Military News

Monday, September 23, 2013

Colorado Airmen, C-130s return from Southwest Asia

by Maj. Corinna Moylan
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


9/20/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 302nd Airlift Wing welcomed home approximately 150 Airmen Sept. 18 from a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia. The wing's Air Force Reserve and active duty personnel provided C-130 airlift support to U.S. Central Command operations.

While deployed, members of the 302nd Operations Group flew hundreds of airlift missions moving troops, wounded warriors and cargo. The deployed members of the 302nd Maintenance Group provided aircraft maintenance support ensuring fully mission capable C-130s in Southwest Asia.

"Once again this wing's Airmen have succeeded in expertly performing all aspects of a challenging airlift mission in a demanding desert environment during the extreme heat of the summer months," said Col. Jay Pittman, 302nd AW commander.

Capt. Daniel Lambrecht, a 731st Airlift Squadron pilot and wood worker in his civilian job, said that though this was his first deployment, he felt prepared.

"These guys set us up pretty well with knowing what to expect," he said. "The unit as a group worked pretty well together and nobody was left behind. We were over there as a family. We train together and fight together."

According to Lambrecht, heat, humidity, long hours, good camaraderie and a sense of fulfillment defined his deployment experience.

"We did some aeromedical evacuation missions. You leave from one of those missions and you always have a good sense of accomplishment because you are getting somebody back that needs it," he said. "We hauled a lot of people and a lot of cargo," That was the basis of a most of our missions. (We had) pretty long missions and long days and after you were done you might be tired, but you always had that sense of accomplishment and that felt good."

Lambrecht said he would do it again, but ideally, not right away.

"It was definitely worth it. I would go again, but I'll give it a little time yet to figure out who my family is again and they can do the same for me."

Lambrecht's wife and two year old son awaited his return.

"My wife looked great and got a special shirt that said 'My Airman comes home today,"" he said.

His son wore a shirt that read "Get out of my way I get my daddy back today."

"He recognized me right away because we had the opportunity to do a lot of face time while I was there. That's what's nice about today's technology and today's deployments," Lambrecht said. "They set us up with communication back home. I was still in the loop on things so coming back home wasn't too much of a shock. My son speaks English now instead of jibberish so that was different."

For Tech. Sgt. Marie Lumives, a hydraulics specialist assigned to the 302nd Maintenance Squadron, this was her second deployment.

"My job is dealing with all of the hydraulics systems on our airframe," she said. "I ended up taking over the specialist driver job so I spent most of the time driving around and helping with the launches and recoveries. That was a pretty good experience for me, stepping up in something different. It was definitely a learning experience."

According to Lumives, her unit also worked well as a team.

"We did pretty outstanding. We had AMU (Aircraft Maintenance Unit) of the month twice," she said.

Teamwork was not the only topic Lumives and Lambrecht agreed on. Heat and humidity was another common theme.

"This was a different environment. The temperatures were pretty high, usually over 100. What really got me on this deployment was the humidity," she said. "We were walking through rocks and dirt all of the time. I don't think I saw green for four months."

Lumives works in sporting goods at Walmart for her full time job. Her husband and two dogs waited for her to come home.

"I Skyped with my husband regularly. My father was deployed back in the day and it was all mail or send an e-mail once in a while," she said. "I have lots to take care of back at home now."

FMS community gathers at Robins

by Jenny Gordon
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


9/20/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.  -- The Foreign Military Sales community came together during an FMS All Call here Sep. 11, and was attended by nearly 400 FMS personnel.

Nancy Donnelly Ivy, Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Policy Division chief, and Kevin Pendergast, AFSAC Financial Management Division deputy chief from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, also attended.

AFSAC's former satellite office at Robins -- now the Mission Support Office -- includes a team of 11 people who focus on foreign military sales efforts, Foreign Disclosure of Data and Information, and Foreign Liaison Officer support responsibilities.

"By any measure, the 2013 FMS All Call held at Robins was a successful event," said Carolyn Middleton, MSO chief. "It provided a venue for Air Force FMS enterprise personnel, foreign or U.S. government, without regard for program or weapon system, to come together under one roof for the purpose of exchanging information, addressing common issues and discussing the significance of relationship building with our foreign partner nations."

