Thursday, July 31, 2014

PACAF supports Pitch Black 2014 in Australia

Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- U.S. Air Force, Royal Australia Air Force, New Zealand Defence Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, French Armed Forces in New Caledonia, Royal Thai Air Force, and United Arab Emirates Armed Forces will conduct Exercise Pitch Black 2014 at RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Base Tindal, Delamere Air Weapons Range and Bradshaw Field Training Area, Australia, Aug. 4 to 22, 2014.

The exercise is the latest iteration of a long standing, multilateral exercise designed to enhance each countries' air operations.

The exercise will focus on large-scale offensive counter air and offensive air support missions in large, multinational formations. A coordinated multilateral response to regional challenges is the best way to increase peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Pitch Black began in 1990 involving only Singapore and Australia, and over time grew in size and purpose. The United States last participated in Pitch Black in 2012. By participating in exercises with military forces from partner nations in the Asia-Pacific, the U.S. demonstrates its commitment to peace and stability in the region.

Demonstration showcases advantages of a joint base

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Mize
JBER Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHRDSON, Alaska -- "JBER" has become part of the common vernacular around Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the surrounding communities, but when you stop to think about what the letters of the acronym actually mean, the term takes on a much deeper significance.
Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson each boasted a rich history within the fabric of our military's past. When the two installations combined forces in 2010 to form one of the United States' first true joint bases, the accompanying capabilities composed a war-fighting and defense machine.

Those capabilities were on display July 26 and 27 at JBER's Arctic Thunder Open House 2014 during the joint forces demonstration portion of the event.

"The training displayed a show of capability and force that demonstrated to the public the multi-dynamic assets, capabilities and ability of both the Army's forces and Air Forces' forces to work collectively to accomplish a mission," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Lambeth, platoon sergeant of 3rd Platoon, Delaware Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry.

The demonstrations showcased many of the primary operators stationed at JBER, said Air Force Lt. Col. Shawn Anger, 3rd Operations Group deputy commander and mission director of the demonstrations. First, 50 paratroopers simulated a combat insertion wearing full combat gear by dropping out of a C-17 Globemaster III at 1,000 feet above the field. Once they landed, they established a fighting position, where they received support from an air assault unit that arrived via a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Together, these units suppressed and eventually captured their objective, a group of opposing forces. About this time, F-22 Raptors took off to protect the airfield from notional aircraft taking off from a hostile airfield nearby. They circled over the field to provide air superiority for the operation. To reinforce the ground forces, a C-17 landed and delivered two Humvees armed with .50-caliber machine guns. Lastly, the UH-60s returned with a sling-loaded M119 105-mm howitzer to provide even more suppressive fire. Once the area was secured, the F-22s were released from the area and the Soldiers crossed the airfield to interact with the crowd.

"These capabilities are provided from our nation's treasure, the taxes our spectators pay each and every day," Anger said. "We have a responsibility to be good stewards of these resources and demonstrate to the public that we have not squandered their hard-earned money and are deserving of their trust. Our nation's citizens have very high confidence in our military. This does not happen by luck, but through execution of professional demonstrations such as this one that give Americans the confidence that they are protected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

"It showcased many different capabilities that the Army and Air Force have in their arsenal," Lambeth said. "It provided the public with a glimpse of what our operations and training entail and should give them comfort and peace of mind knowing that rough men stand ready to visit violence on those that threaten our nation's security, way of life or interests."

Anger said JBER is uniquely qualified to perform demonstrations such as these because of the units assigned to the base. For the Army, the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment (paratroopers), the 1-501st Infantry (air assault element) and the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment (UH -60s) participated in the demonstrations. The 517th Airlift Squadron (C-17) and the 90th and 525th Fighter Squadrons (F-22s) represented the Air Force. These and many other units all call JBER home.

"As one of only a handful of joint bases worldwide, we [the Air Force and the Army] have the unique ability to train side-by-side on a daily basis, enhancing our ability to execute our missions together in very real combat situations such as in Iraq or Afghanistan," he said.
Lambeth said he agreed.

"The Army and Air Force routinely work with each other to accomplish similar missions," Lambeth said. "The fact that this is a joint base, and that the 4-25th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) is an airborne-capable unit, means that mutual cooperation is not only crucial and beneficial, but symbiotic as both forces work collectively to protect the Pacific region."

Anger also said that although these were only exercises, the capabilities displayed are very real.

"I think what is important to note is the demonstration our spectators will see is not performed by Hollywood actors," he said. "These are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers of average Americans who at some point in their life decided to do something very important. Although they may make it look easy at the open house, the training it takes to execute these types of missions and the deployment sacrifices these Soldiers and Airman have made since 9/11 are absolutely remarkable. We are extremely fortunate to live in a community where our countrymen understand this and support our mission the way they do. Thank you, Alaska for all your support."

