Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In uniform or not, teal ribbon meant for all Airmen

by Senior Airman Alexis Siekert
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/14/2014 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE--Germany -- Wearing a teal ribbon may not be compliant with AFI 36-2903--but the spirit behind it is intended for every Airman both in and out of uniform.

To raise awareness among Saber Airmen, the sexual assault response coordinator office incorporated a teal ribbon as part of their marketing campaigns.

Since 2001, the ribbon has been nationally recognized as the symbol for sexual assault awareness. Similar to a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon, SARC's end goal in using the teal one is to build a correlation between the color and sexual assault awareness, said 2nd Lt. Kait Smith, 52nd Fighter Wing deputy SARC.

"Here at Spangdahlem, we use the teal ribbon and logos on all of our promotional items from stress balls to important emergency contact numbers for a quick reference," said 2nd Lt. Katrina Smith, 52nd SARC. "During our briefings and classes, we like to hand out these goodies to increase the awareness of sexual assault."

Future messages sexual assault awareness and prevention will be conveyed with products all capped together with a teal ribbon.

Everyone should work to stop sexual assault, Smith said.

"Sexual assault has no place in our Air Force," said General Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief Of Staff. "We live in a culture of respect. We cherish our core values of integrity, service, and excellence. But in order to ensure all Airmen experience and benefit from those values, we must eliminate sexual assault in our ranks."

For more information or to talk to your local sexual assault response coordinator, call 452-6524.


Hagel Discusses Variety of Issues With Italy’s Defense Minister

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2014 – Afghanistan, Syria, Mediterranean security and cooperative efforts such as the joint strike fighter program highlighted a meeting at the Pentagon yesterday between Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Italian Defense Minister of Defense Mario Mauro, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Kirby noted that Italy is a key NATO ally and an important leader in addressing global challenges in Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Balkans and North Africa.

"Secretary Hagel praised Italy's contributions to capacity building in emerging democracies in the Middle East and North Africa,” the admiral said. Italy recently began providing security training to Libyan general purpose forces, and will help to stabilize Afghanistan as a framework nation in Afghanistan's western region after the current NATO mission concludes at the end of the year, he added.

Hagel also lauded Italy's role in the international community's mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, Kirby said. Italy has offered to provide a port to transfer the materials from Danish and Norwegian vessels to the Cape Ray, a U.S. ship that has been specially configured to neutralize the chemical weapons materials at sea.

"Secretary Hagel is thankful for the hospitality Italy provides to the approximately 33,000 U.S. service members, civilians and families who live and work there,” the press secretary said, and looks forward to seeing Mauro in September at NATO’s summit in Wales.

Sibling rivalry part of Commander in Chief Excellence Award Competition

By Senior Airman Madelyn Brown
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

1/13/2014 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award assessment team toured Travis Monday and Tuesday for an extensive look at the Golden Bears' innovation in enhancing base-level services, facilities and quality of life.

"Our vision was two-fold," said Lt. Col. Jacqueline Breeden, 22nd Airlift Squadron commander and Travis lead for the CINC tour. "First, to show how integrated and effective our partnerships are across all three wings. Secondly, that Travis is innovative and efficient doing what we do across the base all the time."

According to AFI26-2831, the purpose of CINC IEA is, "to recognize the outstanding efforts of the people who operate and maintain Department of Defense installations and who have done the best with their resources to support the mission. The award encourages commanders to create an environment that promotes innovative and creative ways of enhancing base-level services, facilities, and quality-of-life."

Golden Bears from across the base harnessed the opportunity to showcase their unique innovations and processes.

"The Travis Team did what we do best," Breeden said. "We came together to get the job done with little notice and limited time to prepare. More importantly, everyone was motivated, focused and committed to the effort and I couldn't be more pleased with how well we executed our vision for the visit."

Travis will compete against Altus Air Force Base, Okla., for the title of most excellent installation and the $1 million prize.

For Lt. Col. Daniel Guinan, 60th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, the competition between Travis and Altus hits closer to home. CINC IEA 2014 has turned into a brotherly-competition against his older sibling, Rich Guinan, who serves as the Altus historian.

