Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bruckbauer takes command of 673d ABW and JBER

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett
JBER Public Affairs

7/2/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Service members of the 673d Air Base Wing and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson welcomed their new commander during a change of command ceremony at JBER Wednesday.

Air Force Col. Brian Bruckbauer, previously assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon as the Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, assumed command from Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, commander of the 11th Air Force.

Bruckbauer has served in the Air Force for more than 22 years prior to taking command of 673d ABW.

"My wife, Stacye, and I are honored to join the JBER team," the new commander said. "We are excited to serve in this great community and to experience Alaska."

The colonel entered the Air Force in 1992 through Air Force ROTC at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

Bruckbauer has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas, a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., a Master of Arts degree in National Security Strategic Studies at the College of Naval Command and Staff in Newport, R.I., and a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington, D.C.

He has served in a variety of joint and air staff positions including chief of Air Traffic Operations at the 722nd Operations Support Squadron at March Air Force Base, Calif.; Airfield Operations Flight commander at the 60th Operations Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; at the Air Force Intern Program, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C.; chief of U.S. Air Force National Airspace System Requirements, Headquarters Air Force Flight Standards Agency at Andrews Air Force Base, Md; aide-de-camp to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force; political-military officer and executive officer to the J5/8 at European Command; and was the Operations Officer for the 56th Operations Support Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

"I am impressed with the dedication and service of the men and women under my command, and am thankful for the leadership of my predecessors," Bruckbauer said.

He has also served as commander of the 97th Operations Support Squadron at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.; as deputy director of Force Planning for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and as commander of the 451st Expeditionary Mission Support Group at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

"This event has been a wonderful welcome to JBER and the 673d Air Base Wing," Bruckbauer said. "To the men and women of this great installation, I am proud and humbled to be a part of this great team. I look forward to serving with you and to the great things we will accomplish together."

Top wing commander team is honored

by Staff Sgt. Tom Ingalsbe
Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating Location - P

7/2/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Col. Ricky Rupp and his wife, Charlotte, received the General and Mrs. Jerome F. O'Malley Award during a ceremony here June 27.

Rupp, who led the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and is now serving as the special assistant to the commander, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea.

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer presented the award and Sharon Burg, the O'Malley's daughter, made two special presentations of her own.

"We're recognizing the best wing commander team in the entire Air Force," Spencer said. "The focus they both had was always the Airmen."

The annual award is named after General O'Malley and his wife, Diane, and recognizes the wing commander and spouse whose contributions to the nation, Air Force and local community best exemplify the highest ideals and positive leadership of a military couple in key positions.

During the ceremony, Burg presented Rupp with a set of brigadier general stars worn by her father. She also presented Charlotte with a crystal rose, a symbol of pink roses Diane O'Malley cherished.

She said the military rank symbolizes the selfless leadership of her father and the crystal rose represents her mother's grace. Both gifts are traditions to carry on the O'Malley's legacy.

With Airmen as their primary focus, the Rupp's empowered more than 5,700 total force Airmen to a new standard of excellence, garnering more than 108 higher headquarter-level awards, according to the citation.

"All the work that was done was done by the Airmen; it was done by everyone in the wing," Rupp said. "They did all the heavy lifting. We just watched them and cheered them on."

His wife echoed the sentiments, expressing how much it meant to serve with the Airmen of the 22nd ARW.

"For us, it was about the Airmen," Charlotte said. "We'll always cherish the time we had at McConnell (AFB), especially (with) the Airmen."

COMLOG WESTPAC Holds Change of Command in Singapore

From Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific Public Affairs

SEMBAWANG, Singapore (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Charlie Williams relieved Rear Adm. Cindy Thebaud as commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC) during a change of command ceremony, July 1. Williams also assumed duties as commander, Task Force 73 (CTF 73) and Navy Region Singapore (NRS) for U.S. forces.

The guest speaker, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, Kirk Wagar, praised Thebaud's many accomplishments, including her sustained focus on 7th Fleet logistics and security cooperation activities in South and Southeast Asia - both in direct support of America's rebalance to the Asia Pacific.

"In my view, by providing unparalleled logistics support to the entire Seventh Fleet, by managing a world-class installation for visiting forces and, by leading security cooperation in Southeast Asia, Cindy and her team are literally implementing the naval component of America's rebalance in this vital part of the Asia Pacific," said the Ambassador.

Since August 2013, Thebaud oversaw the logistics and maintenance support of all ships operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, a vast maritime region encompassing more than 54 million square miles between the International Date Line and the approaches to the Strait of Hormuz. With a particular focus on Southeast Asia, Thebaud also enhanced relationships with regional allies, partners and friends through maritime security cooperation activities, such as the bilateral exercise series Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), the multi-lateral exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SECAT) and the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam. During her command, the first of many rotational deployments of littoral combat ships began with USS Freedom (LCS 1) and concluded in late 2013.