CNO: Chaplains and RPs integral to fleet readiness

By CNO Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS)- (NNS) -- WASHINGTON (NNS)-Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert joined nearly 100 senior chaplains and Religious Program Specialists (RP) gathered for the Chaplain Corps 2014 Strategic Leadership Symposium at the Washington Navy Yard Thursday.

CNO, along with Assistant Secretary of the Navy (M&RA) Juan Garcia and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy were among several keynote speakers scheduled for this year's symposium.

"I have a deep respect for what you all do," said Greenert. "What you bring in spiritual readiness is real and desperately needed."

Greenert first provided an update on what the Navy is doing around the world. He highlighted the maritime crossroads and the Navy's current mandate of presence and seapower. The Navy's focus is on being forward deployed to be where it matters when it matters Greenert said. Adding that, Sailors are what make our mission possible.
"After 13 years of combat deployments for our people, we can now take the time to build their resiliency," said Greenert. "The Chaplain Corps plays an important role in the professional, physical and spiritual readiness of our force."

Many of the detracting issues the Navy faces are problems both Chaplains and RP's face daily, to include Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Suicide and Operational stress control. Chaplains and RP's are one strong tool our commanding officers possess to promote positive and healthy behaviors among their crews.

"I depend on you to advise commanders on command climate," said Greenert. "It's one of those entities that remain hard to define but if you don't get it right you'll have big problems.

In addition to the traditional functions of the Chaplain Corps within the Navy assisting with readiness, they have stepped up to assist in more recent challenges.

Greenert cited their immediate actions in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting last September where 30 religious ministry teams came to the aid of those affected by the tragedy. The Chaplain Corps were also thoughtful and organized during the rollout of the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal.

No matter the challenge, Chaplains and spirituality are, "what we need to get us through, something to hold onto when things are hard, someone they can turn to with confidence with no agenda," said Greenert.

"Thank you all for answering the call to serve," said Greenert. "The Navy has valued the Chaplain Corps contributions since 1775, and will continue to do so."

Greenert on Friday will attend the Chief of Chaplain's Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony of Rear Adm. Mark Tidd at the Navy Yard.

The new command chief at JBER: Find out what his priorities are

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera
JBER Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Growing up in the small town of Rodman, N.Y., with a population of 739, the 26-year Air Force veteran wanted to travel and see the world after high school.

While in high school, an Air Force recruiter spoke to the students and caught the attention of one senior-year student, Garry Berry. Intrigued by what the recruiter said, he later went to visit the recruiter's office to get more information.

"The travel and education opportunities appealed to me," Command Chief Master Sgt. Garry Berry, 673d Air Base Wing command chief said. "The Air Force interested me more, since we have numerous specialties that translate well to civilian-sector jobs."

Fast-forward 25 years later, Chief Master Sgt. Garry Berry became the 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, before assuming enlisted leadership from 673d Air Base Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Call. Berry's role is to serve as a principal advisor to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and 673d ABW installation commander on all Air Force enlisted matters, and provide leadership and mentorship to more than 3,200 Airmen in the wing as well as to enlisted Arctic Warriors across the JBER community.

"I had been to Elmendorf Air Force Base in the early 1990s supporting the Silver Flag exercise, spending a week here doing war-skills training for the civil engineers." Berry said. "This was my closest experience here prior to my permanent change of station."
Coming from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, this is Berry's first joint base as a command chief.

"Laughlin is really traditional - one wing, one mission - with no mission partner on the base, so it is very easy to focus on our single mission," Berry said. "Here [JBER], with the 3rd Wing, 673d Wing, U.S. Army Alaska, Alaskan Command, and all their mission partners, there are a lot of missions here."

Transitioning from one wing to a joint base, the father of three children said the vastness and broadness of the entire mission and all the services requires Airmen and Soldiers to communicate with each other efficiently and effectively meet personnel's requirements and needs.

The 673d Wing provides civil engineering; communications; contracting; supply; transportation; logistics; medical services; personnel; security; housing/lodging; and morale, welfare, and recreation services for more than 43,500 active duty, Reserve, National Guard, retirees, civilians and family members while supporting ALCOM; Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command region; 11th AF; USARAK; 3rd Wing; 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division; 2nd Engineer Brigade; 176th Wing; 477th Fighter Group; and other tenant units residing on the joint base installation.
As the new command chief, he said his priorities to JBER's service members are pretty straightforward.

Championing dignity and respect for our service members.

Making sure we are taking care of each other as a big family.

Develop professional, disciplined and bold leaders.

Berry elaborated on each priority.