In December, Rich Guinan discovered Altus was in consideration for the award.

"When I heard our competition was Travis I knew my brother would put up a good fight," Rich Guinan said. "We were both raised with a competitive streak."

For the Guinan family, the global competition has turned into a family affair.

"My brother and I didn't talk on Christmas or New Year so as to not spoil the drama," Daniel Guinan said. "The whole family is watching the competition very closely."

"I told our mom about it and she called him to see what he had to say, but she couldn't get any information out of him either," Rich Guinan said.

Daniel Guinan, who claims to be the younger, smarter, and better looking of the Guinan brothers, recognizes the larger scope of importance for the CINC IEA, despite the additional brotherly competition.

"No matter what I might say in public, I am extremely proud of Rich's 23 years of service on active duty and his continued service as a GS employee," Daniel Guinan said. "I know he has done great things at Altus and they deserve to be in the finals. No matter who wins the competition, we have all contributed to making the Air Force better."

Competition inspires improvement, innovation and efficiency, Breeden said. Competition offers the chance to learn better strategies and methods. In this competition, at the end of the day, everyone is on the same team.

The winner of CINC IEA 2014 is scheduled to be announced in March.

Installation Excellence Selection Board visits Altus AFB

by Senior Airman Jesse Lopez
97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

1/13/2014 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- A team of inspectors from the Installation Excellence Selection Board visited Altus Air Force Base Jan. 8 - 11 to determine the winner of the Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

Col. Richard D. McComb, Associate Director of Security Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.; Col. Robert W. Stanley II, 341st Missile Wing commander, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.; Col. Christopher M. Short 366th Fighter Wing commander, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.; and Col. Brett J. Clark, 94th Airlift Wing commander, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. made up the inspection team.

"The inspection team visited the majority of our workspaces to verify what we already know," said Col. Bill Spangenthal, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander. "It's because of what you do every day: execute the mission, take care of our Airmen, & support our families."

Air Education and Training Command commander Gen. Robin Rand announced the 97th Air Mobility Wing as the AETC nominee for the award in November, and the wing was further selected to compete against Travis Air Force Base, Calif. for the final award.

"Altus AFB has stood out as an example in innovation and cost-savings across our Air Force. This is a collective reflection of dedicated Airmen contributing to overall mission success. The result of their hard work can be seen throughout the service and around the world through global mobility. Thank you for your commitment to excellence," said Rand.

When the reviewing is finalized and the nominee is approved by the Secretary of the Air Force, the winning installation is awarded $1 million and $500,000 is given to the runner-up. The monetary incentive is to be used for future quality of life improvements for their respective installations.

To win the award, an installation must demonstrate exemplary support for the Department of Defense mission and show marked improvement and innovative progress in various processes that are fundamental to an installation's successful operations.

Brig. Gen. Gersten participates in JTF-Bravo firefighter exercise

by Capt. Zach Anderson
Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

1/13/2014 - SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gen. Peter E. Gersten, Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs (Western Hemisphere), Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., definitely felt the heat during a visit to Joint Task Force-Bravo here today.

As part of his visit, Gersten participated in a live burn exercise conducted by the firefighters of Joint Task Force-Bravo's 612th Air Base Squadron. During the exercise, Gersten joined the firefighters in donning fire protective gear and entering the Soto Cano Air Base "burn house" to put out a blazing fire, while enduring temperatures that ranged upward of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

"It was an amazing experience," said Gersten after exiting the burn house. "I've been a squadron commander, a group commander and a wing commander and I've never done a burn."

Senior Airman Joel Woodhall, a firefighter assigned to the 612 ABS, said he enjoyed getting to demonstrate his job for the general.

"It always feels good to get an opportunity to show a senior leader what we do every day," said Woodhall. "Many of them come from different career fields, so by taking them and going through a demonstration like this with them, they gain a great understanding of our career field and they usually leave with a smile on their face as well."

Following the exercise, Gersten shared with the firefighters a story about one of his best friends, a fellow pilot, who was rescued from flaming wreckage by firefighters following an aviation incident.

