Military News

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Alaska pilot reaches 1,000 F-22 flight hours

by Maj. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs


7/3/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Maj. Jonathan Gration, Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron, is the fourth pilot to reach 1,000 flight hours in the F-22 during a sortie here July 3.

"This flight is not only a milestone for me, but for the Raptor community as well," said Gration. "It's a testament to how far we've come with this airplane."

Prior to joining Alaska's only Reserve unit Gration was an active duty F-15 and F-22 pilot and graduated from Weapon School, the Air Force's most advanced pilot training course.

"My proudest moment in the F-22 was graduating from the first class of the F-22 Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev. It was the most challenging and grueling six-months of my flying career and also the most rewarding," he said.

In addition to Gration, the unit is also home to Col. David Piffarerio, 477th Fighter Group deputy commander, and the first 1,000 hour F-22 pilot.

"Having another 1,000 hour pilot in the Reserve speaks volumes to the level of experience we have in the Air Reserve Component," said Piffarerio. "We are a valuable, experienced asset able to carry out our nation's objectives."

Both pilots have been involved with the F-22 program for over 10 years and Gration has some advice for younger F-22 pilots.

"Enjoy every flight, because you never know what you will be doing in your next assignment," he said. "Also, treat each flight with the same tenacity as your first -- from mission preparation to the end of the debrief. There is always room for improvement, no matter how well the sortie went."

Generating Airpower: The F-16's Firepower

by Senior Airman Derek VanHorn
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/3/2014 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- (This article is part of a series featuring the 35th Maintenance Group on their ability to generate airpower for the 35th Fighter Wing's Wild Weasels. The 35 MXG is compiled of 22 career fields that support the mission of the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, the only SEAD wing in Pacific Air Forces.)

The phones in Staff Sgt. Joshua Talbot's office ring often, but that's expected - he mans four of them every shift. But among the dozens of calls he receives every day, there's always one that's arguably more important than the rest.

It's the call that delivers the 35th Fighter Wing's flying schedule and triggers the process that turns Misawa's F-16 Fighting Falcons from demo airplanes into war-fighting machines.

"Once we find out what mission sets our pilots are flying, we immediately determine what munitions we need for the aircraft," said Talbot, a munitions controller with the 35th Maintenance Squadron.

Working at Munitions Control and with a virtual 360-degree view of flying operations, Talbot kicks off a complex process that ammo troops have mastered through countless sortie preparations. He calls a handful of shops that spring into action to prep Misawa's fleet of F-16s with a variety of potentially devastating munitions.

On the end of one of those first calls is Staff Sgt. Eduardo Hernandez, a crew chief with Precision Guided Munitions - a section made up of about 25 Airmen who specialize in missiles.

"As soon as we get notified, we start sending out missiles," Hernandez said.

His shop handles a variety of them, including AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles and AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, both designed to seek and destroy enemy radar-equipped systems, and AIM-9 Sidewinders -- supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missiles.

Hernandez said the first move is tasking a driver and a partner to ride shotgun to retrieve the missiles from their igloos - large, cellar-like storage units housing scores of ammo. Their overall collection is officially called the munitions storage area, but the ammo family simply calls it the "bomb dump."

It's a massive collection capable of inconceivable destruction, and one man -- Master Sgt. Michael Uncapher -- is charged with maintaining 100 percent accountability of the stockpile at all times.

"Every munition must be serviceable, properly configured, accounted for, meet weight requirements and be stored and maintained properly," said Uncapher, munitions accountable systems officer of the $257 million supply.

After picking up the necessary mission weapon sets scattered across ammo's expansive reign, each missile and trailer it's transported on is meticulously inspected to ensure serviceability.

A few buildings away from the PGM crew are the conventional maintenance troops executing the same laborious process simultaneously, all in the pursuit of airpower. These Airmen work mainly with munitions such as Mk 82 bombs, 20 mm Gatling gun munition and chaff and flare.

"It gets busy," Hernandez said, "but we're always prepared to execute for any mission requirement that comes our way."

For every call to action, there's hope they'll call for live munitions, allowing Airmen to load up the chance to see their hard work never return.

