Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guardsman Cheats Death, Returns to Drill

By Army Sgt. Brian Barbour
123rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

PHOENIX, Dec. 11, 2013 – Just before 7 a.m. on a recent Saturday, the door to the Pettycrew Armory opened, and with some assistance, a young, smiling soldier seated in a wheelchair entered.

Dressed in his Army combat uniform, Spc. Rashaad Gregory was arriving for his Arizona National Guard drill weekend for the first time since he nearly died in a July 28 vehicle accident.

Gregory, an air conditioning and refrigeration repairer with the 3666th Support Maintenance Company here, defied medical expectations after a car accident caused his skull to tear away from his spine. This type of injury, referred to as an internal decapitation, typically results in death or paralysis, doctors said.

“The first time I went to see him, he was on complete life support, and the doctors were not optimistic at all,” said Army Lt. Col. Kenneth Stice, the 158th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion commanding officer and Gregory’s battalion commander. “With an internal decapitation like this, statistically, 99 percent of the people die on the scene.”

Gregory said doctors told him the actions of his friend and fellow Guardsman, Army Pfc. Edwin Carter, saved his life. Carter, who was driving when another vehicle slammed into theirs, stabilized Gregory’s head and neck until paramedics arrived.

Ken Gregory, Rashaad’s father, said the original prognosis from staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center wasn’t good; he was told his son would be a quadriplegic and be dependent on a ventilator for the rest of his life. But after successful surgeries to repair his internal injuries and fuse his spine and skull, Gregory started to make progress that led doctors to be more optimistic about his recovery.

Throughout his recovery, Gregory stayed positive. “[He] just never took ‘You can’t’ or ‘No’ for an answer,” Stice said. “His determination, spirit and desire to prove everyone wrong were awe-inspiring.”

During the almost four-month hospital stay, Gregory received a tremendous amount of support from his family and friends and his church and military communities.

“I wanted him to understand that the military is a family,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Tiffany Fisher, the readiness noncommissioned officer for the 3666th Support Maintenance Company. “He was going to be treated like family, and he was going to be supported as if he was a family member.”

Gregory had only been a soldier for a short time, drilling twice with his unit before the accident occurred. His personality however, had made an impression on some of his fellow soldiers.

“He always had a smile on his face and a joke to tell,” Fisher said. “He’s just a happy kind of guy -- very positive [and] optimistic.”

Fisher said she believes Gregory’s optimism and positivity helped him recover.

“He was sitting in a hospital bed for almost four months, not being able to move, and I never heard a negative word come out of his mouth,” she said.

While he was in the hospital Gregory’s unit promoted him from private first class to specialist. The military was a huge focus point in Gregory’s recovery process, Fisher said.

“When he knew he was getting out of that hospital, all we had to do is make sure his uniform was ready,” she added, “because he wanted to walk out in that uniform.”

On Nov. 15, that’s exactly what Gregory did -- dressed in his Army uniform, with a walker for assistance and his father by his side. “My family, my dad, my sisters, my brother and my girlfriend were there for me throughout this,” he said.

“It’s easier to believe in yourself when you have someone there believing in you,” Gregory said. “I would not have been able to do as much as I have without my family and my friends. They are the source of my strength.”

Gregory still has a long road to full recovery, but he’s working hard and staying positive.

“I made a comment to him on my second visit,” Stice said. “I said we’re all dealt bad hands as we go on in life. How you play the hand is up to you. The next time I saw him, he said ‘Sir, I turned that horrible hand into a royal flush.’ And I have to agree, he has.”

AFSOC civilian retires after 42 years of service

by Capt. Victoria Porto
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

11/25/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Forty-two years after Bill Rone began his accounting job at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., he celebrated his retirement at Hurlburt Field Nov. 21, as a member of the Senior Executive Service and Air Force Special Operations Command's director of financial management and comptroller.

The former University of West Florida cooperative education student said when he applied for that job years ago he never imagined it would take him so far in a career as an Air Force civilian.

