Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Condor Crest: As real as we can make it

by Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

8/26/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- First responders' sirens wailed moments after a tornado briefly touched down, leaving a path of destruction after ripping through a warehouse near the flightline and injuring several workers.

This was the scenario that played out during the recent quarterly Condor Crest exercise, which is designed to test and evaluate the response capabilities of base assets to deal with any type of emergency.

A major part in providing an effective and productive training exercise is the ability of the role-players to make it look and feel as real as possible to everyone involved.

"I am hoping that they will have a realistic experience from the reactions I give; that's what I really want to do, give the responders something more realistic than just a body laying there," said Tech. Sgt. Steve Lovato, 21st Medical Group executive officer and member of the wing inspection team.

With five Condor Crest exercises under his belt, Lovato knows there is more going on behind the scenes than people realize.

"My job as a role-player is really the easy part, the hard part is that it takes months and months for everyone to get together to develop these exercises and realistic scenarios," he said. "I just get to have fun; the real credit goes to all of the people working behind the scenes," he added.

Some of those people working behind the scenes are part of the moulage team. Moulage is a French word for casting or molding and is the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training emergency responders, medical and military personnel.

Looking the part is critical to making the scenario realistic but knowing how to act out the right symptoms for an injury is what makes it believable.

"We have medical experts on the wing inspection team that tell me exactly what I need to do and how to act to make it seem real," said Lovato. "No one is just going to lay there hurt saying 'oh, help me, help me.' It is going to be dramatic; people are going to be yelling and rolling, worried and stressed about their friends who may be injured as well," he added.

Lovato's role goes far beyond just playing a wounded Airman during the exercise. He is also observing and taking mental notes to help evaluate the response effort.

"Because I am also a team member of the wing inspection team, I have a unique perspective of the first responders. I am observing so we can get the bigger picture of what's going on, things we see that are good, and things we may need a little bit more practice on," said Lovato.

Airman turns citizen

by Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

8/26/2013 - FORT CARSON, Colo. -- All stood in silence as seven service members and two military spouses raised their right hands to take the oath of citizenship at a small ceremony held at Fort Carson.

Among them was Airman 1st Class Einer Cardenas, 21st Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician and native-born citizen of Belize, Central America.

"My mother was a single mom; she worked her whole life cleaning houses, so I grew up fairly poor in Dallas," said Cardenas.

Cardenas' mother fled the country of Belize with her four children to escape an abusive situation. Cardenas was still a baby when his family began their life in Texas.

Learning from his older brother's mistakes, Cardenas made the decision to rise above the disadvantages and challenges of his life.

"I saw my brother go down a path that I didn't want to go down. He got into drugs, went to jail and ended up getting deported back to Belize," said Cardenas. "I wanted to go the other way; I wanted to go to school."

Even though Cardenas' attempts were met with obstacles, he was committed to succeeding.

"It was hard with a single mom. I didn't have any scholarships going for me so I was going to community college full-time and working full-time. In 2011 I started looking into the military," said Cardenas.

"I originally wanted to join the Marines; my mom cleaned houses and a lot of her customers were former military and they had all told me the same thing over and over--'if I could have done it all over again, I would have joined the Air Force,'" Cardenas said with a laugh.

It took nearly six years for Cardenas to obtain his Green Card before joining the Air Force and a little more than three months to earn his citizenship once becoming a service member.

"If I had not joined the military, it would have taken at least five years of being a resident (after getting his Green Card) until I could have applied to be a citizen," said Cardenas.

Cardenas' mother and siblings still live in Dallas and are very proud of all of his accomplishments.

"I plan on making this a career, maybe not in the medical side, but definitely staying in the Air Force for sure," Cardenas said when talking about his future plans. "It feels like this is the beginning, the beginning of greater things to come," he added.

60-MPH wind, hail, buffet Patriot Express players

by Senior Airman Kelly Galloway
439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

8/27/2013 - PUEBLO, Colo. -- As I'm scraping out thick mud caked to the bottom of my boots I hear, "Well that definitely doesn't look good at all." Canvassing the mud-spattered site here, my jaw dropped. The 50-foot antenna mast, which serves as the primary communication for air to ground transmissions for the Hard-sided Expandable Lightweight Air Mobility Shelter, snapped at its midsection during 60-mph wind throughout the night. It lay twisted at a 90 degree angle. Pieces lay strewn about the ground.

"This is the kind of thing that happens in a deployed situation," Col. Mike Miller, 439th Operations Group commander, said. "Now they need to figure out how to handle the situation and press on with the mission."

This was day one of "Patriot Express," an annual Air Force Reserve Command-sponsored air mobility exercise.

Thirty-three Airmen, 20 from Westover, had just set up a 'bare-bones' base the day before, establishing communications, ensuring two generators worked and starting up a Small Package Initial Communication Element for secure and unsecure networking.

"We reacted decisively and appropriately to our real-world situation," said 1st Lt. Matthew Borowski, 439th Airlift Control Flight officer. "These kinds of events prepare troops for real world situations," He said.

The unit used a mast from another hi-frequency system and adapted the connector to hold a UHF antenna.

"The way it's set up, we're able to receive about the same air-to-ground communication distance which is about 20 miles," said MSgt. Alexander Cotton, 439th ALCF communications supervisor.
ALCF Airmen provides experienced airlift personnel to manage, coordinate and control air mobility assets. They provide a capability for operating at locations where there is limited support and are self-sufficient and are able to sustain operations under bare-base conditions. The ALCF is also responsible for training Air Force and sister service units on how to move by air. They instruct over 400 units in preparing and loading their mobility equipment for air shipment.

"The exercise went really well; there were lessons learned," Lt. Col. Wesley Pangle, 512th ALCF director of operations, stated during the debrief. "This group worked through a real-world situation and because of their ingenuity, the entire exercise went on as if nothing had happened."

Reserve ALCF provides 45 percent of the Air Force capability to establish an air mobility command at a base where one never existed or expand the capabilities of an airfield to handle airlift. They have participated in every major real-world deployment involving Air Force strategic airlift forces in the past decade. They are the front line of command and control, carrying out the commander's orders and back channeling data to keep the mission flowing.