Hernandez said a fully-loaded combat F-16 carries almost 3,000 pounds of munitions. It's a bundle of bad news for adversaries, carefully giftwrapped by proud ammo troops.
"Our crews are committed to their jobs," Hernandez said. "We know what the end result of our hard work can produce."

That end result draws even closer as ammo troops - again directed by Talbot back at Munitions Control - traverse closer and closer to the flightline to deliver trailers of munitions to awaiting F-16s.

An expediter, usually a weapons troop, will take over once ammo Airmen pass off their munitions - a process regularly used for the many moving parts of a flying operation.

"Weapons, expediters, crew chiefs, the Aircraft Maintenance Units - we work with them all," said Uncapher. "We all rely on each other to make the mission happen."

After all weapons and munitions are delivered, it's a job well done ... for now. It is protocol to inspect every munition that returns to the flightline before it's returned to its igloo. That is, of course, if they make it back.

"Seeing a jet come back empty ... there's really nothing in this world you can compare that to," Hernandez said. "There's a sense of relief knowing the pilot was able to do his or her job because we held up our end."

'Flying's always been in the blood': F-16 pilot carries on family legacy

by Staff Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/3/2014 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Before he could walk or talk, before he knew or understood the breadth of his family's military service, Dustin Carey was drawn to airplanes.

Countless hours of his childhood were spent planted in front of a TV, raptly watching the winged machines defy gravity as they engaged in dogfights and historic aerial battles. Bombers, fighters, reconnaissance aircraft - the capabilities of each one kept him mesmerized.

"It's hard to say exactly what role aviation played in my childhood and my life because they were so completely intertwined," said Carey, now a captain and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilot with the 13th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan. "It's always been an interest of mine. When I was in first grade, we had an assignment where we had to answer, 'When I grow up, I want to be a ... .' I wrote pilot. I just knew."

Military service - and aviation - were in his blood. The path that led to Carey becoming a flyer in the U.S. Air Force is hardly surprising considering the extent to which these two passions are engrained in his ancestry on both sides of his family tree.

He is the fourth generation of Carey men to serve in America's military, although he is the first to join outside a period of mandatory wartime conscription, also known as the draft.

His father was also an Air Force F-16 pilot, serving from the Vietnam War through the early '90s. His grandfather was an Army B-17 Flying Fortress top turret gunner and flight engineer during World War II. His great-grandfather was an Army supply troop during World War I.

His mother also has her pilot's license; her father flew into his early 80s. Carey's maternal great-uncle, Lincoln Ellsworth, was the first man to make trans-Arctic and trans-Antarctic flights. Ellsworth was twice awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, once for those trailblazing flights and again for claiming 350,000 square miles of Antarctic land for the U.S., "the last unclaimed territory in the world" according to the award's citation.

So what is it like to be the latest in a line of men who each played a particular role in history and, in essence, carried on the family business?

"It's amazing to be able to carry on the legacy," said Carey. "I'm extremely lucky. My relationship with my dad was close before, but after becoming a pilot it took on a whole different meaning."

During the days of a young Dustin with his eyes glued to the TV screen, it became apparent to his parents the course his life might take.

"I have absolutely no idea what draws our family to flying, but it's amazing how it all just comes together," said retired Lt. Col. BJ Carey, the captain's father. "Before Dustin could even talk, he'd point at the sky and make sounds we were sure meant 'plane.' It was all just a part of his life from day one."

Captain Carey first soloed in a glider around age 15 and although the elder Carey thoroughly supported his son's interest in learning how to fly, he made sure his son knew it wasn't the only option available.

"When he chose aviation as the direction for his life, I sat him down and made that clear," said Mr. Carey. "I said, 'Listen up. If you want to do this, it's going to be for yourself, not for me or anybody else.' The most miserable people I've known were pilots who just didn't want to be in that lifestyle."

His son took that to heart and began Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Four years of hard work helped him earn a slot for undergraduate pilot training (UPT), which senior cadets compete for based on their officer potential, grade point average, Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, physical fitness test and Test of Basic Aviation Skills.

After UPT and a year of specialized training on the fighter/bomber track at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., it was time for assignment night. The much-anticipated result: then-2nd Lt. Carey, like his father before him, would fly the F-16.

