Tuesday, June 03, 2014

WWII vets visit Molesworth

by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins
JIOCEUR Analytic Center Visual Information

6/2/2014 - RAF MOLESWORTH, United Kingdom  -- As unforgiving waves crashed on the beach, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force raced against the sun to meet the shoreline while their comrades drowned, weighed down by their tactical gear, weapons and drenched clothes.

More than 30,000 vehicles and 160,000 Service members from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada rushed in a 50-mile stretch onto the beaches of Normandy, France to annihilate the enemy the morning of June 6, 1944.

As the years passed, so have the survivors of one of the most memorable events in history, D-Day. The remaining few continue to bear the legacy.

Retired U.S. and U.K. Service members gathered to share their experiences of World War II and remember their fallen comrades, at RAF Molesworth, United Kingdom, May 27.

Retired "Bevin Boy" Dennis Hill, U.S. Army Sgt. Ernie Lamson, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Royal Navy Landing Craft Petty Officer Harry Eddy, and Royal Army Sgt. Jack Pentelow, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry tank driver, all shared what happened behind the scenes of the Normandy invasion.

In contrast to the headlines of the times, their stories were light-hearted and full of courage.

Eddy, now 88 years old, began his story with a wide smile.

"I volunteered to join the Royal Navy, but my employer said, 'No you can't go, I can't spare you,'" he said. "Eventually I had a big row with him and he reluctantly allowed me to join the Royal Navy in 1943."

Eddy left for Scotland and began training as a wireman, who specializes in electrical equipment.

After learning the new trade, he began combat training.

"We got to Portsmouth and started training quite seriously, despite what you really see on the television," he said. "As time was passing by, we didn't know it, but D-Day was approaching."

June 5th, Eddy and his team loaded their ships to travel to a place they had no knowledge of.

They landed on Sword Beach June 6 at about 8 a.m.

"Unfortunately at that time, one of our attack landing crafts took a direct hit on the quarter deck," he continued, allowing the audience visuals with the motion of his arms. "We had to use a cable line to get onto the beach but we couldn't because everything was on the quarter deck, so we had to tow [the raft] to the beach, and we towed it back up to Portsmouth. We got back to England and were at the dock for about two or three days, then it was back to the trench again. From then on, we were ferrying cargo from large American vessels."

After the veterans told their stories, the crowd viewed a slideshow presentation about the Allied and Axis Forces' combat missions and the comparison of weapons used during the invasion.

U.S. Army Sgt. Mahogany Morrisette, Joint Intelligence Operations Center, Europe Analytic Center human resources sergeant, said she attended the event to pay homage and respect to the people who paved the way for those in uniform today, and felt the event was a big eye-opener.

"Every Service member should experience this presentation," said Morrisette. "The slideshow gave me direct insight on the war beyond the things I've learned in school. It was very educational and detailed in information. The vets who visited us were as humble as they were humorous. It was an honor to meet them."

With weary eyes behind their wrinkled smiles, the veterans remain diligent and happy to tell their tales, working to keep the memory of their fallen comrades alive.

Although the heroes can now laugh about their personal experiences, they are a part of the thousands who made it through the rough shoreline and heavy gunfire, and the hundreds still alive 70 years later to provide insight to the experiences behind the news headlines.

Now, decades after they first stormed the blood-stained beach, they stand proud for the sole purpose that "we will never forget."

'Family well loved, country well served, a life well lived'

y Airman 1st Class Ryan Conroy
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/22/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy  -- To celebrate the life of one of 31st Maintenance Squadron's own, hundreds of Airmen, maintainers, friends and family gathered during a memorial ceremony May 22 at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

The memorial was held in honor of Master Sgt. John J. Colpoys Jr., 39. Colpoys passed away in a motorcycle mishap in Budoia, Italy, on May 14. He is survived by his mother, wife and son. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters throughout the 31st MXS, and his beloved Aviano Green Knights, a motorcycle club in the local area.