The next ALCF exercise is planned for early 2014.

Face of Defense: Wounded Marine Helps Others Go Into Business

From a U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment News Release

QUANTICO, Va., Aug. 27, 2013 – Starting a small business or franchise is not an easy task. Former Marine Corps Cpl. Kevin Blanchard can attest to that. He spends his time assisting veterans and other wounded, ill and injured service members with understanding the steps to being a successful franchisee.

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Former Marine Corps Cpl. Kevin Blanchard, wounded in Iraq in 2005, now assists other wounded, ill and injured service members with understanding the steps to being a successful business franchisee. Courtesy photo

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Blanchard joined the Marine Corps in 2001 as a combat engineer. In 2005, he was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq’s Anbar province.

“I lost my leg below the knee and had about 30 surgeries on my other leg because of the damage,” he said.

Like many other transitioning Marines, Blanchard needed time and assistance in identifying what he was going to do for the long term.

“I tried a lot of things out,” he said. “I gained as much experience [as I could] in many different things so I could figure out what I wanted to do.”

The Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment’s transition cell provided Blanchard with resources for education, vocational training, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“The regiment prepares wounded, ill and injured Marines for opening their own business by setting them up with such resources as financial planning guidance, Entrepreneur Boot Camps, connecting them with a mentor, arranging shadow opportunities and more,” said Marine Corps Maj. Brian Bilski, officer in charge of the transition cell. “The goal is to ensure that Marines are confident about transitioning out of the service and into [their] own successful franchise or independent start up.”

After Blanchard’s service ended in 2006, he decided he wanted to be a co-owner of an environmentally friendly roofing company. But he quickly learned his heart was in supporting his fellow Marines and other service members in understanding the pitfalls and successes of starting a business.

He eventually found a job as a project coordinator at International Franchise Association, working on a program called VetFran.

“I went to a public affairs conference, and I met many people there,” he said. “I kept in touch with one of the guys who emailed me an opportunity. I interviewed for that position, and two weeks later was hired.”

The VetFran program provides discounts to veterans who want to go into a franchise. Resources that Blanchard and his team provide range from an online franchising course, a skills and attributes assessment, finance assessment, and partner links and access to the VetFran mentor network. In addition to the VetFran program, Blanchard also helps coordinate trade missions for member companies around the globe.

The purpose of these programs is to build confidence and financial stability, he explained.

“You have to trust in yourself,” he said. “It is not always easy to start a business venture yourself. Have confidence in your abilities and be fearless, because you are taking a shot in the dark.”

Blanchard is nearing completion of a master’s degree in management. His goal, he said, is to “be a multi-unit franchisee, possibly in the fitness industry, and [continue to] help other veterans get into small business ownership.”

His advice to other wounded, ill or injured Marines looking to start their own business or franchise is to, “stay focused, identify a long-term vision as clearly as possible, and communicate that vision frequently to your team.”

“They should also remember that businesses need to grow, and in order to grow a business you need a clear vision, financial stability and to work ‘on’ their business, and not always ‘in’ their business,” he continued. “This means constant sales and marketing, improving operational procedures and innovation. Think about it this way: if the goal is increased profit, then everything you do should directly increase profitability, if it doesn't, then you should re-evaluate.”

NASCAR comes to Fairchild, champion driver stresses importance of military

by Scott King
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

8/26/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.  -- Two-time Daytona 500 winner, Michael Waltrip, talked about the importance of the military following a display of two NASCAR racecars and a hauler here Wednesday.

Bill McAnally Racing brought the NAPA-sponsored racecars on base for Airmen and families to enjoy. They also provided rides in their racecars for several Fairchild Airmen at the Spokane County Raceway and gave away 50 free tickets to the K&N Pro Series West race that was held in Spokane Saturday that Waltrip raced in.

Waltrip is a huge supporter of the military.

During a telephone interview, Waltrip said: "In the history of this sport, we have always been synonymous with the military. I love seeing them in uniform at all the tracks. NASCAR has a common bond with the military - we are both passionate about what we do for a living."

He is appreciative of the Air Force and the mission that it has.

"To the men and women at Fairchild, thank you for what you do serving our country every day - it's you who allow us to race these cars."

More than 200 people stopped by the NASCAR displays Wednesday and talked with crew members.

"Being a big racing fan, seeing the racecars on base really made me feel like a kid in a candy store," said Staff Sgt. Brett Myers, 92nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler. "It was very cool."

The NASCAR crew who showed off the equipment was more than happy to do so.

"It was a great event," said Joe Fernandez, Bill McAnally Racing crew member. "I thought it would be cool to meet the Fairchild Airmen, but I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I spent a few years in the Army way back when, so it was nice to be around military again."

Base leadership was also impressed with Bill McAnally Racing.

"I was excited when I found out that NASCAR was going to spend some time with us," said Chief Master Sgt Wendy Hansen, 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief. "NASCAR is hugely popular and you don't get a chance to see the equipment up close very often. My inner child really came out when I got to sit in Michael Waltrip's car. If having the cars, tools and hauler on display wasn't enough, we were also incredibly fortunate to have Jerrod Trotter and Joe Fernandez here to explain it all. They were friendly, knowledgeable and as excited to talk to our Airmen as our Airmen were to talk NASCAR - it was a great event."

Waltrip was pretty excited about racing in Spokane.

I have a blast whenever I get to race in parts of the country we don't get to visit too often, Waltrip said. I enjoy racing in the NASCAR K&N Series. It's a place where you get to see the upcoming stars of NASCAR. That's where drivers like Kevin Harvick, Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer learned their lessons - this series is fun to race.

He has 1,061 starts in NASCAR's three top series. He owns 16 wins, 103 top-five and 241 top-10 finishes. He won the Daytona 500 in 2001 and 2003.