"After earning my wings, my dad came up and shook my hand," said Captain Carey. "He said, 'Welcome to the club,' and that's what it really is: a community of pilots. I grew up in Colorado with his old flying buddies always coming around and I would sit and listen to them tell old stories. It's hard to understand that camaraderie from just seeing it; you have to live and experience it."

Now, he is living the lifestyle that he grew up admiring as a part of the 13th Fighter Squadron, the same unit his father was assigned to in the late '70s for training. Like his father, he plans to make a career out of flying for the Air Force.

"To be a part of the camaraderie that comes with being a pilot is everything I thought it would be and more," said Captain Carey. "Flying's always been in the blood, and to be able to do that while carrying on my family's heritage is awesome."

SFS Airmen complete Taser training

by Senior Airman David Owsianka
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/2/2014 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Two small, dart-like electrodes strike a person's body with 50,000 volts of electricity causing them to experience stimulation of their sensory and motor nerves resulting in strong, involuntary muscle contractions.

A group of six defenders experienced just that during a Taser training course June 27.

"Taser training is important because it teaches the user what needs to be considered in the event of its employment," said Staff Sgt. Andres Alvariza, 51st Security Forces Squadron training instructor. "We need to be sure the personnel arming up with the Taser are knowledgeable on the weapon, and understand the legal repercussions if the weapon is used in an improper way."

In order to carry the Taser X-26, defenders must go through a four-hour course that includes Taser International training, a written test and being able to effectively engage a target with a minimum of two Taser cartridges.

"Carrying the Taser helps provide our personnel an additional non-lethal option to use to gain compliance of a subject," Alvariza said.

Members must make sure the Taser's electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductive wire as they are propelled by small compressed nitrogen charges - hit the target area.

"Airmen need to hit between a person's waste line and chest when firing the weapon," said Staff Sgt. Malcom Stephen, 51st SFS training instructor. "Having an 8 to 10 meter spread helps to fully incapacitate the person."

Once the defenders completed the training, they were given the option to be stunned by the Taser.

"Being struck by the Taser was like having a full body cramp," said Airman 1st Class Tyler Patterson, 51st SFS entry controller. "It cramped the muscles in my calf and lower back. I continued to feel a jittery effect from the weapon for an additional 10 minutes."

The training provided the Airmen with a more effective way of performing their duties.

"It allows us to maintain a better standoff distance and effectively apprehend or detain a person we need to control," Patterson said. "After going through the course and knowing how it feels, I know how to better implement the Taser. I know how long that person is going through the pain to apprehend a perpetrator."

NDW Awards Sailors, Civilians for Attack Response Efforts



By Shawn Miller, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval District Washington (NDW) recognized the actions of Washington Navy Yard personnel from the September 2013 attack at the base with an awards ceremony, July 2.

Thirty people were honored during the second in a series of ceremonies planned to highlight the response efforts by civilian, military and first responders in the aftermath of the initial attack.

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus hosted the first ceremony June 23 to pay tribute to the victims as well as personnel directly involved in taking down the shooter and providing rescue efforts to the wounded.

Rear Adm. Mark Rich, NDW commandant, said that while September 16 has become a date synonymous with senseless violence and tragedy for many who were at the base, there are still some reassuring memories of that day to temper the painful ones.

"The memories that I'm talking about are the ones that bring me pride and amazement in the quality of people who responded that day to a situation no one could ever be truly prepared for," Rich told the audience at the ceremony. "I saw selfless sacrifice, incredible empathy, and dedicated professionalism. Those virtues were on full display all over the base."

Many of the individuals recognized helped organize response efforts after the initial attack occurred, whether by manning the Regional Operations Center, Emergency Operations Center, Emergency Family Assistance Center, or safely shepherding coworkers out of harm's way. Others quickly organized a memorial service just days after the attack.

Rich said what separated people that day was where they happened to be and the role they played when given the opportunity to take action, and added that he was reassured by seeing those individuals act without hesitation or waiting to be led.

"I feel more secure after the events of last September because I know now, without a doubt, the quality and courage of our first responders, and the same goes for others," Rich said. "Those and others like you are who we are here today to recognize."

