Military News

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat.



Command Sergeant Major Bart E. Womack, USA (ret.) “is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, one for Valor. He has served the United States Army with distinction for nearly three decades as a professional soldier who is truly a tactical and technical expert, combined with the dedication and discipline associated with only the finest America has to offer. His maturity, expertise, and personal dedication to excellence have contributed immeasurably to the readiness of the United States Army and the security of our Great Nation.” Command Sergeant Major Bart E. Womack is the author of Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat.

More about Commander Sergeant Major Bart W. Womack

4th Fleet Frigate Offloads $78 Million in Drugs

  By By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Sean Allen, 4th Fleet public affairs
NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG-46) and its embarked Coast Guard law enforcement detachment transferred $78 Million in confiscated cocaine Sept. 15 to the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Forward (WMEC 911) in the Western Caribbean Sea while assigned to the U.S. 4th Fleet.

The 2,123 pounds of cocaine were seized in early August from a fishing vessel north of the Galapagos Islands while the Rentz was conducting Counter Transnational Organized Crime Operations (C-TOC) in the 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo.

Operation Martillo, Spanish for "hammer," is a partner-nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

"The flow of illegal drugs has a destabilizing effect on our partner nations, and together, we are determined to prevent it," said Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet. "The hard work of the Rentz and Forward crews is essential to this effort."

U.S. military participation in Operation Martillo is led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

Hagel to Lay Wreath at Navy Memorial to Honor Shooting Victims

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other senior Defense Department leaders will lay a wreath at the U.S. Navy Memorial plaza at 10 a.m. today to honor the victims of yesterday’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard.

The wreath will be placed adjacent to "The Lone Sailor," who represents "all people who have ever served, are serving now, or are yet to serve in the United States Navy," Pentagon officials said.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff through sundown Sept. 20 to honor the victims.

Hagel issued a statement yesterday in the aftermath of the shooting spree that authorities said killed 12 people and wounded at least eight others. The suspected shooter was killed in an encounter with security personnel, officials said.

"I have been receiving regular updates on the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, and continue to monitor the situation closely,” Hagel said in his statement. “This is a tragic day for the Department of Defense, the national capital area, and the nation. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this outrageous act of violence, their families, and all those affected by today's events.

“I am grateful for the swift response of federal and local law enforcement, and for the professionalism of DOD personnel at the Navy Yard complex,” the secretary continued. “The Department of Defense will continue to offer its full assistance in the investigation of this terrible and senseless violence."
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said he was "deeply shocked and saddened” by the shooting.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” he said. “I have complete confidence in our first responders, and I continue to be completely focused on this very difficult situation."

Mabus pledged his support in a video message to those affected by the shooting. Earlier in the day, during a news conference at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Mabus announced he had conferred “SECNAV Designee” status on injured personnel. The Secretary of the Navy Designee Program provides special eligibility for medical and dental care from naval medical facilities for patients affected by the shooting.

The Navy’s top military officer also expressed condolences to the victims and their families on behalf of himself and his wife, Darleen.

"Our team of sailors and Navy civilians at the Navy Yard deserve our care and concern at this time,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said. “I applaud the efforts of all who immediately responded to this course of events in order to care for the injured victims and ensure the safety of our personnel."

Navy officials have established an emergency family support task force to assist victims, workers and families with related issues. The task force is led by Navy Vice. Adm. William D. French, commander of the Navy's Installations Command.

That support includes several phone numbers established by the installation’s Warfighter and Family Support Center for families seeking information about their loved ones who work at the Navy Yard. The numbers, which can also be used to request additional services, are: 1-855-677-1755, 202-433-6151, 202-433-9713, 202-433-3234 or 202-685-6019.

Also, critical incident stress management and counseling services are available at 1-800-222-0364.
Family services counselors and chaplains also have been called into action, Navy officials said. Teams of chaplains throughout the region are standing by to provide assistance, as needed, over the next several days. Those in need of chaplain support can contact the Warfighter and Family Support Center at 202-433-6151 or 202-433-9713.

Access to the Washington Navy Yard will be restricted today to mission-essential personnel only as the FBI continues its investigation, officials said.

As a result of the incident, the Navy has issued an "Order to Account" for all Navy uniformed personnel, both active duty and selected Reserve, assigned to commands in the metropolitan Washington area. The order also applies to family members and Navy civilian employees, as well as nonappropriated fund and Navy Exchange personnel, through the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System.

Agencies investigating the incident include the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, D.C. Metro Police, and the FBI has the lead, officials said.

(The Naval District Washington public affairs office contributed to this report.)

Colo. National Guard assisting local authorities in response to massive flooding

by Courtesy story

9/17/2013 - CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- CENTENNIAL, Colo. (9/13/13) - About 200 Colorado National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, along with high-mobility vehicles and helicopters, have been mobilized to assist local authorities in search-and-rescue operations in the midst of historic flooding in the state.
At least three people have lost their lives in the flooding, according to news reports.


Guard members and equipment were assigned to assist in search-and-rescue missions and delivering supplies, among other missions. 


Additionally, the Colorado National Guard has been requested to provide traffic control points in and around the affected area starting Sept. 13.


Soldiers and Airmen are assigned to the Windsor Readiness Center, and the Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver Armories, and Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo. 


