Military News

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Airman dies on JBER

Release Number: 030214

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Senior Airman Katrina M. Jackson, patrolman with the 673d Security Forces Squadron, was pronounced dead Saturday, Feb. 15.

The 22 year-old native of Universal City, Texas, died from injuries sustained from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound while on JBER. The exact circumstances surrounding her death are being investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigation.

Jackson joined the Air Force in Sept. 2010. She attended basic and technical training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, and arrived at JBER in May 2011. Some of her awards include Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and Air Force Good Conduct Medal.

A memorial service was today at 2 p.m. in Chapel 1 on JBER-Elmendorf.

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson a joint war-fighting installation made up of 16,000 Airmen, Soldiers and Civil Servants supporting and defending U.S. interests in the Pacific theater and around the world. For more information visit, the JBER official Facebook Page at or call (907) 552-8986.

Spartans demonstrates quick response at Cobra Gold 2014

by Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
4-25th IBCT Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Spartan paratroopers with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, demonstrated their unique ability to rapidly deploy and conduct a forced-entry airborne assault during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014 at the Khok Kathiam Royal Thai Air Force Base in Lopburi, Thailand, Saturday.

Hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand, Exercise Cobra Gold, now in its 33rd iteration, brings together militaries from eight different nations to improve interoperability among nations that share common interests in peace, security and economic stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Participating countries in CG14 include the United States, Kingdom of Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia. China, participating in Cobra Gold for the first time, was also included in the exercise as an observer nation.
Exercise Cobra Gold 2014 incorporated all military branches from the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand.

For its part in CG14's fictional scenario, the 4/25th IBCT's mission was to conduct an airfield seizure to allow for follow-on air transport of much needed vaccines and supplies to an urban area riddled by an outbreak of a deadly influenza virus and civil unrest.
In addition to civil problems, the relatively small indigenous defense force at the airfield was overmatched by a violent, heavily armed group of combative militia that had its own malicious intent for the airfield.

During the very early morning hours and in the darkness of the arctic Alaska air, approximately 400 Spartan paratroopers, joined by several service members with the Marines and Air Force, along with 20 of their airborne brethren with the Royal Thai Armed Forces, boarded five Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

They embarked from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on a 17-hour, non-stop flight, complete with two aerial refueling missions, and an in-flight parachute rig.

Atmospheric conditions at the assault site were strikingly different than in Alaska. When the Spartans jumped out over Khok Kathiam in the late morning hours, ground temperatures were at 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 80 percent humidity.

Many Spartans reported feeling a sudden rush of moist heat inside the aircraft the moment the exit doors opened. The drop zone, a collection of coarsely turned crop fields adjacent to Khok Kathiam's runway, lay ahead.

Despite the high temperatures and humidity, the mission commenced. It was a safe airborne operation resulting in no serious injuries. The C-17s made several passes to unload the paratroopers and heavy-equipment. Open canopies filled the sky as they drifted downward.

Paratroopers' movements on the assault site were faced with challenging terrain, weather and heavy combat loads; but with a little additional time, the unit was able to clear their objectives and complete the key components of the mission.

Army Col. Matthew McFarlane, the 4/25th IBCT's commanding officer, said he was proud of his unit's accomplishments at CG14, as they built relationships and improved interoperability with armed forces from partnering nations.

"We are ready any place, any time, to do anything, and those three things are uncertain, but what is certain is we are going to do it with somebody else, and that's our close allies," McFarlane said. "So that's what our Soldiers are learning about during this exercise."

Royal Thai Armed Forces Maj. Surachart Ruanwong, a leader with the Royal Thai Army, and one of the 20 Thai service members who jumped into CG14, said he enjoyed his time training alongside American paratroopers. He was also thankful for his group's recent trip to JBER where they visited the Spartan Brigade and jumped with its paratroopers onto the Malemute Drop Zone.

"I learned many things, new techniques and new doctrine," Ruanwong said.
Army 1st Lt. Richard Payne with the 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, and member of the 4/25th IBCT's advanced echelon said working together with the RTAF has been a great experience. He said he has learned a lot about working with U.S. allies to accomplish missions.

"It's the first time I've ever done something like this, and getting to see the backside role of how something like this actually happens," he said. "There's a lot that goes into it."

Army Capt. William Longwell, a future-operations officer with the 4/25th IBCT, said the Spartan Brigade benefits from the multinational exercise by providing paratroopers with operational experience in a full-scale airborne assault and airfield seizure.

"For 4-25, all the way down to the lowest level, it helps us with the partnership with fellow countries, getting used to working with different nations, getting used to working with their military, and how they do things, and introducing them to how we do things," Longwell explained. "It helps all Soldiers on all different levels, all the way from our brigade commander, all the way down to the lowest-level private."

Spartan paratroopers wrapped up their training at Khok Kathiam the morning of Feb. 16. The whole event culminated with a traditional airborne wing exchange ceremony at the RTAF Special Warfare School in Lopburi. Paratroopers from each nation pinned their home country's airborne wings on their allies' chest as a symbol of their airborne brotherhood.