'Hotter'N Hell' blazes through Sheppard

by Airman 1st Class Jelani Gibson
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

8/26/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas  -- As the dawn peaked over the indigo sky, the cannon's boom echoed across the North Texas prairie. While the sun painted Air Force planes with a golden glow, participants rolled across the asphalt with a focused ferocity in the in the Hotter'N Hell Hundred Aug. 24.

The Hotter'N Hell Hundred is a 100-mile bike race dedicated to the pioneers who settled the Wichita Falls, Texas, area more than a 130 years ago. Its original race in 1982 was to celebrate the centennial with a 100-mile bike race in more than 100-degree temperatures, a normal environment for this time of year. It is the largest single day 100-mile bicycle ride in the nation. Since part of the race rolls through Sheppard, hundreds of Airmen greeted thousands riders as part of the path cut through the base. 

"It's good to get out and help the community," said 2nd Lt. Jacob Impellizzeri, a student at the 80th Flying Training Wing's Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. "They support us; it's nice to show support back."

As riders attacked the course, the race carried them face-to-face with "Airpower Alley," a path that crosses a training tarmac lined with two C-130 Hercules, an A-10 Thunderbolt II, a F-16 Falcon, a F-15 Eagle, a T-38 Talon and a T-6 Texan II on display. Most of the civilian riders do not get a chance to see these type of aircraft on a regular basis and made an unscheduled pit stop to take pictures.

"It's very impressive coming through the jets lined up at the beginning," said Bill Chandler, a resident of Dallas, riding in the Hotter'N Hell Hundred for the first time. "It really makes a statement. It looked like 90 percent of the people were stopping as soon as they got to that area."

With racers continuing their ride through the base in weather well over 90 degrees in the early hours of the day, weary participants cooled down at the last rest stop with Airmen handing out wet towels, refreshments and words of encouragement.

"This is more than a race, this is a day to give us an opportunity to demonstrate dedication to our core values," said Airman 1st Class Anthony Pizzello, 82nd Training Wing international military student officer.

During the race each year, an estimated 20,000 bananas, 9,000 oranges, 8,000 pickles, 2,800 gallons of sports drinks, 10,000 gallons of water and 70,000 pounds of ice are used for rest stops. At Sheppard, there were Airmen hard at work in the back of a kitchen making sure riders got exactly what they needed--a well deserved rest.

"We all get to play a part to complete the mission," said Airman 1st Class Skyler Green, a 363rd Training Squadron munitions systems student from Riverside, Calif. "I had a part in making someone smile."

Immediately leaving the rest stop, 82nd TRW Airmen-in-Training flank each side of the street cheering on the participants as they pass by. For many who come through the base, this is the highlight of their journey.

"The ride is wonderful," said Rod Payne, a cycler and minister for the First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls.  "We appreciate these young people and their instructors."

For the sum of the Airmen volunteering, the overall emotion of the event itself was gratifying. 

"Nothing makes me happier than to see the look on their faces as they go through the column of Airmen," said Pizzello. Payne believes Sheppard is an important part of the city he has called home for than 25 years. "Sheppard is as intricate to Wichita Falls as our water supply," he said. "They defend our international freedom."

As cyclists retrieved their bikes on the last rest stop before the final leg of the race, the deafening roar of Airmen rang out across the route, with outstretched arms hoping riders would feed from their energy. Temperatures continued to soar as people, drenched in sweat, showed no signs of slowing down to finish the Hotter'N Hell Hundred

Hagel: U.S. Continues to Work With Other Nations on Syria

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei, Aug. 27, 2013 – While traveling in Southeast Asia today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian about chemical attacks that have killed innocent civilians in Syria.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian from his plane, Aug. 27, 2013. The two officials discussed how to respond to the chemical attacks in Syria that have claimed innocent lives. Hagel also discussed the same topic with British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond. DOD photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

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In a summary of the conversations, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Hagel conveyed that the United States is committed to working with the international community to respond to the “outrageous” attacks.

The secretary condemned the violence carried out by the Syrian regime and said the United States military is prepared for any contingency involving Syria, Little said, adding that Hagel pledged to continue close coordination with the British and French defense forces.

“Syria used chemical weapons against its own people,” Hagel said during an interview here this afternoon with Jon Sopel of “BBC World News.”

“Now, we'll have more information and more intelligence here vey shortly to present,” the secretary said.

Most U.S. allies, most U.S. partners and most of the international community have little doubt that the most basic international humanitarian standard was violated by the Syrian regime in using chemical weapons against its own people, Hagel said.

“The deeper we get into this, it seems to me it's clearer and clearer that the government of Syria was responsible,” he added. “But we'll wait and determine what the intelligence and the facts bear out.”
The secretary said President Barack Obama has asked the Defense Department for options for all contingencies, and the department has complied.

“We have done that,” Hagel said. “He has seen them, we are prepared, [and] we have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take. We are ready to go.”

Marines Lead Multinational Nonlethal Weapons Training

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2013 – Senior military leaders from 22 nations, most in the Asia-Pacific region, are gathered in Mongolia this week to learn about nonlethal weapons and how their forces can more effectively use them, when circumstances require, such as to maintain order during low-intensity conflict or civil unrest.

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Mongolian armed forces service members and general police demonstrate riot control techniques during the opening ceremony of the seminar portion of Nonlethal Weapons Executive Seminar in Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, Aug. 26, 2013. NOLES is a regularly scheduled field training exercise and leadership seminar sponsored annually by U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, and it is designed to promote awareness and effective use of nonlethal weapons as a tool to maintain order in low-intensity or civil unrest situations. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John M. Ewald

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The two-day leadership seminar, sponsored by U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, began yesterday with demonstrations of nonlethal tactics, techniques and procedures at a training area about 30 miles west of Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, Marine Corps Col. Brad Bartelt, the senior U.S. seminar representative, told American Forces Press Service.

The session continues through tomorrow in the capital city, with participants discussing how they might apply the principles demonstrated.

The leadership seminar is the second phase of a two-part program conducted to promote awareness of nonlethal weapons and increase interoperability among those that use them, Bartelt said.

