Military News

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

POTFF to help Air Commandos, families: POTFF provider's procedures

by Airman 1st Class Andrea Posey
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs


10/23/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- This is the third article in a series about Preservation of the Force and Family, a special operations command initiative, and how it will help Air Commandos and their families at Hurlburt Field.

Lt. Col. Patrick O'Maille, 1st Special Operations Support Squadron, Psychological Applications chief, has been involved in Preservation of the Force and Family since its very beginning and has participated as a subject matter expert in the source selection for the contracting company.

O'Maille educates POTFF providers on how to effectively engage the unit members in conversation in a way which makes them approachable if someone needs help. This enhances the provider's skills on how to have effective conversations.

"It's a lot of role play of common situations that could come up with the unit member," he said. "So looking at ordinary situations that people have that could be initial signals of them beginning a gradual decline toward something that could emerge into mental health problems."

O'Maille said he mentors POTFF providers and gives them technical oversight.

This involves meeting with POTFF providers weekly and addressing how things are going, if there are any friction points that need to be smoothed over, or if there is any information he needs to get from POTFF providers to help with their mission.  O'Maille also works as a liaison between POTFF providers and the 1st Special Operations Medical Group. POTFF providers are credentialed at the 1st SOMDG and have to meet certain requirements.

O'Maille encourages providers to engage with their organizations and get involved with activities by attending operations, intelligence and staff meetings.

"This makes it so they're no longer seen as just mental health staff, but as another unit member who have some additional skills and abilities to help get the mission done," O'Maille said.

He also talks to commanders who have providers embedded in their units to ensure the interface is effective.

"I'm helping the POTFF providers evolve to where their success is determined by a unit member not seeing them as the psychological or social worker but as part of the team," he said. "A lot of folks will look to their left and right and see who they have around that know something about the problem and can help them, someone they trust and are comfortable with. To have somebody who has that additional mental health expertise really enables some helping to occur much earlier in the stream."

O'Maille believes the effects POTFF will have within the units are changing the historical misperceptions about the negative implications of going to the medical group as the first level of intervention when an issue comes up.

"The game changer is that there's a lot of talking, interaction and conversations that happen at that lower level with individuals," he said. "This gives them the ability to make referrals and get resources quickly into someone's hands so they don't have to go through a bureaucratic channel, fill out paper work and go through numerous steps to be logged into a system before they can get help presented to them. The help can occur quickly without a lot of administrative action happening. I think the rapidness of the helping is what sets it apart from the medical group."

As for the future of POTFF, O'Maille said there will be a new needs easement survey given the 1st Special Operations Wing. This will give POTFF providers information to work with based on the concerns.

"Whatever gets offered in the future is going to depend on the needs of the units," he said. "It is up to the POTFF providers to have a good healthy working relationship with their organization and command team so that they can offer up whatever the unit members need for a class, briefing or a group meeting depending on the situation."

O'Maille said he predicts more integration in community resources.

For example, the airmen and family readiness center has requirements to deliver base resiliency interventions throughout the wing.

O'Maille said he encourages calibration in these types of efforts because it will individualize and customize events to individual units.

"POTFF providers are there daily and will pick up on what makes that organization unique," he said. "The value of the collaboration would be to customize the events so units feel like they are getting something out of it, it wouldn't be just a cookie cutter educational offering but instead a uniquely tailored event for them."

The next article in this series will focus on how chaplains are implementing POTFF at Hurlburt Field.

Official Praises Progress in Eliminating Syrian Chem Weapons




By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2013 – A senior administration official praised the United Nations effort to rid Syria of chemical weapons and said the United States will continue to support the effort.

In a White House blog post, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall -- the White House coordinator for defense policy, countering weapons of mass destruction, and arms control -- praised the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for its work in Syria. The U.N. group announced Oct. 31 that it is confident Syria cannot produce new chemical weapons.

Just a few months ago, Sherwood-Randall wrote, Syria had one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the world, one that included mustard gas and the sarin nerve agent. On Aug. 21, Bashar Assad’s regime used sarin gas on a civilian neighborhood, but the regime’s ability to use chemical weapons was only part of the problem, Sherwood-Randall said.

