Military News

Monday, May 05, 2014

Hagel Thanks Philippine Defense Minister for Accord With U.S.



American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called his Philippine counterpart yesterday to congratulate him on the recent signing of the U.S.-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement summarizing the call, Kirby said Hagel thanked Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and his department for their support for the effort.

Hagel also welcomed the opportunity for U.S. forces to train with the Philippine armed forces in the Balikatan exercise, which begins today, and he noted the exercise’s importance to regional security, the press secretary added. Balikatan means “shoulder-to-shoulder.”

The two defense secretaries “recalled fondly” their discussions during the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Forum in Hawaii last month, and said they look forward to meeting again during the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus in Burma later this year, Kirby said.

Vandenberg chapel women's appreciation luncheon combats isolation, fosters camaraderie

by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
30th Space Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Vandenberg Chapel staff recently worked in tandem with Stonecroft Ministries to provide an opportunity for Team V females to find fellowship and camaraderie.

Sandee Lester, the spouse of a retired Air Force Pilot and the event guest speaker, candidly relayed the trials and tribulations of being an Air Force spouse.

"Sandy spoke honestly about what it was like growing up and marrying an Air Force pilot," said Capt. Kyle Roehrig, acting 30th Space Wing deputy chaplain. "No matter what she did there was always someone else taking away the excitement in their marriage...she said that her husband had a mistress and her name was the United States Air Force. She spoke about needing that spiritual contact and how she found it through a church they got involved with in Germany. That's where she started playing the piano again, something she had given up through the course of their marriage. The church members helped her to find community and through their faith, support, care, she found a way to reconnect with her husband."

Some also believe that just talking about the struggles related to being a military spouse can be the conduit for a life changing event.

One of the key things that we want to provide through events like this is a means to connect," said Roehrig. "Military families, especially families that are feeling isolated, need the change not only to connect with other base members but to people in the local community who understand as well. The best way to break through that isolation is to find ways to relate them to other people. Events like this let them feel less isolated and connect to one another. Bringing Stonecroft Ministries on-board created an environment where women could connect to women from the local community who want to care for and support any woman if they need it."

Some found that just hearing about other families' struggles with military life was empowering.

"I think most of us feel like we're the only ones going through struggles, no matter what stage in your relationship you're in -- and you feel alone," said Katie Thompson, Vandenberg chapel Catholic parish coordinator. "So this [event] is something that shines a light and says, 'Hey everyone! I'm struggling, I'm ok and I'll talk to you if you need to. It makes you feel part of something bigger, and helps you to realize that you're not alone."

For those interested in hearing Lester speak, please call the Vandenberg Chapel at 606-5773 and sign-up for the Protestant Women of the Chapel Spring Retreat slated for Friday, May 2, from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Vandenberg brings back the silver screen

by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
30th Space Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - -- Team V members wary of driving into the surrounding area to enjoy a movie got a reprieve, April 18, when the base celebrated the soft re-opening of the movie theater here.

The theater, located across from the dorms on South Dakota Avenue, closed last fall due to insufficient equipment and funding issues.

"The theater was using an outdated projection system, a 35mm camera, which caused a general lack of business," said Christine Stallwood, Vandenberg Army and Air Force Exchange Service general manager. "At the time the intention was for the theater to be permanently closed, but due to a request from Vandenberg's command with special emphasis on location and quality of life activities that are within distance, we were able to reopen."

Unbeknownst to some members, the theater opened for business April 18 with a grand reopening slated for May 10.

"The soft opening was to give us the opportunity to operate the new equipment for a couple of weeks to ensure we have identified any potential issues," Stallwood said.
Though the theater won't be showing first-run movies, there are other perks for those choosing to view their shows at the base theater.

"Fiscal and manning challenges have taken their toll on everyone at VAFB in some form," said Lt. Col. Gregory Marty, 30th Force Support Squadron commander. "AAFES' significant financial commitment in re-opening our theater reinforces what an important partner they are in ensuring the morale of everyone on base. Practically, this theater gives our Airmen and their families a safe and affordable way to escape from the daily grind. We are very grateful and hope everyone will enjoy and support our new theater."

