Military News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

COMUSAFE visits RAF Mildenhall, shares advice

by Airman 1st Class Preston Webb
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


4/17/2014 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander and Chief Master Sgt. James E. Davis USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief visited RAF Mildenhall April 14, 2014.

Gorenc toured the base to gain a better understanding of the Team Mildenhall mission. He also offered Airmen advice and shared his leadership philosophy. This was Gorenc's second visit since assuming command.

During a commander's call, he discussed the strategic importance of Mildenhall, European Infrastructure Consolidation and sexual assault.

"I think RAF Mildenhall is very important. There are lots of missions going on here.... in support of European Command and Africa Command," said Gorenc.

Gorenc went on to address Airmen's concerns of rumored upcoming closures and stringent budgets.

"The analysis is ongoing. The U.S. Department of Defense is conducting a European Infrastructure Consolidation review, and they're doing analysis on all the facilities in Europe, not just in the Air Force but for the Army and for all other DoD installations," Gorenc said. "In the end, there are infrastructure changes that we can make in USAFE and AFAFRICA that contribute to a reduction in the budget."

The general also encouraged Airmen not to stand on the sidelines of sexual assault, but to step up to the task of putting a stop to any sexually-charged environments they encounter.

"Make sure that you're cognizant of your environment," Gorenc said. "Make sure that you in no way condone, ignore or tolerate behavior which is against the law. I also ask everybody to educate themselves in what constitutes a sexual assault and know how to prevent it."

While touring the base, Gorenc visited with Airmen during a breakfast in the Gateway Dining Facility, and later in a class at the First Term Airmen Center.

He officiated the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new interview suite for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 512, attended a 100th Security Forces guardmount, and viewed 100th Maintenance Group and 100th Operations Group facilities.

"All of the Airmen here at Mildenhall are full participants in the expeditionary Air Force as we know it and are providing fantastic capability, not only in Europe, not only in Africa, but also in the Central Command area," Gorenc said.

Gorenc went on to stress that as we continue to operate in an uncertain environment, each Airmen should continue to do their best.

"Whatever you do for the United States Air Force, whatever you do for the 100th Air Refueling Wing or your organization on RAF Mildenhall, be the best Airman that you can be," Gorenc said. "Make sure that you're preparing the next generation for their service in the United States Air Force."

Battaglia Visits Florida Coast Guard, MEP Units



By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 17, 2014 – The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited U.S. Coast Guard and Military Entrance Processing units here yesterday.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia engaged with dozens of Coast Guardsmen at the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron here to get feedback about personnel and budget issues before touring the Jacksonville Military Entrance Processing Station.

“I’m pleased to be able to learn more not only about missions, but the people and families behind them,” Battaglia said. “We have people out here working hard every day behind the scenes making a difference not for a pat on the back but because they take pride in what they do.”

The sergeant major toured the HITRON hangar to see a 39-foot-long Midnight Express interceptor boat and armed MH-65 Dolphin helicopters that are deployed for drug interdiction and security duties.

HITRON’s counter-narcotics mission involves the appropriate force to interdict vessels and vector Over the Horizon Cutter Boats to the scene for apprehension, said Coast Guard Capt. Donna Cottrell, HITRON commanding officer.

“We can stop non-compliant vessels, narcotics, human trafficking and really anything,” Cottrell said. “We’ve disabled vessels that didn’t even have drugs on board, but had weapons and money, which is better since they’ve already sold the drugs. They’re headed back south but they can’t replace the money.”

In fiscal year 2013 HITRON was involved in 28 interdictions and the seizure of nearly 16 tons of cocaine totaling about $396 million, Cottrell said, adding they’ve also worked with law enforcement to apprehend 93 suspects.

Interdiction procedures and video evidence need to be flawless to make the cases and convictions, Cottrell said.

Across town, Battaglia later administered the ceremonial oath of enlistment to about 20 recruits at the Jacksonville MEPS, where more than 109,898 men and women from across the area began their military careers since the facility opened in 1966.

Battaglia offered the recruits some advice before they were sworn in.

