Military News

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Afghanistan-deployed Airmen Move People, Cargo


By Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
455th Air Expeditionary Wing

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Oct. 31, 2013 – The mission of the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron is to move passengers and cargo in and out of Afghanistan.

On Camp Marmal adjacent to Forward Operating Base Mazar-E-Sharif and the city’s airport, 16 airmen assigned to the 455th EAPS detachment perform a variety of daily tasks to include passenger services, special handling, ramp services and working the air terminal’s operations center.

The detachment moves more than 2,600 tons of cargo and 2,200 personnel each month.

"We are not as busy as our counterparts on Bagram Airfield, but we process anywhere from one to 10 missions a day between the day and night shifts," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Garrett Ingram, a 455th EAPS aerial port specialist deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and a native of San Marcos, Calif.

When a plane arrives, the airmen ensure it is safely parked on the ramp and then escort passengers off.

Afterward, an airman unloads cargo, which can include pallets or vehicles. The EAPS personnel also upload cargo.

A big part of the 455 EAPS’s mission is integrating with joint forces to move people and cargo, said Air Force Senior Airman James Harrison, a 455th EAPS aerial port journeyman from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.

"We support all the forces on Mazar-E-Sharif," said Harrison, who also hails from Charleston. "We have moved cargo for the Germans, Turkish [troops] and all the U.S. service members -- even Coast Guard.

“Our mission here is important,” he added, “because items don't really get moved without us."

WWII veterans receive medal

by Airman 1st Class Ashlin Federick
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


10/30/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- World War II veterans from the 39th, 40th, 41st and 46th Troop Carrier Squadrons received a medal honoring their service Oct. 18, 2013, at the Air Mobility Command Museum here.

These four squadrons served under the WWII 317th Troop Carrier Group and were known as the "Jungle Skippers" serving in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations.

Linda Waldman, daughter of Herb Waldman, accepted the medal on behalf of her father who served as a pilot and commander in the 41st Troop Carrier Squadron. Herb Waldman retired with the rank of colonel after 30 years of service in the Air Force.

"I wish he could be here and it means a lot for me to be here," said Waldman. "This event is a wonderful remembrance for the veterans of the 317th and a time for them to get together and continue the history."

Presenting the medals to the veterans were pilots from the 436th Airlift Wing.

Capt. Jared Leese, 3rd Airlift Squadron pilot, said he was truly honored to get the opportunity to present the medals to the veterans of WWII.

"It is very important to recognize the WWII generation's accomplishments," said Leese. "They really set the foundation of what the Air Force is today so we really owe them as much as we can do for them."

"It is my duty as a pararescueman to save life..."

by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


10/30/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- Eight Airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at D-M were first responders on a 19 vehicle accident involving more than 20 people on Interstate 10 near Picacho Peak, Ariz., Oct. 29, 2013.

Six pararescueman, a combat rescue officer and a communications specialist were driving through a dust storm with reduced visibility after jump training in Eloy, Ariz. when they drove by the accident.

"We were driving down Frontage Road when we saw the pile-up," said Caleb, 48th Rescue Squadron combat rescue officer. "We noticed there were police on either end, but no emergency, medical or rescue services at the crash site."

The Airmen witnessed an individual from the accident walk down the hill from the freeway and then fall down. They consulted with each other and made the decision to turn around and offer their assistance.

When they pulled over to the side of the road, they talked to a sheriff. Lucas, 48th Rescue Squadron pararescueman, identified himself as a U.S. Air Force pararescueman with seven paramedics and asked if the sheriff needed help.

"The sheriff said 'Right now, I got three dead and five critical, help as fast as you can,'" Lucas said. "At that point, we completely unloaded both of our vehicles."

They suited up with helmets, goggles and gloves and headed into the scene with what medical gear they had. The first thing they noticed was fuel leaking onto the road and under vehicles.

"We immediately noticed three or four vehicles with trapped personnel," said Caleb. "We assessed them and their situations and started getting people out using basic tools and equipment."

With the Airmen being some of the first on scene, they improvised with knives, crowbars and any other objects they could locate to extract people from their vehicles.

They were on scene about 15 minutes before emergency medical services arrived and 30 minutes before heavy extrication equipment showed up.

They triaged, splinted and provided medical care to more than 20 individuals at the crash scene. Additionally, they provided emotional support to patients.

If you find something that will bring a patient comfort, give it to them, said Lucas. Even just going back and asking 'How are you doing Stanley?' brought them comfort simply because their name was not forgotten.

