Military News

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thule stocks up for long winter's night

by 1st Lt. Daniel Dale
821st Support Squadron Logistics Flight commander


8/19/2013 - THULE AIR BASE, Greenland  -- After nine long days of severe winds and frigid temperatures, Thule Air Base concluded its annual resupply mission known as Operation Pacer Goose.

Team Thule coordinated closely with Military Sealift Command, the U.S. Naval arm of U.S. Transportation Command, to receive more than 8.4 million gallons of fuel and 2.8 million pounds of cargo at the Department of Defense's northernmost deep water port.

The first ship in port was the CPO Germany oil tanker. It pumped a year's supply of fuel into the bulk storage area. Before pumping the fuel, the ship had to position itself perpendicular to the pier by performing a maneuver called "Mediterranean Mooring." The ship's crew worked diligently with the Greenland contractor's team to offload the fuel safely and efficiently. Together, they overcame perilous conditions, fighting off winds in excess of 55 knots.

"I boarded the tanker to watch the operation first hand with Lt. Dale and Master Sgt. Wells," said Maj. Jeremiah Hammill, 821st Support Squadron commander. "It was freezing, but their skillful oversight ensured Thule's mission would drive on for the next 12 months."

The Ocean Giant freighter arrived a couple days later to deliver cargo and supplies. The cargo included provisions to sustain the base for the year, equipment for National Science Foundation projects and construction materials for Thule Consolidation, an effort to shrink the base's footprint over the next few years.

After the work was done, the ship's captain graciously hosted a dinner on board with base leadership and provided tours to Thule personnel.

The mission would not have succeeded without the direct support of the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker ship named CCGS Henry Larsen. The icebreaker cleared the path through iceberg filled waters, which allowed the vessels to arrive safely at Thule.

Operation Pacer Goose is one of many port operations that take place from late June to mid-September. Almost 90 percent of Thule's annual cargo weight is offloaded during this narrow window of opportunity. The bay remains frozen solid throughout the rest of the year and additional supplies must be flown in weekly.

With the 821st Logistics Flight spearheading another successful Pacer Goose operation, Team Thule is now braced to battle the arctic storm season, extreme subzero temperatures and several months of total darkness.

Four WWI turning points in one simple patch

by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


8/20/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- U.S. Air Force unit patches, like the 9th Reconnaisance Wing at Beale Air Force Base's four pattee cross, symbolize the tie between yesterday and today. Those four horizontally aligned crosses represent specific World War I engagements, starting in 1918.

Beale, Calif.'s 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, 12th RS and 99th RS were directly involved in the WWI offensives by providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to ground commanders. Aircraft relayed troop movements, railroad activity, storage dumps, and enemy airfields locations.

"The importance of these events cannot be downplayed," said Rick Rodriguez, Beale's historian. "They shaped the very outcome of the World War I and America's future."

The first cross depicts the Champagne-Marne Campaign, which occurred July 15-18, 1918. During this campaign German soldiers attacked the U.S. 3rd Division with artillery and gas shelling. The Germans believed the offensive would win the war. On July 17th, it became evident that the Germans had been stopped and suffered heavy losses, and the next day began a series of allied counter-offensives.

The second cross represents the Aisne-Marne Campaign, which occurred July 18 to August 6, 1918. The operation was a combined French and American counter-offensive to the Champagne-Marne Campaign, which the Germans launched three days prior. The Aisne-Marne offensive marked a key turning point in the war; it ended the series of German victories that had begun in March 1918.

The third cross represents the St. Mihiel Campaign, which occurred from September 12-16, 1918. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF) under the command of General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing launched its first major offensive operation as an independent army during WWI. The objective was to seize the German occupied town of St. Mihiel. U.S. combatant commanders included George S. Patton, who would win fame as an armored division and corps commander during World War II and Douglas MacArthur, whose efforts in the Pacific helped set the stage for allied victory.

The fourth cross represents the Meuse-Argonne Campaign, which occurred Sept. 26 to the surrender of the German Army on Nov. 11, 1918. Commanded by Pershing and logistically supported by then Col. George C. Marshall, the objective was the capture of the railroad/train station hub at Sedan, to break the rail net supporting the German Army in France. Marshall would go on to create an American financed recovery plan for Europe following World War II. He would win the Nobel Peace Proze for it in 1953.

