Monday, August 19, 2013

Dishing out energy: DFAC 'fuels' the flag

by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/15/2013 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska  -- Sailors call it the galley, Marines eat at the mess hall, Soldiers go to the chow hall, our allied partners from Japan say Shokudo and our counterparts from Korea dine at the Sik Dang, but everyone participating in RED FLAG-Alaska fills their bellies at the Two Seasons Dining Facility.

Regardless of what you call it, the DFAC here dishes out more than 2,400 meals per day during RF-A 13-3, which is swollen from their normal rate of around 400.

"If a warfighter doesn't have a happy belly, they aren't a happy person," said Master Sgt. Matthew Lemieux, 354th Force Support Squadron food services superintendent. "This is just what we do. We are here to fuel the fight."

At meal time, the line for food will extend out the door while tables fill and empty until every customer is fed. Lemieux said the food preparation starts at 4 a.m. and the last dirty dish isn't washed until 2 a.m. the next day.

"This is a constant effort that takes extreme teamwork," he said. "We partner with a civilian contractor to make sure our facility stays extremely clean and efficient. Without the whole team, this mission would fail."

As 700 salads are boxed, hundreds of chicken breasts are baked and burgers are grilled, the sound of mixers rarely stops making other dishes to be devoured. However, the process isn't just about making mass amounts of food; there's a great effort to make it look good.

"People eat with their eyes," said Airman 1st Class Braxton Martin, 354th FSS food service cook. "We could rush through cooking and put out 'garbage' all day long, but it's important to cook to satisfy the customer."

The fare doesn't just end up on the tables inside the DFAC. Some service members aren't able to make the meal rush, so the cooks assemble more than 250 boxed meals throughout the day to nourish these absent patrons.

Lemieux said looking in the process of feeding the masses may seem seamless, yet it comes with challenges. Their dishwasher can only keep up with normal production and regular dinnerware must be replaced with the influx of food preparation containers.

To overcome this, disposable utensils and dishes are used. Also, patrons are asked to help with the workload by bussing their own tables.

Although there are long hours and challenges to overcome, Lemieux and his team remain in good spirits throughout the exercise.

"We are individuals that come together as a team to produce a great product," he said. "With any sort of job there is a customer and we are able to see instant gratification with our happy patrons. That's our reward."

Neutral forces provide training, eliminate distractions

by Senior Airman Zachary Perras
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/16/2013 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- In the early days of aerial combat, dogfights took place between two opposing forces. In the same way, RED FLAG-Alaska participants are organized into "red" aggressor forces and "blue" coalition forces - essentially the "good guy" and "bad guy" players of the exercise.

In the middle of these forces rests the "white" forces, which represent the neutral controlling agency. Because the red and blue forces meet in a simulated hostile, non-cooperative training environment, the job of controlling the mock war and ensuring safety falls in the hands of the white forces.

Maj. Sam Stitt, 353rd Combat Training Squadron operations division chief, said the white forces develop scenarios for RF-A based on the learning objectives of participating blue forces.

"Our job is to coordinate the playing field for the forces and then let them play," Stitt explained. "We provide the arena so they can focus on the overall development of tactics, techniques and procedures."

The 353rd CTS leads the white forces in orchestrating the exercise and acts as a liaison between coalition partners and Eielson. From bed-down of aircraft to maintaining successful communications, the white forces work to eliminate potential mishaps.

"This is the most difficult training environment that a young aviator can experience," said Maj. James Mixon, 353rd CTS assistant director of operations. "It's very important for us to be able to educate our joint and allied partners and for us all to learn together."

With 22 different units to keep track of, the long-term goal of white forces is to eliminate distractions, Mixon added. This way, participants can learn from successes and mistakes in a realistic environment, without any real threat.

"War has no plan, and it's our job to make it as seamless and realistic as possible for participants while they're flying," Stitt said. "We want to make each [RED FLAG] better than the last so we know people get out there and learn from the experience."

