Military News

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ellsworth successfully validates base's long-range strike capability

by Senior Airman Yash Rojas
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


5/21/2014 - ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Two B-1B Lancer aircrews flew a 30-hour, non-stop, long-range precision strike training mission from Ellsworth to strike targets on a range near Guam before landing back on base as part of a Global Power training mission, May 13 and 14.

Working in concert with U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Pacific Command and Air Combat Command, the sortie tested the capabilities of Ellsworth's Airmen to successfully load munitions, launch aircraft, effectively employ training munitions and return home.

"This was a tremendous effort from across the wing - accomplishing a training mission of this scope is a team endeavor," said Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th Bomb Wing commander. "The success our aviators have had in Operations Enduring Freedom and Odyssey Dawn does not happen by accident and our success on this mission demonstrates the extended lethality of not only the B-1, but our nation's entire bomber fleet - as well as the importance of air refueling to expand our global reach."

Kennedy specifically lauded the tremendous support provided by the refueling assets that made the mission possible, adding that without them the mission would not have been possible.

Capt. Christopher McConnell, 28th Operations Support Squadron wing weapons officer and B-1 pilot, said training missions like this help demonstrate the B-1's long-range strike capability. He said launching aircraft from the continental U.S., flying to a region employing weapons - inert munitions in this case - and then returning home are all part of the base's mission of providing expeditionary combat power, anywhere on the globe.

McConnell noted the task often presents challenges to aircrew members, but few may be as critical as fatigue, compounded by the more demanding stages occurring mid-flight with the tactical portion of striking a target.

"Once you are 17 hours into the sortie that's when ... everyone needs to perform at their highest capabilities," said Capt. Chad Nishizuka, 34th Bomb Squadron B-1 pilot and flight lead for the Global Power mission.

The long flight across several time zones and approximately 13,200 miles proved the combat capabilities of one of the Air Force's premier long-range bombers - according to all those involved in planning, preparing for and orchestrating the mission - and helps prepare aircrews for the physical effects of such a demanding flight.

This was not the first time Ellsworth has conducted such a long-range round trip mission as part of training or combat operations.

March 27, 2011, Ellsworth accomplished an amazing feat when they generated bombers in severe winter weather conditions and flew from the South Dakota base non-stop to strike targets in Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn, a testament to the base's ability to accomplish this vital mission

B-1 aviators have been conducting long-range missions since 1998 when B-1 aircrews employed the bomber in combat for the first time as part of Operation Desert Fox. Today, B-1 aviators provide critical support for combatant commanders in Southwest Asia.

The shift to the Pacific theater is different from daily operations at home, but every one of Ellsworth's Airmen - maintainers, defenders, engineers, medical personnel, logistics personnel and more - understand training missions like this are critical to maintaining readiness and preparing for the future.

"Everybody had the capability... it proves how strong our squadron is and how strong Ellsworth is," Nishizuka said. "I am very proud of this mission and [to] be able to lead it."

Dempsey Discusses Russian Tactics in Ukraine



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, May 21, 2014 – Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its threats to eastern and southern Ukraine amount to an “alarming use of both military force and subversion” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey discussed the Ukraine situation with his counterparts at the NATO defense chiefs’ conference. The defense leaders used the phrase “proximate coercion and subversion” to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine over the past few months.

Regarding Ukraine, the Russians have employed the threat of conventional force -- but only the threat, Dempsey said in an interview following NATO meetings. Instead of using conventional military power, he said, the Russians have employed surrogates, proxies, misinformation and economic levers to accomplish their goals in Ukraine.

“I don’t know if that is a new type of warfare,” Dempsey said. “One might argue that it is very similar to the issue in 2008 with Georgia, but it is certainly an alarming use of both military force and subversion to affect the future of a sovereign nation.”

And the tactic has caused great concern among other countries in Eastern Europe, the chairman added.

Defending or deterring this threat requires different capabilities, Dempsey said. “The military instrument of power generally deals strength-on-strength,” the chairman said. “It can array itself against strength and understand the outcomes. In this case, the use of subversive tactics … requires a different combination of stakeholders.”

If an Eastern European nation wanted to harden itself against such a threat it would require different instruments of deterrence, he said. There is a military piece, but there is also a law enforcement portion, an informational aspect and “some governance activities in order for these populations to feel safe within their own borders so they are not subject to being coerced,” Dempsey said.

