Wednesday, August 21, 2013

909th AMU integral to Pacific mission success

by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman
18th Wing Public Affairs

8/21/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- As the 10 wheels bearing the enormous weight of the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft are pulled into the sky from the hot flightline, the Airmen watching the jet launch all breathe a silent sigh of relief.

For seemingly endless hours each day under the hot Okinawan sun, maintainers from the 909th Aircraft Maintenance Unit inspect, bolt, grease and polish an assortment of parts and pieces to ensure this moment goes off without a hitch every time - many people's lives depend on it.

"It's an adrenaline rush," said Senior Airman Andrew Gulvas, 909th AMU crew chief. "I love knowing the maintenance you did with whomever you worked with is the reason that jet made it off the line."

With a mission that supports aircraft from all over the region - both U.S. and coalition forces alike - Gulvas said ensuring the jet gets off the line is important to more than just Kadena.

"We run the Pacific," he explained about the 909th Air Refueling Squadron and maintainers responsible for the aircraft. "The bombers wouldn't get anywhere; the fighters wouldn't reach where they need to go. Everything in the Pacific depends on this unit."

Gulvas said the AMU supports a multitude of operations for the aircraft on the flightline, often leading to a packed schedule for the group of Airmen.

"[On any given day], we get to work, get tools, perform roll call and work through pre-flights, through-flights, landers, tows, refuels, defuels ... and in between, if there's any scheduled maintenance, we take care of that too," Gulvas said.

Despite the innumerable tasks laid out in front of each maintainer, Airman 1st Class Jamal Mitchell, also a crew chief for the 909th AMU, said getting the job done is what it's all about.

"When a jet's broken, and it's a pretty big task, you get a proud feeling as a mechanic to get that job done, because you're counted on to get that jet where it needs to be," Mitchell said. "It's a great sense of responsibility and accomplishment to do well on a job. People rely on you."

Judge Sentences Manning to 35 Years of Confinement

From a Military District of Washington News Release

FORT MEADE, Md., Aug. 21, 2013 – Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning was sentenced here today to 35 years of confinement, reduction to the lowest enlisted rank, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances for his July 30 conviction on a variety of charges related to publication of government information on the WikiLeaks website.

Army Col. Denise Lind, the presiding judge in Manning’s general court-martial, granted credit for time served of 1,182 days for pretrial confinement and 112 days of additional pretrial confinement credit.
Manning was tried and sentenced by military judge alone by his request. He pleaded guilty to 10 separate offenses, but ultimately was found guilty of 20 offenses, including seven specifications of wrongful possession and transmission of national defense information, five specifications of theft of government information, two specifications of unauthorized access to a government computer and wrongful possession and transmission of protected government information, five specifications of violation of lawful regulations related to his computer use and storage of classified information, and one specification of wrongful publication of U.S. intelligence information.

The court-martial now is in the post-trial and appellate phase, in which the government will compile a complete and accurate record of the trial and review the findings and sentence, officials said. Manning has the right to petition the convening authority for clemency during the post-trial phase, they added.

59 MDW physician honored for ground-breaking treatment

by Senior Airman Courtney Moses
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

8/21/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas  -- Using lasers to treat burns and scars might sound counterintuitive, but one Air Force physician is drastically improving the quality of life for his patients with a newly developed technology.

59th Medical Specialty Squadron Dermatologist Lt. Col. (Dr.) Chad Hivnor was recently selected to receive the Air Force Association's Paul W. Myers Award for his work using lasers to improve skin texture and flexibility for wounded warriors.

In a joint research project with Massachusetts General Hospital and Shriner's Hospital of Boston, Hivnor was awarded a $1.1 million grant to study improvement in range of motion using lasers on burn and amputee scars.

"By using a carbon dioxide laser, a number of wounded warriors were able to be treated for their burns and scars, to include leg amputations," said Hivnor. "We were then able to increase the sweat and decrease hair which causes frictional folliculitis, a skin condition caused by inflammation of hair follicles due to the prosthetics."

"We're really helping the wounded warriors to assimilate back into society," he added.

For four years, Hivnor was the either the program director or assistant program director for the largest Defense Department dermatology residency, with 21 residents annually - a program that maintains a 100 medical board percent passing rate.

He is also the only dermatologist in the Air Force taking patients to the operating room to treat severe burns that involves anywhere from 10 to 80 percent of their body surface area.