The Spartans' final stop in the Kingdom of Thailand was at the U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, where they boarded U.S. Air Force C-17s and departed for their home station.
Upon arrival, paratroopers jumped out and landed on JBER's Malemute Drop Zone.

Cobra Gold 2014 further validates the Spartan Brigade's constant state of readiness and its capability to quickly amass combat power in response to crisis contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Spartan training will continue as the brigade maintains readiness by prepping for an arctic airborne operation north of the Arctic Circle as well as an upcoming Joint Readiness Training Center rotation at Fort Polk, La.

Children learn about dental health with 673d Dental Squadron

by Air Force Staff Sgt. John Wright
JBER Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- For many children, dental health awareness begins at a young age with the help of the Tooth Fairy. A child leaves a recently lost tooth under their pillow; the Tooth Fairy takes it during the night and replaces it with a reward.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and the 673d Dental Squadron at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hospital is encouraging parents to emphasize dental hygiene.

"The goal of this yearly campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of oral health," said Air Force Capt. Courtney Burrill, 673d DS general dentist.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cavities have increased for toddlers and preschoolers in recent years. An estimated five percent of children under the age of six, roughly 300,000 U.S. children, experience tooth decay. Another 15 percent, roughly 1.5 million children, experience tooth decay.

Burrill, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., emphasized dental hygiene as critical to long-term dental health.

"Getting children excited about their teeth, the dentist and their overall health is so important," Burrill said. "Establishing good habits at a young age helps kids get the right start to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums."

Burrill pointed to assumptions many parents make that can result in neglect of proper dental hygiene in children.

"Many adults assume baby teeth don't really matter because they are going to fall out anyway," Burrill said. "This couldn't be further from the truth. Unhealthy habits and tooth decay during childhood will lead to an unhealthy oral environment for permanent teeth."
The dentist offered advice on how to avoid the common "dreaded dental visit" mentality many children form at a young age.

"Bringing children to the dentist for only minimal care or on an emergency basis can end up being quite traumatic," Burrill said. "With this infrequent type of dental care, children learn to only associate the dentist with pain or unpleasant experiences. Familiarizing children with a dentist from a young age, and on a routine basis, allows children to establish a positive relationship with the dentist."

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends dental visits by the first year of a child's life.

The 673d DS is working to create a positive outlook on dental experiences for children; dental personnel recently visited the child development centers on JBER dressed as a large toothbrush and a tooth fairy, and taught dental hygiene lessons.

"Our goal with dressing up is to simply have fun and let the children associate dental health with a positive experience," Burrill said. "Learning about their teeth from a giant toothbrush will likely be more memorable than a boring dentist lecturing them about their oral health."

The 673d DS doesn't see dependent patients, but plays an active role in the dental hygiene education of parents and children.

Squadron personnel encourage parents to take a close look at their children's
dental health and to ensure a proper dental care plan is established through their civilian provider.

JBER’s joint capabilities support Thai partners

by Air Force Staff Sgt. William Banton
JBER Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The 3rd Wing validated its joint and combined capabilities this week when five U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, including one from the 517th Airlift Squadron "Firebirds," left Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for Thailand to airdrop paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, to the joint and combined exercise Cobra Gold 2014.

Cobra Gold, an annual exercise providing tactical, humanitarian and civil assistance, brings together multiple nations cooperating in areas of common interest to support the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

"This is the 33rd iteration of Cobra Gold and as we look at the U.S. continuing to partner with our Pacific allies, Thailand in particular, this exercise is what makes it happen," said Army Capt. Zachary Miller, future operations planner for Cobra Gold.

"From the top down, this exercise was important to demonstrate to the Thai allies, our friendship and U.S. security cooperation," said Air Force Col. Tony Schenk, mission commander from the 437th Operations Group, Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

The Air Force and Army planners started working in October to execute the mission, Schenk said.

The planners looked at everything from how to keep Soldiers hydrated and rested on an 18-hour flight, to the gear needed to leave Alaska and operate in the much different environment of Thailand. These considerations were important because the U.S. contingent departed subfreezing arctic conditions and then jumped into a humid tropical environment, Miller said.

The planning also involved integrating airlift assets from three Air Force wings: the 3rd Wing from JBER; the 62nd Airlift Wing from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and the 437th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston. The wings were from separate major commands and operating within multiple geographic combatant commands. Army personnel coordinated diplomatic clearances for multiple countries and worked with Japanese and Thai officials to coordinate air space. To reach the final destination, the pilots also had to accomplish multiple air refuelings.

"The Air Force, the C-17 crews specifically, had the opportunity to work directly with our partners, the 4/25, to project that global power and to demonstrate exactly what our airborne brethren bring to the fight - as well as our ability to deliver them worldwide," said Air Force Capt. Christopher Prentiss, the lead Air Force mission planner, from the 437th OG.

"This exercise was our opportunity to demonstrate, in conjunction with the Army, our capability to go anywhere in the world and provide humanitarian and disaster relief," Prentiss said. "These exercises translate into real-world operations such as the 3rd Wing's participation in Operation Tomodachi - which showcased the C-17s global airlift capability."

Schenk described the relationship between the Air Force and Army as one of synergy. The colonel highlighted the importance of continuing to develop the relationship with Army counterparts and the 4/25th IBCT.