“Given the situation on the ground in Syria,” she wrote in her blog post, “this dangerous arsenal was at risk of capture by or transfer into the hands of extremists.”

The National Security Council staffer charted the process that led to the U.N. team working to control these weapons.

“In mid-September, we and Russia agreed to work together to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program in the fastest and safest manner possible,” she said. “Our joint commitment led to an historic United Nations Security Council resolution that legally bound Syria to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile under international supervision on a very fast timeline.”

The U.S. government has provided some of the tools these U.N. inspectors need to accomplish that mission, Sherwood-Randall said, adding that the world has recognized the incredible job these men and women are doing by awarding the organization the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

“The people behind the scenes are brave and dedicated, and so we applaud the OPCW and U.N. personnel who have taken great personal risks to get the job done,” she said. “They planned and conducted the inspection site visits, supervised the destruction process, and provided security and logistics to the inspectors.”

The United States has contributed $6 million of the $14 million earmarked for the mission. This includes direct financial assistance to the trust funds set up to support this project, as well as training, equipment, protective gear, logistical support, and medication for the inspection team, Sherwood-Randall said.

The mission continues and will require more money and resources.

“We are already laying the groundwork to provide substantial contributions to the destruction outside of Syria of Syria’s remaining 1,000 tons of chemical agent,” she said.

The United States has unique capabilities it can apply to the task, Sherwood-Randall said, “thanks to the leadership at our Department of Defense and the foresight and innovation of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.”

Also, she said, the United States is working with other countries that can provide additional capabilities and support.

“In the end,” she added, “Syria will be held accountable for the safe and swift elimination of its chemical weapons program.”

In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Security Forum here yesterday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel summed up the timeline and the Defense Department’s role.

"President [Barack] Obama's resolve to take military action to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons helped create an opening for diplomacy with Russia -- which we pursued,” he said. “That led to a U.N. Security Council Resolution and to the involvement of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons inspectors on the ground in Syria working to oversee the removal and destruction of chemical weapons.

“We are on a course to eliminate one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world,” Hagel continued. “DOD has not only maintained military pressure on the Assad regime and will continue, it has also developed the technology that may very well be used to destroy these chemical weapons."

Andrew C. Weber, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, said the Defense Department is looking ahead.

"With the successful destruction of Syria's capacity to produce chemical weapons, we are now focused on the critical next step of removing and eliminating the chemical agent stockpile," he said.

Fire in the hole: CMAFS exercises to secure America's Fortress

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


11/6/2013 - CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- Hot, white light from their helmets cut through the heavy smoke like a New England lighthouse. In search of victims trapped by fire and billowing haze, the Cheyenne Mountain AFS firefighters rushed into the chaos with a single thought: "This is my job."

The result of a chemical spill, firefighters pulled victims from the smoldering corridor, decontaminating each individual before handing them over to a medical triage team. The triage team methodically diagnosed each patient while providing initial treatment for chemical burns, skin irritations, and smoke inhalation. After these initial diagnoses, teams of three and four used litters to carry victims to an impromptu clinic for more comprehensive care and treatment.

This was the scene Oct. 30 at CMAFS during U.S. Northern Command's annual Vigilant Shield homeland defense exercise. During the exercise, the 721st Mission Support Group tested its readiness and effectiveness of in-house assets during a "button-up" contingency, when its blast doors are closed for simulated enemy attacks.

In addition to testing the CMAFS firefighters, volunteer victims served as training aids to help personnel from medical, mental health and chaplaincy agencies to expect the unexpected.

Dino Bonaldo, 721st Civil Engineer Squadron director, said that because the heat ventilation and exhaust system dynamics are so different during a button-up, the impacts and consequences of any contingency within Cheyenne Mountain are greatly magnified.

"Contingency operations are CE centric," said Bonaldo. "You have to practice like you play. If you don't practice, you don't develop that automatic, disciplined response that is critical when seconds count."

Bonaldo further emphasized the importance of these types of exercises as they impact not only local, but also national defense response abilities.

"Unless you practice, there will be a delay in your response," said Bonaldo. "We continue to leverage that disciplined, repeatable and efficient response with our mutual aid partners in the community, capable of responding to the full spectrum of contingencies."