"I am a person that wants to treat others the way I wanted to be treated," the husband of 20 years said. "Part of being a professional, whether you are an Airman, Coast Guardsman, Marine, Sailor or Soldier, is treating others with respect; respecting their time and respecting their input.

"There is zero tolerance for sexual assault and harassment; it is incompatible with our core values. We have the wingman and battle buddy concept for our service members to watch out for each other."

He also added service members should stay engaged, stay fit, and get outdoors. "Making sure all of their pillars of wellness [spiritual, emotional, physical, social and family] are strong, they will be fine."

Finally, the last priority [develop professional, disciplined and bold leaders] was from his previous base, and he said brought it here with him.

"We are all professional and part of that is being highly disciplined. While doing that, we have the ability to develop bold leaders - it means we're able to have confidence and skills to make decisions in absence and guidance of leadership, empower our Airmen and Soldiers to make decisions that are within their purview."

"We got a great team out here, and I want to meet as many as I can," Berry said.

Strategic agility is the future of the Air Force

by Staff Sgt. Torri
Ingalsbe, Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating Location - P

7/31/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- As the Air Force prepares for new challenges and opportunities of the coming decades, it faces sobering 21st-century realities: global centers of power have become more distributed and the terrorism threat more dispersed. Most importantly, the emerging environment is demonstrating a trend that could prove to be the defining one of current times: the accelerating pace of change.

Thus, the Air Force's ability to continue to adapt and respond faster than the potential adversaries is the greatest challenge it faces during the next 30 years.

To meet the challenge, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III have developed a strategic framework that will guide Air Force planning and resourcing over the next several decades. The framework has three main elements: a long-term future look that provides the vectors and imperatives necessary to guide planning activities, a 20-year resource-informed plan, and a 10-year balanced budget, based on fiscal projections.

The first document of the trilogy, "America's Air Force: A Call to the Future," is the cornerstone guidance for a unified path to the future. The document emphasizes the need for strategy-driven resource decisions. But more important is the courage to make bold change, because Airmen must think and do things differently to thrive in the 21st century.

In an era defined by rapid change, the institution that can keep pace in its processes, thinking, and actions will be the one best poised for success in deterring conflict, and winning should a fight be required. This is what "A Call to the Future" refers to as strategic agility.

Agility combines the attributes of flexibility and adaptability to leverage speed. The rate at which the Air Force develops capabilities needs to increase to match the pace of change and the opportunities to incorporate new technologies and improve existing systems.

James explained further that, "In addition to strategic agility, our nation demands an Air Force capable of harnessing diverse ideas and perspectives. Diversity, total force integration, and building internal and external partnerships provide the nation with the Air Force it expects, deserves, and needs."

The most important responsibility of a military service is to provide decision makers with viable solutions for the challenges of tomorrow and, true to Air Force heritage, it will meet that challenge. The Air Force will continue to deliver enduring, responsive airpower for national security through both the strength of Airmen and the responsive and effective application of global vigilance, global reach, and global power for America.

As Welsh stated earlier in 2014, "The five core missions of the Air Force are not going to change. These missions are what the combatant commanders and the nation expect us to provide, but the way we think about how they are provided has to change. The Air Force must have the strategic agility required to successfully respond to the complex challenges that will confront our nation."

Theater Battle Control Division Industry Day highlights new contract approach, MCS first delivery order

by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

7/24/2014 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Theater Battle Control Division hosted an Industry Day event at Hanscom July 8-10 where officials discussed a unique contract approach and fostered collaboration with the small business community.

The first topic centered on the Platform Engineering and Integration for Tactical and Strategic Systems, also known as PEITSS -- a multi-award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract designed to integrate and field cross-cutting battle management capabilities in programs across the directorate.

"What this means is that a network of multi-award ID/IQs will be established, creating an arena where programs can use the contracts to quickly put in place a team -- including small and large businesses -- that can effectively accomplish goals together," said Col. Scott Owens, Theater Battle Control Division senior materiel leader.

With a high emphasis on small business participation, more than 180 people from over 75 companies attended the event, allowing for open feedback on the PEITSS initiative.

"Attendees left with a clear picture of how we plan to do business," said Don MacMillan, PEITSS program manager. "This type of contract approach will be our procurement vehicle to rapidly deploy capability to the warfighter."

Another topic of conversation included the group's first delivery order of the Mobile Communication Systems, or MCS.

MCS is the next generation of on-the-move voice and data technology, which will be integrated onto mobile tactical vehicles. The system will allow joint terminal attack controllers to control close-air support aircraft from the safety of an armored vehicle while coordinating and conducting joint CAS missions when on-the-move in support of Army ground force maneuver operations.

