Military News

Friday, January 31, 2014

U.S. Bobsledders Set for Sochi Competition



By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Installation Management Command

KOENIGSSEE, Germany, Jan. 31, 2014 – Former U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsled driver Steven Holcomb, along with WCAP brakeman Capt. Chris Fogt and civilians Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton, won the 2013-14 World Cup season finale in four-man bobsled Jan. 26.

The victory gave the "Night Train 2" team added confidence heading to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, scheduled for Feb. 7 through 23 in Sochi, Russia.

"The momentum we're building heading into the Olympics is incredible," said Holcomb, 33, of Park City, Utah. "My team has worked so hard and sled technician Jim Garde has been working day in and out making sure the sled does exactly what I need it to. We came out today and put it all together, and it feels great to end the season on this note."

The crew powered the sled off the starting block in 4.81 seconds for a first-run time of 49.11 to lead the competition by 0.07 seconds. As soon as the green light gave USA-1 permission to start the second heat, the Team USA quartet burst off the block, and Holcomb maintained the lead to secure the gold medal.

Holcomb, Tomasevivz, Langton and Fogt were victorious by 0.09 seconds with a total time of 1 minute, 38.54 seconds. Beat Hefti, Alex Baumann, Juerg Egger and Thomas Amrhein claimed silver for Switzerland with a combined time of 1:38.63. Canadians Lyndon Rush, Lascelles Brown, David Bissett and Neville Wright posted a two-run total of 1:38.84 to secure bronze.

Fogt finished 10th in the two-man bobsled event at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, where his four-man sled, driven by WCAP Sgt. John Napier, crashed during their first run. At Sochi, Fogt will be the brakeman in the four-man USA-1 sled, driven by Holcomb.

"I try to apply the warrior ethos and mentality of never quitting or accepting defeat in my training and competitions," said Fogt, 30, of Alpine, Utah. "Being a soldier-athlete helps keep me focused and working hard because I am representing more than just my team and myself. I'm representing the most powerful and respected organization in the world. I need to reflect that in the way I present myself, train, and perform."

Sochi-bound WCAP bobsled driver Sgt. Nick Cunningham teamed with WCAP Olympic gold medalist Sgt. Justin Olsen, civilians Johnny Quinn and Abe Morlu to finish 10th with a cumulative time of 1:39:21.

In Sochi, Cunningham will drive USA-2 with WCAP teammates Olsen, Sgt. Dallas Robinson and civilian Quinn aboard. Cunningham also will drive USA-2 in the two-man event.

"It's not just me I'm representing when I'm in the sled," said Cunningham, 28, of Monterey, Calif. "I have all U.S. soldiers behind me as I slide down every track worldwide."

Holcomb, the defending Olympic four-man bobsled champion driver who spent seven years in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, finished the World Cup season ranked second in four-man with 1,514 points. German Maximilian Arndt claimed the title with 1,574 points, and his teammate Thomas Florschuetz was third with 1,400 points.

"It came down to the unfortunate crash we had in Winterberg," Holcomb said. "We would have won the overall four-man title if it hadn't been for that, and it goes to show that every race counts. Our goal was a top five overall finish, and we not only met that, but actually exceeded it. We're right where we want to be going into Sochi."

Holcomb is the combined two-man and four-man World Cup bobsled leader with 3,159 points. Hefti finished second with 2,716 points, and Florschuetz was third with 2,688 points.

Cunningham finished the World Cup season ranked 15th in four-man and 11th in combined points. Cory Butner finished 20th in four-man and 13th combined.

'Stronger together' 52 FW leadership visits Polish detachment

by Staff Sgt. Joe McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


1/31/2014 - LASK AIR BASE, Poland -- They may be few and far away from their home station -- but they share as much claim to being Saber Airmen as their peers at Spangdahlem.

Col. David Julazadeh, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Grengs, 52nd Fighter Wing command chief, visited Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group Airmen stationed at Lask Air Base, Poland, Jan. 29.

The aviation detachment's 10 Airmen, ranging from technical sergeants to majors, serve to foster bilateral defense ties, enhance regional security and increase interoperability among NATO allies through combined training exercises with periodic rotational aircraft.