Awards presented included the Superior Civilian Service Medal with Valor, Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

The Naval Support Activity Washington and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling district of the NDW Fire and Emergency Services Department was also recently recognized by both the Navy and Department of Defense for winning the 2013 Firefighter Heroism Award for their actions during the attack last September. Rich said a formal ceremony to present the award is scheduled for later this summer.

Japanese soldiers visit U.S. Army Alaska

by Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Smith
4/25th IBCT Public Affairs


7/3/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Leaders with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force visited paratroopers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, during a subject-matter expert exchange event June 24.

Col. Akira Miyazaki, an education and training department chief for the JGSDF, led the team from Japan to observe paratroopers carrying out airborne sustainment training and pathfinder operations. Both forces used their time together to share insight into the way they train and execute various missions and airborne operations.

Army 1st Lt. Branton Miller, a platoon leader with Blackjack Troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, served as the guest's escorting officer.

Miller, who is fluent in Japanese and grew up in Tokyo as a child, said the visit from the JGSDF soldiers brought the two nations' airborne communities together to share insights and experiences.

"It's a great opportunity for us," Miller said. "We get to see what the differences are between how we do our airborne operations and the kind of training they do. It's also good to work with them as Pacific partners. We get to learn about their training and their military and the types of training they are interested in doing with us."

In addition to his childhood experiences, Miller, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, spent a semester abroad at the JGSDF's National Defense Academy while at West Point.

"They were very kind and very hospitable while I was there, so I'm happy to be here now to help them out and be a part this," Miller said.

Army Staff Sgt. Adam Toland, a jumpmaster with the 1-40th Cavalry who shared some insight into the U.S. Army's airborne training with the team from Japan, said he was honored to host the guests and expand connections in the airborne community.

"It's a real good thing to share different outlooks on the airborne community, like how we share our different techniques and experiences," Toland said. "It's neat to see our similarities too."

During their visit to Alaska, Miyazaki and his team gained insight into the importance of the Spartan Brigade's ability to rapidly deploy in response to contingencies, and the necessity for professional, resilient leaders and paratroopers to execute the brigade's mission.
An example of recent events demonstrating the 4/25's abilities was Talisman Saber 2013, when paratroopers of the Spartan Brigade were airlifted via Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for a 15-hour non-stop flight to conduct a jump into Australia.

The brigade again demonstrated its forced-entry abilities during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. The 17-hour, non-stop flight to Thailand featured in-flight refuels and in-flight parachute rigging to carry out an airfield seizure operation, this time in the interest of a simulated humanitarian relief mission.

A forced-entry insertion north of the Arctic Circle recently showcased the Spartan Brigade's unique ability to operate in an extremely cold environment during Operation Spartan Pegasus, when paratroopers jumped into an area near Deadhorse in response to a simulated downed aircraft recovery mission.

The Spartan Brigade plans to enhance its mission set capabilities while working with the JGSDF in the future as it looks to participate in the upcoming, large-scale bilateral, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian 2014 exercise.

In addition to visiting the Spartan Brigade, other scheduled events for the team from Japan included a trip to Fort Wainwright, and the Army's Northern Warfare Training Center at the Black Rapids Training Site near Delta Junction.

A highlight of their visit included celebrating the U.S. Army's birthday by participating in U.S. Army Alaska's annual Army Birthday run. They joined USARAK's commanding general, Army Maj. Gen. Michael Shields, for a four-mile esprit de corps run along Anchorage's Glenn Highway and participated in the birthday cake-cutting ceremony.

Chief of Naval Personnel Attends OCS Graduation



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

NAVAL STATION NEWPORT, R. I. (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) visited Officer Training Command Newport (OTCN) to review the graduation of newly commissioned officers of Officer Candidate School (OCS), June 27.

Vice Adm. Bill F. Moran commissioned 32 new ensigns during the OCS graduation at the Capt. Howard N. Kay Hall aboard Naval Station Newport.

Before introducing CNP, Capt. Kevin McGowan, commander of OTCN, told the newly commissioned officers the commission carries with it a great burden of responsibility.

"This is a call to great deeds of service. This is no small affair-it is a lifelong promise and we are honored to be here to bear witness to it," said McGowan.

Moran thanked the hundreds of friends and family members in attendance for their support and he looked encouragingly to the future.