Then Lt. Col. William "Billy" Mitchell and hundreds of aircraft from the United States Air Service also supported the battle. This offensive cost the U.S. more than 26,000 soldiers with more than 95,000 wounded.

The four cross patee serves as a reminder of the WWI sacrifices and triumphs Beale's squadrons endured.

Kadena pilots turn and burn on Andersen

by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley
36th Wing Public Affairs


8/20/2013 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- More than 300 Airmen and 18 F-15C Eagles from the 67th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for an exercise that will develop bolster the squadron's expeditionary skills.


The Aviation Training Relocation Program increases the operational readiness of 300 maintainers, 40 pilots, and 25 support personnel assigned to the 67th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron team, while managing the noise impacts of training in and around the local communities of Okinawa, Japan.


"It's great for us because it integrates Andersen's war-fighting capabilities and allows us to bring [the Kadena Air Base pilots] here for operational integration they normally don't get to have back in Japan," said Lt. Col. Harry Dyson, 36th Operations Support Squadron commander.


In January 2011, Andersen was selected as the host base for the Aviation Training Relocation program by a joint Japan-U.S. committee because of the close proximity and limited flying regulations. They decided to study further options for training relocation, including the expansion of both bilateral and unilateral training, inside and outside Japan.


"The span of U.S. Air Force flying missions requires focused skill sets training that easily atrophies if not maintained," said Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot, 67th FS commander and overall commander of the Team Kadena detachment at Andersen. "The benefit of coming to Guam is the operators can practice realistic time sensitive targeting scenarios around Guam's waters."



Operating out of Guam allows the 67th FS pilots opportunities to exercise all of the F-15's capabilities without the regular airspace restrictions the unit complies with in Japan.



Fontenot said the ATR is a mutually benficial solution with our Japanese partners that keeps the pilots ready to fight without losing any flight time, supports the joint agreement, and reduces the aircraft noise in Okinawa during Obon, a Buddhist holiday celebrated in Japan.



Along with the F-15s, the Team Kadena detachment also includes 70 Airmen from Kadena based E-3 Sentry and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. Andersen aircraft also participating include KC-135s, B-52s, and U.S. Navy SH-60s for the two-week training exercise.


"A major part of our operations here will feature us providing offensive counter-air support to the B-52, utilizing time-sensitive targeting inputs from the E-3s, all augmented with air refueling capabilities from the KC-135s to perform these missions," Fontenot said.


He said using a full mix of F-15, B-52, E-3, KC-135, and SH-60 aircraft in fully integrated operations scenarios at Andersen is a great experience for all of the Airmen involved and gives them a unique perspective and focus they cannot always achieve at Kadena.


"We don't get many opportunities to fly with long range strategic bombers such as B-52s, and though the E-3 aircraft are stationed at Kadena, they are frequently tasked with higher headquarters missions so we have limited options to integrate with them," he said. "This is fantastic training for Team Kadena and Team Andersen."

Airmen accomplish airlift surge

by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Marasky
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/20/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Twenty-eight powerful T56 turboprop engines sit on the flightline, idling as they prepare to generate over 125,000 horsepower to lift seven C-130 Hercules into the air in a coordinated take off.

That was the sight as Yokota Air Base conducted a large formation training operation Aug. 19, 2013. Seven C-130's took off in the surge formation to practice the 374th Airlift Wing's capability to maintain and launch multiple aircraft at once.

Members of the 374th Maintenance Group and the 374th Operations Group worked together over the weekend to ensure all of the aircraft were ready to fly.

"We are working with the crew chiefs and assisting them with everything they need," said Airman 1st Class Nathan Judd, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental apprentice. "We make sure everything looks right and works correctly, ensuring all of our systems are top notch."

Judd said working with the other units on the large number of aircraft and in the timeframe provided was a unique and challenging opportunity for young Airmen.

"This has been a great experience for a young Airman," he said. "Normal day to day operations feel like training, but when you get to something like this, it feels real. We have a high pace tempo and turn more aircraft, so it's been a great experience and a lot of fun."

Along with the maintainers and operators, many other units around Yokota had the opportunity to practice and showcase their capabilities during the surge event, including the 374th Operations Support Squadron.

"These events really increase our ops tempo, and we look forward to them every time," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Price, 374th OSS tower watch supervisor. "These surges prevent us from becoming complacent, and they showcase our ability to launch and control multiple aircraft outside of the normal."

While the tower has only a small piece of the overall mission during the surge, they highlighted how every piece has to come together to make the event work according to Price.