“We will wear different cloths depending on the service you’ve selected, but on your quest to earn the title of soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman, just do your job to the best of your ability and follow orders,” the sergeant major said. “Those two golden rules will help you get through any challenge put before you.”

The Jacksonville MEPS is one of a network of 65 MEPS located nationwide and in Puerto Rico.

Culture change is key to sexual assault prevention

by Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe
Air Force Public Affairs Agency Operating Location-P


4/17/2014 - ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III spoke candidly with top Air Force leaders about sexual assault prevention and response April 14, during the Three-Star Summit here.

"Eliminating sexual assault is a huge priority," James said. "It is a top priority for me; job one is taking care of people and this is part of that. We need to do everything that we can to protect the sons and daughters of America who come to us for service in the Air Force."

James thanked the leaders at the summit for the focus they have given in support of sexual assault prevention. She spoke about her effort to speak to local sexual assault response coordinators, special victim counsels and victim advocates during her travels. She said she is encouraged by the increase in reporting, and the firm emphasis placed on both the prevention of sexual assault, and the treatment of survivors.

"What we want is the reports going up and the incidents going down," James said. "The vision of the future is to have none of this, and that's what we're all working toward."

Although there have been exceptional advances in the treatment and care of victims, as well as the judicial process, there is still a lot to learn, Welsh explained.

"Unprofessional work environments, unprofessional relationships and harassment are all things that can lead to sexual assault," Welsh said. "We are responsible for making sure those things don't happen."

He lauded the Air Force's efforts with the Special Victims Counsel Program, which provides individual legal support to victims of sexual assault, calling it a "game changer."

But, "we need game changers in every part of the spectrum, from prevention to life-long care for the survivors," Welsh said. "The solution is about focusing on one victim; thinking about the impact on that individual, and multiply that by a couple thousand. We have got to change this."

Ignoring the issue will not make it go away, he added.

Welsh also emphasized the importance of relationships; ensuring commanders, supervisors and coworkers alike truly know the people they work with.

"Why is it that, on the worst day of their life, 84 percent of the people who we swore to fight and die beside, if necessary, don't feel comfortable coming to us for help?" Welsh asked.

Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response director, gave commanders a "where we are" picture, recapping the time from when the SAPR office began in 2005 to the present day.

"Despite our efforts, at the end of the day, we still haven't been able to prevent this," Grosso said.

As such, she outlined major ongoing and upcoming initiatives her office is leading to ensure victims have the support they need throughout the reporting process and beyond.

Experts from several fields, including law enforcement, legal and behavioral science were present to give their insight and take questions. Two sexual assault survivors were also addressed the group, and took their questions.

"Since the audience is three-star generals, they hold the reigns of leadership," said Staff Sgt. Noah Lubben, a 25th Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 2, airborne crypto logic language analyst direct support operator. "I hope they execute with precision, and I hope (my story) reaches people who are victims."

He opened up about how important his leaders had been in empowering him as a victim.

"I hope if there have been victims, they understand the Air Force has their back," Lubben said. "Somewhere up the chain, eventually (their story) is going to get to someone who cares. These leaders are trying to stop sexual assault, and they're trying to change the culture."

Open and candid discussion was the cornerstone of the day, and the top Air Force leaders were recognized for all the work they've done so far, and pushed to continue to make sexual assault prevention a top priority.

"As leaders, we have it in our power to put an end to this in our Air Force," James said. "We ask that each of you take it seriously, and really take it personally every day to do your upmost to make sure that this does not happen on your watch."

U.S., South Korea Discuss Ways to Deter North’s Provocations



American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 – The United States and South Korea have agreed to bolster efforts to deter North Korean provocations that undermine regional stability, according to a statement released after two days of talks between U.S. and South Korean defense officials in Washington.

The joint statement, issued by the Defense Department, said “The two sides reaffirmed the shared view that recent North Korean provocations, including recent missile launches, artillery fire in the Yellow Sea, the infiltration of small unmanned aerial vehicles, and the looming threat of a fourth nuclear test undermine stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region. The two sides also addressed ways to strengthen coordinated actions and the importance of continued close collaboration within the alliance to enable better deterrence of and response to North Korean provocations.

