Military News

Monday, March 10, 2014

440th Force Support Squadron is Reserve nominee for Eubank Award

by Senior Airman Melissa Dearstone
440th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


3/7/2014 - POPE FIELD, N.C. -- The 440th Force Support Squadron was recently named the Air Force Reserve Command nominee for the Air Force 2013 Major General Eugene L. Eubank Award.

The Eubank Award is presented annually to recognize excellence at small bases where less than 5,000 Airmen are assigned. The force support squadrons are evaluated in mission accomplishment, leadership, innovation, management, customer focus and customer impact.

"I was ecstatic when I heard the news," said Lt. Col. Selby Redman, 440th FSS commander. "When I got here in 2012 there were lots of challenges, high turnover and low morale, so winning this award really showed how much we overcame and accomplished. I am very proud of them all."

Accomplishments from the squadron include delivering backlog for more than 800 fitness assessments, standing up the Airman and Family Readiness Center, establishing child care for UTA weekends and refining the newcomer's program.

Redman said that they were up against 14 other bases in the command.

The award honors Maj. Gen. Eugene L. Eubank, a highly decorated pilot who served more than 34 years in the Air Force. Eubank recognized the importance of morale and welfare for America's fighting forces to further the overall Air Force mission.

SJ teen recognized as Youth of the Year

by Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/7/2014 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Sitting in front of three judges, she had her doubts about the outcome; she stated a strong case, but the opposition was just as tough. She didn't think she was going to win.

"I was absolutely shocked," she said of the verdict. "It probably would not have been very professional to get out of my chair and start dancing around, so I had to keep myself composed."

Retired Master Sgt. Brian Buss' daughter wasn't on trial exactly, but her actions in the community were.

For her achievements, she was selected as Seymour Johnson's candidate for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year.

"Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys and Girls Club member can receive," explained Dawn Allen, 4th Force Support Squadron youth program manager. "As [the club's] premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year honors outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community, and Boys and Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome."

Since first getting involved in the BGCA four years ago, Buss' daughter said she uses the club's opportunities to develop into a leader and role model for her fellow peers.

"Once I started going to the Boys and Girls Club, I got involved with some other community events," Buss's daughter said. "It has slowly evolved to me finally discovering that I can do something for the world. I can make a change; my life can mean something. The Boys and Girls Club has brought so much meaning to my life."

She is currently the president of the youth center's Keystone and Teen Council, where she encourages others to advance personally, through leadership skills and community involvement. She is also involved in projects for the community soup kitchen, Ronald McDonald House of Eastern North Carolina and the Keystone National Project, which raised awareness for teen suicide prevention in 2013.

"She is a very versatile young lady," said Jasmine Carroll, 4th FSS youth director. "She is always available when you need a helping hand and knows the true meaning of responsibility and respect."

As Seymour Johnson's representative, Buss' daughter will compete against other nominees across the state for North Carolina Youth of the Year as well as Military Youth of the Year. If she wins at the state level, which will be held March 28, she will receive a $1,000 scholarship and advance to regional and then the national competition.

With each higher stage, she will be eligible to win more scholarship money to help meet her ultimate goal of achieving a degree in music therapy.

"It would be wonderful to receive a scholarship," Buss' daughter explained. "It would make life so much easier not to have so many student loans to pay off when I'm finally done with college."

As a military dependent, Buss' daughter has access to many different opportunities and resources on base, but said it's not always the easiest lifestyle. Dealing with deployments is especially strenuous, she said, because it's hard having one parent gone for months at a time.

As the eldest of three children, she has stepped up into a greater role of responsibility by helping take care of her younger siblings.

The juggling act of balancing her personal life as well as school and volunteering is difficult, she said, but her passion for being the best person she can be has set her above the rest and earned her the title of Youth of the Year.

"I have this drive to make a difference in the world," she said. "I finally know I want to do everything I can to make the biggest possible difference. It's not about me; it's about making sure the world improves while I'm here. It's about leaving the world a better place."


Editor's Note: The Boys and Girls Clubs of America is a Private Organization. It is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no governmental status.