The All Call included discussion on training opportunities, updates, state of the FMS enterprise and the FMS customer perspective.

Robins' FLO office includes representatives from six countries, including Canada, Australia, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia. FLOs assist with supply requisitions and problem solving, financial investigations and reviews, repair processes and weapon system management on behalf of their country.

For example, Maj. Martine Du'Mont, an engineer by trade and Canada's FLO at Robins, facilitates direct, on-site contact between Robins and Canada in support of C-130H Hercules work.

"While technology is wonderful, there's nothing like face-to-face interaction," said Du'Mont, a 26- year veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. "For example, if we have problems finding parts or repair schemes we've never had to implement, the program office in Canada will come to me, and I in turn will go through my network at Robins to discuss.

"For us it's extremely important, as we're a small Air Force," she added. "We work under budget constraints as well, so it's nice to have an additional resource we can tap into for support. This particular FMS program has saved us from having to put aircraft on the ground for a long time. It gives us a boost in our operational capabilities."

Robins is fortunate to have FMS interactions with more than 80 foreign partner nations. For example, the C-17 Combined Program Office here works with representatives from Qatar, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia and Strategic Airlift Capability, a consortium of NATO countries who work together to acquire, manage and support C-17s.

These types of relationships are only expected to grow in the future.

Luke EM: Keeping Thunderbolts at ready

by Staff Sgt. Luther Mitchell
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/23/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- September is National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to prepare, plan for and stay informed about emergencies.

Airmen with the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management Flight are responsible for ensuring the base stays prepared in case of a crisis.

"We are involved with preparedness year around," said Staff Sgt. Robert Fanton, 56th CES REM NCO-in-charge of plans and operations. "It's not just a month for us, because this is our job. If anything happens, we are out there managing the situation. We are the ones who tie all the agencies together and make sure they are communicating and following the right plans."

The 56th CES includes fire protection, explosive ordnance disposal, readiness and emergency management, design and construction, environmental programs, family housing, and operations and maintenance of the Barry M. Goldwater Range. Most of the agencies responsible for responding to an emergency can all be found within the 56th CES.

"The civil engineer squadron has a really huge role," Fanton said. "We have carpenters who repair buildings. If the roads go out, we have equipment to fix them. Everybody in CE has a role and we spell out what that role is."

REM Airmen are involved in all phases of an unexpected crisis. It begins with the installation emergency management plan.

"We write the installation EM plan, which is where all the checklists we use come from," Fanton said. "It includes everything from a terrorist attack to an earthquake. It covers the responsibilities of each agency, and it sets out timelines and the information people need to know."

REM Airmen are also responsible for the EM program. The program disseminates important information to EM representatives on base.

"Each squadron has a representative who we send information to every quarter," Fanton said. "When we send out the EM newsletter, it covers different emergency situations that could happen and representatives disseminate it to their squadron."

When a serious situation occurs, EM representatives will meet at the emergency operations center. The EOC is the central command and control facility responsible for coordinating emergency management across multiple agencies.

"From the EOC we have pretty much the whole base sitting here," Fanton said. "If the base gets hit by a tornado and it wipes out a building or destroys aircraft, the EOC conducts an activation. From there, emergency support function representatives will coordinate with their units to respond with what they need."

Each ESF has a seat at the EOC where they can access information and receive updates. From the EOC they can also video conference with the unit command center.

"At each seat is a computer that ESFs can pull up web EOC to communicate with their unit control centers and get accountability," Fanton said. "They can also pull up the checklist from the emergency management plan relevant to the situation."

REM Airmen are also responsible for preparedness orientation training, EM representative training, EOC and unit command center training.

"When people get to this base they will get the base preparedness orientation training from us," Fanton said. "For people who are not first term Airmen it is held when they do their in-processing. We will go out and brief the local threat and hazards with weather and what to do if sheltering in place. We also go to the First Term Airmen Center and give the same briefing."

Senior Airman Samatha Heiman, 56th CES REM Flight, works with the EM program. The best part of the job for her is seeing how the planning comes together.

"I enjoy the planning aspect of it, creating the response plans, putting everything into motion and seeing how everything you have put together works," Heiman said. "If planning goes how you want it to, then everybody is going to do everything properly, and they are going to be trained and be able to protect themselves."

