Military News

Monday, February 24, 2014

USAMU duo withstands elements, opponents to win grueling competition



 By Michael Molinaro
USAMU PAO

FORT BENNING, Ga. – After walking 28 miles in freezing temperatures over two-and-a-half days carrying all of their gear, Staff Sgt. Daniel Horner and Sgt. Tyler Payne from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) came out on top at the 4th Annual Mammoth Sniper Challenge held at Rockcastle Shooting Center in Park City, Kentucky.

“(Soldiers) in the USAMU are winners and won't let anything stand in the way of that,” Horner said. “(In extreme weather like this), the main issues are keeping your optics clear and your hands warm enough to operate your equipment.”

The competition is broken down into two matches, open and tough man. Tough man is then separated into two divisions: tough man and extreme tough man. Horner and Payne competed in the extreme tough man division along with 38 other two-man teams representing U.S. Special Forces, 75th Ranger Regiment, U.S. Special Operations Command, Federal Bureau of Investigation, numerous police departments, and corporate-sponsored civilian teams. USAMU teammates Sgt. 1st Class William Pace and Staff Sgt. Joel Tuner also competed, finishing in ninth place.

The tough man division rules state that teams must walk the entire match, covering distances of 1.5-3.5 miles between the eight firing stages within a pre-determined amount of time while carrying all of their equipment. The biggest difference between tough man and extreme tough man was that tough man participants returned to their hotel at the conclusion of the day’s events, but extreme division competitors were not permitted to return until the end of the match, having to stay outside in tents for two nights in single digit temperatures.

“We had to carry all of the food and water we had for three days.  All of the ammo--roughly 300 rounds--spotting scopes, our weapon, everything,” Pace said. “That was tough. There were a lot of hills to climb. Bad memories of Ranger School during the winter came back.”

The stages were designed to be very difficult:  most targets were .5 to 2.5 minutes of angle in size at distances from 100 to 1,100 yards, Pace said. Some of the stages had them shooting from inside of vehicles, on swinging bridges, behind barrels and from ropes.

“The shots at Mammoth are very difficult due to the size and the fact that you are almost never prone,” Horner said. “Also, since you have to carry everything for 28 miles, trying to figure out how much food and what equipment you need is very critical. Bringing too much gear exhausts you, but not having a tool might leave you unable to complete a task.”

As members of the Action Shooting team, Horner and Payne compete primarily in Multi-Gun matches across the country if they aren’t conducting close quarters marksmanship training courses for Soldiers across the force. Those matches consist of employing rifles, pistols and shotguns at distances no longer than 300 yards, making a sniper match a unique scenario for the pair.

Horner said they trained for the match by practicing barricades and alternate positions, as well as intense conditioning –running with heavy loads – to ensure the competition scenarios were second nature during the stress of the event. Though pitted against each other during their full-time jobs, the USAMU duo has a cohesion and familiarity with each other that has been nearly impossible to stop in recent sniper competitions.

 “We work together all the time and can communicate very well and very quickly,” Horner said. “We practice the basics and just use simple solutions to succeed at all the simple tasks that make up a complex problem. If we think first and have all of our equipment squared away we can get through whatever task we are faced with quickly and efficiently.”

USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Brigade, Army Marketing and Research Group and is tasked with enhancing the Army’s recruiting effort, raising the standard of Army marksmanship and furthering small arms research and development to enhance the Army’s overall combat readiness

George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Enters 6th Fleet



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shaun Griffin, USS George H.W. (CVN 77) Public Affairs

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- More than 5,000 Sailors serving in the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWB CSG) arrived in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR), Feb. 24.

Commanded by Rear Adm. DeWolfe Miller, GHWB CSG is comprised of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 and USS Truxtun (DDG 103), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Philippine Sea (CG 58). Additionally, USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) arrived in the 6th Fleet AOR as an independent deployer.

"I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication these Sailors have put forth in preparation for this deployment," said Miller. "This team is prepared to face any challenge that presents itself."

While in the 6th Fleet AOR, CSG 2 and its accompanying units will provide a wide range of flexible capabilities in addition to building partnerships with allied countries through joint exercises and community relations projects.

The versatility associated with George H. W. Bush and our embarked air wing allows for mission-tailored forces to be successful and represents our nation's strength, capability and resolve," said Miller.

GHWB CSG is deployed as part of the on-going rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations and operate in international waters across the globe, along with other coalition maritime forces. The strike group is prepared to conduct a variety of missions, including forward naval presence, maritime security operations, and crisis response and theater security cooperation.

JBER plays important role in the Open Skies Treaty

Commentary by Thomas Warren
673d Air Base Wing Treaty Compliance Office


2/24/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- If you've heard the term "open skies" in your time here on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, you may have wondered what the heck it is and heard several explanations.

The Open Skies Treaty was signed March 24, 1992, in Helsinki, Finland, and entered into force on Jan. 1, 2002. It promotes openness and transparency in military activities through unarmed observation flights. Designed to enhance confidence and security, the treaty gives each state party the right to gather information about the military forces and activities of other state parties.

First proposed to the (former) Soviet Union by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955, the Open Skies concept lay dormant until proposed again by President George H.W. Bush in 1989 just as the Cold War ended. Negotiations began in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in September 1989 between member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the former Warsaw Pact.

The treaty charges the Open Skies Consultative Commission to assign the maximum number of observation flights that each state party must accept annually. For example, the U.S. is obligated to accept up to 42 flights per year, as is the Russian Federation.

State parties must submit their observation flight requests for each coming year to all other state parties and the OSCC. For calendar year 2014, the Russian Federation will fly five observation flights over the U.S., whereas for 2013 it flew a total of nine.