Built in the Cold War era, CMAFS today operates, maintains, secures, sustains, mobilizes, tests, and controls the worldwide warning and surveillance system for North America. Its role is key to supporting the national defense mission.

"The Mountain exists because of its survivability, reliability and security," said Col. Travis Harsha, CMAFS and 721st Mission Support Group commander. "It's 'America's Fortress,' perhaps the most impenetrable command center on Earth, providing its occupants 99.999 percent reliability for power, water, air and more. We support NORAD, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Space Command crews perform their air defense, space surveillance and missile warning missions to defend the United States and Canada and our allies."

Harsha added that with any exercise like Vigilant Shield, training is the goal.

"Overall the exercise was a success for us," said Harsha. "It honed our people and processes to better support our critical homeland defense missions. I am very proud of everyone involved and I know we are ready for anything."

Navy Commander Charged with Accepting $100,000 Cash and Prostitutes in Widening International Bribery Scheme



Third Navy Official Charged Along with Owner of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia

A third senior U.S. Navy official has been charged in a complaint unsealed today with accepting prostitutes, luxury travel and $100,000 cash from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified and internal U.S. Navy information, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California.

U.S. Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, was arrested in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday evening and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Middle District of Florida this morning.  Also named in a complaint unsealed today is Leonard Glenn Francis, 49, of Malaysia, the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), who was arrested on Sept. 16, 2013, in San Diego.

 Two other senior Navy officials – Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44 – have been charged separately in connection with bribery allegations.  GDMA executive Alex Wisidagama, 40, of Singapore, has also been charged with participating in a related scheme to overbill the Navy for services provided in ports throughout Southeast Asia.

“As described in the corruption charges unsealed today, senior officials with the United States Navy abused their trusted positions as leaders in our armed forces by peddling favorable treatment -- and even classified government information -- for their personal benefit,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.  “In turn, the GDMA executives who illicitly sought information and favors from those Navy officials boasted about their unlawful access to those officials and then traded on the influence that they illegally bought.  Day by day, this massive Navy fraud and bribery investigation continues to widen, and as the charges announced today show, we will follow the evidence wherever it takes us.”

“According to the allegations in this case, a number of officials were willing to sacrifice their integrity and millions of taxpayer dollars for personal gratification,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.  “While the overwhelming majority of the 400,000 active duty Navy personnel conduct themselves in a manner that is beyond reproach, we and our law enforcement partners at Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Criminal Investigative Service continue to investigate the allegations of fraud and corruption that tarnish the stellar reputation of the U.S. Navy.”

 “The arrest and criminal complaint against Commander Sanchez is the result of an ongoing investigation by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and its law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those individuals who would abuse their positions of trust within the Department of Defense,” said Special Agent In Charge Chris D. Hendrickson of the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service Western Field Office.  “Allegations like these against Commander Sanchez can tarnish the reputation of honest and hardworking government personnel and put military personnel defending our nation around the globe at risk.  The mission of DCIS is to ‘Protect America’s Warfighters’ and we will continue to relentlessly identify and investigate those individuals seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the U.S. taxpayers.”    

According to the complaint, Sanchez received bribes in return for sending sensitive U.S. Navy information to Francis, and making recommendations within the Navy to benefit Francis’s company, GDMA.  GDMA is a multinational corporation and longtime government contractor based in Singapore, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars of “husbanding” services for the U.S. Navy in at least a dozen countries throughout the Pacific.  Husbanding involves supplying food, water, fuel, tugboats and fenders, security, transportation, trash and liquid waste removal, and other goods and services to ships and submarines in foreign ports.

Like Sanchez, Misiewicz is accused of providing sensitive Navy information to Francis and secretly working on behalf of GDMA in exchange for prostitutes and luxury travel.  GDMA, which has operating locations in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the United States, allegedly overcharged the Navy and submitted bogus invoices for millions of dollars in services.  Beliveau, the NCIS agent, is charged in another complaint with illegally supplying Francis with sensitive information, including reports of investigations by NCIS into possible frauds committed by GDMA in billing the U.S. Navy under its contracts.  Wisidagama is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States related to the overbilling.