"Just think: there are only 10 of you," Julazadeh said to the Airmen. "We made building partnership capacity a part of our wing's mission and priorities, and that's exactly what you're doing here. The amount of emphasis this assignment is given by our military and political leaders ought to tell you how relevant and critical you are to our bilateral relationship. You are making a gigantic difference in the capability of the Polish air force, and their connectivity and interoperability with NATO and the United States."

Wing leadership toured the Polish installation's fitness center, swimming pool, obstacle course and indoor/outdoor tracks used by both Polish and American Airmen -- a shared usage also in line with the detachment's motto "Razem Silniejsi," meaning "Stronger Together" in Polish.

The commander and command chief then conducted a forum discussing topics like force management, the enlisted performance feedback system and future challenges facing both the American and Polish Air Forces.

While discussing the future, the commander pointed out how, at one time, 40,000 of the 100,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan came from NATO partners and allied nations.

"Our NATO allies understand our Air Force instructions and procedures because we have been building partnership capacity for years. This is what makes us all capable so when we go downrange, we work together and get the job done," Julazadeh said.

To cap off the visit, Julazadeh met with the incoming and outgoing base commanders and their wing commander to discuss training engagements, and future interoperability between the Polish and American Air Forces on endeavors with the F-16 platform.

"We've been flying and maintaining the F-16 for almost 40 years...our maintenance professionals would be happy to share some of our best practices and lessons learned." Julazadeh said as he offered additional opportunities for Polish F-16 maintenance professionals to meet with 52nd Fighter Wing maintenance personnel.

The all-volunteer team, with specialties ranging from logistics and contracting, elected to perform the remote assignment for months while carrying out multiple additional duties each held individuals within much larger squadrons.

Still, according to members like Tech. Sgt. Gloria Casanova, Detachment 1 NCO in charge of client systems and Poteet, Texas native, the no-fail mission sense aids in driving people together and not apart.

"I never would have been exposed to these opportunities had I not volunteered-- and it's been fantastic," Casanova said. "I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Just click the button to volunteer for assignments-- it's definitely worth it."

552nd ACW wins its 24th Outstanding Unit Award

by Darren D. Heusel
Tinker Public Affairs


1/27/2014 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 552nd Air Control Wing has been awarded it's 24th Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, it was announced recently.

"This recognition is without a doubt a tremendous reflection of the military and civilian Airmen who make up this outstanding wing," said Col. Jay Bickley, 552nd ACW commander. "I want to personally thank each and every one of them for the extraordinary effort put forth each day, their willingness to grow, develop and mentor one another and their continuance to uphold the core values of our Air Force."

According to records, the most recent AFOUA earned by the wing was for the period June 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013. Prior to this, the last one the wing had earned was for the period of June 1, 2011 to May 31, 2012.

Of the wing's 24 AFOUAs, four came with the "Combat V" device for valor, with the most recent of these being for the period of June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2003, coinciding with the initial months of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

In addition to the 24 AFOUAs, the 552nd ACW has also received two Meritorious Unit Awards; one from 2006-2007 and one for 2008-2009.

"Without their dedication to the mission and to each other, awards such as this would not be possible," Colonel Bickley added. "It is truly my pleasure to serve alongside each of these Airmen and I look forward to the ACW receiving more outstanding recognition they will have no doubt earned."

Subordinate units within the 552nd ACW authorized to share in the award include: the 552nd Operations Group, 552nd Operations Support Squadron, 552nd Training Squadron, 960th Airborne Air Control Squadron, 963rd AACS, 964th AACS, 965th AACS, 966th AACS, 552nd Air Control Group, 607th Air Control Squadron, 552nd Air Control Networks Squadron, 726th ACS, 728th ACS, 729th ACS, 752nd Operations Support Squadron, 552nd Maintenance Group, 552nd Maintenance Operations Squadron, 552nd Maintenance Squadron and the 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

Dyess Airmen receive ACC Aviation Resource Management award

by Airman 1st Class Kylsee Wisseman
Airman 1st Class Kylsee Wisseman


1/27/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Two Dyess Airmen from the 436th Training Squadron recently received awards from Air Combat Command for their hard work and dedication for Aviation Resource Management.

