Military News

Saturday, August 24, 2013

McChord Airman wins SAPR poster contest

by Staff Sgt. Jason Truskowski
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/23/2013 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Having an artistic bone in your body is handy; being able to create something that inspires and motivates others to be better Airmen is pure talent.

For Airman 1st Class Travis Gallegos, 627th Communication Squadron cyber systems operator, drawing has always been a part of his daily life. In 2011, prior to joining the Air Force, he obtained an Associate's of Graphic Design from Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Mont.

Gallegos, a native of Columbia Falls, Mont., was the winner of the 2013 Sexual Assault Response and Prevention program poster contest at McChord Field.

"Sexual Assault is an on-going issue and I have seen the heartache and pain caused by it," said Gallegos. "This was my way of helping to stop sexual assault."

The SAPR poster contest was an initiative thought up by dormitory SAPR-focus groups to help raise awareness of sexual assault for the dorm residents of Team McChord. These focus groups, which are entirely made up of dorm residents, come up with ways to prevent sexual assault in their living areas and are hoping to expand their coverage throughout all of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"We wanted to hear from the Airmen since they are the ones most-often impacted by sexual assault," said Heather VanMill, 62nd Airlift Wing SAPR program manager. "It is a way to help the Airmen have ownership of the SAPR program, which will make the overall program more robust."

A number of designs were submitted and Gallegos' design was selected to help exemplify the SAPR program at McChord Field.

"The winning poster represents a key message from our senior leaders that we (all of us) must own the solution to stopping sexual assault in our ranks," said Col. Jeff Philippart, 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander.

The poster, which will be hung in the dormitory common areas until April 2014, embodies the message the Department of Defense is trying to portray to the members of the uniformed services. Gallegos incorporated April's DoD sexual assault awareness -month theme, "We Own It, We'll Solve It...Together," and included the teal colored ribbon representing sexual assault awareness.

"I wanted to go with that theme and make it personal," said Gallegos. "I decided to draw the words out in the most clean, professional way I could."

"I can't take all the credit; I am nothing without my friends and family helping me put on the finishing touches and giving me helpful ideas to improve the overall outcome of my design."

Gallegos would like to pass the following to the Airmen of Team McChord, "We have had meeting after meeting concerning the issues of sexual assault. The day you come to work and don't hear about sexual assault is the day all those briefings will have paid off. The only thing that matters is you, 'make a change, be the difference', and stop sexual assault."

Grand Forks Airman earns second chance for AMC Icon title

by Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- A Grand Forks Air Force Base Warrior of the North is scheduled to compete for the title of AMC Icon for the second year in a row.

Airman 1st Class Andrew Hicks, 319th Medical Operations Squadronan aerospace medical technician, earned the first-place award for a military member in the local Air Mobility Command Icon contest on Aug. 16, 2013, at the Northern Lights Club. He will now compete for the AMC-wide title.

Last year, Hicks finished second at Grand Forks, but was able to represent the base in the AMC-wide contest after the first-place finisher pulled out of contention due to a change of station.

Hicks isn't the only person smiling because of his repeat selection.

"My family and friends back home became very excited after I shared the news, but I think my wife [Jalincia Bryant], was the most ecstatic about the result," said 25-year-old Airman from Colorado Springs, Colo. "I give my lovely wife a lot of credit for winning because she picked the song."

Hicks performed a rendition of the soul music hit, "This is a Man's World" by James Brown.

The event is an AMC commander's initiative. It is loosely based around the hit TV show American Idol. Each of the 10 bases under Air Mobility Command have hosted competitions during July or August.

This year's AMC Icon final competition will be different from previous years. Judges will rate the local contest winners and select a winner based off of taped performances instead of having them travel and perform in front of a live audience.

Hicks remains very optimistic about his chances, although he didn't place during last year's final competition.

"I have a feeling that the competition will be a fun experience despite the changes and I know everyone will give it their all just as I plan on doing as well."

ESGR award 'maintains' Reserve, active-duty relationship

by Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Master Sgt. Roy Osman supports two different Team McChord units with the same mission.

On one end, he works as a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft maintenance technician Airman with the 446th Maintenance Squadron. On the other end, he's a full-time C-17 civilian mechanic with the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The 30-plus-year veteran admits he doesn't play all of the roles in the McChord maintenance machine. Assistance from his leadership and peers allow him to easily transition back and forth between squadrons. Recently, he demonstrated this acknowledgement by nominating his civilian supervisor, Rich Arnold, for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award.

The Patriot Award is given when a Reservist or Guardsman nominates their civilian supervisor, or boss, to display their appreciation for the recognition and support they have given to the service member in respect to their military duty.

"Mr. Arnold has been a great supporter of my commitment to the Reserve," Osman said. "It's been good to know he was in my corner back in the states, while I was deployed."

Arnold, a 62nd AMXS Maintenance Operations supervisor, said he appreciates the award and, as a retired chief master sergeant, can relate to the necessary demands of current Airmen.

"I'm humbled," Arnold said. "It's such a joy to work with these guys; I often feel I don't support them enough."

But Osman's experience during his latest deployment was enough to warrant a nomination--and it worked.