According to court records, Sanchez allegedly provided Francis with internal Navy information, such as U.S. Navy ship schedules – some of which were classified – and information about husbanding issues that could affect GDMA, in order to help GDMA win and maintain Navy business.  Court records allege that Sanchez regularly emailed Francis internal Navy discussions about GDMA, including legal opinions, and made recommendations in GDMA’s favor about port visits and Navy personnel assignments.  In return, Francis gave Sanchez over $100,000 in cash, together with travel expenses and prostitutes.  Court records allege that the conspiracy started in January 2009, when Sanchez was the Deputy Logistics Officer for the Commander of the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, and continued when he was transferred to serve as Director of Operations for Fleet Logistics Command in Singapore, until he transferred to Florida in April 2013.

Sanchez and Francis allegedly communicated regularly via email and Facebook.  Sanchez referred to Francis as “Lion King” and “Boss” in the emails, while Francis called Sanchez “brudda.”

For his part, Francis allegedly hired female escorts for Sanchez and friends on multiple occasions, on one occasion emailing one escort: “Hey Love Jose is in Manila at the DIAMOND Hotel go and see him he needs some love asap.”

According to court records, in an email exchange on Oct. 16, 2009, Sanchez and Francis allegedly discussed a trip Sanchez planned to take to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with Navy friends he called his “Wolf Pack.”  They discussed the number of rooms the “Wolf Pack” needed, and Sanchez asked Francis for pictures of prostitutes for “motivation.”  Francis replied: “J, got it we will hook up after the FLAG dinner, will arrange a nest for you guys and some birds [women].”  A few days later, on Oct. 19, 2009, Sanchez sent a Facebook message to Francis saying, “Yummy . . . daddy like.”  In an Oct. 23, 2009, Facebook message, Sanchez asked Francis, “Where r we staying in KL [Kuala Lumpur]?  No pictures to get our spirits up?”

Between Aug. 26 and 28, 2011, Francis allegedly communicated through email to the address of an escort whom Francis had previously hired for Sanchez.  Francis wrote: “Hey Love, Jose is in Manila at the Diamond Hotel go and see him he needs some love asap room.”  The escort responded to Francis, “Papi, I'm here jose's fon is not answering. I'm here [h]aving dri[n]ks at the lobby. Call him:: (( maybe his sleeping?”  Later that day, she emailed Francis, “I'm with h[i]m already heehhe.”

Court records alleges that Francis sent an email on Oct. 20, 2011, asking Sanchez to help “swing” business his way regarding a U.S. Navy ship’s need to refuel at a port in Thailand.  The Navy can use “sea cards” to purchase fuel for its ships at a price negotiated by the Defense Logistics Agency for Energy, as opposed to procuring fuel at usually higher prices from the husbanding contractor.  In an email from Sanchez the next day, he told Francis: “Ask and you shall receive...we worked this out this morning…”  According to court records, the USS Mustin did conduct a port visit to Laem Chabang, Thailand, during which it purchased fuel from GDMA, not via “sea cards.”  As a result, the USS Mustin allegedly paid more than $1 million for fuel – more than twice what the fuel would have cost through use of the “sea card.”

The criminal complaint alleges that in an alleged Dec. 2, 2011, email discussion in which Sanchez told Francis about the status of an investigation of GDMA, Francis replied: “I have inside Intel from NCIS and read all the reports. I will show you a copy of a Classified Command File on me from NCIS ha ha.”

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter, and the Royal Thai Police and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau Singapore also provided law enforcement assistance.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Pletcher and Robert Huie of the Southern District of California, and Catherine Votaw, Director of Procurement Fraud, and Brian Young, Trial Attorney, of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

The details contained in the criminal complaints are allegations.  The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Those with information relating to fraud, corruption or waste in government contracting should contact the NCIS anonymous tipline at www.ncis.navy.mil or call the Department of Defense Hotline at (800) 424-9098.

From Germany to Buckley, new dog on the block adjusting well

by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross
460th Space Wing Public Affairs


11/4/2013 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Jeja, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois hailing from Germany, is the newest addition to the 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dog kennels.

