Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Poland, US strengthen defense ties through rotational training

by 2nd. Lt. Katrina Cheesman
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/14/2014 - POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland -- After two weeks of Polish armed forces and U.S. personnel working shoulder-to-shoulder and building partner capacity as NATO allies, training has come to close April 12 here at the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment.

Throughout the two-week combined forces training, Polish armed forces and U.S. personnel from 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, traded techniques and tactics through personnel drops, joint precision air delivery system and container delivery system bundle drops, grass-strip tactical landings and observation flights.

"This training deployment is critical to our crews maintaining their readiness," Brig. Gen. Patrick X. Mordente, 86th Airlift Wing commander said on his first visit to his Polish sister wing here, referencing the valuable opportunity for U.S. aircrew to practice various air drops in Poland. "It is critical that we work with the Polish to be able to accomplish our mission as NATO allies."

The first week, Polish and U.S. service members trained and jumped together out of three U.S. C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Polish land forces and special operations forces were able to jump from U.S. aircraft, under the supervision of a joint team of U.S. jumpmasters.

Polish paratroopers trained with U.S. Air Force paratroopers, along with a small contingent of U.S. Army paratroopers and a U.S. Navy jumpmaster to build understanding of each other's processes for real-world scenarios, according to U.S. Army Specialist Estevan Gonzales, 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Deliver Company.

The second week, both the U.S. and Polish C-130s flew to evade and escape Polish surface-to-air missiles systems in a first-ever complex training environment that challenged both NATO allies.

"The Polish Air Force has incorporated a lot of new capabilities this time around," said Maj. Raymond Bevivino, 37th Airlift Squadron deployed forces commander. "It's nice to see that every time we deploy here to work with our Polish counterparts, we both get better and grow from training together."

After training with the U.S. this rotation, Polish pilots successfully accomplished tactical landings for the first time on unimproved surfaces, such as a grass strip, which are used during combat and humanitarian operations when paved runways are not available. U.S. service members also trained their counterparts how to set-up, operate and control the landing zone.

"We will continue to exercise these [tactical landings] after the rotation," said Polish Lt Col. Kyrsztof Szymaniec, 3rd Transport Wing's C-130 squadron commander. "This aviation rotation is great because we conduct our training under the supervision of the U.S. and learn better techniques and tactics."

The Av-Det in Poland has an enduring U.S. presence, with ten U.S. Air Force members stationed at Lask Air Base, Poland. The ten Airmen plan and coordinate at least four aviation rotations a year, according to Maj. Matthew Spears, Av-Det commander.

"We have established continuity and a working relationship with our Polish counterparts that simplifies the deployment of U.S. aircraft to Poland, and increases the effectiveness of the bilateral training," Spears said. "We could not accomplish the aircraft rotations without the tremendous support of the Polish armed forces."

U.S. and Polish armed forces will continue to strengthen bilateral defense ties together in various exercises, including an upcoming aviation rotation in June, in which fighter aircraft from multiple nations will participate in three different exercises simultaneously for the first time.

Ready, set, deploy

by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/14/2014 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The 436th Airlift Wing worked alongside the 512th Airlift Wing and three other wings to conduct a seven-day long deployment exercise known as the East Coast Combat Operations Exercise.

The ECCOEX consisted of two major components; the simulated deployment of roughly 400-500 Airmen and tactical flying exercises consisting of semi-prepared runway operations while integrating with the 621st Contingency Response Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

David Johnson, 436th AW deputy director of inspections, said the exercise ensures the units on base, including the reserves, are readily available to deploy a large number of Airmen while supporting the day-to-day operations of Dover Air Force Base.

"We typically don't deploy in a large mass like this," said Johnson. "However, this is a capability we need to maintain and be able to execute when called upon."

The exercise involved a majority of the units on base and gave Airmen a chance to gauge their mission readiness by working longer days with heavier workloads, processing through deployment lines and going through pre-deployment training such as Self-Aid and Buddy Care and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear defense training.