"As an operator, there are a few things you depend on," said Gersten. "One of those is maintenance, trusting the aircraft will perform properly. And the other is the firefighters and knowing that if things go bad, you guys will be there to come pull us out."

Woodhall said it meant a lot to hear Gersten speak highly of the role of the firefighters.

"It's special to hear how a firefighter saved one of his best friends," said Woodhall. "Anytime we get a call to go save someone, it's probably the worst day of that individual's life. But if we save them, then that day becomes the best day of our lives because we were able to do our job and keep someone alive."

Before departing Soto Cano, Gersten expressed how impressed he was with what he witnessed during his visit to Joint Task Force-Bravo.

"The Chairman, the Service Chiefs and the Combatant Commanders always talk about Joint Task Force-Bravo, the motivation, professionalism and dedication of the warriors here," said Gersten. "The chance to come down here and see it for myself has simply proven the fact that what they say is very much true."

Deep Freeze

by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht
177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/11/2014 - SOUTH POLE, Antarctica -- While dealing with snow in New Jersey courtesy of winter storm Hercules, an Airman from the 177th Fighter Wing has been measuring snow "in feet" at the bottom of the world here recently.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Greg Mascaro, a safety manager who works at Warren Grove Gunnery Range, is currently deployed as part of Operation Deep Freeze, a joint mission that sees the Air Force LC-130 aircraft from the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing transporting supplies to remote science outposts in Antarctica.

"The most challenging aspect is dealing with the weather," said Mascaro. "Warmer days pose a challenge for the ice runway. The slushy conditions make it very difficult for the planes to get airborne. Colder days with high winds also have a unique challenge here. Many times planes can't take off because of the whiteout conditions."

In addition to the tough weather conditions, Mascaro deals with the difficulty of resting.

"Currently, it is austral summer so the sun never sets, which makes sleeping a challenge as well," Mascaro said.

The 109th AW unique aircraft, the U.S. military's only planes equipped with skis, have been performing this mission at the South Pole since 1999.

"The Airmen of the 109th are a very talented group of people, from those who are repairing the planes to those who are landing on nothing but ocean ice," said Mascaro. "It has been a truly rewarding experience."

C-130H, end of an era in Afghanistan

by Senior Master Sgt. Gary J. Rihn
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/14/2014 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- All good things don't necessarily need to come to an end; sometimes they are just replaced by something even better.

Such is the case with the venerable C-130H Hercules model aircraft here.

The C-130 has been around since the Vietnam War, forming the backbone of the Air Force's tactical airlift fleet. It is especially well-suited to austere conditions like those found throughout Afghanistan.

The older C-130H models were recently replaced by the newer, more modern C-130J models. The newer model has the advantage of a longer fuselage offering two additional pallet positions for additional airlift capacity, an updated cockpit, more efficient engines and propellers, and other improvements.

"Inside, it's a whole new aircraft," said Lt. Col. Greg Lowe, the commander of the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "In the cockpit, there are digital panels up front, so it takes a new breed of maintainers to fix all those new items."

Despite the fact that some of the aircraft are 40 years old, the older C-130H model has enjoyed an enviable run, with a 94 percent reliability rate flying out of Bagram. The C-130J model is expected to increase that number.

"The H models have performed fantastic here in the (area of responsibility), virtually every day flying six or seven legs around Afghanistan, with hardly a maintenance issue," Lowe said.

"The C-130H model here at Bagram has been truly outstanding," added Col. Ben Spencer, the commander of the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group. "They are the oldest C-130 fleet here in the AOR, flying the highest utilization rate, yet they continually boast the highest mission capability rate in the AOR."

As the first aircraft prepared for its final departure from Bagram, maintainers and flight crew alike reminisced about their time here with the C-130H models.

"When my maintainers arrived here, I briefed them that they were writing history, one sortie at a time; that they were also closing a chapter of history in this war, closing a chapter on the C-130H model here in Afghanistan," Spencer said.

"This has kind of been a full circle for me," said Capt. Matt Ward, a navigator on the first of the C-130H flights to depart Bagram for good. "I came here for the first time on the day that we got Bin Laden. Now I'm shutting down an aircraft model in Afghanistan, and going back to a squadron that is closing. The two are fittingly happening together."