Before joining the rest of her fellow service dogs, Jeja completed a roughly 90-day training program instructed by members of the 341st Training Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

According to the 341st TS website, they train dogs used in patrol, drug and explosive detection, and specialized mission functions for the Department of Defense and other government agencies.

After arriving at Buckley, it's now up to Jeja's partner, Staff Sgt. Robert Aikins, 460th SFS MWD handler, to advance her training and become certified as an operational team. This process generally takes about 60 days, and they must become certified on a number of tasks.

Tasks include identifying nine different types of scents, and Aikins has to be able to identify Jeja's behavior when she makes these finds.

Aikins and Jeja must also certify on the six aspects of patrol. First, Aikins has to ensure Jeja won't bite a suspect when he and the suspect are in conversation. Next, is the release and hold; Jeja must be able to attack a suspect at Aikins' command and needs to hold on even though she may be kicked, hit or swung around. Jeja then must obey the off call, which is used to release her bite.

The second half of the patrol aspect is the standoff. This happens when Aikins sees a potential threat such as a busy street the suspect runs across. Aikins will call out to the dog to stop until he can come and evaluate the danger, and the team will then proceed. The last two aspects of patrol are search and escort. Jeja can't bite the suspects while Aikins searches and escorts them back to the patrol car.

So far, Aikins said Jeja has been progressing well. One of the minor things for her to overcome has been the altitude adjustment.

Although having a new dog can be challenging at times because of her puppy-at-heart mentality, Aikins said it definitely has its upside.

"The biggest perk for getting a green dog, which is what they call them when no handlers have had them before other than instructors at (dog training school is) you can kind of train it how you want to train it as long as you're within regulations and not harming yourself or the dog during training," Aikins said.

He said other dogs that have had previous trainers can sometimes be a challenge to work with, as they become set in their ways and handlers really have to work harder with them.
Regardless if it's a new dog or one that's been around for a while, Aikins said it's extremely important to stay patient and positive.

"They say it travels down leash, so if I come in during the day and I'm in a bad mood, then that's going to make the dog be in a bad mood," Aikins said. "They're just like us; somedays she doesn't feel like working."

Those are the days Aikins said you have to push them, so they know who the alpha is in the partnership.

The patience and pushing will pay off, as Aikins and JeJa are already halfway through her 60-day training cycle. Once Aikins feels his team is ready, the 460th SFS MWD kennel master will evaluate the team and put in their certification to become operational. The 460th Space Wing commander is the final person to sign off on their certification.

Wild Weasels: First In, Last Out

by Senior Airman Derek VanHorn
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


11/5/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The roaring sound of an F-16 Fighting Falcon ripping through the sky leaves adversaries on the ground frozen in their tracks, bracing themselves as one of the most lethal machines on the planet nears their location. It's a helpless feeling opposing forces have endured for nearly 50 years as Wild Weasels have set the unmatchable standard of aerial supremacy worldwide.

Pilots from the 35th Fighter Wing execute the Suppression of Enemy Air Defense mission, and take pride carrying on the lineage of Wild Weasel units that date back to the Vietnam War. Their motto is "First In, Last Out", highlighting their willingness and confidence to lay their lives on the line and apply a relentless attack to defeat integrated air defense systems and see each mission through.

The 35 FW includes the 35th Operations Group, where both the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons operate and make up the wing's flying force. A rich history precedes both squadrons as both are instrumental in establishing and maintaining the status of the U.S. as the world's greatest air power.

Today, the SEAD mission is primarily carried out by F-16CM Block 50 Fighting Falcons, typically equipped with a state of the art HARM Targeting System pod, two High speed Anti-Radiation Missiles and a self-protection jammer. The jets are able to support numerous weapons variations, but Capt. Ryan Worrell, 35th Operations Support Squadron weapons and tactics flight commander and F-16 instructor pilot, said this configuration is the basic starting point for most SEAD missions.

Worrell said the fundamental origin of the Wild Weasel mission was created to protect strike aircraft from enemy surface-to-air missile sites in Vietnam that fired missiles from the ground in an effort to destroy aircraft or other airborne missiles. The Weasels would enter enemy territory to search for SAM sites and when the SAMs turned on they would shoot them before the site shot back.

