Military News

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

341st MW demonstrates excellence during NORI

by Capt. Chase P. McFarland
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


11/20/2013 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- The 341st Missile Wing demonstrated excellence during a weeklong Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection conducted by the Air Force Global Strike Command Inspector General team Nov. 12 to 18.

The NORI is an exhaustive evaluation of the wing's ability to conduct combat operations across a spectrum of threats ranging from defense against terrorist action all the way to global nuclear warfare. The wing's ability to provide safety and security for its nuclear arsenal is also analyzed.

During this inspection, nuclear Airmen of Malmstrom Air Force Base were continuously evaluated by the IG team in three graded areas: force generation, employment and surety.

"This [performance] was absolutely fantastic," said Col. Bernard Dodson, AFGSC deputy inspector general. "The [people] of America will sleep well tonight knowing that the men and women of Wing One are on the job."

The commitment and perseverance demonstrated by the members of Malmstrom was reflected by the IG team's announcement of the ratings across three major graded areas and eight sub-areas.

NORIs are exceedingly detailed and require an exacting standard of compliance and accountability. These challenging inspections constantly test, assess, evaluate, compare and hone processes, procedures and readiness.

"I couldn't be more proud of the nuclear Airmen of Wing One," said Col. Robert Stanley, 341st MW commander. "We just knocked the socks off the [AFGSC] IG team for the second time in two months. In one fell swoop, these dedicated warriors have helped change the nation's dialogue about the capability and morale of our ICBM force."

The commander went on to point out that the IG team recognized one superior performer and seven superior teams during the inspection.

"With a unit like this, nothing is impossible," Stanley said. "I will forever remember this wing as the finest military unit I have ever been associated with, and I am greatly honored to have been given the opportunity to lead such a remarkable team."

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, AFGSC commander, commended Malmstrom members for a job well done.

"This achievement reflects the superior expertise the wing provides day-to-day," Wilson said. "Being recognized by Headquarters AFGSC/IG with an 'Excellent' rating on [Malmstrom's] NORI is a significant accomplishment and exemplifies our command's vision of an elite, highly-disciplined team."

Amputee Vets Top Pro Football Alumni in Warrior Care Month Game



By J.D. Leipold
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2013 – It wasn't smash-mouth football, but the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team remained undefeated with a 28-21 victory Nov. 16 over a squad of National Football League veterans and Washington Redskins alumni at Bishop O'Connell High School’s McMurtrie Field in Arlington, Va.

The game was part of Warrior Care Month, an observance established by the Defense Department in 2008 as a way of making the public aware of the sacrifices of wounded, ill or injured service members. The month also showcases men and women whose resilience rebuilt what they once felt were shattered lives.

Before the kickoff, presentation of the colors was followed by a prayer and the dedication of an engraved bench honoring a former coach at the school. In addition, retired Cleveland Browns player Eric Metcalf, a 1983 Bishop O’Connell graduate who set numerous records there, was inducted into the school's hall of fame.

Then the amputees were introduced to the cheering crowd in the bleachers who had come to support the fund-raising effort put on by the nonprofit Military Benefit Association, which raised $60,000 for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team and raffled off a grand prize trip for two to see the Redskins take on the New York Giants on Dec. 29. Players from both teams signed footballs and jerseys and nearly anything else a fan wanted signed.

Then the Redskins alumni and alumni from other NFL teams introduced themselves. In addition to Metcalf, they included former Redskins’ players Brian Mitchell, Larry Brown, Mike Bass and Mack Alston; free agent C.C. Brown, formerly of the Houston Texans; Eric Hipple of the Detroit Lions; Tony Lilly of the Denver Broncos; Bruce Laird, who played for the Baltimore Colts; Stan Gelbaugh of the Dallas Cowboys; and former Miami Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian. Other former NFL players on hand included Derrick Dockery, T.J. Fitzpatrick and Ted Vactor.

Hall of famer Sam Huff served as head cheerleader, and former Virginia Gov. George Allen, whose father coached the Redskins from 1971 to 1977, served as coach for the NFL Alumni.

