Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Reservist chasing dreams to become Air Force Marathon runner

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

5/14/2014 - POPE FIELD, N.C. -- Balancing the demands as a full-time college student and a commitment to the Air Force Reserve provides plenty of challenges for many young citizen Airmen today. But a crew chief with the 440th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here, strives for even more - to earn a spot on the Air Force Marathon team.

Senior Airmen Winston Rheinbolt, 440th AMXS recently competed in the 2014 Boston Marathon, finishing the 26.2 mile race with a time of 2 hours, 44 minutes, 34 seconds. Overall, Rheinbolt placed 557 against 31,930 other competitors, April 21.

"We all know what happened last year at the Boston Marathon and I thought it was important to run it this year," said Rheinbolt. "It was important to represent American resilience and toughness and show that as marathon runners we're not going to stand for stuff like that."

Approaching the finish line, Rheinbolt said he was inspired by the sight of a fellow marathon runner carrying an American flag.

"It was amazing," he said. "I saw a guy holding a massive American flag as he ran towards the finish line. It was beautiful to see it there."

Patriotism not only led Rheinbolt to run in Boston, he said it was the reason he joined the Air Force Reserve in 2011.

"I joined the Air Force Reserve because I wanted to do my part for the country."

The reservist and college student said he's studying international business and history, with a minor in Spanish at Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina. As a college athlete, Rheinbolt said he recently qualified for the 2014 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics outdoor track and field competition scheduled May 24, in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Rheinbolt's athletic achievements have also been an inspiration to his unit and chain of command.

"Senior Airman Rheinbolt is a focused and dedicated maintainer," said Maj. Stephen Young, 440th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. "He brings great pride to his unit and the United States Air Force Reserve. I am very proud of his accomplishments on the flight line and off with his marathon journey."

Hopeful Rheinbolt makes it to the 2014 Air Force Marathon in September. Young said we should all look to him as an example of going after your dream and giving it all you got.

"He wants to be the best at what he does and I know his determination will get him there," said Young. "I look forward to see his dreams being achieved."

Hagel Arrives in Israel for Consultations, Troop Talk

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

TEL AVIV, Israel, May 14, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived here today for the final stop of a multi-day trip to the Middle East.

Tomorrow, he is scheduled to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and receive an overview of preparations for Juniper Cobra 14, an upcoming joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense exercise.

Juniper Cobra has been held every two years since 2001 and is intended to test the joint force’s ability to respond to a crisis involving a missile attack and humanitarian response, U.S. European command officials said.

Planning began 18 months ago, and the exercise is not linked to any specific tensions in the region, the officials said.

Following the overview, Hagel will speak to U.S. and Israeli troops participating in the exercise.

US begins Icelandic Air Policing

by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Wilson
48th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

5/14/2014 - KEFLAVIK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Iceland  -- U.S. Airmen will begin Icelandic Air Policing operations at Keflavik International Airport, Iceland, May 16, which will continue until June 5.

"We are excited to be back in Iceland again for Icelandic Air Policing," said Lt. Col. Lendy Renegar, 48th Air Expeditionary Group commander.

"While our primary mission is to ensure the safety and integrity of Icelandic airspace we are very excited to train with one of the best rescue organizations in the world," he said. "The Icelandic Coast guard is incredibly capable and professional and we are truly prepared to work with them both in training and real-world rescue opportunities."

About 200 U.S. Airmen; F-15C Eagles from Royal Air Force Lakenheath; a KC-135 Stratotanker from RAF Mildenhall; and a C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Base will execute the mission.

The U.S. Air Force began providing protection of Iceland's airspace in 1951, when a treaty was signed establishing permanent basing there. Though the U.S. has since withdrawn its permanent presence, NATO continues to provide air policing to meet Iceland's peacetime readiness needs.

The forward presence of Airmen in Europe puts U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa in a unique position to execute the U.S.'s agreement with NATO to conduct one U.S.-sponsored operation and participate in one NATO operation in Iceland each year.