"I was working my way through college when I saw the advertisement for the Armament Development and Test Center on the placement office bulletin board," Rone said. "It's just that simple. I had to eat."

Rone's dedicated work ethic and talent for all things budget and finance helped him move quickly through the ranks.

For example, at age 28, he was promoted to director of programs and budget, in charge of a $2 billion budget. And in 1983, he graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where he said his classmates referred to him as the "class baby." The six years he was budget director, Eglin's comptroller office was selected Air Force Systems Command's Comptroller Organization of the Year each year.

He went on to become the deputy comptroller at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Ga., and later the comptroller, programmer and chief information officer at the Naval Aviation Depot in Pensacola, Fla., before being hand-picked for his dream job working with the newly-created AFSOC headquarters in 1990.

"If you're a financial manager, why would you want to be anything other than a comptroller for special ops?" he asked, smiling. "When I got here, I was the happiest person to ever come through the gates. I just committed to be the best teammate and do the most I could for the command."

That commitment and positive attitude continued to shape not only his personal development and career, but the culture of the AFSOC financial management office and the development of those who worked with him.

"He always challenged us to do our best, to do more and try to be a better person every day," said Annette Beard, AFSOC deputy director of financial management, who started working with Rone in 1991.

Under his mentorship, 65 percent of his team have completed their masters, 70 percent have completed professional military education, 74 percent have earned professional certifications and six have gone on to become major command-level comptrollers or deputy comptrollers themselves.

But the Bonifay, Fla., native does not take credit for their successes, or the success of his organization, which has won the U.S. Special Operations Command Outstanding Financial Management Organization Award every year for the last decade.

"Everybody feels like they're part of the team, and we're a very successful team," he said. "But is it me? No, it's the team."

In Rone's 23 years with AFSOC, he executed $20 billion in support of the mission, the Air Commandos and their families.

"If there's one person who's touched the lives of every Air Commando--past, present and future--it's Bill," said Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, AFSOC commander. "We will miss his compassion for our people, and how he always set them up for continued success."

After a distinguished career in AFSOC and years of leadership roles in community and charitable organizations like the Eglin Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and local chapters of the American Society of Military Comptrollers, Rone said he's looking forward to spending more time with his family, working out more, and maybe even learning golf.

But first, true to his legacy as an amazing mentor, he offered parting advice for future success and leadership.

"You have to commit yourself emotionally, intellectually and physically," he said. "And work like a dog."

Group reviews 2013 wildfire season

by Mary McHale
AFNORTH Public Affairs

12/10/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Representatives from across the United States wildfire fighting enterprise met for a three-day after action review of the 2013 season Dec. 3-5 at the Heritage Club here.

During his opening remarks welcoming the group, Lt. Gen. William Etter, CONR- 1 AF (AFNORTH) commander, praised their efforts of the past season and encouraged the participants to engage in candid conversations about how to improve current practices and procedures.

"This meeting is really needed because this is such an important mission," Etter said. "It's vital we continue to refine our lessons learned and this gathering is the perfect opportunity to do that."

According to Col. Al Wimmer, A3 director, this was one of the busiest modular airborne firefighting season in 41 years of operations.

"This After Action Review is a vital step in closing out the season for MAFFS," said Wimmer. "The team in attendance not only captured lessons but applied them in the form of revised publications, orders and deployment plans for the upcoming season. The air component often acts as the central point of focus, bringing together many different groups from the whole of government to make a mission happen for the American people."

After the initial greetings, participants broke into working groups for the rest of the meeting to study and discuss those lessons learned and develop a way ahead for the 2014 season.

"It was three days packed full of activities and hard work from everyone," Lt. Col. Dawn Junk, meeting facilitator from the AFNORTH Operations Directorate. "The results of everyone's hard work produced positive way aheads."

At the outbrief for Etter, she presented those way aheads. Primary among them was using incident awareness and assessment assets during an event because there's such a large variety of variables that apply to their use.