"They can't do what they do without us and vice versa," Schenk said. "The reason we have those airplanes is to demonstrate those capabilities. We have crew members that always strive to be outstanding and the Army has Soldiers whose goal is to be outstanding," Schenk said. "In this particular exercise, we strove for perfection together and I think that Col. (Matt) McFarlane (4/25 IBCT commander) and I had a great relationship and we executed it together."

McFarlane stated his pride in the accomplishment of the paratroopers who faced the challenges of traversing the globe and jumping into tropical conditions and then, with little sleep, traveling back to jump into Alaska.

"I couldn't be more proud to serve with these paratroopers and work with this Joint team," McFarlane said. "What you may not have captured when on the aircraft, is the amount of work the loadmasters and pilots put into the two aerial (refueling missions) and their updates to work with our team to make sure we can synchronize the jump based off of changes that happened in the air."

The unceasing dedication supplied by the Air Force crews, in both the C-17s and the KC-135s, coupled with the tireless efforts of the 4/25 IBCT, led to an incredibly successful joint strategic airdrop exercise with the forces of Pacific partner nations.

More than the show; F-16 demo team

by Capt. Tamara Fischer-Carter
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - SINGAPORE -- 
Eleven Airmen from the F-16 Demonstration Team at Misawa Air Base, Japan, arrived here Feb. 5, bringing with them a heart-racing F-16 demonstration in support of the 2014 Singapore International Airshow. 
"We train to safely deploy and execute a single-ship F-16 demonstration," said Capt. Ryan Worrell, Pacific Air Forces F-16 Demonstration Team commander and pilot. "Our primary region is the Pacific region from India to Alaska with many stops in between."
Despite the fact that the demonstration is just nine minutes long, the team is on constant parade and always on duty. 
In order to be a part of the team, the aircrew has to go through a 10-sortie validation for the pilot and safety observer, and another certification with spin-up time for the maintenance crew.
To showcase that training, the team performs not only in the sky, but on the ground.
During the preflight show, each crew member executes precise facing movements while they perform their preflight checks to demonstrate the professionalism of the Air Force.
"It takes a great deal of practice, precision, and accuracy and we're hard on each other to get it right," said Staff Sgt. Shane McGowen, one of the three crew chiefs from 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
The team practices once every two weeks and performs an average of 14 shows a year. They have performed in Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and many locations in Japan. 
Being able to show the power and maneuverability of the F-16 to international audiences and traveling to different countries is a benefit the team members appreciate.
"It's a unique opportunity to build good relationships with [the people of Singapore] and other countries and be able to meet different people and put on a good show," said Staff Sgt. Ben Smard, 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief.
Staff Sgt. Blake Wendt, 35th AMXS avionics engine specialist, agrees, "It gives us a chance to get out to different locations and experience different cultures all while showcasing aerial demos,"
"It's been fun; a lot of long hours and hard work but it pays off because we get to experience Singapore and meet other countries and see how they do business," said Wendt.

JBER intramural sports always has events to get you moving

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
JBER Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARSON, Alaska -- As the days get longer, many people start to look for more things to do. One of the options is intramural sports.

There are many opportunities to participate in intramural sports this year on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The sports being offered are volleyball, arctic skills competition, racquetball, skeet shooting, wrestling, swimming, softball, combat cross-country, golf, soccer and flag football.

Although intramural sports are widespread throughout the United States, there are limitations on who can participate here on JBER.

"Only active-duty Air Force and Army, dependents of active duty 18 years or older, Department of Defense civilians assigned to units on JBER, Guard and Reserve personnel on active orders for 30 plus days, and tenant units assigned to JBER are allowed to participate in the Intramural Program," said Kevin Neely, 673d Force Support Squadron intramural sports aide.

"Active-duty females have the option of playing on a women's or men's team, if women's league exists, but not both. Female family members must play on a women's team if there is a women's league."

All the sports and competitions take place on base. Indoor sports take place either in the Buckner Physical Fitness Center or the Elmendorf Fitness Center.

Depending on the sport, outdoor events take place on the fields at Buckner or on the fields located on JBER-Elmendorf, with the only football field being there.

Someone looking for something to do in the evenings or the weekend should check out the Intramural Sports Program.

"Sports are typically scheduled Monday through Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m. at Buckner Physical Fitness Center and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Elmendorf Fitness Center or fields on JBER-Elmendorf," Neely said. "Some sports such as soccer or football also utilize Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday midday and/or early afternoon timeslots."

Neely also said the dates for the competitions are not set in stone but they do their best to keep them in the general timeframe.

But why would someone even want to participate in intramural sports?

"It gives an opportunity for Airmen and Soldiers to compete in a competitive sport and create unit esprit decorps," Neely said. "The sports program embodies key elements of comprehensive Airmen and Soldier fitness - 'building physical fitness, strengthening resilience, fostering teamwork and camaraderie' - while ultimately offering them positive activity choices during down times, thereby reducing opportunities to engage in high-
risk opportunities."

Of course with any competition there is the prize.

"Post-season tournaments usually have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd team and individual 1st place trophies.

"Of course, some participants are satisfied with bragging rights alone for being victorious," Neely said.

