Monday, February 03, 2014

Hagel ends Poland trip with U.S., Polish Airmen

by Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

2/3/2014 - POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spent the last afternoon of his first official visit to Poland by stopping at an air base where U.S. and Polish Airmen work side by side, and later at a historic church where his great grandparents were married in 1882.

At Powidz Air Base in central Poland, Hagel and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak walked together into a hangar, a row of U.S. and Polish Airmen fanning out on each side of the microphone, with the American and Polish flags in the background.

Rising up behind the flags was a hulking, gray C-130 Hercules with sleek F-16 Fighting Falcon positioned at each end of its 133-foot wingspan.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today to wish you all well and to thank you, all of you, Polish and American Airmen working jointly in ... common cause," Hagel said in English, stopping every few sentences so his words could be translated into Polish.

"What you're doing here is important ... for our two countries, it's important for NATO, it's important for freedom, and it is a significant symbol to the world," he said.

President Barack Obama and President Bronisław Komorowski agreed in 2010 to strengthen the U.S.-Polish security partnership through increased cooperation between both nations' air forces. The first full-time stationing of U.S. troops was established in Poland in 2012 with an aviation detachment at Lask Air Base, about 90 minutes from Powidz.

In addition to strengthening cooperation, the aviation detachment allows Poland to host other allied air force elements and serve as a regional hub for air training and multinational exercises.

Hagel called it significant that the two countries are working together, adding that the collaboration will lead to "expanding opportunities for more jointness, more exercises and more opportunities."

As Hagel and Siemoniak completed their remarks, the secretary wished the Airmen continued success and a productive 2014.

"On a more personal note," he told them, "my mother's family is from this part of Poland and when I leave here in a few minutes I'm going to a little village, Kiszków, where my great grandparents were married. So I feel very familiar here and very comfortable."

The Dabrowka Catholic church, nearly an hour by car from Powidza Air Base, sits on the same site in Kiszków where Hagel's maternal grandmother's parents were married. Their Polish names were Tomasz and Katarzyna Kąkolewski, a senior defense official said.

Tomasz Kąkolewski, born in Wierzonka, lived in Turostów near Kiszków and worked as a farmhand. Katarzyna Budnikowska, also recorded as Budzińska, was born in 1861 in Lednogóra. She lived in Gniewkowo near Kiszków and worked as maid.

In 1882 the couple married in the parish church in Dąbrówka Kościelna, which burned down in the 1920s and was later rebuilt. They left for the United States in 1888 and Katie, one of their daughters, was born in Nebraska in 1894. Katie Konkolewski, Hagel's grandmother, eventually married Joseph Dunn, an American of Irish descent.

During his visit to the church Jan. 31 Hagel signed the guest book.

"Thank you for this very memorable opportunity to visit my family's history," Hagel wrote. "It is very meaningful to my family and me. God bless you."

PHAP provides vital assistance to reservists

by Tech Sgt. Carlos J. Trevino
433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

1/31/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- "How many of you have deployed, once, twice, three times," asked Ernest Farmer to 433rd Security Forces Airmen packed into a briefing room here Jan 25.

Farmer, a Psychological Health Advocacy Program outreach specialist with the Air Force Reserve Command, deployed three times as a mental health technician during his Air Force career.

"I wasn't good," he said about his mental state after his return from his deployments. He explained he took out his anger on his employees in his civilian career as an auto parts manager for a national chain after he left the Air Force.

Little things, like an item located out of place at home, made him angry he said. He realized he needed help. His realization led him to want to help today's Reserve Airmen,

"We are here for the reservists. It doesn't matter if you are on orders or not," said Farmer.

The staff of the PHAP assists AFRC Airmen and their families regardless of their deployment status.

Farmer emphasized that if a member uses any of the services from PHAP it is not reported to the member's medical unit.

"Airmen have a place to go where their career won't be jeopardized," he said.

The 433rd SFS recently had members return from a deployment to Afghanistan.

"I didn't know about the services, until now," said Senior Airman April Carrillo, a security forces Airman, who was deployed to Southwest Asia in 2011.

"The PHAP visit was very informative for my next deployment," she said.

PHAP staff locates resources to assist reservists and their family members with various issues. They include: domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide prevention and awareness; financial and anger management, family services, employment, medical, mental health and marital assistance and services for parents and children.

PHAP provides reservists with free confidential assistance around-the-clock. Those services include psychological and mental health services regardless of location, income.

Additionally, they assist in locating resources for Airmen and their family members. They also provide consultation for wing and group leaders who are concerned about the psychological health of their Airmen.

"The good thing about the PHAP is that it can even help me with day-to-day life struggles in the civilian world," said Carrillo, a mother with three daughters ages 16, nine and three.

To reach the PHAP call center and speak to a representative about available resources, call 1-888 536 0626 or e-mail

Looking back: ARPC in the 1990'S

by Mark Nelson
Air Reserve Personnel Center Historian

1/31/2014 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The world was a different place in 1990. The promise of peace had grown with the demise of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. Things were looking up, both for the world at large and Air Force Reserve, despite the conflicts to come.

At the dawn of the decade, Air Reserve Personnel Center leaders were making efforts to merge private-sector achievements with military functions, launching Total Quality Management in July 1990. Based on a private sector model to achieve customer satisfaction through the involvement of everyone in the organization, TQM enabled supervisors and employees to identify quantifiable methods to continuously improve work processes. It was a good focus for a center recently at peace, but peace didn't last long.