"We studied this carefully and determined we need to come up with a systematic, across the board process to present this option," Junk said. "We want to develop a concept of operations that clearly presents the capabilities of an IAA asset, no matter its source or whether it's manned or unmanned."

Other group accomplishments included reviewing the AFNORTH operational order and training requirements as well as examining the financial elements of the season.

12th AF leaders visit Ellsworth

by Senior Airman Zachary Hada
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

12/9/2013 - ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D.  -- Ellsworth hosted a visit from Lt. Gen. Tod D. Wolters, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, Dec. 3 - 4, and took the opportunity to showcase 28th Bomb Wing Airmen accomplishing the mission at the home to two of the nation's three B-1 combat squadrons.

During his visit, Wolters hosted an all call in the base theater and toured several facilities including the 432nd Attack Squadron, 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron Deployment Center and 28th Medical Group.

Wolters began his address at the base theater by thanking Airmen for their hard work, sacrifices and continued dedication.

"We ask a lot more from our Airmen today than we have in the past," said Wolters. "The Air Force is going through some big changes, and yet, despite all of the challenges, our Airmen overcome and accomplish the impossible."

The general explained that training, teamwork and trust have long since been the backbone of the 28th BW, adding that Ellsworth's legacy can be traced back to 1942, when Lt. Col. James Doolittle, lead a famed raid designed to bolster American morale and provide an opportunity for the U.S. to retaliate against Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"I encourage all of you to embrace these principles," Wolters said. "Let them guide and help you persevere through these difficult times."

Wolters and Chief Master Sgt. Calvin Williams, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) command chief, also took time to meet with Airmen during a special meeting in the Raider Café dining facility.

During the meeting, Williams encouraged Airmen to take care of one another and keep in mind what truly matters.

"The mission comes first, but the Airmen that drive the mission are just as important," Williams said. "Airmen should learn more about themselves and how they relate to the mission. I advise them to adopt the whole person concept and strive to go above and beyond expectations. That balance will help them throughout their career."

Wolters added that the holidays are around the corner and that he extends his gratitude to Airmen and their families.

"You need to understand that the sacrifices you've made just to be here today are phenomenal," Wolters said. "The sacrifices you'll make in the future will be incredible.
This commitment is absolutely necessary and needs to continue to occur for the salvation of our wonderful country."

U.S. Supports Peacekeeping Efforts in Central African Republic

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2013 – Two U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and a small command and support team are on the ground in Uganda, preparing to conduct airlift operations in support of ongoing peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, said today.

The aircraft are expected to fly to Burundi tomorrow morning to transport a Burundian light infantry battalion to Bangui, Central African Republic, a Pentagon official said.

A second small team of Air Force logisticians is on the ground in Burundi to prepare equipment for loading, and a third team is in the Central African Republic to assist in security operations at the airfield, the official said.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian requested limited assistance from the United States military to support this international effort, Assistant Pentagon Press Secretary Carl Woog said in a Dec. 9 statement. “In the near term,” he said, “France has requested airlift support to enable African forces to deploy promptly to prevent the further spread of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic.”

The United States is deeply concerned about “the shocking and horrific atrocities that have been committed by government-affiliated armed groups and independent militias against innocent civilians in the Central African Republic” in recent weeks, the defense official said.

In an audio message released Dec. 9, President Barack Obama called on the transitional government to arrest those who are committing crimes.

“Individuals who are engaging in violence must be held accountable -- in accordance with the law. Meanwhile, as forces from other African countries and France work to restore security, the United States will support their efforts to protect civilians,” Obama said.

Yesterday, the president authorized the State Department to use up to $60 million in defense services and articles for countries that contribute forces to the African Union-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic. The assistance could include logistical support -- including strategic airlift and aerial refueling -- and training for French and African forces deploying to the Central African Republic.

“The United States is joining the international community in this effort because of our belief that immediate action is required to avert a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe in the Central African Republic, and because of our interest in peace and security in the region,” Woog said in his statement. “We continue to work to identify additional resources that might be available to help address further requests for assistance to support the international community’s efforts in CAR.”