In addition to the air policing mission, the Airmen will train on rescue capabilities while in Iceland.

"We are confident our Guardian Angels bring great capabilities too and these two organizations working together should be fun to watch," said Renegar. "We have C-130s, KC-135s, F-15s, Guardian Angels, a team of Air Battle Managers and about 20 hours of daylight -- we are excited to see what we can accomplish together on this mission."

For more information on this operation please contact 48th AEG Public Affairs at +354-856-0348 or, or U.S. Embassy Iceland Public Affairs at +354-595-2200, ext. 2271 or

DOD Initiatives Counter Mental Health Issues

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2014 – Nearly one million cases of mental health conditions in service members were documented between 2000 and 2011, according to a senior psychologist with the Defense Centers of Excellence.

In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel to mark Mental Health Awareness Month, Navy Capt. (Dr.) Anthony Arita, director, Deployment Health Clinical Center, said the one million cases recorded by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center show that mental health conditions are “quite common,” he said.

A Rand Corp. study in 2008 on the invisible wounds of war, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries found one in five deployed service members returned home with significant psychological health and TBI symptoms “at a level warranting medical attention,” Arita said.

Recognized each May since 1949, DOD is promoting Mental Health Awareness Month this year to show that psychological health is “critical to one’s overall health,” Arita said, noting that sound psychological health is critical to military readiness.

“Psychological health permeates all aspects of our ability to function optimally to carry out our mission, to function at our best cognitively, to really give it [our] best,” he said.

DCOE is leveraging this month’s recognition to relay four key messages: “Psychological health is essential to one’s health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover,” Arita noted.

“We have very effective treatments. [Patients] can expect their lives [to] noticeably get better, [and they] can return to active duty at a fuller level of function,” he added.

It’s also vital for people with mental health symptoms to recognize they are not alone in their struggle, Arita said.

“We recognize when people have concerns about their psychological symptoms, there is a reluctance to step forward and seek care,” Arita said. “We see it in people who need it most.”

The Defense department has come far in its understanding and treatment of psychological illnesses, he said.

“We’ve been able to answer a lot of questions about psychological health to promote normalization and seeking care. But there’s still more to be done. While we’ve done much to combat the stigma around seeking treatment, we still have significant challenges ahead of us,” he said.

Arita said key to meeting the challenges is to understand the stigma against psychological conditions and treatment.

“There’s a need to address the stigma at a cultural level, and getting at the biases, prejudice and discrimination is tough to do to gauge progress,” he said, “Yet DOD is taking this on.”

Resources abound in the area of military mental health. One such outlet is a “living blog” appearing this month on the Real Warriors Campaign website. Service members, veterans and families can post questions about mental health, and psychology experts provide answers within 24 hours, Arita said. Questions have so far have included identifying the signs and symptoms of PTSD, how it impacts deployment and treatment side effects.

Launched in 2009 as a help-seeking resource, the Real Warriors Campaign features success-story vignettes of people of all ranks and demographics who faced tough challenges and sought the care they needed, he noted.

The vignettes, Arita said, “highlight how care and recovery made a difference in their lives. They have given people the ease of thinking, ‘If they can do it, I can do it too.’”

In one of its newest initiatives to diagnose and treat psychological ills during early onset, DOD is placing behavioral health specialists in military primary care facilities for use by service members, families and veterans.

A range of issues such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, stress, grief, relationship problems, sleep difficulties, obesity, chronic pain, diabetes, tobacco use and other substance challenges often can be treated effectively in primary care, Arita said.

Because some people might not feel comfortable approaching mental health specialists, they often are at ease with their primary doctors, and by staffing such specialists, the Military Health System is making dramatic changes in the way behavioral health concerns are identified, assessed and treated within the primary-care setting, he said.

“As part of the DOD Primary Care Behavioral Health initiative, all three services have implemented or greatly expanded programs that integrate behavioral health services into primary care,” Arita said.