Ward's crew was one of the last to perform a combat airdrop in Afghanistan. Some of the crew members had nearly 300 combat sorties to their credit on this deployment.

Several of the aircraft from Bagram will be refurbished at depot level maintenance and sold back to the Afghan air force. Others will be transferred to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

In a fitting handoff of duties, one of the first of the replacement C-130J models landed at Bagram moments before the first C-130H model took off. The in-flight C-130H passed its replacement as it taxied in to assume its position in the recently vacated parking space on the Bagram Airfield ramp.

"We hope that the J models will pick up the mantle and do as well as our H model brethren did," Spencer said.

AZ Air Guard officer awarded lifetime achievement for volunteerism

by Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin
161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

1/13/2014 - PHOENIX -- The 161st Air Refueling Wing Chief of Staff will be awarded the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award Friday during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Awards Breakfast here.

The City of Phoenix Human Relations Commission and Equal Opportunity Department is recognizing Air Force Lt. Col. Allen Kirksey's commitment to the Phoenix community and dedication to human and civil rights.

"Colonel Kirksey has displayed outstanding characteristics as a role model," said Air Force Col. Kurt Woyak, 161th Air Refueling Wing vice commander. "He provides direction and motivation. He uses his experiences in the military to increase awareness of the Air National Guard and other military services in his community.

Kirksey volunteers more than 100 hours annually, devoting time to the Roosevelt School District, Phoenix Union High School District and South Phoenix Missionary Baptist Church. He also speaks within the community as a motivational speaker.

"You don't have to wait 20 to 30 years to see a kid become successful, to turn over a new leaf or live out their dreams; you can make a change in their life right now," said Kirksey. "You will never know how many people you've impacted, and that in itself is kind of gratifying. You will have visible successes and invisible successes and I think there are a lot more invisible successes."

The Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement award recognizes an exceptional individual who makes Phoenix a better place through a lifelong dedication to promoting social and economic justice, defending civil rights and enhancing the dignity of all people.

The award is named for former Phoenix City Councilman Calvin C. Goode, who worked to ensure these rights for all residents during his 22-year tenure with the council. Guided by a deeply-held belief in equality for all people, his life exemplified a powerful commitment to improving the quality of life in Phoenix, especially for young people.

Goode's drive to improve people's quality of life, especially the youth, is also a drive Kirksey said he shares.

"He continually challenges himself to increase community awareness, and improve mentoring programs by establishing strong ties and bonds with community leaders, thus resulting in enduring relationships," said Woyak. "Kirksey clearly demonstrates exemplary leadership by making significant contributions to the advancement of a diverse work force and the promotion, retention and recruitment in areas of under-representation in the military."

Winning a lifetime achievement award could be seen by many as a validation of the time they have spent volunteering; however, Kirksey isn't seeking external validation.

"My validation comes each day that I go and contribute, because I get immediate gratification from giving my time," Kirksey said. "Volunteering makes me feel that I get to be at the pointy end of the spear, or rather, where the rubber meets the road."

He said it's not about getting an award or a talking point, it's the act of giving, which is a two-way street.

"It's a give and take both ways between the kids and me," said Kirksey.

Kirksey said working towards diversity and helping those who are underprivileged is the leadership style he attempts to embody. He calls it servant leadership, where you choose to serve first and then aspire to lead.

Medical Fellowship Program Seeks to Reduce Battlefield Deaths

By David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2014 – A physician who was an Army Special Forces combat medic has designed a fellowship program that he hopes will improve the survival chances of battlefield casualties.

The aim of the Military Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Medicine Fellowship Program is to train physicians for the challenges of pre-hospital care on the battlefield, in defense of the homeland or wherever else troops may be, said Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Robert Mabry, the fellowship’s program director, at San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas.

“Pre-hospital care” is that critical time between a traumatic event and when care is received at a military treatment facility.

Mabry and his colleagues conducted a study of service members injured on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2011. The study found that of the 4,596 battlefield fatalities analyzed, 87.3 percent died of their injuries before ever reaching a medical facility.