This idea created the unofficial motto of the Wild Weasels -- an acronym known as "YGBSM." It was derived from the response of former B-52 Stratofortress Electronic warfare officer, Jack Donovan, upon hearing about the plan of the mission:

"You want me to fly in the back of a little tiny fighter aircraft with a crazy fighter pilot who thinks he's invincible, hone in on a SAM site in North Vietnam, and shoot it before it shoots me, you gotta be shittin' me!"

This approach gained momentum in 1967 at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Northern Thailand, where the Black Panthers of the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron flew combat missions over the jungles of Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the emersion of enemy SA-2 surface-to-air missile sites were a thorn in the side of American forces, downing handfuls of bomber aircraft early on in combat.

The SEAD mission originated when the Air Force devised a plan to use F-100 Super Sabres, and shortly thereafter F-105 Thunderchiefs, to cripple the presence of SAM sites across the country. By definition, SEAD was defensive and reactive in nature, but with the addition of specialized detection equipment to the jets, the F-105 models became a lethal system with an offensive approach.

AGM-45 Shrike missiles were added to the aircraft's arsenal, which were rocket-powered air-to-ground missiles designed to destroy radiating enemy radar transmitters. The Shrikes were equipped with radar energy sensors at the tip of the missile, capable of guiding on enemy locations and taking them out of the fight by kinetic strike.

During the tail end of Linebacker II, an 11-day air campaign over North Vietnam in 1972, the first all-out SEAD campaign was brought to the battlefield. The aircraft's mere presence over Vietnamese SAM sites was psychologically dominating, as operators on the ground preferred to remove themselves from the fight by turning their radars off rather than become a willing target.

"That's the baseline goal," Worrell said. "Once the radar is turned off, the enemy's missile loses connection with the site and is removed from the fight."

The diversity of Wild Weasels grew over time, and proved instrumental in opening air spaces for other aircraft as well as providing support for an array of missions. Five F-105 Wild Weasels were used in the famous Son Tay camp raid in 1970 to rescue prisoners of war.

Following the strides made in Vietnam, the 13 and 14 TFS remained at Udorn until 1975, when the 13 FS relocated to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., before settling at Misawa Air Base, Japan, in 1985. The 14 FS followed suit to Misawa in 1987, where both fell under the 432nd Tactical Fighter Wing until 1994.

Wild Weasels then effectively wreaked havoc during the Persian Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm. By this time, the Air Force moved to F-4 Phantoms with significant technological upgrades that included an internal gun for dog fighting, upgraded Radar Warning Receivers and radar jamming capabilities. It was the only aircraft in the Department of Defense that was designed to identify, locate and destroy specific radar emitters coupled with the ability to fire sophisticated anti-radiation missiles.

According to the official history of the war, Wild Weasels flew nearly 4,000 sorties, fired 1,000 air-to-ground missiles, and destroyed roughly 200 Iraqi missile sites. The war was a success, ending swiftly in a matter of months while aggressively disassembling Saddam Hussein's regime. Pilots worked as teams; while one aircraft attracted a SAM site or enemy aircraft, others would soar in from other angles and eliminate threats ranging from MiG-29s to the same SA-2 missiles faced in Vietnam.

SEAD has evolved from protecting a two-ship fleet in its early years, to destroying the entire fabric of the Iraqi nation's ability to defend itself during Desert Storm.

The progress has never slowed, and the current set of Wild Weasels is now powered by F-16 Fighting Falcons with the some of the most dangerous technology available in combat. The cockpits have transitioned from hosting two pilots to one, with computer systems replacing the work - listening, identifying and targeting -- of the backseat flyer. Instead of flying the original two-ship set, Weasels typically fly four-ship sets. They've also moved from low altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night pods to the HTS pods that are able to identify, geo-locate, and display multiple targets within the area of responsibility to the pilot. This targeting system is the cornerstone of the SEAD mission, providing substantial situational awareness to pilots on the types and locations of surface-to-air defense radars, as well as passing ranging solutions to the HARM missile when launched.

"Over time, range detection and response time advancements have created a technologically superior force," Worrell said. "Previously, we were only able to detect a radar in a certain direction, but now we can range it in very specifically for targeting our HARM missiles."