"By sharing our grief we seek strength and unity. [John] was taken from us too soon but this is a celebration of life," said Maj. Franklyn Shepherd, 31st Maintenance Squadron commander during the ceremony. "After talking to the people who knew him most, I got to know John. He wouldn't ask his Airmen anything he wasn't willing to do himself. John was so proud to be a member of the U.S. Air Force and was the most loyal friend you could hope to have. The only thing that surpassed his zest for life was making sure others lived life to the fullest. John's love for his family was evident when you saw him with his mom, sister and grandmother. While stationed at various bases around the world, John was never alone. He always had friends. May God bless you Master Sgt. Colpoys Jr. and just know 'We got it!'"

As the service continued, friends and colleagues were asked to share memories of Colpoys' generosity, humility and passion for life.

"When my wife and I [moved] to Aviano he greeted us. It was important for him to make people feel welcome when they arrived here," said Master Sgt. Michael Prescott, 31st MXS transient alert service flight manager. "John lit up the room when he walked in it. He was unselfish. He didn't hesitate to help. He was my friend and brother and I'm going to miss him."

The Buffalo, N.Y., native began his Air Force career in 1994 and after being stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Misawa AB and Spangdahlem AB, he arrived in Aviano, where he quickly made many friends with what speakers called his "infectious smile" and "exuberant personality."

Since arriving at Aviano in 2011, speakers said Colpoys was vital to the mission as a transient alert technician; but his love for his family was next to none.

"He was a real maintainer but that wasn't all he was about. I can remember his eyes lighting up when he'd talk about his kids," said 1st Lt. Joseph Lorkowoski, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge .

During the service, a moment of silence was observed while taps sounded; and "Amazing Grace" was played during an aerial salute, also known as a missing man formation, made up of four F-16 Fighting Falcons. Colpoys was posthumously presented the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal for his altruistic patronage to the 31st MXS.

"He was a wonderful man. John loved his military family too," said Lisa Colpoys, John Colpoys wife, through a written letter read during the ceremony. "I want you all to cherish the memories you had with John. Until we meet again, my love."

WWII legends speak to Airmen on D-Day experience

by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/2/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany  -- Two veteran pilots who were part of the D-Day invasion over Normandy, France, spoke to a packed crowd of service members, dependents and retirees here June 2, 2014.

William Prindible and Julian Rice, both C-47 Skytrain pilots, flew airdrop missions during the invasion and are among the last few pilots alive to recite their tales of fortune.

"We were the lucky ones," Rice said. "One-hundred fourteen other pilots didn't survive; they are the real heroes. We were all just young kids doing our job ... the mission we were told to do."

The pair both joined the Army Air Forces on separate months in 1942 and were stationed in Sicily, Italy, with the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron. In the fall of 1943, they were sent to Cottesmore, England, for six months to prepare for the Normandy invasion.

The duo focused on the unforgettable moments that led up to the invasion, including when they flew in tight formation during a training mission two weeks prior to D-Day, training that ended tragedy. Rice said the night was shrouded with confusion, which led to mid-air collisions and the first of their causalities prior to the invasion even begining.

"Nothing is ever perfect -- we lost our commanding officer, our chaplain, 12 aircraft and many men," Rice said. "We wanted to forget that day, but you can't forget."

Prindible explained although they didn't know it when they started, all their training had to be put to the test on June 6, 1944, and it was the discipline they gained that helped keep them alive. This week's visit was the first time they both had been to Europe since 1996.

"We spent two years getting ready for that one day; we were trained well," he said. "I am grateful for the experience and to have spent that time with [the service members involved with D-Day]."

"This is our heritage ... 70 years in the making," said Master Sgt. Jason Beebe, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster (who also flew in the dissimilar formation with the C-47). "This was one of those opportunities you will regret not coming out to see."

In honor of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and to commemorate Rice and Prindible's visit to the base, the 86th Airlift Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick X. Mordente unveiled Skytrain Lane to signify the legacy aircraft of the modern-day 37th Airlift Squadron, the same airframe used by both veterans when they flew in Normandy.

Sergeant receives award for heroism

by Staff Sgt. R.J. Biermann
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/3/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy  -- Staff Sgt. Xanadu Moldenhauer, 555th Fighter Squadron knowledge operator, was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal on May 30, 2014, during a 31st Operations Group commander's call for saving the life of Staff Sgt. Travis Brown, former 31st Munitions Squadron, armament training monitor.

On Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, Moldenhauer, Brown and others took a trip to the mountains in Tramonti di Sopra, about a 45-minute drive away. The group had planned to camp near the town's man-made lake and simply enjoy the outdoors.

According to Moldenhauer some individuals set up camp, while others played games or swam in the lake. Brown began hiking around a rocky area near the water. With one wrong step, he sent several small rocks sliding down the hill. To regain his balance, he leaned up against a large, 100-pound boulder. Before he realized what was happening, the boulder rolled onto his right arm - the sharp, rough edge of the rock slashing through his flesh, shattering his humerus and dislocating his elbow.

"I yelled for help," Brown said. "But I think [my friends] thought I was just playing around."

"We'd just [swam] to the other side and we heard him yelling," Moldenhauer said. "'I broke my arm!' he kept yelling. He was as calm as could be. [Tech Sgt.] Jordan [Hatch] sent me to get the truck; then he tried to reach Brown to help."

Unfortunately, the group had no cell phone reception and the closest route to the truck required her to swim across a small body of water, climb a steep hill and run two miles. Hatch, a former Field Training Detachment weapons instructor here, was the first to reach Brown. (Hatch has since been reassigned to Beale Air Force Base, Calif.)

When Moldenhauer returned with the truck, Hatch instructed her to apply a tourniquet with anything she could find. She ripped the string from her shorts and tied it tightly
around Brown's upper arm. Since he had lost so much blood, the tourniquet slid into his wound. With no time to waste, she had to get him into her truck and on their way.

With Moldenhauer at the wheel and Brown safely in the passenger seat, Moldenhauer sped down the mountain road.

"We came to the first bridge and the man couldn't understand us; but he saw the blood on me and realized the severity of Brown's injury," Moldenhauer said. "He told us to drive down farther."

When the two finally reached the second bridge, a local team of emergency medical technicians quickly arrived to transport Brown to an open location where the hospital's helicopter could land.

"I don't think it hit Brown until we reached the second dam," Moldenhauer said. "'Please don't let them take my arm!'" he told me.

When Brown arrived at the hospital he was quickly taken in for surgery. Eight pins, an erector set and one steel plate later, Brown woke up in the recovery room. His long journey down the road to recovery began.

Back at the accident scene, when Moldenhauer reached all her friends who were anxiously awaiting her return, everything hit her.

"I just thought, 'What just happened?'" she recalled. "I was in shock from it for a few days."

Days after his surgery, Brown's doctor told him he must find someone to help care for him while he recovered. Fortunately for him, Master Sgt. Brian Sauke, a former 555th Fighter Squadron member, and his wife, Melissa, were eavesdropping outside Brown's door. For 40 days, the two cared for Brown.

Brown's friends and co-workers also stepped in to help with everything from delivering food to taxiing Brown to and from physical therapy appointments.

On Aug. 27, 2012, just three weeks later, Brown had his second surgery. Doctors removed two pins from his ulna, i.e. elbow bone.

"Six months, 10 days later; but who's counting ... I had the remaining six pins taken out of my arm," Brown said.

Brown was only halfway there.

On Sept. 6, 2013, more than a year after the accident, Brown had his fifth and final surgery. Back at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, doctors removed the remaining fragments of Brown's humerus. They also moved his ulna nerve so Brown could regain feeling and mobility in his middle and pinkie fingers.

Today, the scars are very much present across Brown's arm. His long road to recovery has come to an end. Not a day goes by that he doesn't remember Moldenhauer's heroic act. Without her actions, he would have likely lost his arm, changing his life forever, Brown said.

"She saved my life. It's a life-long thank you," he said.

"I'm just happy my friend still has his arm and that he didn't lose his life," Moldenhauer add

Aviano Air Base participates in Exercise Adriatic Strike 2014

31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/3/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing are providing close air support during Exercise Adriatic Strike 2014 in Postojna, Slovenia this week. Slovenia first hosted Adriatic Strike, an exercise focused on training Joint Terminal Attack Controllers or JTACs, in 2012.

