Military News

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CSAF visits Ramstein -- focuses on people, pride, respect

by Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko and Airman Larissa Greatwood
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


7/15/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III returned to Ramstein Air Base July 8-9 to speak with Airmen, listen to their stories of service, update them on pressing issues facing the Air Force, and thank them for their service.

The chief of staff got a first-hand look at the base and the Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing and 693rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group who make mission happen in Europe to support three geographic combatant commands and worldwide operations. The visit also included his wife, Betty, who visited with Airmen responsible for taking care of Ramstein airmen and families.

During an all-call July 8, Welsh focused on people, pride and respect. The general opened his remarks with a heartfelt thank you to Team Ramstein Airmen.

"I'm here really just for one reason and that's to say thank you," Welsh said. "Thanks for everything you do, how well you do it and the incredible way you represent our nation and Air Force."

Welsh expressed how every Airman, regardless of rank, plays a crucial role in accomplishing the Air Force mission.

"Every Airman is critically important to what we do and you deserve to be treated that way," he said. "I don't care how long you serve, or if you're standing up here as the chief master sergeant of the Air Force or chief of staff of the Air Force, you deserve the same amount of respect. You can do anything you want; you just have to be willing to work for it."

The general went on to say how important it is to have pride in what Airmen do every day, because it is pride that breeds success.

"I really believe that if you recruit the best people on Earth -- which I think we do -- and if you make them proud of who they are and what they do and who they stand beside, then you get performance you can't get any other way," Welsh said. "I think that's the key to success for our Air Force.

The all-call included a question and answer session with the general fielding questions from Airmen about what was on their minds, but also included the general asking for everyone's help in focusing on some of his concerns as the senior military leader of an organization with 690,000 Total Force Airmen serving around the world.

As an example, Welsh challenged everyone to improve communication within the ranks to ensure the right information is getting to those who need it.

"We're looking for ideas on how we can communicate better," he said. "If you have ideas, I'm willing to listen to any suggestions," said the general. "There are Airmen getting frustrated about things before having all the facts. Rumors spread easily," he continued, using force management as a good example. "The leaders who should've been getting answers and information for their Airmen and passing along the facts weren't doing it.

"We will fail if that's how we communicate," Welsh said. "I expect better from you; I expect better from me. We have to work this one together," he said.

Wrapping up his remarks, the chief of staff pressed the point that every Airman should feel important and love what they do for the Air Force. According to Welsh, camaraderie and diversity within the ranks are what makes the Air Force more a family than an organization.

"We haven't quite got to the point where everybody understands that diversity is a strength for our Air Force," Welsh said. "If everybody that wears our uniform or comes to work as a civilian Airman doesn't feel fully empowered to contribute everything they can to the mission, we lose.

"If they don't feel they have a voice in your organizations, we lose. There are people in this audience thinking, 'I don't have a voice, no one cares what I have to say,' and that's wrong," the general said. "That's not the Air Force I want to be part of because I know we are so much better than that."

The chief of staff concluded by reminding Airmen to never forget why they wear the uniform and serve.

"I've known most of you for about an hour now, but I'd die for you. I'm just naïve enough to believe you'd do the same for me. That is what's cool about wearing this uniform -- calling yourself an Airman, being in a profession of arms, serving your country and doing something that really matters to the nation," the general said. "Don't forget why we wear the uniform. It's about knowing when it gets really ugly and the clouds all blow past that the guy or gal next to you is still going to be there. That's what this is all about. It's that pride thing -- that's why we serve. That's why I'm so proud to stand beside you."

McConnell crew awarded Doolittle Trophy

by Airman 1st Class David Bernal Del Agua
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


7/14/2014 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.  -- A McConnell aircrew won the Air Mobility Command's 2013 General James H. Doolittle Trophy, July 2, 2014.