"Our part might be small in the big picture, but if the aircraft are late taking off, it will throw off the entire schedule," he said. "So we're a small, but important part of the mission."

One member who got a chance to see how it takes a team to accomplish the mission was Senior Airman Jason Cotton, a 374th Maintenance Operations Squadron aerospace propulsion journeyman, who had the opportunity to fly in one of the C-130's in the formation.

"The flight made me realize that every part of this operation is important," he said. "My shop can build engines all day long, but we aren't the ones who put them on the aircraft, and we don't inspect the plane before the flight. I realize now that it takes more than the props shop to make it go, so I see what it's all about now."

Cotton said the experience also helped him understand the importance of what he does and his role within the mission.

"It showed me how all of the hard work pays off," he said. "The whole thing makes you realize a little bit more how important this job is."

Face of Defense: Marine Celebrates His Hispanic Culture


By Marine Corps Cpl. Michael S. Lockett
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

ABOARD USS CARTER HALL, Aug. 20, 2013 – Marines come from all over.

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Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alvaro Morales, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is pictured aboard the USS Carter Hall, Aug. 13, 2013. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael S. Lockett
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Just ask Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alvaro Morales.
 
Hoping to find a better life, Morales and his father traveled to Miami from Chinandega, Nicaragua, in 1998.

Morales, assigned to Company K, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., teams with Marines from more than half a dozen countries.

Back in Nicaragua “there were barely any jobs -- things were just bad,” Morales recalled. “Things were not good over there.”

After Morales arrived in Miami, he spent the next several years in the area.
“I literally went to six elementary schools and five middle schools,” he said. “I got to stay in one high school for four years. That was pretty exciting. It’s pretty difficult, moving around and meeting new people all the time. We just kept moving from better to better.”

After high school, Morales attended Miami-Dade College for a semester, studying criminal justice with the intention of joining the local police force. Life, however, had different plans, and financial troubles forced him to withdraw.

He joined the Marine Corps shortly afterward. “I needed a way to go to college,” Morales said. “From what I heard from friends that had already joined, it was a challenge. It was going to be tough. But I thought it would build strong character.

Morales was sent to school to train as an amphibious assault vehicle crewman.

“Everything we do training-wise, learning my own MOS [military occupational specialty], has been a challenge,” he said. “You have to know how to drive and how to fix anything in the [amphibious assault vehicle] in case something breaks.”

Currently, Morales is deployed with the 26th MEU’s AAV Platoon aboard the USS Carter Hall.
He said he still intends to become a police officer in Miami after completing his military service.
“I just thought it was a great job for the future. I never had any intention of doing something else,” Morales said of his dream of becoming a police officer.

And he misses Miami.

“I love it. It’s a paradise to me. You have clubs -- the nightlife, the parties and the environment. The people are friendly,” Morales said. “There’re a lot of things to do there, and the food is amazing. You have a lot of different Latin food.”

He added, “To us Hispanics, yes, food is very important. Trying new types of food is amazing.”
Morales said he’s happy to answer his fellow Marines’ questions about Hispanic culture.
“I mean, I don’t think it’s important, but guys I’ve met here are always asking questions, like how different are Spanish countries,” he said.

Reserve pilots ensure Columbus AFB mission success

by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Englar
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


8/16/2013 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Air Force reservists are an integral part of the Columbus Air Force Base mission of Producing Pilots, Advancing Airmen, and Feeding the Fight. They help ensure that annually over 400 students trained at Columbus AFB while more than 55,000 sorties are flown.

One squadron that contributes to these astronomical numbers is the 43rd Flying Training Squadron, which is home to more than 90 highly-experienced instructor pilots (full time and reservist part-time support) divided between five flights supporting the T-6, T-1, T-38 and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals training programs.

"The 43rd FTS brings Columbus a total force program that fully integrates reserve and regular Air Force instructor pilot forces to execute the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training and IFF flying missions," said Lt. Col. Richard Briner, 43rd FTS Commander. "In the 2012 fiscal year, we executed 18 percent of the 14th Flying Training Wing's mission flying over 10,600 sorties."

Briner said that the 43rd maintains a highly experienced cadre of instructors with varied flying backgrounds across the full spectrum of Air Force aircraft.

"Most of our instructor pilots have many years of Air Education and Training Command instructor experience making our force highly coveted for seasoned expertise and relevant flight training," said Briner.

