Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wingman's attentiveness draws unit closer

by TSgt Heather Skinkle
940th Wing Public Affairs

9/12/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Preparing for bed involves a number of small, seemingly minor decisions: brushing teeth, turning down the bed covers, and turning off a cell phone may be part of a nightly routine, but Air Force reservists, especially supervisors, may want to rethink switching off that phone.

If Tech. Sgt. Wesley Mosure, cyber transport supervisor with the 50th Intelligence Squadron's communication flight, had switched off his phone one night six months ago, he wouldn't have received an urgent call from his co-worker, Senior Airman Michael Hargon, cyber transport technician, who had pulled over to the side of the road because he was experiencing double-vision.

That incident became a crucial piece to Hargon's puzzling behavior that Mosure had been mulling over for months.

Since joining the unit in 2011, Hargon had always been a cheerful, outgoing person who enjoyed his role within the flight, but earlier this year Mosure said he noticed a drastic mood shift plus Hargon complained of headaches.

"He went from being super optimistic, joking, hanging out with everybody to pulling me aside and questioning if his Reserve job was worthwhile," Mosure said.

Mosure had questioned him about his personal life and civilian work, trying to ferret out if Hargon was experiencing major personal upheavals that might account for his withdrawal.

The roadside incident took Mosure's concern beyond conversation after he made sure Hargon was okay, Mosure urged him to visit a hospital the next day, even helping him apply for Tricare.

When Hargon was released from the emergency room with medication, however, when his symptoms worsened, he saw another doctor. He was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of bone cancer.

"The tumor had been pressing on his optic nerve, so that's what had caused his headaches," Mosure said. "Thankfully his cancer was operable, and he was quickly scheduled for surgery."

Immediately after surgery Hargon's cheerful mood returned.

The positive attitude that had made him popular with other flight members has won over the medical staff and other patients where he receives his chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Mosure said.

"He's been in treatment the past six months, so I try to text, e-mail, or call him. When both our schedules permit, I visit with him," he said. "The flight is always giving me cards or asking me to pass on 'get well wishes' to him."

"The unexpected health problem of one of our member's has brought the flight closer together," Major Alan Andreas, communications flight commander said. "We want to provide him with all the emotional support that he needs."

Hargon's close family friend organized a benefit concert and auction to raise money for his living expenses, and the flight wanted to help out, he said.

"Just within our unit we've collected around three thousand dollars to donate to Hargon," Andreas said.

Had it not been for the flight wholeheartedly embracing a wingman philosophy Hargon's condition may have gone untreated.

"It was evident that there was something really wrong," Major Alan Andreas, communications flight commander, said. "I try to be aware of all our flight members' situation. If I know their normal baseline personality I can judge better if something is wrong."

Mosure and Andreas are both advocates for knowing their people.
"Be an active listener to build a relationship with your people," Mosure said. "When your co-worker or family member feels like you actually care, that helps them feel comfortable sharing their problems with you."

Being attentive to an airman's mood changes can be crucial to discovering if they are experiencing post traumatic stress disorder, suicidal tendencies, sexual abuse, as well as medical conditions and helping them seek treatment.

"Suggesting co-workers seek out the resources available to them like seeing a civilian or military medical provider, on-base mental health professional, or calling Military One Source for off-base treatment may be lifesaving," Lt. Col. Julie Clement, 940th Aerospace Medical Squadron commander, said.

Reservist called 'hero' by rescued teen

by Dana Lineback
940th Wing Public Affairs

9/12/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For many, Labor Day weekend is one last chance to enjoy their favorite summer activity.

Sunday afternoon, Sept. 1, Maj. Jaesin White and his family set out on a hike to a popular swimming hole in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. They never suspected the path they followed into the woods that day would lead them into the heart of a grateful stranger.