USO, Full Circle Home Team Up for Mother’s Day Packages



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

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2014 – The USO and the nonprofit organization Full Circle Home teamed up May 2 to assemble Mother’s Day care packages for military moms and other sustainers on the homefront.

The service project, hosted by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, was held at the vice presidential residence, where Dr. Biden joined USO volunteers and staff members, congressional spouses and others to assemble the packages.

USO President John I. Pray Jr. greeted the volunteers and explained the goal of the service project.

“We have come together to assemble 2,000 Full Circle Home care packages,” he said. “These packages contain items to comfort and support a very special segment of our military family: moms, spouses, girlfriends and all those amazing people who sustain the homefront while their loved ones are deployed serving this great nation elsewhere.”

Pray thanked the volunteers, including Lilibet Hagel, wife of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and lauded the secretary for his support of service members and their loved ones.

“I know that the secretary has always kept the men and women in uniform and their families uppermost in his mind,” he said. “It’s wonderful to have his support.”

Full Circle Home arranges gift boxes to be sent on behalf of service members to military moms and spouses around the country. Mother’s Day packages consist of “pampering products” such as tissues, hand cream, perfume, nail polish and an engraved bracelet.

Vickie Durfee, founder of Full Circle Home and a self-described “Marine mom,” addressed the group and expressed her appreciation for the USO.

“It’s great to team up with like-minded organizations that really support the troops in so many different ways,” she said.

“Full Circle Home has been able to help deployed troops send their love and gifts at Mother’s Day and at Christmas to women in every state in the nation, and to bases around the world. We’re very unique in that we help the deployed send something special to their [heroes] that’s very personal and [a] very intimate thing.”

Durfee noted troops have the opportunity to place a handwritten love note to their special lady in each gift.

“When the gifts reach these women, we find that the phone calls and emails start,” Durfee said. “These women do not expect anything to come to them -- they send packages, they don’t expect to receive them. They’re so touched that people would think of them, to recognize them and their sacrifices, and honor them.”

Biden noted the event was taking place as Joining Forces, the initiative she and First Lady Michelle Obama started and have championed, is marking its third anniversary. It’s important to “make sure that all these brave men and women, and their families” know that America recognizes their sacrifices, she said.

“The USO is always there, [and] always an incredible partner,” she added. “I’m sure that many of the congressional spouses who are here today … find that about the USO as well.”

Biden said it was nice to be able to put together care packages for Mother’s Day, recalling the year when her son was deployed to Iraq.

“I don’t know about you, but it was one tough year to have my son deployed,” she said. “I don’t know how I would have taken it had I opened something from my son when he was deployed. I think I would have cried for like a week. But I hope we bring smiles their faces.”

Biden expressed her gratitude to the volunteers for donating their time to honor service members and their families.

“I want our troops to know we’re thinking of them each and every day, and [that] we’re supporting them,” she said. “I hope they feel the love from all of us.”

Pope airfield management 'a benchmark' for command

by Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Moody
440th Airlift Wing, Public Affairs


5/4/2014 - POPE FIELD, N.C.  -- Air Force Reserve Command has recognized the 440th Airlift Wing's Mid-Air Collision Avoidance program as a benchmark for other command airfields.

Maj. Jimmy West, Headquarters, Air Force Reserve Command airfield operations branch chief, said Pope Airfield Operations is "unlike any other." West said the airfield operations team went "above and beyond"  to engage the community, communicate operations, educate adjacent airfield and controlling agencies and that program managers should "model their programs after the 440th OSS/OSA benchmark."

MACA is a subject gaining heightened awareness among both civilian and military aviation communities. With increasing numbers of aircraft taking flight and many airports approaching gridlock, knowledge of safe air traffic and airfield operating procedures is vitally important for pilots and aircrew.