The Slovenian government has invited JTACs from the Austrian, Belgian, Czech, Montenegrin, French, Croatian, Latvian, Hungarian and Slovenian militaries to participate in this marquee training event. The main goals of the exercise are enhancing JTAC interoperability and technical expertise.

Each day, aircraft from Aviano Air Base will fly to the main Slovenian Air Force training range to simulate the combat close air support that JTACs are responsible for coordinating. The F-16 is a multirole fighter that flies a variety of missions to include suppression of enemy air defense, offensive counter air, defensive counter air, close air support and forward air controller missions.

Pentagon Official Encourages Ongoing Turkish Partnership

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2014 – Ongoing ties with Turkey are vital to the Defense Department’s productivity and efficiency, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics said here yesterday.

In remarks at the 33rd Annual Conference on United States-Turkish Relations, Frank Kendall said strong relations with partners such as Turkey -- a country with a vibrant, healthy economy and developing aerospace and defense industrial sectors -- has mutual benefits, even as the specter of sequestration defense spending cuts looms in fiscal year 2016.

The current budget environment creates an attachment to force structure and programs that strains readiness, investment, research, development and procurement accounts, Kendall said.

“The value of working together, particularly with as capable a partner as Turkey, is huge for the United States,” Kendall said, citing trade and cooperation sales estimates at more than $5 billion last year alone. “That’s a significant amount of business we do together, and we have every expectation that there would be reason for that to continue going forward.”

Mutual cost benefits and capabilities in which the United States and Turkey can reinforce each other operationally provide “huge advantages in sustainment for both of our forces,” he said.

Kendall also noted the success of programs such as the F-35 joint strike fighter and air defense, in which the United States will continue to seek opportunities to cooperate with Turkey.

“We’re now negotiating our eighth lot of [F-35] production, and I’m very encouraged by Turkey’s decision to procure its first airplanes in lot 10,” he said. “So we’re … working on a number of issues we have with Turkey in terms of how that relationship will continue, but I think we’re making great progress.”

And these mutual benefits, Kendall said, only reinforce relations between the United States and Turkey. “It makes the ties that bind us stronger, and it makes us better in business together and to trust each other going forward,” he said. “We’re living in a more dangerous world, … and that does not seem to be changing any time soon.”

First Lady, Sailors Celebrate Keel Laying for New Submarine

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jason J. Perry
Submarine Group 2

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I., June 3, 2014 – First Lady Michelle Obama's initials were welded onto a metal plate as sailors from Pre-Commissioning Unit Illinois looked on during a keel-laying ceremony here yesterday for the new Virginia-class submarine.

Obama joined Navy leaders, shipyard personnel and crew families in celebrating the ongoing construction of the Navy's 13th Virginia-class submarine during an event at the Quonset Point facility for General Dynamics Electric Boat.

Three-quarters of the ship's construction is complete, said Navy Adm. John Richardson, the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program director. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus also participated in the event and served as the keynote speaker.

"This vessel whose keel we lay today will be the most advanced ship in the world, its technology absolutely unmatched," Mabus said.

Obama was named by Mabus as the ship's sponsor. The metal plate with the first lady's initials will later be mounted on the submarine, in keeping with Navy tradition.

"I am honored and humbled to be putting my initials to this new submarine with an exceptional crew like this one," Obama said. "I am here today not just as a representative of my family, but as a representative of a grateful nation. I am going to do my very best to honor your service by being a really good sponsor."

Illinois will become the Navy's second vessel to bear the name of the first lady's home state once commissioned.

The pre-commissioning unit currently includes a crew of more than 100 sailors, with others scheduled to arrive through the summer. By August, leaders expect the crew to reach its full strength of about 140 officers and enlisted personnel.

The vessel has three crew members from the nation's 21st state, including Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Schmitz of Fayetteville, Illinois, who joined the Navy 12 years ago. Schmitz said Midwestern values are essential as a submariner.

"Honesty and a strong work ethic are vital to being successful on a submarine," he added.

Mokena, Illinois, native Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Wiscons reflected on the close bond he shares with fellow crew members.

"My family and friends back home have a similar sort of humor to the Navy -- tough love and a little teasing,” he said. “But deep down, we truly care about one another. The spirit of camaraderie is very strong.”

