Military News

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Commander sets goals for Osan Air Base

by Senior Airman David Owsianka
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/11/2014 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- To help build momentum toward Team Osan-wide integration, Osan Air Base is standing up task forces around three goals to improve mission efficiency.

The three goals are to reduce alcohol abuse, achieve 80 percent of Airmen reaching excellent on the fitness test, and enable and inspire the members of Team Osan to complete 10,000 "service before self" volunteer hours per month.

"These goals are vital to mission effectiveness and the health, safety, resilience and morale of our Airmen and their families," said Lt. Col. Trent Davis, 51st Fighter Wing chaplain and task force organizer. "The commander's goals emphasize the unique needs of the base. Ensuring a healthier base populace is important to supporting mission accomplishment."

Alcohol abuse and alcohol related incidents can negatively impact careers, families and are a factor in far too many assaults, sexual assaults and suicides.

"A reduction in alcohol abuse ensures that Airmen are emotionally and physically fit for duty and able to meet their mission responsibilities so that our Wing is 'ready to fight tonight,'" Davis said. "It's vital to mission effectiveness and the health of our community that we seek to lower the abuse of alcohol."

Fitness helps Airmen stay healthy and keep up with the operations tempo at Osan.
The fitness center offers a multitude of different programs. There are programs such as intramural and varsity sports, yoga, Zumba and cross fit.

There are other avenues on Osan Airmen can receive help with fitness too, such as the Airman and Family Readiness Center, which provides ways to eat healthier and the base Medical Group, which teaches nutrition classes.

"Airmen at Osan must have the physical and emotional resilience to sustain them through frequent exercises and busy work loads," Davis said. "Each Airman is too important to our mission not to promote long term fitness and health."

Lastly, volunteering is an avenue Airmen can use to give back to the communities on and off base.

There are numerous organizations that provide volunteer opportunities for Airmen to become involved in throughout the base.

One organization Airmen can volunteer for is the Homeward Bound Osan Animal Shelter.
Volunteers will help care for animals that are abandoned, relinquished or stray. The volunteers help by walking and playing with the pets.

"I'm convinced that the overall goal is being healthier, whether it's a physically, spiritually, emotionally, ethically or morally healthier community, we are stronger when we are healthier," Davis said. "When we work towards that goal together, I believe that we are going to see improvement, and healthier and happier Airmen."

Reserve firefighters pay tribute to 9/11 comrades

by Senior Airman Krystin Trosper
507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


9/10/2014 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Firefighters from the 507th Civil Engineer Squadron participated in their 5th Annual Fire climb on Sept. 7 to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Inspired by firefighter cadets in Austin, Texas, members of the 507th Air Refueling Wing climbed the equivalent of 110 stories to commemorate the 343 firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center.

Members donned full firefighter gear and traded packs of equipment as they climbed up and down the fire-training tower at the end of Reserve Road. The packs contained hatchets, oxygen tanks, fire hoses and the U.S. flag. Emergency medical technicians kept time to ensure the firefighters participating could complete the 18 laps within 56 minutes, the amount of time it took the South Tower of the World Trade Center to collapse after it was struck by an airliner.

507th CES Assistant Chief of Operations Master Sgt. Adrain Smith says they are not only commemorating those killed during the Sept. 11 attacks, but also military personnel.
"Military members were not directly killed in the 9/11 attacks on the towers but many perished in subsequent battles as a result," Smith said at the end of the event.

The tribute held dual functions for the Airmen participating. In addition to paying tribute to the victims of the attacks, firefighters were able to mimic conditions that they may face during an emergency.

"We do our part and it also helps us stay in shape," said Staff Sgt. Chase Blair, firefighter for the 507th CES. "It helps us stay realistic and practical with what we may come across in real life."

Lt. Col. Patricia Pettine, the commander of the 507th CES, spoke praise of not only the firefighters under her command but other Airmen participating as well.

