Military News

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Air Force improves nuclear force manpower levels



By Maj. Eric Badger, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs 
Published August 07, 2014

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force will increase nuclear force manning at Air Force Global Strike Command missile and bomber wings beginning this fall, officials announced Aug. 7.

The Air Force will plus-up nuclear enterprise manning levels by hundreds of positions at select bases, with the first wave of Airmen expected to arrive through the next few assignment cycles.

As outlined by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, the manning plus-up is part of a broader series of measures and incentives designed to improve the culture and mission effectiveness of the service’s nuclear force.

“We’ve been saying that the nuclear enterprise is the number one mission, and the Air Force is putting its money where its mouth is,” James said. “We must show Airmen that there’s value in this mission by making the appropriate investments in people, weapon systems and infrastructure. The Air Force has worked and will continue to work to identify and rearrange funds to make important improvements within our missile and bomber forces.”

The wholesale changes being made in the nuclear enterprise are designed to empower Airmen, and ensure they have the resources they need for this priority mission, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command.

“We have great Airmen serving on our team and we owe it to them to make things better,” he said. “It’s important to recognize that we are just at the beginning of this process. Raising manning levels is one in a series of immediate changes.”

The increase in nuclear force manpower by installation is as follows:

Barksdale AFB, Louisiana: The 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB will gain 31 positions, filling jobs primarily in areas such as maintenance and munitions.

F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming: The 90th Missile Wing and 20th Air Force will gain 242 positions to improve manning primarily in the operations, maintenance and security forces career fields.

Malmstrom AFB, Montana: The 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB will gain 216 positions to improve manning primarily in the operations, maintenance and security forces career fields.

Minot AFB, North Dakota: Minot AFB will gain 303 positions. The 5th Bomb Wing host unit is expected to increase by 69 positions in areas including operations and maintenance. The 91st Missile Wing will grow by 234 positions. Those Airmen will primarily serve in jobs such as operations, maintenance and security forces.

Whiteman AFB, Missouri: The 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB will gain 56 positions, primarily filling jobs in the maintenance career field.

B-2 Spirits Conduct Routine Deployment to Andersen AFB

Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

8/7/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Three B-2 Spirit aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Aug. 7, 2014, to conduct familiarization training activities in the Pacific region.

This training deployment demonstrates continuing U.S. commitment to regular, global strategic bomber operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The bombers will be accompanied by 220 Airmen from Whiteman AFB.

Air Force Global Strike Command continues routine deployment of bombers to Andersen AFB, providing U.S. Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Pacific Command commanders global strike capability and extended deterrence against potential adversaries.

For more information, contact the PACAF Public Affairs office at 808-448-3291.

AFGSC commander reiterates, encourages FIP changes at Malmstrom

by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


8/6/2014 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, visited Malmstrom Air Force Base Aug. 4 to 6 to interact with Airmen and see the overall mission.

Focused on current Force Improvement Program initiative updates and to share his top priorities for the future of AFGSC, Wilson's comprehensive visit included meetings with wing leadership as well as a missile alert facility, Weapon's Storage Area and 341st Medical Group tour.

"In the 21st-century, a credible nuclear deterrent is still absolutely necessary, and the nuclear mission must remain the clear priority of Air Force leaders at all levels," Wilson said.

Wilson discussed the future of incentives and nuclear medals for Airmen deploying to the missile complex during a 341st Operations Group pre-departure briefing; internet access and other tangible items added to MAFs; the newly formed 20th Air Force Helicopter Operations Group at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and the Personnel Reliability Program.

"Strengthening the Air Force culture requires capitalizing on the diversity that has made our service so successful," Wilson said in an email to AFGSC Airmen. "We must leverage the full innovative potential in all of our Airmen. Every day our Airmen solve problems and overcome barriers to keep missiles on alert and get sorties in the air -- we must embrace their "can-do" attitude and capture what they've learned to improve our entire force."

Wilson reiterated to Wing One the necessity of listening to suggestions made by Airmen across AFGSC to keep improving the nuclear enterprise.

"What I see is a bunch of talented and smart people," Wilson said. "This whole [FIP] initiative is to listen to people doing the mission . . . and empowering them to do the mission."

McConnell member named 2013 CP Airman of the year

by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


8/6/2014 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- A member of Team McConnell was recognized as the Air Force's 2013 Command Post Airman of the Year.

