Military News

Monday, July 28, 2014

ACC, PACAF commanders confirmed



WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Herbert Carlisle will be the next commander of Air Combat Command and ACC Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Lori Robinson will be the next commander of Pacific Air Forces, according to a Senate confirmation vote July 23.

Headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, ACC leads America’s Combat Air Forces, with approximately 83,000 active-duty and civilian personnel operating, maintaining, and supporting approximately 1,300 aircraft at more than 50 locations worldwide.

Carlisle has commanded PACAF since 2012. As the commander of PACAF, Carlisle’s primary mission is to provide U.S. Pacific Command integrated expeditionary Air Force capabilities to defend the homeland, promote stability, dissuade/deter aggression and swiftly defeat enemies.

PACAF's area of responsibility extends from the west coast of the United States to the east coast of Africa and from the Arctic to the Antarctic, covering more than 100 million square miles. The area is home to 50 percent of the world's population in 36 nations and more than one-third of the global economic output. The unique location of the Strategic Triangle (Hawaii-Guam-Alaska) gives the United States persistent presence and options to project the country’s airpower from sovereign territory.

Before being the PACAF commander, Carlisle was the deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, Air Force Headquarters Washington, D.C. He also served as the legislative liaison deputy director and director at the office of the secretary of the Air Force. Throughout his career, Carlisle has served in various operational and staff assignments throughout the Air Force and commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group, two wings and a numbered air force.

The general is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours in the AT-38, YF-110 (original designation of the F-4C Phantom II), YF-113 (also known as Mikoyan-Gurevich “MiG-23”), T-38 Talon, F-15 Eagle A/B/C/D, and C-17A Globemaster III.

“My greatest privilege is to continue working for our nation’s Air Force as commander of ACC,” Carlisle said. “I will miss the PACAF family but am truly humbled at the opportunity to continue to lead Airmen through this challenging fiscal time. I am fully confident in Lori’s leadership abilities and welcome her to PACAF. Our Airmen are the cornerstone of the world’s greatest Air Force, and I am eager to continue serving them in this new position.”

Robinson, who has served as ACC’s vice commander since May 2013 will receive her fourth star and become the Air Component commander for U.S. Pacific Command and executive director, Pacific Air Combat operations staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Prior to her position as ACC vice commander, Robinson served as deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command in Southwest Asia. She has also commanded an operations group, a training wing, an air control wing and has deployed as vice commander of the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing, leading more than 2,000 Airmen flying B-1 Lancer, KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Sentry in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. She is a senior air battle manager with more than 900 flight hours in the E-3 Sentry and E-8C Joint STARS.

“I'm honored by the faith our leadership have placed in me with this confirmation,” Robinson said. “I also deeply appreciate and value the trust my fellow Airmen have placed in me every day of my service. It has been my privilege to serve the Air Combat Command team and I look forward to doing the same at PACAF. Returning to command is an honor – there is absolutely no greater job in our Air Force than leading Airmen and their families.”

PACAF's primary mission is to provide U.S. Pacific Command integrated expeditionary Air Force capabilities to defend the homeland, promote stability, dissuade/deter aggression and swiftly defeat enemies. The command’s area of responsibility extends from the west coast of the United States to the east coast of Africa and from the Arctic to the Antarctic, covering more than 100 million square miles. The area is home to 50 percent of the world's population in 36 nations and more than one-third of the global economic output. The unique location of the Strategic Triangle (Hawaii-Guam-Alaska) gives the United States persistent presence and options to project the country’s airpower from sovereign territory.

“Hawk and Lori are impressive leaders whose track records of operational and leadership excellence make them the perfect choice for these critically important missions," said Gen. Mike Hostage, the current commander of Air Combat Command.

Hostage, a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours including 600 combat hours in multiple aircraft, is scheduled to retire after 37 years of commissioned service. He has led ACC since September 2011.

“I am excited for them and the Airmen they'll serve," Hostage said. “There is no doubt the Airmen and missions of Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces will be in great hands.”

Lajes Field receives 'excellent' in cyber inspection

by 1st Lt. Korey Fratini
65th ABW Public Affairs


7/28/2014 - LAJES FIELD, Azores  -- Over the course of 21-25 July the Defense Information Systems Agency inspection team conducted a Command Cyber Readiness Inspection here, resulting in a rating of excellent.

