Military News

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Transcom Nominee Testifies on Issues, Challenges



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

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2014 – The impact of sequestration, the drawdown in Afghanistan and the situation in Ukraine were among the topics Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva addressed before the Senate Armed Services Committee here today during his confirmation hearing to lead U.S. Transportation Command.

If confirmed by the Senate, Selva would succeed Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III as Transcom’s commander. He currently commands Air Mobility Command, Transcom’s air component.

If sequestration spending cuts resume in fiscal year 2016 as current law requires, Selva told the senators, there will be “two significant impacts” on Transcom.

“The first will be as an industrially funded organization, where our users that use transportation services pay out of their operations and maintenance accounts for those services,” he said. “The decrease in the availability of those funds is likely to cause a decrease in that demand signal.”

The corollary effect to that, Selva said, is that this would force Transcom to spend more of its own operations and maintenance dollars to achieve the training it could accomplish as a byproduct of fulfilling transportation requirements around the world.

“So there is a bit of a two-sided coin there on the impact of sequestration on the readiness of those fleets,” he told the Senate panel.

On Afghanistan, Selva was asked when Transcom would be at risk of being unable to move all U.S. cargo out of the country by the end of the year in the absence of a signed bilateral security agreement. Last month, President Barack Obama directed the Defense Department to begin planning for a full withdrawal by the end of the year, because U.S. forces would not remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 without a signed agreement in place.

“My understanding, from consulting with the Transcom staff, … is that through the early fall, we still have sufficient capacity in the variety of networks that we’re using to redeploy cargo from Afghanistan to be able to make the decision at that point,” the general replied. If confirmed, he added, he would consult with Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command, to provide a more definitive answer.

Selva did note, however, that he is confident the command is on track, as tasked, to remove all necessary equipment from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Asked for his assessment of U.S. flexibility in determining time frames for a post-2014 presence in Afghanistan, the general said the options decrease as the time draws nearer. “I would say we have the greatest flexibility that we have had in the past several months,” he said. “But, as each day passes -- as you’re probably aware -- our options decrease. There is a limit to the capacity of the networks to bring back equipment and [get] those personnel out.”

The general said he would commit to consulting with Austin and with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the top commander in Afghanistan, for their assessments on the specific limits of those networks.

“In Transcom,” Selva said, “our obligation is to make sure that the transportation layer and the distribution layer of those networks is prepared for the capacity of whatever comes at us.”

On Ukraine, Selva said he’d make alternative planning for working with Russia a priority if he is confirmed. “I do know as the air component of Transcom, and working directly with the Transcom director of operations, that we have been building alternative plans,” he said.

“The Northern Distribution Network, part of which flows through Russia, consists of five different options for how we move cargo in and out of Afghanistan,” Selva said. Transcom may have to look at alternatives to overflight or transit through Russia, he added.

“If the Russians were to take action to constrain our access to the Russian segments of the Northern Distribution Network, we have other options to move that cargo in and out of Afghanistan,” Selva said, responding to a later question.

“The singular item that moves across that network that would concern me, at this point, is the subsistence cargoes in the form of food and noncombat articles.”

About 20 percent of the subsistence cargoes move through that network, Selva said, adding that Transcom does have several options in the network that don’t include transiting Russia.

Selva expressed his gratitude for the “trust and confidence” he’s received from Obama and the Defense Department leadership in nominating him as the next Transcom commander.

“If confirmed,” he said, “I look forward to working with the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of United States Transportation Command.” This also includes their civilian counterparts, he added, and the vast network of commercial partners that provide the distribution and logistics networks that make the command successful.

Cope Tiger begins in Thailand

Release Number: 010314

3/11/2014 - KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, Thailand -- Aviation and ground units from the U.S. Air Force, the Royal Thai Air Force, Navy and Army, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force is participating in the Cope Tiger 2014 Field Training Exercise (FTX) in Thailand March 10-21.

CT14 is an annual, multilateral, aerial large force exercise conducted in the Asia-Pacific region. It takes place at Korat Royal Thai Air Force base in Thailand.