“It’s a whole-of-government approach,” he said. “You can’t just do this with military power [only].”

NATO nations obviously have experience with this, the chairman said. He pointed to NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan where they have used the whole-of-government approach in establishing and running provincial reconstruction teams around the country.

Such an approach employed “the different agencies of different governments all coalescing on a campaign plan, contributing their unique abilities and authorities and producing a positive outcome,” he said. “They know how to do it externally; I think it surprised them that they might have to think that way internally.”

Meanwhile, there is still no sign of a Russian pull-back from the southern and eastern borders of Ukraine, the chairman said.

“I can’t speak on the exact number of battle groups or tanks or armored personnel carriers,” Dempsey said, noting Russian President Vladimir Putin “still maintains a very sizeable force on the borders of Ukraine.”

The chairman spoke about information the NATO chiefs of defense received during a briefing by Ukrainian army Lt. Gen. Mykhailo Kutsyn.

“He told a very persuasive narrative about the fact that they had built their military to be kind of expeditionary, out of area,” Dempsey said. “As he put it, ‘We believed the commitment our Russian brothers had made to us,’ which was that they wouldn’t affect their sovereignty.”

Ukraine’s army is small and there is no territorial army, no National Guard equivalent, and no ability to call up reserves with any speed or responsiveness.

“He told a clear tale to NATO and particularly the Eastern European countries that they must not make the same mistake,” Dempsey said of Kutsyn’s message.

Looking forward, the Ukrainian general told the chiefs that Ukraine will not use its military against its own citizens, but that the military will ensure the country’s sovereignty.

“He said, if they are invaded, they will defend Ukraine,” Dempsey said. “And he made an appeal for military, economic and political support.”

The power of one

by Senior Airman Brenden Marlin
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


5/20/2014 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Respect for all is a trait that most Airmen exemplify. Airman 1st Class Aaron Bell, 62nd Operations Support Squadron airfield management apprentice, demonstrated this trait April 16, 2014, when he helped save the life of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord service member.

Bell was relaxing in his apartment when he received a call from his sister. She told Bell that one of her friends, a JBLM service member, was posting threats on his own life online.

Coincidentally, Bell had taken suicide prevention training earlier that day, so when his sister told him what was going on, his training kicked in and he immediately thought to tell someone.

Bell asked for the pictures and the name of the service member and quickly called Staff Sgt. Kenneth Dean, Bell's supervisor, and informed him of the situation.

Dean and Bell notified their chain of command, who immediately began trying to locate the distraught service member.

"I felt what he did was a very responsible thing to do," said Dean. "Whether he knew the guy or not, he felt like he needed to help him. He tends to make very good decisions, and he puts himself in position to do the right thing."

JBLM authorities located the member's home address and local law enforcement officials went to to his off base residence to provide assistance.

"Looking out for one another, that's what it's all about," said Dean. "People can see what Airmen Bell did and use that as an example to follow."

When dealing with someone who is talking about hurting himself, it might be difficult to determine if it is just a joke, Bell said. But no one can really know what is going on in another person's life, so all threats need to be taken seriously.

Taking the situation seriously is exactly what Bell did.

"It was an extraordinary situation and Airmen Bell rose to the occasion," Dean said.

McConnell Airmen assist in Operation Freedom Memorial

by Staff Sgt. Jess Lockoski
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


5/20/2014 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- It's often said, "the best things in life come to those who wait." After almost six years of waiting, Kansas gold star families and fellow statesmen have a peaceful place to pay tribute to their fallen service members.

Two contributing Air Force pilots helped unveil the new Operation Freedom Memorial during a ceremony at the Veteran's Memorial Park, May 17, in Wichita, Kansas.

Capt. Nick Williams, formerly stationed here, and Capt. Seth Ehrlich from the 349th Air Refueling Squadron here, were reunited with Anita Dixon, a Kansas gold star mother who headed the non-profit foundation and memorial project she created after losing her son, U.S. Army Sgt. Evan Parker.

Parker died in 2005 from wounds suffered while deployed in Iraq. His name is now reflected on the memorial's black granite walls alongside more than 90 other Kansas service members who have sacrificed their lives from OPERATION DESERT STORM to current, ongoing conflicts.