"The Pope MACA program is a proactive program to educate and inform the general aviation community on military aircraft operations around Pope Army Airfield," said Richard Holtzman, 440th Operations Support Squadron deputy airfield operations manager here. "This is accomplished through frequent visits with airport managers, pilots and students at general aviation airports within the Pope local flying area," said Holtzman, who is also a retired Air Force flight commander.

MACA programs also include sophisticated collision avoidance systems in aircraft, such as Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems and transponders in aircraft. Equally important is continual communication between flight crews, air traffic control and ground control for the safe operation of all aircraft.

Trnka takes command of Beale reserve wing

940th Wing Public Affairs

5/4/2014 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- The men and women of the 940th Wing gathered here May 4  to render a final salute to Col. Kevin Cavanagh as he handed off command of the wing to Col. John Trnka, Jr.

Col. Donald Lindberg, 10th Air Force vice commander, presided over the change of command. He praised the wing's achievements over the past three years and lauded Cavanagh's leadership.

Lindberg said he values three things in a commander: competency, courage and compassion.

"Colonel Cavanagh has been unflappable. He knows his people, and he has been at the tip of the spear these last three years, taking care of his people," Lindberg said. "He cares for you immensely, and he's proud of what you've done."

In his parting remarks, Cavanagh acknowledged that, during his tenure as commander, the only constant in the organization has been change.

"We've weathered many challenges. When I look back (over my command), I've seen the most cohesive, professional, dedicated and focused team of airmen and civilians who passed with flying colors when our core value 'service before self' was put to the test," Cavanagh said. "I'm proud of the phenomenal contributions the citizen airmen of this wing have made to our national defense."

Cavanagh's next duty assignment will be at Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, where he will fill the position of deputy director of Air, Space and Information Operations.

With the traditional passing of the guidon at the ceremony, Cavanagh transferred responsibility for the 900-member wing to Trnka, his vice wing commander for more than three years.

"Command is always a privilege and an honor. Part of that honor for me today is knowing I'm handing this command over to a visionary leader who will ensure 940th Wing airmen are trained and ready. Colonel Trnka is the perfect fit as we transition back to KC-135 operations."

Prior to transferring to the 940th Wing in 2010, Trnka served as commander of the 513th Air Control Group, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. A master air battle manager with more than 3,300 hours of flight time in the E-3B/C Sentry, he's flown combat and combat support missions in Iraq. Currently, he flies the remotely piloted RQ-4 Global Hawk, Beale's high-altitude, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.

"This is your wing. I work for you," Trnka told the reservists at the ceremony. "My job as your commander is to enable you to do your jobs and succeed at accomplishing our missions here."

The 940th Wing is the Air Force Reserve Command's preeminent force provider for command and control, high-altitude surveillance and reconnaissance, and mission support, in support of Air Combat Command, Central Command, and Pacific Air Forces.

Recognized as the Air Force model for total force integration, the wing provides in-garrison and in-theater combat support and reserve expertise to warfighters across the spectrum of conflict through training, developing and retaining experienced mission-ready citizen airmen.

More than 900 members are assigned to the reserve wing at Beale AFB, including four geographically separated units at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, March Air Reserve Base, California, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Secretary of the Air Force, AFRC Commander, visit Westover

by Master Sgt. Timm Huffman
439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


5/4/2014 - WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- The Patriot Wing hosted Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Lt. Gen. James Jackson, Chief of Air Force Reserve, May 2.

The Air Force selected Westover as one of several bases Secratary James visited in the northeastern United States to gain a better understanding of the Total Force concept.

"I'm a big believer in our total force - our National Guard, reserve and our active components - working in an integrated way," she said.  "I wanted to come and visit several National Guard and Reserve bases, and there were none I could think of that would better teach me about how integration is working day-in and day-out than Westover."