Tech. Sgt. Katie Carter and Tech. Sgt. Tyler Armstrong, 436th Training Squadron Instructors, were both announced winners for the ACC level award of outstanding aviation resource manager. Carter was awarded outstanding aviation resource manager instructor of the year, while Armstrong was awarded outstanding non-commissioned officer of the year.

Aviation resource managers keep track of the aviators (enlisted and officers), parachutists and anyone else that would fly in an Air Force aircraft. They track and validate flying hours, qualifications, training and expertise for each individual as well as each unit and the wing.

"As an aviation resource manager, our job is very important to the aircrew," Carter said. "One of the biggest things we do in the aircrew's eye is validate a member's entitlement to flight or jump incentive pay. It is important for aviation resource managers to ensure the aircrews receive what they are entitled to due to Department of Defense regulations and public law."

Every year the wing selects their best representatives from the aviation resource management career field and submits a package to the MAJCOM. The nominees are evaluated based on their leadership, job performance, significant self improvement and other significant career field contributions.

"I'm honored to have been chosen for the award of outstanding NCO of the year for Aviation Resource Management," Armstrong said. "Being a part of something so little when it is a big deal makes it all the more exciting to not only be nominated, but chosen to win an award like this."

The 436th TS also teaches three courses throughout the year. They teach Host Aviation Resource Management, Squadron Aviation Resource Management and Aviation Resource Management Report Writer.

"When I first joined the Air Force I was going to be an air traffic controller, but it didn't work out and now I am an aviation resource manager," Carter said. "I feel as though I am where I need to be and am making a difference in my career field. I enjoy teaching along with doing the duties of an aviation resource manager and can't imagine doing anything else."

Carter has been an instructor at the 436th for two years and Armstrong was an instructor for six months before leaving Dyess Air Force Base to a new adventure of being an aviation resource manager at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

"I really enjoyed being an instructor for the short time I was at the 436th TS although I was at Dyess for seven years. I also enjoyed doing my job and teaching others how to do it and become better aviation resource managers," Armstrong said.

After spending over 10 years in the career field Carter and Armstrong were both awarded for their outstanding achievements over the past year. Some achievements include the rewriting of AFI 11-421 and saving the Air Force around $45K by conducting two mobile training teams to U.S. Air Force Europe and Air Force Special Operations Command. In 2014, the 436th TS is looking to go virtual which will expand their student numbers.

"I am just excited to be involved and be making a difference within the career field. I was involved in an AFI rewrite this past year, and I really enjoy teaching new students and seeing the great things they do once they leave my class," Carter said.

435th AGOW Airmen lead Rwandan port operations

by Capt. Justin Rex
Contingency Response Element commander


1/31/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- In an effort to confront destabilizing forces and violence within the Central African Republic, France and the African Union have requested U.S. support to move Rwandan forces into the region.

Airmen from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing's Contingency Response Group responded to the request. A joint Air Force and Army team of 35 aerial porters, along with maintainers and logistics planners, are on the ground at Rwanda's capital city of Kigali to assist in the African mission.

"I couldn't be prouder of what our Airmen are doing in Africa right now," said Col. Joseph McFall, 435th AGOW commander. "The support they are providing our international partners is key to enabling African-led solutions to stabilizing the region."

Kigali International Airport, Rwanda, is a key staging area for transport of the Rwandan troops, supplies and equipment into the Central African Republic. The mixture of civilian and military air transport created a unique and challenging environment to move more than 850 Rwandan troops and more than 1,000 tons of supplies and military equipment.

Fifteen members of the CRG's 435th Air Mobility Squadron are working with the Rwandan mechanized battalion to load personnel and equipment onto U.S. aircraft by building pallets containing security equipment, clearing weapons and creating load plans.

The CRG's 435th Security Forces Squadron is also on the ground. The defenders perform airport security surveys and are working with the embassy to conduct route surveillance. An independent duty medical technician is also assigned to the team and is responsible for providing limited medical care to the expeditionary team.