More than 760 personnel will participate in the exercise, including approximately 160 U.S. service members and 600 service members from Thailand and Singapore.

The FTX will involve a combined total of 76 aircraft and 42 air defense units, including 10 U.S. F-15C/D aircraft, and 15 F-16s, six JAS-39s, six F-5s, five ALPHA JETs, six L-39s, one C-130, one BELL 412, and one UH-1H from the Royal Thai Air Force. The Republic of Singapore Air Force will deploy eight F-16s, six F-15SGs, six F-5s, one G550, one KC-135, and two AS332 to the exercise.

The exercise enhances combined readiness and interoperability, reinforces the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, and demonstrates U.S. capability to project combined and joint forces strategically in a multilateral environment.

First F-35 Lightning II arrives at Luke AFB

                                                      56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/11/2014 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Escorted by two F-16s, Luke AFB's first F-35 Lightning II arrived a little after 11 a.m. this morning from the Lockheed Martin factory in Fort Worth, Tex.

"This is a day that has been a long time coming. It's the result of many years of hard work by countless people in the military and in the community," Col. John Hanna, 56th Operations Group commander, said at a press conference after the jet landed.

The jet is the first of 144 that will eventually be assigned to Luke. Approximately 16 U.S. jets are expected by the end of 2014, and the full contingent of aircraft should arrive incrementally over the next decade.

"Having F-35s at Luke ensures the long-term viability of our mission and safeguards the long-term presence of the base as a community partner and an economic engine in the West Valley," Hanna said.

The 56th Fighter Wing is planning a formal "unveiling ceremony" for the jet the morning of March 14.

The event will be hosted by Eric Fanning, the Undersecretary of the Air Force, and Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Education and Training Command. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is expected to be among the speakers at the ceremony.

Other elected officials, community leaders and distinguished visitors, including representatives from partner nation air forces, are also expected to attend.

The F-35 will be available for the public to view during the base's air show and open house March 15-16. Admission is free, and gates open at 9 a.m. both days. More details can be found at the base's website, www.luke.af.mil.

The F-35, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is a fifth-generation fighter aircraft intended to be the Air Force's premier strike aircraft through the first half of the 21st Century. It is a multirole fighter that is expected to eventually phase out the service's aging F-16s and A-10s.

Hickam Airmen, local community participate in school reading program

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


3/11/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii  -- 
Airmen from JBPH-H put their storytelling skills to work March 10 in celebration of Read Across Nimitz.
A nod to the 17th Annual Read Across America Day, which was held March 3, Read Across Nimitz is a localized program hosted by Nimitz Elementary School to help build awareness of the importance of reading. In addition to celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss, both programs focus on motivating children and teens to read more through innovative events and storytelling.
In honor of the occasion, more than 70 volunteers from the local community and JBPH-H picked up their favorite story books and headed over to the school for story time.
For Read Across Nimitz, the students were treated to snacks and a full hour of storytelling by the volunteer readers -- some were dressed in Airman Battle Uniforms, others as Dr. Seuss characters.
"The response from the community far exceeded our expectations," said Bernice Saavedra, Nimitz Elementary School parent community network coordinator. "We had an overwhelmingly positive response from the parents and kids. We're trying to make reading a bigger part of the school experience."
School Librarian, Sheri Honnaka, said in the weeks leading up to the big event the teachers built excitement for the day by reading Dr. Seuss books to their classes--an act that soon drove students to the library in search of similar reads.
Honnaka said the event also encouraged parent involvement.
"The kids who had parents volunteering were excited to help them select books to read to their classmates," she said. "A lot of the students found more books they really enjoyed and wanted to take home to share with their family. I think it's really exciting to see the children fall in love with reading and be excited to learn."
Allison Pachasa, a parent volunteer, said she loves any opportunity to get involved with her son's classroom experience and saw Read Across Nimitz as a great way to encourage reading.
"Anything I can do to help promote reading is awesome," she said. "They are so focused on video games these days that it's hard to instill in them a love for reading, but I think it's fun to hear stories from different people. I think variety makes them understand reading can be fun."
Master Sgt. John Marquez, Binnicker Professional Military Education Center director of education and parent volunteer, said not only is it important to get children interested in reading, it's especially important to get them excited about it at an early age.
"I think it's important for adults to read to children both on and off campus," he said.
However, for Marquez the highlight of of the event was simply witnessing the excitement.
"It was fun making the kids laugh and smile, that's what makes my day," he said.
After such a positive response from the parents and students, Saavedra said she hopes to see Read Across Nimitz become an annual event.