One way Airmen were able to assess their own deployment readiness was to process through the personnel deployment function line. The purpose of processing through the PDF line is to ensure Airmen are financially, medically and legally able to deploy.

1st Lt. Christopher Trejo, 436th Force Support Squadron civilian personnel section chief, and 2nd Lt. Adara Scholl, 436th Mission Support Group executive officer, were the officers in charge of the PDF line and Trejo said the 512th AW played a major role in operations.

"Without the contributions from our sister squadron in the reserve wing, we would not have had a successful PDF line," said Trejo. "This strengthened the relationship between the 436th FSS and our reserve counterparts in the 512th AW."

The ECCOEX was logistically demanding of the 436th and 512th Maintenance Groups. The groups were responsible for generating and processing cargo along with inspecting, servicing and launching aircraft to meet the operational requirements of the exercise.

Lt. Col. Richard Fletcher, 436th MXG deputy commander, said the exercise was a fantastic opportunity to surge the capabilities of the MXG and demonstrate what they can do on a day-to-day basis in a high stress environment.

"There was a tremendous amount of cooperation between the Operations Group, MXG and MSG to generate cargo and aircraft to meet the mission requirements," said Fletcher. "The Airmen from the 436th and the 512th were invaluable to the success of this unique training opportunity."

Through coordination with multiple wings and a mission planning cell, the 436th AW and the 512th AW focused flight training on airborne command and control. The focus of this was to use secure communications that enable the dynamic tasking of airborne aircraft to a variety of airfields. The missions incorporated air-refueling, tactical approaches and departures, semi-prepared runway operations and ground operations with the 621st CRW throughout the entire exercise.

This was the first major exercise at Dover AFB under the new wing inspection process and Johnson said the new system enabled for more flexible planning of the scenarios and training.

"This exercise was a first for Dover AFB," said Johnson. "We anticipate this prototype will be utilized and further developed in the upcoming years."

U.S., NATO Remain Concerned About Situation in Ukraine

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2014 – The United States is concerned about reports of increased violence in Ukraine, and continues to call on Russia to de-escalate the situation, Pentagon officials said today.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen echoed the U.S. concern during a media availability in Luxembourg today.

There has been no substantial change in the number or composition of the Russian forces on Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters at the Pentagon.

“The Russians continue to have tens of thousands of troops arrayed along the Ukrainian border,” he said, “and again I would like to reiterate that we have repeatedly called on the Russians to withdraw those troops from the border and help de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.”

Ukrainian troops are moving to flush pro-Russian militias from cities in the eastern part of the country. In a call with President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is not interfering in Ukraine, and that U.S. contentions that Russia is interfering are based on erroneous information.

“The American government is under no illusions that the Russian government continues to array its troops along the Ukrainian border,” Warren said. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the evidence is compelling that Russia is supporting these efforts to destabilize Ukraine.

The United States continues to support Ukraine, Warren said, and U.S. officials have conducted defense consultations with Ukraine recently. The consultations did not address current operations, he added. The senior Defense Department representative at the talks was Evelyn Farkas, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

Rasmussen said NATO is concerned about the continued violence by small groups of separatists, and Russia’s continued military pressure on Ukraine’s borders. “I call on Russia to de-escalate the crisis, to pull back its troops from Ukraine’s borders, to stop de-stabilizing the situation in Ukraine, and make clear that it doesn’t support the violent actions of pro-Russian separatists,” the secretary general said.

“Russia should stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution,” he added.

The NATO chief said the alliance is considering further steps to strengthen collective defense. This could include appropriate deployments, he said.

Miles "Batkid" Scott becomes pilot for a day

by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
173rd Fighter Wing

4/15/2014 - KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- The exploits of a local "superhero" continued when Miles Scott, call sign "Batkid," reported for duty at the 173rd Fighter Wing here April 10 as part of the Pilot for a Day program.

He donned the uniform of an F-15 pilot to include helmet, mask, and at one point even night vision goggles in preparation for the events of the day.