Rwandan military personnel are expected to remain in the Central African Republic for one year.

"What the Rwandans are doing in Central Africa is a key component of helping stabilize the region," said Tech. Sgt. Carnard Drayton, 435th AMS NCO in charge of aerial port operations.

The 435th AGOW is located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany and has about 1,500 Airmen, civilians, contractors and local nationals ready to deploy and support a wide variety of contingency operations while enabling U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European Command goals throughout the region.

Team Fairchild joins 65 units, U.S. allies to kick off Red Flag 14-1

by Staff Sgt. Veronica Montes
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


1/30/2014 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- Team Fairchild joined 65 other units and U.S. allies to participate in Red Flag 14-1 here Jan. 27, 2014.

The three-week long exercise is a realistic combat training exercise conducted by the 414th Combat Training Squadron three times a year over the Nevada Test and Training Range.

"Fairchild's mission is to support air refueling for war fighters that are here executing Red Flag 14-1," said Maj. Bryan Starcher, 92nd Air Refueling Squadron Tanker Taskforce commander of Red Flag 14-1. "Our main role is to make it so our combat aircraft can execute our combat mission."

More than 30 Airmen from Fairchild AFB, while working with Airmen from McConnell AFB, Kan., will spend the duration of the exercise conducting or supporting about six refueling missions a day. These Airmen include pilots, boom operators, maintainers and support staff.

"It's important that while we are here we have all the support functions," said Capt. Ryan Jahnke, 93rd ARS pilot. "It's important all those functions come together to get everyone to be able to fly and get the most out of our training."

Jahnke said along with the teamwork aspect, this exercise is also great for the younger aircrews.

"It's especially important for the young aircrew members who haven't been deployed yet," Jahnke continued. "It's the only time the aircrew members will be able to fight an adversary with formidable air defenses without actually going to war."

This exercise involves approximately 125 aircraft and 3,250 deployed service members from all four U.S. branches, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force will participate.

Starcher said that is one of the main benefits of participating in the exercise here, "we are able to work with our coalition partners and integrate [with] our closest allies."
While every unit plays an important role, the tanker's mission is necessary.

"With the support of the KC-135s, the fighter aircraft are able to stay on station longer and in greater numbers," said Senior Michael Weidman, 93rd ARS boom operator. "We are able to keep the aircraft flying so everyone can get the training they need."

Red Flag provides aircrew members realistic, stressful situations to deal with in a controlled environment. The KC-135s play a crucial role, not only providing fuel, but allowing fighter aircraft to practice gathering fuel during these stressful situations.

"Red Flag is about preparing people for combat environment, and in a combat environment, even the simple things become hard," said Lt. Col. Jordan Grant, 414th CTS deputy commander. "One of the simple things for an aircraft is getting to the tanker to get fuel and be in time for the fight. That's why it's so important to have tanker support so the aircrew can learn to do those simple tasks in training before they have to put it all together in real combat."

Red Flag 14-1 will conclude Feb. 14, 2014.

Clapper Praises Rogers’ Nomination as Next Cyber Chief



American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2014 – Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper has praised President Barack Obama’s nomination of Navy Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers to be the next commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service.

In his statement, Clapper also praised Richard Ledgett on his appointment to serve as the NSA deputy director.

The text of Clapper’s statement follows:

“Today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers is President Obama’s nominee to be the next commander of U.S. Cyber Command. In addition, Secretary Hagel announced that he has designated Vice Adm. Rogers to serve as director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service.

“Mike’s Navy career spans more than 30 years of distinguished service to the nation, and he is highly respected throughout the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense. He served in numerous leadership and cryptological roles, including the director for intelligence for both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Pacific Command.

“I worked with Mike when I was the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and he was the director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is a dedicated career intelligence officer who deeply understands signals intelligence and cyber operations, which makes him uniquely qualified to lead the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command missions.

“I would also like to congratulate Richard Ledgett on his appointment to serve as the NSA deputy director. Rick was the first ODNI national intelligence manager for cyber, and has had a remarkable career in signals intelligence. His keen insight of the entire intelligence enterprise will serve the NSA and the Intelligence Community well.