JBSA-Randolph hosts adaptive sports camp for wounded warriors

by Alex Salinas
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs


9/23/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Eighty-five Air Force wounded warriors from around the nation participated in a week-long adaptive sports camp Sept. 16-20 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

The camp, offered by the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, featured a variety of physical activities: air rifle, air pistol and archery; cycling; sitting volleyball; swimming; wheelchair basketball and yoga.

For some athletes, it was their first time attending an adaptive sports camp. For others, the event offered training grounds to prepare them for the Warrior Games scheduled in May.

"It's an opportunity for these athletes to focus on their abilities and not their disabilities," Tony Jasso, Air Force Wounded Warriors Adaptive Sports program manager, said. "Adaptive sports opens doors in the lives of our athletes that injury and illness once closed."

For Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Crane, a security forces patient at JBSA-Lackland, a shotgun-blast injury he sustained to his right arm a year ago from an anti-military local in Guam, where he was stationed, didn't waver his passion for sharpshooting.

"I've always been a pretty good shot, which I owe to my security forces training," Crane, who is naturally right-handed, said. "This is my second sports camp and I plan to refine my aim so I can represent the Air Force in shooting events at the Warrior Games."

Crane now fires air rifles and air pistols with his left arm, but said his "fundamentals are still there."

Local Army and Marine wounded warriors competed against Air Force warriors in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball for part of the camp.

San Antonio has the largest Paralympic program in the nation, which bolsters the local wounded warrior sports scene, Jasso said.

"We offered the opportunity (to join the program) to 700 new athletes," he said. "We're helping them form a brand new identity, creating a paradigm shift from patient mentalities to athlete mentalities."

Andy Harris, a retired Air Force technical sergeant who joined a wounded warrior network in Virginia, traveled to JBSA-Randolph for his first adaptive sports camp.

"I work as an artist and I tend to stay at home a lot," Harris, who's diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, said. "My wife heard about the camp and I thought it'd be helpful to learn some adaptive techniques."

By day two of the camp, Harris already formed a bond with several others and said "it's incredible to be in a room full of people you don't have to explain yourself to."

The camp also helped relieve his PTSD, Harris said.

"My results are measured with smiles," Jasso said. "I can see an impact on our wounded warriors' recoveries. They arrive without knowing anyone and leave with many friends."

Staff Sgt. Jared Miller, 902nd Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, was with other squad members at the local shooting range, watching Air Force wounded warriors - some with walking sticks and others without limbs - showcase their skills for three days.

"They give us a sense of pride knowing they can go downrange, make great sacrifices and come back to do this," Miller said.

The camp at JBSA-Randolph was the last adaptive sports camp before the Warrior Games selection camp in February.

Athletes selected at the February camp will represent the Air Force at Warrior Games 2014.

Air Force wounded warriors interested in joining the adaptive sports program can call Jasso at 565-5265. For more information, visit www.woundedwarrior.af.mil.

Hill welcomes F-35 workload

By George F. Jozens, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) -- Several hundred people gathered today in hangar 237 to witness the first F-35A Lightning II which arrived for depot level maintenance during a ceremony hosted by the Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, Maj. Gen. H. Brent Baker Sr.

The ceremony addressed Hill's key role in the depot repair and the F-35's role in national defense by several different speakers which included Sen. Mike Lee; Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin's Executive Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Lightning II Program; Rear Adm. Randolph Mahr, DoD F-35 Deputy Program Director; Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, Air Force Sustainment Center commander and Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Baker was the final speaker and gave the order to open the doors and unveil the aircraft to the capacity packed hangar's attendees. Other dignitaries at the ceremony included local mayors, Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and members of the Utah State House and Senate.

The first F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant is from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev., and is in a prototype configuration. The Ogden ALC will modify the aircraft with a series of structural and systems modifications to enhance critical capabilities needed during operational test and evaluation testing.

"For decades the shared partnership between Lockheed Martin the Ogden ALC team has taken our legacy platforms, the F-16, C-130 and F-22, to the next level, and the same will hold true for the F-35 Lightning II," said Lorraine Martin, F-35 vice president and general manager. "This aircraft was designed from its inception to evolve through modifications and upgrades so that our warfighters can continually outpace their opposition. I look forward to what the future holds for the F-35 and am excited to see that evolution unfold."