The intramural sports on base have differing popularity based on the service represented.
"Softball nearly always has the greatest participation for the Army with almost 40 teams including men's and women's leagues, and volleyball [has] the least participants," Neely said. "For the Air Force, volleyball is typically a high-participating sport with softball as a close second and indoor soccer as the least."

The Intramural Sports team would like to see more people participate - both to increase the camaraderie of work centers, and for all the benefits coworkers and friends would get playing the sport together.

"Ideally, it would be great to have every squadron and unit participate with at least one team, although multiple teams are allowed," Neely said. "When there are few teams in the league, it gets mundane for the participants playing the same team all the time."

"The adult sports program is a great benefit offered for all DoD members, 18 years and older," Neely added. "Most sports do not require fees and there is a great range of sports available to maximize the interests of the base population.

"Sports can offer an enjoyable time with coworkers and friends to build cohesion, enhance individual physical fitness, develop confidence and self-esteem."

The Intramural Sports Program personnel can't make it to every shop on base so they use Sports Reps within the unit or squadron.

These representatives share information with units about starting dates, coaches' meetings, standings, etc.

"Even if your unit doesn't have a team, you can still be put in the player's pool," said Senior Airman Sarah Trachte, 673d Comptroller Squadron and Wing Staff Agency's sports rep. "A player's pool allows you to be placed on a team with an available opening, which is a great way for military members to build friendships outside of their unit."

If you want to volunteer and know the sport but can't find a team and don't want to be put in a player's pool, Neely offers another way to participate.

"Fiscal Year 14 has been a unique challenge as funding for sports officials has fallen short for the core programming," Neely said. "If anyone is interested in volunteering to be an official, it would be very much appreciated."

PACAF commander visits JBER

by Air Force Capt. Angela Webb
673d ABW PAO

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARSON, Alaksa -- Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, spent the holiday weekend with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Arctic Warriors and community members during a visit here Feb. 14 to 16.

During his visit, General Carlisle met with JBER leadership and held an in-depth discussion on the current and future outlook of the Air Force.

"We are in tough times," General Carlisle said. "But when we look back at the legacy of those before us and how they produced the greatest Air Force in the world, all I want is for us to continue that legacy. Not to let [down] those who came before us and this is where I need your help."

The general spoke about current force management initiatives and the importance of engaging on all levels of leadership throughout the process. He reinforced how the best solutions and ideas would come from not those in his position, but from those in the field. He also talked about budget challenges and how it will affect Air Force modernization, readiness and care of the force.

"We need to address the capability and credibility of our force in the future," the general said. "We will get to a point where we will do less with less. We need to do less, but the right less."

In addition to engaging with base leadership, General Carlisle honored the 12 Alaskan Military Service Persons of the Year. He met the honorees at a breakfast earlier in the day and further recognized their achievements as the keynote speaker during the 37th Annual Salute to the Military hosted by the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska and the Anchorage community, Feb. 14.

"These outstanding men and women represent the great leadership and dedication to continuing our legacy as the greatest military in the world," General Carlisle said. "They spend their time helping their unit and various organizations and don't expect anything in return, but they deserve the recognition tonight and always."

After the speech, more than 300 guests were on their feet to celebrate the 12 SPOY members who represented each Active Duty, Guard and Reserve branch in and surrounding the Anchorage area.

In the event's program, a quote summed up General Carlisle's visit and how those recognized are well on their way to continue the heritage of those who came before.
"Duty, Honor, Country: those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be," said Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who commanded Allied forces in the Pacific Theater during World War II and was Army Chief of Staff from 1930-1935.

JBER units innovate to rapidly deploy F-22s

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Mize
JBER Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- JBER's 3rd Wing is developing a program to drastically decrease the time it takes to deploy the world's most advanced stealth fighter jet, the F-22 Raptor.

Originally developed in concert with the 477th Fighter Group, Air Force Reserve, the plan will provide combatant commanders with a major strategic advantage, when fully implemented.

"Rapid Raptor is an ability to rapidly deploy a small set of our forces ahead of the major flow of assets to get to the fight quickly," said Air Force Maj. Christopher Lazidis, 3rd Operations Support Squadron. "It takes the next step in transforming us into a more flexible and expeditious option for the combatant commanders."

Essentially, Rapid Raptor will allow F-22s to join the fight without being deployed.

"Past Raptor deployments operated under the constant watch theory, where the aircraft are already pre-positioned in the area of responsibility," said Air Force Capt. Christopher Nary, 3rd OSS. "This new concept may allow a drawdown of pre-positioned assets, relying on the flexibility of a smaller footprint for austere operations while achieving the same effects."

This capability would also allow the F-22s to deploy faster, Nary said.

"The timeline to deploy F-22s and, more importantly, their support equipment and personnel, is significantly reduced," Nary said. "Identifying cargo and personnel requirements ahead of time reduces the normal processing time, allowing for a quicker deployment of assets."

This is the first time F-22s have been involved in the concept of deploying a self-sustaining package of aircraft, although other services have used the tactic.

"This is not an entirely new idea, and we are still working on the capability," Lazidis said. "What we are doing at JBER is modifying it so it fits the Raptor."