Contributors Credit Teamwork for NCO, Petty Officer Guide

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2013 – A collaborative effort to create the first book of its kind may not have been possible without the cooperative efforts of a unique team of senior enlisted service members, two of the book’s leading contributors said.

Dr. Albert C. Pierce, professor of ethics and national security at National Defense University, and retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Curtis L. Brownhill both served as co-leads to guide and coordinate the writing team for the book, titled “The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer -- Backbone of the Armed Forces.”

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will roll out the new guide at the Pentagon on Dec. 17. As the rollout approached, Pierce and Brownhill shared their perspective on how it all came together during an interview with American Forces Press Service.

“I knew Sergeant Major Battaglia when he was at Joint Forces Command,” Pierce said. “He and I had worked on a couple of projects together. He knew that I had been part of the team that produced the book ‘The Armed Forces Officer,’ which was published by NDU press in 2007.”

Pierce said Battaglia liked the book and asked him if there was such a book written for noncommissioned officers. “I said not that I’m aware of,” Pierce said. “He [asked], ‘Do you think there should be such a book?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely. What do you think?’ And he said, ‘You bet.’”

Once Battaglia became the chairman’s senior advisor, Pierce said, he was able to bring his idea to fruition.
“He went to the chairman with it, and the chairman enthusiastically approved it,” he said. “Then [Battaglia] asked Curt and I to be the co-leads on the project.”

From the beginning, Pierce added, this would be a book of, by and for NCOs and petty officers. “And that’s what it is,” he said, noting he’s the only person involved who has not been a noncommissioned officer or a petty officer.

Pierce said the group received advice from Battaglia that proved essential to its successful completion.

“I think at our very first meeting, Sergeant Major Battaglia said, ‘Check your egos at the front door, because it’s going to be a team effort,’” Pierce recalled.

In addition to the co-leads and group of writers from each service component, including the reserves and National Guard, Battaglia reached out to service senior enlisted advisors for suggestions.

“The team, overwhelmingly, was cooperative, collegial, rolled with the punches, accepted comments, criticism and suggestions,” Pierce said. “Everybody was focused on the mission.”

Brownhill, who served as senior enlisted advisor for U.S. Central Command from 2004 to 2007 and retired after 34 years of military service, explained the book’s writing process.

“What it really kind of took was a team of writers representing each of the services -- all senior NCOs and senior petty officers -- with a broad spectrum of experiences, both conventional and Special Forces,” he said. “There’s just a whole broad range of talent that was brought to that grouping. The book has gone through countless reviews and revisions by the team and by the co-leads.”

Brownhill described the group contributors as “unique” and explained why the process went so smoothly.

“Sometimes, you just get lucky,” he said. “We were very fortunate to have a very incredible team that was very open-minded [and] very non-egotistical in a sense that there’s always a pride of ownership, and nobody hung onto that. That’s probably the beauty of the book.”

Another unique aspect of the book, Brownhill said, is it’s the first time a book for NCOs and petty officers has been written from a U.S. armed forces perspective.

“I think it’s the first time it was ever approached, through Sergeant Major Battaglia’s vision, to try to do this from an armed services perspective and not a service-centric perspective,” he said. “We didn’t use this book as a how-to or an instruction manual to teach you to be a good NCO.”

This book, he said, was written in such a way that it will appeal to multiple audiences. The team wanted to holistically characterize and define what it is to be a noncommissioned officer and a petty officer in the United States armed forces, he added.

“We defined them organizationally in the armed forces -- how they relate to officers, how they relate to the force, how they relate to mission accomplishment,” Brownhill said. “Then we started to characterize them in terms of their consistently applied traits, qualities, competencies and those kinds of things.”

The book should appeal to any past, present, or future NCO or petty officer, Brownhill said, adding that international militaries might also gain from this book. And parents of aspiring service members might also be interested in it, he said.