Airman Spotlight: SrA Eric Gomez Sein

by Staff Reports
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/11/2014 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

Unit: 51st Maintenance Squadron

Job title: Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) Technician

Job description and its impact on the overall mission: As a PMEL technician I have the unique ability to impact the mission of more than 100 Owning Work Centers spread out all over the peninsula. This varies from our primary mission, keeping aircraft operational, to many secondary missions like providing support to the hospital, commissary, civil engineering, and Transportation Management Office (TMO).

Time in the military: Three years

Time at Osan: Three months

DEROS: Nov. 2014

Family: Mother, father, four older sisters, and one older brother.

Hometown: Orlando, Fla.

Hobbies: Lifting weights, playing video games, radio controlled cars, and playing pool.

Why did you join the military? I honestly felt like I had no direction in my life, like I was wasting my time accomplishing nothing. I walked into a recruiter's office wanting a physically demanding job, but I scored pretty high on my ASVAB, so they recommended PMEL. I'm glad they did as I enjoy it!

Where do you see yourself in 10 or 20 years? Giving coins to Airmen for a job well done.

What do you do for fun here? Play pool and barbeque with my fellow flight members.

What's your favorite Air Force memory or story? Chief Master Sgt. Craig Neimann, my previous Flight Chief, coined me.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? On a personal scale, I finally achieved my goal of flat benching over 300 lbs. I threw up 305 like it was nothing. On a professional scale, I was recognized by my peers as the MPOY for the 86th MXS at Ramstein Air Base. That particular PMEL is the AF's largest and winning that award sort of justified the hard work I put in. However, most recently here at Osan I was able to take part in a Maintenance Repair Team in which we went down to Kimhae Airport (southern tip of South Korea) to repair and certify their 10K lb pallet scale. This scale enables 3,350 short tons of cargo per year to pass through the peninsula, and it was down for roughly two years!

Who are your role models? Mr. Steve Reesman (SSgt Reesman), Eielson AFB PMEL Flight Chief.

Air Force Undersecretary: Budget Uncertainty Worries Airmen



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2014 – Air Force personnel are worried about budgetary uncertainty, and service leaders pledge to be transparent about priorities and programs available as the service moves forward, Air Force Undersecretary Eric Fanning said here today.

Speaking to the Defense Writers Group this morning, Fanning told reporters he has heard from quite a few airmen about their concerns about the force.

"The main thing I promised is to continue to be transparent and to try and make decisions to get us to whatever the new normal is as quickly as possible," he said. "This has not been easy, because we still don't know what that is going to be."

None of the services can really plan beyond fiscal year 2015 because of the specter of sequestration spending cuts the following year. The Budget Control Act of 2011 is still the law of the land. While Congress passed a law giving some relief from sequestration in fiscal 2014 and 2015, the law will go back into full effect in fiscal 2016.

If full sequestration is triggered, the Air Force will have to reduce the number of airmen further, and in a much steeper manner, Fanning said. "We've made proposals on force structure and making the Air Force smaller, but we have to see what Congress will approve," he added. "Certainly, there is a lot of angst out there for what the future holds."

Some airmen have complained that the service appears to value equipment more than people, the undersecretary said. "I read a lot of these blogs too," he said. "There are a lot of airmen who understand that part of our commitment to them is if we're going to send them into harm's way, we're going to send them with the best equipment and the readiest that we can."