"This year, we opened the event to all members in the wing," Pettine said. "It was great to see such support from so many in the wing."

Even after the allotted time was up, Airmen continued to climb the stairs to complete the 110 stories.

"The family members are still living on," said Smith as he looked on. "We have not forgotten them, and we never will."

2001 graduate laid to rest at Academy

by Don Branum
Academy Spirit staff writer


9/9/2014 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- A 2001 Air Force Academy graduate and instructor pilot with the 49th Fighter Training Squadron was laid to rest at the Academy Cemetery Sept. 9.

Maj. Richard Schafer III, 35, was the chief of standardization and evaluation for the squadron at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.

Stephanie Taylor, Schafer's sister, lamented Schafer's passing during a eulogy service at the Cadet Chapel.

"If there was something I wanted to do, I'd send him first," she recalled fondly. "If he didn't get in trouble, great. If he did, it wasn't me."

Taylor said Schafer always wanted to be the very best at everything he did. She remembered him as a devoted father and loving husband. He and his wife, Ashley, were "high school sweethearts" who married at the Cadet Chapel after graduating from the Academy together.

"I'm going to miss him very much," Taylor said. "I know he touched a lot of your hearts, and he touched mine, too."

Schafer was born in Houston and grew up in Austin, Texas. He attended Bowie High School, where he started the school's junior ROTC program and played fullback for the Bulldogs, according to his obituary. He was assigned to Cadet Squadron 18 while he attended the Academy. After he graduated, he attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin AFB, Texas, graduating at the top of his 2002 class.

Schafer had nearly 2,400 flight hours, including 1,200 hours in T-38 Talon aircraft and 864 hours flying F-16 Fighting Falcons. He accumulated 445 combat flying hours supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom during deployments to Southwest Asia in 2004 and Balad Air Base, Iraq, in 2005.

Schafer died Aug. 31 when the privately owned plane he was flying crashed near Abilene Regional Airport in Texas. Also killed was his brother, Matthew Schafer. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Major Schafer's family as they cope with this painful tragedy," said Col. John Nichols, commander of the 14th Flying Training Wing at Columbus AFB, in a statement Sept. 3.

Schafer is survived by his wife and daughters, Avery and Rachel; his parents, Richard Schafer Jr. and Beth White Schafer; his sister Stephanie and her family; his sister-in-law, Victoria Schafer, and her sons; his parents-in-law, Ken and Cheryl Thornton; his sister-in-law, Amy Eskew, and her family; his grandfather, Richard Schafer Sr., and other relatives.

(Information compiled from 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs and staff reports.)

USNS Choctaw County Sails to Baltimore for Star-Spangled Banner Celebration



From Military Sealift Command Public Affairs

BALTIMORE (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's second joint high-speed vessel entered Baltimore's Inner Harbor yesterday with other Navy ships to celebrate the Star-Spangled Spectacular, the 200th anniversary of the poem penned by Francis Scott Key that later became the national anthem.

USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) sailed from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia, and hosted Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and other distinguished guests for the last leg of the voyage.

"The fact that Choctaw County is going to be one of the representatives of the Navy, showing the people of Baltimore and the people of America the new capabilities, showing them just how good our ships and our MSC mariners and our Sailors and Marines are, I think it's going to be wonderful," said Mabus.

The ship's 20,000-square foot mission bay holds a Riverine Patrol Boat, land-based vehicles, a diving chamber and a variety of other displays from Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard. These displays will be open to the public and media Sept. 11-14, noon to 5 p.m.

Choctaw County will also host 189 service members and their families, courtesy of the USO, to watch Saturday night's concert and fireworks from the ship.

Joint high-speed vessels are fast, flexible and maneuverable, and the planned class of 10 ships is designed to enable rapid intra-theater transport.

Mission bay spaces can quickly be reconfigured for multiple mission types, from humanitarian aid and disaster relief to safely delivering vehicles and personnel. The flight deck is certified for aircraft up to and including a CH-53 Super Stallion.

Although the ship's designated mission is for high-speed transport - 1,200 nautical miles at an average of 35 knots - other possible capabilities and missions are being explored for the JHSV class. These might include theater security cooperation, non-combatant evacuations and counter-illicit trafficking detection and monitoring.

The joint high-speed vessel class "brings all sorts of capabilities," said Mabus. "So it's one of these game-changing technologies and it's going to be important for a long time for the Navy.

C-17 treads into new territory

by Jet Fabara
412th Test Wing Public Affairs


9/10/2014 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As important as ailerons, rudders and elevators are to the fundamental movement of any aircraft in flight, its tires are equally important while moving on the ground.

Since August, the C-17 Global Reach Integrated Test Team at Edwards AFB has been putting the C-17's new Dunlop tires through the rigors of testing to ensure the aircraft's capability remains intact well into the future.

"The original tires for the C-17A were Michelins and they were tested and approved in the mid-90s. These first tires had no capability to retread a worn tire casing. Basically, they were a one-time only tire," said Michael Quinton, 773rd Test Squadron project engineer. "Now, the C-17A is testing new Dunlop tires in place of the current legacy Michelin tires. No performance increases to the aircraft are expected as a result of the new tires, but increased number of retreads to a single tire casing and corresponding cost savings are anticipated."

Since Dunlop Tire was selected as the supplier for the C-17 as the replacement tire, the tires still had to be tested thoroughly, according to Patrick Terry, 412th Test Support Squadron C-17 project manager.

"While structural integrity and load capability are tested in a laboratory, parameters such as wet-runway stopping distance and minimum aircraft turning radius have to be tested in the real world with a wet runway," Quinton said.

"Although the current testing does not include semi-prepared runways or terrain, the test involves a collection of vibration, skid, stability, structural and wet-and-dry runway takeoff and landing performance data, which will be provided to Boeing to assist in their certification effort," added Terry.

Quinton also noted that the biggest difference between both tires is the new tires incorporate tighter geometric tolerances that are designed to increase retreadability and have a new internal casing design.

In order to fulfill the tire test requirements, the C-17 team depended on the support of personnel from the 412th Operations Group, 412th Maintenance Group, the Wheel and Tire Shop, various engineers, pilots, loadmasters from the 418th Flight Test Squadron, Fire and Safety, Audio Visual support, including both Boeing and Dunlop personnel.

"The biggest challenges have been logistics and coordination of this large team, wind and temperature limitations, as well as scheduling exclusive use of the runway at early hours so we do not interfere with other flight test projects or programs executing simultaneously," Terry said. "In all, this requires an amazing team effort, which is typical of our work here at Edwards in order to execute a flawless test project."

So far the team has executed 27 of 50, or 54 percent, of the test points, according to Terry. Approximately 10 wet runway tests, several more landings and maintenance tow tests are on schedule until the end of September.

Distinguished Visitors from El Salvador visit USS America

By 1st Lt. Joshua Pena, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

FUTURE USS AMERICA, At Sea (NNS) -- The sounds of MV-22 Osprey engines roared in the background as the future amphibious assault ship future USS America (LHA 6) welcomed distinguished visitors from El Salvador aboard for a key leader engagement (KLE) Sept. 8.

The KLE consisted of a tour of the ship, a formal lunch with the ship's command and a leadership conference.

After coming aboard, guests, including U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte, Vice-President of El Salvador Oscar Ortiz, along with key Salvadoran military leaders, were escorted to a meet-and-greet with the ships leadership and crew.

"We only have a little time together," said Rear Adm. Frank L. Ponds, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3. "We are going to make valuable use of that time. We are going to show you the ship's capabilities, but what will impress you most are our Sailors and our Marines."

Ambassador Aponte expressed her gratitude and respect for the Marines and Sailors aboard, setting the tone for the rest of the visit.

