Military News

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Million Gallon Man' fuels the mission

by Senior Airman Timothy Moore
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/25/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Regardless of the vehicle you operate, it requires fuel. For military vehicles passing through Ramstein Air Base, Germany, that fuel is often supplied by Airmen from the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and one Airman from the squadron went above and beyond to perform his mission.

Airman 1st Class Ben Hunter, 86th LRS fuel distribution operator, supplied more than one million gallons of fuel here in July.

"It was a personal goal," Hunter said. "I was challenged to it because it hasn't happened at Ramstein in two years. It happens more often in deployed locations. Some Airmen have tried to go for it, but usually only get close. I wanted to do something significant, so I did."

The feat is something significant as Hunter outperformed 86th LRS's top pumpers by approximately 600,000 gallons.

"The average is around 200,000 to 300,000 gallons a month for our top pumpers," said Tech. Sgt. Eric Groff, 86th LRS NCO in charge of fuel distribution. "For him to do that, he basically picked up the workload of three other individuals for the entire month."

Fuel distribution operators supply fuel to both aircraft and ground vehicles of varying sizes. The vehicles they service are used for transporting service members to and from deployed locations, enabling security forces personnel to patrol installations, taking patients back home to the U.S. and delivering humanitarian aid among other things.

The unit's control center tracks the fuel issued and helped Hunter keep track of his goal.

"People call me the 'Million Gallon Man'," Hunter said. "They like to poke fun at me, but not in a negative way. It's one of those things we don't see happen often; so when it happens, it's just fun to joke around about."

Though he and his fellow fuel distribution operators joke around about his impressive feat, Hunter is determined to stay humble and keep working hard.

"I'm happy to have accomplished a big goal, but it boils down to the fact that I was just doing my job," Hunter said. "Personally, I like to do things to the best of my ability. If I'm not, I'm not doing myself justice. I just want to do the job the best I can."
From a challenge, Hunter fortified himself to reach a personal goal, better himself in his career field and become the "Million Gallon Man."

Deployed Airmen conclude operations at Powidz AB, Poland

by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
USAFE/AFAFRICA Public Affairs


8/26/2014 - POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland  -- Airmen from the 37th Airlift Squadron performs their final flying operations at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 25, 2014.

For more than 75 Airmen deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, this was their home-away-from-home for 60 days.

"Throughout this deployment the Airmen here represented America's forward presence, postured alongside our proven, indispensable European partners," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Barry King II, 37th AS detachment commander at Powidz. "The visible support we bring to Europe allows us to strengthen our interoperability through regular combined training exercises."

During their time in Poland, Airmen honed their operational skills and worked together to ensure the C-130's were ready and able to conduct low-level flight training at improved and unimproved landing zones, as well as partner with U.S. Army and NATO Service members for cargo and personnel airdrops. Aircrews worked around-the-clock, generating 150 flying missions that accounted for more than 330 hours in the air.

"This has been a tremendous opportunity for our Airmen to demonstrate their shared commitment to peace and regional security, alongside our NATO partners," said King. "Since 2012, the 37th Airlift Squadron has held training events like this in Poland. We are proud and honored to continue the tradition."

Throughout the training, Airmen on the ground toiled tirelessly to ensure the Super Hercules was in prime working condition. Twenty-nine Airmen devoted countless maintenance hours to keeping an aircraft, which recently turned 60, in the air.

"At any given moment, a C-130 could be called anywhere in the world to take on any challenge presented to it," said 2nd Lt. Su Johnson, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron sortie support officer in charge. "Maintainers are ready anytime to ensure that plane is prepped, ready to go and capable of returning safely. We take our job very seriously."

Whether on the ground or in the air, Airmen deployed to Powidz had a unique opportunity to test their capabilities, while integrating themselves with Polish culture and traditions.

"Our time in Poland has afforded us a unique opportunity to conduct training focused on maintaining joint readiness, ensuring our collective security and protecting our global interests," said King. "The benefits of training with other nations in deployed locations, like Poland, far outweigh the benefits that come from training independently. The experience gained by our Airmen alone is absolutely essential to maintaining our commitment to a Europe that is whole, free and at peace."

America Visits Valparaiso on Maiden Transit



By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Scorza, USS America Public Affairs

VALPARAISO, Chile (NNS) -- The future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) arrived to Valparaiso, Chile for a scheduled port visit, Aug. 24.

America is currently on its maiden transit, "America visits the Americas," testing the ship's capabilities and strengnthening partnerships within the 4th Fleet area of responsibility.

During the visit, Sailors and Marines assigned to USS America and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) South will conduct bilateral exercises with the Chilean Navy, offer ship tours, host a reception for Chilean guests and distinguished officials, and participate in a local community relations project with a children's home in the area.

