Military News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Navy Officers Receive White House Fellowships

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2013 – Two Navy officers have been appointed to the 2013-2014 class of White House Fellows.

Cmdr. Cara LaPointe and Lt. Cmdr. Robert McFarlin will participate in the program, which was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders firsthand, high-level experience with the workings of the federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.

The fellowship program is designed to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service, White House officials said. The fellows take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, and current affairs. They also participate in service projects in the national capital area.

LaPointe is the deputy technical director of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Program, providing government technical oversight to $7 billion of shipbuilding contracts. Previously, she served at the Naval Sea Systems Command working on surface force architecture and unmanned vehicle technology integration.

A patented engineer, LaPointe has deployed to the Persian Gulf and the Pacific in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle. She has served as an advocate for victims of sexual assault, volunteered in rural communities internationally from Honduras to Fiji, and, most recently, founded the Engineering Duty Officer Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Outreach Initiative.

LaPointe earned her doctorate in mechanical and oceanographic engineering jointly from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was valedictorian of her U.S. Naval Academy class, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in ocean engineering.

McFarlin is a surface warfare officer who has deployed to more than 30 nations on six continents, most recently as commanding officer of USS Typhoon in the Arabian Gulf supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. While he was in command, his crew earned the Golden Anchor award for outstanding retention and the Battle “E” award as the No. 1 ship in its squadron.

In 2008, he circumnavigated South America on a counternarcotics deployment. He served as an assistant professor at the University of Rochester and co-founded a company dedicated to transforming dilapidated inner-city property into safe, low-income housing.

He volunteers as a Big Brother mentor, with Habitat for Humanity and globally through the Navy’s community relations program. He is a national director of the Surface Navy Association and the recipient of the peer-nominated Navy/Marine Corps Association Leadership Award. He holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Naval Academy and a master of business administration degree from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.

RED HORSE answers the call for Ulchi Freedom Guardian

by 7th Air Force Public Affairs
Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera


8/28/2013 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- When Airman, Sailor, Soldier, and Marine augmentees from all over the world arrived on Osan Air Base, they found themselves living in a tent city that they would call home during the two-week Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise.

Standing up a tent city is nothing new to the 254th RED HORSE Squadron members.
RED HORSE squadrons provide highly mobile civil engineering response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide. Since 2006, the Guam Air National Guard RED HORSE has answered the call preparing and supporting the UFG exercise.

"The team built-up and currently sustains the bare base at Rush Park to include 24 tents, 10 ConEx's, two K-Spans, one lodging facility and morale services," said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Delin, 254th RHS chief enlisted manager.

The 28-year veteran also added that RED HORSE deliver 24-hours a day support for the augmentees providing climate-controlled environments with heating and ventilation, maintenance, plumbing, portable water, fuel system maintenance, pest management and electrical power generation to name a few.

This year, over 500 service members were lodged in the tent city and the 254th RHS ensure their living conditions were top notch.

"Being a part of the UFG, it is remarkable to see all different services come together in one location and join forces with the ROK counterparts," said Staff Sgt. Tim Flores, heating, ventilation and air conditioning craftsman. "We are all here to accomplish one major task--work together and complete the mission."

Sheppard wins AETC logistics award

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


8/27/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- If it moves, grooves or needs screws, the 82nd Logistics Readiness Squadron is there to make sure goods get transported and run smoothly. Their dedication to the mission has paid off as they received the 2012 Logistics Readiness General Lew Allen, Jr. award here.

The 82nd LRS, whose mission is to transport, package, build and take inventory of the various goods on base, felt a sense of pride and enthusiasm.

"It was pretty cool," said Maj. Samuel Payne, 82nd LRS commander. "We take credit as a family."

The 82nd LRS is Air Education and Training Command's largest logistics program, supports 56 geographically separated units and supported 27 Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training sorties.

"It takes everybody from the lowest Airman to make this happen," he said. "We solidify teamwork."

In the multi-faceted environment that exists within the 82nd LRS, Payne pointed toward the squadron's diversity as one of their main strengths.

"Making sure the mission gets done is difficult," he said. "Logistics can't be done without discipline."

Master Sgt. Jesus Sanchez, 82nd LRS superintendent, considered the award a major accomplishment as well.

"I was shocked when we won," he said. "It's a proud moment."

Sanchez notes that without logistics many parts of the 82nd Training Wing mission to "train and inspire" would not get done.

"Nothing moves without us," he said. "We ship everything and anybody to any location."