Of those deaths, 75.7 percent were classified as nonsurvivable, meaning they would have died even had they reached the facility earlier, and 24.3 percent were deemed potentially survivable.

That study, the first of its kind, was published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery in 2012.

Although battlefield medicine has vastly improved during every war since World War II, Mabry said, that 24.3 percent statistic cited in his study – those who died who might have lived – kept nagging him. “That’s where we can make the biggest difference in improving patient outcomes,” he said.

Mabry found that no one “owns” responsibility for battlefield care delivery. “No single senior military medical leader, directorate, division or command is uniquely focused on battlefield care,” he said.

“The diffusion of responsibility is a result of multiple agencies, leaders and units of the service medical departments each claiming bits and pieces with no single entity responsible for patient outcomes forward of the combat hospitals,” he added.

Commanders on the ground do own the assets of battlefield care – medics, battalion physicians, physician assistants, flight medics and all the equipment – but they are “neither experts in, nor do they have the resources to train their medical providers for forward medical care,” he said. Commanders rely on the medical departments to provide the right personnel, training, equipment and doctrine, he continued, but the medical departments “defer responsibility to line commanders,” he added.

“While this division of responsibility may at first glance seem reasonable,” Mabry said, “the net negative effect of line commanders lacking expertise and medical leaders lacking operational control is analogous to the axiom, ‘When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.’”

One of the main difficulties in addressing pre-hospital care, he said, is that “we know very little about what care is provided before casualties reach the combat hospital.”

Only one military unit – the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment – tracks what happens to every casualty during all phases of care, Mabry said.

“Ranger commanders routinely use this data to improve their casualty response systems,” he said, adding that the Rangers “are the only U.S. military unit that can demonstrate no potentially preventable deaths in the pre-hospital setting after more than a decade of combat.”

While only the 75th Rangers did pre-hospital tracking, once the wounded arrived at a combat support hospital, they were met with “robust surgical support and had less than a 2 percent chance of dying,” he said.

Those who did die at the combat support hospital generally had a severe head injury or were in profound shock due to the loss of blood when they arrived, but some had conditions that were “potentially salvageable had they had some aggressive resuscitation in the field,” he added.

But the culture of military medicine is “hospital-based,” the doctor reiterated, and “no one owns battlefield medicine.”

The hospital-based mentality has its roots in the Cold War. During the Vietnam War and later, the idea was to “put as many patients as possible in a helicopter and fly them as fast as you can to get them off the battlefield to the field hospital,” Mabry said. After Vietnam, those doctors, nurses and medics returned to the United States, took off their uniforms and “built our civilian trauma systems,” he said. Before Vietnam, he added, emergency medical services, trauma surgery and emergency medicine didn’t exist as we know them today.

As a result of the war experience, sick or injured civilians in the United States today are transported to a trauma center by helicopter, accompanied by a critical-care flight paramedic and a critical-care flight nurse – both highly trained and very experienced.

“Civilians took the ball, ran with it, and significantly evolved their processes to an advanced standard of care,” Mabry said. “But we stayed with our Vietnam model, focusing on speed, so the two models are incredibly different.”

In Afghanistan, speed became a problem, he said. “When I was deployed in 2005,” he explained, “I would have to wait three hours for medevacs sometimes, and if it were a host-nation casualty, sometimes even longer.”

And the level of care in-flight was less than premium, the doctor added.

“The medics, through no fault of their own, were still trained at the basic medic level,” he said. “At that time, flight medics had no requirement to provide any hands-on care to an actual patient during their training. For many, their first encounter with a seriously injured casualty was during the first flight of their first deployment.”

Mabry concluded from his studies and field experience that the solution to the care gap cannot be addressed with a single-bandage approach. A solution, he said, would require “evidence-based improvements in tactical combat casualty care guidelines, data-driven research, remediation of gaps in care and updated training and equipment.”

And to supervise those medics, their training and the medevac equipment and procedures, there would need to be a specially trained and qualified physician in charge of that pre-hospital phase, he said.