"I have been on deployments that have gone from six months to a year," Osman said. "The last one was a yearlong to recover a C-17 that ran off of the runway. Mr. Arnold always emailed me to see if I could use anything, or to be a sounding board to see how things were going for me personally while I was over there."

Arnold said as critical as Osman is to the McChord mission, allowing him to stay in theater to continue repairing the damaged aircraft was a no-brainer.

"I realized he was as important to the C-17 mission deployed as much as he was at home," he said. "He is a critical piece of our home station effort. But I received phone calls from (Air Mobility Command) and Boeing about how valuable he was at the deployed site, and how he established relationships with the host nation and the Army, which were also critical to recovering the disabled aircraft."

Arnold admires the knowledge and consistency Osman and other Reserve maintainers bring to the table.

"Roy and his peers bring a level of continuity and experience you could never duplicate with only active-duty folks," he said. "He is one of the most generous with his time and effort. I don't think he understands the word 'no.'"

Col. Craig Gaddis, 62nd Maintenance Group commander, said the award is a reminder of the crucial relationship between the 446th and 62nd Maintenance Groups.

"It shows both the commitment to the Reserve mission and the appreciation of the Reserve to the active-duty force for their willingness to allow people to serve in military and civilian status," he said.

Younger 62nd MXG maintainers also benefit from 446th MXG Citizen Airmen who've been around a while, according to Arnold.

"With such a mobile mission it becomes evident that the 446th is a huge experienced resource, not only in performing maintenance, but also as trainers to the young active-duty maintainers," he said.

Col. Alan Lerner, 446th MXG commander, also sees how the experience and stability of his Airmen, like Osman, benefit the younger maintainers who work on the McChord flightline.

"He is heavily relied upon at home station to provide upgrade training to both active-duty and Reserve maintainers," Lerner said. "I know the senior supervisors within his squadron are taking maximum advantage of his availability to mentor more junior maintainers in order to share his skills and experience before he retires."

The ESGR Patriot Award is not the only way to show civilian employers recognition for their support of the Air Force Reserve mission. The 446th Airlift Wing conducts an Employer Orientation Day, which recognizes employers and provides them a taste of the Reserve mission in only a half of a day.

Altus AFB shows continued mission readiness during inspection

by Senior Airman Kenneth W. Norman
97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The base recently participated in a Consolidated Unit Inspection conducted by the Air Education and Training Command Inspector General team, earning an overall grade of "Satisfactory" Aug. 12-16.

This inspection was the first of its kind since the release of new guidance combining a Unit Compliance Inspection, Aircrew Standardization and Evaluation, and Logistics Compliance Assessment Program all into one inspection.

During the inspection, more than 140 inspectors observed Altus AFB's programs, plans, and procedures to ensure adherence to Air Force Instruction and Department of Defense Directives.

The inspection results are graded with the Air Force five tier grading scale: Outstanding, Excellent, Satisfactory, Marginal, and Unsatisfactory. Altus AFB achieved impressive results, not scoring below a satisfactory in any of the eight major graded areas.

"This team pulled together a tremendous score and we need to take pride in the fact that we really did well," said Col. Bill Spangenthal, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander. "We scored a very high Satisfactory, which to me, with the challenges we've faced, is fantastic."

Altus AFB personnel showed continued mission readiness despite the challenges of fiscal restraints, civilian furloughs and more. As Colonel Spangenthal addressed the wing, he expressed pride in the results, highlighted top performers and noted strengths throughout the base.

"I know we have faced recent challenges with budget cuts and losing a large portion of our workforce to the furlough, but we overcame those challenges, pushed forward and effectively executed our mission," Spangenthal said. "I would like to thank each one of you for working hard with a can-do attitude and getting the mission done safely and efficiently every day."

Altus AFB Airmen and families participate in Great Plains Stampede Rodeo festivities

by Airman 1st Class Klynne Pearl J. Serrano
97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- The 15th Annual Base Cattle Drive, an event unique to Altus AFB, took place Aug. 22 to kick off the Great Plains Stampede Rodeo.

Altus Airmen and surrounding community members rode on horses to drive more than 40 longhorn cattle around the base while families, students and other base personnel watched and experienced the unique event.

The Cattle Drive is a tradition that started Aug. 23, 1999 when 15 horseback riders drove a herd of more than 30 longhorn cattle through Altus AFB.

"The Cattle Drive is tremendous," said Col. Bill Spangenthal, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander. "We had a great team effort between the base and the community to put this special event together--an event that no other Air Force Base does. It was a great opportunity for our Airmen and their families to experience. It's a ton of fun."

While the cattle and horses stopped to take a break from the Cattle Drive, spectators had the chance to pet the horses and interact with the riders.

"It was a great time," said Capt. Stuart Meyers, 54th Air Refueling Squadron instructor pilot. "It was an opportunity for the kids to see things they don't see every day and to just interact with the base and [local] community is outstanding."

The Great Plains Stampede Rodeo Military Appreciation Night is scheduled to take place later this evening. Altus Airmen and their families are encouraged to join the community with food, music and entertainment at the City of Altus rodeo grounds.

"I've never been to a rodeo I didn't like," Spangenthal said. "I can't wait to get out there [tonight] and spend a little time with my family and the local community to enjoy this great event."

