Military News

Friday, May 02, 2014

Team JSTARS reaches 100,000-hour flying milestone

 by Robins Public Affairs

5/2/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga -- When a car surpasses 100,000 miles, it may be time to get a new one.

But when Team JSTARS flew past the 100,000-hour mark Wednesday above Afghanistan, it reinforced the importance of its mission - supporting the Defense Department's combatant commanders since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - both at home and abroad.

A one-of-a-kind capability, the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, conducts battle management and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance simultaneously - providing the ability to detect surface movers, collect imagery, and relay tactical data to ground and air theater commanders.

The joint-force unit at Robins comprises the Air Force's 461st Air Control Wing, the Georgia Air National Guard's 116th ACW and the Army's 138th Military Intelligence Company.

Together, they have provided continuous deployed support for Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector for nearly 13 years.

"JSTARS 100,000 flying hours in support of our nation's combatant commanders represents more than a decade of sacrifice and service by our men and women," said Col. Kevin Clotfelter, 116th ACW commander.

"We know this marker was reached because of the sacrifice and support of our families, communities and mission partners."

Col. Henry Cyr, 461st ACW commander, agreed.

"This milestone represents an achievement of tremendous endurance," said Cyr. "Whether hunting terrorists, defending our borders or scouring the seas, deserts and mountains of the globe, the men and women of JSTARS have delivered on their promise to be 'On Station'."

"The significant Team JSTARS milestone is a clear indication of the platform's importance and value across the entire Department of Defense," said Lt. Col. Todd Morgan, 138th MIC commander.

"The interoperability of Army and Air Force personnel working in concert onboard the E-8C has enabled the platform to provide critical and timely ISR to maneuver commanders during direct combat operations."

The operational resume of Team JSTARS includes support of six combatant commands including U.S. Pacific, Northern, Southern, Africa, European and Central commands.

Just the Facts
*Employed C2ISR in nearly 12.5K combat operations during Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn;

*98 percent mission effectiveness rate supporting AFRICOM operations;

*Supported Moving Target Indicator taskings in multiple PACOM contingency taskings;

*116th ACW garnered 17 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, and the 461st two Meritorious Unit Awards;

*Team JSTARS winner of 12 Air Battle Management Crew of the Year awards.

Hagel to Visit Illinois for Transcom Change of Command



By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will travel to Illinois for two days early next week for a variety of official functions and visits, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

On May 5, Hagel will participate in the U.S. Transportation Command change of command ceremony at Scott Air Force Base. The secretary will welcome incoming commander Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, and celebrate the accomplishments of the departing commander, Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III, the admiral said. Fraser is retiring from the Air Force after 40 years of service.

“The secretary [also] is looking forward to thanking the men and women of Transcom for all they do to ensure the agility, flexibility and global reach of our armed forces,” Kirby said.

The following day, Hagel will deliver a speech in Chicago to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and will speak with students from the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics.

“The secretary has long wanted to travel to the Midwest to talk about the need for America's continued engagement in the world, and the important role the military has to play in that,” Kirby said. “His speech will talk about that and how he's navigating the strategic and fiscal challenges facing the department.”

That afternoon, the defense secretary will visit Naval Training Center Great Lakes, the home of the Navy’s only boot camp. Hagel will meet with instructors and recruits and observe a sexual assault prevention and response training class for recruits.

“This builds on the six new directives that the secretary announced yesterday, to continue strengthening how we prevent and respond to sexual assault in the military, as well as his visit last week to the department's safe help line,” Kirby said.

Hagel has been concerned about this element of training since he first took office, the admiral said.

“In his first two months as secretary, one of the things he was hearing consistently from the junior enlisted men and women with whom he spoke was that their sexual assault training wasn't being taken seriously enough and wasn't seen as a priority. They told him that people were laughing it off [or] sleeping through it,” Kirby told reporters.

This information spurred Hagel to issue one of his first directives after becoming secretary, the admiral said. The department was directed to “improve the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention and response programs in recruiting organizations, to ensure the awareness and safety of new and aspiring service members,” Kirby noted.