The trophy was awarded to Maj. Robert Knapp, 22nd Air Refueling Wing executive officer, Capt. Brett McAuliff, 384th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, and Airman 1st Class Tim Neff, 350th ARS boom operator. It recognizes the most outstanding AMC aircrew that best characterizes and epitomizes qualities and traits for which General Doolittle was known for.

General Doolittle was an aviation pioneer who served during World War II. He earned the Medal of Honor for his valor and leadership as commander of the Doolittle Raid.

"It's a great honor to have won this award," said Knapp, aircraft commander on the mission. "I'm glad we were there to help the guys on the ground."

The Shell 72 aircrew was called upon for a no-notice tasking to support a ground operation in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in July 2013.

"This mission was more strenuous than normal," said Knapp. "It was busy and there were a lot of changes due to the environment on the ground."

A 12-vehicle Army convoy conducting highway clearing operations was attacked, and Soldiers requested overwatch from A-10 Thunderbolt II's and F-16 Fighting Falcons.

"The troops in contact were supporting a convoy of 60 Army Soldiers with a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle that had been rolled on its back and was sustaining heavy premeditated enemy fire," said Neff. "I've never seen receiver pilots move so quickly or with such urgency. They were all business, and it's a radical change of personality to see from normal day-to-day operations."

The challenges Shell 72 had to hurdle came from the ground as well as from the crew itself.

"We had a young crew," said Knapp. "This was only my fourth combat sortie on a tanker, and it was my boom operator's fourth combat mission overall. It was incredible to see him react appropriately to the situation."

According to Knapp, boom operators are known to be cautious and conservative while refueling aircraft, but after the first A-10 came up, things changed.

"Everything clicked inside the operator's head the moment we started refueling," said Knapp. "This was not the time to be cautious; this was the time to transfer the gas to where it needed to go quickly because those guys really needed the help."

The mission showed them how members need to rely on each other to accomplish the task.

"My job was made possible by extraordinary piloting skills from my receivers and my own crew, all of whom had immense experience and a desire to do what needed to be done," said Neff. "I was just the guy who was in the right place at the right time. The superb pilots made it all possible."

This award speaks to the entire KC-135 community about the importance of refuelers in combat.

"It's really neat to put the whole connection together," said Knapp. "It's a huge deal to look at the big picture to see where you fit in and see how close McConnell is to the fight. It's great to see how important we are to the guys who are dependent on the close-air support."

DARPA Developing Implants to Help With TBI Memory Loss


By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2014 – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working to develop wireless, implantable brain prostheses for service members and veterans who suffer memory loss from traumatic brain injury.

Called neuroprotheses, the implant would help declarative memory, which consciously recalls basic knowledge such as events, times and places, DARPA officials said.

To overcome such memory deficits, “these neuroprosthetics will be designed to bridge the gaps in the injured brain to help restore that memory function,” said Dr. Justin Sanchez, DARPA Restoring Active Memory Program manager. “Our vision is to develop neuroprosthetics for memory recovery in patients living with brain injury and dysfunction,” he said.

The neuroprosthetics developed and tested over the next four years would be as a wireless, fully implantable neural-interface medical device for human clinical use, Sanchez explained.

Each year in the United States, traumatic brain injury affects about 270,000 service members and another 1.7 million civilians, he said.

“The traumatic brain injury is really a very devastating injury,” said Dr. Geoffrey Ling, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who worked in both war zones studying TBI for former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.

“One of the biggest consequences of [TBI memory loss] is the ability to do normal functions,” Ling said. “How is somebody going to have their livelihood if they can’t remember how to do simple tasks?”

DARPA’s neuroprostheses development is expected to yield “remarkable” benefits for service members and for civilians throughout the world, Ling noted. “But right now our focus here is on those injured service members.”

In broad funding terms, the implant development would involve assistance from the University of Pennsylvania, which has been selected for an award of up to $22.5 million, a University of California, Los Angeles team, with an award of $15 million, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with up to $2.5 million, Sanchez said.

The effects of traumatic brain injury are profound, Ling said.

“[TBIs] typically result in a reduced ability or capacity to form new memories or even to produce or recall memories,” Ling said, adding that existing treatment options are “very few.”