The training kicked off Aug. 17 with a bilateral field training exercise between U.S. and Mongolian forces at Mongolia’s Five Hills Training Area. Fifteen 15 nonlethal weapons instructors from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force’s 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion conducted hands-on training for more than 150 members of the Mongolian armed forces and general police, Bartelt reported.

Together, they rehearsed nonlethal tactics and procedures such as control holds and pressure-point techniques. They also got hands-on training with various nonlethal weapons systems, including oleoresin capsicum, or “pepper spray,” the X26 Taser, 40-millimeter sponge and “stingball” grenades and nonlethal shotgun rounds.

“The extensive, tactical-level training that took place during the FTX greatly increased the nonlethal proficiency of both the U.S. Marines who led the training, as well as the Mongolian personnel who might have been exposed to these nonlethal procedures for the first time,” Bartelt said.

Marine Corps Sgt. Ben Eberle, a combat correspondent who witnessed the training, said he was impressed how quickly the Mongolians absorbed on the information covered. “Show them once, and they had it,” he said. “And it’s all even more impressive since everyone communicated with each other through interpreters.”

Each experienced firsthand how it feels to be hit with a nonlethal weapon, designed to intimidate or inflict pain or discomfort rather than to kill. “No matter what language we speak, everyone runs through the [observer-controller] course in pain, and everyone takes a stun from a Taser the same way,” Eberle said. “Just because it’s nonlethal doesn’t mean it’s pain-free. I think whoever said friends are made through hardship hit the nail right on the head.”

The training could prove valuable for the Mongolian armed forces, a major contributor to peacekeeping operations around the world, Bartelt said. The Mongolians have deployed in support of U.N. peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Sierra Leon and the Balkans, and continue to augment the coalition in Afghanistan, he noted.

In many instances during these missions, nonlethal weapons can be valuable additions to ground commanders, he said.

“There are times when lethal force is not the best option,” Bartelt said. “For example, the effective use of nonlethal weapons can prove extremely valuable during rescue missions, situations in which civilians are used to mask a military attack, as well as riots and cases of civil disturbance during humanitarian assistance-disaster relief operations.”

Nonlethal weapons are designed to incapacitate equipment and people, minimizing fatalities and permanent injury and collateral property damage, Bartelt said. “Being able to use them effectively greatly increases the options a commander has while operating in the full spectrum of conflict,” he said.
As the Defense Department’s executive agent for nonlethal weapons and devices, the Marine Corps frequently leads related training, not only within the U.S. military, but also with partner nations.
Since 2002, Marine Corps Forces Pacific has sponsored the executive seminar series 12 times with partners throughout the region. This year’s exercise is the third to be hosted by Mongolia, and New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia have hosted previous sessions.

The training, Bartelt said, promotes closer partnership across the region, a pillar of the U.S. military rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific as nations work together to confront common challenges.
Recognizing that nonlethal capabilities and procedures vary significantly across nations, Bartelt called the exercise an opportunity to increase interoperability with partners “in the event we ever find ourselves side by side in a situation where we need to put this training to use.”

DC National Guard provides support during 50th anniversary of 'March on Washington'

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WASHINGTON (8/27/13) - Thousands of marchers from throughout the country descended on the National Mall to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the famous Civil Rights March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, Aug. 24.

From traffic control points to roving guards, District of Columbia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen supplemented partners such as the Park Police and the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department in a longstanding tradition of collaboration.

"The District of Columbia National Guard is a big overall asset because local and federal law enforcement can augment their manpower with about 100 to 200 Soldiers. They can reroute or reuse their manpower in other locations. This helps spread resources throughout the city." said Army 1st Sgt. Rodney Butler, first sergeant with the District of Columbia Army National Guard’s 275th Military Police Company.

Soldiers were able to build on prior training and missions, such as providing support for the presidential inauguration, while continuing to reinforce relationships with local and federal law enforcement agencies.

"It differs from the inauguration because there were more protests,” said Army Staff Sgt. Andre Easley, with the 275th MP Co. “You saw a different type of crowd and you saw a different type of element. This is some of the stuff that they focus on in common tasks in military police school: Dealing with different levels of crowds and dealing with traffic control points."

Different military occupational specialties ranging from military police to medical personnel answered the call of duty by manning traffic control points while continuously improving on their specific job tasks.

Army Sgt. Phillip Schmidt, a member of the District of Columbia Army Guard’s, 1st Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, said they are able to rely on the police and other agencies for guidance, especially for non-military police Soldiers who need to increase their experience.

From traffic control points to roving guards, District of Columbia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen supplemented partners such as the Park Police and the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department in a longstanding tradition of collaboration.

"The District of Columbia National Guard is a big overall asset because local and federal law enforcement can augment their manpower with about 100 to 200 Soldiers. They can reroute or reuse their manpower in other locations. This helps spread resources throughout the city."; said Army 1st Sgt. Rodney Butler, first sergeant with the District of Columbia Army National Guard’s 275th Military Police Company.

oldiers were able to build on prior training and missions, such as providing support for the presidential inauguration, while continuing to reinforce relationships with local and federal law enforcement agencies.

"It differs from the inauguration because there were more protests," said Army Staff Sgt. Andre Easley, with the 275th MP Co. "You saw a different type of crowd and you saw a different type of element. This is some of the stuff that they focus on in common tasks in military police school: Dealing with different levels of crowds and dealing with traffic control points.";

Different military occupational specialties ranging from military police to medical personnel answered the call of duty by manning traffic control points while continuously improving on their specific job tasks.

Army Sgt. Phillip Schmidt, a member of the District of Columbia Army Guard’s, 1st Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, said they are able to rely on the police and other agencies for guidance, especially for non-military police Soldiers who need to increase their experience.

Calif. National Guard members battle Northern California wildfires

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SACRAMENTO, Calif (8/27/13). - Nearly a dozen aircraft and crews from the California Air and Army National Guard are battling wildfires across Northern California.

California Army Guard helicopter crews and California Air Guard airtanker crews are working in coordination with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and U.S. Forest Service firefighting crews to battle the American, Swedes and Rim fires. In total the aircraft have dropped more than 250,000 gallons of water or retardant since the first crews were activated on Aug. 13."