Litchfield also talked about this historic day in the history of the ALC.

"The F-35 found the right home for sustainment," he said. "Team Hill will deliver cost effective modifications for this aircraft."

The F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will eventually replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force.

Military medicine plays key role in national disaster exercise

by Maria Gallegos and Elaine Sanchez
BAMC Public Affairs


9/20/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas  -- Tornadoes ripped across Oklahoma earlier this week, sending nearly 400 patients with a number of trauma injuries to San Antonio for medical care.

Fortunately, these injuries were simulated, and the patients were volunteers participating in the San Antonio Mass Casualty Exercise Event, coordinated by the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. SAMCEE is a regional disaster scenario designed to test the ability of area hospitals to respond to a mass casualty event, and to see how efficiently patients can be transported, treated and tracked via the National Disaster Medical System.

"Emergency departments are always prepared to deal with the most critical patients every single day, but they may not be prepared to deal with (as many as) three dozen patients all at once," said Eric Epley, executive director of STRAC.

The exercise brought Army, Air Force and a host of city, state and federal agencies together to orchestrate the movement of casualties into San Antonio, then out to local hospitals. Participants included Brooke Army Medical Center, 59th Medical Wing, 502nd Air Base Wing, 433rd Airlift Wing, Texas State Guard, STRAC, nearly 30 Bexar County hospitals, San Antonio Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.

"The exercise postures all of us to be prepared and ready to support a patient reception area for our neighboring states within the FEMA Region 6 area," explained Lt. Col. Chuck Williams, coordinator of the Federal Coordinating Center San Antonio.

The Department of Defense has established the BAMC commander as the Defense Department lead for the city's federal coordinating center.

"Our responsibility is to make sure we're working with community, state and federal agencies to help prepare and fulfill our mission," he said.

The San Antonio Shrine Auditorium served as the simulated disaster site, and Hangar 1610 on Kelly Air Field served as the main hub for patient processing and transportation to area hospitals according to injury and bed availability.

Of the nearly 400 patients, 36 were sent to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where they were triaged and treated.

Meanwhile, BAMC leaders gathered in the Emergency Operations Center to monitor the situation and to ensure effective communications with other key military and civilian personnel.

"There was a great deal of effort, communication and overall engagement by the entire facility, and we're very confident we would be able to respond to an actual emergency," said Col. (Dr.) Evan Renz, BAMC's incident commander and deputy for acute care. "The staff and personnel who volunteered to assist today was overwhelming, and the exercise went faster and more smoothly than we even expected."

Williams also deemed the exercise a success. "Regardless of uniforms and agency, we all worked together as a team," he said. "We were successful because everyone pulled together to form one unified group working to ensure the best care for our patients."

Colorado Airmen, C-130s return from Southwest Asia

by Maj. Corinna Moylan
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


9/20/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 302nd Airlift Wing welcomed home approximately 150 Airmen Sept. 18 from a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia. The wing's Air Force Reserve and active duty personnel provided C-130 airlift support to U.S. Central Command operations.

While deployed, members of the 302nd Operations Group flew hundreds of airlift missions moving troops, wounded warriors and cargo. The deployed members of the 302nd Maintenance Group provided aircraft maintenance support ensuring fully mission capable C-130s in Southwest Asia.

"Once again this wing's Airmen have succeeded in expertly performing all aspects of a challenging airlift mission in a demanding desert environment during the extreme heat of the summer months," said Col. Jay Pittman, 302nd AW commander.

Capt. Daniel Lambrecht, a 731st Airlift Squadron pilot and wood worker in his civilian job, said that though this was his first deployment, he felt prepared.

"These guys set us up pretty well with knowing what to expect," he said. "The unit as a group worked pretty well together and nobody was left behind. We were over there as a family. We train together and fight together."

According to Lambrecht, heat, humidity, long hours, good camaraderie and a sense of fulfillment defined his deployment experience.

"We did some aeromedical evacuation missions. You leave from one of those missions and you always have a good sense of accomplishment because you are getting somebody back that needs it," he said. "We hauled a lot of people and a lot of cargo," That was the basis of a most of our missions. (We had) pretty long missions and long days and after you were done you might be tired, but you always had that sense of accomplishment and that felt good."