"Supporting our neighbors in their time of need is one of the most rewarding missions the military has to offer, said Air National Guard Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, commander of the Colorado National Guard. "Having readiness centers in communities such as these ensures we provide rapid for our communities.

Hiking to strengthen resiliency

by Airman 1st Class Malissa Lott
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/17/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- The Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted a hike in the Owyhee Mountains, Idaho, in commemoration of Comprehensive Airman Fitness Day, Sept. 9, 2013.

More than 20 Airmen participated in a six-mile hike, all the while learning how resiliency helps individuals during difficult feats.

For some, this was an opportunity to forget about day-to-day tasks.

"It was more of a getaway," said Senior Airman Robert Gay, 366th Security Forces Squadron response force leader. "I have different ways of relaxing, of calming myself down, and being able to talk with someone else and just hanging out helps. I just enjoyed the scenery and got to know my other co-workers."

Of course, the hike involved climbing a mountain.

"I was talking to a young lady who has been here a week and a half and hasn't seen any of Idaho. She isn't used to the outdoors we have or any of the steep climbs or traversing up the trails," said Steve Wright,  Airman and Family Readiness Center Community Readiness consultant. "That in itself can invoke a little bit of resiliency, because in your mind you could be thinking 'I can't do this, I've never done this before,' and it really helps to tie in the resiliency piece. Part of resiliency is about bouncing back from what life throws at us."

While some Airmen were able to race to the top, others took it step-by-step, enjoying the moment.

"I am glad that I came, I never actually hiked to this extent before," said Senior Airman James Seals, 366th Operation Support Squadron airfield management shift lead.

Though the hike was difficult, Airmen said they learned a little while outdoors.

"Right when you get to a stopping point, you think you are at the top and finished, then you realize you're not," said Seals. "You still have to keep going."

Amazing Wingmen form up to help the community

by Maj. Kurt Ponsor
341st Missile Wing flight safety officer


9/17/2013 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Airmen from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Ellsworth AFB, S.D; F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; Dyess AFB, Texas; and Mountain Home AFB, Idaho joined up with local Montana agencies to save a man's life and reunite him with his family during a Search and Rescue mission Sept. 7.

A rancher located near Colstrip, Mont., went missing on Sept. 6 after taking his motorcycle out on his land to scout for hunting season. When Tom Roepelle didn't return as expected, his family knew something was wrong and asked for help from the Rosebud County Sheriff's Department.

The search began the same day on a grid covering more than 33,000 acres over the rugged Montana wilderness. Friends, local volunteers and support agencies rallied a large search team of more than 30 people. The hot and humid day exposed Reopelle and the search party to temperatures of 96 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity above 70 percent. Despite their best efforts, Reopelle was still lost and his family increasingly concerned.

The next day, still unable to locate him, the local Sheriff requested helicopter support from the Joint Force Rescue Coordination Center. Lt. Col. John Beurer, 40th Helicopter Squadron director of operations at Malmstrom, received their requested and connected players from five different bases to prepare "Rescue 11" to aid in the search. Malmstrom leadership wasted no time and approved the interagency team to start their search for Reopelle, who was now approaching 48 hours of wilderness exposure.

The crew of "Rescue 11" consisted of Maj. Kurt Ponsor, 40th HS aircraft commander; 1st Lt. R.J. Bergman, 40th HS co-pilot; Staff Sgt. Robert Sinyard, flight engineer with 37th Helicopter Squadron out of F.E. Warren; Dr. (Maj.) Andrew Allen, flight medic from Dyess; and James Robbins, 40th HS aircraft mechanic. They awoke at 5 a.m. Sept. 7 and were briefed, established common search and rescue standards and rallied required base resources. They relied heavily on the support from Ellsworth AFB as they battled fatigue, coordination issues and thunderstorms to traverse 200 miles and search for Reopelle located a 51-square-mile grid.

Once on-scene, coordination was paramount. Montana Emergency Agencies established certain radio frequencies to aid responders, and Sheriff Randy Allies vectored the aircraft to his location, briefed the aircrew and dispatched Game Warden, Bill Dawson, to climb aboard Rescue 11. Rescue 11 quickly flew over the entire grid to give Reopelle hope and let him know teams were still searching; and to encourage him to signal if possible. The helicopter then began an in-depth search of the furthest areas of the search grid. Rescue 11 eliminated a considerable amount of the search area; allowing the Sheriff to refocus his ground teams closer. Thanks to this refocus, the ground search team finally got close enough to Reopelle to hear his cries for help. The team then carried him more than a mile uphill to the HELP Flight helicopter for transport to Billings, Mont. for treatment.

The medical technicians and Allen discovered Reopelle fractured his femur when he fell off his motorcycle at the top of a ridge. Unable to walk, he crawled downhill 80 yards over a period of two days, attempting to get to a path miles away where rescuers would be more likely to find him. Reopelle showed an incredible will to survive by using his shirt to help drink rainwater during the nights' thunderstorms.

In addition to the aircrew of Rescue 11, teams helping with the rescue included: the support staff at Ellsworth AFB, the HELP flight, Billings Flying Service, Civil Air Rescue; Custer and Rosebud Sheriff's Office and Search and Rescue Teams; numerous local volunteers, and the leaders throughout AFGSC and ACC. Together they acted as Wingmen and demonstrated amazing coordination. Their mutual support reunited Reopelle with his wife and daughter and gave them all a second chance.