That August, Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to strike Saudi Arabia. In response, President George H. W. Bush declared a national emergency and ordered American forces to the Middle East. Named Operation Desert Shield, it quickly became the largest American military deployment since Vietnam.

ARPC's commitment to improve all aspects of the mobilization process paid off as soon as the President decided to deploy troops. The ARPC commander activated a 24-hour Personnel Mobilization Center that same month. Within days, 227 individual mobilization augmentees volunteered for active duty.

A month later, President Bush invoked Title 10 United States Code 673b, known as the "200,000 recall," and announced the mobilization of reserve forces.

After multiple attempts to convince Saddam Hussein to withdraw Iraqi forces from Kuwait, coalition forces launched a huge air campaign in January 1991, called Operation Desert Storm, with more than 1,000 air sorties per day.

The month-long air campaign almost destroyed the entire Iraqi Air Force and inflicted huge losses on Iraqi ground units. In February, a massive two-pronged ground attack swept into western Iraqi and Kuwait, and within three days, the Iraqis asked for peace terms. President Bush ordered a cease-fire Feb. 28.

The center's contributions to this operation were substantial, mobilizing 23,148 reserve members in every category which led to ARPC receiving its third Air Force Organizational Excellence award. In April 1991, the center held a Victory Celebration Day and honored its employees who had been deployed in these operations.

As the Air Force reorganized during Operation Desert Storm, ARPC's status as a separate operating agency changed to field operating agency. Now a FOA, ARPC performed specialized activities beyond the scope of a major command.

After the conflict, political leaders called for reduced military spending and infrastructure. As a result, the U.S. Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended closing Lowry AFB in Denver. Though the base closed officially Sept. 30, 1994, the Air Force retained 80 acres surrounding ARPC's Gilchrist Building. The BRAC action resulted in 72 former Lowry civilians transferring to ARPC, allowing them to continue their federal careers.

As the 1990s went on, ARPC adopted a new organizational emblem, as well as new technologies and processes. In December 1994, the center activated its first voicemail system and, in May 1995, launched the new digital Automated Records Management System. Technicians began converting paper records to an optical disk which greatly reduced the need for storage space. Though lengthy, the process converted all paper documents to digital format.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Ronald R. Fogleman, who served at ARPC from 1974 to 1975 as the chief of rated assignments, activated the Air Force Reserve Command as the Air Forces' newest major command in February 1997 in a move he called "tiered readiness." This action placed AFRC on equal footing with the other major commands. ARPC reorganized again and became a direct reporting unit to AFRC in September 1997.

Meanwhile, in March 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization launched Operation Allied Force in response to Serbian President Siobodan Milosevic's campaign of ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians.

In mid-April, the commander of U.S. European Command, General Wesley Clark, requested 300 additional aircraft and additional support personnel because there were not enough trained military members available to conduct this operation. President Bill Clinton filled that need by recalling more than 33,000 reserve component members up to 270 days.

The Air Force portion of the recall included 25,000 members, focused initially on four Air National Guard refueling units and four others from the Air Force Reserve. During the air campaign, approximately 65 Air Force Reserve weather and intelligence officers, and more than 500 civil engineers, were ordered to active duty. By June, after suffering serious losses, Serbian forces agreed to NATO's terms and withdrew from Kosovo.

For ARPC, Operation Allied Force was a dress rehearsal for later mobilizations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The center staff successfully mobilized almost 800 IMAs and nearly 4,600 reserve unit and ANG personnel. These members represented 40 percent of NATO's air refueling capability and 25 percent of the A-10 attack aircraft.

Despite the changes and challenges of the '90s, the men and women of ARPC overcame and prepared for a new century. The next decade would see the single greatest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, war and social change, and even more transition for ARPC. And again, ARPC and its people were ready.

Editor's Note: Lt. Col. Belinda Petersen and Master Sgt. Christian Michael, ARPC Public Affairs, contributed to this article.

Nigerian, U.S. Air Forces partner for disaster relief seminar

by Capt. Sybil Taunton
U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa

2/3/2014 - ABUJA, Nigeria -- "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

This African proverb was referenced several times during a disaster relief seminar hosted by the Nigerian air force at the National Defense College here, Jan. 27-30. More than 40 senior service members from various career fields and units all over Nigeria attended the seminar to discuss capabilities for contingency operations.

Throughout the week, briefings and discussions covered topics such as logistics, airlift support, medical and public affairs. There were also two scenarios introduced that required seminar attendees to brain storm as teams and use the briefings to develop their own plans for responding to the crises.

"The U.S. has gone through the process and has mitigated disaster. This is a way for us to share knowledge and experience. Ideas have been presented that we haven't thought of," said Nigerian air force Group Capt. F.C.S. Uwakara. "Knowledge is power, and when you have the knowledge you have the power to overcome any circumstance. Seminars like this help us find ways to solve our own problems."

Under the direction of U.S. Africa Command, personnel from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, and the 621st Contingency Response Wing also took part in the seminar by delivering crisis planning briefings on best practices used by the U.S. Air Force during disaster relief operations.