The new system will include state-of-the-art, off-the-shelf commercial components such as multi-channel/multi-band radios, a full motion video receiver, a computer and display -- all of which will be integrated on the M1145 Humvee.

That Humvee, which is the TACP specific variant, was on display during the event. Currently, these vehicles house the GRC-206 communication system; however, as part of the first delivery order, MCS will be replacing the legacy system.

Not only were industry attendees able to view, take pictures and measure the model, but they also had the opportunity to speak with an in-house TACP member about critical egress requirements and specific TACP tactics, techniques and procedures.

"We're relying on industry's innovativeness and ingenuity to meet our capability gaps and requirements so that we can execute our mission more effectively than ever before," said Master Sgt. Jeff Kennedy, TACP-M program superintendent.

As the Industry Day event concluded, it left attendees and program officials with a clear vision of what's to come.

"We're extremely pleased at the level of dialogue and feedback this week," said Robert Bubello, Battlespace Communications Branch chief and TACP-M program manager. "My team did a tremendous amount of work leading up to this point, and we are excited for the final request for proposal to be released in the near future. The expertise and capabilities these companies bring to the fight are truly going to be a game changer for our TACP Airmen."

Crossroads: Legend of the white eagle

by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - POWIDZ AIR BASE, POLAND -- There once was a tale of three brothers, Lech, Čech and Rus, who all lived in a small village. As time passed, their families grew to such a size that the town could no longer support them; so they set out in different directions to find a new home.

Rus went to the east, while Čech travelled west. Lech; however, ventured north to see what fertile lands waited for him.

One day, while hunting, Lech came upon a magnificent, but fierce, white eagle protecting its nest from intruders. Surprisingly, the eagle flew off - its white feathers reflecting the deep red of the setting sun. He took this sighting as a good omen and founded the settlement of Gniezno, "the eagle's nest."

Today, nearly a thousand years later the skies above Poland are alive with another magnificent beast. Twenty miles from where Lech founded the former capital of Poland, two C-130J Super Hercules' from the 37th Airlift Squadron out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany broke through the clouds above Powidz Air Base - their matted gray frames glistening white in the afternoon sun, July 28.

"We represent America's forward presence, postured alongside our proven indispensible European partners," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bill Tice, detachment commander at Powidz. "Together, we are ensuring our security, protecting our global interests and bolstering economic bonds."

The ties that bind Poland and the United States together run deep. During the American Revolution, Count Kazimierz Pułaski, a Polish nobleman, fought alongside the Colonists - distinguishing himself during battle and even saving the life of George Washington. Due in no small part to his incredible military prowess, Pulaski is remembered as "the father of the American cavalry."

Continuing the long-standing tradition of shared commitment and close cooperation, Airmen are diligently working with the Polish Air Force throughout this flying-training deployment to maintain joint readiness and build interoperability capabilities.

"The Polish are modernizing their air force and we are here to assist as we can," said Maj. Micah Chollar, 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1 director of operations. "The border between the east and west has moved and Poland is the new edge. We are working together to develop Poland into a stronger ally and NATO partner. By strengthening them, we strengthen ourselves."

From a bird's eye view, the unique terrain of Poland offers Airmen an opportunity to proficiently develop airdrop training and paratrooper skills, while simultaneously training pilots to safely touch down on unimproved landing zones.

"This has been an amazing opportunity for our Airmen," said Tice. "The benefit of training with other nations far outweighs the benefits of training independently. We stand to learn so much from the people of Poland, as well as offer our own unique insights."

Quite fittingly, after Lech and his family founded Gniezno, they came to be known as Polonians, which means, "people of the field," a people who have welcomed the American presence in their country with open arms.

"The people are incredibly friendly," said Chollar. "We share common values and, in some aspects, a common history. I think they can relate to us better from our physical presence here and commitment to this mission."

As Airmen of the 37th AS continue to build partnerships with the people of Poland, and hone their skills through intense training, they also represent something more.

"Through strengthened relationships and engagements with our Allies, the United States and NATO demonstrate a shared commitment to a peaceful, stable and secure Europe," said Tice.

STANTA provides defenders with force-on-force training

by Airman 1st Class Trevor T. McBride
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - Norfolk, England --  More than 180 defenders assigned to the 48th Security Forces Squadron participated in annual force-on-force training at Stanford Training Area July 29.

"The purpose of the training is to provide an opportunity for Airmen to take their culmination of training over the last year and implement it to the most unpredictable real-world environment we can provide," said Tech. Sgt. Erik Ellingson, 48th SFS training section chief.

STANTA is a military training area for Airmen to train in a field environment. While at STANTA, defenders practiced a variety of scenarios that they may face on the job.

"Giving Airmen the next level of training is invaluable," Ellingson said. "It gives them the opportunity to hone their skills for the real deal."