In addition, the ship's military and civilian crew will have the opportunity to experience the rich culture of this host nation and serve as goodwill ambassadors.

The ship has already completed port visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; transited the Strait of Magellan at the southernmost point of South America; and is scheduled to visit Peru before arriving to her San Diego homeport. During the transit, America has also conducted bilateral engagements with other valued partners in the area of responsibility such as Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tawara-class of amphibious assault ships. As the next generation "big-deck" amphibious ship, America is optimized for aviation, capable of supporting current and future aircraft such as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned Oct. 11 in San Francisco.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command / U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. Marine Forces South support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

US, Guatemalan Service Members Finish City Library Project



By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rafael Martie, Southern Partnership Station Public Affairs

PUERTO BARRIOS, Guatemala (NNS) -- U.S and Guatemalan service members supporting Southern Partnership Station 2014 (SPS-JHSV 14) finished renovating the Puerto Barrios city library, Aug. 22.

Over the last three weeks, U.S. Marine Corps 8th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB), 2nd Marine Logistics Group personnel, U.S. Navy Seabees from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 and Guatemalan army engineers painted the building, refurbished areas outside the library, replaced light fixtures, overhauled doors, upgraded the restrooms, repaired plumbing and improved electrical capacity.

The project also ended with a ribbon cutting ceremony at which civil and military authorities attended.

U.S. and Guatemalan personnel that supported the project did not go unnoticed with civil and military leaders from both countries thanking everyone involved in the project.

"This means a lot to me because I was a teacher for twenty-five years before I became mayor," said Jose Antonio Lopez Arevalo, the mayor of Puerto Barrios. "I am motivated to continue to improve on this educational treasure for our city after all the hard work our U.S. and Guatemalan military friends have put into it."

The city library also supports the community by providing a place to conduct research or for recreational purposes.

"The library felt abandoned for quite some time and it was very sad to see daily," said Puerto Barrios, a resident of Silvia Jannette. "The building is stunning now, but what really matters is that the U.S. and Guatemalan military folks did this for our young generation to have a place to pursue their educational needs."

The community around the library personally thanked all the service members involved and offered assistance to the team at the project site.

"I really enjoyed this project for two reasons: getting good work experience for our junior Marines and Sailors, and most importantly, leaving something behind that the community can come together and use," said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Garrett Burn, 8th ESB, 2nd Marine Logistics Group from Tacoma, Washington. "I have been grateful for the support we have received from the community."

U.S. personnel finished work on the library project and next week the Military Sealift Command Joint High-Speed Vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) will return to reload and transport service members to Honduras and continue the SPS-JHSV 14 mission.

SPS-JHSV 14 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

RUfit? A chaplain's journey

by Airman 1st Class Deana Heitzman
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/25/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- "I had to preach in body armor while everyone was told to stay low," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Donnette Boyd, 31st Fighter Wing chaplain, during a deployment to Iraq. "But instead of staying low, I chose to stand and preach because I said to myself, 'If something struck me right now, I know I was doing what I was called to do.'"

After stumbling into a Reserve Officer Training Corps class during college, Boyd would soon discover her calling to become an Air Force chaplain through a love of military history, which would lead her to enroll and commission into the Air Force in 1987.

During her upbringing, religion and church were not a part of her daily life; however, she became a strong believer after discovering how to pray on her own. Throughout college and her first few duty stations, she was still skeptical about religion.

"I grew up in a drug-infested, gang-infested neighborhood and one day I discovered the power of prayer," said Boyd. "The gangs didn't beat me up, I never got into drugs and I honestly believe God was the one who rescued me throughout every situation."

When Boyd was 26, she was given a choice.

"One day, I kept hearing the voice of God in my head," the chaplain explained. "I approached a 'Y' in the road of my life and was given the choice to serve him completely and keep my hand of protection from God, or live the life I was living. That day, I chose to serve him completely."

This was the first of three calls Boyd experienced during her road to chaplaincy.

Boyd explains the first calling when she was uncertain about how becoming a Christian would interfere with her social life and her ability to have fun.

"I didn't think you could have fun and be a Christian. I judged Christianity based off what I saw in other Christians. Looking back on my experiences, I have a lot more fun now than before."

Two years later, while Boyd was stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, she had her second calling.

"My second calling was into ministry," Boyd explained. "I kept having these vivid dreams about preaching, but no direction. My first thoughts were that I was nervous, scared and I am very shy in front of crowds. But then I thought, do I worry about man or do I listen to God?"

Boyd explained how she was determined to get a clear answer on what she needed to do, and if it wasn't right in front of her, she wasn't going to pursue it. She opened her Bible, opened it to a random page, and the verse she read had the word "minister" and she took that as a clear sign of confirmation.

Boyd then took her next step and began filling in teaching Bible study at a local church in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Six months later, she received her final call into chaplaincy.