Two instructor pilots here have excelled in helping Columbus AFB "Produce Pilots" for the past 19 years and have had an influence on the 50th FTS, the 48th Flying Training Squadron and, lastly, the 43rd FTS.

Lt. Col. Michael Kendrick and Lt. Col. Barry Tye, both IPs from the 43rd FTS, are finishing off their Air Force careers after having flown over 4,000 hours in the T-1A Jayhawk.

"Kendrick and Tye are two tremendously talented instructor pilots and aviators who have almost 20 years of continuous AETC instructor pilot experience each," said Briner. "Along with passionate training, both pilots always maintained a great sense of humor, which kept morale at high levels in both the 48th FTS and 43rd FTS. Their contributions propelled squadron esprit de corps to new levels that have guaranteed the continued success of the 43rd FTS Firebirds."

They haven't always been here training student pilots though, their careers began at Williams AFB, Ariz. where they attended pilot training in 1991, just four classes apart.

"I was at Tye's assignment night," said Kendrick. "I remember him as the tallest guy in the class."

From Williams AFB their paths split and their careers took them all over the world. Kendrick went to Yokota AB, Japan to fly a C-130. For two years he flew repatriation missions with the United Nations into various locations in the Pacific. Meanwhile, Tye was flying missions with the United Nations out of Germany into Bosnia-Herzegovina in his C-130.

After those assignments, both pilots reunited at Columbus AFB as active-duty T-38 instructor pilots in 1994. A few years later, both had the opportunity to leave active duty and teach as reserve instructor pilots.

"It was great instructing and teaching the newest students how to be pilots and officers in the Air Force," said Kendrick. "I really loved the job so when the chance to join the Reserves opened up, I felt it was a fantastic way to continue serving my country."

Kendrick said that his family had great ties with the local Columbus community through sports and their church, and that is why they chose to stay here for 19 years.

"I owe a debt of gratitude to my family for all of their support and everything that they do and overcome," said Kendrick. "I know that my schedule has always been packed, and I'm grateful for their support."

Kendrick said one of the hardest parts of the job is "balancing just-right on a three legged stool."

He continued by saying that the three legs of the stool are: military job, civilian job, and taking care of your family.

Both Kendrick and Tye have been married to their wives for around 27 years each.

Tye said that serving as a citizen Airman in the Air Force Reserve Command is a privilege and an honor.

"We don't do the job any differently than active duty Airmen," said Kendrick. "We have a genuine passion for the mission and training standards."

Kendrick and Tye hold the record for the most combined hours for a two-ship formation ever flown out of the base with a combined 15,400 hours.

Overall, the two instructor pilots have flown over 8,200 hours in a T-1. Tye is ending his Air Force career at a total of 5,865 hours while Kendrick will end at 5,914.

"Their passion for flying, student instruction and their impacts on training are still evident in the 48th FTS and 43rd FTS today and will continue to be for many years," said Briner. "AETC and AFRC are losing two great officers, aviators and mentors--two great Americans and true patriots."

Recruiter's efforts after tornado has lasting impact

by 1st Lt. Kwang Woong Kim
Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs


8/16/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- As the massive 1.3-mile-wide tornado approached Moore, Okla., May 20, Staff Sgt. Tim Smith took shelter along with his family, neighbors and dogs.

"I arrived home 10 minutes before the tornado hit my neighborhood," said Smith, an Enlisted Accessions recruiter in Norman, Okla. "My wife, my son and I were able to make it to my neighbor's shelter."

"About the time it was on top of us, all of our ears started popping repeatedly and we were silent," added Smith. "The only thing I heard was the wind and the debris hitting the roof and garage door. We were in the shelter for about eight minutes before the noise stopped and we felt it was safe to come out and look around."

The EF5 tornado had destroyed everything in its path, including his neighborhood.

"When I opened the shelter, the garage door was smashed in and we could only see our severely damaged house across the street," said Smith. "The neighborhood had been destroyed and there was still debris in the air and you could still see the tornado."

As Smith and his neighbor went to survey the damage of their homes, they noticed that the local elementary school, which was in session, was no longer there.

"I yelled at Tim and said, 'There are still kids in the school!'" said Phillip Rowland, Smith's neighbor. "We immediately took off running down the street towards the elementary school."

"Briarwood Elementary School was left with just a few walls, a pile of rubble, and what looked like a junkyard of mangled cars out front," Rowland added.