Although it can sometimes be impossible to remove all distractions, at the end of the day, the white forces look for success in the fact that each take-off is equivalent to the same number of landings.

"It's a great opportunity to work with different countries and different services," Stitt said. "If they can come here and go out and execute successfully, then it's a good day."

2,000 flights in the F-35 Lightning II

8/19/2013 - Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  -- Airmen and Marines assigned to the F-35 Integrated Training Center at the 33rd Fighter Wing here have consistently flown successful training sorties and generated their 2,000th sortie Aug. 13 with an instructor pilot of the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 (VMFAT-501), at the controls.

Marine Maj. Adam Levine, who flew in a two-ship formation, said he was surprised with the news upon landing but said that is typical since the flightline members are focusing on safe and effective flying rather than keeping pace with data tracked by those in statistical analysis.

"Every sortie, every takeoff, every hour is a win for the F-35 enterprise," he said. From his cockpit, Levine also witnessed the first taxi of the U.S. Navy's F-35C carrier variant preparing for its maiden flight from Eglin AFB.

With the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy pressing forward to meet goals of initial operating capability in the next few years for their respective services, getting ample time in the air is crucial to meeting their timelines.

"Flying the 2,000th sortie highlights the accomplishments of the entire F-35 airpower team at Eglin AFB and moves us one step closer to the aircraft's initial war fighting capability," said Col. Todd Canterbury, the commander of the 33rd FW.

The Eglin AFB F-35A, B, and C variant joint training has been accomplished while operational and developmental test missions at flight test sites on the east and west coasts have been conducted simultaneously -- a process known as concurrency.

In these last couple weeks, Eglin AFB officials sent a handful of their pilots to Luke Air Force Base Ariz., to become the initial cadre of F-35A leaders at the 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Wing, said Col. Stephen Jost, the commander of the 33rd Operations Group here. Luke AFB's first joint strike fighters are scheduled to arrive in spring 2014 with plans to grow to 144 aircraft in the out years.

For now, the Eglin AFB-based flyers are expanding their training curriculum as they double up to full aircraft strength in the spring with all 24 Air Force F-35As expected to be on base. Jost will lead the group's transition to the Block 2A aircraft, which carry upgraded computer software, in the first quarter of calendar year 2014 in order to accommodate more aircraft capabilities.

"We will increase the current syllabus from 6 student sorties to 8 and even 9 depending on when we will be cleared by the test community to fly at night," Jost said.

Aside from flight operations, this also entails transitioning the ground school instruction such as flying more advanced scenarios in the full mission simulator.

"The primary capability of Block 2A is use of the plane's multifunction advanced data link," he said.

Currently, voice transmission is the primary means of communication.

While Air Force planners is busy seeding Luke AFB with an initial F-35 team, the Marines have been doing the same for Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., just a short flight away.

Having trained up the initial cadre of U.S. and United Kingdom pilots and maintainers at VMFAT-501, Marines at Eglin AFB continue to train instructor pilots with a portion of the classes' students being operational test pilots. These pilots are standing up MCAS Yuma's operations at Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-121, Levine said.

In the near future, Eglin AFB's VMFAT-501 is preparing to conduct its first local short take-off and vertical landing of the F-35B, an accomplishment realized at MCAS Yuma in March that the VMFAT-501 helped make possible. Meanwhile, the Navy's Strike Fighter Squadron 101 at Eglin AFB, has conducted its first maintenance check flight yesterday, is preparing for its first student flight this week.

In the upcoming years, when operating at full capacity, the Eglin AFB fleet will grow to 59 aircraft with about 100 pilots and 2,100 maintainers graduating yearly.

The F-35 joint strike fighter program is a joint, multi-national program. In addition to U.S. armed forces, the F-35 increases operational flexibility and interoperability with the eight other international partners participating in the development of the aircraft. They are the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway.

With so much history in the making, the F-35A, B and C fighter units at Eglin AFB are making strides for airpower for years to come, officials said.