In November 1992, Bush assigned responsibility for overall management, leadership, coordination and support for U.S. Open Skies missions to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. DTRA personnel perform a variety of tasks in support of foreign observation flights, including escorting teams flying over U.S. territory and observation mission planning. They also conduct pre-flight inspections of foreign observation aircraft, ensuring sensors are treaty-compliant.

Under the treaty, the U.S. manages two points of entry and exit - Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia for the East Coast and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., for the West Coast - and four Open Skies airfields: Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; McConnell AFB, Kan.; Travis AFB, Calif.; and JBER. In the event that the JBER runways are out of service, Ted Stevens International Airport, in Anchorage, is identified as JBER's alternate airfield.

JBER is also a gateway for U.S. observation missions entering into Eastern Russia. The U.S. team of aircrew and maintenance members from Offutt AFB, Neb., and DTRA personnel from Andrews AFB, Va., come to JBER in the Open Skies aircraft. The team arrives four days prior to going into Russia to complete mission planning, receive weather briefs and crew rest prior to week-long missions in Russia. JBER is the team's first stop upon returning from Russia for customs, crew rest and aircraft servicing before going back to the Washington, D.C., area.

The 673d Air Base Wing Treaty Compliance Office manages the Treaty on Open Skies and other arms-control treaties and agreements.

One of the primary objectives of the JBER Treaty Office is operational security. In coordination with JBER OPSEC managers, the goal is to spread the word when the base hosts an Open Skies mission on JBER. Per the treaty and U.S. guidance, the foreign teams have access to our dining facilities, commercial eating establishments, Base Exchange and commissary. Getting the word out and making people aware helps us maintain our OPSEC awareness while foreign visitors are on our turf.

For more information about Open Skies or unit briefs on treaty compliance, contact the TCO at 551-2891.

Airman, Marine save child's life

by Airman 1st Class Keith James
18th Wing Public Affairs


2/21/2014 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- "Daniel, I need your help; I can't find Brody."

It was late afternoon Christmas Eve and Cassie Hernandez just realized she couldn't find her 3-year-old son, Brody.

The Hernandez family was at White Beach, Okinawa, with two other families. Hernandez had planned to take the families' children to the beach. After searching and having no luck, Liam, 8, the son of Master Sgt. Daniel Tull, aviation ground support department aircraft rescue firefighting chief and operations chief for the 1st Marine Air Wing, mentioned he had seen Brody heading toward the beach.

Rather than pointing toward the stairs that led to the beach, Liam pointed to the cliff.

"No way he fell down there," Tech. Sgt. Allen Reeves, 18th Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance production supervisor, remembered thinking after hearing the news.
Reeves recalled looking over the railing along the cliff and hearing the small boy calling for help.

To his surprise, Reeves saw the toddler about 20 feet down holding on to the wired cable netting. Used to stop large boulders from breaking apart and rolling down the cliff side and injuring people below, the netting was the only thing that kept the toddler from tumbling down the cliff.

"The worst popped into my head," Daniel said. "I didn't know how far he had fallen or his current condition, so we just took off to try to get there as soon as we could."

"I remember thinking, 'what am I going to see, what am I going to find when I get to him,'" Reeves said. "I was trying to prepare myself for a scene that was just the worst imaginable whether there was open wounds, blood,or broken bones."

Immediately the duo alerted Hernandez to call 9-1-1 and rushed toward the winding stairway that led to the bottom of the hill.

"Our objective was clear: we needed to get to him as fast as we can," Reeves said. "It had to be done, and we were the only two there."

Reeves, stopping half way down the stairs, began climbing to the top of the 175-200 foot cliff, while Daniel made his way to the bottom of the hill to the beach, and began his own ascent.

"I continued coming around the cliff until Brody was directly above me, and then I began to climb the wired cable up to him," Reeves recalled.

Reeves, who took a more difficult route with heavy vegetation and jungle, was able to make it to Brody first and checked the child for further injury. While he waited for Daniel to arrive, he safely secured the child.

"I checked Brody's entire body for any more injuries such as broken bones or internal injuries (and asked) him if he's in any pain," Reeves said.

Fortunately, Brody had minimal injuries -- a couple of cuts and scrapes and a gash on his head.

Shortly after Daniel's arrival, the two quickly came up with a plan to get Brody to safety.

The men decided to use an infant carrier to strap Brody in and tow him on Daniel's back. The duo relayed the plan to their wives, who were above them on top of the cliff, and instructed them to go inside the cabin and grab the carrier.

"Just being able to get up there and evaluate the situation (allowed us to) come up with best plan possible and then executing it effectively is something the military has taught me," said Reeves.

After struggling with the net and the carrier, the duo was able to secure Brody and begin their descent with Reeves leading the way.

"(We) weren't able to make it out of the netting (at the same time) successfully," said Reeves. "So to make it out we had to take Brody out of the carrier again and one at a time get out and then strap him back in."

When reaching very steep declines in the cliff, Reeves then acted as support for Daniel, allowing him to climb down his body and repeating the process until the duo made their way to the bottom of the cliff where Navy masters-at-arms and fire department first responders were waiting for them.

"It was successful because we were there together," said Reeves. "Daniel would literally use my body for footing and grip. It was a team effort from start to finish."

After undergoing an initial evaluation, Brody was taken to the U.S. Naval Hospital, Okinawa, where he received staples to close the gash in his head and got some much-needed rest.

"Everyone was very relieved and happy to see he was up and talking and thankful he wasn't seriously hurt," said Daniel.

Thanks to the efforts of Reeves and Daniel, Brody was safe, and the families were able to continue their holiday break without any more scares. The next morning the families spent their Christmas celebrating the holiday by opening presents and continuing to stay thankful for what they had.