“I know Mike and Rick will make a great team, and I look forward to working with them. Their combined leadership will support and strengthen intelligence integration across the community and help keep our nation safe.”

Final words from the Chief: 'Thank you for the inspiration'

by Staff Sgt. Amber R. Kelly-Herard
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs


1/31/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- A 19-year-old man, bagging groceries for $4 an hour and his new wife, expecting their first child, joined the Air Force, unknowing he'd become the Air Mobility Command command chief master sergeant.

Thirty years later, Chief Master Sgt. Richard "Andy" Kaiser, retired Jan. 17, here.

"A heartfelt thank you to each of our amazing Airmen, and I wish I could hug them all for what they have done and will continue to do. We are so proud of them!" said Kaiser to all Mobility Airmen. "Remember we are Airmen first and specialists second and always embody the core values. Celebrate with your teammates what we as Airmen do, because we enable America to be America."

The chief's bride, Debbie also had some words to pass on.

"To our Mobility spouses and families, thank you so much for your love and support you provided to your Airmen," she said. "The sacrifices they make daily working long hours and uncertainty about the future, these are all huge stressors, but our spouses and families cope with that amazingly well. You are some of the finest Americans alive today and I would also give you all a hug."

The command chief, who has advised the AMC commander on enlisted issues for more than 100,000 Mobility Air Forces Airmen, sums his 2-and-a-half-year tenure as "inspiring."

"The opportunity to rub elbows with MAF Airmen--hopefully encourage them and inspire them--and see them in action was incredibly inspiring," said the Columbus, Ohio, native.

Kaiser said an example of this happened every time he went to deployed locations. He recounted one trip where he departed Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on a C-17 configured for an aeromedical evacuation flight. The aeromedical evacuation crews and aircrews synchronized perfectly to care for wounded warriors all the way to Germany.
Then, when he left Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on the same C-17, it was be reconfigured to transport military equipment.

Another inspiring mission for the chief was to observe the Joint Precision Air Drop System that brings mission critical supplies to ground troops who would otherwise starve or get overrun without airdrop.

"There are just so many moments of inspiration, it was incredible," said Kaiser.
"Most Airmen doing these amazing things will say they're just doing their job, with their characteristic humble spirit," the chief continued. "Those willing to work hard and live the core values will have amazing opportunities open for them."

Kaiser explained plain old hard work and strong support from his leaders and fellow Airmen is how he made chief.

"The Air Force provides additional opportunity for service and higher responsibility, often at a higher rank, for those Airmen who prove themselves by duty performance," said Kaiser. "Shortly after I was promoted to chief, a group commander, named Col. Fred Ryder, gave me the opportunity to serve as a group superintendent, and I was blessed with several command chiefs who mentored me early on. By God's grace, I was afforded additional opportunities to serve, and Debbie and I will always cherish these amazing experiences."

Now that his journey has ended, Kaiser describes the feeling as surreal.

"Is this really happening?" he said. "It's kind of like when you become a father and you realize, 'Holy Cow, I'm going to be a dad!' It is surreal."

After retirement, his "uniform" changed to civilian clothes, but he is still the same.

"I'm an Airman first and then a chief," said Kaiser. "My military status changed to 'retired", but my heart is the same."

"Debbie and I always wanted to retire near an Air Force base, so we bought a house in O'Fallon, Ill., to be able to serve Airmen in any way possible. We hope to host Airmen and families who are new to the Air Force and help them acclimate to their new environment. We also hope to help those transitioning from the Air Force, whether they be separating or retiring."

Finally, the chief said, "Thirty years goes by a lot faster than you would imagine, so make the most of every day professionally and personally. We have been so blessed by so many folks over these three decades, and we hope everyone serving will likewise experience amazing opportunities. It has been a true joy and honor for Debbie and I to serve."

Dyess K-9 trainers receive Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals

by Senior Airman Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


1/31/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Two 7th Bomb Wing Security Forces Airmen received two of the highest military awards available during a ceremony Jan. 24, here.