To learn about the signs, symptoms and treatment of psychological ills, contact the DCOE Call Center at 1-866-966-1020. Anyone in a psychological crisis should call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

EOD supports president on tour in Malaysia

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

5/14/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- They're told where they're going and who they're following, but what they could face is unknown.

A team of five members from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordinance disposal flight recently had the opportunity to support a unique mission--supporting the commander in chief.

"How we get selected to go on a mission, a tasking comes down and any Department of Defense EOD team can support it, but this one landed in our area of responsibility," said Steve Hallenbeck, 354th CES EOD operations support technician. "This particular mission took us to Malaysia and the VIP happened to be President Obama."

Prior to leaving, the EOD team educated themselves on the region they were going to and pinpointed landmark areas.

"I try to look up current threats in the local and surrounding area, figure out what explosives are historic to the area and if any were used by terrorists or activists," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Gates, 354th CES EOD craftsman. "I also look up the local culture so I can avoid offending or appearing rude to the locals."

Aside from EOD members, military working dogs and their handlers went along for added security.

"We both play a significant role in the security of the VIP because we can provide technical skills and knowledge of how a device could best be used to harm others," said Gates. "We use that knowledge to more effectively search and ensure that the VIP is safe. I try to analyze the area and look for the obvious places to hide something and then try to look for the less obvious areas."

The purpose of these missions is to sweep the area for improvised explosive devices ahead of time and safeguard the VIP they are following.

"In many ways, the U.S. president is one of the highest value targets for terrorists. EOD support is based on the fear that someday someone may try to use explosives at one of his events," said Senior Airman Brett Wood, 354th CES EOD journeyman. "We are there to ensure the safety of the president or any other VIP by making sure that he doesn't go anywhere that isn't 100 percent safe."

Annual training and preparation allowed the team to go on the trip, but they are available to leave at any time if necessary.

"We maintain our qualification to go on these trips with annual training, and when a specific trip comes to us, we are able to just pack our bags and go," said Wood. "We had to look up the State Department's releases on the overall security of Malaysia and we wanted to know where the U.S. embassy was, but other than that it was a routine temporary duty to prepare for."

Although an opportunity such as this one is more common during election years when VIPs are more likely to travel, the EOD team worked with the Secret Service to make sure the commander in chief made it back to America safely.

"Working with the Secret Service is an interesting experience. It is refreshing to go work outside of the military for a few days at a time and have new experiences," said Wood. "We get to see things that most do not get the opportunity to and sometimes we get to watch the president give a speech or meet celebrities. It is a very unique opportunity that allows us to witness small pieces of history being made."

Mobility machine keeps mission moving

by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

5/14/2014 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Dark clouds roll over the land bringing rain that falls like curtains from the sky and gusts of wind that flip semi-trucks; these symptoms of a typhoon can leave the stricken area overwhelmed with the destruction left behind and the local people in need of immediate relief.

In the Pacific region, the 374th Airlift Wing often provides that relief, which is one reason why the wing practiced their professional airlift capabilities during a week-long Samurai Readiness Inspection here May 12-16.

The inspection allowed Col. Mark August, 374 AW commander, to test his Wing on its readiness and capability to accomplish mission priorities. In this case, the main target was humanitarian aid and disaster relief, although dozens of events and evaluations took place.

The 374th Logistical Readiness Squadron practiced the planning, moving and loading of cargo typically sent with teams of maintainers, operators and support personnel during real-world operations.

"Everything we do during these readiness inspections is preparation for things we do during actual operations," said Senior Master Sgt. Chasity Erickson, 374 LRS superintendent of the deployment and distribution flight. "All the support equipment that forward deploys during operations is handled by us. We work hand-in-hand with Aircraft Mobility Command and the Yokota terminal to ensure personnel and cargo are transported."

A majority of the members at Yokota have experience with providing professional airlift in the Pacific region, but these inspections allow Airmen to practice and refine their skills while also teaching less-experienced Airmen around them how contingencies can play out.