Staff Sgt. Bryan Knehr, 22nd Air Refueling Wing senior controller, was shocked when he discovered that he was selected. Rather than accrediting his success to one year of excellent work performance, Knehr attributes his success to the first three years of his career, when his team helped to shape him as an Airman.

"It took the leadership and dedication of three senior NCO's who retired from the CP while I've been stationed here, the friendship and guidance of five NCO's who moved to other bases, and it also took the push and drive of four other Airman in my peer group here at McConnell," said Knehr.

As a command post Airman, Knehr relays vital information to base agencies, aircraft and the base commander. His mission-essential role requires him to constantly recertify his CP credentials.

During a Nuclear Operations Readiness Exercise last year, Knehr and his supervisor and mentor, Master Sgt. John Morris, were the only two Airmen to pass Emergency Action Test with 100 percent accuracy.

"As a senior airman, Bryan always worked at an NCO level and would continually strive to help others when they needed it," said Morris. "It did not surprise me at all that he won the award, he absolutely deserves it."

Knehr's devotion to his service extends beyond his work at McConnell. In October 2013, he voluntarily left on a nine-month deployment. He brought his best efforts with him, which earned him a monthly award and a quarterly award shortly after.

His overseas accomplishments amounted to something far beyond his expectations. On Christmas Day 2013, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, James Cody, gave him a call.

"To receive a call from the highest enlisted Airman, saying 'hey I heard that you've done a great job and I really appreciate your work,' that really helped to elevate my work ethic to a whole new level," said Khehr.

Throughout Knehr's success, one person has support him the whole way, his wife Alisha. Not only has she been by his side as a spouse, Bryan considers her to be 'stiff competition,' as she has won several wing-level awards herself.

"She may not admit it," said Bryan, "but there is absolutely a friendly completion going on between us. She motivates me to elevate my standards and has made living and succeeding easy for me."

From face-to-face meetings with mentors, an occasional opportunity to speak with Air Force leadership, to even a simple hug from his wife, Knehr said that he is grateful to have so much guidance from the people who push him to become a better Airman each day.

Command sponsorship benefits extended to same-sex spouses in Italy

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


8/7/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy  -- Command sponsorship will now be granted to same-sex spouses of U.S. service members and Department of Defense civilians assigned to Italy, allowing gay and lesbian civilian spouses access to base facilities and other benefits available to military spouses.

The sponsorship marks another historic installment in the campaign toward same-sex relationship equality in the military, as well as a special reunion for one Aviano Airman and her family.

Staff Sgt. Mishon Montgomery, Aviano Airman Leadership School instructor, met her future wife, Maria, when she was 18 years old while living in Pensacola, Fl. Staff Sgt. Montgomery enlisted in the Air Force in 2002, when the "Don't ask, don't tell" was still in effect. She describes the next ten years of her life as "living in the shadows."

"We were asked to do our jobs and keep our personal life in the dark," said Mishon. "I did the absolute best job I could and I did everything the Air Force asked of me because the Air Force was giving me a lot too."

In 2012, DADT was revoked and in 2013, the Defense of Marriage Act was considered unconstitutional and not only could same-sex Airmen declare their orientation publically, but the Air Force could now recognize their marriages as well.

"There were a lot of big changes, really fast," Montgomery. "When DADT was taken away, I was skeptical, but in my entire Air Force career, the Air Force gets it right for their people. I always kept faith that they would get this right too."

While stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl., in December, 2013, Mishon married Maria and assumed the responsibilities as a mother to Maria's four-year-old daughter, Ariana. Something, she says, is one of the most rewarding experiences in her life.

"My new-found family means everything to me - they are my foundation," said Mishon Montgomery. "That even falls into being a comprehensive Airman, having a foundation to fall upon when things get rough."

Then, Mishon faced a difficult and emotionally taxing decision. She was already accepted for a job at Airman Leadership School at Aviano, but that meant leaving her family behind.

"That was the first time I've had to make that kind of decision," said Staff Sgt. Montgomery. "Accept what the military was offering - my chance to give back to an organization that had given so much to me. Or, stay with my family in Florida."

She chose the latter and painfully bid farewell to her daughter, whom she left with a grandmother. Maria, on the other hand, followed her newlywed to Italy in hopes of securing a work visa to stay in the country long-term, which didn't recognize their marriage from a legal standpoint.