Guardsmen Stranded by Rising Waters Resume Their Mission

From a Colorado National Guard News Release

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Sept. 17, 2013 – Sixteen Colorado National Guard members and first responders who were unable to evacuate themselves after they were stopped by rising flood waters Sept. 15 have resumed their regularly scheduled mission.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Soldiers and airmen from the Colorado National Guard, along with members of civilian emergency response agencies, combine efforts to fill sandbags at the Arvada Fire Protection District Training Center in Arvada, Colo., to help mitigate flooding in the area, Sept. 15, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Manzanares
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
A mix of 51 Colorado National Guard members, Urban Search and Rescue personnel and civilians, along with five pets and six high-mobility military trucks, were reported to be stopped by rising waters in Lyons, Colo.

Fort Carson aviators piloting two helicopters evacuated all 10 civilians and their pets, along with a number of Guard members and Army Reserve personnel, before weather took another bad turn and aviation operations were suspended for the night. Flights were limited for most of the day, as heavy rain and low ceilings hampered visibility, causing flight safety issues.

Rather than wait out the storm, the remaining 16 service members -- seven Colorado Guard members and nine Army Reserve soldiers -- spent several hours going door to door in the flood area, looking for anyone else who may have needed help. As the stranded rescuers were knocking, a family offered the group a warm place to stay overnight.

The group headed back out early yesterday to search for more people in distress. Later, they teamed up with Colorado Department of Transportation and Boulder County professionals to build a makeshift bridge that would allow the Guard and Army reserve members to leave the area, along with one evacuee.

As of 5:45 p.m. MDT yesterday, more than 700 military members in tactical trucks and helicopters had rescued more than 2,400 people and hundreds of pets displaced by flooding in Colorado, and all 21 military helicopters scheduled to perform evacuation operations were in service.

In addition to ground and aerial evacuation operations, Colorado National Guard members also are manning more than 40 traffic control points in several affected counties to ensure public safety and protect property.

The Colorado National Guard, Wyoming National Guard, and the Army’s 4th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Carson are working in direct support of civilian authorities, officials said.

Lance Blyth, U.S. Northern Command historian, said the military response to the Colorado floods, dubbed “Operation Centennial Raging Waters,” likely is the biggest rotary-wing airlift mission since the 2005 Hurricane Katrina response.

20 AF delegation visits Pentagon, commander briefs AF leadership

by 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

9/16/2013 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Airmen from 20th Air Force briefed Air Force leadership Sept. 4 in Washington, D.C., on the mission, the people, the history and the way-ahead of the Department of Defense's only immediate response nuclear alert force.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, 20th AF commander, brought a small team of experts from the 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.; 91st MW, Minot Air Force Base, N.D.; and 90th MW, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., to showcase their efforts, as they are the Airmen who work in direct support of the Minuteman III weapon system.

Carey provided an update to the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, regarding a "quick look" study on the ICBM force and unveiled his "Professional Actions" campaign to mitigate stressors on America's the ICBM team.

The Air Force Chief of Staff continues to be a solid supporter of the nuclear mission and enhancing its effectiveness, Carey said.

"He has personally reviewed proposals to implement new forms of recognition, and is considering Air Force policy changes that underscore his commitment to 20th Air Force Airmen and the significance of our mission," he said.

New recognition programs include the ICBM Operations Support Ribbon and making wear of the missile operations badge mandatory.

Carey's first focus in the ProAct campaign was to improve the ability to provide Airmen a predictive schedule so they can have a professionally and personally balanced lifestyle.
This is essentially applying the lessons learned from Air Expeditionary Force rotations about the value of adding predictability to Airmen's lives, the general said.

"Predictable schedules will reduce stress on missile field deployers, main support base personnel and families across the force," he said.

Leadership throughout 20th AF is pursuing modernization of the launch control centers; catching up on backlogged maintenance; improving situational awareness and command and control capabilities for convoy forces; professional development for missile field chefs; and more accurate manpower models for units, such as the logistics readiness squadrons, missile maintenance squadrons and missile squadrons.

Staff Sgt. Gary Murley, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron team chief, was one of the four Airmen invited to attend the Pentagon briefing.

"The trip to Washington was an awesome experience," Murley said. "The most memorable moment for me was getting to be an active participant in a briefing and discussion with the [Air Force Chief of Staff], Maj. Gen. Carey, and other top leaders of our Air Force. [It] was a valuable learning experience for me that I won't forget."

Murley said the people of 20th AF know what the challenges are to a tough and demanding mission, but said everyone works as a team and there's a high-level of job satisfaction when tasks are accomplished each day.

"We know and understand what it takes to accomplish the mission, not only from our professional life, but from our personal lives as well," he said. "Missile maintenance is the backbone of the ICBM world. Our mission is to deter the enemies of this nation and the enemies of our allies. [We] contribute directly to our national security. Our job is extremely important -- not only here at home, but worldwide as well."

Airmen throughout the command are encouraged to talk to their supervisors and leadership about ideas to improve job performance or quality-of-life initiatives, as every Airman has a story and every leader needs to know those stories, Carey said.