U.S. Will Beef Up Air Operations in Poland



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2014 – More U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons will deploy to Poland in the coming days and weeks, a Pentagon official said here today.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak spoke yesterday, and Siemoiniak thanked the secretary for looking at options for basing, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

“No decision [have been made] on numbers yet,” he added. “That decision has not been finalized.”

U.S. European Command would provide the aircraft once a decision is made, the colonel told reporters.

The decision has been made to increase the size of the U.S. aviation detachment in Poland, Warren said. Ten U.S. Air Force personnel are stationed at Lask Air Base in Poland, “but there is no permanent jet presence there,” he added.

The airmen support quarterly rotations of U.S. F-16s and C-130s for joint training with the Polish air force. They are part of the 52nd Fighter Wing based in Spangdahlem, Germany.

Typically, there are four annual aircraft rotations to the air base, with at least two weeks of flying per rotation.

“What we are doing is reassuring our allies that we are there for them,” Warren said. “This is an important time for us to make it crystal clear to all our allies and partners in the region that the United States of America stands by them.”

This is just one of the visible actions the United States has taken since the Russian incursion into Ukraine. The United States sent six more F-15C Eagle aircraft to beef up the air policing mission in the Baltics. In addition, the USS Truxton has been deployed to the Black Sea.

These are examples, Warren said, of U.S. commitments to allies and partners in the region.

Cope North humanitarian assistance, disaster relief training improves cohesion in Asia-Pacific Region

by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley
36th Wing Public Affairs


3/9/2014 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Airmen representing the United States, Japan, and Australia exercised their abilities to respond to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in support of exercise Cope North Feb. 16 through 28 on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

"Cope North training is very different because it provides an opportunity to work side-by-side with multi-national teams on practical disaster scenarios," said U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas "Doc" Livingston, commander of the 36th Contingency Response Group at Andersen. "Getting the planes and participants to Andersen provides a cross-cultural level of realism we cannot achieve during local training on our own."


The first several days of Cope North focused primarily on the HA/DR training and featured several air transport missions to the neighboring islands of Tinian and Saipan to exercise operating a "hub and spoke" system for providing relief supplies and aid, planners said.

During the simulated scenarios, the Airmen practiced air drops on the north side of Tinian and at Point Udall, or Orote Point, on Naval Base Guam. The 36th Airlift Squadron from Yokota Air Base, Japan also received the opportunity to test an improved airdrop bundle.

"These new bundles can float in the ocean for hours, remaining completely dry and ultimately making the food, water and supplies more survivable," said Capt. Ian Haig, 36th AS Cope North deputy mission commander. "This also helps our Airmen improve overall response time. We can deliver the bundles more quickly and accurately while also ensuring that the contents will not be ruined."

The HA/DR emphasis is a result of multilateral partners within the Asia-Pacific region sharing a common concern to improve their nations response to emergency situations. This determination is based on lessons learned from recent Pacific disasters such as Super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated the Philippines in November 2013 and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011. All of these events proved that nations in the Pacific need to increase cooperation and improve capabilities with their regional partners.

"We get to develop synergies that only a coalition can provide and we work through the differences in tactics, techniques, and procedures that otherwise go unrealized," Livingston said.

The multilateral basis for the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief portions of Cope North enhance regional capabilities to respond to crises and lays the foundation for the expansion of regional cooperation in the face of real world contingencies. As Cope North continues in to its second week of operations, the U.S., along with its regional partners, focus on the strategic and tactical portions of the exercise in order to prepare for future combined operations.

Air Force Legend Speaks at 59th MDW Annual Awards Banquet

by Senior Airman Courtney Moses
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs


3/10/2014 - Joint Base San Antonio- Lackland, Texas -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert D. Gaylor, the fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, was the featured speaker for the 59th Medical Wing's annual awards banquet at the Gateway Club, Feb. 28, 2014.

Born in 1930 in Bellevue, Iowa, Gaylor entered the Air Force in 1948, just one year after the service became its own military branch. Today, more than 66 years later, he's is the oldest living person to hold the branch's highest enlisted position and continues to be an active, spirited part of the Air Force community - touring and speaking to Airmen of all ranks around the country.

During his speech, Gaylor highlighted several keys to success - attitude, education and hard work.