"I have relied on Cindy's advice countless times and can always depend on her to support America's mission," said the Ambassador. "She understands that relationships matter, and that our engagements in this region are intertwined with American prosperity."

Thebaud reflected on her time as commander for COMLOG WESTPAC, CTF 73, NRS and thanked the Sailors, Marines, DoD civilians and local nationals for the opportunity to lead them. She will depart Singapore and travel to Virginia Beach, Virginia, to assume command of Expeditionary Strike Group Two (ESG 2).

"As the Ambassador mentioned, we are the most visible aspect of the Navy's forward presence in Singapore and Southeast Asia," said Thebaud. Noting the diversity of the many commands located in Singapore, she remarked, "it is the team - the entire team - pulling together in the same direction that enables us to accomplish our respective missions as well we do."

A former chief of staff for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet and commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15, Williams assumed command following a tour as deputy, Surface Warfare Combat Systems on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff in Washington D.C.

"Geography matters and, as someone who has already spent many years in this region, I know that COMLOG WESTPAC has a rather unique vantage on the Asia-Pacific, finding itself at the maritime crossroads of South and Southeast Asia," said Williams. "New platforms, including LCS and her rotational deployments, are a key part of our Navy's forward presence and, as more LCS' deploy, these ships will provide increased opportunities for interaction with the region's people, ships and waters in unprecedented ways."

Located in Singapore since 1991, COMLOG WESTPAC is the U.S. 7th Fleet's provider of combat-ready logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships to keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled, and fed. Additionally, COMLOG WESTPAC is 7th Fleet's Theater Security Cooperation agent for South and Southeast Asia.

USS Ashland (LSD 48) Returns to Philippines for CARAT, Seven Months After Operation Damayan

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian Senyk, USS Ashland Public Affairs

SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- The forward-deployed Amphibious Dock Landing Ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), and it's embarked Sailors and Marines, is participating in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014 with the Philippine Marines Corps and Navy.

This exercise, which began June 27 and concludes July 1st, comes only seven months after Ashland supported Operation Damayan relief efforts following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, in which the ship recovered, refueled and launched helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys delivering supplies ashore.

"For the better part of two weeks we provided helicopter refueling and lily pad services for the helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys that would deliver relief supplies," said Cmdr. Douglas Patterson, commander, USS Ashland. "We would refuel them several times a day so they could continue that chain of relief to the mainland."

During the relief efforts, Ashland worked with Philippine liaison officers who were aboard to facilitate communication and coordination between multi-national units afloat and ashore.

Designed to address shared maritime security priorities, strengthen relationships and enhance interoperability between participating forces, CARAT remains a practical venue to prepare for events that might call upon participating forces to respond cooperatively.

"It's good to be back in the Philippines again for CARAT," said Patterson. "It's exercises like this one, where we get to work with our Philippine allies, and other
regional partners, that helps us integrate easily with that Navy or Marine Corps."

During CARAT 2014, Ashland worked with the Philippine Navy and Marine Corps during a series of training scenarios and professional exchanges. Evolutions included gunnery exercises against a moving target, formation maneuvers with the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and two Philippine Navy ships - BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16) and BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF 15) - and a combined amphibious assault with U.S. and Philippine Marines.

In its 20th year, CARAT is a bilateral maritime exercise series between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

Welcoming Friends: GW Hosts Diplomatic Reception

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob I. Allison, USS George Washington Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted a diplomatic reception for local guests during its scheduled port visit to the Republic of Singapore, June 29.

The guests of honor at the reception were the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, the Honorable Kirk Wagar, and Rear Adm. Timothy Lo, fleet commander, Republic of Singapore (ROS) navy.

"The U.S. carrier strike group is proof of the United States' commitment to this region," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "We represent a guarantee of transparency, adherence to rule of law and freedom of the maritime province around this region."

The ship's supply department catered the event, providing several U.S. and Asian specialties as well as a large cake in the shape of CVN 73.

Guests at the reception were treated to a performance by the ship's color guard, where Sailors from George Washington displayed the United States and ROS flags from an aircraft elevator in front of an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the 'Royal Maces' of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27.

After the performance, Capt. Greg Fenton, commanding officer of George Washington, led the guests of honor in a series of remarks celebrating the extensive partnership between the U.S. and ROS navies.

"These [visits] give us a great opportunity to work together," said Lo. "The exercises we did 20 years ago were a lot simpler. Today, we exercise quite regularly with carrier strike groups when they transit this region."