The Defense Department is monitoring the services as they implement the directive, seeking to continuously improve the process, Kirby said, and with the trip to Great Lakes, Hagel will see the results of that implementation firsthand.

“He'll be looking at what's changed, and also what the recruits are being taught about our values of dignity and respect, how they need to live and enforce those values, and most importantly, how they need to look out for one another,” the admiral said.

The base has been on the leading edge of experimenting with new ideas and implementing comprehensive, evidence-based methods of sexual assault prevention training, Kirby said.

“They're really a model not just for the Navy,” he noted, “but for the whole military. They've been working with the local community on things like bystander intervention and alcohol policies, and they've been seeing some promising results, to the point that other installations are starting to follow their lead.”

And DOD is mining the Navy’s program for best practices that can be put in place or slightly modified to implement at other bases, Kirby added.

On May 8, Hagel will co-host a conference at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The day-long conference will provide combatant commanders with an opportunity discuss regional issues, the department’s global posture and ways of ensuring “the joint force stays as deployable and as flexible across the globe as possible,” the admiral said.

“The secretary's looking forward to a rich and timely discussion with them,” he added.

CE UDMs prepare Icemen for downrange readiness

by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --  What does it take to ensure the biggest squadron on base is ready to deploy in a moment's notice? A team of two unit deployment managers along with three Airmen doing behind the scenes work for the UDMs from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron have a good idea of how that's done.

Making sure that over 300 Airmen assigned to the 354th CES are deployable, entails using different systems to track members' health and training.

"The UDM's job is data manager. Our whole job is to know the requirements and make sure people are in compliance with those requirements," said Tech. Sgt. Brian Brown, 354th CES UDM and Prime BEEF manager. "Once we identify the areas that need to be completed, we send an email out to the superintendents or our Airmen help pull data and make sure people complete what they need to do to stay current on their records."

Keeping track of records for every Airman is a substantial task, but with the help of others, the UDMs can maintain organization.

"We have different programs that manage the requirements each Airman needs to meet, but a lot of the work is done by people that work for us. We couldn't do nearly anywhere what is required if we didn't have the people to help us," said Brown. "The three Airmen that work for us do a ton of stuff when it comes to tracking items and scheduling many appointments such as when to get certified in shooting weapons."

Aside from processing personnel, the UDMs will process equipment that is needed during exercises or deployments.

"We can process equipment like toolboxes, communications equipment like radios and even vehicles like Humvees that the explosive ordinance disposal flight would need for mobility," said Brown. "We keep tools that would be necessary to build a new base palletized and ready to go at all times so that we can quickly send it out if it ever became necessary."

The busiest time for UDMs is the week before exercises. The UDM staff works late nights ensuring all Airmen are current on their medical and remain weapons-qualified.

"Every exercise has been consistently different, so it keeps us on our toes," said Master Sgt. Sangva Sam, 354th CES Prime BEEF Manager and UDM. "The rules and expectations are never the same and that makes it very difficult to make changes on the fly so the bottom line is being flexible and adaptive."

Aside from the hectic exercise weeks, the UDMs are doing an important job contributing to Eielson's mission in assisting over 60 Airmen on their deployments.

"I think the most important thing is that we're just a mover of pieces," said Brown. "We could not do our job and get people where they're supposed to go without the help of other people."

SURFLANT Selects Junior Officer Shiphandler of the Year


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber O'Donovan, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The training officer aboard USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), was selected as Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) 2013 Junior Officer Shiphandler (JOSH) of the Year.

"I am extremely honored to have been selected for such an award," said Lt. j.g. Chris Mikell. "Everyone who competed was more than qualified, and are amazing shiphandlers in their own right. My greatest honor is to be representing the 'Gator Navy,' in particular the LSD-class warship, in such a prestigious manner."

Mikell initially volunteered to represent Oak Hill in the Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 8 competition in December 2013. He competed against five contestants from other amphibious warships before being selected to represent the squadron in the SURFLANT competition. Mikell then advanced to the final round where he competed against 17 other East coast junior officers.

