wow and tanking down the Calamus River.

"I've loved every minute of being here," Jansen said. "I've been to New York and Florida before. I definitely think Nebraska is the best trip I've been on. The hospitality and the things we've done were just brilliant."

More than 500 cadets participate in the IACE program annually. Cadets must apply for the program and only the top cadets are chosen from each country. The program is considered to be one of the most sought-after opportunities among the cadet corp.

"This is the ultimate activity I think for every single air cadet program on the planet," Price said. "The best thing has been meeting people. We come over here and make new friendships and contacts, and see how the rest of the world does things."