C-17 pilots train hard, often to stay prepared in the sky

by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez
15th Wing Public Affairs


2/21/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- For C-17 Globemaster III pilots, training doesn't only occur in the sky. In fact, much of their training is done on the ground to ensure that when they fly, they're prepared to deal with any issue that may come their way.

Hickam C-17 pilots maintain their preparedness by conducting recurring training throughout the year. This includes computer based training, monthly exams on basic flight knowledge, self-paced instrument simulator sorties for newer pilots, and quarterly phase training in a C-17 simulator, a 30-foot machine that gives pilots a realistic feeling of flight.

"Using [the simulator] gives us a great opportunity to practice our flying, and improve overall," said Lt. Col. Gregg Johnson, 535th Airlift Squadron commander. "It really helps build our confidence, whether you're a pilot like me who's been doing this for a while, or a newer pilot. In fact, it's very important for our newer guys."

Johnson and copilot 1st Lt. Taylor Ragland, 535th AS, recently completed a Phase 1-Day 1 training together in the C-17 simulator.

"The simulator gives us a chance to go through a problem in real time so if it happened in real life, we would be able to rely on our training to fix the problem," Ragland said.

Before entering the simulator, pilots go through a pre-brief with a pilot instructor to prepare for their simulated mission. While the pilots have a good idea what the training might include, they don't fully know, allowing the element of surprise to drive their training.

The simulator, sitting on hydraulic legs, moves with the motion of flight conducted inside to give a real sense of flying. The detailed landscapes and weather patterns challenge the pilots, but pilot instructors also inject different challenges and emergencies during training. Most emergencies that are practiced in the simulator can't be practiced in the air, such as engine fires, hydraulic failure and enemy threats.

"The scenarios test our decision making skills and ability to identify issues or emergencies," Ragland said. "We then run through our procedures to solve the problem using checklists."

The C-17 simulator program saves the Air Force $20,000 per flight hour, as opposed to the pilots flying in-air missions for the same training. This doesn't include maintenance costs, manning and time. It cost $25 million to construct the simulator and its facility, and it pays for itself every six months in fuel savings alone.

Additionally, the simulator has the ability to link up with C-17 simulators at other bases to conduct joint-mission exercises, and can even link up with simulators for KC-135 Stratotankers to practice in-air refueling.

"The ability to link up with simulators from other bases gives us more of a real-time practice because there are other pilots you're interacting with so you can't just press pause in the [simulator]," Ragland said.

The realistic training the C-17 simulator provides pilots ensures Hickam's fleet continues to fly safely and effectively to accomplish the 15th Wing mission.

JBPH-H passenger terminal is changing the way you fly Space-A

by Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs


2/21/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- The 735th Air Mobility Command Passenger Terminal is currently testing a virtual Space-Available roll call initiative, which will electronically notify passengers of their selection for a flight without having to be physically present at the terminal.

Traditionally, in order for Space-A passengers to manifest onto a flight, they would need to take leave, go to the terminal and sign up for the flight, then return for roll call to find out if they were selected. Now the new customer service-geared process eliminates the need for the extra trip back to the terminal.

"This is a Headquarters AMC initiative set up for the convenience of the customer," said Ronald Abernathy, 735th AMS Passenger and Fleet Service flight chief. "Before, finding out if you had been selected or not often times involved prematurely checking out of hotels, returning rental cars too early, packing up and dragging the whole family to the terminal only to find out you hadn't made the flight. Sometimes lodging would have already re-booked their room or hotels downtown would be too expensive and this left people having to sleep in the terminal."

Now passengers can find out their status without ever having to leave the comfort of their home or hotel room.

However, passengers should be advised that the selection process remains the same, and signing up on line is simply a convenience. Those who sign up online will compete for the same spots as those who wait in the terminal, and as usual, seats will be given in order of category and date and time of sign-in.

After seats have been assigned, virtual roll call passengers will receive an email version of the roll call briefing that's held in the terminal, so all travelers will receive the same pre-flight information prior to checking in.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is the second test base for the sixth-month trial run, which according to Master Sgt. George Gonzalez, NCO in charge of passenger operations, is off to a successful start.

"We have about 25 percent of our passengers using the virtual role call now," he said. "It's early in the test phase. I think a lot of folks don't know how the process really works yet, so they are hesitant and just watching, but so far we've gotten all positive feedback from the people who have used it."

Although the virtual process is of huge convenience to passengers, Gonzalez said it's also a big help to the terminal personnel as well. Instead of processing all of the passengers two hours before take-off, the five-hour window for the virtual roll call allows the work to be distributed over a longer period of time, which Gonzalez said is particularly helpful in the busy summer months.

Gonzalez also said Space-A, the ability for active-duty and retired military members and their families to travel relatively free of charge on DoD owned or controlled aircraft, is a huge benefit and privilege to service members, and AMC continues to look for ways to enhance the customer service experience.

"We're changing the way you fly Space-A," said Abernathy. "This initiative is technology driven because that's the way society is moving and we're doing all we can to increase passenger convenience. We've gotten overwhelming approval of the program. People love it. They love the time it saves them. People who are coming to Hawaii should be able to get out and do things if they are waiting on a flight. They shouldn't have to sit in a terminal all day--and now they don't have to."

For more information about flying Space-A or the virtual roll call, contact the passenger terminal at 808-449-6833.

Wolf Pack comptrollers, best in Air Force

by Master Sgt. Sabrina Johnson
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


2/24/2014 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Fighter Wing comptrollers recently won the Air Force Comptroller Squadron of the Year award for 2013 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

The annual award is designed to choose the "best of the best" in finance around the Air Force.