"It is important for us to attend seminars like this with our partner nations," said U.S. Air Force Col. David Poage, USAFE-AFAFRICA Plans, Programs and Analyses Directorate, building partnerships division chief. "By sharing our best practices and learning what works for the Nigerian air force, we enable ourselves as well as our partners to develop more effective crisis response plans for the future."

Members of the Nigerian air force also facilitated discussions and shared personal experiences regarding contingency operations.

"For Nigeria, we have had our own share of disaster relief operations, just like everyone else," said Nigerian air force Group Capt. E.O. Shobande. "This coordination needs to happen. Synergy is very, very important."

State of AFLCMC reveals initiatives, future path

by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

1/27/2014 - BEDFORD, Mass. -- -- Progress, new initiatives and the future direction of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center were the key topics presented to Hanscom Air Force Base members, community and industry partners during the second annual "State of AFLCMC" address here Jan. 23.

Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore II, AFLCMC commander, offered a comprehensive snapshot into the inner workings of today's center, beginning with a progress report.

"Form and function have finally come together," said Moore. "We have certainty and confidence as we move forward into an acquisition revolution."

According to the general, customers are now provided a single point of contact for each system, streamlining the communication process between program managers and users. In addition, the center now functions under a unified weapon systems management construct, creating a holistic cradle-to-grave approach on all levels.

Other items that are a work in progress for AFLCMC include establishing standardized, more efficient processes across the life cycle area of responsibility and energizing cross-portfolio integration through more cost-effective and innovative means. Ideally, these efforts will help deliver combat capabilities at reduced costs.

"We're changing culture," Moore said. "Not only are we delivering capabilities, but also cutting costs. We've accrued more than a billion dollars in cost savings already this fiscal year."

While progress is being made on various fronts within the center, several new initiatives have emerged as well. They include the Joint STARS recapitalization program, sufficiency reviews that consist of a 12-month trial period for future category 1 acquisition programs, cycle time analysis and emphasis on developing a pre-supervisor program.

Referencing the impending Air Force-wide budget cuts, the general emphasized the agile Airmen concept.

"We have to think differently about how we manage our most precious resource -- our Airmen," Moore said. "At least we now have budget certainty and are in a place to better position ourselves."

The AFLCMC enterprise is supported by 77 worldwide locations, and its 26,000-plus workforce is comprised roughly of 52 percent government civilian employees, 25 percent contractors and 23 percent military members.

By harnessing the innovation and ingenuity of the AFLCMC workforce, Moore said he foresees even greater things on the horizon and laid out his expectations for the future. His commander's vision includes an aggressive cost management approach, focus on cyber system security and building stronger industry, academia and government agency partnerships.

In regards to cyber security, "it's our sweet spot," Moore said. "It's our strength and also our vulnerability."

The LCMC enterprise manages nearly 3,000 acquisition and support efforts for the Air Force and international customers and requires partnerships to ensure mission success.

"We've established some really great regional partnerships," Moore said, reflecting on some specific initiatives at Hanscom, including a land swap with Massachusetts that should allow for enhanced safety and security at the Vandenberg Gate. "I have confidence we will continue to improve on existing relationships as well as foster new ones."

The goals of the center for the upcoming year were clear. AFLCMC will remain focused on acquisition and product support for the warfighter, embody a unity of purpose approach with mission and regional partners and stay true to its vision of forging one team to deliver innovative, integrated dominant airpower capabilities.

"It's how you [the employees and contractors serving Hanscom] connect these things together that makes us the best Air Force in the world," Moore said.

Experienced Airmen wanted: Continue your career in the Reserve

by Master Sgt. Shawn J. Jones
Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service

1/27/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Force management programs will push thousands of active-duty Airmen out of their jobs, but opportunities exist in the Air Force Reserve for Airmen who don't want to hang-up their uniforms for good.

"Force management will cost many Airmen their jobs, but not necessarily their careers," said Col. Steve Fulaytar, the Air Force Reserve's director of recruiting. "They can continue their service as Citizen Airmen."

Reserve service provides a benefits package highlighted by programs familiar to most Airmen such as tuition assistance, the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill and the opportunity to work toward a military retirement plan. Additionally, low-cost healthcare insurance is available to most reservists at significantly lower rates than comparable plans, and enlistment bonuses are available for some career fields at specific duty locations.

Airmen transitioning into the Reserve stand to receive many benefits, but they also provide plenty of benefits themselves. New Citizen Airmen who have active-duty experience are valuable to Reserve units because they are mission-ready.

"When an active-duty Airman decides to continue their career in the Reserve, everyone wins," Col. Fulaytar said. "The Airman retains the benefits of continued service, the Reserve gains an Airman who can contribute immediately and the regular Air Force has one less Airman that must be involuntarily separated."

One key difference between active and Reserve service is that Citizen Airmen won't have to relocate to suit the needs of the Air Force. Many reservists spend the majority of their career with one unit and only agree to a permanent change of station when the timing is right for them.

Airmen who are ready to separate don't have to wait until their original enlistment or commission obligation is complete. The Palace Chase program enables Airmen to separate from their active enlistment or commission as long as they continue their service with the Reserve Component.

Airmen should be aware the recruiting process is somewhat different from when they joined the active-duty Air Force. Once Airmen are deemed eligible for Reserve service, they must work with an in-service recruiter to locate a duty location and position that meet their needs.