The visit came just days after the announcement that Westover will lose eight C-5s, 59 full-time air reserve technician and 275 traditional reservist slots. During her three-hour visit at Westover, Secretary James and Lt. Gen. Jackson met with base leadership and had lunch with military and civilian members of the base at the Westover Club.

A short "all call" was held in the Base Hangar after lunch and about 300 reservists and civilians attended. After speaking to the audience about the force cuts and her objectives for her tenure, she took time to answer questions from several Patriot Wing members.

One point she reiterated was that as the Air Force moves forward in a difficult budgetary environment, a balance must be struck between the mission of today and preparing for tomorrow. Part of that will be a bigger reliance on the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, providing for the current mission and investing in modernization, upgrades and new technology.

"We will become a smaller total force, but with a greater reliance on our Guard and Reserve.  It is crucial that we remain ready and that we modernize, as we will be here at Westover with the C-5M," the secretary said.

Following the question and answer session, Secretary James and Lt. Gen. Jackson toured the Regional Isochronal Inspection Dock, where they received a close-up view of what goes into overhauling a massive C-5 airlifter.

"I'm very, very impressed with the Patriot Wing," she said, shortly after the maintenance tour.  "Looking at all of the accolades, all of the deployments, all of the humanitarian assistance the wing has provided, I can boil it down to just a couple of words: This wing delivers."

Beale Command Post AFRC's Large CP of the Year

by Dana Lineback
940th Wing Public Affairs


5/3/2014 - BEALE AFB, Calif. -- Aristotle declared the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Today, that ancient quote is often used to define the synergy teams need to succeed.

For Senior Airman Amanda Schulz, Beale Command Post senior emergency actions controller, Aristotle's words may explain why her unit was recently named Air Force Reserve Command's 2013 Large Command Post of the Year.

Beale Command Post is a combined command post, with 9th Reconnaissance Wing active duty and 940th Wing reservists coexisting.

"I never think 9th or 940th. We get recognized as a whole if we succeed together. If we fail, we fail as a team," said Schulz, an active duty member with six years of command post experience.

"We may be different offices with different areas of responsibility, but everyone's willing to help out whenever needed. These are people you can trust to have your back."

Staff Sgt. Brittainy Ward, a traditional reservist who serves as a command post emergency actions controller, agreed with Schulz.

"It's amazing to have the ability to integrate like this. It gets rid of any stereotypes (between the components) and allows you to bond," Ward said. "We all realize we're here for the same mission. We handle issues at the same level of difficulty, and we put in the same amount of work to stay qualified, whether we're here two days a month or every day."

Ward has been on a winning team before. She was assigned to the command post at the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson, N.C., when that unit won AFRC's 2012 Large Command Post of the Year.  When asked about common denominators between her previous unit and Beale's command post, she cited two similarities.

"First and foremost, everyone knows the mission - what you have to do for day-to-day operations, as well as for inspections and exercises," Ward said. "And both units also have outstanding training programs that ensure you stay consistent and keep on top of training requirements."

To stay qualified, command post members endure a monthly closed book test, with a minimum passing score of 90 percent, two open book tests and a controller team scenario. Traditional reservists, full-time reservists, and active duty all meet the same proficiency requirements.

Complicating the rigors of monthly testing is the fact that command posts operate in a secure environment, handling both classified and unclassified information. Study materials must remain in the secure area, so members can't study at home.

"Everybody comes in on their off time to study and keep up with changes," Schulz said.

"There's no hand-holding in Command Post," said Ward. "You don't have a chance to lose proficiency. You have to know what you're doing when you get up on the console."

Ward said she makes an effort to seek out pertinent changes as soon as she gets in.

"You can't wait for someone to just give them to you."

Schulz concurred.

"As mundane as all the studying can get, we have to remind ourselves of the importance of being prepared," she said. "There are times we send reports all the way up to the Pentagon from here. Our job is to be there for a base commander in situations where every second matters. If we're efficient, it sets our commander up for success."