“The two sides discussed ways to strengthen the combined defense posture to defend the Republic of Korea and to deter North Korean aggression by enhancing combined Alliance capabilities, and continuing combined exercises. The ROK and U.S. also discussed the ROK proposed conditions-based approach to wartime OPCON transition. The ROK and the U.S. will continue cooperating to develop the future command structure, combined operational plans, ROK critical military capabilities, and U.S. bridging and enduring capabilities. The ROK and U.S. welcome the ROK National Assembly's ratification of a new special measures agreement (SMA) providing for ROK cost-sharing support to offset costs associated with stationing U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula. The 2014-2018 agreement will provide for continued ROK support in logistics, labor, and construction and will help ensure that we have the resources necessary for the combined defense of the Korean Peninsula. The two sides also addressed various areas of alliance cooperation, including regional and global cooperation, and efforts to counter weapons of mass destruction and interdiction, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence interoperability, and cyber and space cooperation.

“The U.S. reaffirmed the continued U.S. commitment to provide and strengthen extended deterrence for the ROK using the full range of military capabilities, including the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense capabilities. The two countries discussed implementation of the tailored deterrence strategy to include combined exercises to ensure that deterrence and extended deterrence remains credible, capable, and enduring. Both sides also discussed efforts to counter North Korean missile threats, including the continued combined development of comprehensive counter-missile capabilities to detect, defend against, disrupt, and destroy North Korean missile threats, in particular strengthened missile defense interoperability, including the ROK "Kill Chain" and Korean air and missile defense systems.

“Both sides affirmed that discussions during the 5th KIDD session contributed substantively to strengthening the ROK-U.S. alliance and further enhanced the bilateral defense relationship into a comprehensive strategic alliance. The ROK and U.S. expect to hold the 6th KIDD in Seoul in July 2014.”

Local team deploys providing global influence

by Senior Airman Jose L. Hernandez-Domitilo
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/16/2014 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Family and friends of members assigned to the 13th Fighter Squadron, 35th Maintenance Group and other 35th Fighter Wing units recently said goodbye to their loved ones heading for deployment in support of a U.S. Central Command mission in Southwest Asia.

The expeditionary mission demonstrates U.S. Pacific Command's combat-ready capability to employ airpower worldwide in support of combatant commanders.

While the F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 13 FS consistently train to maintain readiness at all times, it isn't possible without the assistance of maintenance and other supporting units.

Lt. Col. Kristopher Struve, 13 FS commander, explained the daily mission cannot happen without the help of the entire Misawa team.

"When you look at every little piece, it's not just the pilots getting prepared for combat or the maintainers getting everything prepped for loading," Struve said. "It's also the back shops that provide maintenance support, logistical needs, transportation...right down to the Airman and Family Readiness Center helping our spouses while we're gone."

Likewise, he said the role of the maintainers deploying to support the mission plays an integral part of the job and this deployment.

"They often don't get the limelight but these Airmen work 12 hours a day, six to seven days a week at times, out in the snow and in the rain to get a jet ready," Struve said.

Lt. Col. Rognald E. Christensen, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, said the Airmen who were sent downrange have worked incredibly hard over the last four months and sacrificed a lot of personal time from their families to get the 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit's aircraft and people ready to forward deploy.

"They accomplished a great deal of maintenance, scheduled inspections and deployment preparations, all the while executing a large force Temporary Duty to Guam to spin up the 13 Fighter Squadron pilots, only four weeks prior to the their deployment date," Christensen said. "From blowing snow in the winter, to brutally hot and muggy summer days, they work outside in the elements to generate and sustain airpower here at Misawa. I've never seen a more devoted group of professionals anywhere in my 21 year career."

Struve agrees saying that lots of folks were instrumental in preparing the team for their deployment.

"Many of people throughout the base put in long hours," Struve said. "All I can say is 'thank you' because, at the end of the day, it's about getting all the maintainers, our pilots and aircraft downrange where they need to go."