"Our Reserve units love fully qualified Airmen who can hit the ground running," Fulaytar said. "But finding duty positions for new recruits takes time, so they can help themselves by contacting their in-service recruiter as soon as possible."

Face of Defense: U.S. Marine Earns Kudos in Romania

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Krista James
Black Sea Rotational Force

MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania, Feb. 3, 2014 – It takes special Marines to continue to push for mission accomplishment during deployment, and it takes exceptional Marines to push for mission accomplishment for the upcoming rotation of the Black Sea Rotational Force here.

Marines and sailors with BSRF-14 thrive for mission accomplishment by promoting regional stability and security, creating lasting partnerships with surrounding nations, and serving as the crisis-contingency force in the Eastern European region.

Marine Corps Sgt. Brent Wars, a landing support specialist with BSRF-14, received Marine of the Week honors for his efforts here in contributing to the overall mission of BSRF by supporting the delivery of ammunition for not only BSRF 14.1, but BSRF 14.2 as well, on Jan. 31, 2014.

These efforts help ensure that the incoming unit arrives in-country with an ample amount of ammunition to use for training or to respond in support of its mission.

“He was one of the key members who helped us receive the ammunition flight on Saturday evening,” said Marine Corps 1st Lt. Sophie Funderburk, the assistant logistics officer with BSRF-14. “[The Marines] didn’t finish unloading and storing the ammunition, 16 Air Force pallets in total, until about 1 p.m. the next day. With the weather conditions as bad as they were, he kept a pretty positive attitude the entire time.”

During the delivery temperatures at Mihail Kogalniceanu dropped as low as 5 below zero, accompanied by harsh winds and snowfall.

Wars explained that receiving this ammunition, unloading it, and storing it in the correct place has prepared the next unit for the ammunition portion of their logistical needs, as compared to them having to do it themselves.

“It’s important for the next BSRF,” Wars said. “We’re setting them up for success with all of the ranges and training that they need to do.”

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. David Childress, the embarkation chief with BSRF-14, said Wars is an exceptional Marine.

“He is not a materialistic type of person,” Childress said. “I think putting him up for things like awards will just show him that he’s doing a good job. Whether he won or not, he’s still squared away, he still does his job and he’s still motivated.”

Like Childress, Funderburk agreed that Wars is a well-rounded Marine who takes initiative and can be counted on to accomplish the task at hand.

“He’s one of the best Marines I have,” Funderburk said of Wars. He’s incredibly respectful and professional. He gets his work done and doesn’t complain or question things.

““The ammunition flights were a good example of this because the weather,” she continued. “The time and duration in which they were out there affected a lot of the Marines, but he’s a Marine that just puts his head down and gets it done, and that’s a priceless quality.”

Wars said he’s accomplished many things throughout his career and during his deployment with BSRF-14. Despite his outstanding performance, Wars remains humble and recognizes that his diligence and dedication is what has brought him success.

Whether it be planning to move things from point A to point B, assisting in a large ammunition delivery, or simply being the best Marines and sailors they can be, personnel with BSRF-14 are continuing to set the bar on what it means to have outstanding leadership, warrior spirits, esprit de corps, teamwork and the leadership traits and principles that make the Marine Corps the best fighting force in the nation.

Weapons Airmen bring bombs to fight

by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/3/2014 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- The chill in the morning air and the dark before dawn didn't deter the Airmen from the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron as they prepared training munitions for aircraft participating in combat exercise Red Flag 14-1 here.

By providing realistic combat training in a contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment, Red Flag 14-1 provides pilots with real-time war scenarios and helps ground crews test their readiness capabilities.

"Red Flag is an excellent opportunity for us to receive some seriously realistic training," said Senior Airman Norman Roope, a 366th AMXS weapons load crew member. "We are able to slow down and really focus on proper weapon handling techniques along with safety concerns. It's easy to get stuck in the monotony of a daily routine back home and being here really revitalizes us and shows the big picture of what we are trying to accomplish as an Air Force."

Airmen loaded multiple aircraft with GBU-12 inert munitions in preparation for the day's flying.

"Even though they are inert, the rounds still have guidance systems attached in order to give the aircrew a better training opportunity," said Staff Sgt. Devin Skelton, a 366th AMXS load crew team chief. "I want to ensure my team is mission ready. It's more than just going through the motions; it's about taking the time to ensure each and every munition is ready to go into the fight, regardless of whether it's an inert or live round."

According to Skelton, weapons Airmen don't load bombs as often as he would like to. Loading them almost daily during the exercise therefore offers a chance to gain some needed training.

"Having the opportunity to participate in Red Flag is fantastic training for future deployments," said Senior Airman Jordan Gee, a 366th AMXS weapons three man. "Being able to work side-by-side with other countries to accomplish the mission is a unique occurrence. Plus, multiple aircraft are going to fly in the next few hours and our jets need to be mission ready. We are responsible for ensuring these munitions are attached safely and correctly so that every player can receive proper training once the bombs are dropped."

Training was taken up a notch as faulty brackets caused some problems for maintenance Airmen.

"There was a small problem with some brackets attached to the inert munitions and this gave us the opportunity to work with our fellow maintenance Airmen," Roope said. "The broken brackets were replaced on the spot and we finished attaching the munitions to the aircraft. Loading the inert rounds also helps everyone get the jitters out so when we load live munitions we are confident and prepared to execute the mission flawlessly."