Niagara Airman earns top performer honors at WAREX

by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Caya
914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Two 30th Aerial Port Squadron Airmen here were recognized for their actions in support of Warrior Exercise/Exercise Global Medic at Fort McCoy, Wisc.

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Barnum and Senior Airman Michelle Reidel were acknowledged for their contributions for WAREX, July 12 through August 2.

The exercise provided units an opportunity to rehearse military maneuvers and tactics. Held in conjunction with WAREX, Global Medic is an annual joint-field training exercise designed to replicate all aspects of theater combat medical support.

Barnum, a special handling NCO, was named a top performer out of the 200 Airmen that participated in WAREX.

Barnum said he and the Niagara Team were part of the WAREX crew that set up and tore down the entire forward operating base.

"This had a deployment-like feel," said Barnum. "As soon as we landed, we unloaded our machinery and started working right away and didn't stop until the equipment was loaded back on the aircraft when the exercise ended."

Barnum said his troops also gained the attention of their superiors, praising Reidel in particular.

"Airman Reidel is new to our unit, but she's been a bright spot for us," said Barnum. "She did not shy away from any opportunities. She basically ran the whole passenger operation."

Reidel received a U.S. Army general's coin recognizing her for her work as a passenger service agent.

"While we were there we also assisted with manifesting passengers, cargo and ensured everyone was accounted for while on the aircraft," said Barnum. They knew who each and every aircraft passenger was and where they were located.

Reidel said she thoroughly enjoyed WAREX.

"It was a great training experience," said Reidel. "I was able to do things I've never done before. Going down there really helped me appreciate what we (Aerial Porters) do because what we do is awesome."

Duck pilots share stories with WWII vet

by Senior Airman Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/23/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- It was a day to remember for Albert Winston, World War II pilot, who was surprised to see three guests in flight suits arrive at his 90th birthday celebration.

The three Luke F-16 pilots listened and shared stories with Winston Aug. 3 in Peoria.

For 1st Lt. Brian Herring, 309th Fighter Squadron student pilot, Winston's accomplishments as a pilot were quite impressive.

"He told us how he was a weather recon pilot flying the B-17 out of England and that he would fly from 100 to 1,000 feet above the water with only the basic instrumentation available back in WWII," Herring said. "This amazed us."

Winston also shared a humorous story that is one of Herring's favorites.

"While in the Reserve, Winston was asked by his superiors to be an instructor pilot for the T-6," Herring said. "He was handed a technical manual and told to come back in a week. When he returned, they threw him the keys and told him to have fun."

Herring said he was surprised because these days there are numerous steps and training to accomplish prior to taking the first flight.

When Herring asked Winston if he was nervous to fly after only reading the technical manual, Winston replied with a grin, "Why would I be scared? What's the worst that could happen, besides the fact that I could have killed myself?"

Winston began his career in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet and was called to active duty in the fall of 1942.

After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Winston was selected for pilot training Dec. 15, 1942, and trained in South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Virginia.

"In Virginia my crew was selected and trained for Pathfinder (radar) bombing in B-24s," Winston said. "In June 1944, I picked up a brand new B-24J at Bangor, Maine, and flew to Gander, Newfoundland, and then across the Atlantic to Prestwick. I was transported to Belfast, North Ireland, for training in escaping if shot down over Europe."

Winston's Army Air Corps career also included flying from England to south of the tip of Ireland with extremely heavy loads of fuel and machine gun ammunition.

Winston said the task was dangerous since they flew at 1,000 feet and every 100 miles they had to drop to 100 feet over the ocean so the weatherman on board in the bombardier seat could get his readings. This meant holding the plane at 100 feet above sometimes 30 to 40 foot waves for seven or eight minutes. At one time, the crew actually flew up to 25,000 feet. The flights took up to 17 hours to complete.

"We had a 35-percent loss of aircraft," Winston said. "If we didn't hear from the flights that didn't return, we had to assume they flew into the water. Many of our planes were lost on take-offs and landings in the crummy English weather. We had none of the wonderful electronic gear the planes have now."

With so much flying experience in the Army Air Corps, it is no surprise that Winston continues to inspire pilots such as Herring and 1st Lts. Joshua Rosecrans and Stowe Symon, also student pilots with the 309th FS.

"I learned what it meant to be a true American hero," Herring said. "He has done it all including flying general aviation until he was 84 years old. He is an amazing role model and someone I aspire to be like."

The rare opportunity to speak with a WWII pilot and listen to his experiences reminded Rosecrans of his reason for joining the service in the first place.

"The biggest thing I learned is that being a pilot is the best job in the world," Rosecrans said. "I can still recall the excitement on Winston's face when he told his stories. I look forward to having those same memories as I continue my career in the Air Force."

Although the pilots feel honored to have met Winston, the WWII veteran said he is appreciative of the pilots celebrating his birthday with him.

"It was nice that they were so accommodating," Winston said. "I would like to thank everyone at Luke Air Force Base for having the pilots come out and see me."

Egypt’s Defense Minister Calls Hagel to Discuss Developments

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2013 – Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Malaysia today to discuss developments in Egypt, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.