"I think we won because we were fortunate to have Airmen who understand what it means to give it their all every day, said Maj. Martin Philogene, 8th Comptroller Squadron commander. "The Money Wolves are the best in the Air Force because of their dedication and commitment to the mission and our customers; they are 100 percent focused on taking care of our customers every day."

Noteworthy and mission impact achievements are required for this award. The 8th CPTS performed above and beyond with 70 percent personnel changeover and training deficiencies. "We were able to achieve such an objective by assigning folks to positions where the training they needed was minimal; thereby reducing the amount of time we spent on training each individual," Philogene said.

Everyone on the installation uses the comptroller squadron at least once while assigned at Kunsan Air Base.

"A vital part of the squadron winning the award was that we provided sound financial advice and decision support in the execution of the Wolf Pack's $60 million budget and the exemplary support we provide to our 2,700 customers on a daily basis," said Senior Master Sgt. Eva Rodgers, 8th Comptroller Squadron superintendent.

For Philogene, the award is evidence that the team's success is dependent upon the Airmen to the senior non-commissioned officers and especially their Korean civilians.

"I don't think this is a high the Airmen are going to come down off anytime soon; they are still speechless when asked about winning the award," said Philogene. "I am extremely proud that our Airman were recognized for their knowledge, dedication and all the long hours they worked to ensure the Wolf Pack was ready to fight tonight."

Texas National Guard aviators train with civilian counterparts

Click photo for screen-resolution imageBy Capt. Adam Musil
36th Infantry Division

AUSTIN, Texas (2/24/14) - Soldiers of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade and members of Texas Task Force-1 took to the skies over Decker Lake near Austin, Texas, and tested their ability to perform search and extraction operations over wooded areas and water.

The 36th Combat Aviation Brigade provided air support and operated a hoist machine used to raise and lower TX-TF1 members into tree lines and over the lake. TX-TF1 members took turns operating as part of the extraction team and playing the role of civilians in need of rescue.

"This is a great opportunity for the Task Force to get some quality training," said Capt. Scott Bartell, TX-TF1. "When we first started the task force we were only training in helicopters once a quarter. The rest of the time was reserved for practicing swimming. Now we are training in the helicopters about once a month."

Chief Warrant Officer Robert Meischen, a flight Instructor for the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, piloted the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Meischen is a combat veteran and executed search and rescue operations during the 2006 floods in San Antonio.

"The most difficult part of these types of scenarios is the water hoist operations. As a pilot you don't have a frame of reference on the ground to guide you and you can't see the motion of the water. These training events really allow us the opportunity to stay sharp on recovery techniques and procedures," Meischen said.

As Meischen ensured the aircraft maintained the correct height and altitude needed for a successful rescue, his crew manned the hoist and called out updates.

 When deployed, Sgt. Kevin McLaughlin is a door gunner; but for this operation he is one of the crewmembers controlling the hoist.

"As a soldier in an assault company this mission is not something we would do overseas. That would be for a [Medical Evacuation] company," McLaughlin said. "This training helps us remain proficient with our cable management on the hoist. These guys [TX-TF1] are very professional and have a lot of experience with these types of operations. Our two groups are working together well."

The task force is an assemblage of firefighters and other first responders that are called together in times of natural disaster. For his day job, Bartell works in the Austin Fire Department's Special Operations Group.

"To me, any day you can fly in a helicopter is a good day. If I wasn't here I'd be paying to do this at Six Flags," Bartell said.

Texas Task Force-1 is the most active urban search and rescue team in the country, having responded to at least one major disaster each year since its first deployment in 1998. TX-TF1's urban search and rescue and water rescue teams have responded to both man-made and natural disasters, from the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks to Hurricane Katrina's devastation.

TX-TF1 functions as a federal team under FEMA's national urban search and rescue program and as Texas' only statewide urban search and rescue team under direction of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. TX-TF1 also coordinates the state's water rescue program.

Joint airdrop in Greece: Combined efforts key to success

by Staff Sgt. Kris Levasseur
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


2/24/2014 - ELEFSINA, Greece -- In true Greek fashion, a few select service members from the Kaiserslautern Military Community area have undertaken a momentous task. Though lacking the same herculean strength outlined in Greek mythology, these Airmen make up for it with sheer determination and the will to succeed in their task ... appropriately named Stolen Cerberus, a two-week flying training deployment to Elefsina, Greece, Feb. 2 to 14.

Matching the legend started by Hercules (or Heracles in the original Greek translation), Airmen and Soldiers from the Joint Airdrop Inspection team set out on a seemingly simple task that proved to be more daunting than originally expected; provide the means to safely and effectively drop cargo and paratroopers out of C-130J Super Hercules.

Due to several recent rainstorms, conditions at the drop zones in Greece were extremely muddy, which made it unsafe for jumpers and difficult to recover dropped cargo.

"Because of the mud, there were a lot of problems dropping on the zones," said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Holsenback, 86th Operations Support Squadron wing weapons and tactics flight chief. "Our job requires us to survey each zone and ensure it is safe for use. We also monitor conditions from the ground during drops to make sure everything goes well."

Holsenback added that even with the problems, the cooperation of our Greek partners made the airdrop success during this mission possible. They also dropped Greek equipment and jumpers, and coordinated closely with their counterparts in the Hellenic military.

"We've had a lot of interaction with the Greeks during these two weeks, which has been great," he said. "They want to learn from us and we want to learn from them, so having the opportunity to get this type of hands-on experience has been amazing."

The cooperation from the Greek service members allowed both U.S. and Hellenic forces a chance to see airdrop operations in a new way. According to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Orlando Villegas, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command airdrop advisor, there were a lot of differences in the way both nations perform airdrops.