Lambrecht said he would do it again, but ideally, not right away.

"It was definitely worth it. I would go again, but I'll give it a little time yet to figure out who my family is again and they can do the same for me."

Lambrecht's wife and two year old son awaited his return.

"My wife looked great and got a special shirt that said 'My Airman comes home today,"" he said.

His son wore a shirt that read "Get out of my way I get my daddy back today."

"He recognized me right away because we had the opportunity to do a lot of face time while I was there. That's what's nice about today's technology and today's deployments," Lambrecht said. "They set us up with communication back home. I was still in the loop on things so coming back home wasn't too much of a shock. My son speaks English now instead of jibberish so that was different."

For Tech. Sgt. Marie Lumives, a hydraulics specialist assigned to the 302nd Maintenance Squadron, this was her second deployment.

"My job is dealing with all of the hydraulics systems on our airframe," she said. "I ended up taking over the specialist driver job so I spent most of the time driving around and helping with the launches and recoveries. That was a pretty good experience for me, stepping up in something different. It was definitely a learning experience."

According to Lumives, her unit also worked well as a team.

"We did pretty outstanding. We had AMU (Aircraft Maintenance Unit) of the month twice," she said.

Teamwork was not the only topic Lumives and Lambrecht agreed on. Heat and humidity was another common theme.

"This was a different environment. The temperatures were pretty high, usually over 100. What really got me on this deployment was the humidity," she said. "We were walking through rocks and dirt all of the time. I don't think I saw green for four months."

Lumives works in sporting goods at Walmart for her full time job. Her husband and two dogs waited for her to come home.

"I Skyped with my husband regularly. My father was deployed back in the day and it was all mail or send an e-mail once in a while," she said. "I have lots to take care of back at home now."

Austin: Centcom Remains Central to U.S. Security Interests

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2013 – Think of the U.S. Central Command, and many Americans’ thoughts go immediately to Afghanistan, unrest in Egypt and in recent weeks, the humanitarian tragedy in Syria.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command, passes the Centcom flag to Army Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, Centcom’s command sergeant major, during a March 22, 2013, ceremony in which Austin assumed command. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melanie Bulow-Kelly
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
But Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, who assumed command in March, said what happens in the 20-nation Centcom area of responsibility will remain at the forefront of U.S. national security interests long after the Afghanistan transition is completed and crises dominating today’s headlines are resolved. “The Centcom area of responsibility is one of the most complex and volatile regions of the world,” the general told American Forces Press Service in an email interview.

“It’s also one of the most important,” he said, “because we have a number of vital interests there, to include the free flow of resources through key shipping lanes -- most notably the Strait of Hormuz -- defense of our homeland against the threat of terrorism and extremism, and the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

Austin has spent much of his career dealing with these challenges, both in the theater and at the Centcom headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

In 2003, Austin helped to lead the invasion into Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the assistant division commander for maneuver for the 3rd Infantry Division. Next, he commanded the 10th Mountain Division and Combined Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan. Then, from 2005 to 2006, he served as the chief of staff at Centcom headquarters, before returning to Iraq in 2008, where he served as the commander of Multinational Force Iraq.

During Austin’s third and final deployment to Iraq, beginning in 2010, he served as the commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, overseeing the drawdown and transition of forces and equipment and the eventual conclusion of the conflict in December of 2011.

If there’s a central lesson that’s been reinforced through these experiences, Austin said, it’s that what happens in the Centcom area of responsibility matters to the United States and its interests.

“That is why it’s so critical that we remain present and engaged, because we recognize that any kind of instability in that part of the world can have significant impacts on not only the region, but also our economy, the world’s economy and the safety and security of our people and interests,” Austin said.
This reality has shaped Austin’s priorities for the command, and efforts that he said are evenly focused on three principal objectives: “Engage, Prevent, Shape.”

That, he explained, means engaging regionally to deal with ongoing conflicts -- in Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and, more broadly, the war on terror. It means preventing confrontations ---- between Sunnis and Shiias, Arabs and Israelis, Pakistan and India -- from escalating into conflicts. And it requires dealing with potentially destabilizing situations, such as the Arab Awakening and the perception that the United States is withdrawing from the region.