Hivnor is the principle investigator for six different Institutional Review Board approved research protocols with over 200 combined patients. These studies allow new technologies to be employed and new practices to be conducted - the laser treatments are one example of a tangible benefit for patients.

Gabriel Alvarado, a fireman hurt in a refinery explosion, said he is thankful for what Dr. Hivnor has done.

"I can already tell the difference in the way I look and feel," said Alvarado. "And that makes my outlook on life a lot better."

The Paul W. Myers award is presented to the Air Force medical corps officer who has made the most significant contribution to the continued good health of the men and women of the Air Force.

Formally known as the Clinical Surgeons Award, it became the Paul W. Myers Award in honor of retired Lt. Gen. Paul W. Myers for his 45 years of active membership with the society of Air Force Clinical Surgeons.

Hivnor will receive this award at the Air Force Association's annual Air and Space Conference in Washington, D.C. Sept. 16, 2013.

Airman brings home gold in national culinary arts competition

by Staff Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs

8/21/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Being an Air Force food service specialist offers Airmen the opportunity to provide one of the most critical elements of mission support-sustenance. However, for one Airman assigned to the 647th Force Support Squadron as a food service journeyman, it also provided an opportunity to make her dreams a reality.

Senior Airman Carmen Gonzalez said she joined the Air Force because she wanted to be a professional chef; a goal she recently put to the test when she took home gold and silver medals at the U.S. Army's 38th Annual Culinary Arts competition, in Fort Lee, Va.

The annual competition serves to raise the standards of culinary excellence and professionalism, nurture creativity, offer a place for participants to showcase their skills and give participants a chance to earn credits toward a certification.

"I did great, better than I expected in such a competitive environment," said the Puerto Rico native. "It was a lot of hard work and long hours, but in the end, getting the competition experience was worth it, winning was a bonus."

Gonzalez said she finally got her big break after three years, when she was selected as the sole Airman to represent the Air Force in the local multi service competition. After an extensive week-long try out that pitted her against 50 other service members, she was then chosen as the only Airman, on a joint team of 12, which would train for the international competition in Virginia.

"We did not select Airman Gonzalez to represent the Air Force, like everyone else, Airman Gonzalez had to compete for a spot on the team," said Tech. Sgt. Katrina Stone, 647th Force Support Squadron food service supply NCO in charge. "Her attention to detail and pride in all that she does win out all the time."

The team trained 12 hours a day, six days a week, for more than four months to perfect basic cooking skills, and proper preparation of hot and cold foods to meet stringent competition standards.

Gonzalez said training for the competition was different than the year she spent studying culinary arts, because the military training involved stricter standards and more discipline. She said she also struggled with learning how to prepare cold food products to use for presentation.

The training paid off. Gonzalez said she made her winning dish of stuffed chicken with goat cheese and spinach, fluted mushrooms, turned potatoes with balsamic vinegar onions nine times before preparing it for the competition and earning a gold medal in the hot food category. She was also awarded a silver medal for the cold food category and third place for the team category.

As Gonzalez looks to the future, she said she will continue to work on her craft in preparation for the U.S. Army's 39th Annual Culinary Arts competition next year. She's also been invited to participate in the 2014 World Culinary Cup.

Stone said Gonzalez embodies "excellence in all she does" both in and out the kitchen, even when she's not competing.

"We are extremely proud of Airman Gonzalez," said Stone. "I wish I can take the credit for her being outstanding, in truth ... Airman Gonzalez prides herself in doing the best job she can. No matter how small, big, simple or difficult the task, she always put her best foot forward."

Reserve Officers Association expands eligibility to NCOs

8/20/2013 - WASHINGTON -- Members of the Reserve Officers Association have expanded the organization's membership eligibility to include non-commissioned officers.

Delegates to the association's annual convention overwhelmingly approved the measure over the weekend. The move opens the organization's doors to NCO ranks from all uniformed services.

With the expansion, ROA, historically known as the nation's leading advocate for Reservists and their families adds a level of strength to their voice in Washington. Founded in 1922 by veterans of World War I, this adjustment to ROA's membership is being heralded as a watershed moment for an organization steeped in history.

