Military News

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Center for Service Support and Naval Station Newport Kicks off CPO Heritage Week




By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (AW/SW) Shawn D. Graham, Center for Service Support Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Center for Service Support (CSS) and Naval Station Newport (NSN) announced the kick off a week of celebrations in honor of the 121st birthday and heritage of Navy chief petty officers (CPO) March 31.

"Ask the chief is spoken daily throughout the Navy," said Command Master Chief (SW/SCW/AW) Ray Rosado, CSS's command master chief. "Chief petty officers get results and every successful command in the Navy is prosperous because of a strong, professional CPO mess. We must continue to build upon our strong legacy, strengthening it year by year. CPOs throughout the fleet must set the example for young Sailors, officer and enlisted, to emulate."

Rosado acknowledged some of the struggles current CPOs have encountered in recent times.

"Chiefs are no exception to the rules," said Rosado. "Chiefs are supposed to enforce standards and be gatekeepers of our traditions and customs. We must accomplish the mission above board and ensure our ethics and professionalism is beyond reproach. We must not lead with a, 'do as I say, not as I do attitude.' Current CPOs must be good teachers and mentors and pass on their experience and knowledge to everyone. We must take care of our young Sailors before we look to our own needs. Service before self is paramount."

"This weeklong celebration should give us time to reflect on the sacrifices that so many chiefs, past and present have made for our country and Navy," said Rosado. "It's a time to stop engines and render honors to our sisters and brothers who helped build the world's most powerful Navy."

Chief Logistics Specialist (SW/EXW/AW) Ray Paradis, CSS command individual augmentee coordinator (CIAC) said that Sailors respect good chiefs and are drawn to strong deckplate leaders.

"Chiefs have three objectives in carrying out their day to day responsibilities," said Paradis. "We must train and guide junior officers, to develop them into leaders; train and develop our subordinates into future leaders; and to utilize all fellow CPO's experience and wisdom, in addition to technical expertise, when trying to solve problems and achieve the command's mission. It's our responsibility to make command priorities our priorities. We are all striving toward the same goal: a better, more efficient Navy."

Deckplate leadership includes: visible and engaged supervision; inspiring motivator and trainer for junior officers and enlisted Sailors; developing process improvements and efficiencies; and dramatically furthering a command's mission and vision through leadership achievements.

"We must also lead in our personal lives," said Paradis. "Our communities and families need us. Everyone can benefit from strong mentor. Many chiefs fit that description and want to make the world around them better."

CSS and its learning sites provide Sailors with the knowledge and skills needed to support the fleet's warfighting mission. More than 300 staff and faculty work hand-in-hand with the fleet and are dedicated to ensure training is current and well executed on behalf of 10,000 Sailors who graduate from CSS courses annually in the administration, logistics and media communities.

Dempsey: All Must Work to Maintain Profession of Arms




By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, April 1, 2014 – Service members at all levels must recommit to doing the small things that will add up to restore the profession of arms, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said today.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that over the past 12 years, the pace of operations has been such that leaders have neglected some of the safety nets traditionally used to manage the behavior of the force.

With constant deployments, commanders dispensed with safety nets like inspections and climate surveys. “I would describe these as the small disciplines that when added together produce the larger professional behavior and ethic we call arms,” the general said. “We were so busy, we simply failed to use the tools available to police ourselves.”

This is not a profession in crisis, though it could become one if these issues are not addressed, Dempsey said.

The chairman said much unethical behavior is being lumped together. “There’s criminal acts, there’s ethical mis-steps, there’s unacceptable behaviors -- all these issues get blurred together, but they are very different,” he said. “The one thing they have in common is they erode our profession. It erodes that which allows us to call ourselves a profession.”

The first step to solving this problem, he said, is to look at it through the filter of the profession.

“The second is put teeth back into these safety nets we had in things like inspections, climate surveys and leaders just walking around,” Dempsey said. “Focus on the safety nets that we have available to us.”

Finally, all service members have to understand to work this from the top down and the bottom up. The chairman spoke about his visit to cadets and midshipmen at West Point, N.Y., and Annapolis, Md., last week.

“I told them we can solve this,” he said.

The chairman told the cadets and midshipmen that the day they graduate they become owners of the profession.

“They are no longer net consumers, they have got to be net producers,” Dempsey said. “And they own the profession just as much as I own it.

“Lieutenants and ensigns -- we do have to let them be apprentices for a length of time,” he continued, “but not on the issue of professionalism.”

Knowledge Operations Management career field to change April 30

3/26/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The 3D0X1 Knowledge Operations Management Air Force Specialty Code will undergo a name change and see part of the career field move to another AFSC beginning April 30, according to Chief Master Sgt. Kristine Freeland, AFRC Communications functional area manager.

The 3D0X1 career field will be renamed Knowledge Management and a new AFSC will emerge, Administration, 3A1X1. "This is sort of back to the future as the Air Force reintroduced the administrative career field, but with more clearly defined roles," explained Freeland.

Nearly 85 percent of the Airmen in 3D0X1 career field will transition to the 3A1X1 AFSC. "This is a big transformation, but it is needed and past due," said Freeland "This will align training and practical knowledge directly with the needs of the commanders, eliminating confusion over what duties an Airman will be expected to perform while on home station or deployed."

The remaining 15 percent of Knowledge Management Airmen in communications units, headquarters communications directorates and doing strictly knowledge operations work in embedded deployable packages, will continue to provide support in those functional areas.

Air Force Reserve Command currently employs almost 2,000 Airmen in those AFSCs.

Hoosier Wing soars to new heights during mobility exercise

by Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner
434th ARW Public Affairs


4/1/2014 - GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Dusting off a playbook from its old Strategic Air Command days, the 434th Air Refueling Wing soared to new heights during a recent mobility exercise.

During the strategic warfare exercise held March 8-9, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve executed various response, mobility, and command and control procedures in response to a simulated global threat.

"We exercised more processes to a greater extent than we have done in decades," said Lt. Col. Joseph Austin, 434th Operations Support Squadron chief of plans. "We said, 'let's fill the tank full and see where the cracks are so we can fix them,' and when we filled the tank full, we were still able to execute to an outstanding rate.

"We maxed out maintenance, aircrews, support, air traffic control, transportation and logistics," Austin added. "We maxed out everything."

Helping control the complex exercise were 434th ARW command post command and control technicians who processed emergency action messages, relayed information to aircrews, and kept both wing leadership and higher headquarters in the loop, said Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Withrow, 434th ARW command post superintendent.

"We had more evaluators in here than anyone else did on base because we really wanted to test our abilities," said Withrow. "They really dug deep, and so we now have a lot of confidence we can do the job."

Adding to the complexity, the exercise was capped off with a launch of 10 KC-135s in two five-ship formations.

"Nobody here, not even the old SAC warriors who are still around, can recollect launching that many aircraft here in this unit or in the old 305th Air Refueling Wing," said Austin. The 305th ARW was the regular Air Force unit at Grissom until the base realigned as a reserve base in 1994.

"The Air Force stopped exercising this in the 1990s, and since then I don't think the Air Force Reserve has ever launched that many jets in formation at once for something like this," he continued.

And, launching 10 aircraft in rapid fashion with a miniscule margin of error is no easy task, said Chief Master Sgt. Tony Hoffman, 434th Maintenance Group superintendent.

"It took a 100 percent effort from all personnel to execute at that level," Hoffman explained. "We've never gone to this latitude; we've exercised it up to that point, but we never pushed them like we did during this last exercise."

For their part, the operators were extremely grateful for the effort displayed by the maintainers.

"I have to give it up to maintenance as they took jets that are all over 50 years old and launched them at a mission capability rate much higher than required and much higher than anyone expected," remarked Austin. "It wasn't like a normal day-to day mission here where if something small was broke we could take 10 minutes to fix it; we had to be 100 percent ready to go, and if they jets weren't ready to go on engine start, they didn't go."

Outside of maintenance, Austin said both aircrews and support functions performed admirably.

"Once again ops proved they can get the job done," he said, adding that they intentionally put their most inexperienced crews on the jets to give them a chance to learn. "We put them out there so they could learn, but we also put an older, more experienced crew member who had gone through this years ago, as an extra crew member so they could watch over them and offer helpful tips on the jet."

While there were plenty of positives to go around, Austin said there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to communication.

"If there was anything to learn it was that the first rule of battle, which is if you don't have communications, you don't have a cohesive force, holds true," he explained. "We'll be working on that as we prepare for the next inspection.

"And, we're looking forward to our next inspection and expect to put our best foot forward," concluded Austin.

The 434th ARW routinely deploys Airmen around the globe in support of the Air Force mission and U.S. strategic objectives.

AFAF: A campaign for Airmen helping Airmen

by Airman 1st Class Joshua Smoot
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


3/28/2014 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- In the Air Force, there are numerous programs put in place to help Airmen out. But some may not know that Airmen can give back to a specific few of these beneficial programs.

The Air Force Assistance Fund is a campaign that helps raise funds for four charitable affiliates. These organizations help members of the Air Force family financially with emergencies, educational needs and secure retirement homes for widows or widowers of Air Force members.

The four charities are the Air Force Aid Society, Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, Air Force Enlisted Village and Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation.

"Each charity is unique in their mission," said 1st Lt. Katrina Kodis, 341st Medical Support Squadron resource management flight commander and Malmstrom's AFAF program officer. "However, all charities provide for Airmen and their families. Airmen should get to know each of the four charities then they can make a choice that they believe in. Each charity helps support the Airman and their family; now or in their future."

Air Force Aid Society
The Air Force Aid Society is one of the most common assistance programs, touching an average of 40,000 Airmen each year. It provides $20 million in emergency assistance to eligible Airmen and their families, along with $6 million in need-based education grants for eligible spouses and dependent children. It also provides various proactive community programs to help improve quality of life. More information can be found online at www.afas.org.

Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation
The LeMay Foundation awards grants to enlisted and officer retiree's spouses, primarily stalwart windows who supported their families and active-duty spouses. Grants have been given away through the LeMay Foundation to widows with monthly incomes that fall below the poverty line as well as one-time grants given for necessities such as wheelchairs and prosthetics. For more information, visit www.lemay-foundation.org.

Air Force Enlisted Village
The Air Force Enlisted Village provides the entire Air Force family, with a primary focus on spouses, with the gift of a home. It offers a community home to mothers of active-duty and retired military members. It also provides temporary housing for surviving spouses of enlisted members who die while on active duty or to the active-duty members if a tragedy strikes. More information can be found at www.afev.us.

Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation
The Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation provides retired Air Force officer's widows needing financial assistance with a retirement community home. Since 1970, the charity has provided $13 million in confidential support to approximately 500 widowed spouses. For more information, visit www.airforcevillages.com.

Last year the AFAF campaign [at Malmstrom AFB] raised $48,000 and the bar has been raised this year.

"The goal for this year's campaign is $56,000," Kodis said. "I am confident we can surpass this year's goal. Each and every one of us has the power to change lives through the AFAF campaign and I know that many Malmstrom Airmen will step up to be a part of this great cause. Even the smallest donation has the power to make a difference. A few dollars a month will ensure our fellow Airmen will have the assistance they need when they need it most."

The money raised during AFAF goes directly to members of the Air Force family in a time of need. Airmen can contact a key worker within their unit to donate.

"Every contribution has an impact," Kodis said. "Giving up your morning cup of coffee once a week and giving that money to AFAF instead can make all the difference to an Airman in need."

Navy Chiefs on Guam Celebrate 121st CPO Birthday



By JoAnna Delfin, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Navy chiefs stationed on Guam were one of the first in the nation to celebrate the 121st birthday of chief petty officers (CPO).

CPOs commemorated their birthday with a flag-raising ceremony at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center in Santa Rita April 1.

"Being a chief means a few things to me," said Joint Region Marianas Command Master Chief (SW) Gregory Vidaurri. "First, our responsibility is to the Sailors we are entrusted to lead, develop and train. Second, chiefs are entrusted to train our replacements and pass the traditions of the Navy onto them. Last, we are entrusted to guide and train the junior officers, in much the same manner that you experienced and benefitted from in your career."

Achieving the rank of chief petty officer is held in high regard and is one of the Navy's longstanding traditions.

"I am most proud of the way we prepare our newest chiefs to enter the CPO mess," Vidaurri said. "CPO phase two sets the correct course for ensuring our chiefs are ready to perform on the deckplates from the moment they don those khaki's for the very first time."

U.S. Naval Base Guam Command Master Chief (SW) Johannes Gonzalez pinned on his anchors in 2004 and was selected as a master chief in 2012.

"Each time I wear my hat it reminds me of the honor that I have to be wearing the cover of a chief petty officer and understand that with it comes the responsibility to uphold our standards and develop our Sailors," he said. "I am proud to be a chief petty officer."

The rate of CPO was established April 1, 1893, and provided first-class petty officers the opportunity to further advance in their career. CPOs are responsible for the training discipline and recognition of Sailors under their guidance and serve as experts in their designated field.

Navy chiefs on Guam will participate in several activities to commemorate the CPO's birthday including a community relations event at a local elementary school and a
family picnic.

Winnefeld, Celebrities, Honor the Military at USO Dinner



By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., April 1, 2014 – Hundreds of people turned out last night to honor military members and their families during the 32nd Annual USO Metro Awards Dinner here.

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Mary, presented The Legacy of Hope Award to The American Military Spouses Choir at the event.

The admiral described the group, which includes veterans, as “remarkable.”

“I guess we can’t think of this particular group as ‘unsung heroes. All are a well spring of innovation, hard work and resilience.”

Mary Winnefeld lauded the group’s willingness and ability to enhance the military community through music and community outreach.

“We all know the military is truly a family business,” she said. “This group symbolizes the critical role military spouses play in the vital part of our team that serves our country, and in some cases [they give] life-saving support as care givers to our wounded warriors.”

This year’s fundraising gala celebrated the opening of the state-of-the-art USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda, Md., which opened today. The Center provides a home-away-from-home for the nation’s wounded, ill and injured active duty service members and Reserve and National Guard troops, as well as their families and caregivers.

The evening’s photo slideshow tribute featured military heroes that USO-Metro has helped since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over a decade ago.

Actor and Lt. Dan Band musician Gary Sinise presented Chef Robert Irvine with the USO-Metro Merit Award, and music prodigy Ethan Bortnick earned the Next Generation of Hope Award. Don Blanchard, father of fallen Army Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard was honored with the Colonel John Gioia Patriot Award.

The elder Blanchard partnered with the USO to create “A Father’s Tribute Ride,” in which he rode his motorcycle to all four corners of the country to honor his son and fundraise for military nonprofit organizations.

Special Tactics Airmen earn Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Medal

by 1st Lt. Jerred Moon
24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs


3/14/2014 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.  -- Four Special Tactics Airmen from Air Force Special Operations Command were recognized with medals for actions downrange in a ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 14.

Tech Sgt. Michael Blout, a combat controller, earned the Silver Star Medal; Staff Sgt. Stephan Merlics, a tactical air control party member, earned the Bronze Star with Valor; Airman 1st Class Philip Armstrong, a Special Tactics pararescueman received the Purple Heart Medal and Senior Airman Nathan Wright, a combat controller, earned the Combat Action Medal. All four Airmen are assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field.

"In AFSOC we are all about deploying," said AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel. "Every day we train to fight and these guys are responsible to protect our families; our sons and daughters. It's amazing."

Blout was presented the Silver Star, the nation's third highest combat military decoration, for gallantry in action against an enemy of the U.S. in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, October 2012.

When he received radio traffic indicating an Army Special Forces teammate required immediate medical attention after sustaining wounds from an enemy ambush, Blout sprinted one mile toward the sound of enemy fire to assist his comrade.

While exchanging direct fire with the enemy, he orchestrated close air support to keep the enemy at bay and coordinated for the arrival of medical evacuation aircraft.

Blout then placed himself between the landing zone and the enemy and urged his teammates forward, screening the landing and enabling the evacuation of friendly forces.

Merlics received the Bronze Star with Valor, the nation's fourth highest combat military decoration, for heroism in action against an enemy of the U.S. in Afghanistan, from September 2012 to March 2013.

He conducted 48 combat missions with partnered Afghan forces and controlled 263 attack, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

His bravery was displayed during a reconnaissance patrol when his team came under direct fire from fortified enemy positions. Disregarding the danger he left cover in order to positively identify enemy positions.

As Merlics was shot at he returned fire on the enemy while simultaneously coordinating medical evacuation assets and directing air strikes onto enemy positions.

Armstrong was presented the Purple Heart, the nation's oldest military authorization, for wounds received in action, May 2013.

Wright was also presented the Air Force Combat Action Medal for active participation in combat, having been under direct and hostile fire or physically engaging hostile forces with direct lethal fire.

"This is a great opportunity for us to recognize our Special Tactics Airmen and their courageous actions downrange," said 24th Special Operations Vice Wing Commander Col. Eric Ray. "It is also great to see the family and friends who provide unwavering support for our warriors. It's these spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters and other family members whose continued sacrifices are seldom seen and never recognized, but are critical to our success on the battlefield."

With six Air Force Crosses, 30 Silver Stars and hundreds of Bronze Stars, the 24th Special Operations Wing is the most decorated Air Force unit since the end of the Vietnam War. This includes participation in conflicts ranging from Operation Just Cause in Panama to actions in Somalia, more famously coined by Hollywood as "Black Hawk Down," as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Winnefeld Lauds USO, Contributors for Newest Warrior, Family Center



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

BETHESDA, Md., April 1, 2014 – A new 16,000-square foot warrior and family care center will be essential to the recovery of wounded, ill and injured troops, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the center’s opening today.

“It’s hard to capture in words what a center like this means to recovering warriors and their families who are on such a roller coaster of almost every emotion in the human inventory,” Navy Adm. James. A. Winnefeld Jr. said. “It is an essential part of recovery.”

The vice chairman said the center will allow wounded warriors and their families “to be able to get away, in the midst of it all, to such a beautiful, peaceful and comfortable place right here on campus.”

Winnefeld read an excerpt from an e-mail his wife, Mary, received through the USO after a recent event at the Fort Belvoir, Va., facility in which the writer expressed a “heartfelt thanks” and appreciation for a night of dinner, trivia and fun for a family that may not have had that opportunity without the center’s establishment.

“‘Heartfelt thank you for all that you do, and all the staff does to provide quality programs and services not just for the soldier but for the entire family,’” Winnefeld read to the audience.

“That pretty much says it all,” he said. “That service member has severe Post-Traumatic Stress and usually has a very difficult time handling large crowds.”

“His spouse,” Winnefeld said, “one of those remarkable people we call caregivers, said it was an amazing improvement for him to be able to be in a room with more than 50 people, but also to interact for the first time with people that he did not know.”

The vice chairman thanked the USO and its 5,000 volunteers, as well as those that helped contribute to bringing the new Bethesda facility to fruition.

“Thanks to the generosity and energy of others, and this remarkable organization we call the USO,” Winnefeld said, “these people who will use this center are able to do things they simply couldn’t do anywhere else on the road to recovery.”