"We'd considered driving up to the Oregon border to hunt volcanic rocks, but I wanted to just stay local," said White, commander of the 940th Logistics Readiness Squadron, a Reserve unit at Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

"I'd heard several of the guys at the squadron talking about a natural water slide up in the foothills near here, so I decided to take the family there for the day."

White, his wife, and their three young sons, along with White's parents, parked their car along a dirt road and set off on the three-mile trek that took them down a steep canyon to the waterfalls.

"It was a pretty good hike in," said White, "I was surprised to see so many people there when we arrived that afternoon."

The family had been there awhile, picnicking and playing in the water, when White took notice of a young lady shivering uncontrollably on a rock nearby.

"The water in the pools there is snowmelt from the Sierras, and it was ice cold," White said. "She was exhibiting all the signs of hypothermia Bear Gryll warns about on his survival shows."

As her condition rapidly deteriorated, the group of family and friends surrounding the young lady seemed confused about what to do to help her, so White decided to take charge of the situation.

"They all had that 'deer in the headlights' look, and I could see she was in serious trouble. My training just kicked in," White said.

White instructed several in the group to vigorously rub her arms and legs. He dispatched someone back to the road to call for help. He sent another to find dry clothes for the girl. He ordered a couple of young men to build a fire. White himself began pumping the girl's legs and arms.

Despite their best efforts, the girl began slipping into unconsciousness and her breathing slowed to a stop. White began chest compressions, and the girl's uncle breathed air into her lungs.

She begun breathing again and color was returning to her lips when, suddenly, she stopped breathing a second time. White immediately resumed CPR, and the girl came back around.

"I knew we needed to move her out of the forest before nightfall. We probably had less than an hour of daylight remaining," White said. "She couldn't walk, so we draped her arms around our shoulders and carried her up the cliffs along a path that inclined at a 45-degree angle."

It took the group nearly an hour to reach flat land.

"By the time we reached the fire road, she was able to get her feet under her and take small steps with support," White said. "She was responsive and even started worrying about her hair and clothing. I knew she'd be alright then."

Five minutes later, emergency responders arrived along the road.

"Because of the remote, back country nature of that location, our normal mission time is 4-6 hours from the time the 911 call comes in to arrival at a definitive care facility," said Greg Schwab, fire chief of the department that responded that afternoon.

According to Schwab, emergency calls from the falls area have increased dramatically in recent years, jumping from an average of three missions each year to 12 missions last year.

"It's become entirely too popular to go out there. People don't realize how dangerous it can be. You're in a steep canyon with limited cell coverage. If something happens, it takes a while for help to arrive," Schwab said. "In this case, I'm glad someone was there who could put together a rescue plan and execute it."

"God sent me an angel and that angel was Jaesin," the rescued teen said. "He's my hero, and I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart for everything. I owe him big time. I'm so thankful to see another day."

"I was just glad there was a happy ending to the weekend," White said.

During his squadron's Unit Training Assembly a few days later, White had the opportunity to share his story with the reservists under his command.

"I told the squadron I'm personally never going to those falls again, but if they do, they need to be prepared and realize their personal limitations. They should never go alone somewhere like that, and they should always be prepared with water, food and a First Aid kit."

The commander also used his experience as a teachable moment, praising his unit's training monitors for their dedication to ensuring everyone in the unit is trained.

"Self-Aid and Buddy Care is required annual training for every reservist, but I don't think we realize how invaluable this training actually is. You can't put a price on training that saves lives," White said. "It's the difference between being able to help someone or having to stand helplessly by because you don't know what to do."

White said the incident was a personal reminder that decisions you make in the heat of a moment truly define who you are.

"We all have choices in life to become involved or not. To me, a hero is someone who makes the decision to help and then does everything in their power to follow through to the end. It comes down to doing the right thing, no matter what.

"I just see myself as a concerned person," White said. "You have to try to help people in distress. If I'd decided not to become involved and then heard later on the news that the girl at the falls hadn't survived... No, you do what you can to make sure you can live with yourself."

