Military News

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Face of Defense: Soldiers Train for Expert Field Medical Badge



By Army Sgt. Cody Barber
Kosovo Force

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo, Aug. 19, 2014 – Practice makes perfect, and for six Multinational Battle Group-East soldiers, they will need all the practice they can get for one of the most rigorous tests military medical professionals can endure.

The soldiers participated in a full-scale training event for the U.S. Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge here, Aug. 9-10, before heading to Grafenwoehr, Germany, to experience the real event.

The EFMB is a badge of distinction for medical personnel, and the test to earn the badge is a difficult one to pass. Army Capt. Ashley Bradley, a nurse with the 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade, hopes going through this training beforehand will prepare her for what lies ahead.

“This train-up before the real thing is very beneficial because it has helped me identify some of my weaknesses,” Bradley said. “Some of things I thought I could just jump out there and do, but that’s not the case.”

On the first day, soldiers conducted a day and night land navigation course, treated and extracted casualties from a vehicle, reacted to direct and indirect fire and called in an aerial medical evacuation.

The second day continued to test their mental and physical skills, with a written test and a full lane of simulated casualties with various injuries, each of which had to be treated and evacuated within a certain time limit.

“For a lot of the candidates it’s their first time going through the EFMB,” said Army Staff Sgt. Erik Serrato, a preventive medicine specialist and an EFMB badge holder. “We wanted to give them a realistic feel of how the lanes are going to be in Germany.”

“The lanes were set up to EFMB standards and are to test against each task,” said Serrato, who hails from Santa Rosa, Texas. “We wanted to test them under pressure and test their knowledge.”

Bradley said it is a privilege to have an opportunity to earn the badge, and she said she can’t wait to get to Germany to give it a try.

“I think the badge is a very prestigious thing to earn, especially in my field of work,” Bradley said. “It’s a great accomplishment to earn because it’s hard.”

Work: Guam is Strategic Hub to Asia-Pacific Rebalance



By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

APRA HARBOR, Guam, Aug. 19, 2014 – Guam, because of its military bases, Army anti-ballistic missile system and location 3,300 miles west of Hawaii is an increasingly important strategic hub for the U.S. Asia-Pacific rebalance, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said today.

Work’s visit here was part of a seven-day trip that began with an Aug. 17 stop in Hawaii and will include visits this week with officials and military leaders in South Korea and Japan.

Today the deputy secretary met with Gov. Eddie Calvo, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, Guam’s delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, and local U.S. military commanders.

Work also spent time touring defense facilities, observing progress on the Marine Corps Air Combat Element infrastructure, facilities under construction at the Andersen Air Force Base north ramp, and several projects at Apra Harbor, Guam’s major seaport.

Work also addressed 100 Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard service members, taking questions and photographs and handing out challenge coins from his office.

“As the undersecretary of the Navy,” he told them, referring to his 2009-2013 term in that office, “I was here when we first started thinking about rebalancing to the Pacific.

He added, “We didn't call it that at the time, but Guam has always been a central part of our plans. Certainly a central part of the Navy's plans but now a central part of the entire Department of Defense's plans.”

Guam, an island 36 miles long and 12 miles across at its widest point, has a warm and humid tropical marine climate and military installations that are some of the most strategically important U.S. bases in the Pacific.

In 2009, Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base on Guam were merged into Joint Region Marianas.

Naval Base Guam itself is a consolidated Navy installation with components around the island. The base is home of Commander Naval Forces Marianas, Commander Submarine Squadron FIFTEEN, Coast Guard Sector Guam, and Naval Special Warfare Unit One.

The base supports 28 other tenant commands and is the home base of three Los Angeles class submarines and to dozens of units operating in support of U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Seventh Fleet and Fifth Fleet.

The host unit at Andersen Air Force Base is the 36th Wing, a nonflying wing whose mission is to support deployed air and space forces of USAF and foreign air forces to Andersen, and support tenant units assigned to the base.

At the troop talk, Work explained the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific as a rebalancing of military forces, a strengthening of alliances and a way to boost the region’s economic power.

“We're going to have 60 percent of the Navy out in the Pacific and we're going to have 60 percent of our combat air forces out in the Pacific,” he said. “But it's not just about military things.

“It's about strengthening our alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia,” Work continued, “and our other partners in the region. A lot of people forget about that -- they just … start to count ships [and] airplanes.”