Instructor pilot Maj. Richard Giampietri escorted he and his family to watch take-offs up-close and personal, sat Batkid in the cockpit of a jet, and introduced him to crew chief Tech. Sgt. Cliff Rutledge and other maintenance personnel.

Miles, a Tulelake native, earned his call sign Nov. 15, 2013, on an historic day for the City of San Francisco and a young boy from the Klamath Basin. That was the day a new superhero emerged ... Batkid, the sidekick to the older Batman.

The day was a special one for him and his parents Nick and Natalie in large part because Miles was there on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He became Batkid that day, but for his parents the special part was simply having Miles there at all after battling leukemia for several years.

At eighteen months he was diagnosed with the blood cancer, and in June 2013 he received his last chemo treatment; now doctors have pronounced him in remission.

Giampetri commissioned Batkid to serve a mission fit for a superhero; namely, to thwart a plan by super-villains The Riddler and Joker, who planned to use stolen Russian MiGs to wreak havoc on the world at large.

After his training across places like the parachute shop and Aircrew Flight Equipment, Miles was ready to face the villains and stepped into the 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Simulator for his mission. He emerged victorious and with a wide smile

The 114th Fighter Squadron at Kingsley Field hosts the Fighter Pilot for a Day program, which brings children to the base to experience "a-day-in-the-life" of a Kingsley pilot. The Squadron began a new outreach in late 2009.

TBI Clinic offers hope

by Staff Sgt. Wes Wright
JBER Public Affairs

4/15/2014 - Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs -- 'Traumatic brain injury' has become a buzz word in the military with the Department of Defense deeming it "the signature injury of the war on terror."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a traumatic brain injury occurs when there is a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Symptoms include headaches, sensitivity to noise or light, nausea, vision problems and dizziness, just to name a few.

Experts in the medical field agree that diagnosing and treating TBI can be a difficult endeavor requiring devoted and highly skilled professionals. Enter the TBI Clinic at the JBER hospital.

"The mission of the TBI Clinic is delivering comprehensive, evidence-based treatments to the mind, while providing the highest standard of care to the person," said Tech. Sgt. Seth Russell, 673d Medical Operations Squadron TBI Clinic non-comissioned officer in charge.

A dedicated staff of 13, which includes neuropsychologists, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and nurse case managers, as well as an entire hospital which stands ready to help treat patients within their respective disciplines, composes JBER's capability to diagnose and treat TBI cases.

"TBI cases we see come primarily in the form of a concussion or some other traumatic blow to the head," said Air Force Maj. Joel Cartier, 673d MDOS licensed clinical social worker and TBI clinic director. "It's like a bruise on the brain. There's swelling and centralization of blood."

TBI symptoms are classified by the medical community in three categories: physical, cognitive and emotional. Physical symptoms include headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to light. Cognitive symptoms include concentration problems, attention problems and difficulty finding words. Emotional symptoms include irritability, anxiety and depression.

The physical symptoms of TBIs eventually go away and the rest can be treated through a variety of medications and therapy, Cartier said.

"The physical signs of a TBI go away. The symptoms can often times linger. That is the problematic issue we deal with a lot," Cartier said. "If you were to do an MRI on somebody who's had a concussion two to three months after the fact, you're not going to see anything, but the psychological problems can persist."

Cognitive problems present their own unique challenges to Cartier's team.

"To address cognitive problems patients may have, we have to retrain the brain," Cartier said. "We have speech and language pathology and occupational therapy to help with those sorts of things."

Cartier said it can be difficult for patients to tackle the associated stress that can come with a TBI.

"If I have a TBI, my brain isn't working as well as it used to and that, in and of itself, is stressful," Cartier said. "In the military, we generally have somewhat stressful jobs - lots of demands and expectations placed upon us. So, if my job was at all stressful in the first place, now I have the stressor of not being able to function as well with those same stressors. We oftentimes take that stress home and it bleeds over into the family which can cause family problems."

Russell and Cartier agreed dealing with TBI is the easy part of their job.

"If it's strictly TBI, that's the easy part," Cartier said. "The problem is with a TBI is we're generally dealing with so many other things - chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. PTSD is oftentimes more difficult to deal with than an a TBI."