Included in the picture are also families left behind by those deployed like Katie Steinback, who is also a 35th Maintenance Squadron key spouse. It is the second time her husband has been away on deployment.

As part of the Key Spouse program, Steinback provides support to other spouses within her unit.

"If spouses face any questions or concerns about anything, they know they can come to us and we will answer their concerns and questions or find someone who will," Steinback said. "It is easy to get detached from the squadron when your husband is away, so we try to organize events and make sure that they are aware of them."

She said she feels that during a deployment, the most important thing for spouses to note is they are not alone or forgotten. Earlier this month, the organization hosted a squadron Easter egg hunt and party, there is the deployed family dinner in May, and they are currently working on other events for the coming months.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center also offers different services to assist families while their loved ones are away. The AFRC offers deployment perk cards for use at 35th Force Support Squadron facilities. They also provide the Give Parents a Break program that offers child care on designated afternoons, as well as a quarterly deployed spouse dinner. Spouses may receive a car care card for use at the Pit Stop.

A healthy family plays an essential role in the effectiveness of maintaining resilient Airmen ready to accomplish any mission. Programs offered by the AFRC are all part of the Air Force's dedication to developing Airmen and taking care of their needs and the needs of their families.

Navy Petty Officer Based in Japan Charged in International Bribery Scandal

A fourth U.S. Navy official has been charged in a complaint unsealed today with accepting cash, luxury travel and consumer electronics from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified and internal U.S. Navy information.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James B. Burch of the U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General made the announcement.
Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug, 27, who enlisted in the Navy in September 2006, was arrested on April 16, 2014, in San Diego by special agents with NCIS and Defense Criminal Investigative Service.   Layug made his initial appearance today in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford in the Southern District of California.
According to the complaint, Layug received bribes in return for sending sensitive U.S. Navy information to employees of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contractor.   GDMA CEO Leonard Glenn Francis, 49, of Malaysia, had previously been charged with conspiring to bribe U.S. Navy officials, and GDMA executive Alex Wisidagama, 40, of Singapore, pleaded guilty on March 18, 2014, to defrauding the U.S. Navy.   Two other senior Navy officials – Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, 41 – have been charged separately with bribery conspiracies involving Francis and have pleaded not guilty.   On Dec. 17, 2013, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44, pleaded guilty to bribery charges for regularly tipping off Francis to the status of the government’s investigation into GDMA.
According to the complaint, Layug worked secretly on behalf of GDMA by providing classified ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information in exchange for cash, travel expenses, and consumer electronics.   Court records allege that Layug used his position as a logistics specialist at a U.S. Navy facility in Yokosuka, Japan, to gain access to U.S. Navy ship schedules – some of which were classified – and other internal information, and provided this information to GDMA’s vice president of global operations.   In exchange, court records allege, GDMA provided Layug with regular payments, some of which were delivered in envelopes of cash.  The complaint alleges that on May 21, 2012, the vice president of global operations instructed a GDMA accountant that “at the end of each month, we will be providing an allowance to Mr. Dan Layug.   Total of US $1000.   You may pay him the equivalent in Yen.   He will come by the office at the end of each month to see you.”
Court records allege that, in addition to his monthly “allowance,” Layug sought consumer electronics from GDMA.   In an email on March 9, 2012, Layug asked the vice president of global operations “what are the chances of getting the new Ipad 3 [sic]?   Please let me know.”   In another email exchange on May 28, 2013, Layug asked the vice president of global operations for a “bucket list” of items including a high end camera, an iPhone5 cellular phone, a Samsung S4 cellular phone, and an iPad Mini.   Shortly after sending his “bucket list” to the vice president of global operations, Layug stated in an email that “the camera is awesome bro!   Thanks a lot!   Been a while since I had a new gadget!”
In addition to consumer electronics, GDMA allegedly provided Layug and his friends with rooms at luxury hotels throughout Asia.
According to court documents, Layug allegedly undertook steps to conceal his bribery relationship with GDMA by, among other things, describing classified ship schedules using the code word “golf schedules” and opening a bank account in the name of his infant daughter into which he deposited portions of his “allowance.”
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Pletcher and Robert Huie of the Southern District of California, Director of Procurement Fraud Catherine Votaw and Attorney Brian Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Trial Attorney Wade Weems, on detail to the Fraud Section from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.
The charges contained in the criminal complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed to be not guilty unless and until proven guilty.