"Active leaders know their Airmen's talents and experiences, promote a culture of responsible actions, and develop ready, resilient and reliable Airmen," the commander said. "The Airman culture and heritage is steeped in creativity, innovation and the ability to see problems from different angles -- Airmen go over obstacles -- not through them."

The other 20 AF team members who attend the Pentagon briefing were:

Capt. AJ Varatharaj, 91st MW missile combat crew commander; Staff Sgt. Walter Bernardo, 91st MW flight security controller; and Senior Airman Kyle Murphy, 341st MW missile chef.

Hagel, Dempsey Honor 12 Killed at Washington Navy Yard

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey today joined other defense leaders to place a wreath at the Navy Memorial here in honor of the 12 employees killed at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday.

In a short, somber ceremony, Hagel and Dempsey placed a wreath next to the “Lone Sailor” statue at the memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue this morning.

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray joined the military leaders. All present saluted or placed their hands over their hearts as a bugler played “taps.”

The FBI is continuing the investigation into the shooting rampage.

Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist, is alleged to have been the shooter. Alexis was killed in a gun duel with police.

Officials have released the names and ages of seven of those killed. They are: Michael Arnold, 59; Sylvia Frasier, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson, 73, Frank Kohler, 50; Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46 and Vishnu Pandit, 61. Other names will be released when family notifications are complete, officials said.

Buckley nerve center for FEMA flood victims support

By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs

 BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- With more than a 1,000 people unaccounted for and communities still damaged from flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, staged out of Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., continues providing life-essential materials to Coloradans in need.

FEMA began staging its operations out of Buckley Sept. 14 after Gov. John Hickenlooper declared a national emergency and President Barack Obama approved federal support. Since then, FEMA has sent out nearly 50 trucks loaded with meals, water, cots and blankets, as well as many other needed materials. In addition, they have assembled 10 mobile communications office vehicles to help set up disaster centers in affected areas.

FEMA employees have been working non-stop operations since they set up at Buckley.

"We are doing 24-hour ops and never shutting down," explained Terry Bryant, FEMA ground support unit lead. "We are staying until the job gets done, and we will do whatever it takes."

This sentiment is echoed amongst FEMA representatives at Buckley, who have orchestrated the shipment of more than 60,000 liters of water and 55,000 meals over 3 days.

"This is very important to the citizens of Colorado who have been impacted by the floods to get emergency assistance as they try to get reconstituted back into their homes and businesses," said Ernest Hudson, initial support base leader for the FEMA national delta team. "We will provide them with whatever they need until they can get back on their feet."

Throughout the disaster that has claimed seven lives thus far, Team Buckley has opened its gates and offered space and resources to FEMA.

"It's heartbreaking to hear of the lives lost due to flooding throughout the state, and it's tragic to see the many families uprooted because their homes and livelihoods were in the path of the floods," said Col. Dan Wright, 460th Space Wing commander. "We are a part of the Colorado community, as well, and are assisting where we can. Currently, we are hosting professionals with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, and we will continue to provide assistance as we deal with this historic event."

While accommodating the federal agency, Team Buckley has provided everything possible to FEMA to ease the burden on the people of Colorado as more than 1,500 homes have been lost in multiple counties.

"The support we have got here at Buckley has been absolutely superb," Hudson said. "Every request we have made, they complied with. They have given us space for our trucks, security forces, and they come by everyday and check to see if we need anything."

In a disaster of this magnitude, FEMA Corps is also lending a hand by checking logistics and inventorying trucks. Because the home campus is based out of Denver, this recovery effort hits close to home for FEMA Corps representatives.

"I've been to the areas affected and know the community. This is where we did our training and took some of our breaks. It awesome that we can help the immediate area that we are based out of," said Megan Long, FEMA Corps logistics specialist team member.

Major flood relief efforts became necessary after up to 15 inches of rain fell along the Front Range causing flash flooding, according to weather services.

537th Airlift Squadron inactivates

by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs


9/16/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The 537th Airlift Squadron inactivated Wednesday in a ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The inactivation was a result of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which determines the Department of Defense budget for 2013.

The squadron was notified of their fate last year. Inactivation, as opposed to deactivation, means the squadron could be reactivated at some point.

"Although our time here was short and our manning levels topped out at only four of the intended 12 crews, we feel we have made an impact in Alaska and around the world," said Air Force Maj. Ryan Hendrickson, 537th AS director of operations. "In this short time, we reinvigorated the Long Range Radar Site resupply missions. This is a highly challenging mission only flown by a handful of skilled and certified Airmen."

Shortly after the squadron members learned about their inactivation, personnel received reassignments and inbound personnel were diverted.

The 537th AS was inactive for more than 40 years before being activated as the Air Force's newest Total Force Unit operating C-130 Hercules in April of 2011.

"The unit was designed to bring four C-130s to Alaska and 12 fully capable combat crews to complement the eight C-130s and crews the [Alaska] Air National Guard's 144th [Airlift Squadron] possessed," Hendrickson said.

The squadron originally stood up during World War II as the 537th Troop Carrier Squadron - an Air Force Reserve unit flying P-47 Thunderbolts. It later became the 537th Tactical Airlift Squadron, flying C-7 Caribou and providing mission support to all branches of the military in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Once activated on JBER, the mission was primarily to support Army airborne training, along with the 144th Airlift Squadron.