"We train for this fight every year,” said Army Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, adjutant general of the California National Guard. "Our ongoing coordination with CAL FIRE and CAL OES (California Office of Emergency Services) 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 being used to battle the American Fire, two Black Hawks are being used to dropping on the Rim Fire, and two Black Hawks and one CH-47 Chinook helicopter are being flown in support of the Swedes Fire. Meanwhile one Black Hawk is staged in Redding, Calif., on call for medical evacuation support throughout Northern California.

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 activation on Aug. 17.

Aircrews are using two C-130J Hercules airtankers to fight 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 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 airtankers have completed more than 53 drops, releasing about 142,000 gallons of retardant.

As a member of the state's mutual aid system, California Guard aircraft and specially trained personnel are routinely utilized and deployed by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services "to respond to a wide range of emergencies including wildfires, search and rescue missions and other disasters throughout the state." This multi-agency coordination and resource sharing effort provides an efficient and effective way to combat the state's most difficult wildfires.

Texas Army National Guard doctor closes file on his last Operation Lone Star mission

By Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Miller
100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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LAREDO, Texas (8/27/13) - He sat behind a teacher's desk with chairs and tables stacked on the right side of the classroom like an incomplete level on a game of "Tetris."

"I go by Skip," he said with a fast Southern drawl and a sly smile. He sat back in his chair and looked relaxed in his surroundings as though he dispenses medical care and advice from middle school classrooms on a daily basis.

Many of those who have participated in more than one of the 15 iterations of Operation Lone Star-which provides medical services and disaster recovery training to state agencies and personnel while addressing the medical needs of thousands of under-served Texas residents- has likely met or been seen by Army Col. Arnold "Skip" Jones, assigned to Medical Command, 71st Troop Command, Texas Army National Guard.

Since the onset of Operation Lone Star in 1998, he has missed only two Lone Star operations due to an Afghanistan tour in 2005, and being "dissuaded due to the lack of funding" from the second operation in 1999.

The first mission was conducted in the southern tip of Texas between McAllen and Brownsville mainly serving the small towns and villages there. This first mission was a multi-force joint operation including Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, Army, health department and Public Health Services personnel.

Now years later, the scope of the operation has broadened to include the Rio Grande Valley and beyond and is a real-time, large-scale emergency preparedness exercise that provides service and disaster recovery training to state agencies and personnel.

Looking back to his start in the U.S. Army in 1974, as an infantryman, Jones has come a long way. After being promoted to sergeant, he re-enlisted to become a medical specialist and flewair ambulance missions out of Fort Bliss, Texas. "

"This [physician assistant] profession looks really cool. I wanna look into this," said Jones. "I decided that it was what I wanted to do."

When he came to the end of his tour, the military physician’s assistant school wanted him to have more experience. He had already been accepted to other colleges for further study in the medical field, so he got out of the Army and went to school.

After completing physician’s assistant school, Jones joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and became a commissioned officer. Jones said that the packet for commissioning as a physician’s assistant is an "arduous process." He also said that the officer packet is "this thick," while putting about three inches between his index finger and thumb.

Once he attained his commission as an officer, he quickly achieved the rank of captain a year later due to his "time in grade." In 1995, he joined the Texas Army National Guard.

During one of the 13 OLS missions he has worked, Jones said a local woman came to him with a large lump in her neck. She had been on thyroid medication for two years. Jones advised her to hold back on the medication and go to her primary physician to get the blood tests that they had passed up before due to the cost.

The following year he discovered that the woman he had referred for further testing learned the lump was thyroid cancer. She had the cancer removed and received the proper medications. As she was talking to another provider about her cancer resolution, she saw Jones as she rounded the corner and gave him a big hug.

He saw her over the next couple of OLS missions in that area.

"That was very rewarding," said Jones. "That was as cool as it gets."

"My most internal desire is to provide good patient education and support to people that I take care of," said Jones. "The diet in South Texas is deplorable for health. [It]… is high fat, high carbohydrate and notorious for causing diabetes and causing clogged arteries. I'd heard a rumor once upon a time that a person born in the Rio Grande Valley by age 50 has a 50 percent chance of being diabetic."

Throughout the many years he has participated in OLS, Jones has been up and down the border of Texas and Mexico helping people with little to no access to health care.

Since he is set to retire at the age of 60, this will be Jones' last year at OLS. Jones said he will stay busy part time at his clinic in College Station, Texas, working with Soldiers on their annual periodic health assessments and managing his 50-acre ranch with his sister in Franklin, Texas.

As Jones finished an exam, two nutritionists were speaking with patients about how their diet affects them and gave patients advice on how to better themselves through their diet.

Jones said, "Getting these people to understand what is good for them, what's good for their health, what they can do to help themselves, without having to go to a doctor and take a pill to fix a problem, that's what we do. That's what I love doing."

Texas Air Guard engineers train with Norwegian Military Academy cadets

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
149th Fighter Wing
Click photo for screen-resolution image RYGGE AIR STATION, Norway (8/27/13) - About 50 U.S. airmen assigned to the 149th Civil Engineering Squadron, a subordinate unit of the Texas Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, Texas, recently trained with Royal Norwegian military cadets on construction projects here, near Moss, and in Oslo, Norway.
The Airmen were on-hand for Impeccable Glove 2013, a training exercise with the Norwegian armed forces, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher A. Miller, the squadron's commander and a graduate of the civil engineering program at Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas.

U.S. participation was sponsored through the deployment for training program,

"enable Air National Guard civil engineering units to receive real-world training within the United States or abroad," Miller said. "Our members have previously deployed to Camp Moreno, in California, as well as Armenia in support of the program."

As part of their deployment, the Texas Airmen collaborated with Royal Norwegian Air Force personnel and with senior Royal Norwegian military cadets enrolled in the engineering program at the Norwegian Military Academy (Krigsskolen), at Camp Linderud, in Oslo.