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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks on the telephone with Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi while on an official visit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aug. 24, 2013. Hagel said Egypt must make progress on the political roadmap and refrain from violence. The secretary, who also will travel to Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines, is in the Asia-Pacific region to deepen cooperation with each nation and discuss regional security issues. DOD photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Hagel is in Malaysia as part of a trip through the Asia-Pacific region.

In a statement summarizing the call, Little said el-Sissi updated Hagel on the security situation throughout Egypt, as well as progress on the political roadmap.

“Secretary Hagel stressed the importance of an inclusive, transparent political process that includes all Egyptians, and that differences must be resolved without violence,” the press secretary said.

The Egyptian defense minister also updated Hagel on security developments on the Sinai Peninsula, Little added, and Hagel expressed appreciation for Egypt's efforts to ensure the security of the U.S. Embassy facilities and all U.S. personnel serving in Egypt.

Face of Defense: Pilot Carries Father’s Legacy Forward

By Sonic Johnson
14th Flying Training Wing

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss., Aug. 23, 2013 – When Air Force 2nd Lt. Jon Koritz graduated from undergraduate pilot training here Aug. 16, he joined a long list of military aviators, including his late father, Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Tom Koritz, one of six pilot-physicians flying in the Air Force at the time.


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Air Force Col. Billye Hutchison, left, poses for a photo with Air Force 2nd Lt. Jon Koritz and his mother, Julianne Koritz, outside the Koritz Clinic at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., Aug. 3, 2013. The clinic was renamed in 2008 in honor of Maj. (Dr.) Thomas Koritz, an Air Force physician-pilot and father of the lieutenant, who was killed in action during the second night of combat in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Hutchinson is the 14th Medical Group commander at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., where Koritz graduated from undergraduate pilot training later in the month. U.S. Air Force photo by Sonic Johnson
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Koritz’s father was killed in action on the second night of combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 while flying an F-15E Strike Eagle. 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 in North Carolina, but he still harbored a passion for aviation. His girlfriend and his soon-to-be father-in-law, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Lofgren, encouraged his pursuit and his eventual acceptance to Officer Training School in 2011.

The lieutenant rapidly learned how small the Air Force is when he reported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, after OTS for pre-flight medical screening. The physician for his physical had served as a flight surgeon in the 4th Medical Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., with Koritz's father.

Koritz was joined by his wife, his mother, his brothers and other family members and friends Aug. 2, when the members of class 13-13 received their assignments. Sixteen friends and family members were on hand to see Koritz's excitement when he received his assignment to the F-15E Strike Eagle.
Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Tom Travis, the Air Force surgeon general, delivered the keynote address to the newly minted aviators during the ceremony. Travis, like Koritz’s father, is an Air Force pilot-physician.
The lieutenant’s mother, Julianne Koritz, said she is proud of her son’s accomplishment and predicted that his passion for aviation will take him far.

"This is both bittersweet and difficult," she said. "The solace of this moment is that I have never seen Jon happier. … He was meant to be an Air Force aviator."

This support from his loved ones was especially important, Koritz said.

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

JDEWR brings fight to F-16 pilots

by Senior Airman Derek VanHorn
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Groundbreaking advancements to F-16 Fighting Falcon warfare training here arrived last week in the form of a Joint Deployable Electronic Warfare Range, or JDEWR.

The JDEWR is a weapon system that provides tactical-level training to participants in live training events. It's implemented as a threat capable of submitting ground threat defenses for bilateral and joint missions and exercises for United States Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Navy aircraft stationed here, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Jones, 35th Operations Support Squadron director of operations.

The mission of the 35th Fighter Wing is the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses - known as the Wild Weasels -- and focuses largely on the neutralization of enemy Surface to Air missile sites. In the past, Wild Weasels have had to fly to Red Flag exercises over Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, which use the JDEWR system, to get the most accurate training possible for their SEAD mission.

"As a SEAD wing, we need to be able to detect, locate, engage and kill enemy SAMs, antiaircraft artillery and their associated radars," said Capt. Matthew Karmondy, an F-16 pilot in the 14th Fighter Squadron who has flown in multiple Red Flag exercises. "The more our training matches reality, the better we'll be when the balloon goes up and we are called on to neutralize enemy threats."

Karmondy said once a SAM is located, the next step is how to best neutralize that threat, whether it be through avoidance, electronic jamming or kinetic means such as bombs, missiles or guns. Pilots were previously forced to simulate these attacks, and one of the realities was that the aspect of realistic feedback from the ground always fell short. Now, with this new system, pilots can fight back realistically, utilizing all aspects within the cockpit.

"That's exactly what the JDEWR allows us to do - train like we will fight in major combat operations," Karmondy said. "Short of putting missiles and bullets in the air, the JDEWR fights back. It's a hugely important asset."

Capt. Travis Smith, 35 OSS electronic warfare officer, said the JDEWR can simulate up to seven different target systems simultaneously in its current configuration.

"It's rapidly re-deployable as well, so we could have vastly different set ups for the pilots to fly against from exercise to exercise in our own backyard," Smith added.

Before the JDEWR's arrival, Jones said "We didn't get to see a real threat on the radar looking at us -- nothing triggered our radar warning receiver. But now the arrival of the JDEWR gives the ability to actually get a spike and act accordingly to that threat."