"Your loved ones will always be remembered," said Dixson to the hundreds of attendees at the dedication ceremony, dozens of whom were gold star family members.

The memorial is located along a walking path on the East Arkansas River among several other monuments.

Williams, Ehrlich and other Airmen from McConnell participated in fundraising efforts for the OFM.

Williams, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, said the monuments captivated him the first time he ran through the area. When Dixson's invitation for interested volunteers for the OFM foundation was sent across the base in 2010, it was an easy decision.

"I feel like she's adopted me as a son, trusted my opinion on the OFM committee, and the product of us working together was better than if we had worked separately," he said.
In addition of donations from many local organizations the past few years, the cost was of the monument was cut from $300,000 to $133,000.

Williams' avid passion for running, which initially led him through the park to view the monuments, also raised more than $7,000 for the project.

After gaining attention and support from his friends and family while training for and running in the 2012 Boston Marathon, he wanted to use that limelight to help Dixson's fundraising efforts.

"I thought, 'Maybe I can marry this attention with this project'," he said.

Instead of asking for donations of a dollar per every mile he ran during a single event, he asked for cents on the mile the entire time he trained for his next marathon.

He collected pledges for five, 10 and 25 cents per mile. Over a span of seven months, between deployment readiness training and temporary assignments, it added up.

A thought-provoking parallel for Williams while working with the OFM project was his change in duty station to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, home of the Department of Defense Port Mortuary. There, he took part in a dignified transfer of a fallen service member who was aboard the C-5 Galaxy aircraft he now flies.

Williams said the privilege to fly a fallen Marine home was the moment that crystallized why he'd been supporting OFM and the importance it brought to family members.

"This tough, new reality belongs most personally to the family, but it also belongs to all of us," he said. "It is our responsibility as countrymen and neighbors to support, honor and remember this sacrifice."

Williams said when it came to surveying various memorials in the U.S., most are constructed after the conflict ends, when participants have made their way back into society.

"Once decades have passed, they are then in a position to gather and construct a memorial commemorating their experiences," he added.

"Kansas didn't do that. Kansas started a project in the midst of the battle so that soldiers returning home would have a place to grieve, a place to contemplate, and a place to heal. The significance of this sanctuary cannot be understated."

MACA Fly-in: Dover invites local Pilots

by Senior Airman Jared Duhon
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


5/20/2014 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- Team Dover held its first ever Mid-Air Collision Avoidance Fly-in May 17, 2014, here, which provided the local flying community with important safety information about the base and its airspace.

The purpose of the event was to promote safe air operations and strengthen the relationship with civil aviation pilots who frequently transit in and around DAFB's airspace. The 436th and 512th Airlift Wing safety office provided more than 50 pilots with an airspace communication and safety briefing as well as the opportunity to tour some of the base agencies in which they interact with to lower MACA related incidences.

"The event was an educational one to hopefully get pilots talking to us more," said Capt. Aaron Klang, 436th AW Safety Office flight safety officer. "This year we opened the doors to 25 aircraft, which came from around Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania."

Dave Shaver, one of the pilots invited, has flown around Dover AFB for more than 50 years. Shaver said he was excited to be able to land at Dover AFB and tour the some of the base facilities and its aircraft.

"I've never been able to land at Dover AFB and it feels great," said Shaver. "It is also wonderful being around the young people today and it's amazing they can fly these huge airplanes."

Shaver flew in from northeastern Maryland with two other pilots and is excited to share his new knowledge and experience with his aviation friends who could not attend.

"I look forward to going home and talking with my friends," said Shaver. "They go by Dover all the time on their way to different places up and down the shoreline. I feel they are not really well informed on how busy Dover really is."

Maj. Stephen Baker, 436th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager flight commander, said this tour gave the civilian partners a behind-the-scenes look at Air Force operations; a rare event for most of them.

"It gave us the opportunity to showcase our personnel and facilities to the general aviation community," said Baker. "We were able to show them our airspace and help them understand the rules we follow and the challenges we face in keeping the skies safe."


The agencies that were involved put in a diligent effort hoping that the pilots who attended the MACA event will now have a better understanding on how we operate our airspace as well as the services we can provide them.