"This class is joining a Navy at the front end of a maritime decade, if not a maritime century," said Moran.

He also emphasized the forward nature of a modern Navy with forces deployed around the globe, affirming that, "All are poised to act if called upon, and many of you will be joining them shortly."

Moran then stressed his confidence in the graduates' own readiness, assuring them that, "This ceremony and the solemn oath you're about to take are a sign of the faith your country has in you, faith that you'll answer the bell when your number is called."

He next prepared the candidates to take the oath of office by highlighting its meaning and purpose. "It is about swearing allegiance to an idea, to principles on a piece of paper, conceived by great men who saw a better world than one ruled by kings and despots."

After these remarks, Moran led the class in the recitation of the oath followed by the traditional tossing of their covers in the air. The class then received their first salutes from their drill instructor, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Sebastiano Siino and their Class Chief Petty Officer, Chief Naval Aircrewman James Davis.

"I enjoyed that Vice Adm. Moran had a lot of insight on the training we went through and the obstacles we had to overcome." said Ensign Kristoffer Abonal, a newly commissioned Intelligence Officer from Los Angeles, Calif., who will now report to Dam Neck, Va. for follow on training.

Ensign Eric Providakes agreed with his fellow graduate saying, "The speech was very motivating, it created a drive to succeed."

OTC is overseen by the Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. 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 on board Naval Station Newport. The five schools consist of Officer Candidate School (OCS); the Officer Development School; Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination School; Limited Duty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer Academy and the Seaman-to-Admiral school. The Officer Staff, Recruit Division Commanders and U.S. Marine Corps Drill Instructors 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.

NSTC also oversees the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at more than 160 colleges and universities, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
NSTC is also ultimately in charge of Recruit Training Command, the Navy's only boot camp, also located at Naval Station Great Lakes.

Blue Angels Sponsor Navy Recruits



By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrea Perez, U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Members of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, attended the commissioning ceremony of Navy Recruit Division 940 - the squadron's first sponsored division of Navy recruits - at Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes, Illinois, June 30.

The Recruit Division Sponsorship Program allows Navy commands to interact with recruits during training and take part in the "Sailorization" process of turning a person into a well-rounded member of the U.S. Navy - making civilians Sailors.

"By being here at RTC - the beginning of these Sailors' Navy experience - we get a firsthand opportunity to mold and mentor these young men and women who have chosen to come into the Navy," said Blue Angels Command Master Chief Karim Cole.

"Part of the Blue Angel mission is recruiting. Sponsoring a division allows our command to do more than just recruit and let go. Now we can integrate ourselves with recruits by mentoring and fostering them," he said.

During the commissioning ceremony, the Blue Angels presented Division 940 with their official guidon; a flag displaying the division's number and images that represent their sponsoring command. The commissioning ceremony marked the official start of the division's training.

Recruit Division 940 started the basic training process June 27 and is slated to graduate August 15. The division's Chief Recruit Division Commander, Chief Aviation Electronics Technician William Quillin, says Division 940 has started the process strong.

"Right now they're looking like a good division," said Quillin. "We've been able to get ahead on most things. They're understanding everything we put out and they're excited to be sponsored by the Blue Angels."

During RTC, recruits learn military fundamentals; including how to properly wear uniforms, maintain military bearing, and render military greetings. They also undergo intensive physical fitness training and classroom instruction and training on Naval history, seamanship, and 21st Century Sailor programs and initiatives.

With so much to learn in only eight weeks, Division 940 recruits are happy to know the Blue Angels are rooting for them.

"I watched the Blue Angels when I was growing up and when I lived in Pensacola, I'd go outside in the morning just to watch them fly," said Seaman Recruit Corilynn Hybart, a Defiance, Ohio, native. "So I was thrilled when I heard the Blue Angels are sponsoring our division. It's like a dream come true," said Hybart.

For some recruits, having the Blue Angels as a division sponsor provides them the motivation they need to get through boot camp.

"I feel way more confident. There's nothing stopping me now," said Seaman Recruit Kindall Craft., from Rochester, Mich.

For more information regarding the RTC Sponsorship Program, contact the RTC sponsorship coordinator at 847-688-4949 or the RTC public affairs office.