"I am extremely proud of all the hard work Airmen from Team Lajes and the 65th Communications Squadron accomplished to achieve an excellent rating during the CCIR. This exemplifies our ability to be a forward strategic communications base that is ready to provide full spectrum communications to our expeditionary forces, now," stated Col. Martin Rothrock, commander, 65th Air Base Wing.

A CCRI is the equivalent of an Operational Readiness Inspection of a base's networks and supporting security practices.

Leading the effort for Team Lajes was Maj. Jennifer Carns, commander, 65th Communication Squadron.

"The preparation for the inspection has definitely been a team effort across the base. All units were engaged to make this possible," said Carns. "We have made great progress and established processes that will ensure our network is secure, not just for the CCRI but post-CCRI as well.

The CCRI is a rigorous inspection-oriented process designed to validate network security compliance across Department of Defense networks. The team evaluates compliance with DOD security orders and directives, network vulnerabilities, current accreditations, traditional and physical security, assesses compliance with DOD information assurance policies and user education and awareness.

The communications squadron stresses that while it is important to be inspection ready, the base must always be prepared to defend our networks against potential enemy actions.

According to a 2014 report filed by Symantec, which provides internet security, cyber security threats are on the rise. The report stated that the odds of government networks being attacked are 1 in 3.1.

Those who wish to attack cyber networks have exploited numerous vulnerabilities through their increased activities. The network users must continue to detect, understand, and defend against these threats to the best of their ability. In order to protect the base against cyber threats users need to adopt an increasing defensive posture.

Carns also noted that "while the inspection is over, we need to ensure we sustain and improve upon the processes we put in place."

Face of Defense: Boom Operator Reaches 8,000-hour Milestone



By Air Force Senior Airman Colin Cates
379th Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA, July 28, 2014 – Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Floyd W. Atkins, a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, has reached 8,000 refueling hours in his career, a rare feat for a boom operator.

"The milestone signifies the love for what I do," Atkins said. "Reaching the 8,000 hours means I have been blessed to maintain good health -- good enough to remain on flying status for 28-plus years."

Atkins said he hopes to reach the 8,765 hour mark, which would equal one full year of flying time. “I think I will have to get a patch that says 1-50 since I will probably be 50 when I reach that mark," he added.

But just like every other boom operator, he said, he had to start somewhere.

"The feeling as a young boom operator was one of amazement," Atkins said. "I couldn't believe the Air Force was letting me do this for a living. One of my first missions was refueling the Thunderbird just after arriving at my first duty station. It's got to be the greatest job ever."

Now, he said, he has the privilege of seeing the new faces in the boom operator career field and relives some of the same feelings he had as a young boom.

"Being a boom is special -- no two days are the same, and again it's a rush of excitement at times,” he said. “Now it's fun to watch a brand-new boom refuel and get excited, and see that same look on their face that I had over 20 years ago.”

Early in his career, Atkins said, he never gave much thought to how many hours he had. “To me, I was just doing what I enjoyed and never worried about the hours," he explained. "Only recently has it become interesting as people are amazed by the number of hours I have logged."

Along with racking thousands of hours in the sky, Atkins has earned a degree and spends time with his wife and two children.

"In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family," he said. "We are huge Tennessee Volunteers fans, and I love watching football. We all love to travel, as well. So when not traveling with work, I am often traveling with the family."

When he’s not deployed, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native works close to home with the 151st Air Refueling Squadron on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee.

"As far back as I can remember, I've wanted to fly and travel," Atkins said. "This career has been perfect for that, but, it is the friends, experiences, and the variety that keeps me doing this year after year."

Atkins said he has been able to see the world and enjoy experiences that transcend the hours he has logged.

"As I reflect back, the Air Force and Air National Guard have given me everything they promised and more," Atkins said. "I've covered a lot of ground in those 8,000 hours."

Spartan paratroopers jump back into training

by Sgt. Eric-James Estrada
4/25th IBCT Public Affairs


7/28/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Paratroopers with 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, got back to work this week by jumping into action after returning from summer leave.

More than 1,500 paratroopers and equipment filled the skies over Malemute Drop Zone Monday through Wednesday as part of a partnership training event with members of the U.S. Air Force from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The partnership training focuses on increased proficiency during an airborne assault and airfield seizure.

"They prove our proficiencies to deal with any threat in any environment," said Army Col. Matthew McFarlane, Spartan Brigade commander. "Along with the Air Force units here and across from Air Mobility Command, we've been able to prove we can do that."