Another great aspect of the multinational exercise is the opportunities Airmen have once their work day is complete.

"Being on temporary duty here for the exercise is great," Roope said. "Standing on the flight line we can see the skyscrapers of Las Vegas and Nellis AFB is amazing. There are so many different kinds of aircraft here as well as the Thunderbirds. I really like to watch the aircraft and ground crews from Britain and Australia doing their jobs because I notice the similarities between our nations. It really shows that no matter where we are from we really are one mission, one fight

U.S., Italy Sign Training Agreement

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2014 – The Defense Department and Italy’s defense ministry have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote joint training and education for peacekeeping operations.

The agreement, signed today at the Pentagon, takes effect immediately and identifies and develops joint training and education as well as policies and procedures.

“I believe this is the first, formal agreement on education and training that the undersecretary of defense of personnel and readiness has ever signed with [Italy’s] Carabinieri,” said Frank C. DiGiovanni, director of DOD’s force readiness and strategy.

“This new MOU, [while] old in association, has a very productive objective to promote peace and stability to areas of the world that are under stress,” added Frederick E. Vollrath, assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management.

Maj. Gen. Ilio Ciceri, Italy’s chief of staff of the Carbinieri General Headquarters, said the support and position of the United States has been a source of “immense pride” for his country.

Reflecting on critical moments of the Carabinieri deployments in peace support operations, Ciceri said the first Carabinieri intervention model was tried in the Balkans in the 1990s, marking the first shared experience with the United States.

It was also deployed in Albania and Kosovo, where it is still active, and in Iraq, he said, adding that it has become a specialized instrument supporting the coalition armed forces with police information gathering and public security.

Such experiences continued in Afghanistan, with the International Security Assistance Force mission, he said, by training and mentoring local police forces.

“The use of our training and deployment techniques in the theaters of operations has always enjoyed an extraordinary support and appreciation by U.S. commanders and by the highest political authorities and soldiers of your country,” he said.

The agreement lasts five years, and could be extended for another five.

Small world: Air Guard father controls airdrop released by his son

Click photo for screen-resolution imageBy Master Sgt. Scott Thompson
182nd Aircraft Wing

GRAYLING, Mich. (2/3/14) - As U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Nick Barth, a loadmaster with the 169th Airlift Squadron, Peoria, Ill., prepares a standard airdrop training bundle on a C-130 Hercules during Exercise Northern Strike on Aug. 6, 2013, he reflects on what his dad told him right before his deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Whenever you are re-supplying troops in the field, put a care package in the bundle that says 'for the JTAC only,'" said Nick Barth quoting his father.

Nick Barth's father is U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Barth, a joint terminal air controller for more than 25 years with the 182nd Air Support Operations Group, Peoria, Ill. Chuck Barth knows all about how important those re-supply airdrop bundles are in the field. However, to receive a personal package only for the JTAC is like gold, he says.
Nick Barth remembers dropping his father off at the Greater Peoria Air National Guard Base for many different deployments and wanted to follow along his family's tradition of serving in the military. With advice from his dad, Nick Barth decided three years ago to join the Air National Guard.

What makes the basic airdrop different is that Chuck Barth will be controlling the drop that his son will be releasing. They have never had the opportunity to work together until Northern Strike at Grayling Air and Gunner Range, Alpena, Mich.

As Nick Barth finishes his checklist, he slides in a handwritten note that he knows his father will receive when he collects the deployed bundle.

During the control with the C-130 at Grayling Gunnery Range, Chuck Barth knows he is not directly speaking to his son, but knows he can relay a message from the pilot.

"Hey Torch, tell the load in number two hi," says Chuck Barth over the radio.

With the bundle safely landing near the desired controlled spot, Chuck Barth heads out to retrieve the bundle, and like habit, checks for any "For JTAC only" packages.

As the Northern Strike exercise continued, another opportunity came up for the Barths to work together: a distinguished visitors day where Chuck Barth would be controlling aircraft at the Grayling Gunnery Range. This time, Nick Barth, who was scheduled for a down day, took the opportunity to watch his father in action so he could get the true understanding of what a JTAC does.

Both Barths might not have another opportunity to work so closely together again, but the memory is one that they can share together for a lifetime.

South Carolina National Guard bridging unit brings back memories for WWII veteran

Click photo for screen-resolution imageBy Sgt. Brian Calhoun
South Carolina National Guard

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (2/3/14) - He was once a young private in the U.S. Army, building pontoons to construct bridges to cross the Rhine River while returning enemy fire during World War II with the U.S. Army 508th Engineers.
More than 70 years later, Walter Herhal never imagined the modernization of capabilities he witnessed Saturday at Wacca Wache Landing on the Waccamaw River observing the S.C. Army National Guard.

Engineers from the 125th Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC), S.C. Army National Guard, were tasked with constructing a temporary floating bridge to ferry equipment and supplies from the landing to Sandy Island to support "Palmetto Thunder", a joint training exercise with local civilian authorities and the South Carolina National Guard.

"Things are much different now than when we built pontoons to carry the supplies across the Rhine," said the 91-year-old Herhal, who now lives in Pennsylvania and was in Murrells Inlet visiting his daughter and son-in-law. "We had to carry the sections ourselves and use rope to pull them together."
The 125th MRBC is equipped with the Dry Support Bridge System (DBS) and can deploy a 40-meter bridge in fewer than 90 minutes during daytime. The bridge sections are palletized and transported by the 600-horsepower Palletized Load System (PLS).