Having the equipment here for a realistic threat environment also postures Misawa to potentially host large scale exercises in the future, boosting value in regional training with other military assets.

"Joint and bilateral training is significant in that it's just the reality of how we are going to go to war in today's day and age," Jones said.

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has provided noteworthy assistance to Wild Weasels in recent months by opening up their SAM sites for training, albeit their availability was often limited, Karmody said.

The arrival of the JDEWR makes Misawa and its surrounding airspace a top-of-the-line training forum available 24/7.

The JDEWR is the first of its kind to be placed in Japan and will be based at Misawa's Draughon Range, an area located only 10 nautical miles north of the base where pilots are authorized to drop live ordnance during training.

Jones said Draughon Range is "one of the best kept secrets in the Air Force," lauding its ability to provide both tactical and conventional targets, while also being the only air-to-ground range in Northern Japan.

"It's great to see pilots learn on Draughon Range by practicing their attacks and growing as pilots," said Capt. Greg Balzhiser, 13th Fighter Squadron F-16 pilot. "You can actually see the results on the ground right in front of you rather than having to simulate the results of an attack."

35 FW pilots generally fly in two airspaces - the Charlie airspace, a massive area located along the entire northwest coast of Japan, and the Bravo airspace to the east, which encompasses the valuable Gaicho airspace.

The Gaicho airspace was made available earlier this year and has played a large role in the comprehensive and innovative efforts of Misawa AB to become globally recognized in extensive fighter jet training. Gaicho airspace feeds off the east side of Draughon Range and expands the airspace approximately 50 miles over the Pacific Ocean to bridge the gap between Bravo airspace, providing pilots significant more space to engage in variations of combat training scenarios.

1st Lt. Dustin Carey, 13 FS F-16 pilot, said it's some of the best airspace in the world, and adding the JDEWR to the mix allows pilots to explore the full range of tactics in warfare.

"The JDEWR is absolutely imperative," Carey said. "We're the world's greatest Wild Weasels, and now that we have the emitter we'll be able to train exactly like we fight which is absolutely incredible."

Smith said the diversity of training won't stop with the JDEWR, and systems such as fidelity simulators, different modes within the jet, and even commercial, off-the-shelf hardware are used to practice against.

"We're constantly looking at the mission set and thinking about ways to augment training so that the 35th Operations Group will be more than ready for the fight," said Smith.

The JDEWR will be operated by contractors within Pacific Air Forces that have wide-ranging experience with Large Force Employment training, namely Red Flag, and in time will be training others to take over the operations here.

Jones said this prospect was made possible by determined coordination between 5th Air Force, PACAF and U.S. Forces Japan, and that base officials are working a plan to make this a permanent fixture here.

Cape Commander selected to represent US Team overseas

by 45th Space Wing Public Affairs

8/22/2013 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Lt. Col. David "Dash" Ashley, 5th Space Launch Squadron commander, was recently selected to participate in the 2013 U.S. Elite Mountain Bike Orienteering Team to represent the U.S. in this summer's 11th annual World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in Rakvere, Estonia, Aug. 26-31.

Ashley was one of four men selected for this year's team, and this is the first year that Florida Orienteering, the local orienteering club headquartered in Orlando, Fla., will be sending a men's team to the world championships.

Although the sport of Mountain Bike Orienteering is very popular in Europe, it still at an early stage in the U.S. Mountain Bike Orienteering competitions involve racing a mountain bike in both urban and wilderness areas to locate checkpoints and return to the finish line in the fastest possible time. Racers are only allowed to use a map and a compass. Global Positioning System devices are prohibited, and events typically last 25 to 90 minutes, depending on the difficulty of the course.

Earlier in August, FLO held an orienting meet as a fundraiser for those selected to go to Estonia for the world championship. Ashley assisted with placing and collecting checkpoints (called controls) during the event, registering individuals and recording their times. Over 12 hours of work resulted in over $400 raised.

Maj. Melissa Krambeck, from the 45th Space Wing Inspector General's office, also participated in the event with her daughter.

War Hero Credits Counseling for Continued Improvement

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2013 – On Oct. 3, 2009, 54 soldiers from Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, defended Combat Outpost Keating, near the town of Kamdesh in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, from an estimated 400 enemy fighters who breached and nearly overran the position.

Eight U.S. soldiers died during or after that day’s actions, and more than 25 were hurt. After a ceremony next week, two survivors of the battle will have the right to wear the star strung on a pale blue ribbon that the United States reserves for its most revered heroes: the Medal of Honor.

In an Aug. 26 White House ceremony, Army Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter will become the second soldier from the battle to receive the nation’s highest award for valor, with President Barack Obama, as commander in chief of the armed forces, presenting the medal. Six months ago, former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha received his Medal of Honor for his actions during the same battle.

Carter was a cavalry scout in the rank of specialist assigned to the outpost, which was scheduled to be closed. Carter was one of two soldiers who held back attackers on the southern flank of the outpost for some six hours. Speaking to reporters late last month at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash., where he is now assigned, Carter described what the soldiers went through.