"We have been so involved with each other's operations during this trip, which has been invaluable for the U.S. and Greek forces," he said. "It allows both countries to see the differences and hopefully take some of that knowledge to improve our cooperation in the future. It only makes us better."

He added that it was the combined efforts during this mission that led to its success.

Though not performing the 12 labors of Hercules, the JAI service members have met Chief Warrant Officer 4 Orlando Villegas, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command airdrop advisor the challenges during Stolen Cerberus with the sole mission of honing their skills while increasing their capability with their NATO partners in Greece. They have accomplished this task with flying colors, proving not only that the airframe lives up to the name of Hercules, but they are worthy of the legend as well.

Growing Airmen, modernization and change vital to preserving airpower advantage

by Rich Lamance
Air Force News Service


2/24/2014 - ORLANDO - (AFNS)  -- Growing Airmen, dealing with organizational change and modernizing the force were key points from the top ranking officer in U.S. Air Forces Europe during a presentation focusing on preserving airpower advantage at the 30th annual Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 20.

Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe, as well as U.S. Air Forces Africa, told an audience of Airmen, industry experts and AFA members when it comes to preserving airpower advantage, people are the keys to success.

Gorenc said there are three things that have to happen to grow Airmen to preserve U.S. airpower advantage - five years from now, 10 years from now or 20 years from now.

"First thing is training. We have to train with an eye that our Airmen have the certifications required to hold them accountable for the job they are doing. We have to give Airmen the training that gives them the tools to handle known situations. They need to understand their job to be fully qualified for their job."

The USAFE commander said the second thing in this "three-legged stool" is education.

"Education is what gives Airmen the critical problem solving skills that will help them when no guidance is available. They need to be able to solve the unknowns. And believe me, in the execution of combat power from the air, you are placed in situations every single day where there isn't a checklist, where you have to fall back on your education."

And finally, Gorenc said, "you have to have on-the-job experience. Giving Airmen the opportunity to lead, to be held accountable for their decision is key... To operate with integrity, excellence and service in mind, and with the requirement to train the next generation better than they were trained."

Gorenc believes we are a meritocracy ... and that, in the Air Force, leaders are grown from within. "Air forces fail because trained leaders retire and there's no one there to take their place." He pointed out the three-legged stool has to be balanced to keep it from falling over.

"You'll be less valuable to the Air Force if you don't have a good mix of education, training and on-the-job experience. With downsizing it's important to be the best Airman you can be every day. We'll give you the training, we'll give you the education, and we'll give you the on-the-job experiences. But if you don't take them and help nurture yourself, I can't make you do it. That's why people are such a large part of preserving our airpower advantage."

In addition to the people factor, Gorenc stressed that aircraft modernization is also a key factor to preserving airpower advantage. He emphasized three different things the Air Force is focused on: F-35, KC-46 and the long-range strike bomber.

"Today, we have some must-have modernizations: we have the F-35, a fifth-generation fighter, but we also have fourth generation fighters like the F-16 Fighting Falcon, where passing data back and forth is still a requirement."

In the area of procurement, and its impact on preserving airpower advantage, Gorenc admitted that as an operator he knows little about the procurement side of the house, but he maintains "to be successful, those in procurement need to understand the needs of the operators and the operators need to learn the research and development side, so as we go along the procurement process we don't make mistakes along the way."

Gorenc added it is also extremely important to learn how to sustain our equipment as it gets older, determine what the cost is and how it will be maintained in the future. "We have to understand as that aircraft or piece of equipment gets another year older, how is that 19-to-20 year old Airman going to fix that airplane and provide combat power for America?"

The USAFE commander said organizational change can be an effective tool to get more combat power from the air. He believes lessons learned from the first Gulf War helped prepare us for future wars.

"We revamped training, we revamped equipment, we revamped the way to do targeting, we revamped our ability to take all that data we receive from our ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and put it in a way that ends up on a chart, in a cockpit, with the ability for the Airman to deliver that weapon with precision."

With tighter budgets, shrinking resources and fewer people, Gorenc sees himself as an example of doing more with less to keep that advantage alive. In addition to his roles as the USAFE commander and the U.S. Air Forces Africa chief, he is also the commander of the Allied Air Command and director of Joint Air Power Competence Center.

"I was introduced into organizational change when I came with four hats: I provide the air competency to two combatant commanders. That's a change we had to make. It reflects the fact we're getting smaller and we're going to have to do it faster, better and (less expensive) and I'm happy to say we're doing pretty good in Africa and Europe, providing what they need from the air component."

Gorenc said alliances and coalitions are important in the mix of preserving airpower advantage, but tends to separate the two into different categories.

"I separate these two because there is only one alliance. It's called NATO. It's the world's greatest alliance. It's been a force for peace for decades and it continues to be an example of what you can do when you commit to interoperability. Particularly when you share the same values and the same goals."

He also said coalitions are "absolutely essential in today's world and it's going to be even more important in tomorrow's world. They are politically relevant and operationally essential."

Emerging capabilities, emerging threats and emerging opportunities Gorenc said are things Airmen should not fear.

"We need to look at what it is in that area that is emerging and we need to adopt it, to make sure we are much more effective," he said. "If we do that properly, if we take it on with the same zeal we take on everything else, we will preserve our airpower advantage."

Exercise COPE NORTH Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Success

2/24/2014 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- 
The first several days of Pacific Air Forces' multilateral exercise Cope North is designed to provide realistic training scenarios for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief events.  As part of the exercise, on Feb. 19, a coalition of airmen, including members of the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force, helped deliver urgent food and commodities to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas on the island of Rota following months without their regular resupply by sea.
 
On Feb. 17, the commercial barge that was to resupply the island was once again unable to enter the Rota port due to high winter sea state.  Consequently, Governor Eloy Inos declared Rota under a state of emergency and requested assistance from the Department of Defense.  After coordination with Joint Region Marianas, Headquarters PACAF and the Department of Homeland Security, the 36th Wing on Andersen AFB along with the Cope North exercise planners expanded the exercise scenario to include humanitarian assistance for Rota.
 
Relief supplies from the Guam Red Cross were moved to Andersen by truck and prepped for flight, then loaded aboard coalition aircraft by the 36th Contingency Response Group.  Cargo, personnel, and equipment were moved to Rota using tactical airlift from all of the countries participating in the Cope North exercise.   All personnel and equipment were then airlifted back to Guam.
 
It may have seemed like déjà vu to some of the airmen from these countries. In November, Andersen's 36 CRG operated out of Tacloban and Clark airfields in the Philippines while coalition C-130s from Yokota Air Base's 36 Airlift Squadron, the RAAF, and the JASDF were all delivering relief supplies to the typhoon-stricken area.
 
"The shift from exercise scenario to Rota emergency relief was seamless," said Col. Thomas "Doc" Livingston, 36th CRG commander. "We built an outstanding working relationship throughout the Operation Damayan relief effort, and exercises like Cope North reinforce the 'muscle memory' of how each nation operates and the best way to dovetail capabilities into a complete relief package.  The coordination between the aircrew and the ground teams was phenomenal."
 
Cope North exercise director for U.S. forces, Col. John "Spidey" Parker, noted the framework built by the participating nations allowed the teams to incorporate the new mission into the exercise on-the-fly.
 
"The HADR portion of Cope North enhances regional capabilities to respond to crises and lays the foundation for the expansion of regional cooperation in the face of real world contingencies," said Parker, who is also the 35th Operations Group commander at Misawa Air Base, Japan. "The people of Rota expressed a need and we were able to join forces and rapidly and successfully meet that need.
 
"It speaks volumes about our teamwork and partnership among the exercise participants to successfully execute a HA/DR mission under the overall exercise scenario," said Parker.
 
The coalition air forces were also joined by the U.S. Navy's Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 on Andersen AFB. HSC-25 provided vertical insertion of teams into the Northern Marianas and the pickup of a simulated downed airman during the search and rescue scenario.

Retired CMSAF visits Vegas Airmen, learns high-tech mission

by 1st Lt. S.S.
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


2/24/2014 - LAS VEGAS -- A legendary Air Force veteran visited here Feb. 6-7, to recognize top Airmen and offer words of wisdom along the way.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert Gaylor, who served as the fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from 1977-1979, primarily visited to serve as the guest speaker for the 432nd Wing and 57th Wing's annual award ceremonies.

"Somehow the word got out that I'll do anything for a free meal," Gaylor joked. "It's a privilege to do this. I'll be 84 [years old] in May and I still get to be a part of our great Air Force."

In addition to speaking at the award banquets, Gaylor addressed a crowd of approximately 350 Airmen from the 432nd Wing, 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing during an all call. He told stories and shared other thoughts and lessons learned from his own Air Force career, which spanned more than three decades.

Gaylor suggested there are four primary reasons the Air Force has changed for the better during the past 60 years: training, technology, tribe (or family) and trust.

"The first word is training," he said. "Today, our training instructors are better trained, better equipped, better compensated, better everything. Beyond that, we now have 70 Airman leadership schools, 11 noncommissioned officer academies, Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, Air War College. There's no question we do a better job on training today."

He explained the next word, technology, is important because it directly relates to mission accomplishment.

"We operate in a technological environment," Gaylor told the crowd. "It's amazing when you take trained people who are highly skilled, like our Airmen, and you give them equipment and they get the job done. Mission accomplishment - as simple as that. It's marvelous."

The third improvement Gaylor has been happy to see the Air Force make is realizing the importance of family.

He discussed a yearlong assignment to South Korea in 1956, during which he left his wife and three young children back in the U.S. There was no family support system then, and he had very little communication with his wife and children. Today, he noted the importance of family support programs and having husbands and wives, parents and children at events like basic training graduations.

Finally, he discussed the importance of trust and how the trust today's Air Force leadership has in young leaders has grown exponentially over the years. He pointed out that there are now enlisted leaders serving as commandants of NCO academies and Airman leadership schools, when they used to be run by officers.

"You're trusted with things that it took us years to be trusted with. I hope you appreciate that - it took us so long to earn," Gaylor implored.

He concluded by reminding Airmen that the key to success is a combination of attitude, knowledge, and opportunity. Particularly if you have the first two under control, the opportunities will follow. He also thanked Airmen for inviting him to speak, which allows him to continue serving in his beloved Air Force.

After the all call, Gaylor visited the 432nd Wing, 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing to learn about remotely piloted aircraft and the Air Force's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission.

"Even from when I was here three years ago, there's been an entire new inventory of technological devices, the base has grown in both mission and facilities," Gaylor recalled. "I was a comic book reader in the '30s. I used to see this stuff in comic books and would almost laugh as [I read] it, because I'd think, 'you know, that's just somebody making that up.' And now to see it happening ... I'm glad that I saw it in my lifetime. It's a great mission."

He also met with the Human Performance Team, a critical part of the 432nd Wing, 432nd AEW. The team consists of Chapel staff, a physiologist, psychologist, and others who are available 24/7, 365, to provide key guidance and counseling for Airmen in need.

"I'm very impressed with that program," Gaylor said. "It's great that you're putting them on-scene so they can intercept a potential issue before it becomes a major issue. It's relatively small in that it only involves a couple people, but that's a major move."

To wrap up the tour, Gaylor visited another unit that provides key support to the wings, the 799th Air Base Group. There, he met firsthand the personnel, Airman and family readiness center, finance, security forces and other Airmen who ensure seamless mission accomplishment day-to-day.

At the end of the visit, Gaylor conveyed his parting thoughts.

"Your professionalism is outstanding ... I'm impressed," Gaylor commended. "What I've taken away is simply, if [someone] wants to see professionalism at its finest, it's here."

Lineup set for May air show

by Senior Airman Charles Rivezzo
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


2/21/2014 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Travis' Open House planning committee recently released its list of initial performers and static aircraft participating in the installation's airshow scheduled for May 3 and 4.

Headlined by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, the two-day event will also play host to multiple civilian performers to include Commemorative Air Forces Warbirds, Bill Cornick, Spencer Suderman and Eddie Andreini.

Furthermore, static aircraft on display will include a T-6 Texan II, T-38 Talon, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, RC-135, B-52 Stratofortress, MQ-1 Predator, A-10
Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, KC-10 Extender, P-51 Mustang, AT-6 Spiral and PT-19.

Open House officials did state, however, that several more performances are still being negotiated at this time.

"A lot of people don't get a chance to come on base," said Maj. William Kerr, the 2014 Travis Open House deputy director. "This gives them an opportunity to come on an area that is usually not open to them and touch an airplane and talk with aircrew members. We want to provide our community with the experience of a lifetime."

In addition to confirmed performances, Open House officials also released the airshow's event schedule. For both May 3 and 4, gates to the free event are slated to open at 9:30 a.m. with performances running between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

For more information about this year's Travis Open House, log on to the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TravisOpenHouse or website at www.travisfss.com/openhouse.

Kuwait Air Force receive 1st C-17 through 437th AW 'Seasoning' program

by Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

2/21/2014 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Five members of the Kuwait Air Force transited through Joint Base Charleston, Feb. 14, 2014, en route to Kuwait, where they delivered their nation's first C-17 Globemaster III.

The Kuwait Air Force members were embedded with the 17th Airlift Squadron for the past month, to receive "seasoning" training from the U.S. Air Force on the C-17. The training familiarized the Kuwaiti flight crew on operations and maintenance of the aircraft.

"During the Kuwaitis time here at JB Charleston, they received ground training from the 17th instructor pilots and instructor loadmasters," said Master Sgt. Mark Hafer, 17th AS first sergeant. "The Kuwaitis also received simulator training and flight training with the 17th as well."

The Kuwaiti aircrew members also had the opportunity to see how other operational and support squadrons at JB Charleston support Air Mobility Command by providing safe, precise and reliable airlift.

"I enjoyed instructing the Kuwaitis during their time with us and am proud that they spent their time training and flying with the 17th Airlift Squadron," said Hafer.

The aircrew travelled to Long Beach, Calif., Feb. 7, to conduct their final navigation courses and their last official training. The aircraft departed for Kuwait, Feb. 15.

"Pilots and loadmasters from the 17th Airlift Squadron had the unique opportunity to train side by side with our Kuwaiti partners over the last four weeks," said Lt. Col. Paul Theriot, 17th AS commander. "They were fresh out of Altus, and we topped off that schoolhouse training with some additional seasoning hear at Charleston consisting of local flights and simulators. They were fantastic to work and fly with, and I think both sides came away feeling our international bonds were strengthened."

C-17 crews demonstrate joint, international capabilities

by Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin
62nd Airlift Wing


2/21/2014 - PATTAYA, Thailand  -- Five C-17 Globemaster III aircraft departed from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and dropped more than 380 U.S. and Royal Thai paratroopers into Lopburi Airfield, Thailand, Feb. 15 in support of multi-national military exercise Exercise Cobra Gold.

The airdrop operation flown by aircrews from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The 18-hour flight across the Pacific not only provided an opportunity for C-17 crews to gain experience conducting combined airdrop operations, but also gave them experience executing large-formation air refueling operations.

"This exercise demonstrates our commitment to working with our Thai partners - our longest-standing ally in the Pacific - and provides valuable training for everyone involved," said Joint Base Charleston's Col. Tony Schenk, the 437th Operations Group deputy commander and Air Force mission commander for the operation.

Participating in an exercise of this scale is the best way to gain experience while learning valuable lessons, said Capt. Buddy McNeal Jr., a 7th Airlift Squadron instructor pilot from Joint Base Charleston and one of the formation's aircraft commanders. McNeal praised the unique opportunity the exercise offered for crews to fly in formation with their counterparts from other bases into unfamiliar airfields with unique terrain and weather considerations.

Aircrews were not the only participants who benefited from the exercise. Royal Thai and U.S. armed forces paratroopers also praised the valuable experience gained from the exercise.

After landing into an area just 1,400 yards by 2,500 yards, the nearly 400 paratroopers conducted operations including eliminating opposition forces, seizing and turning over the airfield to the host nation. and assisting with local area humanitarian operations.

"These exercises hone our abilities to defend our nation, as well as help our allies, at any time and in any location across the globe," said Army 1st. Sgt. Jason Woodbury, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry jumpmaster.

Upon conclusion of the exercise, aircrews made the return trip to JBER, executing further large-scale formation and air refueling operations along the way. Once over Alaska, paratroopers conducted a return airborne operation , further enhancing their forced entry proficiency.

"With any exercise of this scale, there will always be lessons learned and things we will be able to do better next time," said Schenk. "But to be able to fly five C-17s thousands of miles, refueling twice along the way, and drop nearly 400 troops on target, on time, is truly a tremendous accomplishment."

Friends of Veterans: Appreciating past heroes

by Senior Airman Kristoffer Kaubisch
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs


2/24/2014 - MINOT, N.D. -- Veteran's Day is a day to remember and show our appreciation to our nation's military members who have fought for our country and freedom. Whether they are retired or currently serving, many appreciate the courage and bravery these men and women have expressed or are currently displaying.