"This scenario provides us with the opportunity to gain real-world experience so that we will be prepared to provide relief to our community," said Pvt. 1st Class Serenia Thatcher, a bridge crew member with the 125th MRBC.

South Carolina is prone to hurricanes, which pose a concern to residents annually with a storm season that runs from June until November. One of the major missions of the 125th MRBC is to provide support and relief to the state coast and neighboring islands.

"We can go out and build our bridges and transport any civilians who need our help," said Thatcher. "My family lives in Charleston and it could be my relatives that are need of help. It makes me feel good to know that I can go out and help and save lives."

Agencies from Georgetown and Horry Counties, along with units from the South Carolina Army National Guard, participated in the training exercise that depicted response efforts in the aftermath of a mock commercial airliner crashing on approach to Myrtle Beach International Airport near Sandy Island.

Due to the location of the simulated crash site and debris field, the South Carolina National Guard was called to train with various support capabilities including rotary aircraft, water purification, security and hazardous materals response. Almost 300 personnel from different units in the state National Guard supported "Palmetto Thunder."

For Herhal, who had seen the bridge engineers surveying the landing the day before the exercise started, he knew he wanted to be present on Feb. 1 to see the bridging units deployed into the Waccamaw River for himself.

"It is really incredible to see how this all comes together and how much different it is when we built bridges for the artillery to cross the Rhine," said Herhal.

For the members for the 125th MRBC, it was an honor for them to meet one of the engineers who had laid the bridge before them. Even though they are not anchoring the sections in the river and securing them by hammering pins and tying ropes, they are still fulfilling the same mission, to provide relief and to save lives.

"It's moments like this between Mr. Herhal and our Guard soldiers that makes a difference," said Brig. Gen. Darlene Goff, Director of Joint Staff for the South Carolina National Guard. "While we provide life saving capabilities and train to accomplish missions, it's really about people. That's what the National Guard is about."

14th AF Airman recognized for force protection efforts

by Maj. Larry van der Oord
14th Air Force Public Affairs

1/27/2014 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Capt. Aaron M. Elliott, 614th Air and Space Operations Center force enhancement duty officer, was recently selected by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations as the Eagle Eyes award winner for 2012.

Brig. Gen. Jay Silveria, 14th Air Force vice commander, presented Elliott with the award during a ceremony at the 14 AF headquarters here Jan. 24, 2014, recognizing him for his outstanding contribution to the Air Force's terrorism and force protection initiative.

Information provided by Elliott allowed U.S. intelligence officials to mitigate a hostile foreign entity's efforts to harm the U.S. Air Force, according to a representative from Vandenberg Air Force Base's OSI Detachment 804.

"Everyone has seen the advertisements that say, 'if you see something, say something,'" remarked Silveria. "Without discussing any sensitive details, I can tell you that Capt. Elliott did that to the highest degree in this particular case."

The Eagle Eyes program enlists the eyes and ears of Air Force members and citizens in the war on terror and hostile domestic and foreign entities.

"When I noticed something odd, I felt it should be in the hands of the professionals," said Elliott. "I feel that this program is a keystone for base and personnel protection. I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award."

The Eagle Eyes program teaches people about the typical activities terrorists engage in to plan their attacks. Armed with this information, people can then recognize elements of potential terror planning and force protection concerns when they see them.

"The program is essentially the neighborhood watch for the Air Force," said the Detachment 804 representative. "We ask Airmen to be vigilant and send us inputs through a variety of methods if they observe something suspicious. As we've seen in Capt. Elliott's case, special things can happen if we look out for each other."

The Eagle Eyes program provides a network of local, 24-hour phone numbers to call whenever a suspicious activity is observed. Airmen and family members are encouraged to learn the categories of suspicious behavior and stay attuned to their surroundings. If you observe something suspicious, send inputs using this "Crimebusters" link, or alert local authorities.

"Actions like Capt Elliott's produce credible intelligence for the OSI, and they really do help save lives," said Silveria. "For that, we owe him our greatest thanks."

67th CW sends 3 to school

by 2nd Lt. Meredith Hein
24th Air Force Public Affairs

1/28/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Three members of the 67th Cyberspace Wing have earned highly competitive and coveted spots to attend higher education.

Capt. Chad McNally, 1st Lt. Derek Worth, and 1st Lt. Michael Yoo, all of the 83rd Network Operations Squadron, are cyberspace operations officers who were selected for slots for advanced education.

"To me, this is a huge step forward to be accepted to something I've been working toward for about two years," said McNally, who has been accepted to an Education with Industry program.

EWI is an exchange program in which officers and Air Force civilians work with civilian corporations in order to improve management, technical and professional capabilities and to aid in career development, according to the Air Force Institute of Technology website.

Following the EWI program, McNally will return to his career field in cyberspace operations.

"The Air Force is only getting smaller, which means we have to work smarter," said McNally. "As we draw down services and reduce our budget without minimizing our mission, we will be forced to find new solutions to old problems. This program will help me bring back standard business practices into the cyber community."

1st Lt. Derek Worth, who currently serves as the Director of Operations for Detachment 3 of the 83rd NOS, is heading to the Air Force Institute of Technology for a master's degree in computer engineering.