“The incoming firepower was so intense,” he said. “If you look at the sheer numbers [and realize] there were five of us there at the fighting position -- three men lost their lives there. There were also two [other] men who lost their lives trying to support that position.”

Carter has said that what troubles him the most is the death of his friend, Army Spc. Stephan L. Mace, who was 21 and from Virginia. Mace was wounded early in the fighting, and his fellow soldiers, Carter and Army Sgt. Bradley Larson, spent hours battling heavy incoming fire before they could get him to medical help. Mace later died of his wounds.

“When I saw Mace and I was told that I couldn’t get to him, it broke my heart,” Carter said. “A good man was lying there, wounded, begging for my help, and so dehydrated that he couldn’t even have tears. … He was in pain. But Larson being, the [noncommissioned officer] that he is -- he’s a great leader -- he knew that if I went out there, I’d be dead, too. And for that I owe him my life.”

Carter told reporters that after he and Larson fought their way to the aid station with Mace, he rejoined the rest of the unit, pushing back the attackers and dousing the fires the enemy had set.

“We spent the rest of the day continuing to gather our wounded, our killed in action, and retake the COP. … It felt very draining through the day,” he said. “Then there was a sorrow that went through the troop, because we found out that [Mace] was killed. That’s one of the main things that kind of affected me.”
Carter said his own physical injuries were scrapes and bruises, “a little bit of shrapnel,” concussion and hearing loss. He credits treatment for a different kind of wound with helping him go on living after the hell he saw in Nuristan.

“I have been in counseling ever since that incident,” he said. “And because of that counseling, I am able to be a good husband and a good father –- at least that’s what [his wife, Shannon Derby] tells me -- and I probably will continue to go to counseling, just so I can improve and be able to speak to individuals like yourselves.”

Navy Capt. Richard Stolz directs the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, overseeing three centers: the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, the Deployment Health Clinical Center and the National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

In an email interview, Stolz told American Forces Press Service that most service members who have deployed won’t ever develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, but an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the 2.6 million who have deployed since 2001 have or may have developed the condition.
All combat experiences have the potential to induce PTSD symptoms, Stolz said. Service members intent on staying alive in combat, he explained, push traumatic memories away and stay focused on the present danger.

“When service members return home, they often continue to follow the same strategy that helped them to survive in combat,” Stolz added. “When they experience distressing thoughts, feelings or images they do their best to bury them. However, in most cases, efforts to control any PTSD symptoms actually make them worse.”

Self-medicating and unhealthy coping mechanisms can lead to substance abuse, depression and anxiety, he noted.

“In many cases,” Stolz added, “the longer the symptoms are avoided, the worse they become and can lead to long-term disabilities.”

PTSD is highly treatable and a number of evidence-based treatment approaches are readily available, Stolz said. He noted that along with therapy, it often is helpful for service members to share their combat experiences with other veterans who have had similar experiences.

Stolz cautioned that the best post-traumatic treatment for some may not work for others.

“Sometimes it takes a while to find the most appropriate treatment for the individual,” he said. “Once in therapy, it’s important for a patient to establish a strong therapeutic relationship with their therapist and understand what has to occur to experience long-term healing. It might get worse before it gets better. Ultimately, they will greatly benefit from facing, expressing and accepting the truth of what they have experienced.”

Stolz noted the department also is looking to develop preventive approaches to PTSD, including pre-deployment training that includes information about what to expect during a deployment.

“It is also best to educate service members on the things that they can do to become more resilient,” he added. “Adopting an accepting attitude towards ourselves and our world makes a significant difference in how resilient we are.”

He pointed to DCoE’s “RESPECT-Mil” program, short for Re-engineering Systems of Primary Care Treatment in the Military.

“The program currently operates in 90 military clinics and screens more than 80,000 primary care visits each month for PTSD and depression,” he said. “Service members diagnosed with psychological health concerns are assessed and treated in primary care with periodic follow-up, and clinics are closely monitored through embedded program evaluation measures. This concept also helps to lessen the stigma that prevents service members from seeking help for mental health concerns.”

Mental health care has advanced across the department over the past 12 years, he said.

“However, the demand to expand our knowledge and methods to effectively prepare, screen, diagnose and treat service members with PTSD will remain long after all of our nation’s heroes have returned home,” Stolz noted.

Derby met and married Carter after the battle that earned him the Medal of Honor. She told reporters during July’s news conference that when she realized what her husband and the rest of the troop had been through, “it was overwhelming.”

“I could never wrap my mind around it -- the severity of what they went through and what they had to do -- because I’ve never been a part of anything so dramatic,” she said. “So it was hard to understand and cope.”

Now that her husband is talking about the experience more openly, she said, it’s heart-wrenching.

“It makes me cry,” she said. “And when he had to go back to Afghanistan [for a second deployment], it just makes me relive everything that he had told me, [knowing] that it could happen again.”

Derby said that fear was hard for her, but she focused on supporting her husband.

“I have to be strong. I have to help him be strong. So that’s what I try to do,” she said.

Carter said he had hoped to move on in the Army to a warrior transition battalion “if they’ll take me,” though the Medal of Honor may change that. He said the work that warrior transition unit staffs do is similar to what he wants to do in the future: “Get rid of the stigma of post-traumatic stress.”