NATO: Russia’s Moves Have Changed Europe, the World



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, May 21, 2014 – Russia’s annexation of Crimea and threats to southern and eastern Ukraine has made the world a different place, a senior NATO military official said.

The Russian moves endanger NATO’s aspiration of a Europe “whole, free and at peace,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark O. Schissler, the deputy chairman of NATO’s Military Committee. “Maybe the freedom of every country is not assured now either.”

Schissler spoke to reporters traveling with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey is here for the Chiefs of Defense Meeting.

The chiefs of defense discussed Russia-Ukraine during their meetings at NATO headquarters.

Russia’s moves in Crimea and Ukraine are really new threats to the alliance. NATO officials have trouble describing what has taken place there and what the appropriate reactions are.

“It’s not warfare. It is confrontation. It is aggression,” Schissler said.

“It is hard to understand,” he continued. “It is not classic military warfare. It’s not purely political, it’s not purely military. Clearly there is an information dynamic here that covers the entire aspect of it.”

Russian troops did not wear uniforms, making it difficult to say who the actors are. All of NATO’s reactions have been defensive in nature, and have been transparent. Moving aircraft to the Baltic Air Policing mission, moving aircraft to Poland, moving ships to the Baltic Sea and Black Sea are all prudent, defensive moves.

Sending troops to exercise with the Baltic Republics and Poland is in that same vein.

These steps have satisfied and pleased the nations that felt threatened, officials said.

Officials stressed that one in NATO wants to respond to the situation in a way that provokes a bigger outcome or bigger confrontation. From the first, NATO leaders have asked the Russians to de-escalate the situation. They have asked the Russians to move their 40,000 troops away from the border with Ukraine and do things to lessen the crisis first in Crimea, later throughout Ukraine.

While the alliance needs to engage with Russia, the events of the past months cannot be forgotten. “You can’t set the clock back and pretend nothing happened in the past two months,” Schissler said. “A lot of things happened and so we will have to re-set to a new reality.”

The chiefs also discussed Afghanistan. The International Security Assistance Force mission continues through the end of the year. Officials are hopeful that a new Afghan president will sign the basic security agreement and that the alliance will get the necessary status-of-forces agreement necessary for the follow-on mission, Operation Resolute Support.

“I haven’t heard a trend that says we think this whole thing is coming apart, we’re not going to do it,” Schissler said. “Everyone is committed to the plan that NATO has developed over this year to do Resolute Support and we’re hopeful and 100 percent committed to launch the mission once the legal framework is in place.”

New Film Honors America’s 83,281 Missing In Action Who Are Still Unaccounted For Since World War II



A new film, now in production, will share the stories of America’s 83,281 still missing POW/MIAs; the stories of their family members still awaiting word after decades of not knowing if their loved ones are dead or alive; and the stories of those, whose job it is to locate, identify, return, and bury – with full military honors – those still missing.

The film is entitled “A Solemn Promise, America’s Missing in Action” which refers to the promise given to each combatant before they enter into combat…”We will leave no one behind”…but as you can see that was not true for over 83,000 that are still out there somewhere in or near a former battlefield.

This film is being produced by Storyteller Original Films owned by former helicopter pilot, Richard Jellerson, who flew two tours in Vietnam and on his second tour was General Creighton Abrams personal pilot. Richard, who previously written and produced a very popular History Channel special entitled “The Personal Experience - Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam”, has placed a 10 minute Trailer of the film “A Solemn Promise” on his website (along with his other films) at storytellerfilms.tv

Richard and his film crew will be traveling to Arlington National Cemetery next week to film the military funeral of Army Private First Class (PFC) James R. Holmes, who served in Korea with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. PFC Holmes was taken Prisoner of War on December 1, 1950, died while in captivity and his remains were accounted for on January 14, 2014. He was returned home after 63 years and will be buried with Full Military Honors in Arlington National Cemetery on May 29, 2014.

While there, Richard will interview Holmes’ family members, Korean War survivors, various Veterans organizations and associations, members of Department of Defense POW/MIA Accountability Team made up of the DOD POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and the DOD Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC); he will also film at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Recently, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has ordered a revamping of the POW/MIA accountability process which is made up of those who work around the world to help locate, identify and return America’s still missing warriors from wars all the way back to World War II.