In addition to extending available options for injuries and treatment, Sanchez added, “ultimately, we would like to help find solutions for the emotional, social and economic aspects of those injuries.”

Huge technological and scientific challenges need to be overcome to deliver such medical therapies to injured service members and veterans, he said. They include new medical hardware to interface with the brain and computational models that allow clinicians to interface with the circuits of the brain that produce memory formation and recall, he said.

While development of the implant encompasses four years, Sanchez said, one of the goals is to start phasing in some early prototype devices the first year and to collect preliminary data to help guide more complex parts later in the project.

“This is a truly remarkable period of time,” Sanchez said. “To think about how we are going to learn about memory in the human brain, to think about the potential for developing those next generation medical neuroprosthetic devices that can provide new options for our injured military personnel, is truly remarkable.”

AFRS command chief reflects on 30 years of service

by Tech. Sgt. Hillary Stonemetz
Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs


7/14/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- After 30 years of service to the Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. William Cavenaugh, Air Force Recruiting Service command chief, will retire in a ceremony here July 17.

Cavenaugh grew up in North Carolina and worked for his cousin's construction company for a while after he graduated from high school.

"I carried 50 pound bundles of shingles up to rooftops," he said. "It was tough work, and it made me realize real quick that I wanted something more out of life. I knew the military provided opportunities so I went to talk to a Navy recruiter--my dad had served in the Navy."

As fate would have it, the Navy recruiter wasn't in.

"An Air Force recruiting flight chief happened to be in his recruiter's office while the recruiter was on leave and he sold me on the Air Force," he said.

Cavenaugh enlisted as an aircraft maintenance crew chief in November 1984 and was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

"When I was in maintenance, I did some pretty neat things. I participated in a search and rescue mission in a C-130 over the Gulf of Mexico," he said. "I was also named crew chief of the month several times and awarded master crew chief status which earned me an incentive ride in a T-38. But it's a career field that is easy to feel like you've reached the top in so I started looking at other opportunities."

After making staff sergeant, the Chief decided that he wanted to try his hand at a special duty assignment.

"I wanted to be a military training instructor, but then the recruiter screening team came to Eglin," Cavenaugh said. "They sold me on recruiting duty and it was a good fit for me. I've been with Air Force Recruiting Service for 26 years."

While some people join the Air Force for patriotic reasons, Cavenaugh said he feels most Airmen mature into that mindset and make the Air Force a career because they come to believe in the ideals of the Air Force and develop a commitment to something bigger than themselves.

"It's one thing to join the Air Force, but if you decide to make it a career it's because your reasons for serving have evolved," he said.

Reflecting on his 30-year career, Cavenaugh has a lot of memories that bring a smile to his face.

"Every job was special," he said. "When I was a recruiter on the bag, I recruited a young man from Tabor City, N.C., that I lost contact with over the years, but he emailed me recently to let me know that he sewed on the rank of chief master sergeant."

As the AFRS command chief, Cavenaugh oversaw several improvements to the recruiting career field.

"I recommended the new badge system, as well as the new senior and master recruiter levels," he said. "This system will help grow the next generation of recruiters and identify the right people for leadership positions within AFRS."

Because the command is so spread apart, communication problems still persist, he said.

"Not every level of recruiting has an appreciation for what the other levels are doing," Cavenaugh said. "We need to get better at listening to each other. We have a monthly teleconference to discuss important issues that need to be addressed in the field. The master and senior recruiters give recruiters in the field a voice."

Despite a challenging couple of years due to sequestration, he wishes to leave AFRS with a parting thought.

"I'm very proud of you," the chief said. "You've exceeded my expectations in dealing with these challenges and have successfully navigated through some very transformative years. As a recruiting force you are more professional now than when I entered AFRS 26 years ago. Keep up the great work and continue to do the right thing, live up to the expectations our Air Force has of you, and strive for excellence in all you do."