“If … you have a grown child that’s thinking about joining the military,” he said, “I think Mom and Dad would be very interested in who’s going to be leading, caring, developing and otherwise taking care of their son or daughter.”

Both co-leads reflected on their participation in the project.

“We didn’t make any of this up,” Pierce noted. “All we did was look back at [NCOs and petty officers], who they are and describe them and characterize them. Had there not been a couple of centuries of stellar service by noncommissioned officers and petty officers, we wouldn’t have been able to write this book.”

Brownhill said the team accomplished a tough task.

“Defining and characterizing a grouping of servants to the nation -- that’s a complex notion,” he said. “It’s easy to get lost in the loftiness of that notion, but to the team’s credit, they got it [right].”

Flying crew chiefs keep mission going downrange

Commentary by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Chamberlin
517th Aircraft Maintenance Unit flying crew chief

12/11/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- On a warm night at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, I watched 33 U.S. Marine military working dog handlers deplane with their bomb dogs. The ramp was quiet -- our C-17 Globemaster III was the only aircraft I could see.

It had been a long day so far. After almost seven hours flying from Germany, there was a lot to be done. I waited anxiously for the last of our passengers to leave so I could reach my ladder on the wall and start servicing engine oil. While our loadmasters began downloading the nine pallets we had on board, I slipped right into my routine. I replenished all the engine oil that had burned off during the long flight, then it was time for an exterior inspection. While I was crouched down in the gear pod looking at our tires, I saw the loadmaster coming my way.

"Loadmasters don't belong in the gear pod," I thought to myself.

"Hey chief, better come look at this," he said to me with a huge smirk.

I knew this was going to be a good one. As we walked back towards the cargo ramp, I could see the cloud of fine mist forming. A quick look revealed we had a pin-hole leak in a pressurized hydraulic line. Just like that, the C-17 was broken. The mission stopped dead in its tracks -- we would not be quick-turning for our next stop that night.

It was my time to shine. All eyes were on the flying crew chief. I was already long into my duty day but the work had just begun. Using the aircraft's on-board satellite phone, I got in touch with hydraulic experts back at home station. With the aid of Boeing engineers, determined that I could disconnect this line and cap it off, effectively disabling a non-essential system and returning the aircraft to flyable condition.

It sounded like a good plan, but I did not have a cap that fit the line. After I hung up, I got in touch with the local transient alert driver and we took a ride down to the HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue squadron with hopes the local guys at Bastion had the caps we needed in their supply.

I was in luck. The helicopter guys had a huge supply container with multiple spare parts. I helped myself to one of every size fitting and I was on my way.

We got back to the jet and I had the line disconnected and capped off in a few minutes. I finished cleaning up all the leaked fluid and replenished the reservoir to compensate for what had leaked. Our aircraft commander made a couple of phone calls to let the airlift mission controllers know that we were fixed and they kicked us a new flight package.

With nothing but a few phone calls, some local maintenance help and an hour of turning wrenches, this Operation Enduring Freedom mission was back on track with less than a 24-hour delay.

This was one of the hardest, most demanding days I've had in over a year of flying with the C-17, but it's also one I remember very fondly. Scenarios like this are a perfect example of why we have flying crew chiefs.

When an aircraft is away from the elaborate support infrastructure of home station, the FCC shares the burden of ensuring the jet is properly maintained for flight. Flying crew chiefs do everything from handling routine post-flight and pre-flight inspections and fuel servicing, to troubleshooting and repairing problems with engines, hydraulics, environmental or avionics systems.

An FCC is typically a very experienced maintainer on the airframe who is qualified in many different maintenance tasks. Yet, no matter how much you know, every mission is different and there are always new hurdles to overcome. That is what I love most about this job. Every day on the road is a new opportunity to apply everything I have learned, to adapt to things I have never encountered and to always be at the forefront, seeing the impact of a mission well done.

It's a demanding, ever-changing, 24/7 commitment that I would not trade for any other job in the Air Force.