Like Ward, Schulz has been a member of an award-winning command post before. She was at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, when the unit there won Pacific Air Forces 2010 Large Command Post of the Year.

"Command post is a 24/7 mission for a reason. Anything can happen on any given shift," Schulz said. "I consider us to be an elite force. It's an honor to be recognized among our peers across the Air Force Reserve Command."

Great Falls Great Friends help Airmen find a 'home away from home' in Montana

by John Turner
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- When Airman 1st Class Ginelle Metiviet arrived at Malmstrom Air Force Base one year ago to begin her assignment with the 341st Missile Security Forces Squadron, she was immediately struck by how very different Great Falls, Mont., is from her hometown of New York City.

"Where I'm from, there's a lot of people and there is a lot to do," Metiviet said. "It's a very big city surrounded with a lot of buildings and music."

Now stationed thousands of miles from her family in Manhattan, New York, and the fast-paced metropolitan culture of the city, Metiviet's time was soon occupied by her work schedule and an expanding network of military friends, many of whom, like Metiviet, live on base and in the dorms. With time, she began to look for ways to involve herself more in the local community and to explore what Montana has to offer.

In December, a chief master sergeant in Metiviet's squadron told her about Great Falls Great Friends, a new program that was launched in October. GFGF seeks to match new military members--airman basic through staff sergeant, and second lieutenant through captain--with civilian sponsors from Great Falls who volunteer to be ambassadors of the community. These sponsors develop interpersonal relationships with Airmen, guide them around the local area, and help them cultivate their interests while they are here.

"The whole point [of GFGF] is to get these young Airmen involved in the community, get them off the installation and get them out of their dorms," said Lori Muzzana, 341st Missile Wing community support coordinator. "A brand new airman here at Malmstrom, whether enlisted or officer, is matched with a community member."

The program is not just for single Airmen, Muzzana said. She has paired families, which has given children and spouses a sponsor also.

Currently, the pool of community sponsors is limited to Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce members, Department of Defense civilian employees, and military retirees. It is preferable that the sponsors have some understanding of the military culture.

The program interested Metiviet. She enrolled in GFGF to be matched with a sponsor.

"Being away from home, I definitely like to meet new people," Metiviet said. "I want to get involved in the place I am living. Just because I live on base, yes, I am a resident of Montana, but I won't really be able to experience Montana and the people unless I am really involved in the community. This is one of the great programs that helps me do that."

Within weeks of applying for the program, Metiviet was matched to Carol Berg and the pair instantly clicked.

Berg learned about GFGF at a faculty meeting at the University of Great Falls where she works. She applied to be a sponsor soon after, recalling when her own daughter was in the military and stationed in a new place.

"When [my daughter] was in the Army I had always hoped that there would be a local community person that could have been kind of a family for her," Berg said, "So I wanted to be a family for an Airman. I was lucky, I got Ginelle."

Metiviet and Berg have shared meals and movies, enjoyed outings to Giant Springs and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and recently attended Western Art Week together. Berg is enthusiastic about all the places she wants to take Metiviet this summer, including Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

"I like to share Montana with other people," Berg said. "I like to meet people from other places."

"One of the great things I love about Carol is that she is so inviting and welcoming," Metiviet said. "Even though some of my fellow Airmen are not in the program, she invites them to come out with us as well."

A sponsor can make all the difference whether an Airman enjoys their time in Montana, Muzzana said.

"One young man literally told me that he would have hated Malmstrom if it wouldn't have been for the family that he's attached to," she said. "They've gotten him involved and showed him things that he didn't know were around, and invited him over for family dinners."

Muzzana has made 19 matches since the program started. Several more Airmen are enrolled and waiting, she said, but there is a need for sponsors. Most of the sponsors so far have applied through the Chamber of Commerce.

Airmen who would like to request a sponsor can submit an online application at http://341fss.com/gfgreatfriends.

There is no requirement on how many times a sponsor and Airman must meet, what activities they must do together or how long they must remain paired, Muzzana said. GFGF is a self-paced, self-guided program.