The other part of the rebalance involves an initiative called the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, he said, a proposed regional free-trade agreement now being negotiated by participating countries.

“This is a big trade pact that, if we're able to swing it, is going to make a big difference for a lot of Americans and an awful lot of Asians,” Work said. “It will be one of the biggest trade pacts we've ever had.”

One issue that affects the defense build-up on Guam is the eight-year-old effort to relocate a large number of Marines from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam, a senior defense official traveling with Work said.

The original plan called for 8,000 Marines to relocate from Okinawa to Guam, plus as many as 9,000 family members, by 2014, for a cost that ranged from $10 billion to $18 billion.

In 2012, what had been called the U.S.-Japan Realignment Roadmap was modified through influence of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the senior defense official, the same number of Marines would now come off Okinawa but only 5,000 would go to Guam, with others going to Australia and Hawaii.

“We also reorganized into a more operationally relevant posture, what's called a Marine Air-Ground Task Force -- MAGTF. So we'll have something like a special MAGTF in Australia, a MAGTF in Guam, a MAGTF in Hawaii, a super MAGTF in Okinawa, meaning a MAGTF plus the [Marine Expeditionary Force] headquarters,” he explained.

Many of the units will be rotational and the operational nature of the deployment will reduce the number of family members that need housing, the official said, adding that the environmental impacts and costs also are significantly reduced.

“Our estimate now is $8.7 billion to do the move … and it will probably take until 2025 to finish, the official said. “And we certainly have gotten much broader support across the spectrum in Guam for this smaller footprint.”

Work explained the realignment in another way to the troops here.

“As far as the Asia-Pacific goes, Marines are being distributed around the Pacific -- 5,000 Marines are going to come here to Guam, 2,500 Marines are going to Australia, some Marines are going back to Hawaii [and] about 3,500 Marines are going up to Iwakuni, [Japan],” the deputy secretary said.

The Army will be active in the Asia-Pacific too, he said, noting that seven of the world’s largest armies are in the Asia-Pacific region, and soldiers would be good at contributing to training capacity building in the region.

Another part of the defense buildup on Guam began in April 2013, when arrangements began to move a ballistic missile defense system called a terminal high-altitude area defense battery, or THAAD, and soldiers to run the system, onto Andersen Air Force Base.

Threats from North Korea prompted the move, which because of the limited number of THAAD systems yet built was said to be temporary. But the senior defense official said Gov. Calvo and Rep. Bordallo have publicly asked that the system be kept on the island permanently.

Task Force Talon coordinates the system, combining THAAD, military police and communications in a joint working environment with the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base and the Joint Region Marianas Headquarters on Guam. The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command provides mission command of Task Force Talon.

THAAD is a land-based element that can shoot down a ballistic missile inside and just outside the atmosphere. It uses hit-to-kill technology; kinetic rather than explosive energy destroys the incoming warhead.

Back with the troops, Work answered questions about the defense leadership, Iraq, and the effects of budget constraints on training and force structure.

The deputy secretary also shared stories about his own time as a Marine, and then expressed much he appreciated the dedication of service personnel.

“Thank you,” he said, “for serving in what I consider to be the greatest military the United States has ever put on the field.”

AFSOUTH strengthens space ties with partner nations

by Jessica Casserly
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs


8/19/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Three officers from the Dominican Republic, Peruvian and Brazilian militaries partnered with U.S. Air Force active duty and guard members at Davis-Monthan for a rare opportunity to work collectively on the space component of PANAMAX 2014, Aug. 8-15.

This was the third year that partner nation participants took part in the space element of PANAMAX, an annual U.S. Southern Command sponsored exercise, which focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal. Though each partner nation participant brought varying levels of space-related experience to the exercise, this unique partnership allowed representatives of each country to broaden their understanding of the role of space programs within exercises and real world missions.

Lt. Col. Trae York, Director of Space Forces, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), led the space component of the exercise for the second year in a row during PANAMAX 2014 and knows how valuable the information collected through space programs can be when leaders are making mission-related decisions.

"I have to coordinate across all of the divisions within the [Air and Space Operations Center], all of the directorates within the [Air Force Forces] staff and then all of the components within [Multi-National Force South], as well as the staff at headquarters [during exercises like this]," York said. "So, I have relationships across all those boards."