"These two defenders are heroes and warriors," said Brig. Gen. Glen VanHerck, 7th BW commander. "They selflessly go down range to save lives without hesitation."

Staff Sgt. Erica McRell, 7th SFS, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her acts of heroism, merit and meritorious service exhibited while in a combat zone.

During her most recent deployment, McRell and her military working dog Jonny were attached to an Army Special Forces unit. She was the first female military working dog trainer from Dyess, embedded with an Army Special Forces unit.

During operations, McRell's position was lead. She was responsible for locating and isolating improvised explosive devices. McRell and Jonny saved lives by finding more than 50 IEDs throughout southern Afghanistan. Her actions directly resulted in a significant reduction in terrorist activity against local citizens and dramatically restricted the enemy's ability to operate.

McRell said she is grateful to the 7th Security Forces Squadron military working dog unit, who trained and prepared her for the deployment. She is most thankful for the training she received from her supervisor, Staff Sgt. Andre Hernandez, 7th SFS.

Tech. Sgt. Rafael Rhodes, 7th SFS, was awarded the Purple Heart and Air Force Combat Action Medals for being wounded in action against an enemy of the United States and for directly engaging an enemy while his life was at risk of grave danger.

Rhodes received the Purple Heart and Air Force Combat Action Medals after sustaining injuries while on a mission during his third deployment. Rhodes was returning to Bagram Airfield after a 12 hour outside-the-wire mission when an IED detonated adjacent to the lead vehicle he and his MWD Nero were riding in.

Only seconds after the initial detonation, the mine resistant ambush protected vehicle which was hit by the explosion began taking small arms fire. After an assessment of the team, Rhodes and Nero were instructed to dismount and sweep for additional explosives. Upon completion of the sweep, Rhodes returned to his MRAP and rendered first aid to the vehicle gunner who was unconscious.

Originally introduced as the Badge of Military Merit by Gen. George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart Medal is the oldest military medal in the United States military.

Rhodes said his kennel section is his family, the support they have given him has been huge and that he couldn't thank them enough.

Gen. Glenn VanHerck, 7th Bomb Wing commander, noted that this award was not only reflected of McRell and Rhodes, but also the military working dogs that were there with them during every event they encountered.

"These are not just dogs, they are Airmen, out there getting the mission done every day alongside their trainers," VanHerck said. "They are a part of our team and have saved countless lives as well."

President to Nominate Several to Key DOD Positions



By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2014 – President Barack Obama has announced his intent to nominate four people to key Defense Department positions, all of which require Senate confirmation.

They are:

-- Miranda A. A. Ballentine, to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and logistics;

-- Michael McCord, to be undersecretary of Defense (comptroller);

-- Brian P. McKeon, to be principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy, and

-- Christine E. Wormuth, to be undersecretary of defense for policy.

Ballentine is the director of sustainability, renewable energy, sustainable facilities, and stakeholder engagement for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a position she has held since 2008.

Since 2001, Ballentine has served as a guest lecturer at Duke University, George Washington University and Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and a master’s of business administration degree from George Washington University.

McCord is presently the principal deputy undersecretary of defense (comptroller), a position he has held since 2009. From 1987 to 2004, McCord served in a number of roles on the Senate Armed Service Committee.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

McKeon is deputy assistant to the president, executive secretary of the National Security Council, and chief of staff for the National Security Staff at the White House, a position he has served in since 2012.

McKeon served as the deputy national security advisor to the vice president from 2009 to 2012. He was on the Presidential Transition’s State Department Agency Review Team, and served as the deputy staff director and chief counsel at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1997 to 2009, serving under then-Sen. Joe Biden.

He previously was a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar.

McKeon has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Wormuth is deputy undersecretary of defense (strategy, plans, and forces) a position she has held since 2012. Before coming to DOD, Wormuth was special assistant to the president for national security affairs and senior director for defense policy on the National Security Staff from 2010 to 2012.

Previously, she served as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and Americas’ security affairs in the office of the secretary of defense from 2009 to 2010.

Before joining the administration, she was a senior fellow in the international security program at the center for strategic and international studies from 2004 to 2009.