The training was divided in different stations that consisted of baton defense training, high risk traffic stops, and a series of scenarios that include hostile gate-runners, active-shooters, domestic violence situations and high value targets.

"Security forces are the jack-of-all-trades in the military," Ellingson said. "That means we are not limited to just one mission. We cover a wide range of missions on a daily basis while at the gates, on patrol or deployed."

According to Tech. Sgt. Ian Campbell, 48th SFS NCO in charge of Defender University, these scenarios can make a difference in the day-to-day capabilities of Liberty Airmen.

"This is one of the best trainings we've had here," said Senior Airman Timothy Knotts, 48th SFS response force leader.

"It brought us together and we were able to enjoy a fun day," Knotts added.
Airman 1st Class Miguel Maldonado, 48th SFS response force member, says the experience, especially as a new Airman, was beneficial.

"Our hearts are pounding, we are moving around, and we receive realistic practice for scenarios we could encounter on a day-to-day basis," Maldonado said.

Lots of preparation took place behind the scenes in order to ensure the training was both effective and a huge hit with the defenders.

"We had to coordinate with ammunitions, vehicle operations, dispatch, armory, and arrange two flights from our squadron to participate on their day off," Campbell said.

The 48th SFS Airmen are already planning on how to improve the next force-on-force training.

"We plan to do more in-house training on specific squad tactics and movements throughout the year," said Campbell. "I'm proud of our Airmen's effort today, and we hope to be able to do this more often."

727th officer gives inside look into world of ATOC

by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Being in charge of the command and control center in the 727th Air Mobility Squadron keeps U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Evan Hanson passionate about his Air Force career.

Hanson, 727th AMS Air Terminal Operations Center duty officer, commissioned in May 2013, and he entered active duty service November 2013.

His team coordinates all outside requests for agency support and information, distributes them to the sections and then conveys all the information to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to get the mission completed. His role involves a great deal of overseeing, management and scheduling.

"As a squadron, we have several mission-critical functions. Many military members may be aware that we run the space-available program, which allows them to travel for free or at reduced prices onboard military aircraft," Hanson said. "However, our passenger terminal not only supports these passengers, but also those travelling on orders for exercises or deployments."

The 727th AMS's role is varied and the lieutenant's duties encompass many areas.

"We also have the air freight flight that supports the cargo requirements of aircraft arriving at, and departing from, RAF Mildenhall. The special handling section works with classified cargo and items with more stringent requirements," the Hotchkiss, Colorado, native explained.

Deployments can be particularly stressful and often a worrying time for many Airmen. In the ATOC, Hanson and his team work with the other flights in the squadron to facilitate aircraft deploying and redeploying.

"We also support international aircraft and their passengers that come to Mildenhall," the officer said.

They have an important role in deployments moving equipment downrange not only from units on RAF Mildenhall, but also all U.S. and NATO forces in Britain.

Hanson is proud of those who have a vital role in getting the mission done, but who are sometimes overlooked.

"We work closely with our fleet services section which is under contract. These individuals accomplish necessary tasks like cleaning the bathrooms on the planes and loading baggage onto aircraft," he said. "All of our sections play a crucial role in support of the Air Force mission."

The officer enjoys working with many different people and thrives on the ever-changing world in which he works.

"I love the fact that my job is different just about every day. At the beginning of June, we supported the 82nd Airborne Division, who was in Europe for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and international exercises," Hanson said. "Their C-130 Hercules, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were posted here throughout most of their stay. This was a unique opportunity to work alongside Army personnel. One day I might be conducting an inventory on an inbound aircraft with the ramp controller, the next day I might be writing a schedule for the 82nd AD when they are (headed) home."

In this role, he works with many other units on base. ATOC works alongside the installation deployment readiness center, a function of the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron. He also works with the 48th Fighter Wing to support exercises or real-world events.

"If they needed us to move cargo, we are the only Air Mobility Command presence in the U.K. and are ready to assist. Most of their cargo processes through us so that we can accomplish the necessary inspections and upload it onto the aircraft," Hanson explained.

Hanson has made the most of his time stationed on RAF Mildenhall.

"Although this is my first assignment and I really haven't been in the military very long, it seems that my adventure in the Air Force is constantly changing. I like that; I'm always learning," he said.

He has advice for others who are thinking of joining the Air Force and are perhaps undecided.

"When I was in Reserve Officer Training Corps before I commissioned, if you had asked me what type of jobs a logistics officer does, I might have said he or she would be in charge of a vehicle maintenance shop where there are a lot of American military. I had no idea I was going to work so closely with the Ministry of Defence personnel. But here I am, working in a squadron comprised of more British MoD than American Airmen. It's a great experience and I've learned an incredible amount from it," Hanson said.