"The C-130 was built to be in Alaska," Hendrickson said. "The terrain, airspace, close proximity to Army airborne assets and training opportunities make it an unbeatable training ground for the C-130 aircrews. Airmen who have spent any amount of time operating the C-130s in the Alaska environment are confidently prepared to deploy to the harshest environments in the world at a moments notice with ease."

Together, the two units flew C-130s that carried government and emergency equipment, supplies and food.

The squadron has fulfilled more than half of U.S. Army Alaska's annual jump requirements for this fiscal year, engaging in combat support operations in the Philippines - all while having less than 50 percent manning. The missions the 537th AS supported will now fall on other JBER units.

Soldier Shaves Head to Support Comrade

By Army 1st Lt. Tyler Mitchell
38th Combat Aviation Brigade

SHELBYVILLE, Ind., Sept. 17, 2013 – A soldier shaved her head for cancer awareness at the Indiana National Guard armory here Sept. 14 to help a fellow soldier.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Sgt 1st Class. Bernie Crafton begins clipping off Army Staff Sgt. Erin Emminger’s hair at the Shelbyville Ind., National Guard Armory, Sept. 14, 2013. Emminger raised more than $1,000 for a fellow Indiana National Guard soldier Spc. Jeremiah Morgan, who is battling cancer. Emminger’s commander authorized an exception to policy to allow the departure from normal standards. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Dana Brewer
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army Staff Sgt. Erin Emminger’s goal was $500 this month for Army Spc. Jeremiah Morgan, an infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment, pledging that once her target amount was reached, she would shave her head.

Emminger, a personnel sergeant with Headquarters Company, 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion, said she cut her hair as a way to raise money because it was considered “extreme” for a female soldier.

“I’ve had a couple of family friends that have gone to school dances bald,” she said. “I can go for a year without having hair.”
Soldiers in Emminger’s battalion cut off locks of her hair after donating money, and the rest of her hair were shaved off.

“I think what she did was exemplary in terms of Army values,” said Army Lt. Col. Dan Degelow, Emminger’s battalion commander, who also cut off a lock of Emminger’s hair.

Emminger said her family supported her choice to go bald. She said her 5-year-old daughter, Ana, understood why she was going to cut her hair off, but was worried about what her mother would look like.

Before Emminger set out to raise money for Morgan, the two had never met. They did meet the next day at a charity run in support of Morgan in Fort Wayne, Ind. Emminger raised more than $1,000 for Morgan and his family.

Army regulations prohibit women from shaving portions of their scalp, but her commander granted an exception to policy for this event.

Dyess Airmen, new Herc model deploy to Southwest Asia

by Airman Autumn Velez
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


9/17/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- More than 180 Airmen from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas' 39th Airlift Squadron deployed to Southwest Asia Sept. 3-8, marking the first purely C-130 J-model deployment for the squadron.

"Since 2010, the 317th Airlift Group has been transitioning our fleet and our aircrew from the C-130H to the newest version of the Herc, the C-130J Super Hercules. Earlier this year, we completed the conversion, becoming the largest J-model fleet in the Air Force," said Maj. Michael Contardo, 39th Airlift Squadron garrison commander. "For the first time, the 39th has deployed with all J-model aircraft, bringing with them increased mission capability and efficiency."

During the six-month deployment, Airmen will be operating in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility where they will support theater commanders' requirements with combat-delivery capability through air-land and airdrop missions as well as humanitarian efforts and aeromedical evacuation.

"The C-130 is always going to have a part in overseas contingency operations; now and long into the future, due to the versatility of the airframe. It is reliable; with a combination of the J and H models, the 317th AG has been able to continuously deploy, providing combat support for more than nine-and-a-half years. It's flexible; the C-130 can be configured for many different missions--air-land, airdrop, medical evacuation and reconnaissance, allowing one aircraft to do the mission of many," Contardo said. "The value of the C-130 has grown with the implementation of this more technologically-advanced model. And we have sent the best trained, hardworking and innovative Airmen in the Air Force to the AOR to ensure these assets are put to great use."

With a deployment this large, there are some Airmen who are facing their first.

"I'm looking forward to deploying," said 1st Lt. Tyler Comte, a C-130 pilot from the 39th AS. "Last year, I saw this deployment was coming up and I couldn't help but constantly check to see if my name was on the list to go."

Although deploying can present challenges and hardships, Airmen say the camaraderie in the C-130 squadron helps members find a positive outlook.

"The only part of this deployment that I'm not looking forward to [is] being away during the holiday season, but I know I am surrounded by a great group of people in the C-130 community and I will receive great support from back home," Comte said.

For many Airmen, the opportunity to deploy and put to use their skills and talents is welcomed.

"I've been training for this opportunity for three years, I can finally employ the mission," Comte added.

Operation Pacific Angel 13-5 ends on high note

by Senior Master Sgt. Allison Day
Pacific Angel 13-5 Public Affairs


9/17/2013 - TAKEO PROVINCE, Cambodia  -- Closing celebrations for Operation Pacific Angel 13-5 Cambodia, a joint and combined humanitarian mission, was held on the grounds at the Rominh Health Center, here Sept. 17.
Sixteen U.S. and 20 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces members worked as a team to renovate the Tram Kok, Nhaeng Nhang, and Rominh Health Centers Sept. 9 - 14.