The Airmen extracted five people from vehicles, coordinated four medical helicopter flights, and organized ground transportation for about six injured individuals.

After the critically injured were transported off scene, the Airmen collected all of their gear, ensured EMS no longer needed their services and continued back to D-M.

Four of the pararescuemen were right out of initial training and had never responded to a real-world situation like this before.

"I'm a Department of Training instructor," Lucas said. "The fact these Airmen just rolled in and got it done, it's a great feeling to know they are new and they accomplished something like this. It shows them how they can make a difference."

All the Airmen credited their training and experience in allowing them to keep calm and render aid in conjunction with the other authorities at the scene.

"You do all these medical scenarios and train so much, sometimes you wonder, 'Am I going to know what's right?'" said Dan, 48th Rescue Squadron pararescueman. "When you get in there and start doing it for real, all your training pays off."

C-17 Airmen load, move Strykers during joint exercise

by Staff Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs


10/31/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Airmen from the 15th Wing and Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division loaded Stryker combat vehicles onto Air Force C-17s for the first time during an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise in Hawaii Oct. 17.

In this first practical demonstration, the C-17 crews successfully uploaded two of the Army's Stryker combat vehicles and flew them to Pohakuloa Training Area on Kona for the exercise. Exercise players included the Army's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and the Air Force's 535th Airlift Squadron and 15th Wing.

The Stryker, the Army's Interim Armored Vehicle, is used to provide quick response maneuvering capability, enhanced survivability and lethality and expand fight versatility.

Until now, the Army has always moved their Hawaii based Stryker vehicles via ships.

"We all knew the C-17 can carry Strykers, but this is a very big deal for us," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Pettengill, 380th Ground Liaison Detachment. "It is the first time we have loaded the Strykers onto the C-17 and conducted a fly-away mission with them."

The C-17 Globemaster III is known for being able to rapidly deploy troops and cargo all over the world; however, this recent validation exercise confirmed the 535th's ability to extend the range of Hawaii-based armored units.

Army Warrant Officer Danny Thurman of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team said though the initial purpose of the exercise was to simply validate the ability to transport the Strykers, the short timeline enabled the 25 ID to test the Army's ability to deploy a quick reaction force.

"The timeline for this exercise was extremely short. In less than 24 hours we were able to plan, coordinate and execute the mission," said Pettengill. "This would not have been possible without the close relationship between the 15th Wing and the 25th ID. This training validated 2 SBCT's proficiency as a quick reaction force, further enhancing USARPAC's rapid deployment capability as USPACOM's response force in the Pacific AOR [area of responsibility.]"

Hagel Stresses Iraq’s Role in Maintaining Regional Stability

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2013 – During a meeting in Washington today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed Iraq’s important role in maintaining regional stability, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki thanked Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the sacrifices made by U.S. troops in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement issued today.

Little’s statement reads as follows:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his visiting delegation from Iraq earlier today in Washington, D.C. During the hour-long meeting, both leaders reiterated their commitment to the United States and Iraq defense and security relationship.

Secretary Hagel and Prime Minister Maliki discussed the political and security situation in Iraq, reviewed regional cooperation activities, and considered ways to strengthen U.S.-Iraq strategic cooperation given the challenges in the region. Secretary Hagel stressed the important role that Iraq has in maintaining regional stability. Prime Minister Maliki thanked Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey for the sacrifices made by U.S. troops in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.

ACC group among nation's best medical facilities

by Jon Stock
Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs


10/31/2013 - FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFNS) -- Three Air Force Medical Service military treatment facilities (MTFs) earned top accreditation honors recently by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America, for exemplary performance and were named among the nation's Top Performers on Key Quality Measures.

The MTFs awarded these honors were the 96th Medical Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; 48th Medical Group, RAF Lakenheath, England; and the 81st Medical Group, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.MTFs at Langley Air Force Base, Va.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; also had scores close to the 95-percent Top Performer level.

The Joint Commission recognized these Air Force MTFs for their outstanding performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children's asthma, stroke and venous thromboembolism, as well as inpatient psychiatric services.

"The Air Force Medical Service is committed to achieving our four critical goals of readiness, better care, better health and best value to ensure the delivery of top quality patient-centered care for our military family," said Brig. Gen. Sean Murphy, Air Force Medical Operations Agency commander. "We are proud to have facilities named on The Joint Commission list and strive to see other exceptional Air Force MTFs earn this elite recognition in the future."

The three medical groups are among 620 hospitals in the U.S. earning the distinction of Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance.