"We are really happy to be here," said Ambassador Aponte. "This really is the United States at its finest, and I thank you for giving us the opportunity."

A tour was provided for the guests following the welcoming. The tour was made up of multiple static displays showcasing the assets and capabilities that the Marines of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South bring to the ship. The displays were manned by Marines who spoke about their gear and occupations.

"Today I explained infantry organic weapons systems," said LCpl. Matthew Petty, an assistant gunner with SPMAGTF-South, and a native of Leon, Iowa. "This was one of my favorites because of the vice president and higher-ups. It was very enlightening to be able to explain what we do and what we use."

The time aboard the ship was concluded with a leadership conference held in the ship's wardroom. The conference emphasized the importance of partnership between the U.S and El Salvador, specifically addressing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief concerns in the region.

"These missions are very difficult," Ponds said. "It takes a whole government as well as a community to make it work. It is about unity of effort. It is about relationships. It is about trust and transparency, and this is where it starts."

Captain Robert Hall Jr., commanding officer of America, spoke about the capabilities that the ship brings to our Salvadoran partners. Hall spoke about America's design as well as other ships that will accompany her in future missions.

"Our motto is 'prepared in war and in peace,'" said Hall. "This ship is very capable during war time, but it is also very capable during peace time in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions."

In addition to the ship's mechanical capabilities, the Marines and Sailors aboard play a major role in addressing HA/DR missions.

"The Navy and Marine Corps team off the coast comes with a great capability," said Lt. Col. Terence Connelly, executive officer of SPMAGTF-South. "Like the ship, we are prepared in peace and war. The primary operations that we support are those first-actions that help to relieve human suffering and bring humanity back to those who are affected."

The conference ended with words of gratitude and the exchanging of gifts between the two groups. The short visit from the distinguished guests was a reflection of the admiration that our have nations for each other.

"There are days that fill ones heart with pride," said Ambassador Aponte. "This is one of those days for me. I have pride in my people (The United States) extending a hand to Salvadorans telling them 'We are here!'"

America is now bound for her home port in San Diego. After five port visits, the ship possesses lasting relationships and memories from our partners in the region. The SPMAGTF is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, "America Visits the Americas." The transit has demonstrated the unparalleled capabilities that the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners.

GW 'Ultra' Sailors Complete ULTRA-S



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik, USS George Washington Public Affairs

WATERS NEAR GUAM (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed Unit Level Training Sustainment (ULTRA-S), Sept. 10.

Thirty-one Afloat Training Group (ATG) personnel came aboard the ship to evaluate the ship's training teams and watch standers by conducting a thorough review of the ship's material and administrative readiness to conduct training which included an assessment of the ship's ongoing training programs and watch team replacement plans.

"The entire crew was involved in the successful completion of the ship's evaluation that consisted of a plethora of drills and two general quarters, including a Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) drill that we did extremely well on," said Lt. Cmdr Nicholas Long, George Washington's training officer. "Among the many drills we completed, we did Combat System drills, Damage Control events, Weapons events and Security's antiterrorism force protection event."

ULTRA-S is a four-to-five-day annual graded event that concluded the Forward Deployed Naval Forces carrier Unit Level Training. ULTRA-S serves as the primary assessment event to ensure George Washington's standardization of Type Commander and Commander, Seventh Fleet requirements.

"We follow checklists and grade Sailors on their actions," said Lt. Ernesto Villanueva, an ATG member. "The week was very productive and the ship's crew was very cooperative. There is always room for improvement and we challenge Sailors to keep reading through training manuals and checklists to stay proficient."

ULTRA-S acts as the final evaluation period of George Washington's training cycle that began in March 2014, and consisted of five major training assessments.

"The training teams did a good job in previous assessments, and I believe it allowed us to be prepared for ULTRA-S," said Long. "The ship, as a whole, had excellent scores and a majority of our graded events were above 90%. Our success is a testament of the hard work and effort of the training teams, watch standers and the rest of the crew."

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.