Established in 1750, Krigsskolen is "Scandinavia's oldest (institution of) higher education," said Norwegian Army Maj. Anders C. Haavik-Nilsen, the academy's chief instructor of military technology and engineering.

Upon graduation, cadets earn a bachelor of military science and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Royal Norwegian Army.The joint training paired a Norwegian cadet with an American noncommissioned officer to manage the projects, which were implemented by work crews from the 149th CES.

Impeccable Glove 2013 consisted of six projects, said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rosario Muñoz, a water and fuels systems maintenance supervisor and the Texas ANG project manager for the deployment.

"The projects include: structures, electrical and roadway repair," said Muñoz. "Throughout, our Airmen are upgrading their proficiency levels for their AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) and our broader career-field."

The leadership at Rygge selected the projects, but the Kriggskolen cadets completed their design and troubleshooting, said Haavik-Nilsen, who's also a graduate of the academy.

One of the cadets explained the different challenges he had to overcome to complete his project, which included structural repairs and upgrades to a canoe storage facility at Rygge.

"We started to plan (the projects) before summer," said Cadet Kjetil Waal, one of the Norwegian project managers. "You learn a lot because everything doesn't go as planned - you have to improvise."
Other projects included: assembling and raising a steel-frame structure at Krigsskolen; constructing a multi-layer, reinforced steel vault at Krigsskolen; constructing an exterior wall at Krigsskolen; digging a cable trench and installing lighting masts at a shooting range at Rygge; and repairing roadway, and digging a drainage ditch and laying a drainage pipe at Rygge.

"This is the first time we've had projects inside our camp (at Krigsskolen)," said Haavik-Nilsen. However, U.S. Air National Guard engineers have participated in Impeccable Glove for about 20 years. Previously, units have carried out projects on property near the academy, at Rygge, and at Orland Main Air Station, which is located in central Norway.

The projects had many moving pieces and some challenges to complete - Rygge and Kriggskolen are separated by about an hour's drive.

"We've had to adjust to using their materials, which are different than ours, but the materials here in Norway are pretty good," Muñoz said. "We've had to adjust for not having our cellphones here - it's been an adjustment for project management."

However, the Texas-based engineers were able to hit the ground running with their knowledge of weights and measurement scales that differ from the United States.

But it worked out for the U.S. engineers.

"Our guys are pretty good with the metric system and being able to adjust, since we've deployed several times," Muñoz said. "It's working very well, (and) the Norwegians speak English, which is a plus for us."

In addition to DFTs, the 149th CES regularly deploys to participate in Silver Flag, a combat readiness exercise for Air Force civil engineers, and has twice deployed to Iraq, in 2004 and 2010, she said. Their training and operations are conducted in accordance with the Air Force's  Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (BEEF) Program, among others.

Waal said that he was initially nervous about working with the U.S.Airmen.

"I know I can explain myself in English," Waal said, "but there are all these words that I don't know. We haven't done anything like this. We usually do regular soldier training - this is more about management, planning and cooperation."

Impeccable Glove is the first experience the cadets have had with foreign military personnel, said Haavik-Nilsen. "They've got their challenges - it's not easy to communicate in their second language."
The Norwegian cadets received briefings on American culture and discussed different leadership styles with their instructors before the Texas Air Guardmembers arrived, he said. "They've got to find out these things themselves - there's not really any answers."

"It's very significant," Haavik-Nilsen said of the exercise. "They've done the theory in all the engineering subjects, they've done the project management, they've read a lot about leadership, and they've done English at school and a little cultural understanding. And now it's time to put it all together and see if it works."

Waal said his nerves were quickly put at-ease once his project got underway.

"I don't have the knowledge - I'm not a carpenter," Waal said. "I like challenges, but one of the things I didn't know was how good they were at what they did."

The Airmen and cadets each benefited from the bilateral training.

"We've been working very well with the Norwegians," said Muñoz. "We're getting our upgrade training and also helping them with their projects. Their cadets are also getting training and getting graded. We both get training and learn from the experience

In addition to accomplishing their training, an added benefit of the deployment is the opportunity for members of the squadron to build esprit de corps.

"We are like a family," Muñoz said. "When we travel together, we're like brothers and sisters."
"It's (been) an incredible experience getting to work with the Norwegians," Muñoz said. "Their hospitality has been amazing."

An Airman's best friend

by Senior Airman Aubrey White
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/27/2013 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- He was bred to stand on the front lines and help protect service members. He worked day-in and day-out to detect and warn them of the existence of explosives. For the last 10 years, he's been an Airman's best friend.

Charlie, a 10-year-old German Shepherd Military Working Dog assigned to the 4th Security Forces Squadron, retired from active duty Aug. 23, 2013.

At the ceremony, he was honored for meritorious service by several members of Team Seymour and special guest, Maj. Gen. Jake Polumbo, 9th Air Force commander.

"MWD Charlie ensured the protection of United States assets and personnel by providing superior explosives detection capabilities while inside and outside the wire," said Maj. Troy Jones, 4th SFS commander. "Charlie gave his all for the mission and served flawlessly."

Charlie's handler, Senior Airman Rayshawn Taylor, 4th SFS MWD handler, reflected on the year-and-a-half he spent with the dog.

"When I first met Charlie, I thought he was pretty amazing," Taylor said. "Looking through his records, I saw that he deployed more than seven times and it was incredible to know I was going to work with a dog that was very experienced; it made me trust him a lot more. He's a veteran to this game and I didn't have anything to worry about."

Like many of his counterparts, Charlie has had to stare adversity in the face at certain points in his career.

During a deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, Charlie and his then handler, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Seekell, 4th SFS MWD trainer, were injured when they stepped on an improvised explosive device. Seekell earned a Purple Heart and Charlie earned a commemorative Purple Heart. Service animals are not eligible for military decorations.