"I remember one night I was praying, by myself, and said 'Lord, someday I want to become a full-time minister, I don't know how, but I do,' said Boyd. "I love serving in the Air Force but I also wanted to do ministry and I did not know how I to do both.

"'You should become a chaplain,' my husband said two days after I asked the Lord how I could become a full-time minister. He explained to me how I already preached, counseled people and gave out Bibles and did the job chaplains do, and I knew that was what I needed to do."

Four years later, Boyd returned to the Air Force as a chaplain and knew this was her calling.

Boyd comes to Aviano after serving various chaplain duties at eight different locations, including two deployed locations. Her position as the wing chaplain features her leading the chapel staff and is responsible for the wing commanders spiritual fitness program for Airmen and families.

Boyd plans to expand the family outreach ministry and to improve off base religious relationships and accommodations.

"For me, religion means one word--relationships," Boyd said. "Religion is about our relationship with God and how it should reflect on our relationship with others. We can't say we love God and don't love our fellow man.

"Looking back, I cannot imagine doing anything else. I can see that this is the path God put me on a long time ago."

Coast Guard Craft Fires Warning Shot at Iranian Dhow



By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2014 – A U.S. Coast Guard vessel operating in international waters in the Arabian Gulf fired today on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive move after the crew of the Iranian vessel trained a machine gun on the Americans with hostile intent.

A statement issued by the U.S Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said the incident occurred as the Coast Guard was conducting a routine maritime security operation. The American vessel fired a single shot at the dhow, but military officials said they did not know whether it hit the Iranian boat, which left the scene and did not communicate with the American crew. No U.S. personnel were reported injured.

The inflatable Coast Guard boat had been dispatched from the USCG Patrol Boat Monomoy to query the Iranian dhow, a common approach in the Arabian Gulf intended to improve maritime security in the region.

U.S. military rules of engagement state that unit commanders always have the inherent right and obligation to exercise unit self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent.

DoD: Russian Movements Further Increasing Tensions



By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2014 – Despite Russian claims of de-escalating tensions with Ukraine, their actions, including movement of heavy equipment across the border continues to increase tension, Defense Department spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren told Pentagon reporters today.

“We’ve seen columns of Russian heavy equipment flow from Russia into Ukraine for the last several weeks,” he said. “I can confirm that there have been numerous columns of Russian heavy equipment including tanks, armored personnel carriers, rocket launchers, air defense equipment and other heavy weapons.

“It’s very concerning,” Warren continued, “and again, we continue to call on the Russians to immediately stop supporting the Ukrainian separatists and begin working towards peaceful resolution.”

The colonel noted the largest column seen entering Ukraine “about two weeks ago” consisted of over 100 pieces of rolling stock which included tanks.

“I don’t have [an] exact breakdown of how many tanks, how many APCs, how many rocket launchers, but again, this is something that we’ve seen now for several weeks,” Warren said.

“[It] is an indication that the Russians are deeply involved in this separatist movement in Ukraine,” he added, “and that they are doing the exact opposite of what they claim they want which is to de-escalate the situation.”

In fact, Warren said, defense officials believe that the Russians’ efforts are increasing the tensions and escalating the situation.

“We’ve already reported that Russian artillery and rockets have fired from Russia into Ukraine in a clear violation of Ukraine sovereignty and a clear escalation of tensions there,” he said.

There have been weapon systems, he said, such as SA-11 missile, flowing into Ukraine as a part of the columns of military equipment.

“We first started seeing those SA-11s, I believe, [at] the beginning of last week,” Warren said.

The colonel noted the department generally believes these pieces of equipment are operated by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists, although it’s not entirely clear.

“So, again,” he said, “another indication of the Russians’ desire to escalate the situation to increase tensions and continue their support for the separatist movement in Ukraine.”

Missouri Air National Guard pilot reaches 1,000 flying-hour milestone in B-2 stealth bomber

by Tech. Sgt. Traci Payne
131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs


8/26/2014 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The landing gear touched down and the aircraft skimmed down the runway just as it had many times before. This time, though, a routine flying mission became a major achievement for the 131st Bomb Wing as well as a career milestone for Lt. Col. Ryan "Poacher" Bailey, a Missouri Air National Guardsman who surpassed 1,000 flying-hours in the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber here Saturday.

Bailey emphasized that the milestone is a direct reflection of far more than 1,000 hours of great maintenance by the ground crews.

"Today's flight is about the superb maintenance by Airmen in the 131st and 509th Bomb Wings," Bailey said. "It's really a 100,000-hour flight because it takes well over 100 hours of great maintenance for every flight hour."