A lot of troops have the condition, he said, and are too ashamed to talk about it or get help.

“Eventually, whether it’s now or in the future, it becomes an issue,” he said. “A warrior transition unit, I thought, was an excellent place for me, just because of my experience, and … the men and women that are there, they would listen to somebody who’s seen it, done it, been there.”

Carter said he’s “extremely nervous” at the thought of visiting the White House to receive his medal.
“I’m looking forward to going there. … Meeting the commander in chief is truly an honor, and yes, I’m very nervous,” he said.

Heroic moment: right place, right time

by Airman 1st Class Zachary Kee
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- It all started with her normal drive home from work. It's a drive she has completed enough times, she could probably do it with her eyes closed.

However, for Tech. Sgt. Mary Camero, a customer support supervisor with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, what happened on this trip home is something she won't forget.

"I was driving home and I saw a driver run a stop sign," said Camero. "The driver who ran the stop sign t-boned the other driver and when I saw this happen and the car roll three times, I thought to myself, 'these people are going to need some serious help.'"

At that moment, Camero made a split-second decision. She stopped her car and ran to the roll-over vehicle that lay on its side.

"I jumped on the side of the car and tried to pry the door open but the force from the other car hitting the door made it impossible," said Camero.

That's when Camero realized she was wearing steel-toe boots and used them to her advantage. She kicked the vehicle's windshield until she finally got through to the Japanese woman who was trapped inside.

While Camero worked to pull her to safety, bystanders watched anxiously as she, with the help of a Japanese man, safely pulled the woman out of the car.

Toshiyuki Adachi, chief of the Misawa Police Station, said "many of the Japanese were hesitant to help right after the accident because of the possibility of a fire starting or making the situation worse."

After they pulled the woman from the car, Camero fell back on her military training and performed Self Aid and Buddy Care. Once she knew the woman was taken care of, she checked on the other driver who only had minor scrapes and no serious injuries.

Camero stayed at the accident scene until responders arrived.

"Because of Camero's actions, the minor injuries from the accident were prevented from becoming major injuries or worse," said Adachi.

Because of her unselfish actions, Camero was given a certificate of appreciation from Adachi on behalf of the Misawa Japanese National Police.

"You, without hesitating, went and rescued the woman and treated both the drivers, and we deeply appreciate your actions," Adachi told Camero after presenting her the certificate.

Camero was thankful for the award, but said she had other reasons for risking her own safety for the lives of others.

"I am the type of person that will help when needed and go right back to work after I'm done," said Camero.

Friends of Camero, TSgts. Vonda Grant and Mari Richardson, along with Staff Sgt. Rowan Coash, were with Camero when she was given the certificate and said that is exactly who she is and all agreed that she is a "selfless" individual.

"I did what I think anyone else would have done," said Camero. "We receive the training to respond to situations like this and I feel like I was just doing my duty."

Airlifters enable jump week

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


8/22/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The C-130 Hercules shakes with turbulence as it hits a thermal updraft. The seats are packed with adrenaline-soaked Soldiers fully equipped in gear and parachutes.

"Ten minutes!" A jumpmaster yells out over the aircraft noise. "Ten minutes!" Soldiers reply as they prepare themselves for the aircraft's drop zone entry. When given the order, they hook into the zip-line and line up ready to take the dive.

Time seems to fly by as the aircraft steadies its route. "Five minutes!" is announced and soon after comes the call, "Two minutes!"

The loadmaster opens the troop door, letting in blinding light that shines on the Soldiers' determined faces. Beyond the door is nothing but a free-fall to earth.

The aircraft enters the drop window and a voice announces over the radio, "Green light, green light! Go, go, go!"

The paratroopers leap out the door, their C-9 parachutes rapidly deploying behind them. Olive drab canopies open above them, and the Soldiers steer into the wind toward the landing zone.

From Aug. 21-23, 2013, Army Special Forces paratroopers participated in joint jump training with aircrews from the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

"We conduct airborne operations training in order to maintain proficiencies for any possible future combat airborne operations," said Army Staff Sgt. Adrian Colon, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group.

During the week, the Soldiers participated in multiple jump sorties aboard three C-130 Hercules assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing.

"We had number of people conducting combat jumps, jumping with their combat equipment and we also had people conducting sustainment jumps, with just their parachute and no equipment," said Army Capt. Robert Shumaker, the Headquarters Support Company commander.

The training began with mission briefings, gear checks and run throughs of multiple jump scenarios on the ground before taking to the air.

"The training was a success," Shumaker said.

According to Army Staff Sgt. Emerson McArthur, lead jumpmaster, this training was a rare opportunity for him and his fellow jumpers.

"Today we had three birds following each other for combat mass attack operations," McArthur said. "Normally we don't get to do that, but the 374th provided the support for us."

Not only was the training beneficial to maintain proficiency for the jumpers, but it was also a step necessary for the jumpers to advance into higher ranks.

"(Today's) jump was required to advance to senior jump master status," McArthur said. "(This type of jump) doesn't happen often and we appreciate the support we received today."