WWII vets honored with medallions, camaraderie at ceremony

by Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/13/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- Members of the Desert Lightning Team at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., participated in a medallion ceremony honoring World War II veterans Sept. 7, 2013 at Silver Springs retirement home in Green Valley, Ariz.

The ceremony was a joint endeavor between local branches of all four services and Silver Springs.

The idea for the medallion ceremony was sparked through involvement with Honor Flight, an organization that sponsors trips for World War II veterans to visit Washington, DC and tour war memorials at little or no cost.

According to Senior Master Sgt. Charles Ruscetta, 563rd Operations Support Squadron superintendent, the efforts of an Airman who regularly volunteer with the Tucson chapter of Honor Flight came to the attention of Chief Master Sgt. Dawna Cnota, 355th Fighter Wing command chief.

"Chief Cnota brought up a medallion ceremony committee she'd been a part of at a former base," Ruscetta said. "Once we heard about it, we were all on board. Then the Top 3, the First Sergeant Committee and the Chief's Group got involved, and the ball was rolling."

The committee sent out formal letters to the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization's Arizona representatives inquiring about local World War II veterans.

"Another Honor Flight volunteer put us in touch with the executive director of Silver Spings, who offered us the use of his facilities for the event," Ruscetta said.

The executive director also revealed that he had more than 30 World War II veterans in residence at his community. Of those, nineteen chose to participate in the ceremony.

Approximately 70 Airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines volunteered to escort the veterans being honored during the ceremony.

"After we arrived at Silver Springs, we were to go to their rooms and help them get ready for the ceremony," said Staff Sgt. Kellie Jones, medallion ceremony volunteer. "When my husband and I got to her room, she was basically ready so we sat and talked about her time overseas. She met her husband over there."

The medallions were presented by Col. Kevin Blanchard, 355th Fighter Wing commander, U.S. Army Col. Shaun Tooke, 1st Battlefield Coordination Detachment commander and U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Steve Kennedy, Naval Operational Support Center Tucson command master chief.

"We're also members of the military, but what they did was so different; they fought a different type of war and I'm thankful for them," Jones said. "Because of them, I am able to sit in this chair talking to you today. That's the bottom line of why I decided to volunteer; I just wanted to tell someone thank you."

Ruscetta said the intent is to make the ceremony a recurring event. The next medallion ceremony is slated to be held in December in Tucson.

"Personally I think it's just the right thing to do for our veterans," Ruscetta said. "World War II veterans went straight back to work when they came home. The whole country was at war, so they didn't get the recognition that we do when we return from a deployment. We make a big deal about our returns home, which we should because we were at war. But what about them? They deserve some appreciation as well."

Cheyenne Mountain builds upon partnership

by Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

9/10/2013 - CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- Police chiefs, sheriffs and FBI agents along with Air Force and Army installation security forces made up the more than 40 officials attending the monthly police collaborative meeting, which was hosted for the first time at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Sept. 5.

"Our ability to fight crime depends on the strength of our relationship with our community, law enforcement and citizens," said Col. Travis Harsha, 721st Mission Support Group commander and CMAFS installation commander. "These meetings strengthen that relationship, foster information sharing and maximize joint training opportunities."

The purpose of these meetings is to maintain and reinforce communication and information sharing between the many different law enforcement agencies in the Pikes Peak region. Colorado Springs and the surrounding area is unique when it comes to military partnerships, hosting five installations.

"Air Force installations participate because we are part of the community; we need to stay plugged in. To use an old adage -- It's not what you know, it's who you know -- we can't afford to conduct our business in a vacuum," said Maj. James Serra, 721st Security Forces Squadron commander. "We need to be innovative with the resources we have at our disposal."

With the recent major wildfires in the area, Waldo Canyon and Black Forest, law enforcement, fire and emergency response agencies have taken great care to ensure all of the departments in the region, including military installations, maintain their collaborative and supporting ties.