"Attitude is everything," he said. "If you don't have the proper attitude you won't succeed. Airmen face obstacles that challenge their attitude, to include drawbacks and the retention boards to reduce the size of the Air Force which will question their commitment and how they prove they're indeed an asset."

He also stressed the importance of continuing education and self-improvement.

"There's nothing more exciting than learning," Gaylor said. "You must be open to learning something new every day that will enrich your life and those around you. If you don't have the drive to learn and educate yourself, what example are you setting for the new Airmen who look up to you for guidance? How will you succeed?"

"Think for a moment why we are here," he said. "Tonight we are here to recognize the people in a variety of categories who have been nominated for their performance and because of the way they pursue their career and so they're evidence of what I'm speaking about."

The 59th MDW 2013 annual award winners were:

Airman of the Year: A1C Treg Davis, 59 MDOG

Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: TSgt Rolando Guerrero, 359 MDOS

Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: MSgt Lamond Barnes, 359 MDSS

Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt Michael Kan, 559 MDG

Civilian Non Supervisor of the Year Category I: Ki'ana Simons, 359 MDG

Civilian Non Supervisor of the Year Category II: Douglas Scalf, 59 DG

Civilian Non Supervisor of the Year Category III: Tory J. Johnson, 59 MDSG

Civilian Supervisor of the Year Category I: Rolton Lovett, 559 AMDS

Civilian Supervisor of the Year Category II: Howard N. Garb, 559 AMDS

First Sergeant of the Year: MSgt Jason Fitts, 59 DG

PACAF Hosts Inaugural Air Sea Battle Forum

by Master Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs


3/10/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- 
Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Pacific Fleet held their first Air Sea Battle Forum here, March 6.
 
The forum served as a venue to promote camaraderie and spark discussions between the air and sea components.
 
Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, and Rear Admiral Robert Girrier, Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of U.S. Pacific Fleet, made opening remarks before Mr. Steve Diamond, the PACAF historian, gave a presentation on the historic Air Sea battle perspective.
 
"The intent of this Air Sea Battle Forum is for us to get together and talk; the discussions that you have in places like this, the sidebars, the relationships, invariably is the most valuable way to get things done," Carlisle said. "Sometimes fiscal constraints drive people to think separately; we need to fight that urge and think more cooperatively. At the end of the day, our job is to provide the United States with the greatest military possible with the resources they give us and the only way to do that is if we do it together."
 
Girrier spoke next, holding in his hand a newsletter from the Pentagon's Air-Sea Battle office.
 
"At its core the Air Sea Battle concept seeks to develop a pre-integrated joint force built from habitual relationships with interoperable and complimentary cross domain capabilities," Girrier read from the newsletter. "There are a lot of words in there, but the key pieces are pre-integrated, interoperable, and cross-domain, and what we are doing here is a step in that right direction," he said.
 
After Girrier spoke, Diamond and his staff delivered a presentation to nearly 300 Airmen and Sailors on past Air Sea operations.  One such operation was the Doolittle Raid, a response to Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in which Lt. Col. "Jimmy" Doolittle and 79 other Airmen launched 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers from the deck of the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942.
 
Air Sea Battle is both a natural and deliberate evolution of U.S. power projection capabilities toward more networked and integrated operational solutions. The Air Sea Battle Forums are now scheduled to occur quarterly.  

Denver MEPS is 'freedom's front door'

by Airman Emily E. Amyotte
460th Space Wing Public Affairs


3/7/2014 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- There are plenty of movies depicting boot camp where tentative faces pile out from a bus into the grasp of screaming drill sergeants, are put through strenuous physical and mental tasks, and over the timeframe of a couple months are transformed into basically trained and proficient military members. But the onboarding process it takes to get those faces onto the bus in the first place is as equally crucial for success.

The Denver Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS, is one of 65 total MEPS locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico responsible for reviewing and processing the men and women who aim to be the future of the U.S. Armed Forces. Though geographically separated, Denver MEPS gains support services from Buckley Air Force Base as one of 84 Buckley base partners.

Since the mid-1950's, the Denver MEPS has dedicated itself to ensure that the quality of applicants are suitable for military service.

"We are the gateway into the military," said U.S. Army Capt. Jennifer Bray, Denver MEPS assistant operations officer. "We uphold Department of Defense standards in order to provide quality applicants to all military branches."