While the mission set is primarily SEAD, Wild Weasels have also implemented various areas of Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses, or DEAD. Flying the four-ship formations, mixed load outs of both HARMs and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions are employed. With the aid of Advanced Targeting Pods, the JDAMS are dropped on the enemy's radar systems, inflicting more permanent damage than only suppression. This method is used to clear larger lanes of radar sites to facilitate the follow-on of larger forces.

Additional technology upgrades have come in the form of the Link 16 datalink system that allows pilots split-second communication to and from other F-16s while simultaneously computing and sharing tactical pictures in near-real time. On top of the Link 16, the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System also allows pilots the freedom to obtain situational awareness and cue weapon systems in the direction their head is pointed, instead of relying on the Heads Up Display.

These changes have drastically improved the situational awareness and capabilities of Wild Weasel pilots, and have allowed them to better prioritize targets and approach them from six to nine times the distances employed in Vietnam. These changes have molded the SEAD mission from one-on-one concepts of operation to integrated force application involving hundreds of aircraft, cruise missiles and artillery systems attacking an enemy IADS at once.

"The Wild Weasel mission supports the complete dismantling of the enemy's air defense," Worrell said. "By striking certain command centers and suppressing remaining radars, we're able to shut down a nation's entire IADS and ensure air superiority."

The Samurai of the 14 FS used these tactics over the skies of Iraq while supporting Operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch, and later during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where they executed "shock and awe" and employed massive air strikes that killed Iraq's comprehensive IADS. With the mission fulfilled, coalition forces followed on the ground and seized valuable territory throughout the country.

Most recently, F-16s applied the full SEAD mission by dismantling and destroying Libya's IADS during Operation Odyssey Dawn. Wild Weasels have also deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Enduring Freedom and other overseas contingency operations.

Credit to the modern-day success belongs to the original Wild Weasels who paved the way for today's aerial domination. They began as locaters and defenders, and have evolved into a sophisticated team force with a lethal approach to air superiority.

67th FS returns to Kadena

by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman
18th Wing Public Affairs


11/5/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A group of six F-15 Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron here returned to Kadena Oct. 28 after a three-week deployment to Singapore.

Capt. William Sullivan IV, 67th FS F-15 instructor pilot who deployed with the group, said the training with the Republic of Singapore air force is a vital component to U.S. and allied air superiority and the security of the Pacific theater.

"We do basic fighter maneuvering, so within visual range air combat maneuvering with defensive counter-air and offensive counter-air," Sullivan said. "At any point, building our partnership with anybody in Southeast Asia is going to help with our ability to enforce the theater security package. Us going down there and building a partnership with Singaporeans, flying with them, having social events with them and things like that really helps our international relationships out."

With the U.S.'s attention growing toward the Pacific throughout the past few years, Sullivan said training with allied nations including the Japan Air Self-Defense Force is becoming even more important than in recent years.

As a result of the increased international training, the U.S. has built a stronger relationship that is better capable of defending the reigon.

"If anything happens in Southeast Asia, we've got partners to call upon and partners to work with," Sullivan said.

However, without the help of the 909th Air Refueling Squadron's KC-135 Stratotanker fleet, the Air Force would be hard pressed to continue the training in distant regions.

"(The training allowed us to) bolster international relations with Pacific allies while also increasing tactical prowess," said Staff Sgt. Donald Johnson, 909th ARS evaluator boom operator. "On the way there, we offloaded 80,400 pounds of JP-8 (jet fuel), so that definitely increased how much water they could cover. We're also able to provide emergency procedures to help with emergency boom latches."

Though other nations utilize the KC-135 for aerial refueling missions, Sullivan said nobody compares to the capabilities of the U.S.'s highly trained Airmen.

"We can't do our mission without (the 909th ARS), we're not moving six jets down to Singapore without these guys, and we're not getting six jets back," said Sullivan. "The proficiency they have is far better than any other country I've worked with (who has) KC-135s, and if they don't have that proficiency, we could be in a world of hurt in the middle of the ocean with nowhere to go.

"Our mission support is great to allow us to do our job," he continued. "Our team effort as an Air Force is really what's taken us above and beyond to continue with our air superiority."