Prior to the sponsorship change, the Defense Department could not extend full benefits or command sponsorship to gay and lesbian families because of uncertainties regarding the status of forces agreement with Italy.

Among the most critical components for families is one that provides accompanying family members -- dependents -- exemptions from passport and visa regulations, allowing them to remain in country while the service members is stationed there. While spouses and families could often move to Italy with their service member without command sponsorship, they are left footing the bill for transportation, housing, passports and visa costs.

Maria applied for a work visa and began working in a non-appropriated funds position on base to stay together. But, their entire family still wasn't together.

On July 24, Mishon received the email that would change her whole situation for the better - the DoD and Italy came to an agreement that would recognize same-sex spouses as dependents under the SOFA agreement.

"We started the process immediately and I sent Maria back home to Florida to get everything situated so we could get her command sponsored and bring our daughter here," said Mishon. "I just needed to keep the faith that the Air Force would make things right and they came through for me and my family."

Now, Maria and Arianna are making their way to Aviano to live with their mother and wife as a family. Mishon hopes the command sponsorship goes through within the next month.

Face of Defense: Vehicle Mechanic Brings Passion to His Service



By Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock
386th Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 7, 2014 – What little boy doesn't like ripping apart his toys and making a mess of things? But the older most men get, the more expensive and fancier the toys become.

Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Moore, a vehicle mechanic with the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, is no exception. When it comes to tinkering and fixing things, he has a passion and curiosity for it all. Now, his toys are much bigger than they were when he was a boy, and they belong to the Air Force.

"Working on cars brings a sense of pride when you see what you've fixed," Moore said. "I recently replaced the engine in a truck. It took three days to take apart the entire vehicle, but it felt good to hear the engine fire up and to watch it drive away."

He said he likes to challenge himself and feels confident in his skills to try new projects and learn from them.

Moore grew up in Lebanon, Missouri, with his father after his parents divorced. He was 13, when he started working as a floor sweeper at a salvage yard. Throughout his teenage years, he spent his time working at his father's vehicle restoration shop, where he developed his skill for working on cars. In college, he worked as a mechanic at a major automotive business and continued to refine his maintenance skills.

"I went to college for two years, taking classes such as marine biology, science and other subjects, but I was really drawn to auto mechanics," said Moore, who is deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Moore said he decided to join the Air Force to continue his education, to travel, and to see the world while serving his country. "My grandfather, Peewee, served as a mail clerk in the Air Force and spent time in Germany," he said. “I felt it was a good way to give back.”

Moore said he lucked out when he was guaranteed a position in the Air Force as a vehicle mechanic.

"Growing up, I used to think the Air Force was cool," he said. "As a kid, you always aspire to be a pilot. But, when I got older, I had a new desire -- I wanted to work on cars. Since joining the Air Force, I've learned so much more about how vehicles run. Now, I get to work on large trucks and construction equipment that civil engineers operate."

Being in vehicle maintenance takes a lot of patience and anger management, Moore said. "Little things on the job that look or seem simple can test a mechanic's patience," he added. "What should be a quick fix can turn into an eight-hour project where everything that could go wrong has gone wrong."

Moore said he thoroughly enjoys his personal and professional life in Germany, and that he has found a great mentor in Air Force Master Sgt. Paul Bohn.

"When I first got to Germany, he was my shop foreman and made a lasting impression on my career," Moore said. "I only worked with him for a few months when I was a new airman. I made my share of mistakes, but he stood behind me through it all and he had faith in me."

Moore was promoted to senior airman below the zone -- earlier than his peers -- and he cited Bohn’s mentorship as a key factor in that achievement.

Operation PACANGEL 14-4 begins in Mongolia



8/7/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  --

The United States and Mongolia will conduct humanitarian assistance operations Aug. 11-16 as part of Operation Pacific Angel-Mongolia.

Operation PACANGEL is a total force, joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation led by Pacific Air Forces.  PACANGEL 2014 includes general health, dental, optometry, pediatrics, and engineering programs as well as various subject-matter expert exchanges.

Approximately 65 U.S. military members, along with local non-governmental organizations, and host nation military forces will conduct humanitarian assistance operations throughout Mongolia, as part of this operation.  PACANGEL enhances participating nations' humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.