Lo also praised the cooperation between the U.S. and Singapore navies in search and rescue and counter-piracy operations, as well as the first rotational deployment of the Littoral Combat Ship USS Freedom (LCS 1).

At the conclusion of the remarks, Fenton led the guests and Sailors attending the reception in a series of toasts celebrating the extensive bilateral partnership between the United States and Singapore.

"I propose a toast to the ever-strengthening bonds between the Republic of Singapore navy and the U.S. Navy," said Fenton.

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

20th Annual CARAT Philippines 2014 Concludes On Board USS John S. McCain In Subic Bay

From Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SUBIC BAY, Philippines (NNS) -- The 20th annual exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines wrapped up with a closing ceremony on board the guided missile destroyer, USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), July 1st.

The ceremony occurred a day after McCain, the dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) and the Philippine navy ships, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF 15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16), returned from three days of exercises in the South China Sea.

"CARAT Philippines 2014 has been the most complex CARAT ever undertaken between our two navies," said Capt. Paul Schlise, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7.

This year's CARAT Philippines focused on combined operations at sea, amphibious landings, expeditionary warfare and maritime domain awareness. One of many successes was the first-ever landing of a Philippine navy helicopter on a U.S. Navy ship, when AW109 conducted deck landing qualifications on McCain.

"The at-sea operations were a specific highlight and re-affirmed the ability of our navies to operate seamlessly together in a variety of challenging scenarios focused on shared maritime interests and safeguarding freedom of the maritime commons in this important region," said Schlise.

Sailors and Marines trained with their Philippine Armed Forces counterparts during multiple drills, professional exchanges and seminars ashore on diving and salvage, explosive ordnance disposal and riverine boat patrols. Civil action projects, community service events and band concerts facilitated interaction with the local community.

CARAT Philippines is part of a broader bilateral exercise series the U.S. Navy conducts with nine partner navies in South and Southeast Asia to address shared maritime security priorities, strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability among participating forces. The Philippines has participated since the series began in 1995. For the past two decades, CARAT has been a clear example of the longstanding and close U.S.-Philippines navy-to-navy relationship.

The exercise series promotes regional maritime cooperation with many participating navies. CARAT 2014 began in late May and recently completed phases with Malaysia and Indonesia. Additional phases will continue through the end of the year with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore and Timor-Leste.

More than 1,000 Sailors and Marines participated in CARAT Philippines 2014. Participating units include McCain, Ashland (LSD 48) with embarked Marines from 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Safeguard (T-ARS 50) with embarked Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 and a P-3C maritime patrol aircraft. Also participating are Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1, a platoon from Riverine Squadron 1, a platoon from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, staff from commander, Task Force 73, Destroyer Squadron 7 and the 7th Fleet Band Orient Express.

George Washington Carrier Strike Group Returns to Sea After Singapore Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro, USS George Washington Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- The USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) departed Singapore after a four-day, goodwill port visit, June 30.

GWCSG Sailors enjoyed well-deserved liberty, took advantage of various local tours hosted by the ships' Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and participated in 11 community relations (COMREL) projects and other events organized by the ship's command religious ministries department to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Singapore.

"It was great to get out and meet Singaporean nationals," said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Dijan Thomas, a COMREL participant from Dallas, Texas. "It's important to take some time out of our port visits to reach out to the community, make a difference and build upon our relationship with our host nation."

George Washington also hosted ship tours for approximately 250 students, Republic of Singapore (ROS) military members and local officials and held a diplomatic reception aboard the ship for more than 350 Singaporian dignitaries. The Honorable Kirk Wagar, U.S. ambassador to Singapore, and Rear Adm. Timothy Lo, fleet commander, ROS navy, were two among many honored guests.

"These receptions during port visits are important theater security cooperation opportunities," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "GWCSG is a visual indication of the United States' strategic rebalance in the pacific and shows our commitment to peace, prosperity, security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. We represent a guarantee of transparency, adherence to rule of law and freedom of the maritime province around this region."

George Washington Sailors also had the opportunity to interact with local citizens through multiple sporting events.

"These games were not necessarily a competition, rather a way to have fun, build relations and get to know our friends in Singapore," said Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Takeo Wadriski, captain of the George Washington soccer team. "It's a cool experience to face off with international teams and to meet and mesh with some of the locals here."

Sailors gained a better understanding about the Lion City's culture through a series of tours offered by MWR.

"I really enjoyed this visit to Singapore," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Vincent Snyder, from Fayateville, North Carolina. "I was able to go on the night safari, try many different types of food and I made it a goal to see as many sights as I could during our stay."

GWCSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its embarked airwing, Carrier Airwing 5, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Shiloh (CG 67), and the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Kidd (DDG 100).