"I'm passionate about engineering and improving processes for cyber systems," said Worth. "I want to be involved in the test, procurement and acquisition of cyber systems and use those to create new capabilities for the Air Force."

Worth says that continuing education is important in today's Air Force.

"You never want to be stagnant," said Worth. "You have to keep stepping out of your comfort zone and apply what you've learned every day."

As for advice for others seeking advanced education: "Keep your nose clean, do really well at your current job and everything else will take care of itself," said Worth.

1st Lt. Michael Yoo was accepted to the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

"It's a great honor to be accepted to medical school. As an officer already on active duty, I'm that much more dedicated to the opportunity to go, and it'll make the transition from a cyber to a medical officer that much easier," said Yoo. "I really appreciate the cyber experience I've had on active duty."

Out of 4,100 applicants Air Force-wide, only 240 slots are available to attend medical school. These slots are divided among U.S. Air Force Academy and Reserve Officer Training Corps graduates, civilians going through Officer Training School and active duty members, the latter of which is the clear minority.

Medical school is followed by a four to five year residency, after which Yoo will be a fully-qualified doctor. In the end, Yoo hopes to be a surgeon.

"I like being hands on and making a direct impact on peoples' lives," said Yoo. "The medical corps is always undermanned. I understand the life of active duty members and am willing to stay on."

German village remembers downed American pilots

by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

1/30/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany  -- Three downed American pilots assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe were honored during the 50th anniversary memorial ceremony in Vogelsberg, Germany Feb. 2.

In 1998, when the current monument was unveiled at the crash site, Lt. Col. Monty Hand was asked to represent USAFE at the ceremony. Almost 16 years later, now retired, Mr. Hand, program analyst for USAFE operations, travelled back to the historic site to pay respect to the fallen American Airmen and to lay a wreath commemorating the event.
The history of the downed pilots and the subsequent monument has been 50 years in the making and is an important part of USAFE and Cold War history.

It was a typical cloudy German winter afternoon on Jan. 29, 1964, when three pilots took off on a routine training mission in a T-39 Sabreliner executive jet from Wiesbaden Air Base, West Germany. Shortly after take-off, ground control noticed the jet was off course and headed toward East Germany, well known as enemy air space. After numerous failed attempts by controllers to redirect the aircraft, they were over East Germany.

In a report released by the Soviet Union the aircraft ignored their requests to turn around or land. They also disregarded warning shots by the Soviets, who were "compelled to take measures that brought down the aircraft." The three pilots on board, Lt. Col. Gerald Hannaford, Capt. John Lorraine and Capt. Donald Millard were all killed when the plane crash landed near Vogelsberg, Germany.

It is unclear to anyone involved in the investigation why the pilots flew into East German air space or why they ignored radio communication directing them to turn around.

When the plane impacted the rural country side of the quiet village, it caught the attention of two brothers, Manfred Grosch and Dieter Grosch, as well as their cousin, Gerhard Rothe. The boys were in school at the time but rushed to the crash site as quickly as possible.

Seeing the wreckage of the airplane left a lasting impression on the boys, who built a monument to the pilots shortly after the crash. It was a white cross with pieces of the wreckage at its base. More than 30 years later, in 1998, the brothers wanted to honor the pilots with a more permanent monument, sparking USAFE's initial involvement with the memorial.

"They realized that while living under the rule of the Soviets that there were other people out there," Hand said. "It wasn't a good guy, bad guy thing to them. They just felt that it was very important to commemorate the loss of life as the result of the Cold War."

Besides this being the 50th anniversary of the shoot-down, this day was extra special due to the fact that the brothers reached out and invited the family members of the downed pilots to the ceremony.

"They contacted the family," Hand said, "because not only haven't the Americans forgotten, but the Germans haven't either. It is important to them that the families know that not everybody on the other side of the wall was a bad guy. People cared and felt their loss. There was an impact to their family. Three husbands and fathers were killed."

This is the first time any of the family members have traveled to Germany, and it was their first time meeting the brothers who cared so much about those three Airmen they never met.

Mr. Hand explained that this event is important to USAFE history because this is the most prevalent event for USAFE that was directly tied to the Soviet Union after the Berlin Airlift.

"These were USAFE assigned pilots in a USAFE airplane, who were lost in combat action," said Hand. "Our history demands that we remember these people."

Chief's return to tradition is 'investment in Airmen'

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

2/3/2014 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- To answer questions before four decorated chief master sergeants or high-ranking officers is tough, but to do it in a competition against the best the wing has to offer - that's a whole other level of pressure.

However, that is exactly the type of challenge that defines a 460th Space Wing annual award winner. After exacting uniform inspections and cramming the 500-page Professional Development Guide, representatives from each group have a chance to compete before the board for the right to be called the year's best Airman.

"These boards provide us opportunities as senior leaders to see who our superstars are across the wing; each one of these individuals who are meeting the board are the best from our groups," explained Chief Master Sgt. Craig Hall, 460th SW command chief.

"It's a win-win for both of us. We get to see these folks from a front-row seat, and they get the opportunity to represent themselves, their groups and their squadrons and really let us know who they are," the command chief said.

For Tech. Sgt. Gregory Whittet, 460th Mission Support Group NCO category annual award nominee, this is a chance to articulate his written award package and showcase his specific accomplishments to the board. It is also an opportunity for him to see his equally deserving 460th SW members get a chance to be highlighted for all the hard work they do every day.