"The versatile and high-tech aircraft will carry the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy into the next 50 years of air dominance, and the men and women here can reflect back knowing they were among the pioneers in its initial phases," Canterbury said.

Communications capability surpasses 50,000 flight hours

by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

8/19/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A Life Cycle Management Center program managed here that ensures warfighters can stay connected reached a significant milestone last week.

The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, translates and distributes imagery, video, voice and data between warfighters, both in the air and on the ground, who may be operating on different networks. On Aug. 11, BACN achieved over 50,000 flight hours of service.

"BACN provides crucial 24/7 communications support to warfighters by bridging disparate elements," said Maj. William Holl, program manager. "We constantly get feedback from theater telling us how important BACN is for their missions."

The system can act as a high-altitude relay, providing reliable, dynamic communication links. Some of the types of missions BACN has been used for include airdrop and airstrike operations, ensuring situational awareness. The system has been especially useful in rugged terrain areas by providing a beyond-line-of-sight capability.

"Without BACN, ground forces in Afghanistan would have to rely on much slower satellite communications -- and a few seconds can make all the difference when you are under fire," said Holl.

The program began as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration in 2006 to meet the challenges associated with operating in mountainous regions with limited line-of-sight, and in 2009 became a Joint Urgent Operational Need program to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

The system currently operates on two platforms: the E-11A, a modified Bombardier business jet, and the EQ-4B, a modified Global Hawk Block 20 remotely piloted vehicle.

"Since the first aircraft with BACN deployed in 2008, this critical capability has now been provided to our warfighters for more than 50,000 hours," said Col. Anthony Genatempo, Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division senior materiel leader. "We're proud of that, however, we're constantly looking to see how we can optimize the system's abilities to provide even more support."

A recent significant change is the ability to fly multiple EQ-4Bs equipped with BACN simultaneously. This allows for overlapping missions, eliminating potential gaps in coverage. Also, the team is adding another E-11A to the fleet at the end of this summer to provide additional capability. These enhancements increase flexibility in mission planning and further contribute to the current support BACN is providing in theater.

The BACN program office here has received numerous accolades from warfighters on the battlefield expressing how pleased they are with the system.

According to Holl, feedback consists of messages such as "...great communications throughout the mission...," " very much appreciated," and "...we couldn't have completed our mission without BACN!"

He also said the team has even gotten reports back from theater saying how BACN helped saved lives.

And the program office here stands ready to continue that support.

"The 50,000 hour mark is a significant milestone," said Genatempo, "with many, many troops provided a truly outstanding capability. The entire BACN team is poised to continue this excellent service for as long as the warfighter needs it."

'Focus on the Force' honors Air Guard's outstanding Airmen

by Col. Nahaku A. McFadden
National Guard Bureau Public Affairs

8/19/2013 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- What do you get when you combine the Air National Guard's most Outstanding Airmen, the Enlisted Field Advisory Council, and a cadre of E-9s going through the Chief's Executive Course? ... some of this country's top enlisted minds tackling the challenges facing Guard-Airmen during the aptly named "Focus on the Force" week.

Seeking fresh perspectives from the unit's front line, the advisory council asked the Air Guard's six outstanding Airmen to provide feedback on the complex issues facing units in the states.

"The EFAC asked for a panel of Airmen and I couldn't think of any better than our Outstanding Airmen of the Year," said Chief Master Sgt. James Hotaling, Air National Guard Command Chief.

The Director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, also acknowledged the outstanding Airmen's accomplishments during his "All-Call" address.

"One of the things I challenged everyone with is to serve with distinction," Clarke said. "Here are some Airmen who fully capture that ideal and take it to heart."