"Sometimes knowledge is our greatest asset and sharing information pays huge dividends, especially when it comes to terrorist, criminal threats and basic community awareness," said Serra.

After the conclusion of the meeting, attendees were given the opportunity to take a short tour of the mountain complex to learn more about the critical mission that is ongoing beneath the granite slope.

After passing through security, the small tour group was escorted through the 25 ton blast-doors where they were introduced to Earl Clelland, 721st Civil Engineer Squadron power systems mechanic, who gave the guests a walking tour of the mechanics of the mountain that have kept it mission-ready for more than 45 years.

For many of the officials in attendance, this meeting was their first visit to the mountain air station, or even the secluded road leading from the highway to the main gate.

"One law enforcement officer who attended the collaborative event lived in Colorado Springs for 48 years and never knew we existed," said Serra.

"I really enjoy hearing about the experiences that our fellow law enforcement professionals have to share. Sometimes they can be entertaining, and often they can be a sobering wake-up call," said Serra. "But I never fail to learn something and I really look forward to the camaraderie."

Journey home: Final C-17 leaves Boeing for Charleston

By Senior Airman Dennis Sloan, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

 JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- As the sun rose above Long Beach, Calif., the last U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, P-223, rolled off the Boeing assembly onto the flight line where it was prepared for its inaugural flight to Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

A ceremony was held on stage with the P-223 in the backdrop for all to see, while Air Force leaders thanked the Boeing employees, who worked on the U.S. Air Force C-17's for the past 20 years, for all their hard work.

"Even though this is the last C-17 to be delivered to the Air Force, we know that the Boeing employees will stand behind us and all 222 C-17s we operate for many years to come," said Gen. Paul Selva, Air Mobility Command commander.

The keys to the bird were handed over to Selva and the aircrew boarded the aircraft to begin their journey to JB Charleston.

As the C-17 took off and Lt. Gen. James Jackson, Air Force Reserve Command commander, performed a fly-over Boeing, employees could be seen waving American Flags in the air cheering the Air Force on.

"I had never flown a C-17 before, but after going through the simulators and getting hands on instructions from experienced C-17 pilots I felt confident taking off and flying the Globemaster high into the sky," said Jackson.

Jackson is a former F-4 Phantom and F-16 Falcon fighter pilot as well as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot.

The crew on board the C-17 was handpicked and included a general officer, pilot, loadmaster and crew chief from active-duty, reserve and guard components.

"It is truly an honor to be a part of the mission today," said Tech. Sgt. Paul Garner, Air National Guard 155th Airlift Squadron loadmaster out of Memphis, Tenn. "I'm happy I can represent the Air National Guard as a loadmaster on this historical flight."

After taking off and flying for more than an hour, Jackson handed the controls over to Selva who flew the C-17 alongside Lt. Col. Scott Torrico, Air Force Reserve, 701st Airlift Squadron out of JB Charleston, S.C.

"There is nothing this aircraft cannot do," said Selva. "If we need to transport vehicles, cargo, personnel or even perform an aeromedical evacuation, the C-17 and its crew are highly capable of doing any one of these missions."

While the generals took care of the piloting of the aircraft, crew members to include loadmaster and crew chiefs took care of all the flight duties in the rear of the aircraft as well as sharing stories of their time with the C-17 and how much it meant to be on the flight.

This is something I will definitely be telling my grandchildren someday," said Staff Sgt. James Regan, 437th Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "My wife Samantha and my four-year-old son Taylor will be on the ground at JB Charleston to greet me when I land."

After Regan turned the controls of the C-17 over to Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke, Air National Guard director, Selva handed him the keys to P-223.

"Words can't describe how I felt being handed the keys to the last C-17," said Regan. "Speechless, really."

As the aircraft approached JB Charleston, Clarke performed a fly-over for the crowd of military, community members and their families all eager to see the final U.S. Air Force C-17.