Speaking to members following the vote, ROA's newly installed national president retired Brig. Gen. Michael Silva praised the rationale behind the decision to expand. "This is about more than strengthening our voice on the Hill; it's about doing what's right for the total Reserve force."

Underscoring the exemplary service of today's NCO's Silva went on to call the expansion "both strategically necessary and morally right." Silva continued, "The unique burdens of Reserve duty extend beyond rank and with this vote we're sending a message to the total force: if you're a Citizen Warrior, in or out of uniform, you belong with ROA."

Echoing the sentiment was the organization's executive director retired Maj. Gen. Andrew Davis. "Today's NCO corps is widely considered the most capable in the history of our military. They have performed and sacrificed on equal footing with our commissioned officers for more than a decade and they deserve a strong advocate working on their behalf."

In a statement to its existing membership of roughly 60,000 commissioned officers, the organization outlined their new eligibility standards: "Any active, retired or former commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or petty officer, who at any time upon entering the federal uniformed services took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and, if no longer serving, whose separation occurred under honorable circumstances, is eligible for an active membership."

The Reserve Officers Association is the 60,000-member professional association for all uniformed services of the United States. Chartered by Congress and in existence since 1922, ROA advises and educates the Congress, the President, and the American people on national security, with unique expertise on issues that affect the 1.5 million men and women now serving in America's Reserve Components.

4Heroes4Life and Life After Active Duty Launch “Let’s Join Forces” Campaign to Support Veterans

Strategic Alliance Brings Together Social Enterprise and Non-Profit to Offer Cord Cruncher Headphones to Raise Money to Aid Discharged Soldiers

LOS ANGELES (August 20, 2013) – 4Heroes4Life (, the social enterprise dedicated to raise money to aid returning veterans, and Life After Active Duty (LAAD,, a non-profit organization created to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan reintegrate into their community, have banded together to launch “Let’s Join Forces,” a new fund-raising campaign.
The “Let’s Join Forces” campaign is a new joint initiative to raise much-needed funds to aid returning veterans through sale of the Cord Cruncher tangle-free headphones. The Cord Cruncher is a set of portable headphones wrapped in a stretch latex sleeve to keep them from tangling. The Cord Cruncher is being offered by social enterprise company 4Heroes4Lifem, which is applying a new approach to fund-raising, using commercial business strategies to raise funds to directly support American veterans. The Cord Cruncher is the first product being offered by 4Heroes4Life, and 50 percent of all sales through the “Let’s Join Forces” initiative will go to fund LAAD’s veterans support programs.
“We are partnering with Life After Active Duty as a cause that is directly related to our mission: to aid returning veterans with much-needed services,” said Mark George, founder of 4Heroes4Life. “As social entrepreneurs, we can align our grassroots funding efforts with the cause, giving donors something tangible in exchange for their support. We want our donors to get a great product and understand that their hard-earned dollars go directly to the cause. As we expand our catalog, we expect to forge a lasting relationship with donors and help a lot of veterans along the way.”
LAAD is a non-profit organization that supports veterans returning home from war to help them make a successful transition to civilian life. LAAD has four main focus areas: direct support and training for returning veterans, raising community consciousness through education, providing basic coping skills through their “Silent Wounds” program, and empowering veterans and their families through personal development.
4Heroes4Life’s is a community organization dedicated to raising capital to support programs for our nation’s veteran heroes and their families. 4Heroes4Life markets consumer goods and services and uses the proceeds to fund programs to support homeless veterans, treat wounded and disabled veterans, provide job placement and training, treat PTSD, and offer other veteran services. 4Heroes4Life is committed to partnering with other organizations and social enterprise networks to promote return on community (ROC). In addition to raising money to provide aid for veterans, 4Heroes4Life also serves as an advocate for veterans, working to change public policy to help build a stronger local ecosystem to support veterans.
For more information, visit
About 4Heroes4Life
4Heroes4Life ( is a social enterprise committed to raising money to support American veterans and their families. As a social enterprise, 4Heroes4Life is dedicated to applying new, twenty-first century fund-raising strategies; rather than soliciting donations, the company offers goods and services that consumers want, and donate half the proceeds to support the nation’s veterans. 4Heroes4Life uses moneys raised to underwrite a wide range veteran services, including temporary and permanent housing, therapy for mental disorders such as PTSD, support for wounded and disable vets, job training and placement, and much more.
4Heroes4Life has offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Venice, California. For more information, visit 4Heroes4Life on the web at Like us on Facebook 4Heroes4LifeCordcruncher.
Mark George
(702) 573-1667
Tom Woolf
Woolf Media & Marketing
(415) 259-5638