Teamwork and strategy around the workplace are the attributes that Payne believes are important group attributes, and is proud of the impact logistics has on the mission at Sheppard.

"There's not much of the mission we don't touch," he said. "We want people to expect us to do the impossible."

Through Airmen's Eyes: Langley NCO's road to recovery

 By Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins, 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) -- In 2002, 1.4 million people were arrested nationally for driving under the influence, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Unfortunately, U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Randall Renaud was part of that statistic. On Oct. 2, 2002, six months after promotion to technical sergeant, he received an Article 15 for driving under the influence.

Because of the trials associated with receiving the DUI, the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron engineering flight superintendent didn't know how much his career would be affected. Through the years, his determination and resiliency allowed him to beat the odds and achieve a successful career.

Before the incident, Renaud's early career was on the rise, excelling at whatever task he put his mind to.

The Florida native enlisted in December 1990 as an environmental support specialist and moved to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He soared through the airman ranks, and was awarded senior airman below-the-zone. He received his line number after testing for staff sergeant only once. He didn't make technical sergeant the first time, but aced the test on the second try.

Although Renaud was doing well at his job, he made one poor decision that put a temporary halt to his career. Renaud said he made adjustments to his everyday life because of one night of driving under the influence.

"It definitely changed my life at the time. I received a full bust from technical sergeant to staff sergeant," he said. "My license was suspended on base for a year and I couldn't drive off base for 90 days. It was rough."

Though he only drove a half-mile down the road, Renaud said he understands the circumstances could have been much worse.

"Only God knows what would have happened if I continued to drive," he said. "The question for some people is when does the slippery slope end? Is it a ticket, accident or does it take someone getting killed? For me, it was the realization of what I had lost compared to what I could have lost."

Renaud was also faced with the fact that he didn't have as much influence on his subordinates as before, which he said is one of the most important tasks as a noncommissioned officer.

"I didn't hate my job; it just wasn't the job I wanted to be in because I couldn't help people as much as I had in the past," he said. "One of my first bosses told me, 'Take care of your people and they will take care of you.' When you're in that position of authority and you get busted back down, you really don't have much authority at all."

Fortunately, he didn't allow his troubles to discourage him. He decided to start over by going to work with a positive attitude. Renaud said he wanted to rebuild the trust of his coworkers, leadership and everyone who looked up to him before the DUI.

In his rebuilding process, Renaud made an effort to deter others from making the same mistakes as he did by delivering his message base-wide.

"I spoke with a dozen [First Term Airmen Center] classes and commander's calls at various squadrons to try to influence people not to do what I did, and think before you drink," he said.

Fourteen months after receiving the DUI and reconstructing his reputation, Renaud felt it was time to move on and volunteer for a new assignment.

"When you get an Article 15, there are two routes you can take: You can take the route where you give up, or you can take the route where you try to rebuild yourself," he said. "I wanted to take the route to rebuild myself, so I needed a fresh start. I took an assignment to Yokota Air Base, Japan."

A year after moving to Yokota, he tested for technical sergeant again and made the cut-off score the first time.

"I blew it out of the water. I felt like, 'Now, I'm getting back in the swing of things,'" said Renaud. "I'm getting a little motivation behind me because I made [technical] sergeant back."

Renaud began soaring through the ranks once again, regaining his confidence with each step. He made the cut-off score for master sergeant his first time, and after moving to Langley in 2012, he tested for senior master sergeant. He wasn't too hopeful he would make the cut-off, but on Jan. 1, he sewed on senior master sergeant, 11 years after his DUI.

"Wearing senior master sergeant on my sleeve is something I'd never dreamed of back in October 2002," he said. "I was shocked when results came out. I was excited and overwhelmed with humility. I still ask myself sometimes, 'Should I be a senior master sergeant? Do I deserve it?'"

Renaud hopes other Airmen who have been through any type of struggle in their career are able to turn themselves around, but there are three steps he feels are important to follow.

"The first thing any Airman needs to do when they're down on their luck is just look at him or herself in the mirror and take responsibility," he said. "Once I'd truly admitted to myself that it was all me, [I was on] the road to recovery. Second, pick yourself up and set new goals. Third, find a good mentor to help get you back on the right path."

For Renaud, following those steps made it easier for him to keep pushing forward. With the help of his fellow Airmen, he feels everything he's gone through has been a learning experience. He said he is "amazed and blessed" that he has made it this far in his career, and doesn't plan on stopping.

"I'm not finished yet," he said. "I can still help more people. I still think I have more to give to the Air Force."