During normal operations, York runs the Space Forces directorate at 12th AF (AFSOUTH) single-handedly, but this exercise gave him the opportunity to train and exchange ideas with his partner nation counterparts, many of whom are just starting to operate within the space realm.

"The Brazilians have the beginnings of a space program," York said. "The Peruvian and Dominican Republic [militaries] do not have pace programs within their air forces, right now. The Peruvians are looking to build one within the next few years."

While the partner nations had different levels of experience with space capabilities and programs, York said the knowledge and training they were exposed to during PANAMAX 2014 will be a valuable resource for each partner nation representative, as they consider or solidify their own country's space program.

"I think that the partner nations, by getting exposure to this [exercise], can go back [to their countries] and they can understand some of the political and strategic level discussions about going into space," York said. "Space enables our missions, it can enable their missions and it's accessible by them. The price points and the barriers to entering the space domain are dropping significantly, which is going to allow more countries, more of our partner nations, to take advantage of the space-based capabilities that are an advantage for them."

In addition to sharing information, York believes opportunities like this empower the U.S. to establish strong bonds with partner nations, which can prove invaluable in the future.

"I learned a little bit about each of their countries' space visions," York said. "But more than that, more importantly than that, what I gained is trust and confidence with [our partner nation participants]. So, I know if there's ever any type of incident where they need assistance or we need assistance from [their air forces] that is space related who to call and they know who to call. I think that is really the best thing."

RED FLAG-Alaska: Ensuring aircrew equipment

by Staff Sgt. Chad Strohmeyer
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/18/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The responsibility of handling, issuing and maintaining millions of dollars of equipment is one entrusted to Airmen who are tasked with the preservation of aircrew flight equipment that might one day save a life.

AFE specialists are relied on heavily by aircrew members throughout the Air Force, and that reliance is on display during Exercise RED FLAG-Alaska.

"All Yokota aircrew personnel depend on me to ensure their equipment is working at optimal performance," said Senior Airman Katie Powell, 374th Operations Support Squadron AFE specialist. "I spend hours testing and inspecting every piece of gear that walks out the door."

In addition to the individual aircrew equipment she deals with, Powell is also responsible for several pieces of gear on the aircraft.

"Before every flight, I inspect the oxygen and flotation equipment and emergency personnel parachutes," Powell said. "If there is a malfunction of any kind, that can waste vital flight time or cancel the flight altogether."

The hours aren't easy either. AFE specialists must arrive before the aircrew in order to inspect the gear before the sortie.

"Most of my days at RED FLAG-Alaska begin at 3 a.m.," Powell said. "Aircrew members have their crew briefs earlier than usual during exercises and require AFE assistance before they leave for the aircraft."

This being Powell's first RED FLAG exercise, she understands the importance of her role.

"This is an amazing opportunity for me as an AFE specialist," she said. "Given that I am the only AFE from Yokota, I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I am definitely up for the challenge."

82 F-16Ds removed from flight status due to longeron cracks

8/19/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- U.S. Air Force officials recently removed 82 two-seat F-16D Fighting Falcons from flight status due to the discovery of canopy sill longeron cracks found between the front and rear pilot seats.

The cracks were discovered following an immediate action time compliance technical order, or TCTO, to inspect all F-16D due to initial structural cracks discovered during post-mission flight inspections.

Following the TCTO, individual F-16 units conducted inspections on the Air Force's 157 F-16Ds to ensure the structural integrity of the aircraft and pilot safety. As of Aug. 18, all aircraft have been inspected. Eighty-two were found to have cracks; the remaining 75 aircraft have been returned to flight status. The other F-16 variants were not affected.

The Air Force F-16 Systems Program Office and Lockheed Martin engineers are analyzing the F-16 structure and developing repair procedures to allow aircraft with cracks to resume operations for a limited number of flight hours while analysis continues on a permanent fix.

"As aircraft accumulate flight hours, cracks develop due to fatigue from sustained operations," said Lt. Col. Steve Grotjohn, the deputy chief of the Weapon System Division. "Fortunately, we have a robust maintenance, inspection and structural integrity program to discover and repair deficiencies as they occur."

The Air Force is working with its F-16D operational units to mitigate the impact on operations, training and readiness. Programmed flying training and F-16 pilot graduation impacts will depend on the number and timing of aircraft returned to service. Subject matter experts are considering multiple courses of action to mitigate these delays.