Without hesitation, Smith took control of the scene. He coordinated a group of volunteers and led search parties to help those trapped inside vehicles and the school.

"When I got to the first car, there was a young girl in the back seat crying and waiting for her father who was in the school, so Phil stayed with her as I worked my way through all the other cars," said Smith. "In front of the school there was a small pond where several cars were turned over. In order to check them I had to swim under the water to feel around to ensure the car was clear and about half way through clearing the cars, another young man was there helping me."

Searching through debris and cars, Smith and several volunteers rescued and aided those in need of help.

"We searched the school for about an hour until all the children were accounted for," said Smith. "We managed to pull out the last two children who were missing and administered first aid to them, while several officers came through evacuating the area due to gas leaks and live wires."

"You would think he did this every day from the way he was able to search with urgency and efficiency," added Rowland.

As first responders arrived at school, Smith headed back toward his neighborhood to look for those still trapped. Street after street, Smith and fellow volunteers continued their search through debris looking for trapped survivors and rendering first aid, ranging from small cuts and puncture wounds to large head wounds.

"As Phil and I headed into the streets of the neighborhood, I started yelling to hopefully hear a response," said Smith. "Fortunately, I heard a man's voice yelling, 'We are here! We are here!' I used a pry bar to remove debris from the top of the shelter and got it open. We were able to pull him, his wife and grandchildren who were stuck in their shelter."

While attending to the injured, Smith and fellow volunteers supported first responders who were unable to get to the scene.

"We transported the injured by loading them into pickup trucks because their vehicles could not to make it through the neighborhood," said Smith.

"Every point that I ran back into Tim he was still working with the same urgency as he was when we first stepped out of the shelter," Rowland added. "I started to slow down quite a bit because of the physical and mental strain, but just seeing him push on really motivated me to keep up. I saw him organizing people and doing so many things I'm not even sure he realized what he was doing."

Smith was not the only member of the family providing a helping hand. His wife, Staff Sgt. Brandi Smith, a unit deployment manager, had taken in several children whose parents were helping in the search efforts.

"Without her taking in those children those other parents would not have been able to help with the rescue efforts," said Smith. "During all of this she also had our own son she was trying to watch. At one point she had as many as five children and one of them had special needs."

"It's hard to say an exact number of lives impacted that day by Tim's acts, but I would describe it as a ripple," said Rowland. "For every person he either helped or inspired that day I'm confident that individual went out and was able to help at least one other person."

Rowland admitted that he and his wife were tossing around the idea of moving away from Moore after the tornado but they soon changed their minds.

"As soon as we found out that the Smith family was going to rebuild we couldn't think of a better place to be. Tim and Brandi both did so much that day for the neighbors and so many people they didn't even know. I can't think of anywhere else we could find better people to raise a family around."

Lieutenant follows aviation passion to Silver Wings

by Sonic Johnson
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


8/16/2013 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Second Lt. Jon Koritz joined 23 of his Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training classmates Aug. 16 to become the newest pilots in the United States Air Force during a formal ceremony in Kaye Auditorium here. Koritz, who shares a passion for aviation with many of his family members, is humbled to be joining the long list of military aviators, one of them his father, Maj. Tom Koritz.

Koritz' father was killed in action on the second night of combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 flying an F-15E Strike Eagle. At the time, his father was one of six Pilot-Physicians flying in the United States Air Force. He was survived by his wife, Julianne and three sons Tim, Jon and Scott.

"To walk across this stage, the same stage my father walked across with class 82-01 to receive his wings, is a very special moment for me and my family," Koritz said.

Koritz graduated in 2008 from East Carolina University and entered the business world with Fastenal in North Carolina. Still harboring a passion for aviation, his girlfriend, and soon to be father-in-law retired Lt. Col. Steve Lofgren, were instrumental in his pursuit and eventual acceptance to Officer Training School in 2011.

Koritz rapidly learned how small the Air Force was when reporting to Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio right after OTS for pre-flight medical screening. During his physical, Kortiz' attending physician was a Flight Surgeon in the 4th Medical Group at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. with his father.

Koritz was joined by his wife, mother, two brothers and other family members and friends Aug 2 when class 13-13 received their assignments. Sixteen friends and family members traveled to Columbus and witnessed firsthand Koritz' excitement when he received his assignment to the F-15E Strike Eagle.

Class 13-13 also had a distinguished keynote speaker for their graduation address. Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Tom Travis, the Air Force Surgeon General, spoke to the newly minted aviators, family and friends during the formal ceremony. Like Koritz' father, Travis is one of 11 Pilot-Physicians in the Air Force.