"I believe as an NCO, we need to take the time to recognize our Airmen that don't just come to work and earn a paycheck," Whittet said. "We want to take the time and recognize our Airmen that have a huge impact on the Air Force mission. I'm talking about the individuals that step up to the plate every day, day in and day out, and tackle the hard tasks that are put before them."

The chief saw this board process as a chance to bring additional legitimacy to the awards program and get back to the roots that shaped him into the chief he is today.

"This is something that I did as a younger Airman, and I just knew the goodness that comes with it," Hall stated. "It's turning back the clock and bringing back some old traditions. I think this makes us stronger as a wing."

While the board process gives members a greater connection to their awards packages, it also provides Airmen with an opportunity to build camaraderie and get more face time with senior leaders from across the base, the chief said.

Competitors may end up being evaluated by more than 80 years of experience before the board process is over, but board member Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna summed up the board's opinion of the old tradition as "an investment in our Airmen" - an investment that will designate each year's best Airmen.

End of an era at 188th Fighter Wing as Warthogs fly last night training mission

by Maj. Heath Allen
188th Fighter Wing executive officer

2/2/2014 - FORT SMITH, Ark. -- The 188th Fighter Wing again made history as it logged its final night mission training sortie with the Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft Jan. 29 here.

The flight was just one in a series of historical events at the wing since it began a mission conversion last year.

Air Force Maj. Patrick Coggin, flying tail number 188,  and Lt. Col. Toby Brallier, flying tail number 216, conducted the final night-flying mission for the 188th FW in the A-10Cs, also known as "Warthogs." The two pilots conducted a flight lead upgrade certification near Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., before returning to the 188th's Detachment 1 Razorback Range at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, Ark., to register additional close-air support training.

The sortie will be the last manned night-flying mission in 188th FW history. The wing is currently transitioning from a fighter mission to an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance remotely piloted aircraft, MQ-9 Reaper, mission that will also feature a space-focused targeting squadron.

The 188th FW has divested two A-10Cs per month since September 2013. The last two A-10Cs are slated to leave the 188th in June 2014. The unit currently has nine A-10s on station with two more scheduled to leave sometime in February.

"As we get closer to June, we will experience a lot of historical moments at the 188th," said Col. Mark Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander. "It's bittersweet in that we're losing our aircraft but we're excited about the future of our wing and the cutting-edge mission with which the Air Force has entrusted us. We've accomplished some amazing feats in the A-10 in a very short time but the future looks bright for the 188th."

The 188th has flown A-10s since April 2007 and has had assigned aircraft on site since 1953. The 188th has deployed twice in the A-10, including deployments to Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2010 and Bagram AB, Afghanistan, in 2012. They were the two largest deployments in wing history.

June will mark the first time in the unit's 60-year history that no assigned military aircraft will be parked on the flightline at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark.

Portland Air National Guard Base recognized by Energy Trust of Oregon

by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel
142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/3/2014 - PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. -- Emphasizing the benefits of energy saving and sustainability, the 142nd Fighter Wing was recognized by Energy Trust of Oregon during a presentation ceremony held here Thursday.

Speaking before members of the FW and others in attendance, Peter West, Director of Energy Programs for Energy Trust of Oregon, formally acknowledged the Oregon Air National Guard members for their service.

"First of all I want to say thank you from all of us [at Energy Trust of Oregon] for what you do both in combat and in peace time," West said.

Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power.

During the past two years the 142nd FW has been working with Energy Trust of Oregon to implement efficiency standards with projects on exterior lighting, flight line lighting, and aircraft hangar interior lighting and vehicle maintenance facilities.

It was during the ceremony that West, along with his staff presented a cash incentive check to the 142nd FW for $166,324.

"The lighting specific project, will save you [the 142nd Fighter Wing] over a million kilowatt hours in the next 17 years. It will pay off in about six years so that will be more than 10 years of free power," said West.

The benefits to the local community works as a "Double Kicker" as the savings keeps the money invested locally helping to create jobs and reduces electric rates to customers at the same time.

"Nearly 14,000 jobs are regularly employed doing these types of jobs annually," said West.

The collaborative effort between Oregon Energy Trust and the 142nd FW enables the Portland Air National Guard Base to meet a 2005 Executive order, directing a reduction in energy consumption by 30 percent for more than a ten year period.

"Beginning in 2012 we began to work with Energy Trust of Oregon to implement many of the changes with lighting, which includes changing over 1,000 fixtures," said Col. Rick Wedan, the 142nd Fighter Wing commander.

Almost immediately the results began to make a difference in energy computation.

"In 2013 we [Portland Air National Guard Base] spent over half million dollars in electricity at this base, yet we saved more than $60,000 through the upgrades we accomplished," said Wedan.

The savings in energy and cost to tax payers also helped reduce the carbon footprint of the Portland ANGB.

"Over 385 tons of carbon dioxide emissions were reduced in 2013 as well," said Wedan.

The cash incentive will allow for future projects here at the Portland ANGB.

Wedan also described how the incentive check will be used.

"Now we can move ahead with aggressive interior lighting projects, and also begin enhancing our HVAC control systems in our buildings," he said. "We want to thank Energy Trust of Oregon for helping us do our part to help us decrease our demand on our very precious environmental resources."