The F-16D fleet, the two-seat variant of the F-16 primarily used for training, is on average 24 years old with more than 5,500 hours of flight time. There are a total of 969 F-16s of all variants in the Air Force.

MHAFB remembers AF Medal of Honor recipient retired Col. Bernard 'Bernie' Fisher

by Staff Reports
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2014 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 366th Fighter Wing mourns the loss of a fellow Airman, longtime Idaho resident and true American hero. Air Force Medal of Honor recipient retired Col. Bernard Fisher passed away Aug. 16.

In 1967, then Maj. Fisher became the first living Air Force Medal of Honor winner when he was presented the medal at a White House Ceremony by then President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was presented the medal for risking his own life above and beyond the call of duty to save a fellow pilot who had been shot down at A Shau Air Base during the battle of A Shau Valley, March 10, 1966.

"We pause to remember the life and legacy of an American Hero," said Col. David Iverson, 366th Fighter Wing commander. "Bernie's life is an inspiration to those who met him and to all Airmen who will continue to hear his story. The men and women of Mountain Home Air Force Base were blessed to have a special relationship with Col. Fisher. He visited and mentored Airmen on numerous occasions, sharing his philosophy and leadership advice. We are truly honored to have had him as part of the Gunfighter family and our heritage. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Fisher family during this time."

Fisher, who was born in San Bernadino, Calif., on January 11, 1927, grew up in Clearfield, Utah, and first called Kuna, Idaho, home after his discharge from the U.S. Navy V-6 program in 1946. Fisher attended Boise Junior College from 1947 to 1949 and then transferred to the University of Utah where he participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and would receive his commission.

His first operational assignment was with the 42nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron (later re-designated the 63rd FIS), out of O'Hare Field, Chicago, flying F-86D Saberjets.

In December 1955, Fisher was assigned to Chitose Air Base, Japan, where he flew with the 339th FIS. After completion of Interceptor Controller School in 1958, he was assigned to the 801st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, as a Weapons Controller. In February 1961, he was reassigned to the 29th FIS where he flew F-101B Voodoos.

In May 1963, Fisher was assigned to the 319th FIS, Homestead AFB, Florida, where he flew the F-104 Starfighter. It was during this assignment that he volunteered for duty in Vietnam to fly the A-1E Skyraider.

Fisher arrived in Vietnam in July 1965. While assigned to the 1st Air Commando Squadron at Pleiku, South Vietnam, he received nationwide publicity for his actions during the battle of A Shau Valley in which he rescued a downed pilot by landing his A-1E Skyraider on a shrapnel-ridden runway and under heavy ground fire.

In 1968, Fisher was transferred to Bitburg Air Base, Germany, and subsequently assumed command of the 525th FIS. Later he became the Operations Officer of the 87th FIS in Duluth, Minn.

Fisher arrived at the 124th Fighter Interceptor Group (ANG), in Boise in July 1971 and retired from this assignment July 30, 1974, making Kuna his permanent home.

Funeral services will be held Monday, Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints East Stake Center, 8625 South Linder Road, in Kuna. Viewings will be Sunday, Aug. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Monday, Aug. 25 from 9 to 9:45 a.m. at the same location. Internment for Fisher, 87, will be held Monday, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. during a final resting service at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.

JBPHH youth process mock deployment line

by Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Youth at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam recently got a chance to walk a mile in their parents' boots during Operation Hele On, a mock deployment line intended to help children understand the process parents go through before a deployment.

Hele On, which is Hawaiian for "ready to go," is an annual event hosted by the Military Family Support Center to help youth understand the difficulties associated with real-world deployments and military exercises and increase the children's understanding of deployment related issues.

Uteka Knapp, Operation Hele On coordinator, said the process also helps relieve some of the negative issues children face when a parent deploys such as depression, lack of motivation or isolation.

"This gives the kids a real experience, but makes it fun for them so thinking of deployments is not so scary," she said. "It's hard at this age group because many of the kids feel they don't have anyone to talk to."

More than 130 children attended the full day event which included an intelligence briefing, mobility bag pickup, obstacle course, drill competition, combat arms training and a C-17 static tour.

The obstacle course was a favorite of Madison Helbis, 12, who said the event was both fun and educational.

"I really liked it," she said. "I learned a lot about how my dad gets ready for a deployment."

Future Airman Cooper Reynolds, 10, said he most enjoyed learning about the different career paths available in the Air Force, specifically, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight.