AETC award winner says it's not about him

by Leslie Finstein
502nd AIr Base Wing Public Affairs


4/16/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas  -- There may only be one name on the award but when asked, Air Education and Training Command's Airfield Operations Officer of the Year will say that it's really about everyone else.

"I just sat behind the desk, these people did all the work," said Capt. Ryan Nichols, formerly the airfield operations flight commander for the 502nd Operations Support Squadron on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland's Kelly Field Annex.

Nichols now serves as the executive officer for Col. William Eger, 502nd Installation Support Group commander.

Nichols says his award is for Airmen like Senior Airman Joseph Shafner and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Minard who supervise air traffic on the flight lines and all the Airmen studying furiously for their career development courses so that they, too, can sit in the tower.

It's for the NCOs and Senior NCOs like Tech. Sgt. Jacelyn Duvall, Master Sgts. Roland Thomas and Justin Tischler. They supervise the training and support the unit's development and operations.

Away from the tower and down on the flight line, that award is for the airfield management team manning the desks and walking the flight lines. Civilians like Donna Campos, Cathy Long, Ed Peery, Preston Young and Preston Wall bring continuity to the team that cannot be replaced, said Nichols.

It's also for Airmen deployed to the 502nd OSS, like Senior Airman Courtney Hott, that allow the team here to keep up 24/7 operations.

"We support 31,000 operations per year that come in here day-in and day-out and the Airmen are doing all of that. It's amazing to me that we have 18-year-olds that come in here and are controlling traffic, giving planes a safe place to park and meeting all of our criteria. We put a lot of responsibility on them," said Nichols. "The civilians here are amazing, too; we couldn't do any of it without their knowledge and expertise.

"I may get credit (referring to the first line of his awards package) for all of their awards and hard work but they earned those awards on their own. It's not because of anything that I've done."

But this time it is Nichols' name on the award and according to Lt. Col. Corwin Pauly, 502nd OSS commander, it is truly well deserved.

"Knowing what Ryan's flight did (in 2013) and how that represents what he did and how he led and mentored, that's the reason I put him in for it," said Pauly.

Nichols arrived at the 502nd OSS from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. in March 2012 and by his and his commander's account, it's been a busy time here ever since.

Kelly Field is a unique airfield in that there are no active-duty flying missions but other operations require that the airfield maintains support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Through U.S. Northern Command, the Drug Enforcement Agency keeps a plane permanently deployed here and the OSS supported all of their 844 missions last year. The base also serves as the military's Midwest medical hub. Wounded warriors coming back from overseas are flown straight in to JBSA-Lackland (or transferred here) anytime to receive care at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.

"A normal [operations] support squadron is perhaps busier than this but the variety of operations here is pretty impressive. We're not a 'Sleepy Hollow.' We could have airplanes coming in anytime," Pauly said.

In fact, the 502nd OSS operates the only 24/7 airfield in AETC.

The 502nd OSS mission partners include the Air Force Reserve 433rd Airlift Wing, the Texas Air National Guard 149th Fighter Wing, 313th Flight Test Squadron, Port San Antonio, Defense Courier Service, U.S. Transportation Command, and the 342nd Training Squadron's parachute operations.

Nichols and the 502nd OSS also support the 80 civilian businesses that make up Port San Antonio, which generated $4.2 billion in commerce last year.

According to his award package, Nichols led a multi-function team for JBSA, creating new airfield procedures that bolstered the partnership between the base and Port San Antonio, which saved the Air Force $1 million.

While supporting all of these missions, Nichols contended with a constrained manning environment and found a solution.

After an 18-month shortage, Nichols fixed the problem by working with AETC to get Airmen deployed to the 502nd OSS, where they received training in airfield management and air traffic control. As a result, the base got the bodies they needed to support 24/7 operations, eliminating the shortage and ensuring consistent support for all missions.