While the week-long schedule featured open and frank discussions on how best to handle current and future Air Guard issues, one of the highlights of the week was the formal recognition of this year's Air National Guard Outstanding Airmen. They are:
  • Outstanding Airman - Staff Sgt. Chadwick J. Boles, 125th Special Tactics Squadron, Ore.;
  • Outstanding NCO - Tech. Sgt. Melissa A. Knight, 185th Refueling Wing, Iowa;
  • Outstanding Senior NCO - Master Sgt. Andre S. Davis, 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, Va.;
  • Outstanding Honor Guard member - Master Sgt. Olympia D. Williamson, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas 
  • Outstanding Honor Guard Program Manager - Tech. Sgt. Jamie L. Jones, 108th Refueling Wing, N.J.; and 
  • Outstanding First Sergeant - Senior Master Sgt. Mike A. Schmaling, 128th Refueling Wing, Wis.
Davis was also selected as one of the 12 Air Force Association's 2013 Outstanding Airmen. He will be honored at an annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition held in September in Washington, D.C.

Operation Northern Strike Highlights Michigan Capabilities

by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

8/19/2013 - SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- In one of the most comprehensive displays of military might in the modern history of the Great Lakes region, Operation Northern Strike brought together Soldiers, Airmen and other military personnel for two weeks of intense operational training at locations across northern Michigan in August.

The second annual exercise showcased not only the integrated combat capability of the Michigan Air and Army National Guard, but also highlighted the state's primary training facilities at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, both located in northern Lower Michigan. Units and personnel from Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base also participated in the operation, along with support from Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force units from around the state and Great Lakes region. The exercise also featured an international flavor with a half-dozen combat controllers from Latvia - one of Michigan's two State Partnership for Peace partner nations - and from Canada participating in the exercise. In all, 29 different units from 16 states, plus the two international partners, participated in the exercise.

The exercise allowed the various units of the Michigan National Guard to train on joint operations between air, land and sea units - even including coordination with a U.S. Navy frigate off the Virginia coast, said Col. Michael T. Thomas, 127th Wing commander at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which provided both A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft and KC-135 Stratotanker refuelers to the exercise.

"The Michigan National Guard continues to develop tools to jointly project air power anywhere in the world," Thomas said. "Our Air National Guard units, facilities and synergies lead the way in becoming the eyes and ears of the warfighter, presenting and processing information for the entire team in unprecedented ways."

During the exercise, 127th Wing personnel launched aircraft from both Selfridge and from Alpena. A variety of Michigan Army National Guard helicopters also utilized the same runways to participate in the exercise. Utilizing the same base infrastructure for the various aircraft from multiple units makes the exercise cost-efficient for the taxpayer, said Col. Bryan Teff, commander of the Alpena CRTC.

"Northern Strike 2013 will establish the framework for future joint multi-dimensional operations at Camp Grayling and the Alpena CRTC allowing for progression in complexity, integration and dept," Teff said. "This event will validate the necessity of joint forces training in sustaining a ready Michigan Army and Air National Guard that has regional focus and global agility."

Units participating in the exercise included infantry, cavalry, field artillery, aviation, special operations elements of the Michigan Army National Guard; Air National Guard and Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and F-16s Fighting Falcon, C-130 Hercules and B-52 StratroFortress aircraft in addition to the A-10s and KC-135s from Selfridge; Marines from the 2nd Division, and a new player to the exercise, the Coast Guard's ice breaker USCGC Mackinaw and rescue helicopters from Traverse City. In addition to Michigan, National Guard personnel from Illinois, New York, Indiana and Georgia participated in the exercise.

The exercise featured more than 700 air sorties, many of which included "live fire" evolutions at the Grayling Aerial Gunnery Range or personnel extractions during search and rescue operations.

The Michigan Air National Guard is comprised of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the 110th Air Wing at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. The MI-ANG also operates the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center and the Grayling Aerial Gunnery Range in northern Michigan.