"I think I understand more about deployments now, but I had the most fun at EOD and learning about ordnance," he said.

In addition to the MFSC staff, many active-duty members and parents volunteered to ensure the operation was a success.

Though Staff Sgt. Isabel Ochoa Jr., Pacific Air Forces A3 operations controller, doesn't have kids he said he volunteered simply because he enjoys working with kids.

"I thought this would be a great opportunity to sharpen my MTI skills and have fun with the kids at the same time," he said. "I had a phenomenal time. Yes, the kids know about the military through their parents, but today they got to see it for themselves from a different perspective. Granted this was not a real deployment or basic training environment, but it at least gave them a taste of what their parents do."

Seven days in the grave: A Sailor's survival

by Staff Sgt. Derek VanHorn
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2014 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- He was just four days away from a trip home to surprise his mom and dad for Christmas in McMinnville, Tenn. -- his small hometown buried in the state's rolling foothills. He had planned the trip secretly with the help of his brother, and they laughed on the phone together a few hours before his life took a terrifying turn for the worst.

"Everything I did that day was so totally routine ... that's what blows my mind," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Clint Medley. "The next thing I know I'm waking up in a hospital."

That was seven days later -- seven days after his heart stopped beating for 11 minutes and seven days after nearly choking to death on his own vomit.

"The whole week is a blank for me," Medley said.

Medley doesn't remember going to the gym the day it happened. He was an avid runner who worked out for fun. The gym was the last place he imagined he would challenge death face-to-face.

But what Medley doesn't remember, Senior Airman Christian Silva does.

Silva threw on some workout clothes and headed to lift weights before working the night shift. As an aerospace medical technician, he was scheduled to report to the base hospital for a routine shift at 6 p.m.

In what might be considered a lucky twist of fate, Silva's trip to the gym turned from a trip of leisure to one of heroism, even though he'd humbly tell you otherwise. While walking into the gym, he ran into a friend, Cory Greise, and they discussed what they were each going to work out that day.

"Because of that conversation, he knew where to find me," Silva said. "I guess that was lucky."

A lot of things were lucky that day, and only minutes later, Silva heard Greise's screaming voice from across the gym.

"Silva, get over here!" Greise yelled, waving him in his direction.

Silva sprinted to the adjacent cardio room and immediately saw Medley lying lifeless and unconscious on the gym's cold floor. As a panicked crowd surrounded him, only confusion filled the air.

"I asked around and no one knew what happened; they only saw him collapse," he said.

Silva tapped Medley's shoulders and talked to him, desperate for a sign of life.

"There was no response," Silva said. "I noticed he had no pulse and wasn't breathing, so I asked for an Automated External Defibrillator."

Silva instantaneously began performing CPR as a Japanese national helped apply the AED pads, allowing Silva to continue chest compressions uninterrupted. After three rounds of CPR, the AED advised a shock and Silva gave it.

"His body just kind of jolted," Silva said, "so, I continued CPR and giving mouth-to-mouth breaths."

Just as the AED was advising a second shock, the 35th Medical Group's Urgent Care Center team arrived. Silva administered the shock and then set up an oxygen and pocket mask while Airman 1st Class Coley Kicklighter started a round of chest compressions.

"The UCC Airmen did what they do best -- O2, long spine board, suction," Silva said. "Everyone was moving like machines."

Despite their feverous efforts, Silva and his team were still unable to get a pulse. Silva relentlessly administered CPR and applied a third shock to Medley. By this time, hope was dwindling fast -- it had been minutes since anyone had seen a movement out of Medley.

"Finally, he gasped," Silva said. "I don't know about anyone else, but damn I was relieved."

Medley unconsciously panted for air as firefighters briskly tossed aside treadmills and cardio machines to clear the path to the ambulance. Meanwhile, Silva again instinctively snapped into action and assumed driving duties, bringing Medley and two assisting technicians to the UCC, where a Code Blue -- warning of a patient requiring immediate resuscitation -- had already been alerted.

"They were ready for us," Silva said. "We handed him off and knew they'd take good care of him."

The first person to receive Medley was Maj. Jay Fedorowicz, a 35th MDG surgeon who specializes in procedures in the head and neck region. Fedorowicz is prudent and passionate, and was overwhelmingly the perfect man for the job.

"He was really the second person to save my life," Medley thought back, shaking his head in gratitude.