Last year, there were more than 6,000 applicants who processed through the Denver MEPS from both Colorado and Wyoming in anticipation of being sent off to begin their military careers.

For many of the prospective recruits, the MEPS experience is their first introduction to military life.

"We really are the first impression that most folks get of the military," said U.S. Navy Lt. Joseph Abdullah, Denver MEPS operations officer. "We definitely aim to provide a professional environment that's conducive to entering a new profession."

The Denver MEPS aims to change the tradition of uncomfortable, long hours and feelings of being herded through the process like cattle. Recruits may sit in the break room to watch TV, enjoy free Wi-Fi or share their excitement for the future with others while waiting for their turn to process.

"We aim to provide 'red-carpet treatment' to all applicants, recruiters and family members that come through the Denver MEPS," Abdullah said. "It's our primary goal."

Recruits go through testing on mental aptitude, physical ability, and moral readiness while at the Denver MEPS. The applicants' results are reviewed and held to the DOD Instruction and service-specific standards, determining if they are fully qualified for U.S. military service.

"Our goal is to efficiently process quality applicants out to the services," Bray said.

With representatives from all branches of the military, along with civilian employees working to build the future of the military, the Denver MEPS employs a highly competent, technical and motivated team of professionals.

Lt. Col. Keith Collier, Denver MEPS commander, is "dual-hatted" as the commander of the Denver MEPS and the 3rd MEPS Battalion. The Denver MEPS is the battalion headquarters for five MEPS locations that includes the Denver MEPS, Salt Lake City MEPS, Albuquerque MEPS, Boise MEPS and Butte MEPS. It covers the largest geographic area out of all MEPS Battalions.

Once applicants complete their processing at the Denver MEPS, after their lengthy process of aptitude tests, medical examinations, and processing, they are ready to become one of those wide-eyed, new recruits who will one day put on the coveted uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Battaglia Honors Service Members, Families for Adaptability



By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2014 – The military’s top enlisted leader praised service members and their families at Joint Base Langley–Eustis, Va., March 7 for their professionalism, flexibility and tenacity during a time of impending change for the Defense Department.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke during Air Combat Command’s annual awards dinner, where he lauded troops for their service and their families for their unwavering commitment.

“I just want to say how tremendously proud we are of the service members and civilian workforce that comprise our total force,” he said.

Also, Battaglia said, it takes a very special family to endure the frequent and lengthy separations and household moves inherent in military life, especially while shouldering hardships awaiting the return of loved ones.

“We hope you share our excitement and pride that our military family is the heart and soul of our force,” he said, leading a round of applause for military spouses in attendance.

While families are the military’s heart and soul, the sergeant major said, “our serving men and women stand tall as the center of gravity.”

“Despite the impending changes to our force,” he said, alluding to uncertainty in the defense budget and the nation’s transition from a 13-year wartime footing. “We’ll forge through it and adapt to upgrades and modernization. It may sting, but we shoulder a duty and responsibility to our country and its citizens.”

Some areas of change, such as pay and compensation, may take a little longer to return to normal than others, Battaglia said, but the military’s leaders hope to do this just once.

“Our professionalism, tenacity and moral obligation will see us through,” he said. “We can never forget that we are a loyal, patriotic and professional organization our society respects and admires, and an organization that many nations, in fact, envy.”

The senior enlisted advisor said each service member -- no matter their rank or status -- has attained the credentials and privilege to proudly wear the uniform, earning their coveted title of soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. He said it is “professionally humbling” and that he feels “very fortunate” leading and representing a force of more than 2 million enlisted men and women -- active duty, Reserve and National Guard -- and their families.

Battaglia provided an overview of the challenges that lie ahead for the department, troops and their families.

“It should be no surprise to anyone here that as we have returned forces from Iraq and continue to methodically redeploy forces from Afghanistan, we are also restructuring and reshaping our total force,” Battaglia said. “Like we have after every major conflict, readjustment in personnel and equipment comes as part of that post-conflict cycle.”

While the armed forces may be leaner tomorrow than they are today, Battaglia said, they will remain ready, relevant, trained, poised and postured to meet any emergent requirement as the president directs to defend the nation.