Friends of Veterans, an organization comprised of Minot Airmen from the 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron and the 91st Missile Wing Security Forces Squadron, visited veterans living at Edgewood Vista, an assisted living community in downtown Minot, Feb. 15.

The organization was started by Senior Airmen Andrew Magathan and Tyler Britton, defenders from the 791st MSFS, as a way to give back to the veterans in the local community and show appreciation.

Magathan and Britton started the organization at Trinity Homes, a retirement community in downtown Minot.

During one of their visits, the Friends of Veterans program found out about 32 veterans who moved from Trinity Homes to Edgewood Vista. Magathan then approached Senior Airman Erica Radcliffe and Airman 1st Class Jasmine Horton, defenders from the 91st MW SFS, about starting another Friends of Veterans program at Edgewood Vista.

Bridging the gap between yesterday's Air Force and today's Air Force is important, said Radcliff.

"The veterans get out of the service, go back home, or they go to an assisted living community," said Radcliffe.

Sometimes veterans are forgotten about, but the Friends of Veterans program helps ensure Veterans are appreciated for everything they have done for this country.

"They have so many Veterans here and it's just a great program," said Radcliffe. "If we can do the same event at two different places and make it more convenient for the veterans, it's just better."

The goal of the Friends of Veterans program will decide on one event and split it between the two veteran communities. Overall, the smaller aspect will be decided by the committee that runs the building.

"We have the socials at Trinity Homes and Edgewood Vista around the same time," added Britton. "The smaller details may be different, but overall the goal is the same."

As president and vice president of the program, Magathan and Britton stop in occasionally to see how things are going with the new program at Edgewood Vista.

"Here at Edgewood Vista, it's assisted living, so everyone here is able to move on their own and do things for themselves," said Horton. "We come in here and talk to them, it's a great experience."

Friends of Veterans host many events throughout the year to include an ice cream social and a barbeque. The ice cream social will take place in a couple months.

Ramstein makes history with first sergeant symposium

by Tech. Sgt. James M. Hodgman
U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs


2/22/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- More than 120 military members from nine nations took part in the Kaiserslautern Military Community First Sergeant Council's Annual First Sergeant Symposium here Feb. 18 - 21.

The symposium featured 10 international attendees for the first time in its history, including representatives from Belgium, Estonia, France and three from Germany.

During the symposium, Airmen interested in serving as first sergeants were given an in-depth look into what life is like in the special duty position.

The four-day event was filled with presentations about first sergeant responsibilities including family care plans, administrative actions and counseling. The symposium also featured a current and former first sergeant panel and international attendees were given a tour of the Kisling NCO Academy.

Chief Master Sgt. Janis Jallai, Air Surveillance Wing command chief master sergeant and senior enlisted leader of the Estonian air force, said he wanted to attend the first sergeant symposium since 2011, when he first learned of the first sergeant position.

Jallai met with Chief Master Sgt. David Williamson, then U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa command chief and Chief Master Sgt. Adam McNair, USAFE-AFAFRICA Headquarters Squadron first sergeant.

During that meeting, Jallai said he was intrigued by the first sergeant role and wanted to incorporate the position into the Estonian air force.

He said he's taking everything he learned during the symposium back to his leadership, but the briefing on first sergeant responsibilities was his favorite.

"It gave me a very good picture of what they do," Jallai said. "What I liked most was hearing from former first sergeants and how they handled their responsibilities. In those moments I got some ideas on how to deal with my Airmen, because they had some difficult situations and they developed solutions quickly."

It's very nice to know that the U.S. Air Force has the first sergeant position, Jallai added.

"You take care of your people, first sergeants are people focused, I'm very impressed with the passion U.S. Air Force first sergeants have," he said.

Chief Master Sgt. Rolf Gemünden, a German air force NCO Academy instructor and advisor, echoed Jallai's sentiments.

Gemünden, a former first sergeant himself, said that first sergeants in the German air force are similar to first sergeants in the U.S. Air Force; however, he said he was greatly impressed with the passion U.S. Air Force first sergeants display.

"The first sergeants in the U.S. Air Force have a great standard, they perform a great duty. The vision they have and what they want to do for their units and their Airmen is something I'll definitely take back."

"This passion first sergeants have in their duties; I want to pass along that to my NCOs," Gemünden said.

Gemünden also said it's important for USAFE to continue building partnerships with events like the symposium.

"There is so much we can share and so much we can learn from each other," Gemünden said. "Doing so may give you hints on how you can improve yourself or your service or help understand differences between one another."

Building partnerships is a must, he added.

"The world is changing and many burning points are popping up and basically we share the same goals. We want to get better and we're working together on the battlefield in these parts of the world, so why not improve our partnership as well."

"The more we learn from each other, the better we'll function together," he said.

Master Sgt. John Carbon, 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant and one of the symposium's organizers, said he enjoyed putting the event together, the first in USAFE's history to host international attendees.

"Any time you can say first ever in the Air Force is a big deal," he said. "I'm happy it's the first and I hope it's not the last. I hope we can go to their countries and teach them more and have an even greater audience of their enlisted folks.

"I would love to be a part of the growth of another country's enlisted corps, that would be historic in so many different ways," he added.

Carbon has been a first sergeant for nearly a third of his 19-year-career and said he loves the job, especially when he can share what he does with others.

"We don't turn the wrenches, we don't build the houses, we don't draw the blood, but we take care of the people who do," he said. "As first sergeants we take care of things behind the scenes, we're kind of like roadies for a concert; we make sure the sound system works so when the band gets out there and plays nobody misses a beat."