"In the amphibious force, we have the responsibility of achieving shiphandling expertise in both blue and brown water environments to deliver air power, landing craft and Marines to their targets. It not only takes a proficient crew to execute effective shiphandling, it takes a leader," said, Cmdr. Bryan Carmichael, Oak Hill commanding officer.

"Mikell demonstrates a command presence and steady demeanor that showcases the proficiency found not only on board Oak Hill but across the Navy."

During the competition, judges graded the contestants on their leadership, shiphandling abilities and knowledge. A few of the evolutions included mooring to a buoy, underway replenishments, approaching and mooring to a pier. Mikell achieved the highest score possible with a 5.0 by demonstrating a commanding presence, knowledge and confident execution.

"This is a significant, professional accomplishment," reads the award citation signed by Rear Adm. Pete A. Gumataotao, SURFLANT commander. "Shiphandling proficiency is an essential skill for surface warfare officers and your success has distinguished you as among the best in the Navy."

"I credit my success in large part to the amazing Oak Hill chain of command," Mikell said. "The confidence and trust that my captain and executive officer put in me is very empowering and I wanted to make them proud. My goal is to bring acknowledgement and respect to the great things going on aboard Oak Hill, and within the amphibious Navy."

From desperation to inspiration

by Staff Sgt. Clayton Lenhardt
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen stationed at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, received a reminder of the importance of their service under United States Forces Korea Apr. 25, 2014.

Born and raised in a North Korean political prison camp, Shin Dong-hyuk shared his experiences of living inside the camp and life since his escape.

"I was born in poor surroundings, but I ended up living in a place where people can enjoy [living]," said Shin through a translator. "I used to blame why I was born, but now I have a lot of moments to appreciate that I was born. I can live feeling like a human being because I was born."

Shin's story reminded the audience of why United States Forces Korea exists.

"Listening to Shin Dong-hyuk's story humbled me," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Gips, 8th Fighter Wing knowledge operations manager. "Knowing the history of communism's tyranny from a textbook is far different than hearing it exists today, only a few hundred miles from your doorstep, by an individual who has lived and suffered by its control."

Shin also emphasized the importance of freedom.

"People take everything for granted. They seem to think what they have is natural and not special," said Shin through a translator. "To me, freedom is the word people use commonly and speak simply. They seem to never cherish their freedom and never feel how important it is. They just take it granted. From my perspective, freedom is DNA inside of our bodies."

Traveling across South Korea, Shin has been sharing his story letting servicemembers hear the importance of their time in Korea.

"Although I cannot solely bring down North Korea, my efforts here do contribute to the safety and freedom of South Korea, a thriving republic nation that has bounced back since the opposition," said Gips. "I feel that I can further educate myself on our adversary to be a better asset to the mission here on the peninsula."

Airmen like Gips exemplify the core mission of why there is a U.S. presence in South Korea.

"Kunsan is a hard tour, but I wouldn't trade my experience for the world," said Gips. "My grandfather fought in the Korean War over 60 years ago, and now I am safeguarding his sacrifice, and countless others, through deterrence. Our presence here is necessary. I believe in freedom and am willing to fight for it."

MUNS f'ammo'ly

by Staff Sgt. Jessica Haas
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- Ammo Airmen, also known as 8th Maintenance Squadron munitions flight Airmen, are one of the primary reasons why Kunsan's aircraft deters enemies.

"The munitions mission at Kunsan Air Base is to support the flightline efforts to keep the peace in this region," said Senior Airman Kevin Merkel, 8th MXS munitions conventional maintenance crew chief. "We do everything from inspecting to maintaining, ensuring ammunition remains safe."

Merkel continued to say that while their mission involves countermeasures for all aircraft at Kunsan, the real meat and potatoes of the munitions operations are bombs, especially during exercise generations.