The sergeant major said every service and component will be reshaped in some manner, but there will be a slight build-up in cyber warriors and special operations forces.

“You know the capability they bring,” Battaglia said. “Cyber is certainly a viable and current challenge to our country’s security. Freedom is not free.”

The sergeant major noted that the fiscal challenges the nation faces will affect the armed forces as well.

“It shows us from multiple perspectives that war, through all phases, comes with a cost,” he said. “We have some state-of-the-art equipment and technology that has allowed our forces to not only defeat our enemy … but prevent and avoid engagement partly because of advanced technology.”

Battaglia said he uses “freedom is not free” means that keeping adversaries out of reach comes with a monetary cost to supply operational forces. But more importantly, he said, freedom comes with a human cost: the lives of service members who gallantly have given their full devotion.

With the sacrifices of those serving over the last 13 years, Battaglia said, “no dollar amount can be placed to that price.”

“It is one of the sacrifices that every one of you who have sworn the oath carries with you each day,” he added. “On any given day, you are prepared to support and defend [it] at all costs.”

Battaglia acknowledged more than 90 award nominees “who have gone the full mile, and a handful within that group who happened to go even a little further.”

“All of them,” he said, are “honorable in their actions and courageous in their hearts. They are the members of our team who have set a fine example [with] not only their past performance, but rather their future potential.”

Knowledge Base Offers ‘Umbrella’ of DOD Information



By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2014 – Whether it’s how to replace a lost military service medal, ship a package to overseas troops or get the details of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, there’s a good chance the Defense Department’s Knowledge Base will have the answers.

A DOD information tool to answer public inquiries, the database offers about 18 pages of 180 Defense questions and answers that address the hottest topics of public concern, said Nancy Kuck, a public affairs specialist working in community and public outreach for the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.

“We are an avenue to ask questions,” Kuck said of the Knowledge Base.

Anyone can use the database, and Kuck encourages people to first look at Knowledge Base’s frequently asked questions to find the information they need. If the answer to a question is not listed, information-seekers can submit questions and receive electronic responses.

If the staff of three full-time employees doesn’t know the answer to a question, they will research a topic and find the answer, Kuck said. The staff answers more than 40,000 inquiries a year submitted through the Knowledge Base and by letters, emails and phone calls, she said.

Two of the most popular questions are how to replace an identification card, and how to obtain a DD 214, the certificate of release or discharge from active duty, she said.

Additionally, if Kuck’s office sees a trend in questions or concerns -- such as last year’s furlough, -- the staff researches and gathers the information for posting on the Knowledge Base so it’s readily available to the public, she said.

The Knowledge Base is “the big umbrella” of DOD information, although some questions are military service-specific, Kuck said, noting that directly contacting the appropriate branch of service is sometimes faster to get an answer.

“If it’s service-specific, we encourage people to go to them, because they would know more than we would,” she said. The public will find contact information for various organizations at http://www.defense.gov/landing/comment.aspx, she added.

“Our team does its best to address the questions and concerns of the general public,” Kuck said, “because they have a voice, and we are there to answer them,”

U.S. Continues to Aid Search for Missing Malaysian Airliner



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2014 – The United States continues to assist the Malaysian government in the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared the night of March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

The USS Pinckney and USS Kidd - Arleigh Burke-class destroyers - are on station in the Gulf of Thailand conducting search-and-rescue operations, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today.

The ships are using a "creeping-line” search method, Warren said. The Pinckney investigated a possible debris field yesterday, he added, but it was not the missing aircraft.

Two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters are flying off the ships to aid the search, using forward-looking infrared pods to search at night. A P-3 Orion from Kadena Air Base, Japan, also is being employed in the search, Warren said. The Orion, operating in the western search area, brings long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the efforts. It can loiter about nine hours at a time.

In addition, the USNS John Ericsson, a fleet replenishment oiler, is providing logistics support for the U.S. effort.

American ships are working with ships from Malaysia, China and Singapore in the search effort.

Air traffic controllers lost the signal about two hours after the Boeing 777-200 airliner took off with 239 people aboard.

Earlier reports of an oil slick in the Gulf of Thailand proved to not be from the aircraft, Malaysian aviation officials in Kuala Lumpur told reporters today.