Air Force Special Tactics Airmen rescue Alabama teen after climbing accident

by Capt. Craig Savage
24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

8/8/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla -- Two Air Force Special Tactics instructors rescued an Alabama teenager after he fell 30 feet from a steep rock face while climbing in the Cherokee Rock mountain range, located in Sand Rock, Ala., Monday.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Macella and Staff Sgt. Chris Johnston, special tactics pararescuemen instructors with the 24 th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., were scouting an area of the park for training purposes when the accident occurred.

"I heard a loud sliding noise, a scream and a thud about 100 meters away," Macella said.

An 18-year-old male, who was climbing with his girlfriend, slid 30 feet down a rock face into a crevice.

"We spread out and started calling to him to identify his location," Johnston said. "When we reached him he was trapped and still elevated about 8 feet off the ground."

Macella climbed through small openings to reach the victim and performed a rapid medical assessment. Once he determined the patient to be in stable condition, Johnston and Macella extracted him through a 2-by-2 hole at the bottom of the crevice.

The two pararescuemen guided the patient up a 60-foot mountain face to their military vehicle where they were able to continue treatment for multiple lacerations and abrasions. The victim's girlfriend took him to a local emergency room for further evaluation.

Air Force pararescuemen's primary mission is personnel recovery. Also known as PJs, these Airmen are specialists with emergency medical capabilities in humanitarian and combat environments. PJs deploy in any available manner, to include air-land-sea tactics, into restricted environments to authenticate, extract, treat, stabilize and evacuate injured personnel. PJs with the 24 SOW are trained for unconventional warfare and are part of the Air Force Special Tactics community.

Special Tactics Airmen are Air Force special operators who conduct worldwide missions supporting U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Big Changes for BE WELL Means More Choices for Airmen

Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs

8/20/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The BE WELL program, an Air Force-wide program designed to provide Airmen and leadership with resources to optimize fitness and health, now offers more choices and increased flexibility, thanks to a revamp that went into effect July 1.

The Balanced Eating, Work Out Effectively, Living Longer, or BE WELL program, was redesigned based on input from Airmen, leadership and Air Force health promotion professionals.

The result is a fully customizable program structured to offer effective, targeted solutions in the areas of fitness, nutrition education, and dietary supplement safety, according to Air Force Health Promotion (AFHP) officials at the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

The new program offers access to a full suite of options, including a comprehensive online class, telephonic health coaching through Military One Source, in-person classes on weight management with a fitness component, and instructor-led workshops on cardiovascular and strength training.

Options in the new BE WELL program will remain open to all Airmen and their families, and the program will continue to be mandatory for those with unsatisfactory fitness scores. Members with unsatisfactory scores will collaborate with their unit fitness program manager and their commander to choose the one or more options that will best help them meet their fitness goals, said Lt. Col. Trisha Vorachek, Air Force Health Promotion chief.

Leadership teams can request information and support from their installation Air Force health promotion professionals or contact Kelly Williams, Air Force Medical Support Agency health promotion program manager at DSN 761-7382.

Laughlin defenders train for active shooter

by Senior Airman John D. Partlow
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

8/20/2013 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The sound of sirens fills the air as Laughlin defenders hurriedly prepare their gear to handle a simulated active shooter scenario here Aug. 14 .

For a few hours, Laughlin personnel received and responded to information regarding a simulated active shooter at Bldg. 380 Aerospace Physiology.

"All exercises are different in their own way," said Senior Airman Zephaniah Welsh, 47th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations control controller. "The key is just adapting to the situation."

Once the exercise kicked-off, several 47th SFS members rushed the affected building, neutralizing the threat, clearing the area, and securing all persons with simulated injuries.

"As security forces members, we never know when an active shooter situation can erupt," said Christopher Koons, 47th SFS Standardization and Evaluation department security specialist. "These exercises allow us to be ready at all times."

47th Medical Group personnel participated by evaluating the medical needs of the role players involved in the mock shooting and working with the security forces members on extracting the wounded.

"Working together gets every organization on the same page," said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Quintanilla, 47th Civil Engineer Squadron fire station captain. "Our communication improves, it lets us know what each other is doing, and it allows us to accomplish our ultimate goal which is to get everyone home to see their families."

The day held a range of simulated exercises, from the active shooter scenario, to the press conference with Col. Brian Hastings, 47th Flying Training Wing commander.

"Participating in the mock press conference was definitely a good experience," said Capt. Andrew Edmund, 47th Student Squadron recent Laughlin pilot graduate and role player during the exercise. "It allowed me to see a new perspective of the base during an exercise. I had no idea how involved other agencies really were."

The day ended when the situation played itself completely out and the base had successfully resolved the scenario.

We exercise so that all of Team XL in times of crisis can 'think without thinking' and execute, because we continually reinforce habits and responses through realistic training," said Hastings. "Overall, I'm proud of the work everyone has put it today, and we will continue to strive for excellence."

California National Guard Battles Several Wildfires

California National Guard

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 20, 2013 – Nearly a dozen aircraft and crews from the California Air and Army National Guard are battling wildfires across Northern California.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
A C-130J from the 146th Airlift Wing in Port Hueneme, Calif., drops fire retardant over the trees in the mountains above Palm Springs, Calif., July 19, 2013. The 146th Airlift Wing was activated July 18, 2013, to support CAL Fire and CAL OES on the Mountain fire and other potential wildfire activity throughout the state. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Nicholas Carzis

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Currently, nine California Army National Guard helicopters and two California Air National Guard air tankers are working in coordination with CAL FIRE and U.S. Forest Service firefighting crews to battle the American, Swedes and Rim fires.
The aircraft have dropped more than 250,000 gallons of water or fire retardant since the first crews were activated Aug. 13.
National Guard units also are involved in fighting fires in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.

"We train for this fight every year," said Army Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, the adjutant general of the California National Guard. "Our ongoing coordination with CAL FIRE and CAL OES ensures that the right people, with the right training, are in the right place when the lives and property of our fellow Californians are on the line."

Three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters are battling the American Fire, two Black Hawks are assigned to fight the Rim Fire, and three helicopters -- two Black Hawks and one CH-47 Chinook – are engaged in battling the Swedes Fire. Meanwhile, one Black Hawk helicopter is staged in Redding, Calif., on call for medevac support.

Each Black Hawk is equipped with a 660-gallon water bucket, while the Chinook's bucket has a 2,000-gallon capacity. The medevac helicopter is equipped with a specialized crew and a hoist for extracting injured personnel from rugged terrain.

The helicopters have completed more than 229 drops, releasing about 111,500 gallons of water since their Aug. 17 activation.

The two C-130J air tankers are fighting the Rim fire. Both aircraft are equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems II (MAFFS) and are capable of discharging 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant along the leading edge of a fire in less than five seconds, saturating an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide.

Since their activation Aug. 13, the air tankers have completed more than 53 drops, releasing about 142,000 gallons of retardant.

Centcom Helps Regional Militaries Build Communication Skills

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 20, 2013 – A little-known effort underway at the U.S. Central Command headquarters here is providing communication and public affairs training to the militaries of partner nations located in the command’s area of responsibility.

Recognizing effective communication as vital to a successful relationship between any military and the public, Centcom began hosting five-day strategic communication seminars for regional public affairs representatives about two years ago, Army Col. John R. Robinson, the command’s director of communication, told American Forces Press Service.

Since launching the program, the Centcom public affairs staff has offered training to their counterparts in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen, Robinson said. The militaries of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have expressed interest in similar training, he added.

At the MacDill Air Force Base-conducted seminars, members of Centcom’s Communication Integration Directorate share best practices with the participants, all selected by the U.S. Embassies in their host countries in conjunction with their respective defense departments, Robinson explained.

The course work covers a range of public affairs topics, including media operations, communication planning, message development and social media capabilities. Participants also learn about the importance of engaging key leaders and get practical experience serving as military spokespersons during mock interviews and news conferences.

“The intent is not to create public affairs experts, and it would be impossible to do that within the timeframe of the training,” Robinson said. “We are sharing basic public communications skills that they will be able to use.

“And as a combatant command we gain relationships -- people we can reach out to again and again,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have helped develop trained communicators in partner nations who already know us and have dealt with us, by name.”