In addition to all his work here in San Antonio, Nichols also led airfield operations overseas during his four-month deployment. He had just returned from overseas when he learned about the award.

Pauly asked Nichols' wife to read the citation aloud off his BlackBerry while at Nichols' welcome home dinner in front of his family and friends.

The win wasn't the only thing that made this homecoming exciting. His wife gave birth to the couple's second child on Jan. 6 while Nichols was still overseas, so his first day back was also the first time he met his youngest son.

"There were too many people around, I couldn't cry. I was almost there but I just came back from deployment, I'm supposed to be warrior," Nichols said with a laugh.

When Nichols looks over his list of accolades and accomplishments, he shakes his head a little because in his mind he's just the guy behind the desk. He's not the one out there on the flight line or up in the tower.

"I look at this stuff (the accomplishments on his awards package) and think 'this isn't me.' You can take anything out of this and attribute it to my team not anything that I've done," Nichols said.

However according to his commander, these accolades display just what kind of leader and Airman Nichols is.

"He's got a very good head on his shoulders as far as his decision-making goes and he's driven, very driven," said Pauly. "He's goal oriented and not afraid to make hard decisions when necessary. He's got a very bright future."

Nichols was the only winner from the functional areas for the 502nd OSS this year and will compete at the Air Force level.

Airmen shave heads for pilot's son battling cancer

by Staff Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr.
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/15/2014 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Airmen from the 62nd Fighter Squadron recently shaved their heads to support a deceased officer's son who is battling with cancer.

Second Lt. Dave Mitchell, former 62nd FS pilot, lost his life during a training mission in 2008 at Luke Air Force Base. Five years later, his son Brayden was diagnosed with a stage three Wilms tumor, a cancer of the kidneys.

Kristi Mitchell, Brayden's mom, reached out to her husband's friends asking them to help lift her son's spirits after he began chemotherapy treatment. They came up with the idea of asking Airmen in squadrons throughout the Air Force to shave their heads and take photos in front of a squadron aircraft to send to Brayden.

Here at Luke, everybody in the 62nd FS and 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit got involved.

"It feels great to support a 62nd family member," said Capt. Nicholas Rallo, 62nd FS instructor pilot. "It's a good example that even in passing, once you're a member of this family, you and your family will always be part of it."

The 62nd AMU began by painting the names of Brayden and his father on an F-16's tail flash. The pilots of the 62nd FS then shaved their heads and posed for a group photo in front of the aircraft.

"Brayden, who loves airplanes, was ecstatic to see his name on the side of an F-16 with all of our 62nd pilots' shaved nuggets," Rallo said.

Brayden and his mother Kristi are delighted with all the photos they've been receiving.

"Brayden loves seeing all the photos of everyone shaving their heads for him," Kristi said. "At the hospital where Brayden is being treated, he was asked to draw a picture of what makes him happy. His response was, 'It makes me happy that all of the Air Force people shaved their heads for me.'"

Capt. Michael DeVita, 23rd Bomb Squadron B-52 instructor pilot, and 16 other members of his squadron at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., recently shaved their heads to support the young boy's fight against cancer.

"It's just to keep his spirits up and keep him strong so he can fight through the chemo and move past this," DeVita said. "Hair is a small thing; fighting cancer is a tough thing."

On Feb. 26, Brayden was able to watch 150 other deployed Airmen shave their heads all the way from Afghanistan. The boy was overwhelmed with happiness as he watched via video chat, said his mother.

"We just want to thank everyone who has been a part of the 'Go Bald for Brayden,'" Kristi said. "The support from the Air Force has been amazing. Though we lost Dave six years ago, the support from our Air Force friends has never wavered, and we are grateful to be a part of the Air Force family."

Kristi believes when Brayden gets older he will truly understand how big a deal this really has been.

"He has touched so many people in such a short amount of time," Kristi said. "We are so humbled and blessed to know such amazing people."

Prior Service program open but strictly limited

by Tech. Sgt. Hillary Stonemetz
Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs


4/16/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- A very limited number of specialized careers are open in the Air Force Prior Service Program.