The service must balance among capacity, capability and readiness, Fanning told the defense writers, noting that spending money on personnel only makes sense if those personnel are ready and equipped to fight the nation's battles.

"I think [airmen] understand the decisions we are making in terms of investing in the technology that sets the Air Force apart and gives them the edge in a fight," he said.

Air Force leaders still are committed to giving airmen the time to adjust to whatever decision comes forth, Fanning said. "We are still committed to using voluntary programs to the maximum extent possible before we will do anything in an involuntary way," he added.

The air fleet is getting older and smaller by the year, the undersecretary said, so the service must invest in next-generation platforms. "We've been fighting a war in two theaters where we owned the airspace in a way that we won't in other types of conflicts that are more contested," Fanning said.

In the fiscal 2015 budget request, the service focuses specifically on capability over capacity. "That's why you see the Air Force aggressively trying to get rid of its older fleets and older infrastructure," he said. As this continues, he added, the Air Force’s advantage in tactical airpower and in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets will increase.

"These are two areas where we will see significant advancement," Fanning said.

The undersecretary said he also expects improvements across the board from investments in space and cyber technology.

"We cannot, in this environment, afford to invest in all the recapitalization and all the platforms we want to," Fanning said. But amid all the budget issues the U.S. Air Force is still the most potent air arm in the world, he said, and it must be ready to fight today and in the future.

"That balance between the fight today and the fight tomorrow is a struggle that we are going to be dealing with for a long time because of these budget numbers," Fanning said. "But we still are, by far, the best Air Force in the world -- even in any of the scenarios we project out over 10 years. The issue is with the budget you have, and you stack that up against the missions you are assigned. That's the metric I use."

Command media contest results announced

3/11/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Three offices and 26 individuals earned first-place awards in the 2013 Air Force Reserve Command Media Contest.

The top entries were announced March 11 by Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, AFRC commander. The public affairs competition featured 317 Web, print, graphic, still photo and broadcasting entries from 30 organizations.

All of the first-place entries in the following categories advanced to the Air Force Media Contest, Joint BaseSan Antonio-Lackland, Texas:

01/01A-Best Command Publication - first place - Heartland Warrior, 434th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., in the 01-Web-based Publication Category; and second place tie - On-Final, 507th ARW, Tinker AFB, Okla., and Patriot, 439th Airlift Wing, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.

02-Website - first place - www.507arw.afrc.af.mil 507th ARW, Tinker AFB; second place - www.grissom.afrc.af.mil 434th ARW, Grissom ARB; third place - www.niagara.afrc.af.mil 914th AW, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y.

03-News Article - first place - Staff Sgt. Ben Mota, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB; second place - Tech. Sgt. Rachel Martinez, 349th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, Calif.; and third place - Senior Airman Madelyn McCullough, 446th AW, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

04A-News Feature Article - first place - Capt. Zachary Anderson, 931st Air Refueling Group, McConnell AFB, Kan., in the 04-Feature Article Category; and second place tie - Maj. Cathleen Snow, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick AFB, Fla., and Paul Zadach, 934th Minneapolis-St. Paul ARS, Minn.

05-Commentary - first place McCullough, 446th AW, Joint Base Lewis-McChord; second place - Lt. Col. James Bishop, 439th AW, Westover ARB; and third place - Anderson, 931st ARG, McConnell AFB.

06-Sports Article - first place - Stacy Vaughn, 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; second place - Staff Sgt. Caleb Wanzer, 507th ARW, Tinker AFB; and third place - Dana Lineback, 940th Wing, Beale AFB, Calif.

07-Series - first place - Maj. Marnee Losurdo, 403rd Wing, Keesler AFB, Miss.; second place - Staff Sgt. Kelly Goonan and Tech. Sgt. George Cloutier, 439th AW, Westover ARB; and third place - Tech. Sgt. Anna-Marie Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB.

08-Photojournalism - first place - Tech. Sgt. Samuel King Jr., 919th Special Operations Wing, Duke Field, Fla.; second place - Tech. Sgt. Mark Orders-Woempner, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB; and third place - Senior Airman Mark Hybers, 507th ARW, Tinker AFB.