Bailey said the average mission on the B-2 ranges from three to five hours, but some can last more than 24 hours. On Saturday's mission aboard the B-2 "Spirit of South Carolina," Bailey flew with Lt. Col. Tim Hale, 509th Bomb Wing Operations Group deputy commander, on a training sortie that covered three specific scenarios and conducted airborne mission transfer training.

"I've known Lt. Col. Bailey for ten years now and flown with him in both his active duty and Air National Guard capacity." said Hale, who achieved 1000 B-2 flying hours in April, "Given all of our previous projects, sorties, and deployments, I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to fly with a good friend during his milestone sortie."

The seamless integration of active duty and Missouri Air National Guard Airmen working together ensure the B-2 is always ready for action, Bailey said. In addition to pilots and mechanics, there is a "behind-the-scenes team" of aircrew flight records, combat crew communications, aircrew life support, and intelligence mission planners that work together to keep the mission successful

"It really does take a talented team to make this platform strike-ready for America--24/7," Bailey said. "It's the dedicated work of Airmen who do it right the first time and then check it again. That's what makes the jet so feared by our adversaries around the world."

There are only 20 B-2 Spirit stealth bombers in the United States Air Force fleet. Counting all statuses - actively flying, retired, and non-flying - there are only 330 pilots who have trained to fly the B-2. Only 43 of those pilots have ever reached 1000 or more B-2 flying hours. 15 actively fly the B-2, and currently seven are from the Missouri Air National Guard.

Col. Michael Pyburn, 131st Operations Group commander, who has over 1200 B-2 flying hours logged, explained the importance of the Guard's role in Total Force Integration. "One of the primary things we bring to TFI is stable, experienced, sage pilots, which is evidenced by the number of 1,000-hour pilots we have," Pyburn said.

Bailey stated that working alongside his Team Whiteman active duty counterparts is very rewarding.
"This place is full of great Americans who work really hard," Bailey said. "The 131st and 509th are really one team thanks to the leadership and commitment of a lot of Airmen."

Bailey, a 16-year veteran of the Air Force, spent nine years on active duty before he transferred to the 131st Bomb Wing, but recalled that his passion for aviation began in high school, where he learned to fly a Cessna 152, paying for lessons with money earned by mowing lawns.

"It is such a privilege to be part of the B-2 program," Bailey said. "It is the most feared and respected weapons system on the planet and it's great being part of this talented team that makes it happen."
Bailey said his parents always encouraged him when he was a child to follow his flying dreams and he credits much of his success to his supportive family.

"My wife Angie has been my number-one fan and our kids have supported me and learned that B-2 engine noise is really the 'the sound of freedom,'" he said.

Bailey joins current 1000-plus B-2 flying hour 131st Bomb Wing pilots Col. Michael Pyburn, Lt. Col. Rhett Binger, Lt. Col. Jared Kennish, Lt. Col. Timothy Rezac, Maj. John Avery, and Maj. Luke Jayne.

"As fun as today was, still my favorite job ever is getting to work with the Citizen Airmen of the 131st Operations Support Flight--they are truly America's best."

Hurlburt pilot receives Daedalian award

by By Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs


8/8/2014 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.  -- An MC-130H pilot received an Air Force-level award Aug. 7 at the 15th Special Operations Squadron auditorium here.

Maj. Jeffery Taylor earned the 2013 Daedalian Exceptional Pilot Award for exceptional courage and leadership in support of air operations throughout Afghanistan.

"The linage of the Daedalians goes all the way back to World War I. It started with pilots who took to the air for the first time in defense of freedom...our whole aim at doing this is to support military aviation," said retired Lt. Gen. Nick Kehoe, National Commander of the Order of the Daedalians.

"It's so important that we say thank you to our people and recognized them; it can be an award like this, it can be a simple thank you, it can be a plaque, it can be a number of things but we owe that to our people who do such a great job," said Kehoe.

From January to April of 2013, Taylor played an instrumental part in the overall success of the Combined Joint Special Operations in both air and ground, while deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

On one particular mission Taylor "worked in conjunction with his crew to simultaneously coordinate airspace, a surgical response team, a transload time and location with a helicopter assault force, facilitating the stabilization and life extension of a critically wounded patient," as stated in the citation.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if any other Talon crew were asked to go, they would execute it in the same fashion with the same precision and get it done," said Taylor. "We just happen to be in the right place at the right time. So this is really an award for the 15th SOS, it shows and highlights what we do on a day-in, day-out basis."

During his address to the audience, Taylor reminded his fellow Airmen of fallen comrades and to take time to remember them.

"I bring up [our fallen comrades] because what we do is dangerous, we all know that," he said. "I've talked to you about it and that's why we train a certain way. They were out on a training mission that went a little bit unplanned and they paid the ultimate sacrifice. So, be happy we've made it this far and that we've done great things for our nation."

Taylor added, "I'm honored to win this award, to me this is the highlight of my career and a highlight for the 15th SOS."