Hagel: Defense Department Has Options for Obama on Syria

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Aug. 23, 2013 – Shortly after takeoff on the first leg of his second official trip to the Asia-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel joined a video teleconference with President Barack Obama’s senior national security advisors that focused on the deadly situation in Syria.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, right, briefs reporters Aug. 23, 2013, aboard a military plane on his way to Malaysia, where he will meet with Malaysian leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Razak and Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. Hagel also responded to questions on the crisis in Syria. DOD photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
In the latest tragedy in the stricken nation, more than 1,000 men, women and children died in what may have been a chemical weapons attack on its own citizens by the government of President Bashar Assad. The United Nations and others are investigating the attacks.

After leaving Hawaii, the first stop on his trip, Hagel spoke today with reporters who are traveling with him to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

“The president has asked the Defense Department for options. {As] always, the department is prepared, has been prepared, to provide ranges for all contingencies for the president of the United States, and we’ll continue to do that,” Hagel said.

“We’re dealing with a very serious issue,” the secretary added. “We are working with our international partners, the international community [and] the United Nations. We are looking at every option.”

Referring to an interview that Obama gave Chris Cuomo on CNN about Syria, Hagel said the president framed the situation there “exactly right” when he said the United States must be part of the international community in its response to the actions in Syria.

As the president noted, the secretary said, the United States must consider its long-term objectives, its long-term interests, and its objectives for influence and outcomes in deciding upon any response.
“The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for all contingencies, and that requires positioning our forces [and] positioning our assets to be able to carry out whatever options the president might choose,” Hagel said.

“On the specific option of military use or force in response to what we will determine at some point here very shortly what did happen, and we’re still assessing that,” he added. “I think the range of military options is always part of the range of options the president has.”

Hagel said he thinks the international community is moving quickly to get the facts and the intelligence right about what happened in Syria so a decision can be made swiftly about how to respond.
“If, in fact, this was a deliberate use and attack by the Syrian government on its own people using chemical weapons, there may be another attack coming,” he said. “A very quick assessment of what happened and whatever appropriate response should be made.”

Tunnel of Oppression' allows GFAFB Airmen to discuss important topics

by Staff Sgt Amanda N. Grabiec
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE N.D. -- One Airman here recently came up with an idea to put a new spin on sensitivity training.

Airman 1st Class Cory Churchill, 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron, attended an event called the "Tunnel of Oppression" at the University of North Dakota recently and wanted to bring the experience back to the base to share with other Airmen.

"I volunteered at UND a couple of months ago to be a tour guide for the Tunnel of Oppression," said Churchill. "Going in, I had no real idea what I was doing or what the info was about. But after I went through the tunnel, I was amazed at how good it was."

The 319th LRS Airmen committee, Rising IV, sponsored the base's Tunnel of Oppression to raise awareness on topics ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to suicide and depression.

Airmen entered a building with various rooms devoted to specific topics. After the briefer shared personal experiences about the topic, an open discussion was conducted allowing everyone to share their feelings or experiences.

"It's important to raise awareness on these topics because it's a way for people to get stuff off their chest that they're holding in," said Airman 1st Class Andrew JeanJacques, also with the 319th LRS. "This may make someone feel more comfortable in their work environment because now someone in their office knows what they're going through."

Senior Master Sgt. Lisa Perez, 319th LRS material management flight superintendent, assisted the committee in hosting the event.

"I'm proud that I was able to guide the Airmen in the right direction for who to talk to and make this event happen." Perez said, "They're the ones that wanted to do this and they had the courage to stand up and share their stories."

Tinker air control units embrace total force integration

by Staff Sgt. Caleb Wanzer
513th Air Control Group public affairs


8/22/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Some active-duty Airmen serve for years without working alongside a reservist, but Airmen of the 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron have day-to-day experience.

For Capt. Ashlyn Smith, a navigator with the 966th, 'total force integration' is more than just a hot-button phrase. Smith works as an instructor teaching with Maj. Antwaun Hunter, a reservist with the 970th AACS.

Hunter is temporarily assigned to the 966th to help train Airmen fly the E-3 Sentry aircraft. He transitioned from active duty to the Reserve four years ago.

"Active-duty guys switch out every couple of years to go on to bigger and better things," Hunter said. "We reservists stick around a lot longer and are able to keep more continuity."

"We have approximately seven instructors from the 970th working with us right now," said Lt. Col. John Bartoli, 966th AAC commander. "We're very similar where it counts. They're great partners."

Reserve and active-duty squadrons at Tinker AFB have what Bartoli calls "goal congruence," making a partnership beneficial for both units.

"The relationship does a couple things," said Lt. Col. Steven England, 970th AACS director of operations. "We free up their active-duty instructors to work within their squadrons or deploy by backfilling the [training unit]. It's a win for us because we can send our reservist instructors over there to get that training experience."

The relationship doesn't stop with training. The flying squadron's parent units, the active-duty 552nd Air Control Wing and the Reserve's 513th Air Control Group, were tapped for a joint combined unit inspection in November.

"[The inspection] is a first-time deal for us," England said. "We've never worked with the 552nd before with inspections. This will be something new for both the 552nd and 513th."

England is positive about the future of the associate relationship between the 513th and 552nd.

"We don't know what the fiscal future looks like," he said. "But we hope to continue our relationship with the 966th."