Former Army Staff Sgt. Greg Reynolds -- who lost his left arm and shoulder blade when a car hit his motorcycle shortly after he returned from Iraq -- said he initially dealt with depression and anger at the extent of his injuries, but that he's since become a changed man who can pump out 100 one-armed pushups while hardly breaking a sweat.

Today, Reynolds not only serves as co-captain of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team, but also plays left field for the Wounded Warriors Amputee Baseball Team. He offered some advice for others facing challenges.

"There are a lot of things in life that happen," Reynolds said. "The one thing that we all can control is our attitude, so instead of being negative about it, try to find the positive. Nobody wants to be around a negative person. Find the positive, and things will come your way. Don't sit on the couch feeling sorry for yourself."

Yepremian, who emigrated to the United States from Cyprus, brought his soccer skills to the NFL in 1966. Although the first American football game he played in was also the first game he ever saw, he later would be part of the 1972 Dolphins team that remains as the only team to win the Super Bowl without having lost a game en route.

The Warrior Care Month game marked a reunion for Yepremian and Bass, who were involved in one of the NFL’s most infamous plays in Super Bowl VII. When a field goal he was attempting was blocked, Yepremian tried to save the play by fielding the ball and throwing a pass. But he batted the ball into the air, and Bass picked it off and returned it for a touchdown.

Yepremian said he came to the game not to play, but to thank the amputees and see old NFL friends, including Bass.

Professional football players didn't earn big salaries in Yepremian’s playing days, so most held other jobs the rest of the year. Yepremian said a "real love of country" led him to join the Army National Guard. He served for six years, beginning at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

"My friends told me that I'd better get in shape, and I said, 'No problem, I've been to football camp,' he said. “I went to basic [training] and I found out it was 100 times tougher than an NFL football camp and it made me a stronger man, gave me more discipline, and it's made me a better person."

Yepremian, who later became a U.S. citizen, had dinner with the amputees the previous night. Their resilience was evident, he said.

"I saw a lot of the young soldier amputees yesterday, and I told my wife, 'I will never complain about my pain anymore, because I'm 69 years old, and I've had many problems as far as back and shoulder problems [are concerned],'" he added. "I look at them and I say, ‘I can't believe this -- these guys have given 100 percent of their lives to our country, and now they come back without an arm or leg, but they're not letting that keep them down."

In 2003, former Army Staff Sgt. Michael Caine lost his right leg in Iraq when his vehicle hit an anti-tank mine and rolled over. His surgeons had been trying to salvage his left leg for 10 years, but they determined in October they couldn't continue, so it was amputated below the knee.

"I was upset at first, but then I took a couple of deep breaths and decided I wanted to do whatever I had to do to get back up on my feet and get back to my regular everyday life," he said. "So now I play hockey for the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Team, and I'm just waiting for my rehabilitation to be over and I'll hopefully be able to get a job working with the Washington Capitals in the front office."

B.J. Ganam, a former Marine Corps staff sergeant and co-captain of the football team, was hit by an improvised explosive device in Iraq on Thanksgiving night in 2004. The blast killed his gunner and left Ganam with his leg amputated below the knee.

"When I first realized I was being [medically evacuated], that was it for me -- that was my career,” he said. “It was pretty depressing and took a lot of time to get over -- a lot of work with a bunch of different organizations, a lot of supporters to help me get to the point where I am now, where I think I'm thriving and doing a lot of good stuff."

Ganam said his life has come full circle through the help of veteran organizations and that he's moving ahead, not looking back at what has been. He's now working as a veteran-to-veteran mentor for the Semper Fi Fund and America's Fund to help veterans transition. They have to learn, adapt and overcome, he said.

For the Amputees vs. Alumni game, the field was shortened and played between the 25-yard lines, with no kicking allowed. Runs and passes were along sidelines, "Hail Mary" passes wobbled through the air, and some of the players enjoyed soft takedowns, even though it was flag football.

With this fifth victory in five games under its belt, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team's sixth game Jan. 25 promises to be a tough match, as they’ll face 9/11 first responders from the New York Fire Department.

Military K9 to retire afer distiguised career

by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau
460th Space Wing Public Affairs


11/15/2013 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A military working dog learns many commands over the course of its career. They learn everything from the basics such as sit and stay to the advanced techniques of sweeping an area and striking a criminal.

Now, Buddy, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, is ready for his newest command -- retire.

"Buddy is just as deserving of a good retirement as any MWD or service member," explained Staff Sgt. Michael Clark, 460th Security Forces Squadron MWD handler and Buddy's partner since 2011. "He's had five deployments and too many temporary duty assignments and training scenarios to count.

"I plan on after his retirement to just letting him be a dog for once. He's a great dog and a best friend. He deserves this, and I won't ask for anything more," he added.

Prior to a career that spanned nearly eight years, Buddy spent the first two years of his life growing up in Ramsdorf, Germany. It was there that he was groomed for the military. In February 2006, Buddy was shipped to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to begin his MWD program. After a grueling 7-month training regiment, the newly certified MWD began his tour of active duty.

"The mission of the MWD is one that is commonly misunderstood," said Staff Sgt. Marque Daniels, 460th SFS kennel master. "The dogs may be out there having fun, but they are constantly putting themselves at risk as entry control point detectors or as the apex of a squad outside the wire. They do a mission that is completely selfless and are a great example for us to embody."

Throughout his time at Buckley, Buddy faithfully served six different handlers. But it was Clark, who spent the last two years with him, with whom he has developed the deepest bond.

"People only see maybe 10 percent of what happens between a dog and his handler," Clark said. "We spend our entire work day playing, training, grooming and learning each other. A K-9 team eventually becomes synced together.

"A handler will share everything with their K-9 partner. It could be a bottle of water, a bed or even a steak," Clark joked.

During his time on active duty, Buddy has faced countless challenges. From his deployments in the deserts of Southwest Asia to his protection of President Barack Obama as a Secret Service augmentee, Buddy has been called on to complete many missions.

"There's no quit in him," Clark emphasized. "Buddy is different from the other MWDs because even though he is the oldest dog in the kennel, he still acts like the young pup on the block."

Despite everything Buddy has accomplished, the mental and physical stress of accomplishing the mission has taken its toll. He has developed severe separation anxiety when away from his handler, causing him to become extremely destructive to his environment. His body has been ravaged by his selfless acts. He now has a cracked spine, arthritis in his shoulder and he had a toe amputated due to a severe fracture he incurred.

"The MWD will never understand how much they helped us and how many of millions of lives they saved," Daniels said.

No matter the issues that plague his K-9 partner, Clark is still bonded to his best friend. They have shared memories and experiences that many cannot fathom. This was one of the determining factors that led to Clark adopting Buddy after the dog's retirement.

With a future away from the mission ahead of him, Buddy can now relax. No longer will he have to stand watch; he leaves that to his old kennel mates.

Buddy only has one military function left to accomplish, and that one begins with "publish the retirement orders."

Former AFGSC member earns top DOD civil service award

by Air Force Global Strike Command
Public Affairs


11/19/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Former Air Force Global Strike Command Senior Executive Service member Scott Jack received the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award from Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Nov. 18.

This award is the highest honor given by the Secretary of Defense to career civilian personnel, and is reserved for those individuals whose service reflects devotion to duty and significant contributions to improving DOD operational efficiency and economy, Staff Sgt. Lavon Tucker, Air Force Personnel Center awards and decorations, said.

While with AFGSC, Jack served as director of communications and information (A6) at Headquarters AFGSC here. During this period, he led numerous projects impacting both joint and national levels. As the Designated Accrediting Authority for all Air Force Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications systems, Jack led efforts to provide modern survivable communications to enable emergency action message transmission in support of the President of the United States. According to his award package, "His vision and foresight ensured critical funding in the fiscal year 2014 Program Objectives Memorandum resulting in permanent upgrades to current B-52 communications and data-links."