Although the duo had a close bond before the incident, the experience they endured brought them even closer, enough for Seekell to adopt him after he's officially released from the Air Force.
"Charlie was the last dog I handled, or probably will ever handle in my career. He's my buddy; my partner," Seekell said. "He has done amazing things for the Air Force. He represents the MWD program as good as any dog ever could and I'm really looking forward to being able to bring him home, let him live a dog's life, be around the family and be lazy if he wants. If anyone deserves it, it's him and even though he's old and has been around the block a few times, I know that if I ever needed him to come back tomorrow, he'd be ready and he'd do it for me."

Airmen save man's life

by Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/27/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Two Airmen recently saved an elderly man's life near a Mountain Home, Idaho department store, July 28.

"We were going to have a barbeque, and came out of Wal-Mart when we saw two panicking individuals bent over a person lying on the ground," recounted Senior Airman Jorge Ferrer, 366th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems. "We immediately ran up and tried to see what we could do."

After assessing the situation, the Airmen sprung to action using Self-Aid and Buddy Care techniques.

"I could tell he was having a seizure," said Senior Airman Jason Costello, 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crewmember. "It looked like he fell and smashed his face, because he had blood and spit in his mouth and a gash on his forehead. Somehow he had been turned onto his back."

Assisting through the entire ordeal, Costello and Ferrer remained calm and tended to his needs.

"When I ran up to him, he was extremely pale," said Costello. "I was nervous it would be too late, but I bent over his head to determine what was wrong. I heard him gurgling, so I did the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver we learned in SABC, and he started coughing everything up. By that time paramedics showed up, and let Jorge and I continue helping, strapping him on the gurney and putting him in the ambulance."

The Airmen's quick thinking proved impressive to those who witnessed, including first responders.

"When I arrived on scene, Costello was on his knees assisting the injured man who was actively engaged in a seizure," said Melanie Broughton, Mountain Home Police Department patrol officer. "The injured man was bleeding from his head and had fluid coming out of his mouth."

Her confidence in the two Airmen was only bolstered the more they worked to help the injured man.

"Costello came up to me afterwards and I noticed he had some blood on him," she said. "I was impressed by the fact he knew exactly what to do and even though he had blood and fluids on him from the injured man, it never deterred him in his efforts to help."

Costello and Ferrer's courage has not gone unnoticed among their leaders, who say they set an example for all Airmen to follow.

"As a non-commissioned officer, I love their reaction," said Staff Sgt. John Moyle, 391st Fighter Squadron weapons team chief. "It's bittersweet to say something like that because I hate the situation, but I love the fact two young Airmen stepped up. There are a lot of cars off that road on a Sunday and to have two young guys take initiative and know they need to assist, is awesome. That drive is going to show in their future careers."

Moyle hopes this situation will help shine light on the importance of Air Force annual training, like SABC.

"You hear a lot of gripes about all the annual training we do, but I think it's for this exact reason," he said. "If we weren't getting the briefs and the education, who knows what could have happened. I think them having military bearing and the right training, ensured this gentlemen is still here today."

The two Airmen remain humble, attributing their quick thinking to military training and experience.

"Being in the military, it felt like it was our duty to stop and see if we could use our skills to help," said Ferrer. "It's something I'm going to carry with me the rest of my life."

Costello is also thankful for his military experience, helping him triumph in a considerably trying situation.

"I felt scared, but I knew what needed to be done and tried to remember the basics," he said. "Without a doubt in my mind, this man would have died or been brain dead had we not been there."

The action of the Airmen that day reminds first responders, like Broughton, why they do what they do, she said, explaining:

"I feel so honored to be a member of this community where there are people who are willing to take the time and go through extra effort to help those in need."

Idaho sky becomes battlezone for U.S., Singaporean pilots

by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/27/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- F-16 Fighting Falcons returned to MHAFB recently, and could be seen screaming across the skies above base as red- and blue-force aircraft.

Guardsmen from the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, located at Tucson International Airport, are currently visiting to train Republic of Singapore pilots on air-to-air maneuvers in the F-16.

"We are here training RSAF students because back home it's very hard getting every student the required amount of flying hours so we bring them up here and fly as red-versus-blue air forces.," said Lt. Col. Julian Pacheco, 152nd Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. "Our mission is to ensure these international students are properly and expertly trained for combat situations in the F-16. Being here gives us the additional sorties needed for their weapons course evaluations."

This is a specifically air-to-air exercise, he continued. "Blue force is essentially the good guys and red forces are enemy aircraft. We're flying mornings and afternoons to support both squadrons training necessities."

More than 30 ANG Airmen and five aircraft are supporting the students as they earn their qualifications.

"These students are involved in a five-month course and are currently finishing up the air-to-air phase of their training," said Pacheco. "They are close to finishing up the weapons-expert portion of their certification.

"Many of the sorties require multiple airframes, so being here is a perfect scenario as we can utilize the F-15SG's from the 428th Fighter Squadron," continued Pacheco. "This is a huge benefit because it's their own countrymen they are training and fighting against, who fly a completely different aircraft. Strike Eagles are different in that they have two engines as well as two vertical fins but more importantly they give our students the opportunity to see multiple airframes out in the airspace."

152nd FS Airmen train as blue force in the mornings and red force in the afternoons and then training reverses.

"We repay the 428th FS back for their assistance with our training by flying as red air or the bad guys in the afternoons," said Pacheco. "This way they can get their essential training sorties accomplished and there's the added bonus of them being against a different airframe."

One of the biggest benefits of training here at Mountain Home AFB is fighting against dissimilar aircraft, said Pacheco.

"When the only adversary a pilot sees is the same aircraft it limits the amount training which can be accomplished," he continued. "This is a great place for us to train because of the separate airframe, these RSAF pilots can train against their own countrymen, see the different aircraft on the radar, and the airspace is wonderful to fly in here in Idaho."

For Airmen preparing the jets for their daily sorties; there's only one priority regardless of where they are working.

"For maintenance, our main goal is to provide a safe, reliable aircraft for every pilot who flies regardless of whether they are a student or instructor," said Staff Sgt. Arturo Canez, 152nd FS crew chief. "It's important to support the aircraft and ensure they are safe for the pilots to fly, because at home we have more than 80 F-16's and it can be difficult or hectic trying to accomplish our mission there.