Those relationships “are already paying off,” Robinson reported. For example, when the United States deployed troops to Jordan for the multilateral Exercise Eager Lion, trained Jordanian communicators helped clarify what the focus was -- and what it wasn’t, he explained.

“There was a real opportunity for misinterpretation if you didn’t understand what Eager Lion was about,” he said. “This was about U.S.-Jordanian partnership. It was not about Syria. But to make that known, you had to have trained spokespeople who could communicate with the press.”

Participants in past Centcom seminars have rave reviews about the training they and their fellow public affairs representatives received.

“Having the opportunity to learn from other military members who come from a background similar to mine was a great experience because of their knowledge in journalism and operations,” said Brig. Gen. Ali Ghaleb Ali Al-Harazi, deputy director of moral guidance for Yemen’s Defense Ministry, who attended a seminar in March. “I now have more information and knowledge to take back to my shop and share with my workers.”

Lebanese Maj. Simon Chammas, a 27-year veteran of the Lebanese Armed Forces, said he left the seminar more informed about public affairs practices and how to convey command information.
“The American military are the best to learn from and are some of the most knowledgeable about the field because of their past experiences,” he said.

Robinson said he hopes to expand the effort to accommodate a growing regional appetite for communications skills. If all goes as planned, Centcom could begin seminars for some of the Russian-speaking nations in the region as soon as November, he reported.

“People recognize how important information is, and are really eager to learn how to communicate about the issues that affect them,” Robinson said. “Communication can only enhance what we are trying to do in a particular region.”

Former CMSAF Gaylor shares wisdom with Team Whiteman

by Airman 1st Class Shelby R. Orozco
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

8/15/2013 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Former Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor took time Aug. 7- 8 to talk with Whiteman Airmen and get a first-hand look at the B-2 Spirit mission.

Gaylor, who served as the fifth CMSAF from 1977 to 1979, said getting out and talking to today's Airmen is his version of paying back all the Air Force gave him during his 31 years on active duty.

Members of Team Whiteman certainly appreciated that effort.

"It was a great honor and pleasure to have met and learned from Chief Master Sgt. Gaylor," said Tech. Sgt. Jessica Hildebrand, 509th Communications Squadron Wing Information Assurance Office NCO in charge. "His service to the Air Force is a true definition of the Air Force core values. It was very humbling to hear of his trials and tribulations during his career and how he was able to stay positive and apply the lessons to life and his career. He is truly a sincere and respectable individual. I look forward to the next opportunity to hear him speak."

The former CMSAF made time in his busy itinerary to sit down with Public Affairs and answer some questions about life in the Air Force.

Q: Now that you're retired, why do you still choose to be involved with the Air Force?
"That's a good question because I've asked myself that. The answer might be a little bit corny, but in 31 years the Air Force did so much for me -- the opportunities I had, the privileges that I had, just serving in the force. I wanted to pay back, I wanted to share. So many people helped me during my career that I thought maybe something I say might help them. It was just a cycle of activity, and the more I did it, the more fulfilling it became.
"I've had Airmen say, 'Chief, don't ever stop doing what you're doing.' And wow, that's money in the bank, that's reinforcement. I never thought I would do 43 bases in 2003. I was travelling more than I ever did while on active duty! But it's so enriching. It's what I do. I consider my base visits like mid-air refueling -- it just pumps me up and I want to do more."'

Q: What's one of the things you enjoy the most about getting out and interacting with the Airmen?
"That's it! Talking with the Airmen and interacting with the Airmen. I want to know how they feel about what they do. I want to make sure they're feeling their contributions the way I want them to feel it.
"I worked for Gen. Dave Jones, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he used to say to me, 'Chief what is the pulse feel? Go out and feel the pulse.' And what he was telling me to do was to go out and find out what the Airmen were saying, doing and feeling."

Q: What is something you would say to a young first-term Airman just getting into all of this?
"Let's pretend that you are less than a top Airman, and you do just enough to get by. You come to work and you give it a shot and you duck the supervisors, and then at some point you change your mind and say 'Hey, I'm ready to be promoted!' And then we say, 'No, no! You didn't do what you should have done along the way!'

"So I think my message is you have to prove yourself every day, earn your way each day, so that you will achieve the rewards at the end of that. You can't go from here to here without stopping here, here and here along the way. Now it sounds rather simple. But there are days when you may not feel like it; maybe something has not gone right. Those are the days you have to reach inside and pull out that extra flow so you can do your job.