According to the National Council on Disability, PTSD and TBI are often addressed together for two reasons. First, the symptoms may be similar, so it is difficult to distinguish between the two injuries. Second, many people with TBI also have PTSD.

Although PTSD is a biological/psychological injury and TBI is a neurological trauma, the symptoms of the two injuries have some parallel features. In both injuries, the symptoms may show up months after someone has returned from war, and in both injuries, the veteran may 'self-medicate.' Overlapping symptoms include sleep disturbances, irritability, physical restlessness, difficulty concentrating and some memory disturbances. While there are similarities, there are also significant differences. For example, with PTSD individuals may have trouble remembering the traumatic event, but otherwise their memory and ability to learn is intact. With TBI the individual has preserved older memories, but may have difficulty retaining new memories learning new things.

At each initial screening, Cartier's team determines if a patient with a concussion may potentially have PTSD. Depending on their findings, some patients are referred for additional treatment.

Russell said TBI is getting much more attention at a federal level lately. Additionally, the Department of Veteran Affairs expanded benefits for veterans with TBI and announced new regulations make it easier for individuals to receive additional disability pay. However, Cartier does not believe this will result in over-diagnosis of TBI cases.

"TBI isn't easy to fake," Cartier said. "We have a lot of different assessments we do to tease out whether or not you're having cognitive deficiencies."

Russell believes the recent influx of TBI diagnoses is because "medical professionals have gotten smarter in the way we've assessed it and calling it what it is."

Cartier emphasized the importance of people seeking out help if they even think they might have experienced a TBI.

"It's critical for people to come get the help they need," Cartier said. "In any TBI, the expectation is that you can get better. We can help you get back on track. You might not be able to make it back to who you were before, but the progress we make will be of value."

Russell echoed his boss's statement.

"Life is too short not to live it well," Russell said. "Get the help you need before it gets the best of you."

For more information, people can contact the TBI clinic at 580-0014. People are asked to first see their primary care provider for a referral before trying to schedule an appointment.

Holocaust National Days of Remembrance Event

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
JBER Public Affairs

4/15/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- The Soldiers of Company L, 157th Regiment, 45th Division arrived at the Nazi concentration camp gates and saw they were locked. They scaled the walls and took out the guards. When they had liberated the camp, what the Soldiers saw brought many of them to tears of sorrow and anger. How could a human do this do another human?

April 29, 1945, at 7:30 a.m., marks the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany. Less than three months after Dachau was liberated, a frontline medic from the 71st Infantry Division arrived to assess the cleanup effort. After 92 days of combat, his unit had traveled more than 1,060 miles and had taken 108,000 Prisoners Of War. What this medic saw would change his life forever. His name was Alvin Fleetwood. Fleetwood, a World War II veteran, was recently the keynote speaker for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Holocaust National Days of Remembrance event at the Frontier Theater on JBER-Richardson, April 10.

"I came in after the liberation; everything was still visible as to what had occurred," Fleetwood said. "What we experienced was firsthand, and the evidence was everywhere."

Fleetwood said there were 30,000 people who were critically ill and dying and they couldn't handle them all at one time.

"In just a matter of a couple of hours, there was medical help there, food had been brought in, clean clothing had been brought in, lots of blankets had been brought in and that was almost instantaneous," Fleetwood said.

Fleetwood said he understands why some of his fellow veterans resist talking about the war.

"When we were discharged ... we were given no debriefing and no introduction back into civilian life," Fleetwood said. "What do you do when you are up against a thing like that? You put it in the back of your mind and never think about it, forcefully, and you forget about it, hopefully."

But Fleetwood continues to speak to keep it fresh in people's minds.

"I am afraid that the story of the Holocaust is being forgotten, or the story of the Holocaust is not reaching our young people or they are not being made aware of the Holocaust," Fleetwood said. "It's a story, needing to be told so it won't be repeated," Fleetwood said. "I think it's a story that needs to be told more from the heart than by an author."