"This is both bittersweet and difficult," reflects Koritz' mother Julianne Koritz. "The solace of this moment is that I have never seen Jon happier... he was meant to be an Air Force aviator." She quickly added at how proud she was of his accomplishment and predicts his passion for aviation will take him far.

"I am just fortunate to have this opportunity," added Koritz. "It would have never happened without the love and support of my family and friends."

Niagara Youth Marines tour reserve station

by Peter Borys
914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/16/2013 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Members of the Niagara Youth Marine Cadets visited the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station recently and were given a tour of the facilities and demonstrations in security forces, fire fighting, and explosive ordinance disposal.

The cadets, ages 11-17 years old, also participated in plyometrics, a series of cardio, strength and conditioning exercises.

The group's motto is "Preparing Our Youth to be Leaders of Tomorrow...Today!"

Compass Call Airmen to receive world-class training facility

by Senior Airman Camilla Elizeu
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., -- Construction began here on the new 55th Electronic Combat Group academic facility Aug. 15, launching the next chapter in formal flight training for EC-130H Compass Call.

This new $78 million complex will be the home of the 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron, which is the Air Force's sole formal training unit for the Compass Call mission. The facility will house the first flight deck simulator, two different mission crew simulators, Squadron Operations Center, office space for both Air Force and contract instructors, as well as multiple training classrooms.

"This facility was deemed a requirement about five years ago," said Col. Marty Reynolds, 55th ECG commander. "We are very excited and grateful for the building. Currently, the training is scattered amongst different buildings as well as other bases. Historically, our Flight Deck Airmen are initially trained at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas and Joint-Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, while mission crews were trained here at Davis-Monthan. This facility enables us to provide world-class training under one roof in a world-class facility."

Known as the Weapons System Trainer, the flight simulator will provide air refueling, landing, in-flight emergency procedure training for four different crew positions.

The two mission crew simulators will represent the two distinct baseline aircraft configurations employed by the Compass Call. Additionally, it will enable the group to upgrade the simulators individually when future baselines are delivered to ensure crews are trained in the latest capabilities and tactics to meet the requirements of combatant commanders.

"This multi-simulator facility will allow for initial, upgrade and continuation training in one location and will enhance our ability to support current and future contingency operations," Reynolds said. "The 55th ECG has been constantly deployed for the past 10 years, and we do not see that changing anytime soon."

Currently, the EC-130H Compass Call is the highest utilized C-130 in the Air Force inventory, he said.

"We have been able to overcome several challenges during the contract award and design process thanks to the support by multiple 55th Wing, 355th Fighter Wing, US Corps of Engineers as well as the design and construction teams," said Lt. Col. Phil Acquaro, the 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron commander. "Success of this project and the future impact to the Air Force will be a direct result of teamwork that starts with the 355th Fighter Wing security team that inspects the construction vehicles, the civil engineers that will maintain the facility and, of course, the instructors that will perform the actual aircrew training."

The facility is expected to be completed by October 2014, and fully operational by December 2014.

"This is a tremendous win for us as we will deliver the goal of the 42nd ECS to train professional aviators in a world-class facility," Reynolds said.

Face of Defense: Navy Chaplain’s Assistant Seeks to Serve Others


By Marine Corps Cpl. Laura Gauna
1st Marine Logistics Group

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Aug. 19, 2013 – Religion has always been important to 19-year-old Navy Seaman Apprentice Jacob L. Brown, a religious program specialist with Group Chaplain, 1st Marine Logistics Group here.


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Navy Seaman Apprentice Jacob L. Brown, a religious program specialist with Group Chaplain, 1st Marine Logistics Group, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., learned that RPs are sailors who provide administrative assistance to chaplains, but the moment their chaplain’s life is in danger, their responsibility transforms from clerk to bodyguard. Courtesy photo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
When Brown learned that he could help others while serving his country, he jumped at the chance.



He knew he could continue his passion for religion, but what he didn’t expect were the collateral duties.

Religious program specialists are sailors who provide administrative and logistical assistance to chaplains, but when their chaplain's life is in danger, their responsibility transforms from clerk to bodyguard.

“There are two parts to an RP, the combat side and garrison side,” said Brown, a native of Anderson, Ind. “We are the eyes and the ears of the chaplain around the battalion. We meet the Marines, get a feel for the battalion and work with the chaplain in order to minister to the Marines and sailors. The other side is protecting the life of your chaplain while deployed.”