"We are extremely busy during exercises," said Merkel. "We run two 12-hour shifts and basically build bombs all day. While busy, it's actually great training for the new guys. Once built, the bombs are inspected and guaranteed to be 'up to snuff', and then we'll just tear them down and repeat the process."

Merkel said they support operations for anything with an explosive on it, including everything from pepper spray to 2,000-pound bombs. With such a large area of responsibility, the munitions unit is comprised of seven different shops to include conventional maintenance, precision guided missiles, storage, inspection, accountability, control and combat plan and scheduling.

The immense responsibility of leading the building of bombs is only given to Airmen after more than a year of intense training.

"Our technical school is eight weeks long," said the bomb builder. "Once we complete technical school, we receive on-the-job training for no less than a year to be able to perform job duties without supervision."

While these Airmen are busy and their career field is stressful, they are still happy and proud to be ammo.

"Basically, what we do is put warheads on foreheads - without us it's just another airline," the munitions crew chief said. "Ammo is a very tight-knit career field."

"It's a f'ammo'ly," said Staff Sgt. Aaron Raboin, 8th MXS munitions production supervisor. "Everyone from our chief to our youngest Airman will get together and do ammo calls - morale is like the best at this base. We just foster that family concept within ammo."

"It's that one career field in the Air Force I feel people really 'rep' it," said Merkel. "Especially senior leadership - when the chief is gung-ho about it, then the Airmen have no choice but to be. I would have to say the best part of ammo is being ammo."

Not only is morale one of the best parts of being an ammo Airman, but also just the mission of the unit is enough to make one enthusiastic about their job.

"We build bombs - we are integral to the Air Force mission," said Raboin. "We provide the enemy the opportunity to die for his or her country. We protect everyone. Just knowing the damage our munitions can do - there's a lot of pride in that."

While all squadrons play a part in accomplishing the Air Force mission, this flight directly enables the Air Force to demonstrate its air power on a daily basis. As long as the munitions flight is around, the Wolf Pack can rest easy knowing these Airmen are working around the clock, ensuring the Air Force is always prepared to flex its muscle, if ever needed.

Hagel Calls for NATO Meeting on Defense Investment



By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2014 – At a Wilson Center forum here this morning on NATO’s 21st-century security challenges, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for the creation of a new NATO ministerial meeting focused on defense investment that includes finance ministers or senior budget officials.

Hagel’s proposal builds on President Barack Obama's March 26 speech in Brussels, and Atlantic Council statements earlier this week by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John F. Kerry urging every NATO-member state to meet its commitment to the alliance.

Holding such a ministerial meeting would allow finance ministers or senior budget officials “to receive detailed briefings from alliance military leaders on the challenges we face,” Hagel said.

“Leaders across our governments must understand the consequences of current trends in reduced defense spending,” he added, “and help break through the fiscal impasse.”

Since the end of the Cold War, America’s military spending has become increasingly disproportionate within the alliance, the secretary said. Today, America’s gross domestic product is smaller than the combined GDPs of the 27 NATO allies, but America’s defense spending is three times its allies’ combined defense spending, he added.

Over time, such a lopsided burden threatens NATO’s integrity, cohesion and capability, the secretary said, and ultimately, it affects European and transatlantic security.

“Many of NATO’s smaller members have pledged to increase their defense investment, and earlier this week at the Pentagon, I thanked Estonia’s defense minister for his nation’s renewed commitment and investment in NATO,” Hagel told the audience.

“But the alliance cannot afford for Europe’s larger economies and most militarily capable allies not to do the same, particularly as transatlantic economies grow stronger,” he said. “We must see renewed financial commitments from all NATO members.”

Russia’s actions in Ukraine have made NATO’s value abundantly clear, the secretary said, adding that he knows from frequent conversations with NATO defense ministers that they need no convincing.

“Talking amongst ourselves is no longer good enough,” Hagel said. “Having participated in three NATO defense ministerials and having met with all of my NATO counterparts, I have come away recognizing that the challenge is building support for defense investment across our governments, not just in our defense ministries.”

Defense investment must be discussed in the broader context of member nations’ overall fiscal challenges and priorities, he added.