Columbus AFB Airmen save drowning man

by Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


7/3/2014 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Four Airmen from Columbus Air Force Base demonstrated the Air Force Core Value of Service Before Self when they attempted to save the lives of two drowning men who were caught in the Buttahatchee river in Caledonia Miss., on Memorial Day. They succeeded in reviving one of the men.

The Airmen included Staff Sgt. Joshua Keith, Airman 1st Class Kyle Carpenter, Senior Airman Ryan Werner and Staff Sgt. Alexander Gordy, 14th Operations Support Squadron.

"We were just enjoying ourselves at the river, and we heard someone screaming 'my kids, my kids' off in the distance," said Keith. "We stood up and looked and saw what we thought were two kids that were caught in the current. We saw two people jump in after them so we thought they were alright and sat back down. Then a couple seconds later we saw someone else jump in and one man struggling to get back to the bank. That's when we noticed there were three kids in the water not two, and realized that they needed our help."

The father of the children was one of the first to jump in the river quickly followed by the children's grandfather. The father was able to get the kids out of the current but not able to get out of the river himself.

"The last time I saw him, before we pulled him out, he was fighting the current with one hand up in the air," said Carpenter.

The four Airmen were not in the ideal location to dive in and save anyone who was struggling in the water. First they had to run downstream to the distressed swimmers and then swim across the river to get to where they thought they were.

"We had to run about 50 yards on rocks to get there, swim across about 50 yards of cross currents to get to them," said Werner.

When the Airmen got to the shoreline they immediately dove into the water, disregarding their own personal safety among the dangerous currents, in an attempt to save the father and the grandfather from drowning.

"We jumped into the water and swam to the drowning men," said Keith. "I grabbed the grandfather and tried to drag him upstream to the shore but the current was too strong, and I was swallowing water so I had to let him go and catch my breath. When I got to the bank, two of my friends were already diving in and out of the water searching for the guy."

While the Airmen were still searching the murky waters, other good Samaritans were also assisting in the search. One bystander finally located the father and dragged him to the shoreline, but the father was not responsive.

"They pulled up the first guy who jumped in, the father of the kids," said Keith. "He was completely blue and was not breathing so I started CPR on him. While I was doing CPR on him, Carpenter showed up and held open his airway while Werner and Gordy continued searching for the grandfather."

Bystanders on the banks were helpful in spotting the struggling swimmers. While Keith was performing CPR on the father, a large crowd began to gather around the Airmen.

"When Keith started doing CPR everybody starting crowding around him so I tried to keep everyone back," said Carpenter. "As he was doing CPR the victim's brother was grabbing his foot screaming 'save him, save my brother!'"

The Airmen performed CPR for over four minutes before the father started responding.
"Carpenter kept telling me 'you got to push harder, you have to keep going!'" said Keith. "So I just kept going and finally out of nowhere his eyes opened and you could tell he knew what was going on and he was going to be OK."

While the father was finally becoming responsive from relentless CPR by Keith and Carpenter, Werner and Gordy were still battling the river currents trying to find the grandfather.

"Once they got the first guy out everybody kept focusing on him," said Gordy. "So Werner and I were the only two left in the water searching for the grandfather."

Werner and Gordy continued relentlessly searching for the grandfather by themselves.

"We would dive underwater, search the bottom and come back up for air," said Werner. "When I was coming up for a breath there was a tree limb there so I tried to hold on to it. Once I got some energy back I would try to go back down and feel along the bottom with my hands."

Finally, after the Airmen had searched for four minutes with minimal visibility in the dark-brown water Gordy found the grandfather.

"We just continuously kept diving under-water and feeling for him on the bottom of the river," said Gordy. "We didn't have any visibility the water was brown and the current was rushing by me. I finally grabbed something that felt like a big wet pillow and tried to drag it to the surface."

Simply finding the grandfather on the bottom of the river was just half the challenge, now they were faced with the difficulty of getting him to the surface and the river bank.

"I started pulling him out and I probably got around eight feet with the current pulling him before I started running out of breath," said Gordy. "We kept diving down and coming up; it felt like a life-time."

The Airmen finally got the grandfather to the shoreline and prepared to conduct further CPR.

"Around the time they got the grandfather out of the water, the emergency responders arrived and we just backed off," said Keith. "While they were performing CPR there were these little kids just sitting there watching, I assumed they were the grandchildren. So I got them in their car and gave them stuffed animals trying to distract them."

Sadly, the grandfather passed away. However without the efforts of the four Airmen there could have been many more casualties.

The Airmen were described by both the family and witnesses as "physically fit young men who appeared to be in the military," said a family member of the victims. "I'm so thankful to those men. I'm so thankful; they did so much for me and my family," according to the West Alabama Gazette.

Exercise shows JBER readiness for open house

by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs


7/3/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Clouds in the sky were heavy with rain on a cold Alaska morning, when suddenly a loud bang echoed from a parking lot and the sound of helpless groans arose from thick smoke covering the ground.

The loud bang was a simulated bomb explosion used to kick off this year's mission assurance exercise, which is organized annually to prepare for any unexpected occurrences during events like the Arctic Thunder Open House.

"The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate our first responders on bad scenarios that could possibly happen in the event of an open house or just day-to-day operations," said Stephen Spealman, 673d Inspector General wing inspection team manager.

These exercises prepare organizations-such as the 673d Medical Group, JBER firefighters and JBER security forces to ensure Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is equipped to respond to any emergency situation, like a car bombing or aircraft crash, quickly and efficiently.

"Just before an open house, we do mass-casualty exercises to showcase all of our first responders' capabilities and to provide an environment for leadership to control processes on JBER," Spealman said. "Normally, we do an aircraft crash because we have flying units during the air show portion of the open house, but we wanted to provide our personnel the opportunity to operate differently than if they were to be called out to an aircraft crash."

The scenario was a simulated improvised explosive device detonating inside a vehicle during the Arctic Thunder Open House. Individuals at the simulated explosion site were evacuated by first responders and treated by medical personnel. After the area was evacuated an explosive ordnance disposal team searched the area for further IEDs.

To make the exercise more realistic, volunteers from different squadrons participated as moulaged victims of the explosion and simulated the injuries ranging from small cuts to severe burns on large portions of their backs.

"Our moulage patients were a scatter of Airmen and Soldiers throughout JBER," Spealman said. "It took two-plus hours to get all the volunteers moulaged for this exercise."

More than 40 volunteers were moulaged with fake wounds; one of them being Airman Hannah Adams, an administrative assistant with the 773d Logistics Readiness Squadron.

"During the exercise, I was behind the exploded vehicle and received a laceration to my face and a possible broken jaw," Adams said. "This was a very interesting experience, seeing all the first responders doing their thing and how it would possibly run if this were to happen in [the] real world."

The exercise is a command-directed procedure orchestrated by the base's inspector general.

The Arctic Thunder Open House is a biennial JBER and 673d Air Base Wing event open to the public and all military members and their families free of charge. The event features aerial demonstrations from different aircraft types and demonstrations by military personnel of their various missions, equipment and aircraft carry out on JBER.

"This is helping our leadership prepare their command and control channels to institute the operations they don't do every day," Spealman said. "This is the first responder's opportunity to showcase their skills and show that they do know what they were trained to do."

Airmen on the hunt: RPA crews test skills during competition

by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing


7/3/2014 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- Airmen from 17 different squadrons participated in the third annual 432nd Wing Hunt at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., June 27- July 2, 2014. The crews, which fall under the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, were tested on their tactical skills in both the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft using real world scenarios during the competition.

The annual event gives RPA crews an opportunity to train for a mission set rarely practiced or executed, while also integrating and practicing fundamental tactics with other squadrons from around the 432nd AEW.

"Wing Hunt is essentially a realistic training scenario for the crews to know what to expect in the future," said Capt. Marcus, 432nd Operations Support Squadron MQ-9 branch chief. "We took realistic training and added a competition, so the crews can earn bragging rights for their units."

The RPA crews were handpicked by their squadron leadership as the best of the best to compete in both MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper employments. These crews consisted of pilots, sensor operators and intelligence Airmen, some of whom flew their mission from their home state via remote split operations.

"Out of the 17 AEW squadrons that participated in this year's Wing Hunt, seven of those units were based outside of the local area and had crews travel to Creech to participate," said Capt. William, 432nd Wing weapons and tactics assistant flight commander.