As Medley was in route, all Fedorowicz was told was that a patient dropped to the floor, didn't have a heartbeat and was coming soon.

"And when he showed up, he was having seizures and vomiting," he said.

Fedorowicz said Medley didn't have enough oxygen cycling to his brain, and that the complications forced him to make a rare medical move. By this time, Medley's face was purple and lifeless.

"He was dead already," Fedorowicz said, "so, my next move was to cut his throat -- I had to cut open his neck ... that's the last resort."

What Fedorowicz was forced to perform was called a cricothyrotomy, where he executed a vertical incision on the skin of the neck just below Medley's "Adam's apple," and then another transverse incision in the cricothyroid membrane so he could insert a tube into this opening, creating a pathway for breathing.

It was the second time in Fedorowicz's career he's performed it, a rarity in itself. He said most surgeons probably won't perform a single one their entire lifetime.

"I put the tube in and started to resuscitate him," he continued. "He was fortunate -- God was with him, and he came back."

But coming "back" was only minor respite for the medical staff; it merely meant Medley wouldn't die in their presence. Fedorowicz knew Medley was without oxygen for an extended period of time and had a long fight ahead of him.

"I really didn't think he was going to survive," Fedorowicz conceded. "I thought he was going to be brain-dead ... it was totally out of our control."

With all the signs looking grim, no one really knew what would happen next. Medley was transported to a local, larger hospital in the Japanese city of Hachinohe, where doctors could do nothing but hope and wait. Then finally, out of nowhere, after more than 150 hours of lifeless, assisted breathing and the evaporation nearly 20 pounds, Medley came back to life.

"I just woke up and asked for a new pillow," Medley smiled. "I remember asking in Japanese for the nurse to please exchange my pillow -- the old one was really uncomfortable.

"The look on the nurse's face ... she just looked surprised and asked if I knew Japanese," he said.

Medley had studied Japanese since arriving at Misawa, and it paid off at the most opportune time.

"They were surprised I made it," Medley said of the nurses, "but, they knew my brain had survived, because I was speaking a second language."

The Hachinohe nurses weren't the only ones taken back, and it took Fedorowicz a moment to process the news, as only a week earlier he'd witnessed Medley in a deteriorating condition.

"They called me and said 'your patient is ready to go home,'" Fedorowicz said. "I replied, 'what do you mean he's ready to go home!?' That was the moment I knew everything was going to be fine."

In the end, doctors called it cardiac arrest and have since administered dozens of tests with more to come. Medley's heart stopped beating for four minutes and seven minutes at separate times, and he said most medics who treated him that week told him they thought he was dead. He's also not sure how his brain fought through the trauma, but he couldn't be more thankful it did.

It's been eight months since the 8-year veteran cheated death, and not a day goes by where he doesn't reflect on his second chance.

"Every day is such a precious, unrepeatable gift," Medley said. "If there are things going wrong in your life, tomorrow is another chance to fix it."

Take it from someone who's been there. He knows he never could have made it without the selfless help of others and often finds himself at a literal loss for words when trying to express his gratitude. He's since moved on from his days of working launch and recovery of Navy aircraft after being medically separated, and with the help of a defibrillator, continues to grow stronger every day, always cognizant of his past.

"I used to worry about such little, insignificant and irrelevant things," Medley said. "Now I just do the best I can at everything I do and pray about it every day."

No one will ever know what was going through Medley's head amidst all the chaos, and he says he doesn't want to remember. Instead, he says he's focused on the future - one made possible by a team of complete professionals who were cool under pressure.

"I never wondered if he was going to survive," Silva said. "I was just focused on what my hands were doing and repeating in my head what step I needed to take next."

Fedorowicz echoed the sentiment, praising the team atmosphere of Misawa's medical team.

"Our job is to save lives; this is nothing uncommon," Fedorowicz said. "This is what we do in our training. I didn't do this alone -- I could never have done this alone. We have a team here that pulled together and saved his life."

Medley eventually made it back to Misawa after a few trips across the globe visiting medical centers for further testing, but there was one reunion he couldn't wait for, one that truly came from the heart.

"The first time I talked to Silva, I was trying to talk through a breathing mask, so I don't even know if he heard me," Medley said. "But I told him 'thank you so much for what you did for me; from this moment until the day I die, I will never forget you.'"