09-Outstanding Initiative in New Media - first place - www.facebook.com/349AMW 349th AMW, Travis AFB; second place - 94th AW, Dobbins ARB, Ga.; and third place - 914th AW, Niagara Falls ARS.

11-Outstanding New Writer - first place - Hybers, 507th ARW, Tinker AFB; second place - McCullough, 446th AW, Joint Base Lewis-McChord; and third place - no award.

12-Air Force Military Print Journalist of the Year - Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB; second place - Orders-Woempner, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB; and third place - no award.

14-Graphics Illustration - first place - Master Sgt. Robert Barko, 910th AW, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio; second place - Master Sgt. Elizabeth Concepcion, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March ARB, Calif.; and third place - Orders-Woempner, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB.

15-Graphics Animation - first place - Keith Langsdorf, 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul ARS, Minn., and second place - no award.

16-Graphics Layout & Design - first place - Tech. Sgt. Steve Collier, 310 th Space Wing, Schriever AFB, Colo.; second place - Eric White, 910th AW, Youngstown ARS; and third place - Wanzer, 507th ARW, Tinker AFB.

18-Documentation Photograph - first place - Staff Sgt. Daniel Delgado, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB; second place - Anderson, 931st ARG, McConnell AFB; and third place - Senior Airman Crystal Charriere, 419th FW, Hill AFB, Utah.

19-News Photograph - first place - Senior Airman Joseph Bridge, 911th AW, Pittsburgh ARS, Pa.; second place - Tech. Sgt. Frank Oliver, 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB, and third place - Staff Sgt. Clark, 914th AW, Niagara Falls ARS.

20-Feature Photograph - first place - Orders-Woempner, 434th ARW, Grissom ARB, and second place tie - Staff Sgt. Jared Becker, 4th CTCS, March ARB, and Staff Sgt. Nathan Federico, 302nd AW, Peterson AFB, Colo.

21-Sports Photograph - first place - King, 919th SOW, Duke Field; second place - Concepcion, 4th CTCS, March ARB; and third place - Federico, 302nd AW, Peterson AFB.

22-Portrait/Personality Photograph - first place - Tech. Sgt. Efren Lopez, 4th CTCS, March ARB; second place - 2nd Lt. Leslie Forshaw, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB; and third place - Senior Airman Joshua J. Seybert, 911th AW, Pittsburgh ARS.

23-Illustrative Photograph - first place - Goonan, 439th AW, Westover ARB; second place - Tech. Sgt. Joseph McKee, 914th AW, Niagara Falls ARS; and third place - Maj. Jon Quinlan, 507th ARW, Tinker AFB.

24-Pictorial Photograph - first place - Staff Sgt. Mikhail Berlin, 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB.; second place - McKee, 914th AW, Niagara Falls ARS; and third place - Goonan, 439th AW, Westover ARB.

25-Picture Story - first place - McKee, 914th AW, Niagara Falls ARS; second place - Lopez, 4th CTCS, March ARB; and third place - Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB.

26-Outstanding New Photographer - first place - Oliver, 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB; second place - Hybers, 507th ARW, Tinker AFB; and third place - no award.

27-Air Force Military Photographer of the Year - first place - King, 919th SOW, Duke Field; second place - Goonan, 439th AW, Westover ARB; and third place - Daigle, 307th BW, Barksdale AFB.

28-Air Force Civilian Photographer of the Year - first place - Shannon McKay, 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul ARS, and second place - no award.

35-Television Spot Production - first place - Langsdorf, 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul ARS; and second place - no award.

36-Television News Report - first place - Staff Sgt. Brent Skeen, 459th ARW, Joint Base Andrews, Md.; second place - Master Sgt. Chance Babin, Headquarters AFRC, Robins AFB, Ga.; and third place - no award.

37-Television Feature Report - first place - Babin, Headquarters AFRC, Robins AFB, and second place - no award.

41-Television Newsbreak - first place - Manuel Smith, Headquarters AFRC, Robins AFB, and second place - no award.