Mabry’s own experience includes 11 years as an enlisted soldier, starting out in the infantry and then becoming a Special Forces medic with a tour in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 during the battle made famous in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” He said those experiences had a profound impact on him and shaped his desire to become an Army doctor – which he did.

He later returned to Special Forces as a battalion surgeon and served tours in Afghanistan in 2005 and 2010.

Mabry illustrated the power of patient outcome data and how it can drive changes in military medicine – something he hopes to do with his fellowship program. His team tracked down a National Guard medevac unit from California whose members were mostly all critical-care-trained paramedics in their civilian jobs – working for the California Highway Patrol and other stateside EMS agencies. They deployed to Afghanistan about four years ago, taking their civilian EMS model with them, he said.

“I compared their patient outcomes to the standard medevac outcomes and found a 66 percent reduction in mortality using the civilian medic system,” he said. As a result of that outcome, the Army revamped its training of flight medics.

Airway treatment is another example of how patient outcome data can drive procedural changes, Mabry said.

“If you get an airway injury in the field, you’re usually shot in the neck or in the face and have a traumatic disruption of the airway,” he explained. A study revealed that when medics perform a cricothyrotomy -- cutting an incision in the neck so patients can breathe –they failed at that procedure about 30 percent of the time, Mabry said, noting that it’s a very high-risk, high-stress, yet ultimately life-saving procedure. “So armed with that data,” he said, “we went back and figured out a way to make the procedure smoother and simpler.”

The result is that medics now have a tool that will make them more proficient at cricothyrotomies.

“So that’s what I’m trying to get at -- training physician leaders who can look at problems or opportunities for improvements in the field, who have the ability to articulate how to improve systems, give medics better training, better tools, and so to improve patient outcomes,” Mabry said. “We want doctors who can look at the data and training and protocols, and use research to solve those battlefield pre-hospital problems.”

Examples of what those physicians might do include understanding the injury patterns for a particular unit and locality, analyzing the trauma transfer system, and seeing where the medics might need more training, Mabry said. The physician also could look across the medical research environment and determine which new therapies to incorporate for patient outcome improvements.

The sort of system Mabry said he’s describing is similar to what civilian EMS directors do stateside.

This summer, the first fellow will graduate from the program’s two-year curriculum. “We’re one of the first EMS programs in the U.S. to be accredited, so we’re excited about that,” Mabry said. The program was accredited in October 2012.

The first year is the civilian EMS fellowship, accredited by the American Council on Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Emergency Medicine. During that first year, the doctors work at a big-city EMS agency, learning the “system of systems” of EMS, Mabry said, using a term that refers to the overall EMS system, which is composed of other systems such as ambulances, helicopters, personnel, training, protocols, trauma destinations, communications, medical equipment and so on.

This enables them to be able to direct a military EMS system, he explained.

The second year is the military portion, which is non-accredited. Each service has its own unique requirements, Mabry said. In the Army, for example, the doctor would work with the battalion medical officers at the Tactical Combat Medical Care course, participate in medic training at the combat medic schoolhouse, and see how this all works at the strategic level at the Institute of Surgical Research and Joint Trauma System in San Antonio.

Additionally, the fellows will learn about homeland security medical procedures and integrate with local, regional and national disaster planners, Mabry said. They also learn about international disaster support -- things such as earthquakes and tsunamis -- that the services might be called upon to support.

During the entire two-year period, the fellows are studying in the evenings for a master’s degree in public health. The degree “gives them the ability to use epidemiology, statistics and a public health model to go in and say, ‘Hey, look, here’s the challenge we have in this particular area.’” Mabry explained. “They can then articulate from a policy level how this affects the population or health problem, conduct an analysis and then [know] how to make a case for resources, policy changes and things like that.”

Mabry described the curriculum of the program’s first fellow, who will graduate in the summer. His first year was with the San Antonio Fire Department EMS. For his second year, he attended the National Park Service Search and Rescue Course and did his public health practicum with the Joint Trauma System.

He also has worked with the Army Medical Department’s Center and School and participated in a number of policy and research projects.

He’s now at Johns Hopkins University attending the Health Emergencies in Large Populations Course, designed primarily for international disaster relief work. He’s working with some of the world’s leading experts in the field, Mabry added.