"I have to believe that the genocide that happened, as inhuman as it was, can't be repeated in modern society," Fleetwood said. "I don't understand, and I never will, the terrible torture and killing that occurred to other human beings."

Fleetwood said he hopes audiences will take away at least one thing after he finishes speaking.

"If we can learn anything from our past, we should take advantage of it," Fleetwood said. "Some will go away with a deep feeling of 'we can't let this happen again.' I think [speaking] will give the public in general, a deeper feeling for the military and their sacrifices."

The United States Army Alaska and JBER Equal Opportunity office sponsored the Holocaust National Days of Remembrance event. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's website, the United States Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation's annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims. This year's Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 28.

15th MDG Airmen take on Army medic course

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

4/14/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Four Airmen from the 15th Medical Group recently had the unique opportunity to attend the Army's Expert Field Medical Badge course at Schofield Barracks.

The two-week course, held March 31 through April 11, tested an attendees' medical aptitude through a series of rigorous mental and physical tests. Upon completion of the course, students are awarded the highly sought-after Army Expert Field Medical Badge--and ultimate bragging rights.

The prestigious award has a passing rate of five to 25 percent, making it one of the most difficult badges to earn in the U.S. Army and most definitely the most difficult in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

To successfully complete the course, students must demonstrate their proficiency at tactical combat casualty care, standard and non-standard evacuation operations, take a written test, execute U.S. Army Warrior communications and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives tasks, perform day and night land navigation and complete a 12-mile road march.

Senior Airmen Christopher Bowlds and Justin Stinson, as well as Airmen 1st Class Devon Garvin and Steven Hernandez, were hand-picked to represent the Air Force among the 241 Soldiers attending the course.

Senior Master Sgt. Keith Scott, 15th Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, said this was the first time Airmen from the 15th MDG had been invited to attend the course, and they couldn't have picked a better set of Airmen.

"It's all about attitude, motivation and representing the Air Force well in the joint environment," he said. "We wanted to make a good impression so we vetted the volunteers to send the 'best-of-the-best' first."

Scott said the Airmen performed so well, the Air Force has already been invited back to attend the next class.

"The interaction and exposure to the joint environment this class offers is priceless," he said. "Our Airmen desire operational experiences, so the invitation to participate in this training gives us an opportunity to give them a taste of that. In training, we tend to simulate a lot but this training is not like that. It's more realistic. Some of these guys will never see situations like this again in their career unless it's the real thing, so for some, this could be what gives them the experience they need."

For Bowlds, attending the course was not only the most challenging thing he's ever done, it was also one of the most rewarding.

In addition to having to retain the knowledge and demonstrate their ability to use the skills they were being taught, course participants were expected to do so under extremely stressful conditions such as simulated attacks, gun fire or explosions.

"This was not necessarily physically challenging as much as mentally challenging," he said. "The amount of attention to detail and all the little things you're expected to do is way beyond I've had to do before. Most of the tasks are timed and the pressures always on. This was something I hadn't been exposed to as a junior Airmen, and definitely one of those experiences I will take and learn from."

Bowlds said the best part of the training for him was the joint peer-to-peer interaction.

"A lot of these medics are assigned to infantry units, so they don't do the same thing I do every day," he said. "I definitely have a new respect for my Army counterparts. Those guys are no joke hard-core medics. It was definitely an honor to learn from them and get their perspective. I enjoyed getting to pick their brains about things and see how they operate in a field or combat environment."

Though the course provided an opportunity for the Airmen attendees to pick up an immense amount of field knowledge, it also sparked a bit of healthy competition.

"I wanted to take this course just to see how Air Force medics stack up against Army medics," said Bowlds. "Army medics have the experience ... they get this type of training often, but that doesn't mean we are any less of a technician. We're okay getting dirty too and it was good to be able to show them that we could do that. Just to stand next to them, training side by side and earning their respect ... was a good feeling and I think any technician would jump at the chance to do that."

Although only one out of the four Airmen attendees walked away with the EFMB, Scott said they are all victors in his eyes.