"This was my first time flying the C-17, so I made sure to make the landing as perfect as possible," said Clarke.

"It's is a little bigger than the fighters I am used to," he jokingly said.

P-223 landed and was parked right in front of the crowd of people waiting to greet the aircrew and celebrate 20 years of history in the making.

"While this may be the last U.S. Air Force C-17 delivery, this bird has many more flights in its future," said Jackson.

Buckley firefighters provide insight for wing leaders

by Senior Airman Phillip Houk
460th Space Wing Public Affairs

9/10/2013 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Wing leadership donned protective firefighting equipment and rushed into a burning building during fire immersion training Sept. 5 at the Buckley Air Force Base fire training station.

Col. Dan Wright, 460th Space Wing commander; Chief Master Sgt. Craig S. Hall, 460th SW command chief; and Lt. Col. Allen Thibeaux, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, conducted a search-and-rescue mission, as well as a firefighting scenario.

"It was actually very difficult," said Wright. "I was responsible for dragging the hose through the home, finding the fire and fighting it."

This training is part of a requirement to familiarize new squadron, group and wing leadership with base firefighting services.

We took the "opportunity to show the wing leadership the fire and emergency services program, what we do, what our personnel are about - specifically focusing on live fire training," said Tim Bosch, Buckley Fire and Emergency Services fire chief.

Because of the different levels involved during a base emergency, it is important for those in charge to understand the procedures of those they are commanding.

"I think commanders at all levels need to understand the situations that those who work for them face," Wright said. "Particularly in an emergency situation, it gives you a better understanding of what is going on at the tactical level."

Bosch agreed.

"It gave (them) the opportunity to see the incident command system," Bosch said. "Communication is vital to pass on information about emergency incidents."

Firefighters are one of the core groups present during an emergency, providing immediate response and lifesaving care for the 460th SW and all base partners.

"You can't fly aircraft if you do not have anyone to help get your pilots out and put out a fire," said Kenneth Martinez, Buckley firefighter, referring to the department's support of the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard flying operations. "We also provide a lot of paramedic services, so you do not have to rely on off-base services.

"When in trouble, we are only a few minutes away," he said.

Commander 'patches' together 15,000 piece career

by Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden
21st Space Wing Public Affairs

9/10/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For nearly three decades, Lt. Col. Rich Operhall, 76th Space Control Squadron commander, has fueled his love of Air Force history and heritage by collecting patches.

A lot of them. More than 15,000 at last count.

The son of a three-war Air Force veteran, Operhall said his love of the Air Force began in second grade. He recalled childhood memories of drawing planes and being fascinated by the flying world.

"In junior high school I had a friend ... and he discovered that by writing to Air Force bases, to public affairs offices and other places, they would send him stuff," said Operhall. "He showed me how to do it and I started writing to different public affairs offices for the various wings and bases and they started sending me stuff."

"I'd get fact sheets and pictures and base guides and ... occasionally they'd send stickers and things from the various units," said Operhall. "And for a small kid, this treasure trove of free stuff was great!"

Operhall said it was a response he received from the now defunct Bitburg Air Base in Germany that began his patch collection.

"The Bitburg public affairs office sent me a stack of patches," said Operhall. "I was like, 'Oh, this is cool.' So, as part of my request when I would write to the different bases, I started asking for patches."

While Operhall's initial requests were sometimes denied, he still persisted.

"If I would get turned down, I would subsequently write to the individual units and try to get patches from them," Operhall said. "And low and behold, after writing to them, the next thing you know I've got 100 patches and then 200 patches and it started growing and growing from there."

His collection continued into his teenage years, as well as his interest in the Air Force.

"I joined the Civil Air Patrol when I was 13 and that actually fueled (my collection) even more because we'd go visit Air Force bases and literally, I would go around bumming patches from people at the different units, including some of the air crew," said Operhall.