As with any initiative of this magnitude, developing the Rapid Raptor program has been a challenge.

"This new innovation of airpower has not been without its hurdles," Lazidis said. "Even aboard the large C-17, finding the right balance between people, munitions and maintenance equipment in the limited cargo space has been a tremendous challenge. The 3rd Maintenance Group personnel have pored over dozens of load plan options, ensuring they have the best available personnel and equipment to make the mission a success."

Once it's perfected, Rapid Raptor could change the way F-22s fight wars.

"There are many people hard at work to make this capability a reality," Lazidis said. "Ideas that started more than two years ago are being shared and expanded on. With help from the 673d Air Base Wing to get out the door, the 3rd Wing hopes to get the F-22 to the fight rapidly. It's why we bought the plane, to have it on the leading edge of the fight. So we need a way to get it to the fight for night one of the war."

A legacy of love, comfort, connection

by Staff Sgt. Jessica Haas
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/18/2014 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- In March of 2007, the lives of the Eades' family were tragically changed forever. Their beautiful 6-month-old daughter, Jenna Lynne, was fatally injured and their oldest daughter, Hayley, was critically injured when a truck violently rear-ended the vehicle they were riding in.

Hayley miraculously survived her injuries, but the impact was too much for little Jenna. Jenna's parents always called her 'Jennabear', and this inspired them to name this organization the Jennabears Foundation©.

The foundation, founded by one of the Wolf Pack's very own Tech. Sgt. William Eades, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flight line expediter, is dedicated to help families and children in their time of need.

"During our hospital stay, we noticed many children who were hurt and scared, yet, had nothing to comfort them - at times, not even a parent," said Eades. "Six weeks later, we brought the bears Hayley received during her stay to those children... they loved them!"

The foundation provides these cuddly sources of comfort to those needing it most, no matter what the cause of their pain.

"Whether it is a child who was seriously hurt in a car crash, a child battling cancer, or a parent who loses a child, we give them a Jennabear for comfort," said Eades. "Our Jennabear's are super soft, big and meet hospital criteria for infection control."

The foundation also delivers Jennabear Trauma Baskets to the older children including a Jennabear and other various items such as portable cd players, DVDs, puzzles, games and more.

"Current and ongoing projects include an operation wish-list where the foundation will bring the necessities, like toiletries, to parents in hospitals while their child is under care," said Eades. "We also adopt seven city-of-Surprise streets for clean-up by Team Jennabears, conduct a Jenna's Bedtime Reading Center, and have a Jennabears wagon station where children can take a trip around the hospital."

While this foundation receives plenty of support from volunteers in the U.S., the 8th AMXS is also very involved with the charity.

"It is important to us to support this charity because Tech. Sgt. Eades and his wife faced such a horrible tragedy - yet they turned it into a something positive: a legacy for Jenna," said Senior Master Sgt. Seth Rector, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. "Her name and memory live on through this foundation. It reaches not only military families who may be facing a tragedy, but the entire community since every child in the ICU will be given a bear. I cannot think of any better cause to support."

The feeling is mutual throughout the squadron, with many Airmen taking initiative to support their fellow wingman's foundation.

"We in the 8th AMXS do as much as we can to support Jennabears," said Capt. Anthony Tuero, 35th AMU officer-in-charge. "Every Friday and Saturday night at the AMXS hooch, we place out donation jars for which many people contribute to. You will also see Jennabears patches all over the AMXS jerseys worn by the many supporters in our squadron. There is also a club called the 'Wild Country Boys' within the squadron who have championed Jennabears and will do fundraisers to help out the foundation like back in November when they hosted a big barbeque event."

With support like this, the foundation continues to grow and expand on its capabilities, just like the founders had hoped.

"We hope to become large enough one day to fulfill our goal of building a playground for children with disabilities," said Eades. "But, our whole reason for this foundation will never leave us - it's all about the Jennabears that we will be giving as a symbol of love, comfort, and a connection through our daughter Jenna."

There are many ways to entertain children in Anchorage

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett
JBER Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A 4-year-old screamed with glee as she and her father slid down a small hill in their housing area on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The slope was practice for the sledding hill at the Hillberg Ski Area, just one of the many places for children to do fun things while stationed here.

The holidays are long since over and spring is still a way off. So what to do to keep the children entertained?

"This time of year, there's ice skating, ice fishing, skiing, snowboarding, sledding and more," said Susan Dojka, 673d Force Support Squadron International Tickets and Travel manager and native of Roscommon, Mich.

"You can go up to the Hillberg ski area. We offer tickets to Hilltop ski area in Anchorage and Alyeska Resort in Girdwood.

"All three offer lessons for children. Hillberg will probably be your best bet to start off with, because it's a smaller hill - less intimidating for small children. It's also a shorter distance to the lodge where they can get warm," she said.

Community centers on base offer a variety of activities as well. Some of the recreational opportunities include mini golf, a golf simulator, an archery simulator, wall climbing, martial arts classes, dance classes, massages and more.

"The Arctic Oasis community center's a great place for birthdays and other events or special occasions," Dojka said.