The prior service program is an enlistment option which allows a select number of people who separated from military active duty, the Guard or Reserve, to enter full-time Air Force service. The number of applicants being accepted for fiscal 2014 has dropped from 250 to 50.

"The goal number for the prior service program is based on the needs of the Air Force," said Angelo Haygood, Air Force Recruiting Service deputy division chief of operations. "It is reviewed by Air Staff A1 at least once annually."

Headquarters Air Force in Washington D.C., determines prior service requirements by examining career manning and determining the need for experienced people.

"Currently, we are only accepting applications for the Direct Duty and Retraining categories," said Tech. Sgt. Todd Benson, AFRS enlisted accessions program manager.

"Direct Duty means applicants can enter active duty without going to technical school," he said. "This category is for applicants who held that particular Air Force Specialty Code previously or those who currently hold the AFSC in the National Guard or Reserve. It's also open to applicants from sister services who were trained at a joint technical school because all service branches receive the same training."

"Retraining is open to applicants from any AFSC who want to become Battlefield Airmen," he added.

The career fields currently being accepted for Direct Duty are:
1A8X1, airborne cryptologic linguist
1B4X1, cyberspace defense
1C2X1, combat control
1C4X1, tactical air control party
1N4X1A, network intelligence analyst
1T0X1, survival, evasion, resistance, and escape
1T2X1, pararescue
1W0X2, special operations weather
3E8X1, explosive ordnance disposal
8D0X0, Linguist and Cultural Advisor

Skill certification for EOD expires after two years, so applicants who held that AFSC more than two years ago will have to process under the Retraining category, Benson said.

Linguist and Cultural Advisor is part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program and is open to legal, non-immigrant alien applicants to teach foreign languages at Department of Defense schools. The career field is only open for specific languages.

The career fields currently being accepted for Retraining in fiscal 2015 are: combat control, pararescue, tactical air control party, and special operations weather. Applicants will also have to pass all applicable components of the Physical Ability and Stamina Test. Retraining for fiscal 2014 is limited to pararescue.

"The processing time for Direct Duty applicants varies, but on average it can take from four to six months," Benson said. "Retraining applicants may have to wait up to a year for a slot to open in a technical school because space is very limited."

The prior service goal for fiscal 2015 is currently 50 recruits. Prior service officer applications are considered by the Air Force Personnel Center on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, or to apply for Direct Duty or Retraining, talk to your local Air Force recruiter. You will need to provide the recruiter with documents such as: DD Form 214, last five Enlisted Performance Reviews, a letter of recommendation, prior PAST results or DD Form 368 (Release from National Guard duty).

Those who are interested can also go to www.AIRFORCE.com and speak with an Air Force Advisor, or call the 1-800 National Toll Free Call Center at 1-800-423-USAF for information and guidance.

Face of Defense: Army’s Top NCO Visits Deployed Troops



By Army Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin
U.S. Army Central

SOUTHWEST ASIA, April 17, 2014 – Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III met with Air Defense Artillery soldiers posted here during a recent tour of the region.

Chandler expressed gratitude for the dedicated service of the Air Defense Artillery, known as ADA, branch and met with troops to address recent regulatory and policy changes. He also took the opportunity to discuss Army-wide topics such as the drawdown of the force, budget constraints and sexual assault prevention.

"I came over here to visit the soldiers from the [ADA] units to tell them thanks for what they are doing. Their MOS (military occupational specialty) has one of the shortest dwell times in the Army right now," said Chandler, noting the multiple deployments of ADA Soldiers over the past 15 years. "We're working to find a solution, and we appreciate their service and sacrifice. Not only theirs, but also their families."

The current deployment cycle of an ADA soldier is one year deployed, one year at their home station, followed by another year-long deployment. With the end of the war in Iraq, and the transition in Afghanistan, most other soldiers are on a more balanced cycle of one year deployed, two years at their home station. With a high demand for ADA capabilities, the Army will soon move to increase the number of soldiers within the branch to help alleviate the deployment ratio and to allow soldiers to pursue non-MOS specific opportunities, such as recruiter or drill sergeant, Chandler said.