1st Lt. Mayrem Morales, 10th Missile Squadron deputy missile combat crew commander, and her sponsor were matched in November. They try to meet once a month, usually for lunch or dinner or to attend a local event together. Their pairing has been mutually beneficial because both women are close in age, have similar interests, speak fluent Spanish, and are relatively new to the area. Morales is from Chicago and her sponsor is from Long Beach, Calif.

"We are both from another city and we are still getting to know Great Falls and Montana," Morales said. "This allows us to compare and suggest things to do. If she hears of something interesting she lets me know, and vice versa."

Morales said that GFGF sponsors can have a positive impact on an Airman's life.

"Many of us are pretty hyped when we first arrive at Malmstrom but then we get accustomed to the mundane day-to-day," Morales said. "Something so minimal as a lunch date once a month can offer insight to a young Airman and really make a difference."

Ultimately, GFGF is about establishing lasting relationships between Airmen and the Great Falls community.

"I've got this great Airman who is part of my family," Berg said. "She'll always be a part of my family, whether she's here or not."

"We'll stay connected," Metiviet said.

McChord, Luke civil engineers help Hickam save $1.5M

by Jake Chappelle
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Reserve Civil Engineers converged at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for training that helped the Air Force save $1.5 million in repair costs in process.

About 40 reservists from the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron, McChord Field, Washington, and the 944th CES, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, have been working to relieve the workload for the CE units at Bellows Air Force Station and Hickam.

"We're here to get as much work and training done as we possibly can in the few weeks," said Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Wright, 446th CES Programs flight chief.

Citizen Airmen are completing numerous projects, including constructing a maintenance facility for the 18th Civil Engineer detachment, eliminating outdoor safety threats by clearing away vegetation, painting street lines, conducting upgrade training, completing work orders, and supporting the base fire department.

Wright, of Ephrata, Washington, said the McChord and Luke units saved the Air Force an estimated $1.5 million on contractors to complete the same work. They are also helping save lives by felling trees and trimming branches.

Honolulu Urban Forestry officials said more than 50 people are killed each year in Hawaii from falling trees and branches. Civil engineers hope to remove or trim more than 200 trees on the installations, which will save countless lives, money and property, Wright, added.

Reservists are gaining valuable training in other areas during this deployment. The power production team is performing routine maintenance and testing on the BAK 12 aircraft arresting system, Wright said. They will also test the system's functionality by "catching" an F-22 Raptor.

Senior Airman Cyle Coleman, water and fuels technician with the 446th CES, said teamwork has much to do with their accomplishments and will only help them the next time they deploy.

"We've accomplished more than we expected and are helping other shops," the four-year veteran said. "We've finished our job early and have helped with, painting roads and parking lots, hanging up sheet rock, and clearing brush along the roads. This will help our readiness by being able to work together as a team and get our jobs knocked out quicker."

The Citizen Airmen are due back early May

Face of Defense: Twins Share National Guard Experience



By Air Force Capt. Matthew Murphy
Arizona National Guard

PHOENIX, May 5, 2014 – Twin brothers Derick and Frederick Aidoo recently pinned on the rank of master sergeant here -- literal brothers in arms who serve the state and nation in the Arizona Army National Guard.

Their colleagues say they serve with two times the dedication, two times the commitment and two times the honor.

Like many twins, the Aidoos have a tendency to finish each other’s sentences. About his service in the Guard, Derick said, “The Army has kept me on track. It keeps life on track with fitness and lifestyle.” Then Frederick said, “It’s a foundation. Something to tell your kids,” and Derick chimed in with, “about being a soldier and proud to tell people who you are.”

The brothers are two-time combat veterans, having served in Iraq in 2004 and in Afghanistan 2010. While Frederick is an architect in his civilian life and Derick is a construction engineer, their military careers and training are mirrored.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Hector Mendoza deployed with the brothers to Afghanistan. Frederick served as Mendoza’s noncommissioned officer in charge. Mendoza had an opportunity to observe the brothers in action.