ITT also offers discounted tickets to indoor water parks like H2Oasis, select movie theaters, play studios and more for families with small children looking for fun activities.
"In the summer, we offer train trips and cruises," she said. "Families can get close up with icebergs or with wildlife. There's a reindeer farm in Palmer. It's really fun to be out there, especially in the spring time when babies are being born; my kids enjoy it because the deer are very playful and enjoy children."

Much of what's offered in Alaska is available year-round.

"There's a museum downtown with a lot of hands-on learning activities for children and a Smithsonian exhibit that recently opened," Dojka said. "It's a great place for kids to learn while they play. We sell tickets for the zoo and annual passes for the Wildlife Conservation Center."

Other events include fishing, hiking, camping, carnivals, black light 3D mini golf, Kenai Fjords National Park guides, shopping and entertainment in downtown Anchorage in the Bear Square, Sea Life Centers, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and various theatres.

"Alaska's a good place to go hiking and camping," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Keller, 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "My daughter goes to dance practice at the community center. We sometimes go to hockey games. We go to the fair and Fur Rondy when those are available. We like to camp at the lake on base, or if we have time, in Seward."

Additional outdoor activities include biking, boating, watching dog sledding or the Iditarod, horseback riding, walking various trails, the Alaska State Fair, the Alyeska Spring Carnival, and blueberry and mushroom festivals.

If outdoors isn't your bag, Anchorage and the surrounding areas have paint-your-own ceramics studios; museums offer hands-on craft days; and institutions like the
Alaska Native Heritage Center often host activity days.

The Kennecott and Two Rivers youth centers also offer a variety of programs and sports activities for youth. The Kennecott Youth Center hosts a science club, a leadership club, and a running club which also participates in local races.

They offer paintball for ages 5 to 16.

"We have 10 to 20 different programs a year," said Deandra Wood, youth programmer at Kennecott Youth Center. "Year-round, we never stop doing sports."

For more information, call ITT at 552-0297, the Arctic Oasis community center at 552-5829 or the youth centers, at 384-1508 or 552-2266.

Thousands ramp up for upcoming cooperative exercise: Alaska Shield, Arctic Edge

by Tech. Sgt. John Gordinier
ALCOM/JTF-AK Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- It happened in 1964 and it could happen again; a massive earthquake causing destruction, tsunamis, utilities and communications failures. For the 50th anniversary of the 9.2 magnitude earthquake, thousands of local, state and federal personnel will participate in a cooperative exercise called Alaska Shield March 27 - April 3.

The exercise scenario will mirror a situation similar to the events of the Great Alaskan earthquake of 1964.

The federal support of this exercise is known as Exercise Arctic Edge 14, which provides an opportunity for U.S. Northern Command, Joint Task Force - Alaska and supporting military units to practice emergency response procedures in conjunction with federal, state and local agencies.

If a state disaster occurs, when can DoD assist?

During natural disasters, DoD assets are employed to assist civil authorities only upon request and this support is called Defense Support of Civil Authorities or DSCA.

The DoD maintains many capabilities and resources that can be made available upon request of the governor of a state or territory, said Col. Kevin Masterson, U.S. Northern Command liaison officer to Joint Task Force - Alaska. If an incident occurs that exceeds or is anticipated to exceed state, local, or tribal resources, the federal government may provide resources and capabilities to support the response upon approval from the Secretary of Defense.

"DSCA is bringing military forces to bear, not in an offensive capability within the U.S., but in a support capability after a disaster," Masterson explained.

During DSCA, resources and capabilities can include logistics, command and control, search and rescue, emergency management, medical, communications and planning to name a few, he added. Civil authorities only ask for assistance when local and state resources and capabilities are exhausted because DoD assets are expensive.

"The Federal military is very expensive, so they are the last in and the first out," Masterson said. "When there is no more lifesaving or serious property damage to be prevented, or when local and State agencies have the ability to sustain life, DSCA will stand down."

DSCA is a unity of effort benefit and during the exercise another unity of effort benefit will be exercised--the Dual Status Commander.

A Dual Status Commander is typically a senior National Guard officer who may serve in two statuses simultaneously, Federal and State. The State governor can appoint a DSC for his or her State with approval of the Secretary of Defense. In State status, the DSC is a member of the State chain of command and, on their behalf, exercises command of assigned State National Guard forces. In Federal status, the DSC is a member of the Federal chain of command and, on their behalf, exercises command of assigned Federal military forces.

Currently, there are three that have the training in the State of Alaska, Masterson said. For this upcoming exercise, one will be chosen to be the DSC.

Rapid Raptor: getting fighters to the fight

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Mize
JBER Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's 3rd Wing is developing a program that, when fully implemented, will drastically decrease the time it takes to deploy the world's most advanced stealth fighter jet and provide combatant commanders with a major strategic advantage.

The Rapid Raptor program pairs F-22 Raptors with a C-17 Globemaster III loaded with the equipment and personnel needed to remotely maintain and operate the jets. JBER is unique in the fact that it the only U.S. military installation that houses both airframes.

"Rapid Raptor is an ability to rapidly deploy a small set of our forces ahead of the major flow of assets to get to the fight quickly," said Air Force Maj. Christopher Lazidis, 3rd Operations Support Squadron. "It takes the next step in transforming us into a more flexible and expeditious option for the combatant commanders."