JBER Airman named one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera
JBER Public Affairs


7/15/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Moving from Australia to Europe and then to Florida, the 14-year veteran wanted to do something with his life. As a U.S. Air Force family member, he saw what the Air Force had to offer -- working with people, seeing the world, doing something different and challenging himself.

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Michael Venning, 673d Contracting Squadron superintendent, did just that and was recently named as one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

"I was involved in a lot of Department of Defense and joint contracting initiatives anywhere from training the Army on their new system that is being develop for contingency contracting environment as well as the contracting mission," Venning said. "I was also selected to pioneer the contracting electronic training record implementation plans for the career field manager."

As a front man of a 12-member executive demonstration travel team, Venning has traveled to numerous locations to help train DoD personnel.

"Just like what [Air Force Chief of Staff] Gen. [Mark] Welsh and [Chief Master Sgt of the Air Force] James Cody said, 'Your performance has to come first above all things.' You have to be really good at what you do," Venning said.

Having deployed on 12 temporary-duty assignments in 2013 away from home station, the Melbourne, Australia, native said he had a great year.

"My wife, Laura, felt the brunt of my TDYs, but I was fully supported by my wife," said the father of three. "My children think it was really cool for me to go out and talk to all these people."

While his situation is unique, he said his family in Australia couldn't be more proud of him.

"A lot of times, my family doesn't understand what it is we do in the Air Force. They think everyone fly planes," said Venning. "It was really good that I could explain to my family how I affect the broader Air Force mission and my dad is very proud."

Prior to his most recent accolades, Venning joined the military in 2000 and easily stood out amongst his peers. Upon graduation from Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, as an element leader, he went to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, for technical training in electrical power production and was a distinguished graduate.

"Looking back, I did what I was told -- they give you rules and instructions to help you succeed," Venning said. "Doing what you are supposed to do with a positive attitude was the start of my career."

Early in his career, Venning said he had the mentality of 'If my answer is right, everyone is wrong,' and it took a few good noncommissioned officer along the way and a couple of senior noncommissioned officers to straighten him out.

"This was not the right approach." Venning said. "It's okay to be right, but that doesn't mean everybody else is wrong."

Venning persevered to serve in the military and -- prior to his first reenlistment -- he became a U.S. citizen in 2005.

In 2006, Venning retrained into contracting. During his first contracting assignment at one of the largest operational contracting units at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., he became a contracting officer warrant after less than two years in the career field.

Venning said if people are afraid to fail, then they are not going to try harder at what they are doing.

"We are not going to be growing, we are not going to be innovated," the father of three said. "You've got to say yes to every opportunity and don't be afraid to fail."

"Outside the Air Force three core values, I believe in teamwork and hard work," said Venning. "I know they are part of the core values, but when you emphasize those, there is nothing you cannot accomplish."

Through multiple deployments and readiness exercises during his career, he also earned a below-the-zone promotion and was the John L. Levitow award recipient twice at Airman Leadership School and Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Venning also was named as the unit's NCO of the Year consecutively for 2007, 2008 and 2009. While attending the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, he was selected as the SNCOA distinguished graduate and commandant's award winner. In addition to his accomplishments, he was selected as the Air Force Materiel Command Contracting SNCO of the Year.

Airmen, soldiers team up for airdrop

by Senior Airman Christine Griffiths
USAFE-AFAFRICA


7/15/2014 - POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland -- A C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, airdropped U.S. Army paratroopers from Grafenwoehr over Estonia during an initial training mission July 8.

Aircrews from the 37th Airlift Squadron flew from Powidz Air Base, Poland to pick up more than 50 soldiers from the 1-91 Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), at Amari Air Base, Estonia.

"We went over our basic sustain airborne training where we go over exiting the bird and proper parachute landing falls," said Cpl. Brian James Rushford, B Troop Senior Line Medic, 1-91 CAV, 173rd IBCT (A). "All in preparation for today where we rig up, load up into the bird and do a couple passes and exit the bird."