He enjoys being stationed here, but has plans for his future career.

"I'm interested in the regional affairs strategist program that we have in the Air Force. They send officers on alternating assignments. For example, as an RAS officer, I might work in an embassy for an assignment and then come back and take a job in the logistics career field. Increasingly there are more and more opportunities for logistics officers to go work alongside different militaries. To teach them, train them and also build those international relationships that are so important. I think it would be great to be a part of that," he said.

McDonald’s of Hampton Roads Celebrates U.S. Coast Guard’s 224th Birthday

Family Friendly Military Birthday Party and Exclusive Offer for All Service Members

Hampton Roads, VA – July 31, 2014 - Monday, August 4, 2014 McDonald’s of Hampton Roads will celebrate the 224th birthday of the United States Coast Guard with an exclusive offer for all military service members along with a Military Birthday Party that is open to the public. Join McDonald’s of Hampton Roads as we celebrate, and support, our troops.

The Military Birthday Party will take place at the McDonald’s located at 3212 Western Branch Blvd in Chesapeake from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. The event will feature music from 106.9 The Fox, dessert, coupons and giveaways for all ages.

Throughout the day, active duty and retired service members with a valid Department of Defense military identification card can redeem an offer for a Free Medium Soft Drink and Free Medium French Fries with the purchase of any Large Sandwich or Premium McWrap. A military identification card must be presented at time of purchase unless in service uniform.

Please contact Noelle Motley at (757) 243-7899 or to arrange an interview with Mike Custer, president of the Tidewater McDonald’s® Association, Inc., regarding the fundraiser event.

Security Forces members use iPads on duty

by Senior Airman Tristin English
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

7/30/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Thin and lightweight makes it easy to carry around in a backpack or a large purse. Its users can pull it out just about anywhere to use to it for Skype, to play games, Facebook or watch random cat videos on the internet. Those are just some of the things the iPad is used for. More recently at Scott Air Force Base iPads are being used by the 375th Security Force Squadron.

"The forms of communication we were using were outdated," said Tech. Sgt. Stacy Trucott, 375th SFS integrated project team lead. "We used to use a grease pen and map to share information to first responders in the field. The new technology allows the members in the Base Defense Operations Center to plot on a digital map and instantaneously send it to the on-duty flight chief and incident commander."

The Air Force Security Forces Center implemented and trained the 375th SFS on how to use iPads in parked vehicles and updated map capabilities on AtHoc.

Staff Sgt. Kolin Jones, 375th SFS operations support, said "The goal of using iPads is to streamline the emergency management process. It helps when everyone is on the same page--the fire department, security forces, medical and other emergency management workers. It also gives you a real-time sense of where all responders need to be."

The 375th SFS tested the use of iPads during an exercise July 24. According to Trucott, since the iPad testing at Scott was successful, the Air Force Office of Technology plans to observe and collect data from responders who used the iPads. The information compiled will contribute to an Air Force headquarters overall decision about SF members using iPads in the future.

"Change is a thing we are challenged with all the time," said Trucott. "So to introduce this new technology to SF members who are used to doing it the old fashion way is a challenge. The trick is to not jump right in, but to slowly make a transition into the new technology."

The Air Force is constantly evolving and looking for ways to improve operations. The 375th SFS is using technology to expand their capabilities and perform more efficiently. Scott was the first base to use and test iPads for security forces.

"Scott AFB is leading the way at changing the way the emergency community does response Air Force-wide," said Trucott. "We are making a big impact on the Air Force as a whole."

AMC Commander visits JBLM

by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Gen. Darren McDew, Air Mobility Command commander, and his wife, Evelyn, along with Chief Master Sgt. Victoria Gamble, AMC command chief, visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord July 23 through July 25.

This was the first time Gen. and Mrs. McDew visited JBLM since he took command of AMC May 5, 2014.

Different from past visits, the McDew's got a chance to see the joint base and not just McChord Field. "It is even more valuable for me to understand the connections with the U.S. Army here as well," said McDew.

Part of that extended joint base tour included a stop at the Lewis Main Stone Education Center where they were provided an overview of how the JBLM transition service pilot programs have exceeded the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act expectations in creating numerous apprenticeship programs to provide guaranteed post-service employment opportunities to transitioning service members.

"We run the premier transition assistance program in all of DoD," said Col. Tony Davit, JBLM deputy installation commander and 627th Air Base Group commander. "I wanted to show him how these pilot programs here at JBLM have exceeded the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act expectations."

Throughout his tour, Gen. McDew stopped to recognize some of the many outstanding performers of Team McChord.

"Airmen are who impress me the most when I conduct these tours," said McDew. "Every single Airman that your leadership put on my itinerary, every single Airman that I got a chance to engage with, either randomly or at the all-call, was very impressive.