Airman 1st Class Joseph Hommema, 374 LRS traffic management journeyman, said the inspections allowed opportunities for unexperienced Airmen to prepare for possible real-world scenarios.

"Augmentees that normally don't deal with cargo train alongside us throughout the readiness inspections," Hommema said. "These Airmen come from units throughout Yokota and learn how to move cargo so when something goes down real-world we have the manning and are prepared to provide assistance."

Large teams of augmentees helps when handling cargo for a C-130H Hercules that can airdrop loads up to 42, 000 pounds.

SRIs are Yokota's local version of the Air Force's new Commander's Inspection Program, a cost-friendly route of training and testing Airmen on their mission effectiveness and readiness. The program allows commanders to focus on practical, everyday mission readiness rather than inspection readiness. Yokota conducts inspections throughout the year to ensure the base is prepared to provide regional airlift when called upon.

Diversity key to ANG success

by Senior Airman John E. Hillier
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs

5/14/2014 - Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis -- Diversity is one of the Air Force's top priorities and a focus area at the 2014 Executive Safety Summit, held here May 13-14, where leaders were charged with using their Air National Guardsmen's diverse skills and experience to increase readiness and mission success.

The Air Force defines diversity as a composite of individual characteristics, experiences and abilities consistent with the Air Force Core Values and Air Force Mission.

"People are the backbone of what we do, and we can't forget that," said Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard. "How people think about themselves, how they think about their organizations and each other is a very big part of how we operate."

Col. Shirley S. Raguindin, chief diversity officer for the Air National Guard, discussed the positive results gained from an organization's commitment to diversity.

"Wing commanders have so many challenges in today's environment," said Raguindin. "When they utilize diversity as a leadership strategy, they will see improved mission operations and readiness. They will also provide transparency to their organization, so that they will make better decisions."

Raguindin emphasized that diversity is far more than simple demographics. It includes disparate characteristics such as problem-solving styles, language abilities, education, and many others.

"The importance of diversity doesn't lie in skin color or gender," said Raguindin. "It's in the diversity of experiences and diversity of thought that a broad group of people like the members of the Air National Guard bring to the table. What we're training is how to allow our folks to learn how to work in such diverse teams in such a short time. This helps to allow people to learn how to work better together and more efficiently to get the mission done."

Having a diverse and inclusive organization can bolster the effectiveness of other programs as well.

"Diversity and inclusion can help to strengthen the resiliency of your organization," said Raguindin. "This is not the only solution, but it is one way to be able to address sexual assault prevention and suicide prevention. We've had chiefs thank us for our training and tell us it directly saved lives."

McConnell Reservists deploy to Southwest Asia

by Capt. Zach Anderson
931st Air Refueling Group Public Affairs

5/14/2014 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Citizen Airmen from the 931st Air Refueling Group deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 12.

While deployed, aircrew and support personnel the 931st ARG will fly aerial refueling missions, perform aircraft maintenance and fill other support roles while assigned to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing.

"The Citizen Airmen of the 931st continue to play a major role in supporting ongoing operations overseas," said Col. Mark S. Larson, commander, 931st ARG. "This deployment is yet another testament to the professionalism and commitment of our members. I know these deploying Airmen will carry on the tradition of the 931st and perform exceptionally well in accomplishing their mission. We are proud of them, and we look forward to their safe return home."

CR-MOC: Airmen learn basics of contingency response

by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley
36th Wing Public Affairs

5/13/2014 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Instructors from the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., trained more than two dozen 36th Contingency Response Group Airmen April 28 to May 9 here to prepare them for new roles in a contingency response unit.

The Center's Contingency Response Mission Orientation Course introduced the contingency response's mission and objectives to Airmen who recently joined the 36th CRG, while teaching basic skills to apply in expeditionary situations.

The Expeditionary Center sent instructors to Andersen for CR-MOC as opposed to flying all the course participants to N.J., saving the Air Force money.

"The (CRMOC) is mandatory for all personnel assigned to a Contingency Response Group and provides Airmen with a firm understanding of the 'Open the Airbase' mission," said Senior Master Sgt. Rick Marston, Mobility Operations School superintendent at the Expeditionary Center. "(The course) prepares them for rapid deployment and equips them with the basic expeditionary skills needed to function across the full spectrum of military operations and operating environments."

The course was established to familiarize and prepare each Airman over a two-week period to ensure individual and unit success, said Expeditionary Center officials. The teams work to finish a series of training elements to help each person transition into the fast-paced expeditionary lifestyle that comes with being assigned to the 36th CRG.

"I have been assigned here for four months and this course made it much easier to understand the CRG mission," said Staff Sgt. Anne Huckabee, 36th CRG unit training manager. "In exercises, you only get a small sense of what life is actually like down-range. This class really helped me see the big picture."

The 36th CRG is comprised of the 36th Mobility Response Squadron, the 554th RED HORSE Squadron, the 644th Combat Communications Squadron, and the 736th Security Forces Squadron. More than 30 specialties are incorporated into rapid-deployment unit that can provide initial Air Force presence potentially austere forward operation location as directed by the Pacific Air Force commander.

The 36th CRG has participated in various exercises, such as the annual Cope North multilateral exercise at Andersen, and responded to many real-world emergency missions like the Operation Damayan humanitarian relief effort conducted after Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013.

"The most important part of being in a contingency response unit is being flexible and able to adapt," said Capt. David Bullock, former 36th CRG director of operations. "It is not practical to plan for all the unknowns out there, but we train to sustain a level of readiness that is scalar and adaptable to unknown environments and situations."

KMC Spring Special Olympics back in full swing

by Senior Airman Hailey Haux
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

5/13/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Athletes gathered from all around the Kaiserslautern Military Community on an overcast spring morning. As the dark clouds rolled in, a line formed as registration began and the athletes found their buddies for the day.

Over the loud speaker a voice could be heard directing people to stand in the center of the soccer field so the opening ceremony could begin. As the German and American national anthems were sung, everyone kept silent, paying their respects to their countries.

After the national anthems played, the 2014 KMC Spring Special Olympics were once again underway May 9 at Pulaski Park, Vogelweh after being discontinued for approximately three years.

"This event was held back in 2011 and prior and was hosted by the Army Garrison but due to budget constraints they were no longer able to host the Spring Special Olympics," said Melody Tice-Baird, Special Olympics event coordinator. "I took it upon myself to try and recreate this special event for our German and American athletes here in Kaiserslautern."

This year's Special Olympics consisted of events such as track and field, soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball, arts and crafts and karaoke; there were also non-competitive events for children ages five to seven who weren't able compete yet according to the rules.

"We are out here to teach the athletes a little bit about the game," said Master Sgt. Nick Palmer, 37th Airlift Squadron and Special Olympics soccer event coordinator. "It's a really good opportunity for us to give them the chance of feeling great. We helped them practice their dribbling skills, gave them the opportunity to make goals, which always feels good, and helped them with their passing skills. I can't think of a better way to spend a Friday than to give these athletes a day they truly deserve."

With more than 100 athletes and 250 volunteers, this event was all about making the athletes happy.

"For one day they can forget that they can't walk or they can't talk or they can't function right. For one day they get to participate and win something, get awards and have a great time. It's just that gift of giving that is so significant about this event," said Tice-Baird. "It doesn't matter what we run into during the day or if we forget something small. As long as these athletes walk away with a big smile on their face, ribbons on their shirt and a medal around their neck, we did our job."

To be able to volunteer for this event by giving athletes tips and tricks, events like this really hit home for some.

"This is an event that is pretty special to me," said Palmer. "My son is mildly autistic with Asperger's Syndrome and a sensory processing disorder. I know that it takes a community effort to give a child who is challenged the support they need to overcome and flourish as much as possible. To give back to the community in an event such as this is the best we can do for the people who do so much for us."