Wormuth received her bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s degree in public policy from the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland.

Reserve Command seeks to recruit recruiters

by Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner
434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


1/31/2014 - GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Tasked with filling the ranks, recruiters are at the start of all Airmen's careers, and now they're looking to pull from those ranks to fill their own.

The Air Force Reserve Command is now actively seeking Airmen who want to serve as full-time recruiters on active-guard and reserve tours, said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Mielke, 434th Air Refueling Wing recruiting flight chief.

"Recruit the Recruiter is a program within AFRC where we're looking for good Airmen from within the wings who want to fulfill this unique role," Mielke explained. "We're trying to get as many people as we can because we have training opportunities coming up."

The recruiters are looking to hire highly motivated staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants.

"As a master sergeant, you can keep your rank," said Mielke. "You used to have to take it off, but now you can come right onto an AGR tour as an E-7, providing you meet all the criteria."

Recruiters have the unique role of attracting and convincing prospective individuals to join the Air Force Reserve, and as such, are often the first impression many civilians have with the military.

And, with that higher level of responsibility comes a higher level of job satisfaction.

"The career definitely has its rewards," said Tech. Sgt. Craig Ridener, 434th ARW recruiter. "It's been really awesome having the opportunity to go out and meet new people, tell them about the experiences I've had and help point them in the right direction."

"I've had four Air Force specialty codes and this by far is the most rewarding job for me because you get that feel-good feeling when you have young men and women that go to basic training and come back from tech school and tell you 'thank you' for what you've done for them and their families," agreed Mielke. "You'd be hard-pressed to beat that."

"If you want something different, if you want a challenge with a higher standard, recruiting is the way to go," Ridener added. "Recruiters have to be motivated, dedicated and willing to do what needs to be done with integrity."

While the rewards may be many, so can be the challenges of a job that is often autonomous and requires a lot of flexibility.

"Recruiting is very demanding; you can put in between 8 hours to 14 hours a day and not even realize it, so you've got to make sure you make time for your family to have a good balance," explained Ridener. "If you're married, your spouse has to be onboard 100 percent because there are going to be nights where you will be home late."

"It's not a traditional 9 to 5 job," added Mielke. "A lot of recruiters work weekends because that's when a lot of people that we need to talk to are out of school or off work."

Because of the unique challenges faced by these gatekeepers to the Air Force, the recruitment process of future recruiters is multi-phased.

"You fill out an application here, it gets submitted to our headquarters, and they will select applicants for an evaluation selection course where the Airman will go to Robins Air Force Base, Ga., for a week to figure out if this is something they're really interested in," Mielke explained. "They'll get a lot of in-depth details about what recruiting is, and they'll find out if it's something they really want to do"

After completing an ESC, applicants can choose to continue on to recruiting technical training school at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. During the 6-week training, future recruiters are trained on public speaking, recruiting processes and selling techniques.

While some may think recruiters are natural extroverts, especially in dealing with the public, Mielke cautioned potential applicants not to let their preconceived notions about the career field or themselves prevent them from investigating a career in recruiting.

"We have all kind of needs in recruiting, and just because somebody is shy doesn't mean they won't be able to get the job done; that's part of what the evaluation and selection course is for," he said. "If somebody is willing to try and overcome some of those fears, we call those blind spots in recruiting, then, we'll help them with that."

While natural extroversion is not a requirement, the willingness to relocate is.

"If they come in here and tell me they only want to serve here at Grissom, chances are they're not going to be picked up," said Mielke. "They have to be willing to go anywhere the Air Force needs them."

And, where the Air Force needs recruiters may not be an Air Force base at all.

"If you're at a satellite office, which means the line recruiter is about an hour to three hours away from their actual boss, you have to make sure you have integrity and are doing the right things," said Ridener.

With that extra responsibility also comes flexibility.

"Out on your own, you can do what works best for you," added Ridener.

As AGRs, recruiters receive all regular Air Force pay and benefits and can retire with an active-duty retirement.

While the perks of the job, pay and benefits might be a bonus for some, Ridener reiterated the best part of the job is helping people.