"It goes to further cement the fact that we still have the best and brightest America has to offer in our United States Air Force."

A stop at any base is not complete unless it includes a visit with the civic leaders and community partners.

For this particular visit, the McDews enjoyed an informal evening event in which they had opportunity to interact with base and community leaders, an event which provided them insight into the strong relationship between JBLM and the surrounding communities.

"It's always good to come back to the Pacific Northwest," said McDew. "I feel as though I am coming home, there's just a familiar feel not only to the base but the community, a community that provides a rewarding experience to not only to me, but Evelyn too."

On his final day at JBLM, Gen. McDew hosted an all-call with the men and women of Team McChord.

He thanked everyone for what they do, and spoke about how Airmen need to be bold and courageous to make changes in today's Air Force. He encouraged innovation, spoke about continually fostering a culture of dignity and respect, and finally discussed future challenges we will face in the years ahead.

Speaking exclusively about transitioning out the service, the general spoke about some common advice he passes on to Airmen.

"I always have the same message to every Airman at the beginning, middle and end of their career," said McDew. "Find a way to become the best at your job that you can, continue to find a way to improve yourself so you are more valued added to your organization, and ultimately find a way that you can make better the people around you.

"If you do those, you are ready to make the transition when you and your family decide its right for you."

On a final note the general passed on how impressed he was with the leadership here at JBLM -- from the culture of dignity and respect, to the innovative culture they enable, to the level of interest JBLM leaders show in the welfare of their service members and their families.

"It is an impressive environment and I just hope the Airmen who are here on their first assignment understand how truly blessed they are to have the leadership they have here today."

Airfield systems: Bridging the gap between nerds, jocks

by Senior Airman Nathan Maysonet
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

7/29/2014 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas  -- Here at Laughlin, pilot training is king and hundreds of students each year earn their wings. Every Airman on base plays a vital role in this mission of producing pilots.

One team critical to keeping pilots safely in the air, is Laughlin's Airfield Systems. Its Airmen work day and night, with little fanfare, to ensure much needed airfield communications equipment and systems remain operational.

"We don't introduce ourselves as (communications) because of how unique our job is compared to other communications Airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Cassandra Denton, 47th Communications Squadron lead technician. "We bridge the gap between the nerds and jocks, those behind the computers and those in the field."

To appreciate the role airfield systems plays in flight line operations one must look to history. When the Army's Signal Corp pilots first took flight in the Wright brothers' designed Signal Corps No. 1 the process to launch and land an airplane was difficult. Only a handful could be launched at a time, and tracking was done with binoculars and communications were nonexistent.

As technologies improved and advanced radios, weather forecasting equipment, tactical air navigation systems and more came to pass; the ease of launching aircraft and maintaining a heavily populated airspace became a reality.

"Our equipment enables us to contact planes in the air, contact Air Education and Training Command and any number of other areas on base and beyond," said Airman 1st Class Bradley Ramsey, 47th CS airfield systems technician. "It lets pilots see the unseen and gives them an angle of descent as they approach for landing. Our equipment acts like lighthouses of old showing pilots that Laughlin is here and guides them in."

To maintain this array of technology, including more than 180 different types of radios, two instrument landing systems, one navigation system and two full weather systems, the team must climb crawl and repel across base diagnosing problems rarely covered in the books.

"We're like squirrels climbing all over base and going back and forth on roofs and towers trying to fix an outage or other problem day or night," said Denton. "I enjoy the randomness though, as soon as you make plans something odd happens with the equipment and there is always a new challenge."

According to the team, it's this randomness that makes the career field so unique and challenging.

"Sometimes things are smooth and problems simple to diagnose while other times something breaks and it all goes out the window," said Staff Sgt. Tanner Spani, 47th CS airfield systems technician. "Rain or shine, a lot of things can break or go wrong that are outside of our training. It's challenging but rewarding to understand, learn and to teach what you discovered."

"I've been here the longest and I still find something new with component maintenance," said Denton. "I've seen something the others haven't so we teach and train on it."

Regardless of the challenges, the team strives to live and work by a basic principle that applies equally to electronic maintenance as it does every serving Airmen, keep it simple. No matter how difficult, odd or unique a situation the simplest solution is often the right one.

"We especially, tend to over-think things when we are in inspection mode," said Spani. "We want to follow a routine and look at a technical order but how about just taking a step back and looking at the situation because sometimes the problems just a loose plug."

So the next time you see a tower by the flight line, check the local weather or make a call on your radio just remember that airfield systems keeps it up and running.

"We're a lot like a house," said Spani. "Laughlin is the foundation, the planes the brick and the equipment we maintain is the mortar that keeps the mission together."