As the sun came out and lunch was served, Pulaski Park was filled with smiling faces and the sound of playful banter between the athletes.

"I had so much fun playing soccer, basketball, and volleyball," said Johnny Karaca, son of retired Army Metin Karaca, and athlete. "I hit a homerun."

As the 2014 KMC Spring Special Olympics came to a close, hitting homeruns, scoring goals and making baskets all resulted in every single athlete having the chance to get up on the podium and receive a medal to wear proudly and show off to their friends and family.

Pave Hawk maintenance crews sharpen expeditionary skills

by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/13/2014 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LEEMING, England -- Airmen of the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron worked tirelessly to keep HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters mission ready for a 56th Rescue Squadron electronic warfare training event at Royal Air Force Leeming April 28-May 2.

Practice makes perfect for these missions, which is why 748th AMXS Airmen spent a week away from RAF Lakenheath in a mock deployment environment.

"Maintenance is vital in a deployed environment due to lack of time," said Tech. Sgt. Clane Shirley, 748th AMXS instrument flight control systems specialist lead technician. "If something is missed in any inspection, then there is a potential of a delay, during a rescue mission that is about to be launched, then that could cost someone their life."

Maintenance personnel execute routine checks before and after each flight to ensure minimal delays. This type of training is vital for maintenance Airmen to experience working with different time requirements.

"This training is good for crew chiefs since we are in an alert situation where we launch within several minutes instead of having the luxury of two hours," said Airman 1st Class Dylan Shephard, 748th AMXS crew chief.

While members of the 748th AMXS are training to successfully support an upcoming deployment this summer, their training can come into play at any time as real-world requests are made for combat search and rescue assets.

Hagel Urges Expanded Cooperation in Gulf Region

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, May 14, 2014 – The importance of expanded cooperation in the Gulf region was the theme of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s remarks here today at the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council defense ministerial conference.

Defense ministers from all six member nations -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- joined Hagel at the meeting, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Noting that this is his third trip to the Gulf in a little over a year, Hagel said the visits all have been aimed at encouraging greater collaboration in the region.

“I hope [this meeting] becomes an annual security consultation, and the backbone for renewed cooperation among all the nations of the GCC,” he said. And despite setbacks and challenges, he added, the Gulf Cooperation Council has fostered a common identity and common interests in the region.

“And it has helped protect your common security,” Hagel noted.

The United States is determined to support the Gulf countries as they continue to develop their roles on the world stage, the defense secretary said.

“This has been demonstrated by the United States Central Command’s continued forward military presence, which includes 35,000 personnel; our Navy’s 5th Fleet; our most advanced fighter aircraft; our most sophisticated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets; and a wide array of missile defense capabilities,” he said. “It has also been demonstrated by recent defense sales agreements, including some of the largest in American history.”

But bilateral ties with the United States and American military presence are not enough to guarantee regional security, the defense secretary told the council’s defense leaders. “As I said at the Manama Dialogue last December, America’s engagement with Gulf nations is intended to support and facilitate, not replace, stronger multilateral ties within the GCC.”

The most pressing security challenges threaten the whole region and demand a collective response, the defense secretary said. By strengthening the GCC, he added, the member nations will ensure their collective defense is more than the sum of its parts.

“You will strengthen your ability to prevent and deter aggression,” the defense secretary told the ministers. “You will strengthen, not weaken, each of your nations’ sovereignty. And you will expand your common interests –- not just in defense, but in a more stable and prosperous future.”

This approach is also how the region must address threats posed by Iran, he said.

Today also marks the start of discussions in Vienna between Iran and P5-plus-1 member nations regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Hagel noted. “We got to Vienna thanks to our collective efforts to isolate Iran diplomatically and economically, and to deter it militarily,” the defense secretary said.

As negotiations in Vienna progress, he said, two things should be clear.