44-Air Force Civilian Broadcast Journalist of the Year - first place - Smith, Headquarters AFRC, Robins AFB, and second place - no award.

45-Video Documentary - first place - Langsdorf, 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul ARS, and second place -no award.

46-Video Field Production - first place - Skeen, 459th ARW, Joint Base Andrews; second place - Langsdorf, 934th AW, Minneapolis-St. Paul ARS; third place - no award.

Other command award winners by category are:

04B- Human Interest Feature Article - first place - Wyant, 920th RQW, Patrick AFB; second place - Senior Airman Elizabeth Van Patten, 94th AW, Dobbins ARB; and third place - White, 910th AW, Youngstown ARS.

04C-Personality Feature Article - first place - Master Sgt. Christian Michael, Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley AFB, Colo.; second place - Senior Airman Charles Hutchison IV, 439th AW, Westover ARB; and third place - Staff Sgt. Joshua Nason, 944th FW, Luke AFB, Ariz.

JBER Airman proves rank isn't everything

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Mize
JBER Public Affairs


3/11/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- "You're punching above your weight class." "You're too low on the totem pole." "That's higher than your pay grade."

Junior enlisted military personnel often hear these phrases in some form or fashion throughout the early part of their careers. The extent of their responsibilities is limited by a lack of stripes or chevrons, time and experience.

But sometimes our young Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors must step outside their ranks and perform duties usually reserved for the more seasoned. One Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson civil engineer did just that while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

And when he got back, he was recognized with a decoration to match his higher-level performance.

During a recent ceremony on JBER, Air Force Col. Anthony Ramage, 673d Civil Engineer Group commander, presented the Defense Meritorious Service Medal to Senior Airman Andres Fossi, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron engineer technician, for his service in Afghanistan from November 2012 until June 2013.

According to the Air Force Personnel Center, the DMSM is awarded for non-combat meritorious achievement or service that is incontestably exceptional and of a magnitude that clearly places the individual above his peers while serving in one of the assignments for which the medal has been designated.

While deployed, Fossi acted as chief of operations and linguist manager for NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.
Among his many accomplishments, Fossi, who was an airman first class at the time of his deployment, managed the framework for the execution of $2.1 billion in infrastructure and sustainment projects. He also managed 12 Afghan interpreters who translated mission-critical documents from English to Dari and vice versa. He was responsible for the translation of more than 500 documents, including military-related technical manuals, laws, government relations, engineering policies, technical specifications and legal documents.
"I wasn't doing those things to get something out of it," said Fossi, a Hackensack, N.J., native. "The way I see it, I was just doing my job. So it feels good to get the recognition and know the things I did actually mattered."

Although Fossi's goal was not to garner recognition, his leadership thought enough of his efforts to award him the third-highest Department of Defense-level honor. Other than federal-level awards, such as the Medal of Honor and Silver Star, only the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Defense Superior Service Medal are higher in precedence than the DMSM.

"At first, I thought it was just another medal," Fossi said. "You always see people deploy and come back with a medal - I thought that was the case. Once I did the research and I realized what gets you that type of medal, it was touching."

Fossi said he appreciated the recognition because it validated his role in the fight, but also because it showed those around him the spoils of hard work.

"It motivates not only the person getting recognized, but also [his peers]," Fossi said. "They say, 'I've seen this guy and the types of things that he does and it pays off, so maybe I should step up and do things the same way.'"

Mentorship Makes a Difference



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karl Anderson, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs

GULF OF OMAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) are helping one another using a mentorship program that pairs veteran Sailors with less experienced Sailors to help foster career development and professional growth.

Senior Chief Logistics Specialist (SW/AW/EXW) Randy Caras is a mentorship program coordinator. He said it is important to find the right mentor to guide you personally and professionally.

"It's always good to have someone else provide insight from their experiences," he said. "Regardless of where you are in your career, you can always benefit from a mentor."

Caras said mentoring is part of Harry S. Truman's command culture and is an integral aspect of naval leadership.