Basic Military Training opens new rececption center; honors past, looks to future

by Mike Joseph
JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

7/31/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The 37th Training Wing and Air Force Basic Military Training recognized its past and unveiled a gateway to the future in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Recruit/Family In-processing and Information Center July 30 here.

The new $22 million facility honors the 10th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Gary Pfingston, who died of cancer in 2007. His widow, Marsha, and their two adult sons, Mark and Brad, cut the ribbon to the Pfingston Center before unveiling an interior exhibit about the late CMSAF.

Marsha Pfingston spoke briefly for the family during the ceremony.

"How humbling, how proud we are," she said, fighting back her emotions. "He loved his Air Force and our family is very proud of him."

"It is an honor to name it after Chief Pfingston because he really represented Airmanship," said Col. Trent Edwards, 37th TRW commander. "His ties to Lackland as a Military Training Instructor, commandant of the MTI School and then to become the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, that's history - that's legacy."

Construction on the 70,306 square-foot facility began in September 2012 and was completed in March. It is located due east of the 737th Training Group headquarters building on Truemper Street and adjacent to the Airman Training Complex east campus. The first Airman's run and retreat and coin ceremonies were held there July 31.

According to the 737th TRG, the center consolidates personnel processing activities previously performed in separate JBSA-Lackland facilities into one location. The facility will receive the newest Air Force recruits for in-processing and also be used by trainees for initial equipment issue, records initiation, Common Access card issue, security clearances initiation, out-processing and dispersing up to 1,000 graduates each week to technical schools throughout the nation.

In addition to reducing costs, manpower, transit times and consolidating personnel, the facility is a centralized location to provide information to more than 300,000 visitors annually who attend the weekly Thursday retreat and coin ceremonies and Friday BMT graduations.

"The Airmen that join the world's greatest Air Force deserve this world-class facility," said Edwards. "That's what this is and what Chief Pfingston represented."

Eric Benken, 12th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, also in attendence, said Pfingston would be very proud that his legacy will live on in the center.

"Gary would often remind us that Lackland truly is the Gateway to the Air Force," said Benken, the ceremony's guest speaker. "This is where we hone young Americans into trainees and Airmen, and start them on the path to success for a life of service to their country."

Pfingston graduated BMT in 1962 and returned in 1973 to become an MTI. After two years as an instructor, he served as military training division chief from 1975-79 and then moved to the MTI School as commandant for two years.

In 1984, he became a division senior enlisted adviser (the equivalent of command chief master sergeant) and went to serve in that capacity for the 12th Air Force and Pacific Air Forces Headquarters. Pfingston was selected the Air Force's top enlisted leader in 1990 and retired in 1994.

"This is where it all starts when young men and women take the first steps on an Air Force journey," Benken said. "Gary loved and embraced the MTI Corps. While he's sitting there getting ready to tee off for a round of heaven golf, know he's looking down with great pride."

SOCOM Commander Praises Military Support Groups

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 – The commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command has credited groups providing support to military families for the success of thousands of young adults who go on to choose a military career, people he characterized as this century’s “Greatest Generation.”

“If they signed up because they loved what their parents did … or loved how well they were treated as military children, then you have done your job,” Navy Adm. William H. McRaven told a seminar conducted by the Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, a non-profit group seeking to provide a quality education for military children.

“They wanted to be part of something greater than themselves, they wanted to have military brothers and sisters that have similar values, they wanted to be respectful and they wanted to be respected for their hard work, their initiative and their commitment.”

“Without some of the programs provided by MCEC and the network of parents, teachers and counselors, I’m not sure my [own] kids would’ve been as successful as they are,” McRaven said, noting that being a military child in today’s environment is likely more difficult than ever.

“Consequently, programs like parent-to-parent and student-to-student are essential if we are to continue to build strong, resilient children who are proud of their military roots.”

And while McRaven said he wants to ensure military children are getting the support they need, a thin line separates that from a culture of entitlement.

“This is a difficult balance,” McRaven said. “We don’t want to develop kids who are dependent – we want to raise strong children … who take great pride in their military heritage upbringing.”

McRaven emphasized the “new normal” in the recent years that have seen increased deployments and the associated problems for military families.

“Nothing is more frustrating, more worrisome, more nerve-wracking for spouses and children than not knowing where [the children’s] mother and father are going to be next week, next month or next year,” he said.

McRaven described MCEC as a “phenomenal network’ of educators, counselors, parents, uniformed service members, advocates, and civilian organizations, all of which he said play a critical role in filling the void faced by many families.

“You have the experience and the global reach to help our military children as they struggle with the challenge of the day and they strive to be great young adults. You have instilled in our children a sense of belonging.”