Friday, October 04, 2013

Ready, set, deploy

by Airman 1st Class Zachary Kee
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/4/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- During every Operational Readiness Exercise, the transition from peacetime to a simulated combat environment is like going from off to on.

It all starts when a squadron or unit gets the order to deploy. After receiving the order, they take part in a process that will quickly transition them from home station to contingency operations.

The individual protective equipment element is where the ball gets rolling for pre-deployment actions, and Staff Sgt. Toni Hill, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron IPEE supervisor, says they have one of the most important stops.

"We give them their chemical gear, sleeping bag and cold-weather gear," said Hill. "You can't send someone into a hostile environment without any protection. The gear we issue out to each service member is extremely important."

Once personnel receive their gear they quickly transition to the personnel deployment function line. This step is the one Tech. Sgt. Stacy Jordan, 35th Force Support Squadron PDF line NCO in-charge, says has the biggest impact on everyone who deploys.

"We are the ones who make sure people are ready to deploy," said Jordan. "We make sure they are good to go before they get on the plane."

The purpose of the PDF line is to provide a last-stop shop for any personnel, legal, medical or financial actions that need to be completed before anyone deploys. Jordan says for the most part it goes smoothly, but it's not always a flawless process.

Jordan said typical mistakes they see are issues with virtual records of emergency data, Common Access Cards, dog tags and missing immunizations.

"The PDF line is designed to catch these problems before Airmen deploy," said Jordan. "Most of the problems we see we can fix right on the line instead of sending them elsewhere."

Once all actions are taken care of, Airmen receive their final pre-departure briefs and begin transit to their final destination - the AMC terminal.

At the AMC terminal, the squadron is "deployed" and reality sets in when they board a simulated flight and go from peacetime to wartime.

More than 600 Airmen have gone through this transition throughout the course of the deployment processing line as a part of the ORE.

"The deployment line eliminates mass chaos and allows us to support combat operations," said Jordan. "It is the hub that makes sure everyone gets to where they need to go."

ROK President awards 7 AF Presidential Unit Citation

by Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher
7th Air Force Public Affairs

10/3/2013 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, Seventh Air Force commander, accepted from Republic of Korea President Park Geun-Hye the Presidential Unit Citation to Seventh Air Force on Oct. 1 as part of the Korean Armed Forces Day celebration at Seoul Air Force Base, Republic of Korea.

Seventh Air Force received the award for longstanding achievements in operational readiness and force employment.

Standing at the end of a long line of Korean military leaders receiving the same citation on behalf of their units, Jouas' presence as the sole American in that line highlighted 7 AF's contribution to the defense of the Republic of Korea and the strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance.

"It was an honor to accept this award from President Park on behalf of all Airmen in Seventh Air Force," Jouas said. "They, along with all the members of our combined and joint Airpower Team, made this recognition possible. Together we continue to strengthen our alliance and enhance its ability to deter aggression, defend the Republic of Korea, and if necessary, defeat any attack against this nation."

The award was last issued to a U.S. unit in 2011 when the Army's 2nd Infantry Division was recognized for their support for Korea over the preceding 60 years.

As this award is outside of normal Department of Defense channels 7 AF officials are working with the Air Force Personnel Center to determine the criteria for the proper wear of the award. Regardless of whether they can wear it or not, 7 AF Airmen were touched by the gesture.

"I feel very appreciative of the ROK President's gesture with this recognition," said Staff Sgt. Justin Bernal, 604th Air Support Operations Squadron Commander's Support Staff NCOIC at Camp Red Cloud. "It truly exemplifies the unique partnership between the American military and the South Korean military. The award says a great deal about my contributions here on the Peninsula, and the receipt of the ROK Presidential Unit Citation lets me know my role here is recognized and appreciated."

NGB Joint Diversity Council named one of the nation's top 25 diversity councils

By Sgts. 1st Class Jim Greenhill and Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau
Click photo for screen-resolution image
ARLINGTON, Va. (10/03/13) - The National Guard Bureau's Joint Diversity Executive Council was recognized as one of the top 25 diversity councils in the country by the Association of Diversity Councils here.

The JDEC placed seventh for outstanding contributions and achievement that lead organizational diversity processes, according to the Association of Diversity Councils."

"It's not easy," said Air Force Col. Ondra Berry, special assistant to the chief of the National Guard Bureau for diversity and equal opportunity and member of the JDEC, on reaching the number seven slot, adding that diversity is an important aspect for organizational growth and continued strength.
"When you hold on to your history, when you don't want to change, when you don't want to improve, you hold on at the expense of your destiny," said Berry.

Strength through diversity comes from strong leadership and increasing opportunities, he said.
"What you do every day is provide opportunity, create greatness, fulfill hopes and inspire people to be a little bit better," said Berry.

And part of that means exposing yourself to new ideas and diverse ways of thinking.

"You cannot lead people further than what you've been exposed to on the topic diversity and inclusion," said Berry. "You are in a better position for leadership when you are exposed to new ideas. You can only change people's thinking through education.""

Under the guidance and direction of the chief of the National Guard Bureau, the JDEC provides strategic policies and procedures with the objective of operationalizing diversity throughout the National Guard.

In its fifth year, the Diversity Council Honors Award recognizes and awards the outstanding contributions and achievements of diversity council groups that lead organizational diversity processes and demonstrate results in their workforce, workplace and marketplace." Councils complete and submit a comprehensive application demonstrating council contributions and achievements in four categories: results, management commitment, measurement and accountability, and communication and education.
According to the National Guard Bureau Policy on Diversity, diversity includes differences in characteristics, background, attributes and experiences. However, further expansion is essential to create a culture that fosters:
  • Absolute respect for all people no matter their rank, function or position.
  • Inclusion, engagement and management of talents to capitalize the potential power.
  • Diversity in thoughts, ideas and perspectives to promote moral courage and trust.
  • Confidence in equal opportunity for all.
  • An independent mindset where collaboration is the standard.
Diversity councils effect cultural change by establishing processes and practices that are sustainable and coincide with the bottom line for the long term, according to the National Guard's "Leader's Guide to Diversity," which states"that the responsibilities of diversity councils in the National Guard include:
  • Aligning diversity with strategic goals.
  • Integrating diversity into the fabric of the organization.
  • Promoting fluid communication throughout the organization.
  • Providing visionary strategies in the areas of recruitment, retention, engagement and productivity.
  • Encouraging leadership development through diversity practices and processes.
  • Improving mentoring relationships in force development.
  • Increasing employee satisfaction.
Paralleling the National Guard Bureau's Joint Diversity Executive Council, the 54 states and territories and the District of Columbia have been establishing State Joint Diversity Councils.

Organizations such as the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute teach that diversity is more complex and more about the entire culture than merely satisfying a set of statistics, but metrics remain one important measure of success in diversity. According to the "Leader's Guide," some of the significant metrics in the National Guard include recruiting and retention, assignment patterns, awards and decorations, disciplinary data, training opportunities, evaluations, promotion boards, climate surveys, leadership diversity and involvement in diversity and lawsuits and complaints.

The award was the National Guard Bureau Joint Diversity Executive Council's second time appearing in the national Top 25 ranking.