"Senior Sailors have a responsibility to pass down their experience, wisdom and expertise to junior Sailors," he said.

When Hospitalman Herbert Navarro reported to Harry S. Truman, he knew exactly what he wanted in a mentor.

"I looked for someone to inspire me to push harder and try to do better in all aspects of my life and career," he said. "Someone with experience more than anything else."

He found such a mentor in Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Harold Nance.

"Chief Nance is like a big brother mixed with a career counselor," said Navarro. "He doesn't let me slide and he doesn't shoot from the hip. If he doesn't have the facts he'll find them."

Navarro said he and Nance help each other accomplish their goals.

"Chief Nance makes sure I'm on track to accomplish my goals, but this is not a one-sided relationship," said Navarro. "I help him accomplish his goals as well. Even though he's had a successful career, he still has his own goals and ambitions. I admire that. It keeps me motivated."

Navarro said everyone can benefit from a mentor, regardless of rank or age.

"It's always nice to know that you have at least one person in your corner," said Navarro. "If for no other reason, at least you know you're not by yourself."

Nance said mentorship is not only about professional guidance, but helping Sailors in all aspects of their life.

"When a Sailor is dealing with problems at home, you offer a different perspective to make the situation better," said Nance. "Not necessarily how they can fix the problem, but you give them the tools to make it better."

He said a mentor is pertinent to success-they are the glue that binds everything together. The whole goal of the mentorship program is to set the precedent that you are not alone.

"Nobody can live and operate in the world alone," said Nance. "No matter how successful you are, nobody knows everything. Even as a chief petty officer, I can learn something from the junior Sailors. You have to be open for the opportunity to learn. That is what is rewarding. The return is much more than the give."

AMC names Grand Forks AFB Chaplain Office best small chapel organization for 2013

by Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


3/10/2014 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The members of the 319th Air Base Wing Chaplain Office have an extra reason to count their blessings after recently being named the recipient of a major command-level award.

The chapel team won the 2013 Air Mobility Command Outstanding Small Chapel Organization Award.

"I was happy for my entire team--they've worked extremely hard the past year serving the Airmen and family members of Grand Forks Air Force Base," said. Chaplain (Maj.) Steven T. Dabbs, 319th ABW head chaplain. "We celebrated for twenty-four hours, then returned our attentions to serving Airmen and their families. As a team, we embraced the teaching of Jesus that directs, '...when you have done everything you were told to do, you should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" (Luke 17:10).

The AMC Outstanding Small Chapel Organization Award recognizes wing/installation chapel staffs serving an active-duty military population of fewer than 3,000. The annual award winner is selected based on the strategic priorities of warrior care, advisement to leadership, and care for Chaplain Corps caregivers.

In addition to coordinating 294 worship services and increasing chapel attendance by 24 percent, the team also had other notable activities and accomplishments in 2013 that led to their recent unit recognition.

One notable example took place in November 2013 when the base hosted the first ever Wingman Day that focused on the Spiritual Pillar of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness Program, the service-wide initiative designed to build and sustain a thriving and resilient Air Force community that fosters positive development of a person's mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness.

The chapel team led 11 seminars throughout the base and more than 630 participants rated the event as outstanding.

Tech. Sgt. Jaime Cleveland from the 319th Medical Operation Squadron participated in one of the yoga seminars offered during Wingman Day and was one of the participants who rated the event as outstanding.

"I enjoyed the physical aspect of it and the relaxation that comes from going through motions. In fact it was so relaxing I almost fell asleep... I think this Wingman Day was a complete success, and I hope the base will continue to use the Airmen's feedback to plan future events."

Dabbs was quick to give credit as well to the selfless efforts and dedication of the 95 volunteers they recruited in 2013, who donated more than 12,000 hours saving the Air Force and federal government an estimated $109,000. Five of the volunteers were even recognized with five military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals.

Although the chapel team saw significant positive results for their actions and events in 2013, Dabbs admitted that some events were more challenging and complicated than others.

"The toughest are those that involve the loss of life or those victimized by criminal activity," said Dabbs.