Essentially, Rapid Raptor will allow F-22s to join the fight without being deployed.

"Past Raptor deployments operated under the constant watch theory, where the aircraft are already pre-positioned in the area of responsibility," said Air Force Capt. Christopher Nary, 3rd OSS. "This new concept may allow a drawdown of pre-positioned assets, relying on the flexibility of a smaller footprint for austere operations while achieving the same effects."

This capability would also allow the F-22s to deploy faster, Nary said.

"The timeline to deploy F-22s and, more importantly, their support equipment and personnel, is significantly reduced," Nary said. "Identifying cargo and personnel requirements ahead of time reduces the normal processing time, allowing for a quicker deployment of assets."

This is the first time F-22s have been involved in the concept of deploying a self-sustaining package of aircraft, although other services have used the tactic.

"This is not an entirely new idea, and we are still working on the capability," Lazidis said. "What we are doing at JBER is modifying it so it fits the Raptor."

As with any initiative of this magnitude, developing the Rapid Raptor program has been a challenge.

"This new innovation of airpower has not been without its hurdles," Lazidis said. "Even aboard the large C-17, finding the right balance between people, munitions and maintenance equipment in the limited cargo space has been a tremendous challenge. The 3rd Maintenance Group personnel have pored over dozens of load plan options, ensuring they have the best available personnel and equipment to make the mission a success."

Once it's perfected, Rapid Raptor could change the way F-22s fight wars.

"There are many people hard at work to make this capability a reality," Lazidis said. "Ideas that started more than two years ago are being shared and expanded on. With help from the 673d Air Base Wing to get out the door, the 3rd Wing hopes to get the F-22 to the fight rapidly. It's why we bought the plane, to have it on the leading edge of the fight. So we need a way to get it to the fight for night one of the war."

Airmen, Soldiers to provide medical care to thousands of Belizeans during New Horizons '14

by Master Sgt. Kelly Ogden
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs

2/20/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Airmen and Soldiers from Air Forces Southern, the 355th Medical Group and the 349th Combat Support Hospital are readying medical personnel, packing supplies and shipping medical equipment that will be used in treating thousands of patients in support of their upcoming deployment to Belize for New Horizons '14.

"We are so incredibly grateful to the Belizean government for all of the exceptional support they provided in the planning of this exercise and we look forward to once again joining forces on the ground in a few short weeks," said Lt. Col. James Smith, 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) Deputy Command Surgeon.

During last year's exercise in Belize, Air Force and Army medical teams worked side-by-side with Canadian doctors, the Ministry of Health in Belize, as well as Belizean doctors and medical personnel to provide care for more than 14, 828 Belizeans during the medical readiness training exercises (MEDRETES).

A  group of highly-skilled professional medical personnel will soon come together once again to provide routine and essential medical treatment to more than 15,000 Belizeans.

"The U.S., Canada and Belize have pulled some of the best-of-the-best together to form this year's joint and multi-national medical team," said Col. Bruce Edwards, New Horizons Belize Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron commander. "Our team is looking forward to growing partnerships, sharing information, and training with our Canadian and Belizean medical colleagues."

Medical services provided during this year's exercise will include General Health, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Dental and Dermatology.

The MEDRETES will take place in Belize City and Corozal. Medical personnel will also be setting up in remote locations throughout the jungle and in local villages to provide indispensable care to Belize's indigenous population.

"This training will improve our skills to provide essential and emergency care during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts throughout the globe," said Edwards. "Medical practitioners will receive training that helps them prepare for overseas deployments by providing care to people in rural areas that may not have had easy access to healthcare in the past."

New Horizons, an annual U.S. Southern Command sponsored exercise, began in the mid-1980s. The exercise objective is to train military civil engineers and medical professionals to deploy and conduct joint operations. Since its inception, Airmen and members of other services working under USSOUTHCOM have built schools, community centers, provided medical care and much more to form partnerships between the United States and Central American, South American and Caribbean nations.

Face of Defense: NCO Saves Lives With First-responder Skills

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Jimmie D. Pike
47th Flying Training Wing

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, Feb. 20, 2014 – A noncommissioned officer assigned here used his first-responder skills while on leave Jan. 29 to aid in rescuing two people after their truck crashed in Bracketville, Texas.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Buss, the 47th Flying Training Wing’s acting director for equal opportunity, said he simply did what most people would have done in the same situation -- he helped.

"I had just picked my kids up from school and was heading home when I saw the truck beside the creek,” Buss said. “I immediately pulled over, told my kids to stay put and got to the scene of the wreckage."

Buss, who had been a first responder before joining the Air Force, assessed the situation quickly and began to take action.

"The truck was smashed up pretty good, especially on the passenger side," he said. "I had to leg press the driver-side door open far enough for us to pull the driver out so we could focus on the passenger. The driver was definitely doing better than the passenger, but still really bad."

In a matter of minutes after arriving, Buss had helped the driver out of the truck, ensured he was put in a safe and comfortable position so he would not hurt himself further, then Buss climbed through the truck’s back window to help the passenger.