In meeting its global security commitments, the United States must have strong, committed and capable allies, and this year’s Quadrennial Defense Review makes this clear, the secretary said. Going forward, the Defense Department will seek and increasingly rely on closer integration and collaboration with allies, and in ways that will influence U.S. strategic planning and future investments, Hagel said.

From the early days of the Cold War, American defense secretaries have called on European allies to ramp up their defense investment, he noted. In recent years, one of the biggest obstacles to alliance investment has been a sense that the end of the Cold War ushered in an end to insecurity, at least in Europe, from aggression by nation states, the secretary said.

“Russia’s actions in Ukraine shatter that myth and usher in bracing new realities. Even a united and deeply interconnected Europe still lives in a dangerous world,” Hagel said.

“In the short term, the transatlantic alliance has responded to Russian actions with strength and resolve,” he added. “But over the long term, we should expect Russia to test our alliance’s purpose, stamina and commitment. Future generations will note whether, at this moment of challenge, we summoned the will to invest in our alliance.”

NATO should find creative ways to help nations around the world adapt collective security to a rapidly evolving global strategic landscape, the secretary said.

Collective security is not only the anchor of the transatlantic alliance, he added, but also is a model for emerging security institutions around the world, from Africa to the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia.

“I say this having just convened a forum of [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] defense ministers last month,” Hagel said, “and having called for a Gulf Cooperation Council defense ministerial this year.”

He added, “These institutions bring our people, interests and economies closer together, serving as anchors for stability, security and prosperity. Strengthening these regional security institutions must be a centerpiece of America’s defense policy as we continue investing in NATO.”

Taking a progressive stand against sexual assault

by Airman 1st Class Daniel Blackwell
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- In response to what has been called a "crisis within the ranks" by leaders within the Department of Defense, a variety of new sexual assault programs and initiatives have been sought out and employed in recent months and years.

The improvements are centered on sexual assault prevention as well as creating an environment where victims of sexual assault have even more resources at their disposal.

Included in the programs and initiatives is the Military Criminal Investigation Organizations (MCIO) fulfilling new roles in investigative processes, the Special Victims' Counsel Program, the DOD Safe Helpline, expedited transfers and the Every Airman Counts blog.

In recent years, in an effort to create a more responsive and objective system to aid victims of sexual assault, the DOD has amended UCMJ articles 120 and 125, the two most pertinent articles regarding matters of sexual assault and harassment.

The amendments redefine what constitutes sexual harassment, assault, and other prosecutable offenses of a sexual nature, how these offenses are dealt with and who investigates their allegation. Whereas security forces, and other service equivalent entities, used to oversee such investigations; the task now falls to MCIOs.

There are three organizations that comprise the MCIO. The Criminal Investigative Division, which investigates major crimes within the U.S. Army; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates major crimes within the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps; and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which does the same. Each organization within the MCIO is charged with conducting detailed, contained, structured and objective investigations to obtain the truth about an event, situation or individual.

"Sexual Assault is a serious crime that is impacting our military," explained Gregory Gow, Seymour Johnson AFB OSI special agent in charge. "Having the MCIOs take charge of these investigations ensures the best investigative organization, within each respective service, is paying attention to this crime.

"We have a lot of investigative tools and abilities at our disposal to determine whether or not an act did or didn't happen," he continued. "We investigate any crime with the same vigor regardless of severity."

Because MCIOs are independent investigative agencies that do not fall under their respective branch's direct chain of command, they have been deemed the most impartial investigative entities by government leaders.

"Air Force and DOD leadership felt these issues needed to be in the hands of independent investigators to ensure objectivity," Gow said. "This gives victims an outlet to report a crime and know something will be done with the information.

"Ultimately, it's about the safety and security of our Airmen through investigative means," Gow explained. "By doing this, we support victims with every resource we have at our disposal."