The Geneva Conventions, which set the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of war, specifies that chaplains are noncombatants.

Although it is not stated whether chaplains may bear arms, chaplains in the U.S. military do not. As a result, RPs are required to protect their chaplains.

In order to effectively perform their jobs in danger zones, RPs are required to complete expeditionary skills training.

"It was like a mini Marine boot camp," Brown recalled. "We really need to know how to use the weapon, be alert and know what to do if we ever get in a situation where we need to protect the chaplain.”

During the course, sailors completed training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, a Humvee driver’s course, various weapons familiarization classes and several scenario-based exercises. Each RP also has to maintain the annual Marine Corps qualifications.

“Knowing you are bearing arms for a naval officer always makes you want to learn everything you can to be that much better,” Brown said. “It’s not only that you are protecting a naval officer but you are protecting a husband, a father, a brother, so if anything were to happen to him a lot of people would be effected by that. It’s a large thing to bear.”

Although Brown has not deployed yet, he is fully prepared to take on the challenge.

“If I deployed I would know I’d have a duty to fulfill and I know that I’d have to get myself and my chaplain home safe no matter what,” he added.

But, protecting an unarmed chaplain is just part of the service religious program specialists provide to their commands.

For Marines and sailors who are having trouble adjusting to deployment life or just need an outlet for stress, RPs can provide helpful information and schedule time for service members to speak with their chaplain.

“My job is to make sure the chaplain can do his job as best as possible,” Brown said. “Whatever I can do to integrate myself with the unit and help them out, I’ll do it. I am there for these Marines and want to make sure they know it.”

Whether they are lending an ear to Marines and sailors or guarding their chaplain's life, RPs provide a service that helps ensure Marines and sailors have emotional and spiritual support.

“RPs shouldn’t get scared to go into this career because this is a great job to be a part of,” Brown said. “You can learn so much from it because it’s a very unique job. And to be able to get down and dirty with the Marines is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not too many people who join the Navy get to experience the Marines like this. I am happy I can provide them a service.”

Airman loses eye, continues to serve

by Senior Airman David Owsianka
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/16/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Imagine returning home from a deployment without any incidents, but then competing in a sports game and losing an essential body part.

Staff Sgt. Delbert Coburn, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems journeyman, lost his left eye while playing in a softball game in Goodyear four days after returning from his second deployment in October 2010.

"During the play, a fielder tried to throw me out as I slid head first into second base," Coburn said. "But, there was no one to catch the ball and it hit me in the left eye. I never lost consciousness. I laid there thinking I just got back, and I'm already going to have a black eye."

After Coburn turned over and regained focus in his right eye, he could see his left eye hanging from its socket. He began to have trouble breathing as he went into shock. The paramedics arrived and administered aid.

Coburn was rushed to Barrows Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix via helicopter, where he had immediate surgery to put his eye back in to try and save it. He had been hit so hard, his eye had exploded. A doctor came in five days later and told Coburn his eye was too ruptured to save and he would never see out of it again. The doctor explained the eye needed to be removed. If left, it would infect the good eye and Coburn would become totally blind.

"For me, that was a no-brainer," Coburn said. "I had another surgery to have it taken out."

Coburn met with two medical boards in December 2010 to prove he could still be an effective member of the U.S. Air Force and perform his job safely and effectively as an electrician. He was deemed worldwide qualified one month after meeting with the medical boards.

"That was the best news I had in months," he said. "It was important for me because I couldn't see my career ending like that, and I wanted to make sure I could continue to provide for my children."

Coburn needed to adapt to performing work duties and extracurricular activities with only one eye.

"Work has changed a lot because I don't have depth perception and have to focus even more on completing tasks safely," he said. "I had to relearn how to do everything for sports. In softball, I had to relearn how to hit the ball, how to correctly time the ball while at bat and how to judge the ball when fielding so I could catch it."

Coburn received a joint expeditionary tasking to deploy with the Army to Afghanistan one year after being cleared to stay in the Air Force.

"Being in Afghanistan was nerve racking because I was always outside the wire," Coburn said. "Wherever I went I had to take a helicopter to small forward operating bases."

At one point during the deployment, Coburn needed to go to a training site. To get there, he had to do a patrol walk through a town with an Army unit.

At the time, some of the Afghan troops were turning on the U.S. military, he said.