The soldiers don't get out of the plane by themselves, though.

C-130J's require two loadmasters to assist in personnel drops to ensure the safety of the aircrews and the paratroopers. Before each drop, loadmasters prepare the aircraft by changing the configuration, setting up anchor cables and setting up a retrieval system.

"This training helps us maintain our proficiencies and just being ready for any real world operations that we may have to do," said Airman 1st Class Ralph Colas, 37th AS loadmaster. "Out of today's training, I was able to log off some currencies that we have to maintain for our semi-annual and as well as seeing all the rigging and all the things we have to do again and again. It helps keep it fresh in my mind."

Three C-130Js from the 37th AS are based out of Powidz AB to conduct training and focus on maintaining joint readiness while strengthening interoperability. Through these relationships and engagements with our allies, the U.S. and NATO demonstrate their shared commitment to a peaceful, stable and secure Europe.

"Without the Air Force we can't do our operations, they have a crucial part to this," Rushford said. "They check the air, they check the plane. Basically all we have to do it is jump out of it. We're very grateful for them to come out here and fly the bird for us. They make sure it's safe and allow us to jump out."

Train to fly: boom simulator operator

by Senior Airman Jenay Randolph
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


7/14/2014 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- At MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, pilot and boom aircrew continuation training is conducted to ensure personnel have the necessary skills to complete the mission efficiently.

"Training allows aircrew to experience various malfunctions that cannot be safely experienced in flight," explained Mark Vanderkarr, 6th Operation Support Squadron KC-135 Flight Sim Project Officer. "Training missions can be tailored to simulate any airfield the aircrew may deploy to."

For pilots alone, the training consists of six profiles to include crew resource management, quarterly pilot proficiency, hydraulics, engines and fuels, and pneumatics and aero. Each profile consists of a work book, 2-hour pre-brief, 4-hour simulated mission, and a half an hour de-brief.

Along with pilot training, there is also boom operator training, which also includes six profiles:; M10 proficiency sortie, fighter currency, heavy air-to-air refueling day, signal system abnormal and emergency procedures, emission control three and rare malfunctions, and multi-point refueling system. Each profile consists of a work book, 1-hour pre-brief, one and a half hour boom operated weapons system trainer mission, and a half an hour de-brief.

Training is completed quarterly, semi-annually and annually. The training takes place in the boom simulator, which is known as the BOWST. Having the ability to simulate flying missions instead of actually flying missions in aircraft to train is very beneficial.

"Benefits include being able to experience various malfunctions with no risk to the aircrew or aircraft, for example engine failure, runaway stabilizer trim, etc.," states Vanderkarr. "Additional benefits include monetary savings in fuel costs and aircraft flight time."

As a result of having new innovative technology with the simulator, training and preparation for the pilots and boom operators is more efficient. With this, MacDill is well trained and ready to complete any mission that they are faced with.

Navy, Air Force Approve Return to Flight for F-35



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2014 – Airworthiness authorities for the Navy and the Air Force yesterday approved the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter fleet to resume limited flight, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement issued this morning, Kirby said this is a limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection regimen and restricted flights that will remain in effect until the root cause of a June 23 engine fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is identified and corrected.

The fleet was grounded July 3, putting in jeopardy a long-awaited appearance by the F-35 at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. In his statement, Kirby said officials remain hopeful that the F-35 can make an appearance at Farnborough.

“This information is an encouraging step, but no final decision has been made at this time,” he said, noting that safety remains the overriding priority.

Whittenberger assumes command of Texas C-5 unit

433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/13/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Col. William W. Whittenberger, Jr., assumed command of the 433rd Airlift Wing here July 12 during a ceremony presided by Brig. Gen. John C. Flournoy, Jr., Fourth Air Force commander.
"Congratulations (to this Wing) for getting him, because there was other people fighting for him," Flournoy said. "Bill has been the go- to guy. He's a mission mover and a people person. He's going to give you 120 percent and make things happen for this wing."