JBER Airman found dead

12/11/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Staff Sgt. Tanner Allen Volkers, a 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, was found dead by Anchorage Police Department search teams on Tuesday at the Basher Trail Head in East Anchorage. Cause of death is being investigated by the JBER Office of Special Investigations and the Anchorage Police Department.
Volkers had been stationed at JBER since January 2010, and was from Nampa, Idaho.

"On behalf of all the Arctic Warriors, I want to express my deepest condolences for the loss of Staff Sgt. Tanner Volkers," said Col. Brian P. Duffy, JBER and 673rd Air Base Wing commander. "Our thoughts and sympathies are with the Volkers' family, friends and the JBER community during this tragic loss."

For more information call 673rd ABW Public Affairs at 552-8151.

CGO immersion tour at MAF broadens horizons, perspectives

by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

12/10/2013 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- A group of 10 company grade officers from various career fields of F.E. Warren participated in an immersion tour of the 90th Operations Group Dec. 9. The tour included a pre-departure briefing in the operations building, a tour of the building and a visit to the Kilo-1 missile alert facility and launch control center.

"The general purpose of the tours is for CGOs on base to become familiar with the different missions of the base," said 2nd Lt. Rebecca Prill, 321st Missile Squadron. "This particular tour focuses on the mission of the operations group, particularly what occurs out in the field on a day to day basis. This includes the missileers, missile chefs, facility managers and our security forces support."

Through the various tours we host, the CGOs of F.E. Warren get an inside look at how individual groups and squadrons operate, said 1st Lt. Klinton Holscher, CGO council president.

"It is important for other CGOs to understand what the different roles are," Prill said. "During the tour, CGOs get the opportunity to network as well as learn and understand the mission of the base as a whole."

With the role of missileers being the main force of the mission on F.E. Warren, it is important for CGOs to understand what they do in order to help support them better, said Holscher.

"The role of the missileer is unique in that it is not a traditional job." Prill said. "It includes deploying to the field and being on alert in a launch control center underground for 24 hours.
This leads to a varying schedule, unlike most CGOs. Understanding that and understanding the role that missileers have in nuclear deterrence is important for CGOs at F.E. Warren to increase awareness of this wing's mission."

The operations group immersion tour is just one of the many immersion tours the CGOC puts on each year. The tours helps CGOs from other career fields understand the needs of the others.

"If we as CGOs have a better grasp of what our counterparts require, we will be able to provide better service, which can ultimately impact both tactical and strategic decisions for the Air Force," Holscher said.

The next immersion tour is currently being designed to tour the 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron in late January or early February.

Stampede visits MHAFB, teaches basketball clinic

by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/11/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- The Idaho Stampede provided a basketball clinic for more than 20 children here Dec. 4.

The Stampede is an American basketball team that plays in the National Basketball Association Development League based in the Boise, Idaho, area.

"The team is here to give back to military youth and teach them the fundamentals of basketball," said Erin Arel, 366th Force Support Squadron youth sports and fitness center director. "This event is providing a safe environment for Gunfighter youth to learn the sport.

The Stampede has developed a number of local-outreach programs, many revolving around area youth.

"Having the opportunity to come out to the base and teach these kids the fundamentals of the game I love is such a rewarding experience," said Antoine Hood, Stampede point guard. "Military families and especially children, sacrifice so much for our country. Their parents are constantly away because of deployments downrange and that takes a toll on the kids."

From basketball camps to book-reading sessions, the team has been active in helping both the athletic and academic pursuits of the local youth.

"These kids need our support; they need to know we care, so they understand their sacrifice isn't going unnoticed," said Hood. "Having the opportunity to take time out of our day and invest it in these amazing children is absolutely worth it."

The youth basketball clinic also played a part in MHAFB's Healthy Base Initiative, which is designed to promote and educate the importance of nutrition and exercise among service members and their families.

"This clinic is important because the Youth Center is part of the Healthy Base Initiative, so we want to make sure the youth have every opportunity possible to be healthy and fit," said Arel. "Base personnel are required to be fit to fight and by providing this clinic for the youth we are teaching them healthy choices about exercise and lifestyle."

Hood, who attended the United States Air Force Academy, agreed saying, "The Academy taught me so much about responsibility, discipline, dedication and commitment, and those values have become a part of who I am both on and off the court."

The players began the clinic with dribbling, passing and rebounding drills for a specific reason.

"Today we are going to run through some basic drills in an effort to develop the fundamentals of the game," said Hood. "The basic foundations are keys to success whether it's succeeding at basketball or life. That's really why we are here, to help these children build their foundations and ultimately succeed by becoming intelligent, responsible adults."

As a professional athlete, Hood understands how important being a role model is and takes time to give back to the community.

"Anytime we have an opportunity to give back to the community that supports us, we jump on it," said Hood. "Personally, I want to say thank you to the service members and their families. Every day you are doing amazing things and making a real difference. The Idaho Stampede are proud to be a part of taking care of Gunfighters."

TEC seeks building honoree nominations, extends deadline

by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

12/11/2013 - MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE -- The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center announced recently that it extended the submission deadline for nominations in naming its last undedicated building here on campus.

Col. Tim Cathcart, commander of the TEC, said the revised, February 1, 2014 deadline for nominee packages provides a last, additional window of opportunity to "submit individuals of prominence and those whose careers or actions were important and well known to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base."

A board will convene that will then recommend which nominee to send forward for consideration to higher headquarters.

"This is among our most enduring honors we bestow, and this building dedication is located where we educate and influence many Air Force future enlisted leaders," said Cathcart. "We want to consider all nominees worthy of this honor."

The brick, multi-story building was built in the early 90's in the midst of a phased, multi-million dollar construction project of what is today's modern TEC campus. Since that time, officials said all other campus buildings have been associated with strong supporters of the TEC, including its founding Commander, Col. Ed Morrisey and first Deputy Commandant, Chief Master Sgt. Paul H. Lankford, among other key people.

Nominations must be in accordance with AFI 36-3108, Memorialization Program and Ceremonies. For more info contact Chaplain, Lt. Col. Ira Campbell at DSN 266-3526, commercial 865-336-3526 or

Christmas tree lighting welcomes the holiday season

by Airman 1st Class Malissa Lott
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/6/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- The Gunfighter community attended a holiday parade and participated in the holiday tree lighting ceremony Dec. 5, 2013.

Santa Claus and base leadership gave candy to children throughout base housing and ended the parade with the ceremonial lighting of the base Christmas Tree.

"We as Airmen talk a lot about heritage and tradition; Christmas Tree lightings are very traditional and remind us of a season of joy, family, friendship and selflessness," said Chief Master Sgt. Alexander del Valle, 366th Fighter Wing command chief. "Not only does it touch those who view the tree as a faith-based belief, but even for those who simply use the Christmas tree as a symbol of holiday cheer that can pull us closer together and remind us about the goodness we can all share."

After visiting base housing, the parade concluded at Liberty Chapel and hot beverages were available for everyone. Santa Claus was also ready to take photos with the Gunfighter children and asked what they wanted for Christmas.

"We sang a couple of Christmas carols and read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke," said Capt. Lance Schrader, 366th FW chaplain. "Chaplain (Lt. Col. Patrick) Genseal gave a blessing to the base and Col. (Byron) Anderson gave his Christmas greeting."

This year, Anderson, 366th FW vice commander, flipped the switch to light the Christmas tree with the help of the base children.

"I look forward to seeing our Gunfighters and particularly our Gunfighter children, smiling and waving at the parade as the vehicles and Santa pass by," said del Valle. "It's those moments when it's not about you, me, or them; it's about everyone simply smiling and enjoying being happy without the burdens of the daily grind."

With Christmas right around the corner many are taking this opportunity to welcome the holiday of friendship.

"I am looking forward for a chance to bring the base community together," said Schrader. "The holidays are busy and this is a time, a tradition across America, to light Christmas trees. I am just excited to bring people to the chapel so that they know that we are there for them, that we love them, and that we want to be a blessing to the base community.