Chairman Answers Soldier’s Readiness Question

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

AMMAN, Jordan, Aug. 19, 2013 – Troops call it the pointy end of the spear. Where the rubber meets the road. The place where some say, half-jokingly, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks to U.S. and Jordanian troops at a military facility on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan, Aug. 15, 2013. DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
American service members deployed in scores of places around the world serve as a strong deterrent against potential threats. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stood in one such place Aug. 15 and talked to service members -- U.S. and partnered -- and civilians manning the tactical operations center. Their mission is to partner with Jordanian forces that are grappling with security and 
refugee challenges caused by the civil conflict in Syria.
Picture field-expedient, theater-style seating packed with scores of military support planners at computers, backed by a maze of plywood partitions marking off office cubicles, all baking under a metal warehouse roof while the few air conditioning units generate noise but little relief.

The chairman stood there, and he answered a military readiness question asked by an American soldier holding private first class rank. The soldier said he didn’t feel he’d had enough training to be prepared for combat, and he commented that equipment was “constantly breaking down.”

The chairman said budget challenges are affecting maintenance -- keeping equipment combat-ready -- and pre-deployment training.

“What we’re trying to do is to shield the deploying units from that challenge -- so I don’t care what branch of service you’re in; if you’re not scheduled for deployment in the next year, your training is affected and your readiness is affected in terms of maintenance,” Dempsey said.
He explained that leaders “are moving the money” so U.S. military units coming up on deployment get priority in training dollars.

“I hope that’s a problem that’s unique to this year -- but it may not be,” Dempsey added. “It might be that we suffer one more year of this.”

The chairman referenced a previous question, when someone had asked him about the likely pace of future deployments.

“We talk about predictability in deployments,” he noted. “I wish my budget was predictable.”
The chairman told troops he doesn’t have the option of throwing up his hands and telling the nation’s leaders, “We don’t have enough predictability, so we’re going to ‘squat and hold.’”
Dempsey added, “What you’re doing here is serving our nation’s interests, and ensuring the security of your family members and your fellow citizens. And we’re going to do that.

“And sometimes -- and this is the part that bothers me a lot, and bothers all of us who call ourselves leaders -- we don’t want to send you someplace unless you’re absolutely ready to go,” he continued. “And I think that probably [there were] a couple of occasions this year where we had to do that, and you may be one of them.”

Dempsey told the private first class, “Here’s my commitment to you. You need to let us know where you felt there were gaps … in your preparedness, and we’ll address them.”

The chairman said troops who are deployed around the world performing the nation’s missions “shouldn’t feel any pressure of readiness. And if you do, let us know where and we’ll straighten it out.”

Dempsey cautioned his audience that everyone else across the services “will be feeling it.”
“And we’ve got to fight our way through that,” he said.

Hagel: Only Egyptians Can Sort Out Their Country’s Issues

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2013 – What happens in Egypt is up to the Egyptian people, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here today.

“All nations are limited in their influence in another nation’s internal issues,” Hagel said during a Pentagon news conference with China’s Minister of National Defense Gen. Chang Wanquan.

The United States has influence with Egyptian leaders, Hagel said, but it is narrow and it will be up to the Egyptian people to sort out their country’s issues.

Hundreds of Egyptians have been killed and thousands wounded in recent fighting in Cairo, the Sinai and elsewhere. Nations around the world are urging the Egyptian interim government to support “an inclusive, open, democratic process, allowing all people to have a role in the future of their country,” Hagel said.

Hagel has had several phone calls with Egyptian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Abdelfattah al-Sisi. All members of the U.S. national security team have called their counterparts with the same message: end the violence, lift the national emergency.

“The United States has a longstanding relationship with Egypt that is based on our respect for the people of Egypt, the country of Egypt,” Hagel said. “We have interests, clearly, in the Middle East, interests that include hopefully a development of some progress toward an Israeli- Palestinian settlement. So we continue to work with the Egyptian interim government, as well as the Egyptian military.”

Hagel said he is concerned about the security of American citizens in Egypt.

“Protection of Americans in Egypt, not just only our diplomats, but all Americans, is of the highest priority,” he said. “All the American government officials, including [the] American military, have been working very closely with the Egyptian military and police to assure the security and protection of Americans in Egypt, and we’ll continue to do that.”

B-1B Lancer Bomber Crashes in Montana

28th Bomb Wing
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D., Aug. 19, 2013 – A B-1B Lancer bomber with the 28th Bomb Wing here crashed today near Broadus, Mont., during a routine training mission.

A crew of two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board. All four members of the aircrew safely ejected with some injuries.

"We are actively working to ensure the safety of the crew members and have sent first responders to secure the scene and work closely with local authorities at the crash site,” said Air Force Col. Kevin Kennedy, the 28th Bomb Wing commander.

"Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families," Kennedy said.
Air Force officials will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Sergeant combines love of music, military

by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

8/19/2013 - SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Meet Staff Sgt. Alissa Hannah. She loves tankers, the viola and her Marine Corps husband.

Hannah is a command post operator with the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. She's also an accomplished viola player and has recently been sharing her musical skills with the 127th Wing, playing the Star Spangled Banner at several retirement ceremonies. A member of a military family - her father and brother both serve in the Montana Air National Guard's 120th Fighter Wing - she recently started a military family of her own, marrying Marine Sgt. Spencer Besancon in June 2013.

"There's something about the viola that tugs at my heartstrings," Hannah said.

It was her talent with the viola that actually brought the Montana native to the Michigan Air National Guard, even though her job in the command post has absolutely nothing to do with music.

She started playing the violin at age 10 - her parents were disinclined to purchase the budding musician a drum set - and stayed with the instrument through her sophomore year at the University of Montana. That's when she shifted to the viola and eventually earned a bachelor's degree in musical performance. During her college years, she gave lessons, played with a number of orchestra groups in Montana and played at weddings and other events. After she finished up her degree, she was exploring her musical options and took an internship with a music company in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Along the way, she was also serving as a traditional member of the Montana ANG, working in the command post for the 120th FW, which flies F-16 Fighting Falcons. Hannah said she found the radical difference between her life as a student and musician and her life as an ANG command post controller a good mix for her.

"It was good to have something different, away from the music that I could focus on sometimes," she said.

About the time her initial enlistment with the ANG was nearing an end, she moved to Michigan to take the music internship in Ann Arbor. She wanted to continue to serve in the ANG and looked up the wings in the Great Lakes region. Initially, she said, she thought the 127th Wing, which formerly flew F-16s, was still operating the aircraft.

"I figured, I'd show up and it would be easy to slide right in to another fighter unit," she said.

Upon arrival at Selfridge about two years ago, however, she discovered that the Michigan wing was flying KC-135 Stratotankers and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. The F-16s had left a couple years previous.

"Time to learn something new," she said of the time.

"SSgt. Hannah jumped in with both feet and starting helping with things from the first day," said Senior Master Sgt. Christine Koch, one of Hannah's supervisors in the command post. "She's been an awesome asset."

"The tanker mission is an interesting one," she said. "I enjoy working with our people on the flying mission - even though most of them I never see their faces, it's all over the phone and radio."

About the time Hannah arrived in Michigan, the 127th Wing had an opening for a full-time controller and Hannah began working on active duty at Selfridge.

"I describe working in the command post as 90 percent downtime and 10 percent off the chart," she said. "You just never know when it is going to get extremely busy in a very short amount of time."

Given the shift-work nature of her duties in the command post, Hannah's musical activities were scaled back considerably, though she still finds time to take lessons from a violist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and to give lessons to a few younger players.

Meanwhile, another command post operator, Technical Sgt. Chris Golema, who is active on the 127th Wing Activities Committee, which supports retirement ceremonies and other events, began suggesting his talented colleague play for those events.

"It is something different than a singer and her talent just blows people away," he said.

Unfortunately for the 127th Wing, Hannah likely will not be playing at many more ceremonies at Selfridge. Her husband is scheduled to make a permanent duty station change in the next few months and Hannah plans to look for a new ANG or Air Force Reserve unit to serve with.

"I'm fortunate to have two professions that I really love," she said. "I want to continue to work at both of them."