Prior to assuming command of the "Alamo Wing", Whittenberger was assigned as a political-military planner on the Joint Staff, J-5 Directorate, Partnership Strategy Deputy Directorate, Partnership Coordination Division in Washington, D.C. He also previously served as the 440th Operations Group commander at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. In addition, he served in many leadership capacities at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio. He is also command pilot, having flown more than 4,500 hours including more than 250 combat hours and 140 combat sorties flown in the Balkans and South West Asia

"I already feel like a member of the family," Whittenberger said to members of the 433rd after assuming command. "All of you being family are what keeps this group moving. You guys do all of it, you make it happen."

Whittenberger recalled what he was told about the unit.

"I was told when I was coming here that this is a wing of heroes," he said. "So, my job is to open the door for heroes. I'm here to make sure that this well cultivated field of heroes continues to blossom".

Whittenberger was joined in the ceremony by his wife Natalie and his mother Judy.

315th development council hosts general officers at open lunch

by Michael Dukes
315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


7/12/2014 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Members of the 315th Airlift Wing's Human Resources Development Committee hosted three general officers during an open lunch and learn session in the wing conference room July 12.

Maj. Gen. James N. Stewart, military executive officer for the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense, told the group of about 30 wing members that he started his Air Force career here at Joint Base Charleston. "It's always a pleasure to come back home." Stewart spent 10 of his 37 years here in the Operations Group.

Stewart told the group that he works more at the strategic level, but he values being able to get out of the Pentagon to see how things are going at the tactical level "where the rubber meets the road."

The general discussed differences between active duty and reserve components, and how his office is working to help bridge the gap in communication on how both operate.

"Currently there are 34 duty statuses out there available for reservists and Air National Guardsmen," Stewart said. He admitted understanding how active duty components would not understand all the different needs and requirements of reservists.

"The reserve component makes up about 42 percent of the entire military," Stewart said. "And our active component does not always understand what we are doing. He added that if you were a CEO of a major company did not know what 42 percent of your people were doing, you wouldn't be around long."

"It's critical to educate those using the reservists about your value and contributions," the general said.

"The purpose of our visit today is to better understand how high level decisions are impacting you." Stewart said.

The other two visiting officers were Brig. Gen. Kimberly A. Crider is the Mobilization Assistant to the Chief, Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force and Rear Adm. Eric Young, deputy chief of Navy Reserve.

The visiting senior leaders where here as part of the 315 AW's Junior Officer Leadership Development event taking place over the weekend where they were invited to be mentors to almost 60 lieutenants and captains from various AFRC locations.

Crider she seconded Stewart's mission to help standardize personnel processes among the active, reserve and guard components.

Young said that it didn't matter which branch of service it was, "you are the most valuable resource we have." And he pointed around the table.

After the three guests gave short presentations, they answered questions from the group.
Capt. Leanne Babcock, 38th Aerialport Squadron, asked if the three leaders felt the new feedback forms that just came out and if they thought they would help.

"We can't help our members get to where they need to be professionally without that feedback," Crider responded.

"If you are doing your job right as a leader, your people will understand where they are on a daily basis because you're working with them regularly and giving instant feedback," Stewart said. "But the form is important to help identify areas for growth if it's being used and used right."

"Honest feedback," Stewart added, "is the toughest thing to give as a supervisor. But it keeps them motivated while helping them to constantly improve."

Lt. Col. Bobby Degregorio, 315th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. Asked why is it that [Air Reserve Technicians] are not eligible for TRICARE Select. Tech Sgt. Jon Dumont, 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron seconded the question.

Stewart's short answer was "That's something you know about when you sign up to be an ART. Each category has it's own strength and benefits."

"Ultimately it all comes down to cost," Stewart said. He then explained that when you start adding benefits to the different categories, it changes the cost equation that factors the value the Reserve brings to the table.

"I sympathize with you, but understand that when the Reserve cost goes up, it makes the Reserve component less of a bargain for the military and the public," Stewart added.