Jiu Jitsu instructor teaches reservists, families basics of self-defense

by Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo
403rd Wing Public Affairs

12/11/2013 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, according to the Rape Crisis Center.

Chief Master Sgt. Sheila Richard is one of those statistics. She was sexually assaulted when she was 19 years old.

"I knew the experience was going to make or break me, so I decided to do something about it and enrolled in a self-defense course," said Richard, a first sergeant with the 403rd Maintenance Squadron. The chief enrolled in Karate and over the course of three years earned her yellow belt.

"I was determined that this was never going to happen to me again and if ever attacked I was going to get away, and that person was going to get hurt in the process," she said. "What I learned in that self-defense course has stayed with me throughout my entire life. It gave me confidence, which has benefited me in my personal and professional life."

As a first sergeant, giving people the tools to cope and excel in life is part of Richard's job. So, she recruited self-defense and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor Ann E. Sanford to teach female Airmen and reservists' wives and their daughters the basics of self-defense during a two-hour training session at the Roberts Maintenance Facility Dec. 8.

"Self-defense starts way before things get physical," said Sanford, who teaches at a local Mixed Martial Arts club. "Prevention is the best self-defense, and your main weapon is awareness. Have a mindset for safety."

Sanford went on to explain to the more than 30 women in the audience that for a rape to occur there has to be a target, a predator, and an opportunity. Rapists choose women based on their vulnerability. They are looking for someone who is distracted and easy to isolate, she said.

"Be aware of your surroundings, and walk with confidence and a purpose, wherever you are going," she said. "Have those keys out and in your hand or that mace available."

If confronted, she advised women to use their voice.

"Don't be afraid to yell or scream," she said. "In many cases, the attacker will give up if you put up a fight."

As a two-time world title holder, Sanford knows a few things about fighting. The 110-pound, 5-foot, 5-inch instructor demonstrated several Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. Jiu Jitsu focuses on grappling and ground fighting. A smaller, weaker person can defend them self against a bigger, stronger opponent by taking the fight to the ground and then applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat their assailant. While it takes years to master the combat sport, Sanford showed 403rd Wing Airmen and family members some of the most effective defense moves to protect themselves and to escape.

Capt. Lisa Kostellic, 403rd Wing Mission Support Group executive officer, said she took the class because it was a great opportunity to further hone her self-defense skills and learn some new techniques to protect herself and her family.

"Having a toddler has made me extra distracted," she said. "Although I don't go out much with my daughter during the more vulnerable times, night for example, I realized that I could be over taken by someone who wants to hurt me a lot faster because it's a total game changer when my daughter is involved. What I found most beneficial about the class was how easy it can be for a person of small stature to get out of a dangerous situation if they have the knowledge and skills.

Although two hours wasn't enough time for Kostellic to master everything Sanford taught her that day, the captain said she plans to take Sanford's full class at the earliest opportunity.

At the end of the course, everyone sat around Sanford and she provided some statistics about sexual assault.

"In America, every two minutes a rape is reported," she said. "Seventy-three percent of those rapes are by someone the victim knew, and 57 percent of those rapes occurred on a date."

The top five places women get attacked are at college campuses, gas stations or convenience stores, ATM machines, parking lots and garages, with the number one location being a person's home, she said.

"Remember, you are worth defending," said Sanford. "Take realistic precautions against the risks, and be aware."

For Richard, the course was not only a refresher but a reminder of the importance of giving Airmen the knowledge and skills to protect themselves, she said.

"I often think of what I would have done if I had taken the self-defense course prior to being assaulted," said the chief. "It's important to me to protect Airmen and their families because as a first sergeant, the last thing I want to get is "that" call, and unfortunately, I have got "that" call. If a course like this is going to help an Airman or a family member it's all worth it."

The chief has plans to have Sanford return to teach the self-defense course again as well as getting an instructor for a men's self-defense class.