Aside from DOD-wide investigatory changes, the Air Force took initiative in solving a separate issue. Officials realized that often, when a victim found the courage to report their assault and prosecute their assailant, they didn't have anyone appointed to help or defend them in legal matters. In response Air Force leadership enacted the Special Victims' Counsel Jan. 28, 2013.

The program affords sexual assault victims the right, should they so choose, to have a specially trained Air Force lawyer guide, counsel and defend victims throughout the legal proceedings.

"We've received rave reviews about this program," said Bernadine Roy, sexual assault victim assistant. "It really has made a difference."

In August of 2013, after seeing the success the Air Force had with this program, the Secretary of Defense directed all other branches to follow suit and implement a SVC program.

According to Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps records, 458 individuals requested SVC representation and 92 percent said they were "extremely satisfied" with the help and support they received. Overall, the program currently has a 100 percent approval rating by victims.

"It's often a daunting task for victims to understand the legal process in a sexual assault case," explained Nancy Pike, 4th Fighter Wing sexual assault response coordinator. "By having their own special victims' counselor, the victim has representation in the process. Victims feel more comfortable that way."

Quote from SVC on representing victims: "After a lengthy investigation process and trial, [my client's husband] approached me. He told me how much having me there meant to his wife; that she felt she had a voice in the system and the court listened to her; that she had someone to call with questions; that someone was in her corner. He thanked me, then took a step back and saluted me, not because customs and courtesies required it, but as a sign of gratitude. It was an incredibly moving moment and it was then that I realized this program isn't about outcomes, it is about people. Victims' rights are not about ensuring a conviction; they are about promoting respect, dignity and meaningful participation in the justice system."

After legal proceedings are finished, regardless of the verdict, victims face the arduous task of mental, spiritual and emotional healing from their assault. As this process could be prolonged or hindered altogether if the victim works with or around their assailant, the Air Force has implemented expedited transfers. Expedited transfers give victims an option to quickly relocate by means of a permanent change of station or permanent change of assignment to another base or unit away from their assailant to, according to Pike, better cope with and heal from the trauma of their assault.

"Victims often want to leave the place where the assault occurred," Pike explained. "This process allows them to move in a timely manner."

Aside from programs and new directives set in place to help victims after an assault has occurred, preventing the assault before it happens would be ideal. According to Roy, the best preventative measure is education.

"Educating people is one of our biggest concerns," Roy explained. "By doing this, we hope to reach people who may not know about or may be misinformed about facts regarding sexual assault and its ramifications. Our ultimate goal is to create a better environment and culture in the Air Force."

In response to the call for education and additional resources, the DOD and all the branches of service continue to look for new and effective ways to reach and educate military members about sexual assault.

One tool currently in use is the DOD Safe Helpline. Established in 2011, the Safe Helpline provides an online peer-to-peer support community within the DOD where sexual assault victims can connect with one another on a moderated support system. People can connect with the Safe Helpline 24/7 by calling 877-995-5247.

Another outlet for victims is the Every Airman Counts blog. The blog was initiated by Gen. Larry Spencer, Air Force vice chief of staff, to offer Airman a place to provide feedback directly to leadership.

"We can't fix this issue sitting in the Pentagon," Spencer said. "We need each and every one of you to get engaged in addressing this issue ... this crime, and it is a crime.
"We need to know exactly where you feel the issues are so we can address them with laser focus," he continued. "I need every one of you to help us find ways to ensure dignity and respect are prevailing qualities in our daily relationships."

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program is the Air Forces flagship in the battle against sexual assault. The program offers a myriad of tools to educate and support Airmen and DOD civilians.

The SAPR website contains educational videos discussing sexual assault from various perspectives throughout the ranks. It also contains commentaries and stories written by Air Force members, answers to 'frequently asked questions,' safety and risk reduction methods to avoid being victimized, as well as links to many more DOD funded or approved websites containing additional educational material and information.

Leadership within the government and military are continuing to look for new ways to address and prevent the sexual assault crisis.

"Our leaders are addressing this problem head-on, and we will not relent in this fight," Pike said. "As more Airmen step up and prevent sexual assault, the better the Air Force becomes."