"The nice thing is when you're a young kid, people tend to give you stuff," he added.

Over the years, Operhall's collection grew and grew and so did the interesting responses. Some of the more memorable letters he received were from James Doolittle III and also a former Thunderbird who returned a letter on Thunderbird stationary.

For Operhall, however, this passion is more than simply collecting patches. It is about the stories behind the patches and the people who make those stories come to life.

"The patches fuel for me a passion for Air Force history connected to our heritage, and although it's a short heritage, it's a pretty distinguished heritage," he said.

"The patches tie us back to our history, to the people who came before us, to all of the giants and to all of the little people ... who make the Air Force work day-to-day," said Operhall. "And that's really what all of this stuff represents. It's about Airmen, it's about people."

14th Air Force represented in Spouses Choir on 'America's Got Talent'

by Maj. Larry van der Oord
14th Air Force Public Affairs

9/10/2013 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- "I never imagined I would be involved in such a production," said Jennifer Wagner after a live, semi-final performance with the American Military Spouses Choir on NBC's hit reality show "America's Got Talent" Sept. 3, 2013.

Wagner, wife of Col. John Wagner, 614th Air and Space Operations Center commander and Joint Space Operations Center director, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., was one of 38 military spouses from all branches of service across the United States who competed with the choir performance group on stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The American Military Spouses Choir delivered an amazing rendition of the Sarah McLachlan song "Angel" for their semi-final number. Although the group did not receive enough votes to advance to the final round of the competition, Wagner said the entire experience was unforgettable.

"This opportunity has been amazing," she said. "It has been a whirlwind of hard work, preparation and fun."

Performing for such a massive audience, however, did not happen without overcoming a few butterflies.

"I tried not to think about how far-reaching the audience would be, to include television, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube," said Wagner. "To handle the nerves, we tried to prepare to the point where we could sing our parts in our sleep. Repetition was key, and it definitely worked. Once we took the stage, we knew what we had to do."

The choir was brought together in May 2012 by the non-profit Center for American Military Music Opportunities, or CAMMO, to perform at the Kennedy Center's Spring Gala event. The day after they met and with only one rehearsal under their belt, the group was on the stage with Jewel, Chaka Khan and Chris Botti as the finale of the 2012 David Foster and Friends Spring Gala.

Wagner said one of the best parts of performing with the choir is building new relationships with fellow military spouses.

"Just like when you PCS, you go out of your comfort zone and reach out to those around you," she said. "That's what we did when we first met as a choir. There are many different personalities and military services represented, and we all make it work. I have made a couple of close friends in the choir that I hope will be life-long. Every single one of our choir members is strong, intelligent and very talented."

One of Wagner's more memorable moments of the "America's Got Talent" experience actually took place off the stage. After finishing a very difficult and exhausting practice in New York City, the group decided to visit the World Trade Center memorial. As they were leaving the memorial site, a security guard summoned the choir back to a checkpoint.

"I thought we had done something wrong," she said. "However, it turns out he was a fan and wanted a picture with us. He said something so powerful that day, 'You are singing for some of those who are honored here. Sing those sweet melodies.'"

Wagner said that exchange helped put the tough day in perspective, as well as remind the group that their message of resiliency and commitment to supporting military service is so important.

When she is not busy with performing with the choir, Wagner is very active in the 614th AOC and JSpOC Key Spouse Program at Vandenberg AFB. The group works diligently to support more than 400 men and women in the unit with everything from helping newcomers settle in, to aiding family members during deployments.

"I am honoured to be a military spouse," said Wagner. "This experience has been so amazing because it allowed us to highlight and recognize all the sacrifices and tremendous achievements of all our incredible military families."

Director Discusses Innovations in ‘Invisible Wounds’ Treatment

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2013 – The Military Health System acknowledges that U.S. troops in previous conflicts haven’t been subjected to the circumstances that surround 12 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Defense Department physician said here yesterday during a panel discussion at a warrior-family symposium.