"Something else I found, and this happened to me in my career, is if someone in a higher position only sees me occasionally, I'd want them to see me at my best. Not knowing when they are going to see me, well that means I have to be at my best all the time. If I go running down the street in the Air Force without my cap on or my shirt unbuttoned that just might be when the head of the promotion board might see me! You just have to be on your toes each day."

Q: What about an Airman who is at a turning point in their career, when they're thinking of maybe separating or reenlisting? What's made you want to stay in for 31 years?
"I frequently ask first-term Airmen, 'What is your plan?' and they have varied answers. I can give you a couple examples, one from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. There was a senior airman who was getting out, so I said, 'What's your plan, Airman? Where are you going? What are you doing once you're outside the gate?' And she said, 'I'm registered at Baylor University, I'm going to start college.'

"So I said, 'Do you know where you're going to live?' She said, 'Oh, yes. I have a reservation in the dorms.'

"I asked, 'Do you know what courses you're going to take?' and she said, 'Absolutely, I am pursuing a medical career, and as a matter of fact, I may come back in later in a commissioned position.' Now I'm surely not going to say to her, 'You need to reenlist!' She had her act together, so I said good luck to her.
"Another time, there was a young airman at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. He was security forces and they had him guarding a flightline post. His plan was to get out. I asked him, 'Where are you going?' And he said, 'I don't know, probably back to Florida where I enlisted.'

"I asked, 'Where are you going to live?' And he said, 'Oh, I don't know, maybe with my parents.'

"I said, 'What if they don't want you?' and he said, 'Oh, I don't know.'

"And I stopped him and said, 'Young man, you are on thin ice. You better give this some thought!'

"Here's the difference -- somebody has a plan and somebody doesn't. I guarantee you that the young man with the sketchy answers in about two weeks is going to say, 'Oh, I made a terrible mistake. I should have stayed in.'

"My advice is to think it out. If you're married, you need to discuss it with your spouse. You need to have a plan. That's always been my goal with my Airmen. 'Can I ask you a few questions? What are you going to do?' I want to make sure they have thought it out, like the young lady going to college."

Q: Do you have any final words of wisdom to share?

"Not everybody may have the passion that I have for the Air Force. Maybe it's just my personality. I've talked to people who say, 'Oh, I've served my Air Force,' or 'I've put my life on the line.' We can all say that, and I applaud you, but I want you to look at it the other way around. The Air Force reached out to you and gave you the opportunity to serve.

"It's a two-way street. It's not just, 'I did this for the Air Force.' I say I am grateful to the Air Force for allowing this young kid in and allowing me to become part of its program. I have a different way of thinking of things. It's a two-word difference. It's a simple philosophy, but it has worked for me. I've never said, 'I HAVE to go to Whiteman tomorrow.' It's 'I GET to go to Whiteman tomorrow.'

"And then it becomes like Christmas morning, 'Oh, I GET to!' So I'm an 'I get to' guy, almost to a ridiculous point. I've had people say to me, 'Gaylor, you're crazy,' but it works for me.
"I say, 'I get to go to Whiteman. I get to meet the Airmen.' And it establishes it as an opportunity, a privilege."

Guardsman rescues children from bus

by Tech. Sgt. Regina Young
1116 Air Control Wing Public Affairs

8/20/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- An Airmen from the Air National Guard's 116th Air Control Wing here helped rescue six children from an overturned school bus after it slid into a ditch Thursday in Warner Robins.

Senior Airman Joey DeFore credited his military training as the reason he was able to remain calm while he unbuckled children from their seats.

"It was chaotic," said DeFore. "The children were screaming and crying as they hung from their seats."

DeFore was on his way to work when he saw the accident take place.

"I just stopped [at the scene] ... my first thought was about the kids," said Defore, who has two children of his own.

After he led the children to an emergency exit, two bystanders retrieved the children from the bus and moved them to safety.

"Airman Defore displayed the essence of a citizen Airman." said a senior enlisted leader at the 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron here. "We are Airmen dedicated to defending our nation with a deep-rooted responsibility to protect our citizens because they are dear to us."

Defore is a Georgia native and a graduate of Northside High School in Warner Robins. He was recently selected for a civil service position within the 116th ACW.