"Coming out here is a great change of scenery and allows the aircrew to have their red-versus-blue dogfights," he continued. "The base has taken great care of us and we really appreciate the warm welcome and top-notch facilities. We just want everyone to stay safe and have fun up there."

Despite the assigned color, all training happens at mostly medium altitudes, combining intercepts and air-combat tactics.

"This is what we love to do--train pilots," said Pacheco. "Our aircraft are not currently combat coded due to our training status, however, our Airmen deploy on a regular basis in order to stay integrated with the Combat Air Force."

Medal of Honor Recipient Joins Pentagon Hall of Heroes

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2013 – Defense Department leaders turned out here today to honor Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter, who received the nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony yesterday.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter led today’s induction ceremony, which formally added the staff sergeant’s name to the list of Medal of Honor recipients featured at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. Army Undersecretary Joseph W. Westphal and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell also spoke at the ceremony.

On Oct. 3, 2009, the 53 defenders of Combat Outpost Keating, located in the remote areas of eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, woke to some 300 enemy attackers raining down incoming rifle, rocket-propelled grenade, machine-gun and mortar fire from the high ground surrounding the outpost.
Sergeant Carter, assigned that day to support the camp’s guard posts, repeatedly braved withering fire, sprinting again and again over open ground to keep defenders supplied with ammunition, and to aid and evacuate a badly wounded friend and fellow soldier.

“His bold actions that day are emblematic not just of the decisions of fellow soldiers in his unit, but of a generation … of soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen that have distinguished themselves during 12 hard years of persistent conflict,” the deputy defense secretary said.

Deputy Secretary Carter said regardless of whether or how they have served, Americans see their own highest aspirations reflected in actions like the staff sergeant’s -- and by firefighters rushing into burning skyscrapers, teachers protecting children from gunfire, or rescue swimmers braving dark waters to aid others in danger.

“His actions are the deeds and spirit, in that sense, of thousands of common men and women capable of uncommon valor in the most extraordinary and unexpected circumstances,” he said. “In so many ways, the Medal of Honor Sergeant Carter received represents not just the best of him, but the best of all of us -- all that we hope to be.”

The nation will preserve the hard-earned lessons it has learned over a decade of war, he said, and adapt them for a future in which global threats grow less predictable and more dangerous.

“Amidst these challenges, Sergeant Carter’s induction as a Medal of Honor recipient is a reminder of the strength and endurance, not just of our fighting men and women, but of our national spirit,” Deputy Secretary Carter said. “Ours will always be a country that runs toward the sound of danger, in order to preserve the ideals that we cherish.”

The deputy secretary noted that the staff sergeant, who has spoken publicly about his own struggles with post-traumatic stress, now has another chance to serve the nation -- out of combat.

“You’re joining a prestigious fellowship of warriors, who have exhibited the utmost courage and bravery in battle,” the deputy secretary said to Carter. “With this opportunity comes an opportunity: to continue to inspire not just your brothers and sisters in the military, but the country as a whole.”

The nation counted on Sergeant Carter at COP Keating, the deputy secretary said, “and now we count on you to remind Americans of the best that we all can be. … I have no doubt that your courageous acts in Afghanistan are only the beginning of your service to this country.”

Continuous bomber presence exemplifies Global Vigilance, Global Reach, Global Power

by Staff Sgt. Katherine Holt
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

8/27/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- Barksdale aviators, maintainers and B-52H Stratofortress aircraft deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, this week to demonstrate the United States' continued commitment to stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Air Force Global Strike Command's deployment of bombers to Andersen AFB not only showcases the command's ability to conduct its mission, but also exemplifies commitment to providing global vigilance, reach and power.

"Our main mission is to deter and assure," said Capt. Michael Lopez, 20th Bomb Squadron pilot. "We are there to provide support to our allies in the region and to provide combat capability, if needed, for the Pacific Air Forces and Pacific Command."

Movement of U.S. Air Force bombers into the Western Pacific has been ongoing since March 2004, as the U.S. Pacific Command regularly adjusts its force posture to maintain a prudent deterrent capability within the region.

"As we know, the United States has done a strategic pivot toward the Pacific," said Lt. Col. Scott Maytan, 20th BS commander. "Strategic continuous bomber presence is part of that. It is a way for B-52s to augment military forces that we have in the theater."

The continuous bomber presence showcases the 2nd Bomb Wing's ability to operate aircraft within the Pacific and support exercises, operations, and contingencies as required.

"We own 50 percent of the responsibility for this, it is shared across the B-52 community, so that's a big piece for the 2nd BW to support," Maytan said. "It's a full spectrum effort--we've got aircrew, airplanes, maintenance support and other operations support personnel that go out to make sure we are able to do the mission just like we would do it with the resources we have here at home."

The Air Force's nuclear and conventional precision strike forces can credibly threaten and effectively conduct global strike by holding any target at risk and if necessary, disabling or destroying it promptly--the key to Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power.

"What we do day to day with this presence mission is show our ability to fly our airplanes around the Pacific theater and support whatever contingencies we might be asked to do," Maytan said. "The continuous bomber presence maintains long-range strike capability in theater, so our national decision makers have assets that they can use should they ever need to."

CBP also allows bombers the opportunity to integrate into joint and coalition training exercises in the Pacific.

"We are going to go out there and continuously sharpen our skills," Lopez said. "We will have local training missions to continue training on all of our different combat capabilities. In addition, we will also be out there working with our partners training with them in different exercises throughout the region."

Aircrews also plan to take advantage of being in close proximity to other U.S. services, along with the opportunity to work on aviation and combat concepts.

"It is a great opportunity for us when we go out there and work with all different players in the region," Lopez said. "Going out there we get to integrate with them to assure the Pacific."

Though they have been to Guam numerous times, Lopez says every time is a little different than the last, and they never lose the enthusiasm.

"We are excited to go out there to provide this force capability from here...to the Pacific," he said. "We are there to provide the security that is needed; and if called upon, use the firepower we provide to the nation."