Renaud's resilience has allowed him to serve his country now for more than 22 years. Although his recovery has been a long process, Renaud believes what has kept him going is being a part of a group of Airmen who support him, as well as each other, each day to accomplish the mission.

MAFFS C-130s deploy to California to aid firefighting effort

by MAFFS Air Expeditionary Group
Public Affairs


8/28/2013 - BOISE, Idaho -- The U.S. Forest Service, through the National Interagency Fire Center here, has ordered the three MAFFS aircraft operating at the Boise Air Tanker Base move to McClellan Air Tanker base near Sacramento, Calif., to assist the wildland firefighting effort in the western United States.

In a request made Aug. 26, the Forest Service also extended the military Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System mission through Sept. 30.

Five MAFFS aircraft are currently activated. Two are from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, and are operating from their home base at the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station in Port Hueneme, Calif. Three others -- two from Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and one from the North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing, based in Charlotte, N.C., have been part of the MAFFS squadron operating from Boise.

Aircraft operations at Boise ended yesterday, but the command element for MAFFS will remain at Gowen Field here to coordinate with the National Interagency Fire Center. The Boise aircraft were expected at McClellan by late afternoon yesterday.

Since their initial activation June 11 to fight forest fires in southern Colorado, MAFFS aircraft have made 494 drops using 1,253,631 gallons of fire retardant. This summer, they have fought fires in Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California and Nevada.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the Forest Service. C-130 aircraft with MAFFS modules loaded into their cargo bays follow Forest Service lead planes, and military aircrews can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant along the leading edge of a forest fire in less than five seconds, covering an area a quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, ground crews at a MAFFS tanker base can refill the modules in less than 12 minutes.

An interagency Defense Department and Forest Service program, MAFFS provides aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the Forest Service's needs. A military air expeditionary group exercises control over MAFFS resources at the Forest Service's direction.

Director of the Air National Guard visits 136th Airlift Wing

by Airman Cody Witsaman
136th Airlift Wing/ Public Affairs


8/28/2013 - 8/22/2013 - NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JRB, Texas -- The Director of the Air National Guard visited the 136th Airlift Wing here Aug.21 to meet with Airmen.

During the visit Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke was able to talk with Airmen from around the wing about ANG budget, deployments, and his own personal history in the Air Force.

"[Each Airmen's] questions and concerns were important to [Clarke]; so important that he wants to address them one on one," said Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Tatum, a logistics plans specialist at the wing.

"Ask me anything," the Director said to the Airmen.

It was apparent to the Airmen involved in Clarke's visit that he cares what each Airmen has to say and how each individual supports the ANG through their work and leadership.

The general later coined four deserving Airmen of the 136 AW for their outstanding achievements. He thanked and challenged each of them to use what they have learned to mentor fellow Airmen.

"I was accepting the challenge to mentor and groom others to the standards of the Air National Guard," Tatum said on being asked what the coin meant.

The Director was able to visit shops around the wing. He was able to get a firsthand look at the Airmen and Family Readiness program, and Transition Assistance Program for Airmen returning from deployments.

The goal of TAP is to expand the knowledge base of returning Airmen from 180-day plus deployments and help them with their financial planning as they transition out of active duty.

"The classroom can hold up to 50 veterans at one time," said Heidi Bearden, 136 AW Airmen and Family Readiness program manager.

The 136 AW is one of two hubs in the nation; the other is Phoenix, Ariz.

Completing the visit, Clarke said he was pleased with the work being done and was glad to have met many exemplary Airmen throughout the wing.

"All I ask of the Airmen is to serve with distinction," said Clarke.

Wounded warrior receives a helping "paw"

by 2nd Lt. Alexandra Trobe
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs


8/27/2013 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The term "man's best friend" conjures different images in everyone's mind. Whether its fond memories of the love and comfort of your first childhood puppy or the necessity of the police dogs present at airports; it is undeniable that dogs have become a widespread part of many people's lives.

To recipients of the "Canines for Veterans" program, the role of service dogs in their lives contributes both emotional and technical assistance by specializing in mobility and post-traumatic stress disorder support.

CFV is a nationally recognized program that provides quality, trained service dogs to disabled veterans. Since 2010 this organization has collaborated with the Naval Consolidated Brig-Charleston working to rescue dogs from local shelters, rehabilitate military prisoners and revive the life of wounded veterans.

Rescued dogs must pass a rigorous set of physical, medical and temperament tests to become accepted in the training program. Additionally, CFV actively searches for adoption homes for dogs that wash out of the program.