“If one does one thing, so does the other. Their work ethic, their fitness level, their commitment -- it’s exactly the same,” he said. “Frederick worked with me and Derick worked with another chief warrant officer. During the entire deployment, the brothers worked nonstop and refused to take a day off. I really admire them.”

Looking back at their 19 years of service, the brothers chuckled over their memories of basic training and advanced individual training. “The drill sergeants didn’t like us too much, because they couldn’t tell us apart and we were in the same group,” Derick said. “So if they told one of us to drop and do pushups, the other had to do them, too.”

The Aidoos trained in supply and logistics. Frederick currently serves as the operations NCO in charge for the 198th Regional Support Group, and Derick is the logistics support NCO. They speak in unison about their love of the Guard, working with soldiers and helping families, crediting leaders who have pushed them to excel.

Army Capt. Edwin Longwell is the assistant plans officer for the 198th RGS and the twins’ current supervisor. “The Aidoos always see what needs to be done and they get it done,” he said. “They don’t hesitate to take action and they don’t hesitate to speak up to help their chain of command. They are a cohesive team and their performance is identical as they are.”

Though they have risen to the rank of master sergeant, the brothers said they have no plans to slow down.

“Having a sibling join the Guard with you is a good idea,” Derick said. “I can always talk to him about the Army. We help each other and we feed off each other and it motivates us.”

Frederick picked up on his brother’s comment.

Women in Aviation event gives Charleston girls hands-on look at careers

by Michael Dukes
315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


5/1/2014 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Eighth and ninth-grade girls from Charleston area schools visited April 29 to learn about jobs in aviation as part of the Annual Women in Aviation Career Day.

"The 315AW WIA career day is designed to give insight and open young women's minds to career options they may have not previously considered in and around aviation," said Lt. Col. Deborah Rieflin, 315th Airlift Wing chief of aircrew training.

Power went out throughout the base just as Col. Scott Sauter, 315th Airlift Wing commander, prepared to take the stage at Yonkie auditorium to welcome the nearly 90 girls to the special event.  Without hesitation, Rieflin asked someone to bring flashlights, because the show would go on. With the theatrical glow of flashlights, Rieflin introduced the wing commander.

"I guarantee you are not half as excited as we are to have you here," Sauter told the girls after welcoming them to Joint Base Charleston and apologizing for the power outage.
Then he waved his hand acknowledging the career day organizers. "These are some award winning folks who you'll meet today. You're getting the tour from the best of the best at what they do."

"It's not just about flying planes," Sauter told them. "But generating them and supporting the folks that work with them."

"I think this program is incredible and I'm so very impressed with what the members of the 315th have accomplished," Col. Caroline Evernham, 315th Operations Group commander, said after the event. "It's very important for our young women to understand what they can achieve if they choose to. "

Evernham, a more than 30 year Air Force Veteran and the 315th OG's first women commander, warmly welcome the young ladies before announcing the names of the 2014 Joint Base Charleston Women in Aviation Essay contest.

This year's winners were:

1st - Tatyana Cummings, Cane Bay High School

2nd - Kristen Weeks Fort Dorchester high School

3rd - Timara Mickens Cane Bay High School

 
Next, Maj Christina Liegl, 701st Airlift Squadron, Chief Master Sgt. Deborah Cole, 38th Aerial Port Squadron, and 2nd Lt. Kierstin Flores, 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron each told the girls how their careers in aviation have gone so far. They included everything from joining the Air Force, to education, family, the various jobs they've had and promotions they've earned.

"I thought today was awesome!" said Briana Rice, of Ashley Ridge High School . "I liked seeing the pilot and learned what I'd like to do. I definitely want to go to the Air Force when I get older."

The group also visited the flight line where they toured a C-17 aircraft. Outside the aircraft they spoke with maintenance specialists and got an up close look inside one of the plane's four behemoth engines.