Earlier this year and in the span of a month, the Spartan Brigade conducted three airborne operations that extended over the Pacific Ocean and two continents.

Spartan paratroopers flew 17 hours from the below freezing temperatures of JBER and jumped into the tropical jungles of Thailand to participate in Cobra Gold 2014, one of the largest multinational and multi-service exercises in Southeast Asia, which takes places annually throughout the Kingdom of Thailand.

Two days after parachuting there, they packed up and jumped right back into the Last Frontier and then conducted a separate airborne operation 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle to simulate a search-and-rescue mission near Deadhorse.

"I think it's a pretty unique experience," McFarlane said. "[By executing] both out load and delivery of our combat forces through joint forcible entry with every one of our missions we do like this today, we prove our proficiency."

The Spartan Brigade will conduct a similar event again in September with different U.S. Air Force units from across the Pacific.

"With every repetition, we become better at what we do," McFarlane said.

Planes from the past: B-25 history and Alaska

by Air Force Staff Sgt. William Banton
JBER Public Affairs


7/28/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Patrons of this year's Arctic Thunder Open House will hear the telltale signs of America's modern airpower in the jet wash and propellers of military aircraft demonstrations. However, if they listen closely, they may also hear the sound of freedom in the distinctive rumblings of planes from the past.

"Everybody loves the piston engine planes," said Joe Orr, 673d Air Base Wing historian. "You start them up and there is a distinctive sound."

This year's piston engine sounds come in the form of the T-6 Texan, Fairchild American Pilgrim 100, Harvard MkIIB and the B-25 Mitchell Bomber.

"The T-6 was the most popular trainer during World War II by both the Army Air Corps and the Navy," Orr said. "There were several models made. I don't' know about the differences but I know there were a lot of them. There were thousands of [the T-6] made."

The open house also features a plane with history directly tied to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

"The B-25 is quite significant, they were all over Alaska but they saw a significant amount of action out in the Aleutian campaign," the historian said.

According to the National Museum of the Air Force, the B-25 medium bomber was one of the most famous airplanes of World War II. It was the type of plane used by Gen. Jimmy Doolittle for the Tokyo Raid on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"What most people don't know is that the 11th Air Force's B-25s, flying out of Shemya and Attu, bombed Northern Japan," Orr said. "They were the first planes to bomb Japan after Doolittle, and they were coming out of Alaska."

The B-25 saw duty in every combat area being flown by the Dutch, British, Chinese, Russians and Australians in addition to U.S. forces. Although the airplane was originally intended for level bombing from medium altitudes, it was used extensively in the Pacific Theater for bombing Japanese airfields and beach emplacements from treetop level, and for strafing and skip bombing enemy shipping.

"They're surprisingly small," Orr said. "The first thing you notice is that the F-22 is almost the same size as one of these. As far as overall dimensions on an F-22, I would be hard pressed to say that it's smaller than a B-25."

The B-25, and later the B-26, was considered a medium bomber during World War II. These types of aircraft were generally twin engine, twin tailed, mid-wing land mono-planes. The B-25 was powered by two 1,700-hp Wright Cyclone engines and had a bomb capacity of around 5,000 pounds.

"The B-25 was also the primary combat aircraft that the 3rd Wing flew in Australia and Negaunee during World War II," Orr said.

During the war, the 3rd Wing stripped the plane of some of its bombing capabilities and added additional guns to the front and sides of the planes -- a decision at the time, which many believed would render the aircraft non-flyable.

"Billy Mitchell and the engineers said it wouldn't fly, it was too front heavy," Orr said. "But they proved him wrong. Basically what they did is fly in with six or seven forward firing. 50-caliber machineguns firing a spread of bullets at a ship, or whatever, and everyone would dive for cover.

"They came in 30 feet above the water. They came in very low and as they would fly over they would drop parachute bombs. The parachute would slow the bomb down so it would float in to the target. If they didn't do that, they were far enough down and close enough to the ground or the target that when it exploded they would be hit by the blast."

By the time they started coming out with the jets in the 50's the technology was progressing to a point where the pilots were getting less in touch with the plane, he said.
"Now it's all computerized," the historian said. "I've been told the pilots are still flying the plane, but there is a computer on board making adjustments all the time to keep the plane flat, level and flying."

The pilots would push up and it would go up but all the movements were controlled totally by the pilot, he said.

"Really the history is not these planes," Orr. said "The people who flew them made the history. What really is important is to spark the imagination of people -- not about the planes but about the people who flew the planes and who worked on the planes."