The organization does not focus on training service dogs, but rather service members. Inmates of NAVCONBRIG are specially selected for this assignment and are taught how to train dogs to perform over 90 commands. When fully trained, these dogs can retrieve and carry objects, turn on the lights and even load laundry.

Most importantly, these dogs are a source of love and companionship. Both the veteran and the dog are a team and make the transition back to independence together.

During a ceremony at the NAVCONBRIG Aug. 26, Gaza, an18-month-old yellow Labrador retriever, was placed with Gunner's Mate Chief Jeannette Tarqueno, a wounded veteran. She hopes Gaza will be able to provide more independence and comfort in her life.

Tarqueno has served a distinguished career in the Navy for more than 11 years.

Including service in Yokosuka, Japan on the USS Cowpens, Va. as a small arms and machine gun instructor at Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam, HI onboard the USS Port Royal.

While serving on the USS Port Royal, Tarqueno was struck on the left side of her head by a 30-pound armored plate bracket that was falling from the deck above.

Despite the limitations of her injury, Tarqueno offers an inspirational example of how to overcome obstacles and achieve her goals.

After the incident, she took and passed her chief exams, as well as competed in the 2012 and 2013 Wounded Warrior games as a key member of the Navy cycling team.
Even with these accomplishments, Tarqueno said, "As service members, it is sometimes difficult to put aside our pride and ask for help."

Tarqueno reached out to Canines for Veterans for aid. After a challenging application process, including home video submission, she was paired with Gaza to help her overcome her limitations and achieve her goal of completing a distinguished Navy career.

"It's a wonderful program. I couldn't be more blessed to have such an incredible companion," said Tarqueno.

Rick Hairston, co-founder CFV, attended the recipient ceremony at NAVCONBRIG.
In his parting words to Tarqueno, said, "I want to thank you for your service, and we are proud to make life a little better for you."

The CFV program touches the lives of many individuals throughout Charleston through animal shelters, military prisoner rehabilitation and giving back to wounded veterans. However, this program needs help as well.

Currently there are two highly trained dogs that are in need of a good home in the Charleston area. These dogs were unable to complete the training curriculum but would still make a great pet. If you would like more information on adoption please contact Laura Conn at lconn@canninesforservice.org.

March Reserve squadron supporting Korea exercise

by Capt. Joe Simms
940th Wing Public Affairs


8/27/2013 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- More than 75 members of the 701st Combat Operations Squadron from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., are here supporting Ulchi Freedom Guardian that began Aug. 26.

UFG is an annual defense-oriented exercise developed around scenarios designed to defend the Republic of Korea, protect the region, and maintain stability on the peninsula.

Established in 1995, the one-of-a-kind 701st COS supports 7th Air Force, the U.S. Air Force component to the U.S. and Republic of Korea Combined Forces Command's Air Component Command for exercises such as UFG and Key Resolve.

Maj. Eric Chancellor, 701st COS Mission Support Flight commander, has been with the squadron for seven years and understands the worldwide impact of their mission.

"All of our training is designed to support exercises such as Key Resolve and UFG," said Chancellor. "This is our mission, to support the AOC mission for 7 AF and the Korean Peninsula. We come here, we train, and we take it seriously."

During UFG, the 701st augments the air operations center and its primary goal of  creating and executing air tasking orders.

Every day, once the ATO is finalized, it is funneled down to Airmen from different specialties working alongside their ROK counterparts in the hardened tactical air control center, commonly referred to as the "war room."

Maj. Malia Sharkey, 701st Combat Airspace Management, and Capt. Juan Benavides, 607th Air Operations Center, along with their ROK counterpart, use the ATO as a guide to monitor airborne assets during the exercise.

"Our job is to monitor the airspace on the Korean Peninsula and all coalition missions being flown in the theater," said Sharkey. "We work closely with the ROK so they see what we see and vice versa."

"During the exercise, it's important that we are working together and learning from the South Koreans, as well as them learning from us," Chancellor explained. "We work hand in hand with our South Korean counterparts with the goal of helping them understand how we do business and improving their processes."

Chancellor and Sharkey are two of more than 3,000 augmentees from U.S. and bases in the Pacific region participating in UFG, along with military forces from seven United Nation's Command member state including Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Augmenting an AOC mission requires the 701st to behave like a wing within itself with representatives from more than 60 Air Force Specialty Codes represented.

"We are unique, we're diverse, and I think that helps us do our mission," Chancellor said. "Many sections are one or two people deep, so we rely on each other to get the job done."

Airmen build opportunity to combine volunteerism, training

by Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega
944th Fighter Wing


8/23/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 944th Civil Engineer Squadron provided quality training for their Airmen and contributed to the Luke Air Force Base community during the August unit training assembly.

Senior Airman Donald Mcguire, 944th CES structure specialist, became the driving force for two major projects at the bases Airman's Attic, a non-profit volunteer and donation based organization.

It all began when Mcguire volunteered at the Airman's Attic through an internship program for his service learning project with Glendale Community College as part of his Masters Degree program in Non-Profit Management and Leadership from Arizona State University.

"I had anticipated that I would mainly be sorting through donated items and stocking them on the shelves," said Mcguire. The experience turned out to be more than he anticipated and by the time his required 45 hours of volunteer service was complete he had developed and was in charge of two major construction improvement projects.

"SrA Donald McGuire has become a very valuable asset at the Airman's Attic. Had we known his capabilities we would have tapped into his skills a long time ago," said Katrina Garza, manager of the Airman's Attic. "Without SrA McGuire's knowledge and skills we would still be in the talking and planning phases of our current projects."

The first project Mcguire developed was an enclosed child care area, dubbed "the Kid Zone". The Kid Zone is a place for kids to play while their parents either shop or volunteer at the Airman's Attic. The construction of the project began on August 3rd and is projected to be completed by the end of the month.

The second project he under took was an addition to the Airman's Attic that would add retail space and provide room for a new non-profit organization called Cinderella and Prince Charming's Closet.

Cinderella and Prince Charming's Closet is a place where new Airman can rent uniforms and dresses for graduations, proms, weddings, and Air Force ceremonies or balls. Normally, dress uniforms can cost an Airman up to five hundred dollars, Cinderella's Closet will allow Airman the opportunity to attend these events without the added expense.

The Cinderella and Prince Charming's Closet project began on August 1st and is expected to be done today.

"We seize any and all opportunities to train and hone our skills," said Anthony Harback, 944th CES superintendent of operations, about the 944th's involvement with the Airman's Attic projects. "This is one of those perfect opportunities as a tenant unit, to integrate with and assist our host community and gain valuable training at the same time."

Face of Defense: Soldier Builds Partnership Through Soccer

By Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett
21st Theater Sustainment Command

ZAGREB, Croatia, Aug. 28, 2013 – During the duty day at Operation Immediate Response here, he can be found issuing water, in-processing personnel or even passing out laundry bundles to U.S. soldiers and service members from the Balkan region of Europe. In the evening, when the computers are powered down and the exercise is on pause, he builds international bonds by engaging in a European pastime: soccer.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Spc. Fausto F. Jimenez, left, tries to keep the ball from members of the U.S. and Croatian army in an off-duty soccer match during Operation Immediate Response 13 at Petar Zrinski Barracks, Croatia, Aug. 26, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army Spc. Fausto F. Jimenez, a human resources specialist assigned to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 16th Sustainment Brigade headquarters in Baumholder, Germany, plays soccer with military members from the United States, Croatia and the United Kingdom at Petar Zrinski Barracks here.

Soccer has been his favorite sport and hobby since he was 7 years old, the Tyler, Texas, native said. At the end of his first duty day here, Jimenez added, he immediately began asking Croatian soldiers if they played soccer. They told him where to go, and they’ve been playing as often as possible ever since.

Due to the varying work schedules of each nation, the players involved change every evening. Jimenez, however, has been a constant member on the field and has earned the respect of the other players.

“He plays … incredibly well, especially for an American,” said Cpl. Joseph Oreskovic, a Croatian army signalman. “We know in America you have your own football that is your favorite sport, but here, he is very good at our football.”

Each player has his own military mission in Operation Immediate Response, and most of them interact every day. Many of them believe that it is important to continue building bonds even after the duty day is over.

“It’s nice to come out here after work and play football together. Playing with our partners from Slovenia, the U.S. and Croatia and anyone else who shows up really pays dividends,” said Sgt. Peter A. Stubbs, a British army signal platoon sergeant. “The job reality is that we may all see each other again in a combat situation. The bond will be stronger when that time comes because of things like this.”

Jimenez said that when he played soccer in high school and at Central Baptist College in Conway, Ark., he never thought it would lead to him sharing the field with military members from around the world.
“Playing out here, I feel like I am making friends for life,” he said. “I see these guys every day at work during the exercise, but it’s out here on the field that I really got the know them.”