Then he goes to the flight surgeon course. Upon completion of his fellowship June 30, he’s projected to go to Afghanistan for six months to work in the Joint Trauma System as the pre-hospital director. His follow-on assignment will be in the Army’s Critical Care Flight Paramedic Training Program in San Antonio.

Three other fellows are going through their first year: one Air Force and two Army doctors. For next year, Mabry said, he hopes to get a Navy doctor in the fellowship, though the Navy currently is not providing the funding. The idea is to get three fellows a year, representing each of the services, he said.

Once the physicians complete their fellowships, Mabry said, the goal is to get them in positions where their training will make a difference: division surgeons, brigade surgeons, Special Forces group surgeons, directors of trauma systems, training programs and so on.

While military doctors already are highly trained and motivated, Mabry said, he’s looking for those who think outside the box, see problems from unique perspectives and perform at all levels: leadership, research, training, problem solving.

Eventually, Mabry said, he hopes to build a cadre who collaborate across the services to “shed light on that battlefield blind spot” of pre-hospital care and change the mindset from hospital-centric care to one that provides state-of-the-art care across the entire chain of survival, starting in the pre-hospital setting at the point of injury.

Ceremony recognizes multiple senior NCO's

by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/10/2014 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- A Chief Induction Ceremony was held to honor four newly inducted chief master sergeants here Jan. 9, 2014.

The inductees included Senior Master Sgt. Donald Hendershott, 366th Equipment Maintenance Squadron maintenance superintendent, Chief Master Sgt. Allen Sapp, 266th Range Squadron chief of support, the Republic of Singapore air force Chief Master Sgt. Elangovan Palaniappan, 428th Fighter Squadron NCO in charge, and Senior Master Sgt. David Williams, 366th Security Forces Squadron manager.

"We are fortunate to have chief selects from across three organizations," said Hendershott. "It recognizes all of us as essential parts of the Gunfighter team."

This particular ceremony was unusual because the 366th Fighter Wing recognized two active-duty Airmen along with a member of the Idaho Air National Guard and a Republic of Singapore air force chief.

"Active-duty, Guard and the Republic of Singapore Airmen train seamlessly within this Wing in order to perform all aspects of our mission. This joint training is vital because the induction of different countries and components is a representation of how we train and fight,"  said Sapp.

The event celebrated the ascension of four enlisted personnel into the most senior non-commissioned officer tier.

"I believe the induction ceremony is a great recognition of the final step that most of us will take in our careers," said Sapp.

Out of 325,952 active duty Airmen, only one percent of them reach the rank of chief master sergeants.

"As chiefs, it's important to come together and showcase our common military values, recognize leadership and forge friendships across different cultures to form a united and cohesive community," said Palaniappan. "It's our responsibility to create a meaningful environment where our people can develop their leadership skills and become pillars of their organization."

As members of the highest enlisted grade in the Air Force, chiefs have been entrusted as good stewards of personnel, equipment and the overall mission.

"We are no longer technical and operational experts on mission requirements, but are now expected to focus on the strategic picture of how all elements work together to accomplish the mission," said Williams. "Of course, we can't take all of the credit because making chief is a collective effort and we all needed the support of family, friends and great leadership throughout our careers to reach this point. Personally, I am truly honored to have all my friends and family in attendance tonight."

VA Offers $600M to Support Services for Homeless Vet Families

From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2014 – Veterans Affairs Department officials today announced the availability of about $600 million in grants through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program for nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives that serve very low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing.

“Those who have served our nation should never find themselves on the streets, living without hope,” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said. “These grants play a critical role in addressing veteran homelessness by assisting our vital partners at the local level in their efforts. We are making good progress towards our goal to end veterans’ homelessness, but we still have work to do.”

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program is designed to assist very low-income veteran families who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. The program employs a housing-first model, officials said, an approach that centers on providing homeless veterans with permanent housing quickly and then providing VA health care, benefits and services as needed.