As the crew trains ashore, construction personnel from both Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia will continue to assemble the $2.7 billion vessel. Once complete, the submarine will be equipped to conduct covert surveillance, support special forces, and track other ships and submarines.

Illinois will measure 377 feet in length, displace 7,835 tons while submerged, and be able to operate at speeds greater than 25 knots, or 28 mph.

"The keel-laying ceremony is an important step in the process," Wiscons said. "The Navy has always valued tradition and ceremony, and the ceremony symbolizes an important step in the boat's life."

Secretary James visits 403rd Wing

by Master Sgt. Brian Lamar
403rd Wing Public Affairs

6/3/2014 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James met with civic leaders, toured facilities and spoke to the Airmen and senior leaders of the 403rd Wing alongside Mississippi's 4th district U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker during a visit to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, May 29 and 30.

During the secretary's time with the 403rd Wing, James also attended briefings and toured the 2nd Air Force and 81st Training Wing. Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander, Air Force Reserve Command, accompanied James on the visit.

"We are thrilled to host the secretary of the Air Force and chief of the Air Force Reserve," said Col. Frank Amodeo, the 403rd Wing commander. "In these challenging times with force structure changes and manning reductions, visits by our senior leaders speak volumes about how much they truly care about all of our Airmen and families.

The 403rd Wing is the only Air Force Reserve Wing in Mississippi and flies the unique mission of aerial reconnaissance into hurricanes while also conducting tactical airdrop missions in support of contingencies operations overseas.

During her tour of the 403rd Wing, James viewed the 403rd Maintenance Propulsion Shop, 41st Aerial Port Squadron and aircraft. The day concluded with an "all call" with Keesler Airmen where James spoke about her three key priorities as SecAF, which included discussing the future of the Air Force during a fiscally constrained time.

"My top priorities are taking care of our people, balancing what we have today for tomorrow's readiness and making every dollar count," James said.

She also answered questions during the "all call" about commissary benefits and international relations with Russia regarding the space program and effects of upcoming force reductions to morale.

While visiting the 403rd Wing's assets, James toured both models of the C-130J fleet on Keesler. The WC-130J Hurricane Hunter model was additionally equipped with aeromedical evacuation, or AE, litters and critical care air transport team equipment. This highlights a "make every dollar count initiative," where AE accomplishes training simultaneously with weather reconnaissance aircrews.

During her visit to one of the Hurricane Hunter aircraft, Maj. Sean Cross, a hurricane hunter pilot, explained the weather reconnaissance mission. When asked of James about the hazards of flying into the eye of hurricanes Cross responded, "Flying is inherently dangerous. We have highly experienced crews and great training. Those things mitigate the risks and keep us safe."

Also during the day, James toured the 41st Aerial Port Squadron and Senior Master Sgt. James Childs, an Air Reserve technician with the 41st APS, explained the sophistication behind "throwing" equipment and cargo out the back of a C-130J.

According to 1st Lt. Linda McCullough, the executive officer for the 403rd Maintenance Group, James' visit was meaningful.

"It was nice for us to showcase our talents and abilities and the level of passion and knowledge that people have in their jobs here," she said. "The visit was motivating and it showed us that we are important to our senior leadership.

Embrace of Military Ethos Encourages Joint Chiefs Chairman

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, June 3, 2014 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today he is encouraged by the embrace of the ethos of the U.S. military to never leave a comrade.

The recovery of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is controversial, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey acknowledged in an interview. The United States released five Taliban leaders from confinement at Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba, to Qatar in exchange for the young sergeant.

The Haqqani network held Bergdahl for almost five years. He is now at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany undergoing treatment.

There is disagreement about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture in June 2009, and that needs to be clarified, Dempsey said. If there is wrongdoing, he will be held accountable, and in the meantime, he is innocent until proven guilty, the chairman said.

But Dempsey said he is encouraged by the American military’s embrace of the ethos of never leaving a fallen comrade behind. “What I find encouraging is that’s the given in this conversation,” he added.

The questions that are being asked are about whether Bergdahl’s conduct should have justified the military living up to that ethos. But what is not heard, the chairman said, is whether this is the correct ethos to follow.