Dr. James Kelly, director of the Defense Department’s National Intrepid Center of Excellence, talked about his center’s advancements in post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury – signature wounds from the wars - in a panel discussion titled, “Innovative Mental Health Solutions – Today and Tomorrow.”

The annual symposium is sponsored by the Military Officers Association of America and the National Defense Industrial Association.

Kelly cited problems that stem from the pattern of repeated deployments and training between deployments, combined with an all-volunteer force composed of members put themselves in harm’s way time and time again. “It is not the pattern we’ve previously had in our military,” he said.

The idea that the younger generation is somehow softer or in some ways more vulnerable doesn’t hold water, Kelly said. “These people are tough as nails,” he said to a round of applause from hundreds of audience members.

“What we need to do is innovate, look more in depth, and understand them as people and individuals that have been engaged in ways [for which] we simply have no good track record to point to and say, ‘Here’s what this is about, and here’s what to do about it,’” he said.

Kelly said he and his staff learn as they go at the center, conducting research and treating service members in an intensive four-week program.

In a previous interview with American Forces Press Service, Kelly explained that when service members with severe traumatic brain injury do not respond to conventional medical treatment, they can be referred to the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, but they must also have a co-existing psychological health issue, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or anxiety.

Kelly became NICoE’s director five years ago. The center got underway when Defense Department officials invited him -- a former neurology consultant for the Chicago Bears football team -- to join a group of doctors to examine how to treat service members who were exposed to blast injuries and other head trauma.

He and the other doctors were “willing volunteers” drawn to military health care and working with service members coming back from both wars because of blast-related injuries and a variety of other causes of concussions, Kelly said.

The need for innovation in research and in treating service members led to a concept of using “virtual reality war,” with service members are immersed in a setting with a vision of what happens when they’re inside a Humvee going down a road. The seat begins to vibrate as a bomb goes off, and the smell of burning rubber wafts into the vehicle. The hope, Kelly explained, is that while the service members are in a safe clinic setting, the experience can help them get past the traumatic events they brought back from deployments.

This use of virtual reality shows quantifiable metabolic changes deep inside the brain when it’s dealing with stress, Kelly said.

“That’s just one of the examples of the kinds of things that we’re engaged in that is really novel, innovative,” he added. “[It] bridges into areas of the mind … in ways that traditional medicine -- certainly traditional neurology -- hadn’t previously.”

Retired CMSAF Robert Gaylor visits JBPH-Hickam, shares experiences

by Master Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

9/13/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor, the fifth to hold that title, discussed Air Force issues with Airmen during five speaking engagements Sept. 11 through 14, here.

Gaylor shared his experiences and insight with Airmen at a junior enlisted call, First Term Airmen Center, Airmen Leadership School, Top III senior non-commission officer group, and Air Force Ball participants.

"I started speaking to the enlisted force in 1970 and in those nine years of active duty I'm sure I talked to thousands of Airmen," said Gaylor. "Since I retired in 1979 I've continued to travel and have the benefit of hearing from the Airmen, not just talking to them. It's a mutual exchange."

This is Gaylor's 24th base visit this year out of an average of 30 base visits annually. After meeting with PACAF SNCOs, he spoke about leadership attributes to the Top III.

"Someone once asked President Abe Lincoln what the number one leadership trait is," he said. "There are many choices but it might surprise you what Abe said; he said humility. He wasn't talking about meekness, impassivity, and giving in, he was talking about the humility that comes with the confidence that you have your act together and are comfortable performing as a leader - and that you're not threatened by the skills of others."

"President Lincoln also said that with the appropriate amount of humility, you don't feel the need to go around blustering and condescendingly dealing with people," he added.

Gaylor reminded the SNCOs in the room to measure themselves against the president's comments, just as he does.