"Sure, active-duty pay and retirement is awesome, but so is helping others," he added. "So, if you're that person who wants to help people and you're a good salesperson, recruiting may be for you."

Mielke also noted that Federal civil servants, including ARTs, could take a job in recruiting for a single tour and return to their previous jobs under current regulations.

"If you're a full-time civil servant who's also a traditional reservist, or if you're an ART, you can come into our program for three years and still go back to your civil service job because it's activation," he explained.

Airmen interested in an Air Force Reserve recruiting career should contact their local recruiting flight chief.

One of Offutt's own is going to Hollywood

by 2nd Lt. Carly A. Costello
55th Wing Public Affairs


1/31/2014 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- A vocalist in the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band received three yeses from the judges when she tried out for American Idol Oct. 14 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, earning her a ticket to Hollywood Week.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Paula Hunt's advancement to Hollywood was kept secret until the Omaha Auditions aired Thursday night.

Hunt, 20, has been singing since before she could talk, according to her mother, Yolonda Kynard, who put her in the church choir at a young age.

"When Paula was about six or seven months old, she knew the ABC song," Kynard said. "She would get all excited when I would start singing it and she would try to sing along with me. This would just shock and amaze people."

"Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt of standing on a grand stage and performing my music, even if I was just standing on the coffee table in our living room with my little karaoke microphone in hand," Hunt said. "My mom started me singing in church young, and I hit the ground running from there."

Hunt, a Bellevue native and graduate of Bellevue West High School, never stopped singing, and during her senior year in high school she was encouraged to try out for the Air Force Band.

"I learned about the auditions for the Air Force Band my senior year in high school from Master Sgt. Lara Murdzia who heard me sing at a program at my high school," Hunt said. "I wasn't sure if I should join the military. Then I thought about my grandfather who's an Air Force retiree, and I realized that nothing would make me happier than singing and serving my country the best way I know how."

Hunt has served as a member of the Air Force Heartland of America Band since August 2011. She is currently a journeyman vocalist for the band's rock ensemble, Raptor.

"I love performing with the band because I get to work with so many unique and talented people," Hunt said. "I get to perform with others who love music like I do, and I have learned so much about myself and my voice while playing with the Air Force Band. I have grown as a vocalist, something you can't just do anywhere."

And the talents Hunt brings to the band's mission are felt throughout.

"Senior Airman Hunt has brought a youthful exuberance to the band," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Packard, Heartland of America Band first sergeant. "Her fresh perspective is an asset toward strengthening the message we deliver to our younger audience base. She is an amazingly talented vocalist with the potential to be an amazing leader as her rank and responsibilities increase."

Trying out for the Heartland of America Band was one thing, but trying out for American Idol was something Hunt never planned on doing. But with a little help and encouragement from her mother and sister, she decided to give it a try.

"I thought it was a great idea," Kynard said. "Her voice has matured quite a bit, and she is at the point where I would love for her to share her voice with the world."

Even though Hunt had been through auditions before and is use to singing in front of others, she still found herself uneasy before and during her American Idol audition.

"I was nervous, and then I just went for it," Hunt said. "Once I made it to Hollywood Week, I realized that this could be the gateway to me getting to live out those dreams I've had since I was a little girl. I am really excited."

Hunt's advancement to Hollywood came as no surprise to those who knew her.

"I was not surprised because I know what an amazing vocalist she is," Packard said. "We were all very excited for her and wished her the best. We're a small unit and when a member of our 'band family' has an opportunity like American Idol, we strongly support them in their endeavor."

Singing and chasing her dream of preforming for others is not just Hunt's dream, it was also a dream of her mother's, something Hunt thought about while auditioning for American Idol.

"I thought about my mom and her singing, and how her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis took her chance to do all of this away," Hunt said. "I'm doing this for me but also for my family."

And her family is very proud of her, not only for her success with her American Idol audition, but also as an Airman.

"I am very proud of my daughter," Kynard said. "She's matured and become so much more than I could have hoped for. I knew I wanted the best for her, but I didn't know how amazing things could be or get for her until now."