Building relationships through Exercise ANGEL THUNDER

by Staff Sgt. Heather Redman
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs


4/30/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- The largest personnel recovery exercise in the world helps foster international relationships by combining joint, coalition, and interagency partners.

Exercise ANGEL THUNDER is an annual exercise that supports the DoD's training requirements for personnel recovery, but also helps in building trust and relationships between joint, interagency, and coalition partners. This year's exercise will occur from May 4-17 throughout Arizona and off the coast of California.

Exercise ANGEL THUNDER provides opportunities for Air Combat Command, along with all participants, to showcase not just personnel recovery, but also joint force integration and interagency participation.

"Personnel recovery missions are often short term operations because they are a response to a crisis situation," said Col. Sean Choquette, Commander of the 563rd Rescue Group. "By conducting Exercises like ANGEL THUNDER, we are working to build up relationships ahead of time and to establish standard operating procedures so it's easier to execute the mission than if the relationship did not exist and you have to build trust along the way."

Exercise ANGEL THUNDER allows Air Forces to practice effective integration as well as the application of air and space power in the search and rescue missions.

"Through the exchange of tactics, techniques, and procedures, we are able to learn from one another," said Choquette. "This helps us to standardize across the board so we are operating with similar techniques and capabilities with the partners that we have."

This year's participants in Exercise ANGEL THUNDER include members from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. federal agencies, Arizona state and local agencies, national volunteer organizations, as well as participants from Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.

"Integration with other forces, sharing information, and building relationships is the key piece to the success of the exercise," added Choquette. "It's not about how each of the different forces execute a recovery operation; it's about integrating multiple units and operating together to complete a mission successfully. This type of early integration will pay us back exponentially when we need to operate together."

Exercise ANGEL THUNDER has been designed to facilitate interoperability and the cross-culture sharing of tactics and procedures replicating the full spectrum of operational environments common to all personnel recovery forces. It allows participants to train together by integrating their set objectives to meet their needs while conducting the planning and execution of the exercise themselves and finally, and most important sharing the common lessons learned.

The focus of Exercise ANGEL THUNDER is maintaining the core competency of rescue forces' high-end proficiency. Developing the command and control of adaptable capabilities under the four core functions of preparing, planning, execution, and adaptation, is a critical aspect of the exercise. ANGEL THUNDER also reinforces the five phases of personnel recovery; report, locate, support, recover, and reintegrate, through exercising the full spectrum of personnel recovery operations.

Medical experts evaluate air transportable clinic

by Lawrence Crespo
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


5/1/2014 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- The 99th Medical Group took part in an Air Force pilot unit review program April 21 to 25 to evaluate the next generation forward deployable Utilis Air Transportable Clinic for future world-wide contingencies, disasters or emergencies.

The ATC can support 300 to 500 patients requiring outpatient services and initial trauma response care in remote locations without access to medical facilities in a remote area for a 30-day period without any resupplies.

The clinic can sustain two seriously injured patients up to 12 hours until air transportation arrives and provides care for less critical patients up to 48 hours. The ATC is not designed to provide care for mass casualties.

The 99th Medical Support Squadron Medical Logistics Flight war reserve material team is the pilot unit tasked to evaluate this medical deployable Unit Type Code. This is the UTC's first review in six years.

The 99th MDSS Medical Logistics Flight team, in conjunction with Air Combat Command Medical Logistics, are evaluating and making changes to medical equipment, as well as updating pharmaceuticals and medical supplies used in the field.

In addition to assessing the Utilis shelter, the evaluation team will review the UTC mission capability statement, tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as more than 350 logistic detail line items.

Air Force-wide there are 78 ATCs that will be affected by the changes made here.

"The guidance for these changes were from medical leadership [in the field] and have been briefed to the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General to make the clinic more modular," said Capt. (Dr.) Andrew Timboe, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight surgeon. "We can attach the [ATC] to an Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support Hospital, or other medical assets as needed, or use [it] as a stand-alone clinic for smaller contingencies."