By necessity, much of the attention is focused on the near-term crises in the Centcom area of responsibility, which include the conflict in Afghanistan, the civil war in Syria, heightened tensions with Iran and the global war on terrorism and extremism, he noted.

“Our goal is to address the near-term challenges and to return things to the way they were pre-crisis, and we also want to do what we can to prevent further conflict,” Austin said. “Meanwhile, we want to help shape outcomes for the future and move things toward greater security and stability in the region.
“This is accomplished in a number of ways,” he continued. “Certainly, among them are our continuing efforts to strengthen our regional partnerships and build partner capacity in that most important part of the world.”

Austin said he recognizes that the many significant challenges confronting Centcom require no less than a total team effort.

“Success will be measured in the accrual of contributions made by many individuals over time. And, in fact, we may not see the fruits of our labors for months or even years,” he said. “However, our goal is to set the right conditions to enable progress to be made and sustained in this most important and volatile part of the world.”

100K & Going: Global Hawk makes mark as safest platform

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


9/23/2013 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Although the days of the bombers and tankers are long gone, Airmen at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., are still finding ways to make Air Force history thanks to the Global Hawk mission.

The Northrop Grumman Corporation recently announced that its high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft systems achieved 100,000 flight hours Sept. 5.

News of the milestone was well-received by the leadership and members of the 69th Reconnaissance Group, the unit at Grand Forks AFB directly in charge of conducting Global Hawk missions.

"This milestone is something in which those of us involved in the Global Hawk mission take great pride," said Col. Lawrence Spinetta, 69th RG commander.

According to the Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M., approximately 85 percent of the 100,000 flight hours for this aircraft were logged by U.S. Air Force Global Hawks. Credit for the remaining flight hours was split among the NASA, German and U.S. Navy versions of the aircraft.

The Global Hawk also has the safest record of any fighter, bomber or reconnaissance aircraft in the Air Force's active inventory.

"The safety record of the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk fleet is remarkable, especially given the fact that the system was rushed to combat and flew 75 percent of its first 100,000 hours supporting our warfighters in Afghanistan and elsewhere," Spinetta said. "These figures prove the reliability of unmanned aircraft technology. More importantly, it's testament to the professionalism of our Airmen and the pride they take in accomplishing our mission."

The Global Hawk is aptly named. Every day, RQ-4s circle the globe, providing critical strategic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to six combatant commands.

"The jet's long endurance is a significant combat force multiplier," Spinetta said.

The RQ-4, which can fly for upwards of 30 hours nonstop, has the ability to cover almost half the circumference of the world without refueling. That capability makes it a key contributor to the global vigilance, global reach, and global power of the U.S. Air Force.

Spinetta reflected on the recent aviation milestone and contemplated what it means for the history of the Air Force.

He told members of the 69th RG that their hard work is "the realization of an Air Force prophecy" by Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. As the commanding general for the U.S. Army Air Force in 1945, Arnold said, "We have just won a war with a lot of heroes flying around in planes. The next war may be fought by airplanes with no men in them at all...Take everything you've learned about aviation in war, throw it out the window, and let's go to work on tomorrow's aviation."

Members of the 69th RG will receive patches from Northrop Grumman commemorating the milestone.

"Some people might refer to the patch as badge of honor, however, we know the real honor is knowing we are doing an excellent job protecting our warriors and our nation," Spinetta said. "That's exactly what we will continue to do."

Air Combat Command takes delivery of latest life-saving aircraf

by Staff SGt. Candice C. Page
ACC/PAI


9/23/2013 - LANGLEY AFB, Va. -- Air Combat Command received the latest E-11A aircraft equipped with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, Sept. 18 before it joined the rest of the fleet at a deployed location in Afghanistan.

The additional aircraft will increase communication coverage for ground troops in forward-deployed locations, said Lt. Col. Eric Moses, ACC deputy chief Tactical Data Links Enterprise.

Air Force and joint warfighters use the BACN-equipped aircraft to communicate over rugged terrain using multiple radios and waveforms to maintain situational awareness and call in assistance.

BACN bridges communication gaps between ground troops and airborne support beyond the capabilities they would normally have on the battlefield with just their traditional communication equipment, said Col. Jim Wildes, ACC chief Tactical Data Links Enterprise.

"That extra communication can make a difference between life and death when you are talking about airborne support for the ground forces engaged with the enemy," Moses said.