This new film will chronicle stories just like Army PFC Holmes to tell what lengths America will go to locate, identify, return and honorably bury our fallen warriors, no matter how long they have been missing.

Because this is a veteran’s non-profit production, it is being made on a “shoestring” through the generous donations of those who feel this is a noble endeavor and want to see stories like PFC Holmes’ told for all the world to learn about.

Perhaps this Memorial Day is an appropriate time for other Americans to support the completion of “A Solemn Promise, America’s Missing in Action” in the memory of those still unaccounted for. Or, perhaps, the best scenario would be for a Corporation to sponsor this film in partnership with Richard and Story Teller Original Films and become a part of those who are dedicated to telling the story about American that are still missing after decades of fighting for our country.

Richard is also looking for other stories of those still missing and families awaiting word about their loved ones to add to the film.

His contact information is below:

Contact: Richard Jellerson
Producer/Owner
Storyteller Original Films
Phone: (626) 355-0260
Email: richard@storytellerfilms.tv
Website (Contains a 10 minute Trailer of the film): storytellerfilms.tv

Dempsey Discusses Russian Tactics in Ukraine



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, May 21, 2014 – Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its threats to eastern and southern Ukraine amount to an “alarming use of both military force and subversion” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey discussed the Ukraine situation with his counterparts at the NATO defense chiefs’ conference. The defense leaders used the phrase “proximate coercion and subversion” to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine over the past few months.

Regarding Ukraine, the Russians have employed the threat of conventional force -- but only the threat, Dempsey said in an interview following NATO meetings. Instead of using conventional military power, he said, the Russians have employed surrogates, proxies, misinformation and economic levers to accomplish their goals in Ukraine.

“I don’t know if that is a new type of warfare,” Dempsey said. “One might argue that it is very similar to the issue in 2008 with Georgia, but it is certainly an alarming use of both military force and subversion to affect the future of a sovereign nation.”

And the tactic has caused great concern among other countries in Eastern Europe, the chairman added.

Defending or deterring this threat requires different capabilities, Dempsey said. “The military instrument of power generally deals strength-on-strength,” the chairman said. “It can array itself against strength and understand the outcomes. In this case, the use of subversive tactics … requires a different combination of stakeholders.”

If an Eastern European nation wanted to harden itself against such a threat it would require different instruments of deterrence, he said. There is a military piece, but there is also a law enforcement portion, an informational aspect and “some governance activities in order for these populations to feel safe within their own borders so they are not subject to being coerced,” Dempsey said.

“It’s a whole-of-government approach,” he said. “You can’t just do this with military power [only].”

NATO nations obviously have experience with this, the chairman said. He pointed to NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan where they have used the whole-of-government approach in establishing and running provincial reconstruction teams around the country.

Such an approach employed “the different agencies of different governments all coalescing on a campaign plan, contributing their unique abilities and authorities and producing a positive outcome,” he said. “They know how to do it externally; I think it surprised them that they might have to think that way internally.”

Meanwhile, there is still no sign of a Russian pull-back from the southern and eastern borders of Ukraine, the chairman said.

“I can’t speak on the exact number of battle groups or tanks or armored personnel carriers,” Dempsey said, noting Russian President Vladimir Putin “still maintains a very sizeable force on the borders of Ukraine.”

The chairman spoke about information the NATO chiefs of defense received during a briefing by Ukrainian army Lt. Gen. Mykhailo Kutsyn.

“He told a very persuasive narrative about the fact that they had built their military to be kind of expeditionary, out of area,” Dempsey said. “As he put it, ‘We believed the commitment our Russian brothers had made to us,’ which was that they wouldn’t affect their sovereignty.”

Ukraine’s army is small and there is no territorial army, no National Guard equivalent, and no ability to call up reserves with any speed or responsiveness.

“He told a clear tale to NATO and particularly the Eastern European countries that they must not make the same mistake,” Dempsey said of Kutsyn’s message.

Looking forward, the Ukrainian general told the chiefs that Ukraine will not use its military against its own citizens, but that the military will ensure the country’s sovereignty.

“He said, if they are invaded, they will defend Ukraine,” Dempsey said. “And he made an appeal for military, economic and political support.”