The decoration continued, "Mr. Jack expertly led the successful transition of five main operating bases and 23,000 personnel from Air Force Space Command and Air Combat Command during the stand-up of AFGSC, culminating in the command reaching full operational capability. He successfully managed and completed a multi-million dollar cryptographic modernization initiative that ensured critical modernization of multiple nuclear command and control systems."

"I am awestruck to actually be selected for this prestigious award," Jack said. "While this is an individual award, my being selected was only made possible because of the great AFGSC team I had the privilege of serving for and with during my tenure."

"It truly represents the entire AFGSC team's commitment to the mission and the Air Force core values," Jack said.

Jack has previously been awarded the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and three Meritorious Civilian Service Awards.

Jack is currently deputy director C4 and deputy chief information officer for Headquarters, Marine Corps, where he formulates and provides broad policy guidance governing information technology, cyber security, and communications infrastructure and applications in support of the U. S. Marine Corps.

Aircrew specialist receives Bronze Star from Army

by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Raughton
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


11/15/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- What does Barksdale's Master Sgt. Donald Treglia have in common with Chuck Yeager, Oliver Stone, Ernest Hemingway and Audie Murphy?

Treglia, 2nd Operations Group aviation resource management systems, joined their ranks when he was awarded the Bronze Star.

He received the medal during a Commander's Call presided by Col. Michael Adderly, 2nd Operation's Group commander, at Hoban Hall, Nov. 8.

The Bronze Star is awarded to a person, in any branch of military service, who has distinguished himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy. Treglia received the award from the Army.

From November 2011 until June 2012, Treglia was deployed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, with the Army's 1st Cavalry Division as an aircrew specialist.

"I did air mission requests," Treglia said. "I did anything that revolved around helicopter operations, specifically Chinooks and Blackhawks. My group and I were responsible for any part of the mission where an aircraft could be scheduled to perform a certain task."

Some of these tasks included flying equipment, mass troop movements with Chinooks, or shuttling Generals between different locations.

Treglia was faced with many difficult decisions throughout his deployment and was required to determine what personnel or equipment would go on a certain aircraft based on priority of immediacy or importance.

"We did a lot of priority flying," Treglia said. "Priority flyers could be someone like a General or an ambassador, and you have to coordinate them based on whoever has a higher priority."

After arriving in Afghanistan, Treglia soon learned the system that was in place for him to schedule flights and coordinate passengers and aircrew.

"I'm very good at prioritizing and figuring out new systems," Treglia said. "When the outgoing battalion from the 1st Cavalry Division found out I could do that, they wanted me to teach the new guys from the 1st Infantry Division how to do the job."

During his deployment, events occurred that escalated opposition to Treglia's mission.

"We were getting mortars on a regular basis, but after a while, you stop worrying about it," he said. "It's a crapshoot. You have to stop worrying because you can't control it. I just took it as a normal part of my day."

Treglia advises Airmen who deploy on what he believes is the most important thing.

"Do your job as best as you can," he said. "I never expected to receive a medal. Keep yourself safe and show strength. Other services appreciate that, and it improves their image of the Air Force."

New Zealand, United States Airmen collaborate on small part with big impact; get United States C-17 mission-ready

by Senior Master Sgt. Denise Johnson
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs


11/19/2013 - OHAKEA, New Zealand -- Royal New Zealand Air Force Airmen fabricated a 4-inch metal plate to repair a malfunction on a United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at RNZAF Base Ohakea here Nov. 15 during Exercise Kiwi Flag.

The auxiliary power unit inlet door target sensor was faulty which was causing a warning light to illuminate during preflight checks. The fault grounded one of the two C-17s deployed to New Zealand in support of Kiwi Flag and its overarching exercise, Southern Katipo.

"It's one small part with big repercussions," said Master Sgt. Adam Keele, 517th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron production superintendent. "We had to find a fix fast or wait for a part to be shipped from overseas, so we reached out to our Kiwi counterparts."