"The passenger was on the side with the most damage and had a few broken bones, along with other injuries," he said. "He was also pinned, so the fire department would have to use the Jaws of Life to get him out. I held his head … to make sure he wouldn't hurt himself, and talked to him to calm him down and take his mind off of the accident."

Buss said he started by testing the passenger's short-term memory by asking him if he knew where they were. "After a few failed questions relating to short-term memory, I focused on his long term," he added. "I got his name and where he was from, which was good."

Paramedics soon arrived and continued to assess the passenger's condition. Shortly after, the fire department arrived and was ready to use a hydraulic device to free the passenger from the wreckage.

"For the fire department to use the Jaws of Life, the windows needed to be busted out," Buss said. "One of the firemen gave me a blanket to put over the passenger to keep glass shards from hitting him. I put it over him and turned my face away from the window to protect myself from the glass. I wasn't worried about myself, because it was all about the passenger at this point."

The 47th Flying Training Wing’s director of staff praised Buss for his quick thinking.

"Buss' actions are indicative of his training, competency, and most importantly, his character," Air Force Col. Joshua Lechowick said. "We are extremely proud of what he's done and are thankful that he was there when someone was in need."

See it Live: Famed Nimitz' WWII 'Diary' to be Unveiled Online Monday

From Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Naval War College Library in Newport, R.I. will publicly unveil online the 4,000-page "Gray Book" collection of Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz communications that started in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack and ran right up until the closing days of the war. The event will be held Monday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

The event, held on the anniversary of Nimitz' 129th birthday, will be streamed live on the Navy Live Blog ( It will feature a lecture discussing the Gray Book as well as a question & answer session with U.S. Naval Academy Professor of History Emeritus Craig L. Symonds, PhD, author of numerous books including "The Battle of Midway," in which he recounts the pivotal role played by Nimitz in what was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

Viewers of the live stream will be able to submit questions via an interactive chat.

"There's perhaps no greater champion of freedom in the history of the United States Navy than Chester Nimitz and his leadership of the Pacific Fleet during World War II," said Naval War College President Rear Adm. Walter E. "Ted" Carter, Jr.

Naval History and Heritage Command's (NHHC) Operational Archives, which possesses the physical collection, provided expertise and support to the Naval War College effort to publish the high-quality digital version of the documents.

The WWII historic treasure, named for the color of its original cover, is a daily record of the combat situation in the Pacific Theater and responses of the Commander in Chief, Pacific, and Pacific Ocean Areas (Nimitz) throughout the War. Staff-member Capt. James Steele began it on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and ended it on Aug. 31, 1945, just two days before the formal end of the war.

"I've seen the collection and it's really a national treasure," said Capt. Henry Hendrix, Ph.D., director of the Naval History and Heritage Command. "They clearly reveal what Nimitz thought was important, which gives the reader a great deal of insight into how his experiences both operationally and at the Naval War College informed and influenced his prosecution of the war. I'm extremely pleased we can now share it with researchers, the American public, and Sailors past and present. I'm eager to see the collection discussed and to demonstrate the continued relevance of leveraging history in the decision making process."

Nimitz was assigned to relieve Adm. Husband Kimmel, and arrived in Pearl Harbor on Christmas Day, 1941. Nearly three years later, he was advanced to the newly created rank of Fleet Admiral - five stars. Less than a year later, Sept. 2, 1945, he signed the instrument of the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) in Tokyo Bay.

"You're getting the whole picture, from the South Pacific to the Aleutians, and picking up on the progress of the war," said Robert Cressman, a historian at NHHC.

Including records from individual ships, readers can see how each piece fit into the larger whole - while the war was raging around them. The physical collection consists of 4,030 single-sided pages filling 28 bankers boxes held at the Operational Archives at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The size and complexity of the document reflects the magnitude of the job Nimitz undertook commanding the Pacific fleet controlling the expanse of the Pacific Theater, which now comprises more than 100 million square miles and more than half the Earth's surface.

It is "the most authoritative source on the Pacific War available anywhere," said Naval War College Historian Douglas Smith. "Making the document public allows for a better understanding and context of the unique value and consequence of the U.S. Navy, and Nimitz's approach in directing the Pacific campaign."

Its pages fragile after decades of storage, the collection would largely be inaccessible. The digitization, conducted gingerly, makes the holding available worldwide to researchers, naval history enthusiasts, and Sailors interested in their naval heritage. As the Navy continues to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region in accordance with the Defense Strategic Guidance, the Gray Book offers unique insight into this pivotal operational period.

"I think it's immensely valuable for people to see how it was done," said Cressman. "You're getting a fly-on-the-wall approach to how decisions were made and how the war was fought."

The Naval War College Foundation funded the endeavor, which started in August 2012. The documents have been scanned before, but the higher quality scans will offer researchers, scholars and enthusiasts a better way to search through the tome. The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) directly supported the digitization effort, and is currently actively remediating its archival holdings and facilities in order to both safeguard them, and ultimately to make them safely accessible to improve future naval understanding and decision-making.

The Gray Book was declassified in 1972.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. Naval history and heritage. It is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archaeology, Navy history, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.