"Over the past week, our two nations have partnered with military professionals to provide structural, plumbing, and electrical engineering assistance to the people of Takeo Province," said Lt. Col. Greg Nowak, PACANGEL mission commander from Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. "These projects are a visible expression of the Unites States' commitment to Asia-Pacific and demonstrate our continuing resolve to support international disaster and humanitarian relief efforts in this region."

The efforts of the engineers have not gone unnoticed by the local people. One lady who lives close to Rominh Health Center shared her feelings.

"I have lived here my whole life," said Mrs. Som Soun. "I use the health center, my children and my grandchildren use the health center. My grandson had Dengue Fever recently and had to stay at the health center. I am happy to see the improvements that are taking place."

Operation Pacific Angel 13-5 is a good opportunity for honing the abilities of the RCAF engineers, said Lt. Gen. Pen Ra deputy commander, Engineering Forces Command Headquarters, Phnom Pen.

"More importantly, PACANGEL strengthens cooperation and partnership between U.S. and RCAF engineers while supporting humanitarian activities for the Cambodian people," he added.

Rich Durnan, a Peace Corps volunteer who works at Rominh explains the value for Operation Pacific Angel 13-5.

"Takeo is a province that is isolated by geography and often overlooked because of its location," said Durnan. "Health centers are the face of medical care to most Cambodians. The renovations of this health center help establish creditability and capacity. We are now able to provide services to patients in a beautiful modern health center."

Dr, Vorng Sara, the Rominh health care center director born and raised in Takeo, could not agree more and expressed his appreciation for the engineers.
"On an average we see about 100 patients a day," said Vorng. "I am very pleased about the renovations and improved facilities for patient care. I am thankful to the engineers for all their work."

Engineers worked in the blazing heat of Cambodia and often times the rain to meet their deadline of Sept. 14.

"In one week engineers installed 800 feet of electrical wire, 40 switches, 60 receptacles, 80 fixtures, 300 feet of surface mount raceway, 100 feet of conduit, two split-unit air conditioners, seven exterior light fixtures, two water pumps, a 1.5 kilowatt photo voltaic system and completely rewired four facilities," said U.S. Master Sgt. John Barboni, the deputy lead engineer planner from the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan.

"In addition, plumbers laid 300 feet of new water line, dug a 40 foot drain system, laid 180 feet of sewer line, installed 12 plumbing fixtures, a 1000 liter water storage tank, installed a shower, upgraded three potable water-distribution systems and repaired two well pumps," said U.S. Senior Master Sgt. Kurt Kowaleski, the lead engineer planner from the 18th CES, Kadena AB.

For Barboni, the experience working this operation has been unique.

"This is my first PACANGEL and it's been great working side-by-side with the RCAF; it's been an awesome exchange," said Barboni. "We've learned so much from each other and it's been a pleasure making these health centers safe for people to work and providing quality facilities for the local populace to receive medical care greatly improving their chance of survival."

In its sixth year, Operation Pacific Angel includes medical, dental, optometry, engineering programs, and subject-matter expert exchanges. The operation is hosted by U.S. Pacific Command and implemented jointly with other governments, non-governmental agencies, and multilateral militaries in the Asia Pacific region. Four other operations were conducted this year in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. This is the fifth and final operation this year.

Stopped not stuck: Military, rescue personnel continue Colorado flood evacuations

Colorado National Guard
Click photo for screen-resolution image
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (9/17/13) - The 16 Colorado National Guard members and first responders who were unable to evacuate themselves after they were stopped by rising flood waters have resumed their regularly scheduled mission.

About 4:20 p.m. Sept. 15, a mix of 51 Colorado National Guard members, Urban Search & Rescue personnel and civilians, along with five pets and six high-mobility military trucks, were reported to be stopped by rising waters in Lyons, Colo.

Fort Carson aviators piloting two helicopters were able to successfully evacuate all 10 civilians and their pets, along with a number of Guard members and Army Reserve personnel, before weather took another bad turn and aviation operations were suspended for the night. Flights were limited for most of the day as heavy rain and low ceilings hampered visibility, causing flight safety issues.

Rather than wait out the storm, the remaining 16 personnel - seven Colorado Guard members and nine Army Reserve personnel - spent several hours going door-to-door in the flood area, looking for anyone else who may need their assistance.

As the stranded rescuers were knocking, a family of Good Samaritans offered the group a warm place to stay overnight.

The group headed back out early Sept. 16 to search for more people in distress. Later, they teamed up with Colorado Department of Transportation and Boulder County professionals to build a makeshift bridge that would allow the Guard and USAR members to leave the area, along with one evacuee.

As of 5:45 p.m. Sept. 16, more than 700 military members in tactical trucks and helicopters have rescued in excess of 2,400 people and hundreds of pets displaced by flooding in Colorado, and all 21 military helicopters scheduled to perform evacuation operations were in service.

In addition to ground and aerial evacuation operations, Colorado National Guard members are also manning more than 40 traffic control points in several affected counties in order to ensure public safety and protect property.