The Utilis shelter has the ability to easily connect various size standalone medical assets to become an integrated field hospital.

The ATC with all the medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplies cost more than $140,000.

"We are currently revising outpatient equipment and medical supplies so the cost could fluctuate." Timboe said. "We are considering adding an intraosseous device and an i-STAT lab analyzer we could use in a remote setting, as well as updating the pharmacy to include some of the new aircrew approved medications. Current clinical practice guidelines for trauma response are also being reviewed with the ATC pharmacy to improve this standard of care in forward deployed locations."

The portable Utilis tent will replace the Alaska Shelter tent that has been used by deployable medical UTCs for the last 12 years.

The new pulley-loaded tent design provides a cost-effective solution for a timely response for medical forces deployed to forward operating bases or emergencies disaster, wherever and whenever they occur.

"This tent has all the linings, electrical and ductwork built right into it, and its pulley based so it goes up very quickly and has everything readily available," Timboe said. "The older shelter is much heavier and takes longer to piece together."

The Utilis tent is pressurized to provide a sterile medical environment. The floor is sealed to the outer liner and has a filtration system to keep the interior safe for patients and staff. Another concern for the shelter is environmental conditions. The unit contains a generator and heating unit.

The required equipment and accessories on the ATC are easily palletized and can fit on the 463L master pallet, which is a standardized pallet used for transporting military air cargo.

"The entire UTC and everything [a medical team] would need is on one pallet. When they take it off a transport cargo plane it can be fully operational within four hours," said William Napiorkowski, 99th MDSS war readiness material manger. "The old tent use to take 60 to 90 minutes to set-up while this new tent deploys in about 10 minutes with the three person UTC team. We're hoping with the new tent it will reduce the setup time by an hour or more."

The team believes their evaluation will make a huge impact on how the medical career field provides care for patients.

"With the technological changes implemented in this UTC, our goal is to provide injured patients the best survivability rate on the battle field," Napiorkowski said.

Beale pays tribute to fallen Airmen

by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


4/30/2014 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Team Beale honored four Airmen including two Beale Airmen who died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during a memorial service at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., April 25.

Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson and Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin were killed nearly a year ago when their MC-12 Liberty crashed during a combat mission in Afghanistan.

"We remember the fallen, and we honor them for paying the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our nation's freedom," said, Lt. Col. Robb Rigtrup, 306th Intelligence Squadron commander. "As brothers and sisters in arms, it's in our nature to band together and remain strong."

Fellow service members, family and friends paid their respects by sharing stories of the fallen during the memorial service, which included a luncheon.

"We are here to break bread as a community in remembrance and to honor them with a roll call in our own way that is traditional to the combat aviation community," said Lt. Col. David Berg, 427th Reconnaissance Squadron commander. "We are a family in the Air Force. We go into combat together, and that feeling of family is reflected on a day like today where we come together to pay tribute, grieve together, remember together and laugh together."

The 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron commander at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan during the crash also spoke to the more than 300 people in attendance.

"These were ordinary people, fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands, who responded in an extraordinary way during an extreme situation," said Lt. Col. John Polkowski, who is now the 9th Operations Group deputy commander at Beale. "Their sacrifice follows in the footsteps of some of the America's finest."

In addition to the memorial service, Beale held a 5k and 8k run to honor the crew of Independence 08. Participants were also able to purchase tribute shirts with proceeds funding a permanent memorial on Beale.

"Nearly $6,000 was raised to keep Indy 08's memory alive," said 1st Lt. Jeremy, 306th IS, officer in charge of training operations. "It was amazing to see everyone come out and support."

At the conclusion of the memorial run, family members, including Becky Pratt, mother of Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson thanked Team Beale for keeping the memory of her son and the Independence 08 crew alive. Dickson's home of record was nearby Rancho Cordova, Calif.

"On behalf of my family, we are very grateful for being involved in your run and remembrance, and we are excited to have a permanent memorial being made," said Erron Pool, Staff Sgt. Dickson's sister. "Thank you for your service to our country and your kindness to us."