Keele, a Victor, Montana, native, reached out to a RNZAF liaison for assistance in contacting the local RNZAF Maintenance Support Squadron.

Corporal Gene Angus, RNZAF aircraft technician in the squadron's structural repair bay, was first to greet the American maintainer, "Sergeant Keele came over last night with one of our warrant officers and asked if we might be able to help out by fabricating this part," Angus explained. "We were happy to help out, so we began our research when they left."

The structural team stayed after hours to determine whether or not the fabrication was feasible. The following morning two U.S. Airmen delivered a technical drawing of the part.

"They handed us the paper and told us, 'This is what we actually want.' We looked over the specifications and told them it wouldn't be a problem to come up with a plan ... so we went to work," Angus said.

The RNZAF technician consulted RNZAF Leading Aircraftsman, Karl Waiariki, also from the structural repair bay. The two compared the specifications with the materials they had in-stock, determining they could fabricate the part with a slight difference in the grade of metal.

"We looked up the ultimate tensile strength; the technical drawing called for 155,000 PSI. The stock material we used, 301 half-hard stainless steel, is rated at 150,000 PSI, so it's not much difference at all -- though it still required an engineer to sign-off on [the disparity]," Waiaraki said.

The grade of steel indicates the different heat treatments which result in different temper states.

"It's my responsibility to make sure we maintain the integrity of the maintenance done on the aircraft," Keele said. "The difference, though nominal, had to be approved by an engineer from Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer."

Keele went to work on the approval process, while the RNZAF Airmen went to work building the part.

Waiaraki said he used a radius gauge to make sure he created an exact 5-degree angle ... "that had to be precise so we did a bit of maths to find the dimensions because the radius of the bend affects the length," he explained. "You're measuring the outside of the radiuses; you can't just put that number in and bend it -- you have to make it bigger or smaller depending on how you bend it, so you do the maths to figure it out."

The minimum bend radius came out to 160,000 according to Waiaraki's calculations. When he applied the part's technical specifications to the math equation, he got 170,000, a safe level above the minimum.

"You can't go any tighter than that because you'll be in danger of fatigue cracking," he said.

With the research, measurements and material collected, the RNZAF crafted the critical piece of metal into a new APU inlet door sensor target in less than 2 hours.

"We knew the part was ready, so all we needed was the engineer approval -- which was in-work," Keele said.

Keele walked through the same doors less than 24 hours after his first visit to the structural repair bay to pick up the newly-crafted part, engineer approval safely in-hand.

"We'll have this part in before the morning and be up and running again," Keele said. "We couldn't have done it without these guys -- it's one of the benefits of exercises like these: we build relationships and learn who has what capability and how we can benefit one another. We also develop a deeper respect and appreciation for our fellow service members ... I think we will all take a lot away from Kiwi Flag, including some newfound friendships."

Waiaraki, who typically works on Iroquois helicopters, C-130 Hercules' and P-3 Orions, said he embraced the opportunity to work on the C-17 and to develop his skills further.

"I didn't think I'd get to touch any foreign aircraft when this exercise started," he said. "I certainly didn't expect anything like this, but it's standard for this bay: we're happy to step up to anything that comes our way and give it go. We can only get better by interacting with fellow professionals and overcoming challenges together."

Kiwi Flag is a multilateral RZNAF-sponsored tactical airlift exercise conducted annually in New Zealand. Service members from the USAF, RNZAF, Royal Australian Air Force, Republic of Singapore Armed Forces and French Armed Forces of New Caledonia are participating. Air operations will be conducted out of RNZAF Base Ohakea, New Zealand. Kiwi Flag personnel will provide air support to Exercise Southern Katipo, New Zealand Defence Force's largest-ever multilateral joint force amphibious exercise with eight other nations participating: United States Army and Marines, Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

"We are just glad to help out in any way we can," Angus said. "It shows we can support one another when called upon and that's what exercises like Kiwi Flag are all about. It's a win-win."