The Army’s top noncommissioned officer also discussed the possibility of exploiting equipment and training capabilities to offer the Advanced Leadership Course and Senior Leadership Course to deployed soldiers in the ADA branch serving overseas.

While meeting with the soldiers, Chandler reminded them that their mission is a top priority for senior leadership within the Army and their strategic presence helps to secure and stabilize the region. Despite austere locations and taxing work/rest cycles, Chandler said he was pleased by the soldiers’ efforts and morale.

"I sensed a great deal of motivation about what they are doing, and why they were doing it,” he said. “I'm grateful for what our soldiers do. Our Army is in great hands because we have soldiers like these who are willing to go and do what we ask them to do.”

For Command Sgt. Maj. Gerardo Dominguez, the senior enlisted adviser for all Air Defense Forces in U.S. Central Command, it was important to show Chandler that the ADA mission is a joint and combined effort, executed in conjunction with units from other U.S. military and foreign military branches.

"Theater security cooperation is one of the top things that we do here and an integral part of our Mission Essential Task List,” Dominquez said. “We have combined and joint relationships with organizations from every country in the [area of responsibility]. The most important thing is the relationship building peace. If they trust us and we can be in these countries, it's very, very powerful."

Additionally, Dominquez wanted to illustrate to Chandler that his soldiers are flexible and ready to do the nation's work.

"The soldiers come here prepared, well-trained and able to execute the mission. I have no doubt that if we were to transition to war, these countries and locations would be safely guarded," he said.

On a personal note, Chandler advised the soldiers to take advantage of their deployed status to focus on self-improvement, and achieving personal ambitions, like earning a degree. He encouraged them to be proactive in managing their careers and goals to ensure success in a more competitive Army and civilian job market.

"I'm a firm believer in taking charge of your life,” Chandler said. “For example, if you choose to leave the Army, you should take advantage of all the benefits we have while you are on still serving, like tuition assistance for civilian education -- so you put yourself in the best possible situation.

 "Those who don't have a plan are kind of treading water,” he continued, “and that goes against everything we say a soldier should do. You should be continuously improving yourself, not only from a military perspective but from a personal one."

At the conclusion of each unit visit, Chandler promised to bring back the soldiers’ concerns and feedback to Army leadership at the Pentagon.

Beale boasts best Environmental Restoration Program in Air Force

by Senior Airman Allen Pollard
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


4/17/2014 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- The hard work of Beale's Environmental Restoration Program team has paid off, earning them the 2013 U.S. Air Force Gen. Thomas D. White Installation Award for Environmental Restoration Program Excellence.

Beale was selected for this award by a panel of peers in restoration, who believe Beale has the best ERP in the Air Force.

This annual award recognizes the installation conducting the best or most improved restoration program during the previous and current fiscal year. The award is named in honor of Gen. Thomas D. White, the Air Force Chief of Staff from 1957 - 1961, who charted the course for Air Force environmental programs.

"Beale has the largest ERP in ACC," said Kent Hawley, 9th Civil Engineering Squadron ERP manager. "We are proud and amazed at the number of accomplishments we have achieved in the past two years."

One of these accomplishments is the recent completion of the Military Munitions Response Program which excavated more than 17,000 tons of contaminated top soil as part of the Interim Removal Action for seven small arms munitions response sites.

Approximately 16,000 tons of soil was disposed at Recology Ostrom Road Landfill as non-hazardous waste, and approximately 1,500 tons of soil was disposed at Clean Harbors Buttonwillow Landfill as hazardous waste.

In addition, more than 90 percent of chlorinated contaminates in the groundwater were destroyed at large sites.

"Beale is committed to cleanup and restoration actions to meet the goals of the Air Force," Hawley said.

According Hawley Beale's Environmental Installation Restoration Office is also leading the way in Performance Based Restoration Contracts.

"These contracts are payment-based on accomplishments or specific objectives to achieve accelerated site completion actions," Hawley said. "This approach streamlines the management of the contractor thus expediting the restoration process."

Beale will compete at the Department of Defense level against environmental award winners from other military departments.