He said military communities are sometimes like families where tragedy and loss can affect everyone despite the size; and although death and sorrow are a part of human condition, he and the rest of the chapel team are thankful to have the opportunity to serve their fellow Warriors of the North and their families in their time of need.

"We are humbly honored to receive this recognition but also realize it is even more incumbent upon us to continue to live up to the Chaplain Corps' vision to glorify God, serve Airmen, and pursue excellence."

Cold, snowy winter: no match for Dover's Snow Removal Team

by Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


3/11/2014 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Old Man Winter sure has punished Dover Air Force Base this winter with snow and bitter cold temperatures, and he may not be finished.

Whether it is the roads or on the runways, the Dover AFB Snow Removal Team has been working hard to keep up with the above average snowfalls and guaranteeing that Team Dover's mission to deliver continues without a hitch throughout this winter season.

Tech. Sgt. Scott Capodice, 436th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight NCO in charge, said as of March 6th, the total snowfall for Dover AFB during the 2013-14 winter season currently stands at 35.4 inches. This is more than double the average annual snowfall of 16.2 inches.

"I've been stationed here for three years, and this winter has been by far the coldest we've had," said Capodice. "It's also the most snow, I've seen, since I've been here."

This winter has also been notorious for its bitterly cold temperatures. Daily low temperatures from November to March have been recorded to be on average 6.2 degrees colder than the historic weather patterns.

This abnormally difficult winter season has kept a team of Team Dover professionals busy.

The Dover AFB Snow Removal Team is broken up into two sections: the flight line crew and the street crew. The flight line crew is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the 2.2 million square yards of the airfield. The street crew is responsible for clearing 52 miles of roads and streets on base, including dozens of parking lots. Each of these crews is itself split up into day and night shifts.

Staff Sgt. Cesar Salas, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment operator, is the daytime flight line "snowman." Salas stated that he oversees twelve personnel, who are responsible removing snow and ice from the runways, the taxiways, and ramps. He also has, at his disposal, four plow trucks, three broom trucks and three blower trucks. Salas coordinates between his crew and the Air Traffic Control Tower to determine which areas of the airfield need to be cleared. The runways have first priority over the taxiways during snow and ice events.

The phrase "great wall of Dover" refers to Atlantic Street, the main thoroughfare upon which most of Dover's traffic flows. Depending on which side of this street you are on, determines the type of deicing substance used on the roads. IceSlicer is used on all roads and parking lots west of Atlantic Street. It's the reddish colored material that many Team Dover members may be familiar with all over the roads and parking lots. A deicer known as NAAC is used on all roads and parking lots east of Atlantic Street, including the air field. The reason why NAAC is used is because it is significantly less corrosive than IceSlicer. It meets Federal Aviation Administration regulations, allowing it to be safely used on the runways and taxiways. This prevents corrosion and damage to the multimillion dollar C-5M Super Galaxies and C-17A Globemaster IIIs that call Dover, "home." It is also more expensive and that is why it is only used near the flightline.

Staff Sgt. Mitchell Scott, 436th CES water and fuels maintenance, holds the title of the snow removal team's "street boss." He is in charge of a crew of 15 personnel, six plow trucks, two backhoes, and a loader truck. Their mission is to guarantee that Team Dover's roads, streets, and parking lots are clear of snow and ice, to allow the clear flow of traffic across base.

"It's a pretty cool job; not many people appreciate it," said Scott. "If it wasn't for us, many people couldn't go to work."

The members of the Snow Removal Team are comprised of augmentees from throughout the CES Operations Flight. This is a secondary job that they perform throughout the winter season.

Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Ferguson, III, 436th CES Horizontal Shop NCOIC, oversees both the street bosses and the snowmen. According to Ferguson, the main difference between this season and seasons in the past is the extreme cold this year. This resulted in an above average amount of issues with snow removal equipment.

"This couldn't be possible without the help of the different shops," said Ferguson. "If it wasn't for them, it would be almost impossible to carry out the mission."