“First, these negotiations will under no circumstances trade away regional security for concessions on Iran’s nuclear program,” Hagel said. U.S. commitment to Gulf security and stability is unwavering, he added.

“Second, while our strong preference is for a diplomatic solution, the United States will remain postured and prepared to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon -- and that Iran abides by the terms of any potential agreement,” the defense secretary said.

“No one nation can address these threats alone,” Hagel said. “Our efforts must be coordinated and complementary.”

Hagel made proposals today in several areas, each focused on this coordinated approach -- including integrated missile defense, maritime security and cybersecurity:

-- He proposed designating the Gulf Coordination Council’s Air and Air Defense Chiefs Conference as the GCC’s primary military forum for regional air and missile defense policy.

-- He called on the GCC to assume and maintain command of the Combined Maritime Force’s Gulf operations, Combined Task Force 152, and to commit to a regular heads-of-navy conference.

-- He proposed the establishment of a U.S.-GCC cyber defense cooperation initiative to jump-start collaboration.

-- He suggested that the GCC develop a Foreign Military Sales case, which could “advance regional defense priorities by accelerating the GCC’s progress toward greater interoperability and more sophisticated multinational force development.”

In addition, proposals to expand joint exercises and activities were part of a discussion led by Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command.

“At the conclusion of our dialogue,” Hagel said, “we should publicly declare our shared resolve, our shared goals, and our shared vision for stronger U.S.-GCC multilateral defense coordination. We must demonstrate our unity at a critical time. And we must send a message of strength to adversaries.”

Kirtland spouse nets AFMC Key Spouse of the Year Award

by Kendahl Johnson
377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

5/14/2014 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- A Team Kirtland member was selected as the Air Force Materiel Command Key Spouse of the Year.

Beth Moran, wife of Master Sgt. Andy Moran of the 377th Security Forces Squadron, was selected for her efforts with the Kirtland Key Spouse Program. She said she is honored to receive the award, but shares credit with others team members.

"Everything I've done was done with the help of others," she said. "I didn't accomplish anything solely on my own. It was with the help of the command, unit leadership and other key spouses that the Key Spouse Program here has been successful."

Moran said her primary focus was in assisting the spouses of deployed members. She and other key spouses collected paperwork and information on all support services available throughout base.

"A lot of spouses don't know exactly what is available to them," she said. "We wanted to help them have that information, as well open lines of communication between unit leadership and deployed spouses."

She also established other initiatives, including the creation of regular social functions, where spouses could come together to share concerns and strengthen relationships. She also raised $9,500 to support care packages for deployed members and gift baskets for families with newborns.

Ray Burton, who manages the Key Spouse program for the Airman & Family Readiness Center, said that Moran is a terrific ambassador for the program.

"She works hard and earned this recognition," he said. "She helps people through some trying times, particularly when a spouse is deployed."

The Key Spouse Program was developed as a quality-of-life initiative out of concern for the Air Force families. Key spouses are appointed by the commander in an official capacity. They receive three days of training on areas such as suicide awareness, resiliency and sexual assault prevention and response.

The appointees are a volunteer resource that operates within a military framework to enhance unit family readiness, establish continuous contact with spouses and families, and encourage peer-to-peer wingman support. It aims to allow for effective communication and for issues resolution at the grassroots level.

Moran said the military is a different lifestyle, and separating it from your personal life is difficult. She said when she first joined the military community, she wanted to know how things worked and what was available, and she turned to key spouses. She likes being able to "pay it forward" now.

Her primary advice to military spouses, especially those new to the military, is to be active in the community.

"Get involved," she said. "The more people you know who are going through the same experiences and who understand your challenges, the easier it becomes."

Officer Training Command Changes Commanding Officers

By Lt. Brandon Walker, Officer Training Command Newport Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R. I. (NNS) -- A change of command ceremony was held for Officer Training Command (OTC) in the Captain Howard N. Kay Hall at Naval Station Newport, May 12.