Thunderbirds perform during Arctic Thunder Open House

by JBER Public Affairs staff report

7/28/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- In 1947, while the jet age was still in its infancy, military aviation hurtled into the future with the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service. Six years later, on May 25, 1953, the Air Force's official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

The unit adopted the name "Thunderbirds," influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States where Luke Air Force Base is located. From these humble beginnings, the Air Force Thunderbird legend was born.

Air Force Capt. Lucas Buckley, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds maintenance officer, is a member of that legend, with a passion for using the aerial stunts and other performances to tell the Air Force story.

"I commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2004," said the maintenance officer, dubbed 'Thunderbird 11.' "I wanted to serve my country and the Air Force. [I wanted to pursue a career that] best suited my personality. I was afforded an AFROTC scholarship, which covered a large portion of my tuition costs; that was also a big factor for me while considering universities and military services to attend and join.

"As a kid, my Dad used to take me and my brothers to air shows around the Midwest," the native of Rosemount, Minn., said. "I had an opportunity to see the Thunderbirds on several occasions growing up, and it was an absolute inspiration for future military service. I joined the Thunderbirds to not only represent the hardworking and dedicated across our Air Force, but also to tell my story."

During the 2014 season, the team will spend more than 200 days on the road representing Airmen during its 59th year.

Last October, in an internal memo to military service chiefs, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed a continuing need to maintain military demonstration teams.

"Community and public outreach is a crucial departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States military and in its most important asset - people," Hagel asserted. "It is our obligation to sustain that trust well into the future."

Millions of people have witnessed the Thunderbirds demonstrations, and in turn, they've seen the pride, professionalism and dedication of hundreds of thousands of Airmen serving at home and abroad, Buckley said.

"Each public event or engagement is an opportunity for me to connect with moms, dads, and young people about opportunities that exist while serving our country," Thunderbird 11 said. "Being a member of the Thunderbird organization is a true honor for me, and I'm humbled to serve in the military in this capacity. It means I have the opportunity to showcase what military men and women around the world are doing for their country."
The Thunderbirds' performances will include an opportunity to get their autographs, a re-enlistment ceremony for more than 15 Airmen and Soldiers on July 25, a delayed enlistment ceremony for more than 50 recruits on July 26, and a recognition ceremony on July 27.

"Although the show we put on is a small picture of the Air Force, it is an avenue to begin the conversation with young people about the opportunities involved with military service," he said. "In short, we recruit, retain, and represent our Air Force."

Thunderbirds have the unique opportunity to tell the Air Force story to people who don't have regular contact with the military, he said.

"We are in a unique position to tell people the great things the Air Force is doing each and every day both training and executing the mission in contingency operations around the world," he said. "That interaction helps us recruit the next generation of American Airman that will join and continue to further the mission.

"Our goal is to communicate that the Air Force is a service of dedicated and professional Airmen. We have a little bit of excitement for everyone, whether you are interested in joining the Air Force or just want to know a little bit more about the service."

Each year brings another opportunity for the team to represent those who deserve the most credit: the everyday, hard-working Airmen serving America and defending freedom.
"Our entire team dedicates countless hours preparing themselves and our aircraft in order to make sure it's a safe show and exciting show to watch," he said. "We want to talk to you about your Air Force, so come on out and have a great time at the show."

ANG's Outstanding NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Douglas Matthews

by Senior Airman John E. Hillier
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs


7/28/2014 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- When you talk to Tech. Sgt. Douglas Matthews, a proud member of the Special Operations community, one concept quickly emerges: the Team.

Team members, team mission, team challenges and team accomplishments. Being part of a team is at the core of how Special Operations accomplishes their mission, not only on the battlefield, but in every facet of their jobs. For Matthews, the Air National Guard Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, and one of the twelve Air Force (active component) Outstanding Airmen of the Year, the complete team focus is a way of life.

Matthews is a combat controller with the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron at Portland Air National Guard Base. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in combat on Nov. 27, 2012 in Afghanistan. Matthews was injured in the battle, when an improvised explosive device was detonated under his vehicle, triggering a large-scale ambush on his patrol. Despite his exposed position, he coordinated close-air support against enemy forces.  He refused medical evacuation to remain and engaged the enemy with multiple air platforms, and allowed his team to break contact and return to base--remarkably with no loss of life.

The Silver Star is the nation's third-highest decoration for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.