"It's an honor just to be selected for this course ... not just for themselves, but for the chance to represent the Air Force and these guys went above and beyond," he said. "It's a challenge. This course is a real challenge and they didn't have to go do it, but they did and they excelled at it. I'm proud of the way they represented the Air Force."

Small Business Administrator Visits Military Entrepreneur Class

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2014 – The new administrator of the Small Business Administration came to the Pentagon today to meet with service members enrolled in her agency’s “Boots to Business” program.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, who took office April 7, is the voice of American small businesses at home and abroad. She spoke to a new class of 17 airmen and three sailors who are transitioning out of the services.

The administrator told the service members enrolled in the program that she wants to ensure those who defend the country also get a chance to prosper.

She spoke of her time leading California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. When her agency was letting contracts, she said, she always asked how much of the work was going to veteran-owned companies. “There’s no point in getting people ready for business and then not giving them the opportunity to do the business,” she said, “particularly with the government that they fought so hard to defend.”

Contreras-Sweet recalled giving a speech to veterans in California. She walked in to the auditorium and met vets who had lost limbs, yet who were still striving to contribute to the nation. “It really affected me, and this is why you are so important to me,” she said. “You are really on the front lines.”

The Boots to Business program is a way for service members to move into business. The SBA works with DOD to ensure service members approach the program with open eyes.

The SBA helps veteran entrepreneurs with access to capital, helps with counselling and helps to ensure “you have access to your Uncle Sam,” she told the class. Nike, FedEx, Proctor & Gamble and Chik-Fil-A, she noted, all are companies started by veterans.

The administrator said she wants her agency to be a good wingman to the veterans as they begin their businesses, and she promised to do all she could to help their businesses get off the ground and grow. “I want the SBA to have a long-term relationship with you,” she said. “And I want you to tell me if something works or doesn’t work. I wanted to hear from you directly about how the SBA can do more and how we can do better.”

Many military skills can translate to civilian jobs, Contreras-Sweet said, and she wants military personnel to understand “that your service has given you unique qualifications to lead, and leadership is the holy grail of entrepreneurship.”

Battaglia Brings All-service Panel to Mayport Cadets

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla., April 15, 2014 – The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today completed his command visit here by conducting an all-service, interactive panel of commissioned and noncommissioned officers ready to answer questions from local Junior ROTC cadets.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia invited dozens of high school students to get first-hand, candid information about different career paths among the service branches as they prepare to make post-graduation decisions.

“We wanted to enable panelists to engage with these students to broaden their horizons and show them there are many opportunities in life, even if they don’t choose the military as an initial career path,” Battaglia said.

The sergeant major said that should the future total force enlistees adhere to their commitments, their road to success brings myriad possibilities.

“You can always educate yourself, and it doesn’t have to be in an academic school environment,” he told the cadets. “Walk through life with an open mind and wide aperture about what new things you can learn. When you have intelligence, people want to be around you.”

Cadets asked the panelists what made them join the military, and the answers varied from education to wanting to see the world.

“The goal we all have in common is wanting success, and no matter what color uniform, it can have your name on it. You can succeed,” Battaglia said.

The sergeant major also acknowledged his jobs have run the gamut, from cleaning toilets to his tenure as the senior enlisted advisor to the nation’s top-ranking military officer.

“It was all about discipline for me,” he said. “Learning to do a job well has served me at all levels, and joining the military was the perfect stepping stone for that.”

The sergeant major asked each panelist to use one word to describe their motivation to join the military. Each panelist answered, respectively: purpose, pride, duty, freedom and integrity.

The panelists were Navy Cmdr. Chris Michard, Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Eric Kroll, Army Master Sgt. Terrence Hayes, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Colin Seeley and Air Force Airman Steve Merritt.

U-Fix-it shop turns laymen into handymen

by Senior Airman Austin Willhoit
JBER Public Affairs

4/15/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- For those with a permanent change of station date right around the corner, worrying about a base housing move-out inspection can add to the stress of the process. Children, whether human or four-legged variety, may have done their fair share of damage around the house and repairs may be needed.

But there is a remedy to help residents become inspection ready: the U-Fix-It shops on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. From carpet shampooers to hedge clippers, the shops on JBER feature many tools for loan to ensure base houses stay in tip-top shape.

"The two main benefits are saving money and time," said Brandy Little, Aurora Military Housing Tenant Relations manager. "It helps residents get service faster by doing it themselves, if they're capable."

Service members who are able to complete their own repairs save money by not having to go off base to buy supplies. They also save time by not having to wait for a maintenance technician to come to their house on a service call.

The U-Fix-It shops even loan out the same type of black light the inspectors use to find stains on the carpet. Any resident moving out who has small children or pets should take advantage of the loans to make sure they properly clean their carpet, Little said.

"When a resident moves in, we want them to perform their own black light inspection just to see if their findings are the same as ours, and if there are any discrepancies we can fix those," Little said. "We also offer it at the time of move out in case they're curious if they have an animal or toddler in potty training so they can see the spots themselves. Everything shows up under a black light."

Toilet seats, fluorescent lights, furnace filters and other replacement items are available at a one-for-one exchange rate. If people bring in their old fluorescent light bulb or broken toilet seat they can get a new one for free.

"The U-Fix-It clerks are trained to assist residents, to show them around and to show them how to do things," Little said. "They have supplies available to perform self-repairs, but if residents are uncomfortable with that then they should call the maintenance technicians."

The shops also offer seasonal items such as ice melt, ice chippers, grass seed fertilizer and landscape timbers. Departing residents should leave any extra items for the next tenant, as long as the item is still usable.

Residents can also return unused items to the U-Fix-It stores to be given to someone else.

The JBER-Elmendorf shop is located behind the Aurora Military Housing office on Arctic Warrior Drive and the JBER-Richardson shop is located in Building 338.

The JBER-Richardson shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The JBER-Elmendorf shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a closure from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.

Dental lab technicians create smiles one tooth at a time

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera
JBER Public Affairs

4/15/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- When service members seek medical attention for broken teeth or dental damage prevention, the first thing that comes to their mind is to see a dentist.

The 673d Dental Squadron provides comprehensive dental care for active duty personnel.

Once a patient is seen, the dentist will provide the dental lab an impression of the prescription they need to make.

The dental lab works behind the scenes creating fixed and removable prosthodontics and acrylic appliances.

"We are in charge of fabricating prostheses or whatever appliance the dentist needs," said Air Force Staff Sgt. James Berryman, 673d DS lab technician, "We make everything from a single crown, to dentures, retainers, night and sports guards."

Depending on the requirement, most of the requests are done in-house.

"Sometimes it's a quick turn-around where we can turn in the request in a day," Berryman said, "It can also take longer depending on the complexity of the case."

Although the dental lab technicians do not see the patients, they provide an accurate replica of their teeth by the impression they get from the dentist.

In addition to fixing prosthondontics and appliances, the dental lab also ensures service members are able to maintain dental readiness so they are worldwide deployable.

"The dental clinic classifies members according to their oral health," the eight-year veteran said. "So if a member is in Class III, they cannot deploy because they will have a dental emergency that will require treatment. It is our job to make sure we make whatever appliance they need so their readiness is where it needs to be."

On average, the dental lab produces an average of 10 to 20 impressions a day.

The lab also supports the Sleep Disorder Center by providing an oral appliance for obstructive sleep apnea patients.

"Instead of wearing the loud continuous positive airway pressure machine, they can wear the oral appliance instead," the 673d DS Dental Lab Flight Commander Air Force Maj. Angela Stanton said.

Because of the growing support, the dental lab has a trained technician to fit an oral appliance to sleep apnea patients here at JBER.

"The turn-around for an in-house oral appliance [for sleep apnea patients] is between two and three weeks instead of a six-week turnaround when we used to send them out to Colorado." Stanton said.

Customer service and dental health are only two aspects of the level of service 673d DS provides its customers.