It probably won't be a surprise this time around, but Medley doesn't care -- this year, he'll be home for Christmas. And if things go as expected, he'll have another reason to celebrate life, as he and his girlfriend are set to have a baby boy in December.

As Medley welcomes new life into the world, it only felt right to pay tribute to the person who helped save his own.

He already has his son's name picked out -- he'll call him Christian.

Team Seymour, local community team up to test accident response

by Airman 1st Class Shawna L. Keyes
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2014 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base partnered with Goldsboro and Wayne County first responders for a two-day, major accident and response exercise Aug 15 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

The exercise was an annual requirement designed to test the effectiveness of both the base and local authorities to a military incident in the Goldsboro area.

"It's important for the base and local community to become familiar with working cooperatively should an incident occur," said Sean Quinby, 4th Civil Engineer Squadron fire chief. "Exercises like this help train our first responders on the processes and procedures they will need to implement."

For the scenario, Airmen and local authorities responded to a simulated KC-135R Stratotanker crash less than two miles from the base, resulting in more than 45 simulated injuries and deaths.

On the first day of the exercise, responders were notified of the event and quickly arrived on scene. The 4th Security Forces Squadron coordinated their efforts with Goldsboro and Wayne County authorities to secure the area. Soon after, Airmen assigned to the 4th Medical Group helped identify severely injured members for transport to Wayne Memorial Hospital.

To make the training more realistic, base personnel acted as victims and wore special makeup, or moulage, to simulate life-like injuries. The victims were provided notecards to help responders verify the injuries. The notecards, much like a script, also outlined what the victims were supposed to say and do to maximize the realism of their injuries.

Base firefighters with the 4th CES worked with their local counterparts at the Wayne County Office of Emergency Services to extinguish the simulated fire that engulfed the aircraft and help medics treat the wounded.

"Should an aircraft crash off the installation, it's vital for the base and the local community to work together seamlessly," said Master Sgt. Garrett Faust, 4th Fighter Wing exercise planner and inspector. "The ability to work together will determine how well an actual emergency would be handled."

Quinby described the collaboration between the base and Goldsboro and Wayne County first responders as one of the best he's seen during his tenure at Seymour Johnson AFB.

"I've been at Seymour Johnson for nearly 13 years now, and this is the best coordination I've seen between on-base to off-base organizations yet," Quinby said.

Following the initial response, members of the 4th Force Support Squadron's crash recovery team accomplished a grid search to help the installation's safety investigation team find any items that would identify the cause of the crash.

The second day of the exercise tested the installations ability to deal with the aftermath of the crash, dealing mainly with cleanup of debris and identifying environmental impact.

"Seymour Johnson Airmen were given a very complex scenario," said Maj. Michael Kelly, 4th Fighter Wing Inspector General inspections chief. "The performance and collaboration between the players in the exercise was excellent. Because of the outstanding effort during the planning, executing and debriefing of this exercise, Team Seymour and Wayne Country are better prepared to respond to a variety of contingencies."

USAFE Airmen begin training with Bulgarian counterparts

by Senior Airman Hailey Haux
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs


8/19/2014 - PLOVDIV, Bulgaria -- More than 180 Airmen from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, and 12 F-15C Eagles flew to Graf Ignatievo Air Base, near Plovdiv, Bulgaria, to participate in a bilateral training event, Thracian Eagle 2014, Aug. 18-Sep. 1.

Pilots from the 493rd Fighter Squadron, maintainers and a mixture of other professions, including Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, are in Bulgaria to improve joint readiness and reassure regional allies and partners.

"We are here to demonstrate our commitment and resolve to our NATO partners," said Lt. Col. John Stratton, 493rd FS commander. "Conducting these bilateral training events helps us strengthen our relationships and improve capabilities."

The number one expectation is to conduct bilateral flying operations like professional aviators and gain a better understanding of each other's capabilities and limitations, continued Stratton.

"We are going to fly and work together to exchange experience and improve interoperability between our two countries," said Bulgarian Brig. Gen. Ivan Lalov, Graf Ignatievo Air Base commander during an opening ceremony. "As the commander, it is my pleasure to welcome you. I wish all of you successful training and safe flights. Let our exercise begin!"

Airmen benefit from streamlined uniform process

by Capt. Meghan Liemburg-Archer
403rd Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2014 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The Kentucky Logistics Operations Center is a distribution center that the 403rd Wing began using in February to issue and replace uniforms, reducing wait times from six months to three days.