Gaylor said he tried to keep his humility throughout his career. And between speaking engagements, when asked if he could go back to active duty to work in any career field at any age, he said he would be an ALS instructor all over again.

"I like working with the Senior Airmen; the younger the audience the more fired up I get because I think I'm in a better position to influence their thinking," he said. "Yesterday I spoke to the ALS Airmen, they were in their first day. I could have stayed there all afternoon; I didn't want to leave."

Some of Gaylor's audience members are repeat customers and find his messages to be a rewarding inspiration.

"This is the third time I heard him speak but every time I walk out thinking about where I can grow as a SNCO to help my Airmen," said Master Sgt. Jason Glockner, PACAF Executive Services superintendent.

"You can tell he still loves the Air Force as much as he did the day he came in and all he wants to do is continue to inspire the next generation and the next generation," Glockner said.

Born in 1930 in Bellevue, Iowa, and raised in the town of Mulberry, Ind., Gaylor enlisted in the Air Force in 1948, a year after its birth. More than 65 years later, he continues to travel to motivate Airmen and be an active part of the Air Force community.

Bold Quest Promotes Coalition Interoperability

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2013 – Representatives from every U.S. military service and 11 other nations are taking part in a coalition capability demonstration designed to increase combat effectiveness and interoperability while minimizing the risk of fratricide.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Lt. Col. Scott Brooks monitors activity over the 4G LTE Jolted Tactics system being tested during Bold Quest 13.2, U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brad Staggs

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Bold Quest 13.2, officially kicked off Sept. 2 at Camp Atterbury, Ind., with testing commencing earlier this week.

The Joint Staff-sponsored exercise includes about 800 participants from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command, as well as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, John Miller, joint operational manager for the exercise, told reporters yesterday.

In addition, members of NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control program are taking part in the demonstration.

Bold Quest 13.2 is the latest in a unique problem-solving cooperative aimed at promoting interoperability and testing out systems and concepts to support the future force, Joint Force 2020. Warfighters, developers and analysts are working together at Camp Atterbury’s Muscatuck Urban Training Complex, where they are testing not only their different technologies, but also their tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure they’re interoperable, Miller explained.

Among the technologies being demonstrated are radios, tactical data links and network equipment used to support joint forces, joint terminal attack control, personnel recovery and other missions.

The demonstration provides a forum for participants to assess the integration of joint fires, maneuver and cyber in a live-virtual environment, Miller said. The lessons, he told reporters via teleconference, will help to enhance combat effectiveness, reduce fratricide and improve situational awareness.

“Our primary objective in Bold Quest 13.2 is to assess the interoperability and integration of integrated systems, both lethal and nonlethal,” he said. “Bold Quest remains focused on the need to develop and assess tools that make warfighters more effective in engaging their targets within a coalition context.”
The premise, Miller said, is that coalition members that operate together need to develop and test their capabilities together before they employ them in combat.

Bold Quest 13.2 is the eighth in the Bold Quest series, created in 2003 to provide realistic conditions for the services and international partners to test their combat identification systems and the techniques and procedures they use to engage them, he said.

Historically, Bold Quest has focused on ground-to-ground and air-to-ground initiatives. But Bold Quest 13.1, conducted in June, represented a new step in the demonstration’s 10-year evolution. It focused for the first time on the air-to-air and surface-to-air combat domains, an effort to address gaps that could impact future operations, Miller said.

Miller said enthusiasm for the exercise, particularly during a period of budgetary constraints, reflects the effectiveness of Bold Quest as a collaborative technological test bed that informs all participating nations’ acquisition processes.

“An event like this enables U.S. and coalition partners to collectively assess solutions and share information,” he said. And because every service and participating nation brings its own aircraft, ground units, systems and other technologies to the exercise, they share the cost of the demonstration.
After Bold Quest 13.2 concludes Sept. 24, analysts will collect technical data on the systems and feedback from service members using them and compile it in a report to be released later this year.