The system currently operates on two platforms: the E-11A, a modified Bombardier business jet and the EQ-4B, a Global Hawk Block 20 remotely piloted aircraft.

The program began in 2006 during a Joint Expeditionary Force Exercise to meet challenges associated with operating in rugged terrain for forces with limited communications. In 2009, it became a Joint Urgent Operations Need, program in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.

"The BACN team has received many reports from the theater crediting the BACN for helping save lives," Moses said.

"The Army and the Air Force love this airplane in Afghanistan; it helps get rapid support to any critical situation on the ground," said Wildes. "When you have a possibility of troops dying within seconds and no way to communicate the location, units are now able to communicate their location in a matter of seconds to the E-11A and pull in support for either air-to-ground strikes or ground-to-ground strikes."

Ogden center to modify prototype F-35

by George F. Jozens
75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


9/23/2013 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) -- Several hundred people gathered today in hangar 237 to witness the first F-35A Lightning II which arrived for depot level maintenance during a ceremony hosted by the Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, Maj. Gen. H. Brent Baker Sr.

The ceremony addressed Hill's key role in the depot repair and the F-35's role in national defense by several different speakers which included Sen. Mike Lee; Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin's Executive Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Lightning II Program; Rear Adm. Randolph Mahr, DoD F-35 Deputy Program Director; Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, Air Force Sustainment Center commander and Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Baker was the final speaker and gave the order to open the doors and unveil the aircraft to the capacity-packed hangar's attendees. Other dignitaries at the ceremony included local mayors, Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and members of the Utah State House and Senate.

The first F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant is from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev., and is in a prototype configuration. The Ogden ALC will modify the aircraft with a series of structural and systems modifications to enhance critical capabilities needed during operational test and evaluation testing.

"For decades the shared partnership between Lockheed Martin the Ogden ALC team has taken our legacy platforms, the F-16, C-130 and F-22, to the next level, and the same will hold true for the F-35 Lightning II," said Lorraine Martin, F-35 vice president and general manager. "This aircraft was designed from its inception to evolve through modifications and upgrades so that our warfighters can continually outpace their opposition. I look forward to what the future holds for the F-35 and am excited to see that evolution unfold."

Litchfield also talked about this historic day in the history of the ALC.

"The F-35 found the right home for sustainment," he said. "Team Hill will deliver cost effective modifications for this aircraft."

The F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will eventually replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force

EOD clears bombing range used for training

by Senior Airman Joseph A. Pagán Jr.
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


9/20/2013 - ALEXANDRIA, La. -- Five members of the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team spent the week at Claiborne Bombing and Gunnery Range in Alexandria, La., Sept. 16-20.

Every year, EOD Airmen clear the range of ordnance dropped from the B-52H Stratofortress and A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The 7,800-acre range provides training opportunities for the flying units in this area.

"Historically the 47th Fighter Squadron out of Barksdale is our main customer," said William Avants, range operations officer. "But we're gearing up to focus our training on the B-52s; however, any unit within flying distance can train here."

EOD is the only organization that clears the sectors of ordnance.

"Sectors are based on how much is dropped in each area," said Avants. "In addition to the main bomb circle, which is used more frequently, 20 percent of the range is cleared annually spanning over a five-year rotation."

Clearing consists of digging up BDU-12s, better known as dummy bombs, and any scrap metal that is found.

"For the first three to four days at the range, the Airmen separate and categorize all findings into hazardous or non-hazardous metal," said Master Sgt. Steven Coppock, EOD flight superintendent. "The hazardous metal is when a BDU still contains an undetonated spotting cartridge which needs to be destroyed. So the BDU can be turned into scrap metal."

A spotting cartridge, when detonated, emits a phosphorous smoke showing the pilots and range personnel where the BDU landed.

"Barksdale and EOD's cooperation with the range is a tremendous asset to us," said Avants. "We have a host-tenant agreement and we get all of our support from the base; whether it's EOD clearance, safety, or environmental support."

Avants says the partnership between Barksdale and the range is vital to the range's survival.

"This is not only a great partnership with the local range, but it is a great opportunity to train and sharpen our skills," said Coppock.

"Without Barksdale interactions we simply wouldn't be here; they're not just our primary customer but our lifeline," Avants said.