The ratings are based on an aggregation of accountability measure data reported to The Joint Commission during Calendar Year 2012. The list of top performers increased by 50 percent from its debut last year and represents 33 percent of the accredited hospitals reporting data. Each of the hospitals on the list received a score of 95 percent, which means the hospital provided an evidence-based practice 95 times out of 100 opportunities to provide the practice. Each accountability measure represents an evidence-based practice - for example, giving aspirin at arrival for heart attack patients, giving antibiotics one hour before surgery when indicated, and providing a home management plan for children with asthma.

"When we raise the bar and provide the proper guidance and tools, hospitals have responded with excellent results," says Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president, The Joint Commission. "This capacity for continual improvement points toward a future in which quality and safety defects are dramatically reduced and high reliability is sought and achieved with regularity. Such day-to-day progress will slowly but surely transform today's health care system into one that achieves unprecedented performance outcomes for the benefit of the patients."

In addition to being included in the release of The Joint Commission's Improving America's Hospitals annual report, each medical group will be recognized on The Joint Commission's Quality Check website. The Top Performer program will be featured in the November issue of The Joint Commission Perspectives and the October issue of the Joint Commission publication The Source.

F-16D Fighting Falcon, T/N 88-0165 accident investigation complete

by Air Eduction and Training Command Public Affairs

10/28/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Air Force officials announced the results of an F-16D accident investigation today. The investigation into the June 26, 2013, F-16D Fighting Falcon mishap at Luke AFB, Ariz., determined the mishap was due to the pilot's decision-making error after the aircraft suffered low-altitude birdstikes following takeoff.

The mishap instructor pilot and mishap student pilot, assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing's 309th Fighter Squadron, were executing a planned touch-and-go training exercise when the aircraft's engine ingested several birds resulting in degraded engine performance.

The Accident Investigation Board found evidence that the cause of the mishap was a result of the pilot erroneously electing to make an immediate turn that robbed the aircraft of altitude and airspeed, rather than climbing straight ahead to achieve minimum maneuvering speed for aircraft recovery. The mishap instructor pilot's channelized attention and breakdown of visual scan limited the time to fully analyze the situation and successfully recover flight. All of the factors substantially contributed to the aircraft mishap.

Both pilots were able to safely exit the aircraft, suffering only minor injuries. There were no fatalities or significant injuries, and only limited damage to civilian property. The estimated damage costs are approximately $22 million.

The president of the Accident Investigation Board was Col. John J. Menozzi. He is assigned as the 71st Flying Training Wing Vice Wing Commander at Vance AFB, Okla.

Navy Yard Shootings Prompt Security Clearance Process Review



By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2013 – The Navy Yard shootings in September and unauthorized disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have highlighted the need for changes to the current security clearance process, Stephen Lewis, deputy director for personnel, industrial and physical security policy in the office of undersecretary of defense for intelligence, told a Senate committee today.

This includes DOD civilians, service members and embedded contractor personnel, he said.

“Under the National Industrial Security Program, cleared contractors are required to report adverse information coming to their attention regarding their cleared employees,” Lewis said.

DOD component heads are responsible for establishing procedures to report significant derogatory information, unfavorable administrative actions and adverse actions related to personnel, Lewis said.

“In addition, the Defense Security Service is responsible for conducting oversight of companies cleared to perform on classified contracts for DOD and 26 other federal departments and agencies that use DOD industrial security services.”

For several years, the department has partnered with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in reform efforts intended to improve the clearance process. As a result, Lewis said, in 2011 the Government Accountability Office removed DOD’s personnel security clearance program from its high-risk list.

A recent inspector general’s review found that temporary access to Navy installations was being granted without conducting the proper background checks, he said. The report stated that, upon review, about 50 people were found to be convicted felons, he said.

The Navy has since taken corrective action, Lewis noted. Temporary installation access requires a criminal background check and a check of the terrorism database, he said. But the issue demonstrated the utility of continuous checks of cleared personnel, a program that is currently under development for the department, he said.

A concept demonstration is scheduled to run from April to December 2014, Lewis said, and would examine 100,000 cleared military, civilian and contractor personnel.

“This concept demonstration would have real-time updates so that as information became available it would be pushed into the system,” he said.

The current system doesn’t allow for continuous monitoring of all cleared personnel, Lewis said.

However, the system “does provide on-demand queries of a large number of government and commercial data sources, as well as an analytical capability to flag issues of concern,” he said.

“We need to make a commitment and effectively ensure that what happens between investigations is something that is tracked,” Lewis added.