Officially in its seventh year, PACANGEL supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments, non-governmental agencies and multilateral militaries in the respective region to provide medical, dental, optometry, and engineering assistance to their citizens.  This operation will be used to improve and build relationships in the event of future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. 

Rogers Lauds Retiring Defense Intelligence Agency Chief



By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2014 – Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is one of a select group of people who can say they made a positive change across an entire discipline, the director of the National Security Agency said during Flynn’s retirement ceremony at Joint Base Bolling-Anacostia here today.

“There are very few of us who can say that we have made a difference that spans an entire organization,” Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers said. “There are even fewer who can say that we have made a difference that spans an entire profession or discipline. And for intelligence, Mike has done just that.”

The general spent his career trying to effect change, Rogers said.

“Today, as we would say in the Navy, we watch pass over the side probably the most visible intelligence professional that we have generated within this department in the last 10 or 20 years, and it's not by chance,” he said. “It's because Mike was always willing to be out in front, to take the hard jobs, to drive change and remind all of us that it’s not about us, it’s about [executing] the mission and it’s about the men and women who make that execution possible.”

Flynn served as DIA director since July 2012, and his previous positions included assistant director of national intelligence and director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Central Command and Joint Special Operations Command.

Rogers credited his own success to Flynn’s desire to help his fellow service members.

“The thing I always respected the most about Mike is he's not about what was. He is always about what will be, what should be, what must be, and he has dedicated his professional life to that idea,” Rogers said. “I've watched it firsthand in my career. I have benefited from it firsthand. … I want to very publicly thank Mike Flynn, because I wouldn't be where I am today if he hadn't pushed to help me along in my career.”

As he concluded his 33-year military career, Flynn had advice for America.

“I believe that if the American people pay attention, then we get good government and we get good leadership,” the general said. “When we get lazy -- especially as a democracy -- and begin taking shortcuts, these can result in not only bad government, but weak institutions.”

A strong national defense is essential to the nation’s constitutional principles, he said, and those who serve in national security and national defense cannot allow themselves to ever take shortcuts.

“A strong defense is what will allow our nation continue for many, many more years. Centuries, if we are very lucky,” Flynn said. “But that luck will only come through hard work and sheer determination and not through some false sense of hope.”

Countless Americans have dedicated their lives to the nation in many different ways and no one should underestimate the resilience of the nation’s citizens, he said.

“When properly led, the generation of people who serve this country, or are willing to serve our nation -- especially our youngest generation -- will surprise us every time. … Despite all the negativity you hear, young people are still lining up to serve our nation,” Flynn said.

“They are still heading into recruiting stations around the country,” he continued. “They are joining ROTC or service academy programs. They are clamoring to go through [Officer Candidate School]. And they seek to serve in other ways, such as civilian professionals in our United States intelligence community.”

While they have different backgrounds and expectations, the general said, these young people all share the same desire to serve the nation. “And all they ask for is good, decent and honest leadership,” he added.

It may have become cliche to say that the nation faces more threats than at any other time in its history, he said, but there is a new intensity to conflicts around the world that will require those who face it to have physical, mental and intellectual courage.

“We as Americans have to understand what we do, and we have to understand who we are, better today than at any other time in our nation's history. … There is change occurring in the underlying colonial, societal and political landscapes that existed last century, and there are parts of the world that are being reborn right before our eyes,” he noted.

“Boundaries, at least distinctly drawn boundaries that nation-states might recognize, are evaporating or are being redrawn,” he said. “Is world peace even thinkable in our time? You know, I don't know. I don't know. But what I do know, and what I believe, as George Washington so eloquently stated, there is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be prepared to meet an enemy.”

Some may want to believe that everyone loves the United States, Flynn said, but he but there are nation-states and non-nation state threats that view America as the enemy. “And they do not like us, nor care for our way of life,” he added. “And they will work hard to take everything that we have from us.”

Flynn offered some parting words to the audience.

“As you walk away from my retirement ceremony today, if you consider anything that I say, it is that we had better be prepared for and ready and willing to use every fiber of our being to maintain the kind of life that we enjoy in this country,” he said.

The nation may not be able to avoid every threat it faces, he added, but it must be able to adapt to the threats it can’t avoid.

“Life is like surfing a wave,” Flynn said. “You can't change the way the surf breaks, but you can certainly change the way you ride it,” he said.