The Colorado National Guard, Wyoming National Guard, and U.S. Army's 4th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Carson, are working in direct support of civilian authorities.

According to Lance Blyth, U.S. Northern Command historian, the military response to the Colorado floods, dubbed "Operation Centennial Raging Waters," is likely the biggest rotary-wing airlift mission since Hurricane Katrina.

Wisconsin Air Guard officer rousts family from burning home

By Vaughn R. Larson
Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs
Click photo for screen-resolution image
NEW LISBON, Wis. (9/17/13) - An air battle manager stationed at the Wisconsin Air National Guard's Volk Field potentially saved the lives of a New Lisbon, Wis., family Aug. 30 when he noticed smoke in the distance while driving to work.

"It didn't look like normal smoke from a fire pit, so I decided to drive up and check it out," said Capt. John McKenna, also a New Lisbon resident. "As I drove up to the house I saw smoke billowing out of the front and back of the garage."

McKenna ran to the front door, ringing the doorbell and banging on the door to alert the people inside. He wasn't certain that anyone was inside the home, but he suspected that three cars in the driveway at approximately 6:40 a.m. meant the family was still asleep.

McKenna went back to his truck to call 911 when a county worker arrived on the scene. The two banged on doors and windows around the house in an attempt to wake the residents.

When Maider Thao opened the front door they told her the attached garage was on fire.

As they entered the house, McKenna informed her husband Vang Thao, who had just woken up, of the situation. Vang went upstairs to get the couple's three children.

"At this time we had to start ducking down due to the smoke," McKenna said.

Police arrived with two New Lisbon Fire Department firefighters shortly after everyone had exited the house. By then, the garage was engulfed in flames and smoke filled the house.

New Lisbon Fire Chief Lynn Willard said the garage was a total loss, but firefighters kept the fire from spreading to the house. He also said no injuries were reported.

"If we had not been dispatched when we were, we may not have been able to save the structure," Willard said. "The fire was spreading very quickly."

Once fire and police officials were on the scene and he was satisfied the family was safe, McKenna went to work at Volk Field. He estimated he had been at the scene about 15 minutes.

"Anybody who drove by would have done the same thing," he said. "If I didn't happen to drive by at that particular time and call 911, there could have been a different outcome."

TLR rallies to support victims of base housing fire

by Staff Sgt. Jake Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


9/13/2013 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Two Team Little Rock Families lost their homes and personal possessions when a fire broke out in a residential duplex in base housing Sept. 7, 2013, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

Nobody was injured in the fire, which was classified as a cooking fire by base officials.

Beginning in the kitchen, the fire eventually spread throughout the entire home at 126 Pennsylvania Ave., as well as the neighboring home at 124 Pennsylvania Ave., consuming most of the former and rendering the latter uninhabitable.

The families were forced to vacate the duplex, but were quickly provided new homes from base housing.

While the two families have been provided new homes, they lost a considerable amount of personal goods in the fire. Team Little Rock responded by setting up a drive to donate necessary items to the families.

The outpouring of support from base agencies, as well as fellow Airmen, was praised by Maj. Maria Moss, 19th CMS commander.

"In less than four hours, the (families) received medical care, a safe place to keep their pets, basic toiletries, clothing, a home cooked meal and a safe place to sleep, all while first responders worked tirelessly to put out the fire and keep the community safe," she said. "Less than 24 hours after the fire began, the (families) selected their new residence, found basic necessities in the Airman's Attic and were well on their way to rebuilding their lives. Every facet of our community responded quickly and effectively to the needs of the families and I could not be more proud of being an Airman."

When alerted to the crisis, the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department responded, but was unable to salvage the house because of how rapidly the fire spread; however, the firefighters stayed on the scene to contain the flames, ensuring they didn't spread.

According to Don Smart, 19th CES fire chief, the fire was one of 24 in base housing during the last five years, 12 of which have been cooking related.

While this incident was cooking related too, it was the first one in 10 years to not be classified as an unattended-cooking fire, which is the leading cause of fires in base housing, said Smart.

"Unattended cooking is, by far, the number one cause of fires in our housing area," said Smart. "The good news is that the trend has been dropping over the last 10 years, but we are still experiencing at least two unattended cooking fires a year; and two is way too many."

Most cooking-related fires on base originate from grease, said Smart. Everyone should be vigilant of safety concerns while cooking, but in the event of encountering a cooking-related fire, there are some steps to follow.

First, turn the stove or burner off and place a well-fitting lid on the pan or container used for cooking.

Second, never try to move a container, pan or receptacle that's on fire. Smart said the most likely scenario that occurs when a person moves a pan or container on fire is the container spilling and spreading the fire.

Third, call 911 as quickly as possible.

"National statistics prove that we only have a few moments to begin extinguishment or total destruction is likely," he said. "Every minute delayed in reporting exponentially decreases the fire department's chances of saving people or property."