“I’m encouraged by the discussions our service men and women have,” he said. “Even our very youngest understand and appreciate that ethos.”

US Forces in Poland strengthen NATO partnerships during aviation rotation

52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/3/2014 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- U.S. and Polish airmen started training together at Lask Air Base, Poland, June 2, during the largest theater security cooperation event ever hosted by the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland, according to Av-Det officials.

This is the third planned aviation rotation this year, involving 18 U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft from the 480th Fighter Squadron and nearly 400 personnel from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

Close to 300 of those Airmen will support the F-16 fighter aircraft at Lask Air Base, and nearly 100 Airmen from 606th Air Control Squadron will assist in controlling the skies above Poland from Powidz Air Base.

"The NATO alliance draws its strength from the ability of its partner nations to seamlessly integrate forces during contingencies. That interoperability stems from a dedication to training during peacetime, and the Av-Det offers the U.S. and Polish air forces the unique opportunity to train together on a regular basis," U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Spears, the Av-Det commander, said of the partnership with NATO allies.

In addition to the 480th FS, the 606th Air Control Squadron from the 52nd FW will provide tactical control to aircraft flying in Poland from Powidz Air Base for two exercises, Av-Det Rotation 14-3 and Poland's EAGLE TALON exercise. The 606 ACS is a control and reporting center unit that provides air control to various aircraft flying in the same air space.

For the first time, the fighter aircraft will also simultaneously participate in Poland's national air exercise Eagle Talon.

U.S. personnel from the 480th FS, 606th ACS, and 351st ARS will participate in Eagle Talon, which is a Polish national air exercise. Its mission is to increase interoperability with air-to-air and air-to-surface training, involving U.S., French, British and NATO aircraft from June 9 to 13.

The Av-Det in Poland has a continuous U.S. presence, with ten U.S. Air Force members stationed at Łask Air Base, Poland. The detachment is supported by the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

"The U.S. Aviation Detachment serves as an enduring forward persistent presence in Poland, and enables invaluable training between our allies," said Col. Lars Hubert, acting 52nd Fighter Wing commander. "The 52nd Fighter Wing is proud to support the mission of the Av-Det, as it continuously allows us to engage with our NATO partners."

On June 13, 2011, the U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein, and the Polish Defense Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing a U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland.

The agreement was based on a commitment made by U.S. President Barack Obama and Polish President Komorowski, and fulfills the two countries' commitments under the 2008 Declaration on Strategic Cooperation to the defense of Poland and NATO partners.

Face of Defense: Air Force Doctor Finds Ways to Give Back

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar
12th Air Force

BELIZE CITY, Belize, June 3, 2014 – Deployed in support of New Horizons Belize 2014, a multifaceted exercise providing training opportunities for Belizean and U.S. medical professionals, Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Forrest Jellison is finding ways to give back.

"I've always wanted to give back in some way, because I know I'm fortunate for what I have," the urologist said. "I believe you have to give back to be able to have something worthwhile."

Following a number of family members into the military, Jellison said, he considered enlisting before deciding on a career path that would take him to places he never anticipated going in uniform.

He graduation from Pacific Union College in Napa Valley, California, and followed his undergraduate education with medical school at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, where he also completed his residency. Jellison then completed a urology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was commissioned in 2001.

After years of schooling, learning, teaching and traveling, Jellison deployed in support of New Horizons. Along with a urology and surgery team, he provided some life-saving surgeries with the assistance and coordination of the nation's sole urologist and other staff at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital here.

"I'm very fortunate that this is part of my job," Jellison said. "This is something that I do and want to continue doing outside of where I'm tasked to go in the military."

Jellison has previously traveled on his own dime and his own time -- to Honduras once and Mexico more than a handful of times -- for humanitarian missions.

In addition to humanitarian missions with his church, Jellison is afforded the opportunity to operate and train in an environment with fellow Air Force urologists, as well as offer a valuable training opportunity to a fourth-year urology resident.

"We've seen some complex issues and developed treatment plans with the urologist here," he said. "Every country is different, so adapting to what we have available has been a valuable training opportunity."

Overall, Jellison said, he is just glad to help.

"I like helping people," he said. "Medicine is what I do best, so this is the best way I can help."