"I was very nervous being in that area because I couldn't see out of my left eye," Coburn said. "I had to rely on my wingman to cover his area. Luckily nothing bad happened."
Coburn received an Army commendation medal at the end of his tour.

Tech. Sgt. Ricardo Vera, 56th CES electrical section NCO-in-charge, said Coburn was eager to start working and show he could still do what was needed to get the job done.
"It's inspiring to see how resilient he was to bounce back from an injury like that and continue to success fully complete his job and serve his country," he said.

Losing his left eye hasn't kept Coburn from losing sight of his goals as an Airman. He applied to become a military training instructor in January 2013 and was accepted a month later.

"I've always wanted to become a training instructor after going through basic, but didn't want to leave my family at the time," he said. "I went through Airman Leadership School in February 2008. My instructor superintendant was a former training instructor, and he talked to us about looking at that as an avenue.

"Being an instructor will help me appreciate being an Airman more, and I hope I instill in the recruits what I've learned as I train them to become Airmen," Coburn said.

Beale combat operations squadrons prepare for Korea exercise

by Capt. Joseph Simms
940th Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2013 - Osan Air Base, Korea  -- Reservists assigned to the 940th Wing, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., continue to arrive at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, in preparation for the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, Aug. 19-30.

The 713th Combat Operations Squadron, Beale AFB, Calif., and the 701st Combat Operations Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., will join approximately 30,000 U.S. service members for the joint/combined command post exercise.

"Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a critical alliance exercise to sustain the readiness of the Republic of Korea, U.S. forces and the sending state forces," said Gen. James D. Thurman, commander, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea. "It is based on realistic scenarios and enables us to train on our essential tasks with a whole-of-government approach."

Training exercises such as UFG are carried out in accordance with the Oct. 1, 1953, armistice and the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. These routine exercises also highlight the commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations and help ensure stability and security on the Korean Peninsula.

Members of the two combat operations squadrons will work alongside seven countries from the United Nations Command during UFG, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Reservists from the 701st COS, including Lt. Col. Greg Cassidy, have been participating in UFG since the mid-1990s.

"These two weeks are what we train for throughout the year," said Cassidy. "Our mission is to augment the 7th Air Force and the Korean Area of Responsibility, and these scenarios are designed to simulate exactly what we would face if we were called to support the ROK."

UFG and other CFC exercises are defense oriented while training a full range of military capabilities to ensure participants are fully prepared for any contingency.

The exercise, previously named Ulchi-Focus Lens, began in 1976 to enhance wartime planning, command and control operations, intelligence, logistics and personnel procedures for the defense of the Republic of Korea.

Joint fire training in a flash

by Airman 1st Class Soo C. Kim
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/7/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- There's a fire burning inside a red container. Firefighters are already at the scene, but they aren't there to put it out, they're there to lock themselves inside and experience what happens next.

The fire burns brighter, smoke rises higher and the heat begins to concentrate at the center. Suddenly, the room ignites.

It's a training scenario for the firefighter's worst nightmare -- flashover.

In order to train, educate and save lives, the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters hosted a joint training session here July 29, with Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Aircraft Rescue firefighters.

"A flashover is a near simultaneous ignition of every object in a confined room," said Master Sgt. Jon Ammon, the assistant chief of training with the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron.

During a fire, heat builds up in a structure's ceiling and creates a thick layer of smoke. Without proper ventilation the heat cannot escape and increases to a higher temperature until it combusts.

The training was held in a controlled training environment, simulating a flashover fire in a closed container with limited ventilation. A seasoned instructor monitored firefighters inside and Yokota firefighters were on standby just outside the door, in case of an emergency.

"This training is necessary because it gives firefighters a basis to recognize a deadly situation," Ammon said. "Flashover has injured and killed dozens of firefighters over the years. It is so deadly that many of our fire regulations are built around flashover, such as response times and personal protection clothing capability."

Being focused on aircraft rescue, the flashover training was a unique experience for the visiting Marines.

"We had a twelve hour bus ride, but the training was definitely worth it," said Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Lanham, the ARFF section leader. "A lot of these guys haven't seen flashover before and this was their first opportunity to experience it.

More joint firefighter training opportunities are scheduled at Yokota this year.

"We got to train on a situation unique to us over in Iwankuni and had a chance to foster high morale with our fellow firefighters," Lanham added. "All in all I'd say this was a mission complete for our guys."