The skills of each crew were tested on every facet of the mission, including mission planning, briefing, flying, execution and precision of AGM-114 Hellfire missile and GBU-12 Paveway laser guided bomb strikes in a given time, and debrief processes. These tests included obtaining all necessary information, learning about potential threats and identifying how big those threats were, preparing ways to mitigate said threats, executing the mission, and debriefing the crews post-flight.

"This year we tried to make it as realistic as possible so the crews can go back to their squadrons and teach others what they need to know to be prepared for what they might encounter in the future," Marcus said.

Wing Hunt provided an opportunity for geographically separated units to test their skills as well as learn and apply training that can be passed on to those at their home base.

"The event was beneficial for both me and my pilot because it got us involved with other units, coordinating, developing plans and accomplishing more complex tasks with single objectives," said Staff Sgt. William, sensor operator from the 138th Attack Squadron, in Syracuse, N.Y. "The training we received is invaluable to the success and progress of our missions in the future."

The annual event put the skills of the RPA crews to the test but also provided useful training for future operations and promoted camaraderie between all participating units.

"Overall the event was a success," said Marcus. "It demonstrates our capabilities and teaches the Airmen how to properly employ in future environments."

Face of Defense: France Honors World War II Veterans


By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class David Kolmel
U.S. Pacific Fleet

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii, July 3, 2014 РSeven World War II veterans from Hawaii received the French Nation Order of the Legion of Honor aboard the French flor̩al-class frigate FS Prairial here yesterday.

The honorees were Shiro Aoki, Yasunori Deguchi and Hiroo Endo, who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Edward Ikuma, Yoroku Ito and Shuji Akiyama, who served with the 100th Infantry Battalion, and Albert Brum, who was from Canada and fought with British and U.S. forces in France.

For more than a decade, the government of France has presented the Legion of Honor to U.S. veterans who participated in the liberation of France during World War II. The Legion of Honor is France’s highest award. This award can only be presented by someone who has received it and is only given to living recipients.

Rear Adm. Anne Cullere, commander in chief of French forces in the Pacific, thanked the men for their courageous effort.

“This is a very special day today, we are gathered here to honor seven men that decided fighting for freedom was worth every effort unto the ultimate sacrifice,” Cullere said. “Here we are 70 years later honoring the sacrifice of too many of your comrades. We mourn with you. For what you achieved in the streets of Bruyeres and the dark woods of Vosges, we very heartily salute you. Today, I will bestow the French Legion of Honor the highest, honorific medal in France.”

The award meant a lot to Ikuma, who fought in France from October 1944 to March 1945.

“This is a great honor. At no point in my life did I ever expect to receive an award like this,” Ikuma said. “This means more to me than anything I can express.”

Yasunori Deguchi agreed with the significance of the award.

“There are no words that can express the appreciation and the recognition of the impact of the Japanese Americans during the war,” Deguchi said.

Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the award is well deserved.

“This is a significant day and a huge honor that the government of France is about to bestow on these seven men sitting in front of me now,” Harris said. “This is about a country saying thank you, a grateful nation saying thank you to some folks that did amazing things in defense of that country and liberating that country during World War II.”

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was composed of Japanese Americans, most of them from Hawaii.

The 100th battalion fought in the Naples-Foggia campaign from September 1943 to January 1944 before becoming part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team which was also comprised of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Battalion, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and the 232nd Combat Engineer Company. The 442nd RCT fought in Italy, then in France before returning to Italy.

The 442nd fought their most famous battle in France where they rescued the “Lost Battalion” breaking through the line to rescue 211 men that were cut off by German troops. The 522nd FAB also participated in the drive into Bavaria which freed inmates from Dachau prison that was being marched to their death. The 442nd, including the 100th, was the most highly decorated unit in the history of the United States for its size and length of service.

Brum, the lone Canadian honored, fought in France as a member of 101st Airborne and British 6th Airborne Division. After the war, he served in U.S. Army, retiring as a colonel. He later became a U.S. citizen and lives in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

The ceremony was held aboard Prairial, which is homeported in Tahiti, here for the biennial Rim of the Pacific international maritime exercise. RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.

RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.