Air, ground mobility teams work together, conduct low-cost training

by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs


9/16/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- 
The 621st Contingency Response Wing trained with familiar faces for upgrade training at a discount price, Sept. 2 to 9.
The 143rd Airlift Wing from Quonset Point Air National Guard Station, R.I., hosted 63 members 818th Contingency Response Group, stationed here, and members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element based at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
The week-long training event included aircraft loading and unloading, day and night engine running offloads, night vision operations, combat offloads, maintenance familiarization, drop zone recovery training, command and control, and full-spectrum communications.
According to Maj. David Gaulin, chief of tactics, training and readiness for the 818th CRG, by training at Quonset Point ANGS, they were able to receive the training at a reduced price at a time when budget cuts are a fact of life throughout the military.
"We didn't have to fly any aircraft in here because they're already on-station with the 143rd AW," Gaulin said. "We didn't have to pay airline tickets because we flew military air, and we didn't have to pay any line-haul costs, which would have probably cost us around $50,000.
"We managed to train 63 members of the CRW, and we only spent about $20,000," he added. "The vast majority of that amount was for was food and lodging."
Lt. Col. Joseph Francoeur, commander of the Rhode Island Air National Guard's 143rd Airlift Squadron, indicated the opportunities for realistic combat training are extremely useful as they prepare for deployments.
"The C-130J mission is a world-wide combat mission," Francoeur said "It's firmly rooted in airland and airdrop operations, anytime, anywhere, in all weather and in some of the most austere locations in the world, which is also the wheel house of the CRW. So our working partnership makes a lot of sense from that standpoint."
Tech. Sgt. Phillip Horton, 818th Global Mobility Squadron maintenance lead technician, agreed that the 143rd AW's professionalism and knowledge stood out during the training.
"Some guard units don't have as much experience with austere bare base operations," Horton said. "But the 143rd is a busy unit and they've been around the block a few times, so our guys were able to integrate very well with them."
Additionally, the 689th RPOE received joint forces experience while training along-side the CRW.
"This is a great opportunity," said 1st Sgt. Daniel Colon, 689 RPOE senior enlisted advisor. "We are getting a better understanding of how the Air Force thinks and how we can integrate to make one cohesive team. To be able to meet with the CRG and the Airmen we will be working with down range is a great training opportunity for us."
Gaulin added CRW Airmen were able to accomplish additional training, while loading and offloading KC-10 Extender air refueling aircraft.
"Working with the KC-10 is huge for us because they have a hard time getting training due to operational requirements," Gaulin said. "For them to be able to come here to do on-loading and offloading, that's at least two boom operators per mission that received good training." The 621 CRW is highly-specialized in training and rapidly deploying personnel to quickly open airfields and establish, expand, sustain, and coordinate air mobility operations. From wartime taskings to disaster relief, the 621st extends Air Mobility Command's reach in deploying people and equipment around the globe.

Pacom Forum Promotes Regional Disaster Preparedness

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2013 – The top U.S. officer who oversees the Defense Department’s vast transportation and logistics network shared insights today in how closer cooperation can help Asia-Pacific nations to respond faster and more effectively in the event of a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis.

Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, addressed participants during the opening day of the 42nd Pacific Area Senior Officer Logistics Seminar in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

U.S. Pacific Command sponsors the forum of senior logistics and national security officers from Pacific, Asian and Indian Ocean area nations that meets annually to exchange information, pursue bilateral and multilateral initiatives and encourage closer regional cooperation.

This year’s PASOLS seminar, co-hosted by Vanuatu, includes nearly 120 representatives from 29 Pacific region nations, Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Jones, Pacom’s multinational logistics official, reported.
“PASOLS provides an opportunity to strengthen friendships and partnerships as well as make new ones,” Fraser told the international logisticians during the seminar’s opening day. “This enables us to then better plan and rapidly respond to contingencies whenever, wherever, and for whoever, which in many cases results in saving lives.

“Use your individual tools to build bridges and not walls,” Fraser urged the members. “We must leverage the talents and abilities of those here to enhance our collective capability.”

Participants will explore ways to do just that during four days of discussions focused on improving regional disaster response through cooperation, established communication channels and standardized logics procedures and best practices, Jones said.

Briefings and workshops will address challenges regional nations have faced across the entire response timeline. Representatives from India, Brunei and Indonesia are scheduled to share their experiences and lessons learned in humanitarian assistance and disaster response planning.
Officials from South Korea, China and Thailand will discuss humanitarian assistance and disaster response deployment. Participants from Singapore, Sri Lanka and France will address their experiences through the sustainment and transition phases.

Throughout the sessions, participants will explore ways to better exercise response procedures and to develop improved standard operating procedures that promote closer interagency and international cooperation during crises, Jones said.

Responses to regional natural disasters and other contingencies will be far better, he said, if the nations understand each other’s operations, share basic principles and learn from each other’s experiences.
“For 42 years, nations throughout the Pacific region have been utilizing this forum to collaborate and share their national experiences and perspectives,” Jones said.

“PASOLS is more than an annual seminar and workshop,” he added. “It is a vibrant organization that publishes a mutual logistics support handbook that helps prepare for multiple contingencies before they happen. PASOLS is a dynamic, growing organization focused on further strengthening regional logistics cooperation while improving interoperability between nations.”

That helps to make the entire region better prepared to deal with crises before they occur, Jones said.
“We are working to ensure that we have the right capabilities, processes, networks, and support agreements in place to effectively respond to any contingency,” he added.

U.S. Army Pacific sponsored the first PASOLS in 1971, with eight member nations. Pacom expanded it to a multiservice initiative in 1976, and PASOLS has grown to include 26 nations and more than 120 participants.