In a traditional naval ceremony, Capt. Kevin McGowan relieved Capt. Vernon Kemper as commanding officer of OTC. The acting commander of Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), Capt. Bob Fink, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

Fink applauded Kemper's work with the more than 6,000 new officers OTC produced during his tenure.

"Thank you for all you've done to pave the way for so many of our future leaders" said Fink, who also addressed the many officer candidates in attendance. "Maybe one day you will follow in Capt. Kemper's footsteps and be the commanding officer of this incredible command."

Fink also read a letter from Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, former commander of NSTC and current commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven.

"Your tour, in command of Officer Training Command, can only be described as brilliant. Unleashing your full potential, you masterfully led your 125 high-performing teammates on a journey of excellence in every area of officer accession training," said Mewbourne.

Additionally, Fink formally recognized Kemper's contributions during his tour of duty with an end-of-tour Legion of Merit award for his many accomplishments over the last two years.

Under Kemper's leadership, OTC saw wide ranging change, including the development and piloting of new curriculum for three of the five schoolhouses at OTC. Kemper also directed a comprehensive overhaul of the safety program at the command. It was a measure so successful that it was adopted by the rest of the NSTC domain, keeping thousands of officer candidates and midshipmen safer on a daily basis.

Kemper then addressed the staff and students of OTC for the last time as their commanding officer.

Kemper, an OCS graduate himself, said he was very impressed and proud of the work done at OTC, citing the 12-week transformation of candidates from civilians and enlisted personnel to Naval officers as a "process that happens so rapidly and with such life-changing consequences that I think it is rightly described as a miracle."

Kemper gave much of the credit for this transformation to his staff of Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs), Marine Corps Drill Instructors (DIs) and Class Officers.

"Throughout this tour I've been blessed with a fantastic crew" said Kemper. He added that his tour was intensely personal and told the students assembled from all of the OTC schoolhouses, "we put a lot of effort into what we do, and you will too when you're up here one day."

McGowan stressed the great import of the task he is about to undertake in his speech.

"At this crucial time, I can think of no task of greater importance to the health of our service than the formation of future leaders with fundamentally strong moral character. I am truly thankful to be blessed with the opportunity to make a difference in this monumental endeavor," he said.

McGowan arrives at OTC after completing a tour as a military professor in the National Security Affairs Department of the Naval War College at Naval Station Newport, R. I., teaching Leadership in the National Security Decision Making, and Theater Security Decision Making courses and the Naval Staff College's international short course.

McGowan, a native of Erie, Pa., graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. His assignments have included flying the Navy's P-3 Orion as a part of Patrol Squadrons (VP) 11 and 30, assistant navigator aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), a department head tour with Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, Patrol Squadron Air Combat Placement Officer (PERS-43) in Millington, Tenn., and tours as executive officer and then commanding officer of the Red Lancers of Patrol Squadron (VP) 10.

Following his command tour, he reported in 2009 to the Commander of U.S. Navy Central Command/Commander U. S. 5th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, in Plans and Policy (N5) as Director of Strategy and Theater Security Cooperation.

Kemper will remain in the New England area, as he moves on to assume command of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) unit supporting the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

OTC is overseen by the Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. NSTC manages all initial Navy officer and enlisted accessions training except for the U.S. Naval Academy.

OTC conducts five officer accession training schools and is located at Naval Station Newport. The five schools consist of Officer Candidate School (OCS); the Officer Development School (ODS); Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination School (DCOIC); Limited Duty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer (LDO/CWO) Academy and the Seaman-to-Admiral (STA-21) school. The Officer Staff, Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs) and U. S. Marine Corps Drill Instructors (DIs) also provide training assistance for these schools, especially with the academic and physical training of the candidates and students.

The mission of OTC is to develop civilians and fleet Sailors into newly commissioned officers morally, mentally, and physically and imbue them with the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment in order to prepare graduates for service in the fleet as Naval Officers.