Required services include outreach, case management, assistance in obtaining VA benefits, and providing or coordinating efforts to obtain needed entitlements and other community services, officials said. Grantees secure a broad range of other services for participants, including:

-- Legal assistance;

-- Credit and housing counseling;

-- Assistance in understanding leases, securing utilities and coordinating moving arrangements;

-- Representative payee services concerning rent and utilities when needed; and

-- Serving as an advocate for the veteran when mediating with property owners on issues related to locating or retaining housing.

Grantees also offer temporary financial assistance that provides short-term help with rent, moving expenses, security and utility deposits, child care, transportation, utility costs and emergency expenses.

VA is offering $300 million in fiscal year 2014 funds and $300 million in fiscal 2015 funds, subject to available appropriations, officials said, and will make award decisions based on a national competition.

In fiscal 2013, VA awarded about $300 million in Supportive Services for Veteran Families grants for operations beginning in fiscal 2014 and is focusing up to $300 million in surge funding on 76 high-priority continuums of care in what VA officials called an unprecedented effort to end veterans’ homelessness in these communities.

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program served more than 39,000 veterans and more than 62,000 total participants -- veterans and their family members – in fiscal 2013, VA officials said.

In November, VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the results of a HUD report that estimated there were 57,849 homeless veterans on a single night in January in the United States, an 8-percent decline since 2012 and a 24-percent decline since 2010.

Kadena prepares for MFE, implements new process

by Airman 1st Class Hailey Staker
18th Wing Public Affairs

1/13/2014 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- The 18th Wing is preparing for a Mission Focused Exercise, formerly known as a Local Operational Readiness Exercise, set for Jan. 27-30 here.

An MFE is an inspection that incorporates unit self-assessment along with the traditional survive and operate exercises that the wing is used to.

"An MFE is a scenario-based exercise used to assess readiness, evaluate the validity of unit self-assessment programs and a commander's tool to limit the risks of undetected non-compliance through inspection in any of the new four major graded areas," said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Calisi, 18th Wing Inspector General inspections superintendent. "These areas are managing resources, leading people, improving the unit and executing the mission."

Not only is this exercise different from previous exercises, this MFE is part of the revised inspection program the Air Force implemented in Oct. 2013.

"This is a complete paradigm shift in the Air Force Inspection System," Calisi said. "The Pacific Air Forces Inspection General team will no longer be coming in large numbers to conduct Operational Readiness Inspections. Instead, the 18th Wing Inspection Team will take advantage of normal operations to conduct inspections, or conduct an MFE to inspect specific objectives, and periodically a PACAF/IG team will come in much smaller numbers to inspect our inspection team in action."

Calisi added one of the key differences in this new program is that a LORE was a large scale wing exercise, and that the MFEs can be much smaller in size and scope, giving them the ability to focus on a particular area.

The goal of the MFE is to enforce unit self-assessment year-round, keeping units accountable for non-compliance and reporting how each unit prepares to solve the problems through self-analysis and implementation.

"Units will be tasked to evaluate their own compliance and report on themselves throughout the year," Calisi said. "WIT members will focus more on inspecting the integrity of unit self-assessments, adequacy of problem solving efforts and corrective actions being implemented. Airmen will find themselves spending more time focusing on their jobs and continuously improving their units and processes."

Not only is there a new process Kadena Airmen must learn during future exercises, the WIT is preparing themselves for what is to come.

"The WIT is spending time training and learning the new inspection process, and to determine the best way to implement the new Commanders Inspection Program," Calisi said. "The wing as a whole will have to learn their roles and expectations for the CCIP to be successful. Commanders must foster a culture for identifying non-compliance and unit members making self-assessment must be encouraged to be candid."

The implementation of this program will take approximately one year to complete, and the first MFE will be much like a typical LORE because it will be a wing-wide effort.

"Future MFEs will continue to change form and be tailored to what the wing commander feels is needed to continuously improve the wing's readiness," Calisi said. "One of the main goals is to spend less time preparing for exercises."

Calisi encourages Airmen to bring a positive attitude to this MFE and to be flexible as this system will be challenging to adjust to.

For more information regarding the upcoming MFE, mandatory briefings will be held at the Keystone Theater Jan. 14 at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.