In the belly of the plane they saw a Humvee chained to the floor near the main ramp. Toward the front of the cargo bay the girls were captivated as they stood in front of a medical evacuation station display complete with life support equipment and a first aid mannequin resting on a litter. Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron members told them about their unique mission and described how war wounded were evacuated sometimes within a day or two from the battlefield to a regional medical center or back to the United States.
Event organizers set up career tables in the Viper hanger (which is also where the mini C-17 lives)

Reagan Hill, Ashley Ridge High School said the day was a great experience. " I learned about different jobs - everything at the Air Force you can go into, whether it's something you thought about like medical fields. It gives you a lot of options."

Each girl received a commemorative JBC Women in Aviation T-shirt and free lunch made possible by various fund raising events the WIA committee held throughout the past year.

"By seeing and hearing from women in aviation related careers these young women have an opportunity that many of us did not: up close and personal examples of women who are engaged in successful careers in aviation and achieving fulfillment in all aspects of life" Rieflin said. "They learn that it is possible to balance family, personal and professional goals. That exposure is key because that knowledge is empowering. We hope that this career day experience aids them in finding a direction that makes sense to them."

"It's great that these girls got to see the paths that different women have taken to achieve their goals - that they can have an exciting career, and also marriage, children, etc - that they are not mutually exclusive," Evernham added. "Whether these girls choose aviation in some form or not is not important. That they had their eyes opened to incredible opportunities is very important. My hat is off to the planners!"

"This has to be the best day so far," said Alexandra Barter of Summerville High School. "I've learned a lot and experienced a lot of people along with how many opportunities are here and I have to say I encourage people to come here. You'll have a good time."

The career day was part of the efforts of Women in Aviation, an international group that encourages women to seek career opportunities in aviation. According to a 2008 statistic from the Federal Aviation Administration, of the nearly 700,000 active pilots in the United States, less than six percent are women and women account for only 2.13 percent of the more than 540,000 non-pilot aviation jobs in America.

Admin Career Field makes an AF-wide comeback

by Master Sgt. Jerome C. Baysmore
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- April 23 commemorated Administrative Professionals Day across the United States and this May will bring the official return of the Air Force admin career field.

About 80 percent of the current Airmen assigned to the knowledge operations management career will transition to the new 3A1X1 administration specialty code to align with their current duty responsibilities.

 
"This change is significant because it affects nearly every Air Force organization, as well as support we provide outside the Air Force," said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Jackson, Knowledge Operations Management career field manager. "Unlike other specialties, the administrative career field is positioned in every type of unit."
 
Senior Master Sgt. Nadine Love, current AMC Knowledge Operations Management functional manager, agreed.  She added this move will allow Airmen of all ranks and AFSCs to put more focus on their core mission while they rely on "3A" personnel for administration support with human resources, executive support and commander programs.  Love is among approximately 360 AMC Airmen making the career field switch in May.
 
"Previously, our career field was operating in a lot of areas to include computer support," she said. "This truly reflects that what you see about our AFSC--on paper--is exactly what we will be doing.
 
"Secondly, we as Airmen will be able to capitalize on the same training and experience that this stand-alone specialty brings throughout the entire career field," she said.  "As knowledge operations managers, people were a little unsure of where we fit in and this change will hopefully fix that--I'm excited."
 
Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III, while serving as the U.S. Air Force European Command commander, presented the idea to bring back the administrative career field through a presentation on eroding unit support over the previous 10 years at 2012 Corona South commander's conference. Now as the AF top uniformed leader, he will see these changes come to fruition in May.
 
"The return of the 3A AFSC does not introduce a new requirement on the Air Force. The benefits will come as a result of improved classification, training and billet placement," Jackson said. "This is much more efficient and enables us to reach our objectives at little or no cost:  truly a win-win all around."
 
(Senior Airman Jamie Jaggers Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating location - P contributed to this article.)