Matthews refers to his job as being the team's guardian. "Combat controllers all have a sense of guardianship for the team. We take a lot of responsibility for them, doing everything we can. We're managing aircraft, looking around trying to give our teammates the best situational awareness of what's going on, on the battlefield."

Even during his year-long recovery, Matthews made every effort to be a good wingman to his team members who were still deployed.

"It can be pretty hard to leave that, to almost abandon those guys while they're still over there. You feel like it's your responsibility to help them out, to watch their back," he said. But there is no shortage of wingmen in a Guard unit, and the 125th lived up to that creed. "It takes a while to adjust, and it's a very different lifestyle. You rely heavy on the support of close friends and teammates at home who have shared those similar experiences," Matthews said.

After five years of active duty service, Matthews joined the Oregon Air National Guard in 2008 in order to continue his education while still serving the nation. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder.

"The combat control career field is small. There are only two units in the ANG. I wanted to go full-time to a university and the Oregon Air Guard allowed me to live wherever I wanted to and drill quarterly. I grew up in Colorado, so that's where I live. I wanted to still be able to serve in whatever capacity I could manage while still getting my degree."

Matthews has made physical fitness not only a lifestyle, but soon it will be his occupation as well. He is in the process of opening a cross training gym in the Boulder-Denver area. 

"I like the variety with the workouts. There's always something different you're doing; there's always something pushing you," said Matthews. "I like the community with [the sport]. It's a great social outlet." While military life means moves and deployments, Matthews says that he can easily find a wingman through fitness. "No matter where you move to, where you go, there's always some place you can easily meet people."

Even a professional wingman needs some solitude from time to time, and Matthews finds it by being outdoors.

"I have to be outdoors - I lose my mind if I'm cooped up inside somewhere," he said. "I love to go hiking. I grew up rafting a ton. I'm into amateur photography. It's almost therapeutic to grab the camera and go on a hike and take pictures of whatever things you see. I can do it by myself or with other people. It especially goes really well with the things that I like doing - being outdoors."

Whether he's serving in the Air National Guard, attending college courses, working out at the gym or enjoying the outdoors, Matthews shows that Guardsmen are always on mission for their country and their communities.

Healing through humanitarian assistance projects



by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs

7/28/2014 - BELIZE CITY, Belize  -- Three International Health Specialists and three non-governmental organization personnel are participating in a humanitarian assistance project in Belize from July 21-25, which encompasses the Global Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics Instructor and Provider Courses.

By participating in humanitarian assistance projects such as Global ALSO, U.S. military medical forces have an opportunity to broaden their experiences and support improvements for our partner nation medical professionals.

"Humanitarian assistance projects, such as Global ALSO, help to provide a clear understanding of the medical capabilities of our partner nations, and a chance to identify areas of improvement and ways to advance skills," said Capt. Ricardo Sequeria, Family Medicine Resident assigned to the 96th Medical Operations Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. "You get a chance to know them, to really build relationships, and to leave with a sense of collegiality."

Activities like these are designed to improve the quality of life of the civilian populace, while also promoting interoperability and coalition building with partner nation medical counterparts.

The need for the Global ALSO course came about during New Horizons Belize 2013 when a maternal health assessment was conducted across the regional hospital, clinics, and health posts. The observations from the assessment enhanced the course discussions the following week when 30 Belizean healthcare providers from around the country went to Dangriga, Belize to attend the two day Global ALSO Provider Course.

"The best part of humanitarian assistance projects is the ability to provide a gift to others in the form of better healthcare practices, improved communication skills, and overall service," said Dr. Robert K. Persons, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice.

Hagel Speaks With Ukraine’s New Defense Minister



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone today with Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement summarizing the call, Kirby said Hagel congratulated Heletey on his recent appointment and asked for his assessment of developments in Ukraine.

“Minister Heletey conveyed that despite steady progress by the Ukrainian military, the situation in eastern Ukraine continues to worsen,” Kirby said. The minister attributed the increasing levels of violence, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, to direct Russian support for separatists, he added.

Heletey expressed his nation's interest in additional security assistance from the United States, the press secretary said.

“Secretary Hagel assured him that the U.S. government will continue to review all such requests within a broad interagency process,” he added, beginning with discussions through the U.S. Embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

The two defense leaders exchanged mutual thanks for the level of defense cooperation between the United States and Ukraine, and pledged to continue developing the bilateral relationship, Kirby said.