To Berryman, nothing is as rewarding as having patients tell them that they have changed their life. "This isn't all because of us, but I'm glad we play some part in it," he said.

Operational Security: Knowing is half the battle

by Master Sgt. Gloria Wilson
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/14/2014 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Operations security is the safeguarding of information that, if disseminated to the general public, could cause a threat or bring harm to military members or property. This is something that not only military members should think about, but also family members wherever they are, to include at home.

Bad OPSEC practices can lead to mission degradation and put lives at risk, while smart OPSEC habits can help ensure safe mission continuation.

In order to be able to contribute to OPSEC success all members should be familiar with the wing and unit critical information list. These lists are designed to capture information deemed most important to protect. At a minimum family members here at Incirlik should know the basics and receive family consolidated CIL cards.

"It's important for people to know information, such as, when and where a unit is arriving could be information an adversary wants," said Maj. Ryan Williams, 39th Air Base Wing OPSEC monitor. "We need to protect critical or sensitive information and prevent anyone who doesn't have a need to know, from gaining access to it. We also need to understand how an adversary can gather information."

Here are some methods that can be used to gain access to information:

Surveillance - This can be done electronically or in person and can include someone listening in on conversations, tapping into phone lines or intercepting emails.

Elicitation - This is when individuals actively try to gain information using various methods such as asking questions or offering favors, money or gifts.

Imagery - This is when individuals take photos of various things that may include key facilities, flight line, power plant, gates, aircraft and personnel.

Dumpster Diving - This is when individuals attempt to gather documents from trash, shred bins or unattended work areas.

"When everyone is aware of methods used against us, we can more efficiently apply countermeasures to protect our critical information," said Williams. "Countermeasures can effectively cut off our adversary's ability to collect against us."

Some countermeasures to bolster OPSEC integrity include:

Don't speak out of your lane: Unless someone is a subject matter expert and has been given approval to speak on a subject, they shouldn't talk about it.

Need to know: "It's exactly what it sounds like," said Williams. "If you've been entrusted with some information, and the guy sitting next to you doesn't need to know because he's not going to have a major impact on the mission, then you don't need to tell it to him."

Know who your OPSEC monitor is: Every unit has an OPSEC coordinator. Everyone should know who their monitor is and clear everything through them before divulging potentially protected or sensitive information.

Talk to your public affairs office before releasing information or talking to the press: "Never agree to an interview or answer media questions about official matters before contacting public affairs. This applies both at home station and in a deployed location," said 1st Lt. David Liapis, 39th Air Base Wing public affairs officer. "Public Affairs is the liaison between you and the media to help ensure interviews portray both you and the Air Force accurately as well as without security or OPSEC risks."

Educate your family members: Talk to them to make sure they know what must be protected.

Report the unusual: If you see anything abnormal, people here at Incirlik AB can make an Eagle Eyes report to 676-EYES (3937).

100 percent shred policy: The base has a 100 percent shred policy to protect information. Ensure compliance.

Social media: It's important for people to know who is on their social media account and to not "friend" strangers. Don't post anything that specifically talks about the job or mission.

"Posting something on Facebook is equivalent to releasing it worldwide," said Liapis. "Your status update stating your spouse is leaving for a certain foreign country on a particular date may not seem like a big deal, but that's critical information that could be used maliciously when combined with other intelligence."

The U.S. Air Force has supplied a guide on how to correctly and safely navigate social media as a military member, which can also be used to educate your loved ones. For a copy, click here.

Know who belongs in your workplace, and who doesn't: "No one is going to know who shouldn't be in the workplace better than the people who work there," said Williams. "It doesn't hurt to ask questions. If you find someone in your workplace you don't recognize, find out who the stranger is and what they are doing there. If it's something you're not aware of, contact your chain of command to verify."

Remember that OPSEC is always important. It can mean the difference between life and death. Not taking it seriously can inadvertently give out information that helps an enemy.

All in all, it is important to be informed and aware. If unsure, ask; and never forget that Eagle Eyes reporting makes a difference when something suspicious happens.