New Zealand, U.S. drop zone officers expand combined capabilities

by Senior Master Sgt. Denise Johnson
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs


11/19/2013 - OHAKEA, New Zealand  -- United States Air Force Maj. Corey Akiyama certified Royal New Zealand Air Force Pilot Officer Emma Taylor as a U.S. drop zone safety officer Nov. 14 at the New Zealand Defence Force Raumi Drop Zone near Ohakea, New Zealand.

The two officers are capitalizing on the multitude of air-drop opportunities taking place during the multilateral RNZAF-sponsored tactical airlift exercise, Kiwi Flag, comprising air assets from the USAF, RNZAF, Royal Australian Air Force, Republic Of Singapore Armed Forces and French Armed Forces of New Caledonia.

Akiyama, the 517th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron's drop zone safety officer, certified Taylor to be able to approve drop zones and act as a control officer at those drop zones for United States military personnel. This force-multiplying capability could prove critical during real-world, fast-breaking multilateral responses to contingency and humanitarian operations.

"Pilot Officer Taylor is an experienced airman who understands the tactics and protocols involved in drop-zone operations," Akiyama said. "That made it much easier to teach her United States-specific rules and regulations."

Drop zone safety officers are responsible for an array of duties including surveying drop zones, working approval for those drop zones through the operational chain of command, controlling the drop zone during the actual cargo and personnel drops, communicating environmental information to the air crews and managing the integrity of the cargo upon landfall. The DZSOs also provide strike reports which are an integral metric in determining the accuracy of the airdrop. Strike reports comprise details such as the distance and direction from the intended point of impact.

"It's a lot of responsibility on your shoulders," said Taylor. "I do have some experience in this arena on the New Zealand-side, so I was able to grasp the United States requirements without too much difficulty as Major Akiyama explained them."

Akiyama spent several days with Taylor sharing expertise, demonstrating techniques and going over rules and regulations. They participated in numerous air drops during which Akiyama demonstrated how to set up drop-zone markers and shared communications protocols. Akiyama also taught Taylor how to check the dropped cargo for damage and validate its integrity before recovery personnel could collect the pallets.

"Major Akiyama made sure I knew exactly what my responsibilities entail; it's obvious he's meticulous," Taylor said. "But so am I, so we make a good team."

Taylor would then perform those same tasks to verify she was capable of "flying solo" on United States drop zone safety officer duties.

"This job requires your full attention -- it's imperative a drop zone safety officer focuses on the mission -- lives depend on it: from the jumpers to the people on the ground who require the cargo. Those people on the ground could be the recovery team, or they could be military members in need of food and supplies, or it could be people in a disaster-relief situation who desperately need food and water ... whatever the case may be, every drop has the potential for deadly consequences," Akiyama explained. "It's up to me, and now Taylor, too, to mitigate that danger as much as possible."

Taylor earned her certification after nearly two weeks of tutelage, demonstrations and validations.

"I'm grateful to Major Akiyama for taking the time to help me broaden my capabilities," Taylor explained. "I embrace any opportunity to further my professional contributions -- I feel as though I can offer a bit more to an operation now than I did prior to this certification. On a personal level, it's been a great experience working with my fellow service members. I think some of the friendships I've made will last a long time."

Akiyama is deployed as the 517th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron drop zone safety officer. He is the air mobility liaison officer for the 615th Contingency Operations Support Group at home station, Camp Henry, Korea. He hails from University Place, Wash.

"Pilot Officer Taylor was a great student and is a consummate professional," Akiyama said. "It's always a benefit to work with our multinational partners and share expertise -- you gain a respect and sense of comfort knowing that when you have to depend on them in a real-world situation, they will be right beside you getting the job done."

Kiwi Flag personnel are supporting Exercise Southern Katipo -- held on New Zealand's South Island -- by managing air operations and providing cargo and passenger airlift including tactical air drops to SK participants. SK hosts nine countries involved in air, land and maritime operations.