Enlisted members returning from a break in service or with torn or stained uniforms can contact their unit clothing monitors to order airman battle uniforms (ABUs), blues, physical training uniforms and boots.

The Air Force Reserve Command's adoption of the KYLOC system for uniforms is allowing the wing to get personnel the uniforms they need when they need them, said Maj. Daniel Johnson, the 403rd Logistic Readiness Squadron senior air reserve technician.

"We can now fulfill quick turn requirements that we couldn't fulfil before," he said.
Not only will members receive new uniforms quickly, they will receive ABUs that are color matched with rank, nametag and U.S. Air Force tag already sewn in place.

KYLOC was originally created by the Air National Guard to streamline parts, equipment and uniform distribution. AFRC realized the potential of the system to improve uniform distribution for the Reserve and tested it on several bases, bringing it online command-wide in February.

KYLOC is improving readiness throughout AFRC and although is too new to the Air Force Reserve to analyze the benefits, the Naval Reserve estimates annual savings of $1.2 million with this program.

Editor's note: Capt. Liemburg-Archer is an individual mobilization augmentee performing annual tour with the 403rd Wing from the Air Force Reserve Command.

Two Special Tactics Airmen among Air Force’s 12 OAY for 2014

by 1st Lt Jerred Moon
24th Special Operations Wing

8/5/2014 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Two members of the Air Force Special Tactics community were selected as two of the service's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2014, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced July 10.

Master Sgt. Delorean Sheridan, a combat controller assigned to the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, N.C., and Tech Sgt. Doug Matthews, a combat controller assigned to the Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron in Portland, Ore., were named in the announcement.

An Air Force selection board at AFPC considered 35 nominees who represented major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Headquarters Air Force. The board selected 12 Airmen based on superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements.

Both Sheridan and Matthews received Silver Star Medals in 2013 for exceptional valor they displayed during separate conflicts with the enemy while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.

The recipients of the award are authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year ribbon with the bronze service star device on the ribbon. They are also authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year badge for one year from the date of formal presentation.

Thirteen Special Tactics Airmen earned this honor since Sept. 11, 2001 and 25 total since the birth of Special Tactics on Dec. 22, 1976.

With six Air Force Crosses and 31 Silver Stars, the Special Tactics community is the most highly decorated community in the Air Force dating back to the end of the Vietnam War.

NMCB-133 Takes Charge of Camp Covington



By Shaina Santos, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 turned over duties to NMCB-133 during a change of charge ceremony at Camp Covington on U.S. Naval Base Guam Aug. 15.

Capt. James Meyer, commodore of 30th Naval Construction Regiment, served as the keynote speaker during the ceremony and commended NMCB-1 for an outstanding deployment.

"Without a doubt, your work here on Guam and your support of the Pacific region have been critical in supporting our nation's strategic interests," he said. "Your work has built upon our rich Seabee legacy and you should all reflect on that and be proud of what you have accomplished."

Lt. Travis Brinkman, officer in charge of NMCB-1, said he is incredibly proud of the accomplishments they made during their deployment to Guam.

"We started off with a team of sixty that came to maintain and own a camp that was built for six hundred personnel, a very challenging task," he said. "Even mid-deployment, when we received a supplemental force, it still really gave us the opportunity to just start digging in. [It] really makes us ready to support in the defense of the region and take care of the big Navy's mission abroad. [I'm] going home very proud."

Brinkman said he was appreciative of the invaluable training his team received during their deployment to Guam that improved upon their mission readiness.

"Deploying here to Camp Covington is a tremendous asset to us," he said. "We spend homeport honing our skills, learning new ones and advancing our training, but it's not until you come forward and deploy to locations such as this that we have the opportunity to execute the lessons we've learned. Through coming here, executing the mission, getting our hands on the equipment and getting familiar with it, honing our construction skills and really executing solid tasking and good work both for Naval Base Guam as well as PACOM (Pacific Command) in general really sets us up for success when the bell calls and we have to move forward in support of other operations."

Lt. Cmdr. Luke Cowley, officer in charge of NMCB-133, said his team is looking forward to working on numerous projects and improving upon their skills while on island.

"Me and NMCB-133 are very excited to be here and grateful for the opportunity to serve here on Guam and to continue the legacy the Seabees have here," he said.

NMCB-1 returns home to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi.