Military News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Island firefighters learn rescue skills in joint course

by By Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wilson
36th Wing Public Affairs


9/18/2014 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Department of Defense firefighters on Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam joined with their island partners from the Guam Fire Department to develop the skills to perform high-risk rescues by participating in the DOD Rescue Technician course this month.

Thirteen military and civilian fire fighter students from Andersen, Naval Base Guam and the Guam Fire Department participated in the three-week course taught by instructors from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron, said Stanley Torres, Andersen Fire and Emergency Services chief of training.

"This is higher echelon training," he said. "It's one of the hardest courses we have in the fire fighter community, and there are usually students who have to washout due to the academic and physical requirements."

The 554th RHS instructors are firefighters assigned to the Silver Flag course at the Pacific Regional Training Center at Northwest Field. Silver Flag is a civil engineering course designed to use multiple Air Force specialties to operate from austere expeditionary environments.

"We teach at Silver Flag, but we also are a mobile training team where we teach this specific course to military members across the Pacific," said Staff Sgt. Nathan Milan, one of three RHS instructors teaching the course. "It's not a required course for firefighters so we focus primarily on training the best candidates possible (because of the difficulty and washout rates)."

The course features intensive classroom work on procedures for rescuing victims at elevated environments and in closed spaces, he said. Because of the highly specialized nature of the course, graduating fire fighters become instant assets to incident commanders, responding to emergencies where a person could be injured or stranded at a hard to reach point.

Milan used construction workers as an example.

"We could have a guy working up on the tower get stranded and tangled up in a line," he said. "You need someone with the training to perform that kind of rescue." 

Having all of the firefighters on the island qualified on these difficult rescue techniques would be ideal, but it's not realistic due to training limitations, Torres said.

"We want all of our firefighters to get this training but it's so highly specialized and we can't teach it anywhere, we need skilled instructors," Torres said. "The best opportunity for them to get it is when they're young in their career."

Firefighters who complete the course bring first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience in the event of real-world operations and can provide on-scene commanders an invaluable resource, Torres said.

"When they come back to their station after completing the course and we respond to an incident in an elevated or confined space if someone is injured, our guys at the direction of the incident commander, are trained to do all of these skills," he said. "When the incident commander says 'let's get it done,' we get it done -- our job is to save lives."

Modernization of US nuclear forces not optional

by Airman 1st Class Joseph Raatz
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs


9/18/2014 - WASHINGTON -- The dire need for modernization of the United States' nuclear forces was made clear by speakers at a strategic nuclear enterprise symposium held here, Sept. 18.

The annual symposium, sponsored by the Minot Chamber of Commerce's Task Force 21, brings together defense officials, government executives and civic leaders to discuss strategic force structure and modernization.

"We're here to share thoughts about the current state of, and the way forward for the nuclear strategic deterrent enterprise." said Mark Jantzer, Task Force 21 chairman. Much of the discussion during the symposium centered around the need for modernization of U.S. nuclear forces.

"As we look forward, I think that our modernization programs are absolutely essential." said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. "I'm paraphrasing the Chief [of Staff of the Air Force,] but it's time for us to become the nuclear force that our nation needs us to be, not the nuclear force we used to be."

"You don't want them to have to be the person to walk into the Oval Office in 2025 or 2028 or 2030 and say 'Mr. or Madam President, I'm so sorry but we just aren't able to neutralize that threat to America,'" said Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration assistant chief of staff. "We have to convince the American people, folks in our government and folks in our own military of the incredible relevancy of a nuclear deterrent today and in the future... Unless we do that, it's going to be much more difficult to give these great Airmen, and these great Sailors and those that will follow, the tools they will need to defend America in the coming decades."

One such modernization program spoken about at length during the symposium was the upcoming Long Range Strike Bomber.

The LRS-B is one of the Air Force's top acquisition priorities, Wilson explained. Of the current U.S. nuclear-capable bombers, the last B-52 came off the line in 1962 and the B-2 just turned 25. If The U.S. is to be able to continue holding any target at risk, anywhere in the world, it's going to need a bomber capable of penetrating whatever advanced air defense systems America's adversaries can come up with in the foreseeable future.

Other current modernization efforts discussed included the Long Range Standoff Missile as well as upgrades for the Minuteman III ICBM and its eventual replacement program, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent. "[The GBSD] is a key program as we move forward," Wilson said. "The Minuteman III was designed in the 1960s and it's been on alert since 1973. We have to replace that missile."

"Earlier this year we completed a very thorough and detailed analysis of alternatives, and we plan to modernize the ground-based leg of the triad," said Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, commander of 20th Air Force and Task Force 214. "This will not simply be a service life extension program, but a comprehensive effort that leverages useful Minuteman infrastructure and prioritizes needed upgrades. The process captured the requirements and required capabilities to ensure a very capable and secure GBSD follows the Minuteman III."

A replacement for the current Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine was also discussed.

"Both Russia and the People's Republic of China currently have new models of ballistic missile submarines in the water and are testing new sea-based ballistic missiles," said Rear Adm. Joe Tofalo, director of the Navy's Undersea Warfare Division. "You cannot say that about the United States."

The Ohio-class was originally designed with a service life of 30 years, but due to budget constraints the retirement of the class has been delayed until 2031 -- 20 years past its original expected retirement.

"For the foreseeable future, certainly for our and our children's and our grandchildren's lifetimes, the United States will require a safe, secure and effective strategic nuclear deterrent," Tofalo said. "The ballistic nuclear submarine forces are and will continue to be a critical part of that deterrent... Each of the legs of the triad brings unique strengths that provide a strong deterrent against different classes of adversary threat, and each of the legs reinforces the effectiveness of the others."

In his keynote address, Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, discussed components beyond the triad that support the nuclear enterprise.

"Strategic deterrence is more than just the triad of platforms," Haney said. "It includes robust and agile intelligence capabilities, dedicated space and ground sensors that provide critical early warning and assured national nuclear command, control and communications to move that information. [Deterrence] also includes sustaining the necessary infrastructure to support our nuclear roles, missions and weapons; maintaining missile defenses to defend against attacks and providing relevant space and cyberspace capabilities.

"All these areas are interrelated and we must leverage our capabilities and assess today's threats in an integrated manner to ensure strategic stability," the admiral continued. "In a world where our traditional adversaries are modernizing, emerging adversaries are maturing and non-state actors remain elusive and dangerous, we must get 21st century deterrence right... the reality is that an effective modernized nuclear deterrent force is needed now more than ever."

No-notice exercise demonstrates Misawa readiness

by Airman Jordyn Rucker
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/17/2014 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Misawa Airmen responded to a no-notice recall Sept. 15, 2014, as part of exercise Beverly Sunrise 14-08.

This base-wide response demonstrated to Col. Timothy Sundvall, 35th Fighter Wing commander, how quickly the Airmen under his command could generate aircraft and relocate them and personnel to a deployed location.

"[Base leadership is] looking for exactly how long it takes us to generate aircraft and be ready to fight," said Capt. Austin Brown, 35th Operations Group deputy chief of standards and evaluations.

Beverly Sunrise 14-08 brought new challenges to the wing, being the first no-notice deployment exercise where jets were flown to an actual temporary duty location.

"Today is unique in that we are actually taking those planes to a deployed location -- it's a little deeper than we normally go," Brown said.

But before the first jet hit the skies, members of the 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit ensured the aircraft were mission-ready by checking screws, turning wrenches and reviewing technical orders.

Airman 1st Class Mitchell Gibson, 13th AMU weapons load crew member, viewed this exercise as a way to make sure his team is fully capable of fulfilling their duties.

"We know what we're doing and how to do it, and today we proved we can accomplish it in the time they give us," Gibson said.

These quick-turn exercises are a true reflection of what is expected of members of the 35th FW when it comes to being ready to support the Air Force mission.

"The Air Force is counting on the 35th Fighter Wing to be ready to execute multiple missions in different locations throughout the world at all times," Brown said. "This exercise shows we are able to respond to situations in different regions throughout the world -- our maintainers, pilots and aircraft are reliable and ready to go."

35th MDG hosts bilateral medical job shadow program

by Tech. Sgt. April Quintanilla
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/17/2014 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Recently, the 35th Medical Group hosted a job shadow program for Japanese medical students from Hirosaki University in Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

Held every summer for the past 13 years, the program provided seven days of on-the-job learning with professional Misawa physicians for the Japanese students.

Upon their arrival, students learned about American patient privacy and safety and were given a tour of the base's medical treatment facility. Throughout the program, the students rotated between different sections of the clinic to include pediatrics, the operating room and the urgent care clinic.

One Japanese student, Marie Ohara, an aspiring surgeon, received a crash course in American operating room procedures from U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Young, 35th Surgical Operations Squadron general surgeon.

"One thing I liked was the use of the physician assistants and nurse practitioners; it allowed the doctor to be more engaged and focused on the patient," said Ohara. "Japanese hospitals don't have PAs or Nurses; the doctors have to do everything themselves, and it leaves little time to spend with the patient."

Ohara is in her third year of medical school.

"I learned a lot from the shadow program, and I am going to encourage other students to attend next summer," she said. "I would like to thank the 35th MDG personnel for allowing us to participate in the program."

With another successful program down, the captain is already looking forward to the future.

"The students were very well educated and eager to learn," Young said . "It will be nice to do this again next year; they were pleasing to have around."

Army mechanic builds monster RV on military surplus chassis

by Jeremiah Erickson
JBER Public Affairs


9/18/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- What happens when you cross a 1967 Kaiser M46A2 deuce-and-a-half truck with a skilled Army wheeled-vehicle mechanic? You get the ultimate "zombie proof," all-terrain, fully self-contained recreational vehicle.

A little more than two years ago, Sgt. Ryan Ronning of the 109th Transportation Company embarked on a project that would meld his military occupational specialty, love of the outdoors and interest in "doomsday prepping" into an RV that would conquer the rugged Alaska terrain and stand the test of time.

Ronning, a native of Lapine, Oregon, said he and his wife liked the idea of RVing and thought it would be a great idea and test of his skills to build their own. With orders from Fort Sill, Oklahoma to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the timing was right.
He sought out and found the perfect starter vehicle on eBay, traded one of their current vehicles for it, and got right to work.

The truck had been a mobile command post for the Department of the Interior; he started by tearing out the desks and tables that were mounted in the back.

With an initial $17,000 investment in the truck, three solid months of nights and weekends tearing down, designing and re-building his deuce from the inside out, and approximately $20,000 in other materials, the build was complete.

"I had a lot of help from my best friend, Christopher Smith, who also had a heavy-duty forklift available to assist," he said. "He gave up a lot of his spare time and weekends to help."

"We went overboard on interior insulation and built the living quarters structurally as solid as a house," Ronning said. "As we were building, we planned for practicality and comfort. It came together better than I thought."

Although carpentry and electrical work were outside of his MOS, Ronning used multiple resources such as books, magazines, websites and blogs to aid in the construction of his home on wheels.

He also hired a contractor to guide him with the design and to ensure all electrical and plumbing work was certified to building codes.

With a 1,600-watt electric heater, roof-mounted air conditioner, full-sized refrigerator and freezer, twelve-gallon water heater, microwave, convection toaster oven, cook top and sink in the kitchen, along with a fully stocked pantry, LED lighting, plenty of storage, as well as a full bathroom, one would think you were standing inside an efficiency apartment versus an off-road vehicle.

He also installed a hidden gun safe in the floor, just in case. "The living area is roughly eighteen feet long with all of the comforts of a small home," said Ronning.

All the utilities in the camper run on electricity and with a bank of four absorbent glass-mat type batteries, a 4,500-watt gasoline generator and wiring in the roof ready for solar panels, a person could live "off the grid" indefinitely.

Ronning's wife, who works as an executive chef in the Lower 48, spent some time at JBER in the RV, but didn't make it a full time commitment. "Two people - if they really love each other - are very comfortable.  There is only a single bed," Ronning said.
He lived in it for the first year until he deployed to Afghanistan. Now he stays in the barracks.

When it comes to the rebuilding, modifying and maintaining the truck's engine and mechanical systems, Ronning is right at home; his wheeled vehicle mechanic training kicks in.

Recently he installed a new six-cylinder Hercules multi-fuel engine. "It will run on diesel, kerosene, used motor oil, transmission fluid and gasoline when mixed with any of the other fuel sources," Ronning said.

"Although the engine runs best on diesel, I am currently running it on used motor oil, and am getting ten miles per gallon while still achieving full power."

To round out the exterior mods, including the re-building of a ten-thousand pound winch, the installation of a custom LED light bar on the roof of the cab and LED headlights, Ronning built a custom, removable storage rack mounted to the back of the rig.

The rack contains four large tough-boxes and eight five-gallon fuel cans and includes a folding ladder to access storage areas and the roof.

"Since the M36 was originally equipped with a full-time four-wheel drive system and no power steering, I removed the factory wheel hubs and installed manual locking hubs so they can be disengaged to allow for more maneuverability," he said.

"The deuce is just fun to drive, I get a lot of looks out on the road and receive a lot of interest from veterans when I show up at the VFW and have even had a few people ask if they can take photos in front of it," Ronning said. "Everybody loves it."

To make driving his deuce more comfortable and enjoyable, he completely stripped and re-built the interior of the truck's cab, painting it with truck bed lining on the floor and metal surfaces, and installed sound-proof insulation in the roof.

He also installed a custom overhead console containing a stereo system, four speakers and additional monitoring gauges and completed the mod with set of fully adjustable bucket seats obtained free from a late-model Chevy Silverado pickup.
The biggest challenge of this undertaking was getting the 44,600 pound vehicle from Oklahoma to Alaska, he said.

Not wanting to drive his newly renovated deuce the entire 3,800-plus miles, he put it on a trailer. Then he realized he had to remove the wheels in order to make it low enough to fit under highway over-passes. Making the trip during December was no help.

On one long, lonely stretch of road in Canada, all of the filling stations were closed for the season. "I went through 35 gallons of fuel in my truck, all eight five-gallon cans-of diesel stored on the deuce as well as all the fuel in the deuce itself before I finally found an open station."

The last hundred miles of the trip proved to be the most challenging.

"Just south of Sutton, there is a particularly steep and sketchy section of roadway with steep declines and hair-pin turns. The road was icy. Near the bottom of the steepest hill with the tightest turn, my brakes went out. At one point I even contemplated running into a road grader that was near the bottom just to get stopped.

"However, I decided to ride it out, and by some white-knuckle miracle, I made it through. I parked at a turnout area at the bottom and stayed there for two hours, just shaking."

Would Ronning recommend anyone else to take on a build as ambitious as his?
"A few months ago I would have said yes, it has been an awesome experience.  However, with new EPA rules and regulations restricting the sale of surplus military vehicles, prices are going to go up at least 50 percent. But, given the opportunity, I'd do it all over again."

With slightly more than a year and a half remaining of his tour at JBER, Ronning is already thinking about how he is going to get his rig back to the Lower 48.

"I might just put it on the ferry and pick it up in Washington," he said. "From there, I'll drive it to Oregon and store it back home."

In the meantime, he said he plans to enjoy his Alaska experiences in his "zombie proofed" deuce-and-a-half and can sleep restfully in the knowledge that if he did indeed have to bug-out, he has the perfect vehicle and dwelling that will get him out - and sustain him indefinitely.

CMSAF Binnicker shares stories, knowledge with Airmen during visit

by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez
15th Wing Public Affairs


9/16/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Before attending the Pacific Air Forces 67th Birthday Ball as the special guest speaker Sept. 13, 2014, Chief Master Sgt. (ret) James C. Binnicker, the ninth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, spent several days touring PACAF and the 15th Wing to speak with Airmen about past and present Air Force topics.

Binnicker, now the president and CEO of the Air Force Enlisted Village, spoke on a variety of issues including force shaping, service traditions, workplace equality and changes in the Air Force since his retirement in 1990.

While discussing force shaping in the Air Force, Binnicker stressed the importance of working smarter with less people.

"You often hear people say, 'do more with less,' but we know that doesn't work," he said. "You should be working smarter with less, and we'll be able to do that with technology and smarter, more capable Airmen."

Binnicker said while the Air Force has fluctuated in numbers many times in the past, this time is unprecedented due to fiscal constraints and the high number of global operations Airmen are supporting.

"I wish I can tell you things will be okay and you will have a job, but this time that's not the case," he said. "That's why it's important for you to do your absolute best every day and work hard."

The chief was able to interact with Airmen in their work areas, including C-17 operations at the 535th Airlift Squadron, the 15th Maintenance Group, PACAF headquarters and the 735th Air Mobility Squadron, to name a few. Binnicker also hosted a Junior Enlisted Call at Hollister Auditorium hosted by the Airman's Council and Hickam 5/6 Council.

"I thought it was a great opportunity to hear Chief [Binnicker] talk during the Enlisted Call," said Staff Sgt. Nichole Rush, 15th Comptroller Squadron and Enlisted Call attendee. "He was funny, informative and made the audience comfortable with asking important questions."

A highlight of the chief's tour was a visit to a facility named in his honor: The James C. Binnicker Professional Military Education Center. He was able to interact with Airman Leadership School and First Term Airman Center students, as well as the staff.

"First of all, thank you for all you do," Binnicker said to the PME Center staff. "You have such an important job in the Air Force, teaching our Airmen the skills and knowledge they need to know in order to succeed. That's a lot of responsibility, and I know you will do a great job preparing them for their careers."

Another hot topic during his tour was the upcoming changes to the Enlisted Evaluation System. Chief Binnicker said the new system will be better than the current, because it will put more emphasis on job performance, and allow a more accurate, less "inflated" evaluation.

"It's important for supervisors to be honest with their subordinates during their evaluation, and rate them fairly and accurately -- that's how this new system will be successful," Binnicker said.

Also during his visit, Binnicker met with key base leaders, including Gen. Hawk Carlisle, PACAF commander, Chief Master Sgt. Buddy Hutchison, PACAF command chief, Col. Randy Huiss, 15th WG commander, and Chief Master Sgt. James Smith, 15th WG command chief.

Alaska F-22 pilot delivers jet to Reno Air Races, makes race debut in T-6

by Maj. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs


9/18/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Lt. Col. Kevin Sutterfield, an Air Force Reserve F-22 pilot, made his race debut during the 51st Annual National Championship Air Races in a1942 AT-6 Texan during the competition in Reno, Nev. Sept. 10-14.

"It's a real privilege to fly these amazing aircraft and to be part of this legendary aviation event," said Sutterfield. "For a kid that grew up looking through the airport fence, this is a dream come true."

During the final and arguably most exciting race of the day Sutterfield in #42 and Tom Baber in #2 battled for position the entire race. Sutterfield pulled ahead just as they crossed the finish line for a photo finish.

"It takes a great deal of trust in the other man's ability to fly that close to his airplane, that low, and that fast, but my fellow T-6 race pilots are incredible guys -- experienced and talented," he said. "I enjoy learning from them in the pits and battling with them on the race course."

In addition to racing a T-6 Sutterfield flew an Alaska F-22 to the show to be used by the F-22 Demonstration Team during the Air Show.

"I was beyond excited to hand that operational F-22 over to the Demonstration Team knowing that they'd inspire an entirely new generation of Airmen into serving. The maneuvers in the show are jaw-dropping," said Sutterfield.  "Also, I think the Heritage Flight was particularly poignant at Reno because the P-51 Mustang isn't just flying the show- it's being pushed incredibly hard around the race course. You can't see that anywhere but the National Championship Air Races."

Sutterfield learned to fly before he had a driver's license- soloing on his 16th birthday near his home in Tampa, Fla. After graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1997, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt and attended pilot training. He flew the F-15C, for 10 years throughout the Middle East and Asia before being attending the prestigious Fighter Weapons School in 2004. He transitioned to the F-22 and joined the 477th Fighter Group, Alaska's only Reserve unit, in 2007.

On October 3 Sutterfield will take command of the 302nd Fighter Squadron, one of the USAF's ten front-line combat F-22 squadrons. The most experienced of all the F-22 squadrons, the 302nd Fighter Squadron has a proud heritage as one of the original Tuskegee Airmen squadrons from World War II.

As the commander, Sutterfield will be responsible for preparing and leading Airmen into combat operations world-wide in partnership with the 90th and 525th Fighter Squadrons, also stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Osan leaders see FW mission, meet Airmen

by Capt. Robert J. Howard
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/16/2014 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The immersion consisted of installation and 51st Fighter Wing command teams, superintendents and first sergeants, as well as leaders from Osan tenant units, in an effort to see and understand the work Osan Airmen accomplish on a daily basis.

"Our Airmen are the Air Force's asymmetric advantage, and to see the work that each of them does every single day is amazing," said Col. Brook Leonard, 51st FW commander. "It is important for our leaders to not only understand what their Airmen bring to the fight, but also what each Airmen in the fighter wing does for Team Osan and our Korean alliance."

Airmen from the 51st Medical Group, 51st Operations Group, 51st Maintenance Group and 51st Mission Support Group conducted several hands-on activities with the leaders to provide them a unique look at how their group accomplishes the wing's mission.

"My role in the Mustang Immersion was to explain and demonstrate what my work center, and communications, does for the base," said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Tacto, 51st Communications Squadron cable antenna maintenance craftsman. "It was a good experience to see the leaders come out and be able to do various activities ... they get to see what else goes on and how things work. For instance, we explained to some leaders that if comm(unications) goes down because of a cut fiber, this is what we do to fix it using a fusion splicer ... and they were very wowed by that."

Activities included flying an A-10 Thunderbolt II or F-16 Fighting Falcon simulator, operating a forklift and moving concrete barriers, learning how to suture a simulated patient's lacerated arm, and driving a MJ-1 weapons loader (jammer), as well as several other events.

"It's an excellent way to learn what all the different units on base, or shops particularly, do in their day-to-day [job]," said Jennifer Goodwin, Air Force Audit Agency auditor. "As a tenant unit, we don't often get to see how everyone contributes to the base mission, and it was exciting to see some of the Airmen show off their skills and show off what they do ... and what they are capable of."

After the nine-hour immersion tour, Osan leaders met back at the Community Center here.

Leonard capped off the day stating, "I really hope each of you were able to see firsthand the outstanding work and dedication that every single Airmen showcased today. Now I ask as each one you go back to your offices and work centers, please share your experiences with your folks so they can better understand the importance of their jobs in our ability to fight tonight."

Fourth time's the charm for Chapman family

by Annette Crawford
Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs


9/17/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Exactly 97 years after his great-grandfather enlisted to serve in World War I, Riley Joseph Chapman is raising his right hand and becoming a member of the armed forces. He is the fourth generation in his family to enlist in the military on the same date - Sept. 17.

The tradition began when Pvt. Riley Virgil Chapman enlisted in the U.S. Army on Sept. 17, 1917, and joined the American Expeditionary Forces. He served for two years.

His son, retired Tech. Sgt. Glenn R. Chapman, enlisted in the Air Force on Sept. 17, 1956. Picking the date was completely arbitrary; Glenn didn't realize he had joined the military the same date as his father until after he retired in 1977.

But when it came time for Glenn's son, Joseph Michael Chapman, to join the Air Force in 1986, they intentionally picked Sept. 17. Joseph's recruiter, Master Sgt. John Olkonen, thought it was such a unique event he arranged for a story and photograph in the local newspaper.

And so there was no question about the date Joseph's son wanted to join the Air Force, and that is how Riley Joseph Chapman became Trainee Chapman at 9:30 a.m. MST on Sept. 17, 2014.

It was definitely a family affair for Riley's send-off at the Phoenix Military Entrance Processing Station Sept. 17. On hand for the historic event were Riley's parents, grandparents, his father's recruiter and of course, his recruiter.

The 22-year-old Riley grew up in Tucson, and said there was never any real question of whether or not he was joining the Air Force.

"It was just a matter of timing," he said.

While he'd like to explore a career in the Air Force, Riley said he'll "take it one day at a time. I'll see how it goes; I don't want to get ahead of myself." He'll be getting a job in the electrical aptitude area.

Having four generations join the military the same day isn't the only coincidence in this family. Glenn and his son, Joseph, both worked on U-2s. Joseph and his son both graduated from Flowing Wells High School, and the day they visited Riley's recruiter happened to be Joseph's birthday.

The recruiter, Staff Sgt. Marvin Contreras, wasn't quite sure how to take the Chapmans' story when they came into his recruiting office in Northwest Tucson.

"I was a bit overwhelmed since I was just three weeks into the job," Contreras said. I thought, 'Is this for real? Am I being punked?'"

Contreras is assigned to the 362nd Recruiting Squadron. He spent five years in the services career field at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., before becoming a recruiter. The Sept. 17 date will also hold special significance for him - Riley is the first person he has sent to Basic Military Training.

Arizona ANG hosts Kazakhstan for first-ever NCO exchange

by 2nd Lt. Susan Gladstein
161st Air Refueling Wing


9/16/2014 - PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz.  --  The Arizona Air National Guard welcomed seven members of the Kazakhstan military for a noncommissioned officer information exchange here Sept. 8-12 as part of the State Partnership Program.

Since 1994, the Arizona National Guard has partnered with Kazakhstan though the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program, which is designed as an information exchange with the purpose of fostering mutual interests and long-term relationships.

"I'm extremely proud that the National Guard is leading the way with the State Partnership Program," said Col. Gary Brewer Jr., 161st Air Refueling Wing commander. "Not only do both countries stand to benefit from the valuable exchange of information, but the relationships and understanding that is fostered in these meetings lay the foundation for a better world for our children."

During the week-long NCO exchange, members of the 161st ARW provided information about the role of enlisted members in the Air Force. Topics discussed throughout the week included the enlisted force structure, promotions, professional military education, performance feedback and evaluation processes and career development. Although the exchange was focused on the enlisted corps, the delegation had the opportunity to speak with Brig. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck, Arizona National Guard director of joint staff, who emphasized the important role of our enlisted force.

 "I can speak for everyone on our team when I say that working alongside the Kazakh's to meet common goals and objectives has been one of the highlights of our careers," said Chief Master Sgt. Duncan Hannigan, 161st Operations Group superintendent and NCO in charge of the Kazakhstan NCO exchange. "It has been a pleasure hosting such a great event with a group of outstanding individuals and I look forward to more exchanges in the future."

The Kazakh delegation echoed the chief's sentiments and said the goals of the visit were achieved.

"The Armed Forces of our countries interacted according to the State Partnership Program and the Partnership for Peace program," said Kazakh Col. Karbenov, deputy chief commander of Air Defense on Combat Training. "It is very interesting for us to learn the activities of NCOs in the Armed Forces U.S. I think the information you've provided in the wing will help us to improve the NCO corps in the wings of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan."

The group also toured the 161st Maintenance and Operations Groups and flew in a Blackhawk helicopter with the Arizona Army National Guard. For one Kazakh NCO, the flight was excellent.

"The flight was awesome," said Kazakh Master Sgt. Shurakhanov, command chief sergeant of the Air Defense Forces. "The [Army] pilots were true professionals and flew very well. I should know, I used to fly in helicopters."

The State Partnership Program's Assistant Coordinator, Army Staff Sgt. Ethan Estey, spoke of the efforts those involved with the delegation.

"Your efforts and actions go far beyond this exchange," Estey said. "Although it may not seem immediately apparent, you have all been operating on an international level. All of you have been indirectly influencing America's foreign policy and the view that others have of America. I have no doubt that this delegation will return to Kazakhstan with good ideas, new plans, and a strong fondness for Americans. In the face of a turbulent world, where aggression and threats of war are constant, all of you have done considerable work to help maintain peace and stability in Central Asia."

Air Force Association honors 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

by Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe
Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating Location - P


9/18/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) --  The Air Force recognized its 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year at a gala hosted by the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 15.

The award recognizes 12 outstanding enlisted service members who demonstrate superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements.

“What stands out in my mind about these great Airmen is that when you read about what they've done and you talk to them about their accomplishments, they don't want to talk about that -- they want to talk about their teammates and their family members, the men and women who give them the strength to serve,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. “That's the caliber of Airmen we have serving today; they're humble, gracious and completely dedicated to what our country asks them to do.”

The chief master sergeant of the Air Force, a general officer and selected major command chiefs comprise the selection board, and the Air Force chief of staff reviews the selections.

The 12 Outstanding Airmen earn the Outstanding Airman ribbon with the bronze service star device and wear the Outstanding Airman badge for one year in addition to serving on the Air Force Enlisted Council for one year. The Air Force instruction 36-2805, Special Trophies and Awards outlines the guidelines for submissions.

This year’s Outstanding Airmen are:

Senior Master Sgt. Boston Alexander
Duty title: Superintendent J6 & 3D Functional Manager
Unit: NORAD and USNORTHCOM, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
Hometown: New Carrollton, Maryland
Highlights: Alexander directed a 170-member Information Technology Service Management team and oversaw critical assets valued in excess of $4 billion. As the J6 Superintendent, he led 15 projects to provide around-the-clock full spectrum support for the North American Aerospace Defense and U.S. Northern Command mission. Additionally, he piloted a $2.8 million Friendly Forces Tracker program of 32,000 electronic devices which improved Force Protection, homeland defense, and Defense Support to Civil Authorities operations. Finally, Alexander drove the Information Technology Equipment certification methodology and managed 9,000 mission systems worth $2 million, and ultimately increased North American Aerospace Defense, U.S. Northern Command and Defense Information Systems Agencies interoperability.

Senior Master Sgt. Michael J. Venning
Duty title: Functional Area Manager
Unit: Directorate of Contracting, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Venning expertly managed the Air Force's largest contingency contracting corps of 405 members at nine bases. He was the uniformed expert for the contingency acquisition support model, briefing and demonstrating the program for five Army general officers, ensuring the system's approval. Venning planned and executed the career field's electronic training documentation initiative, creating a standardized system for 1,890 enlisted members. His efforts transitioned the entire career field in less than two months. He received Air Force Materiel Command's Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year Award in contracting and was a distinguished graduate at the Senior Non-commissioned Officer Academy, where he won the prestigious Commandant's Leadership Award.

Master Sgt. Delorean Sheridan
Duty title: Combat Control Craftsman
Unit: Air Force Special Operations Command
Hometown: Chesapeake, Virginia
Highlights: Sheridan served as the lone Air Commando with Army Special Forces through 177 days of combat in Afghanistan, including 43 high-risk missions and 18 firefights. He solely defeated an insider ambush on joint-forces that claimed the lives of his teammates around him by closing in on the gunman with a pistol and M-4 rifle. During the attack, he exposed himself to heavy machine gun fire three times to drag his wounded teammates out of the line of fire to a protected casualty collection point. Sheridan was hand-picked to stand up an elite airfield reconnaissance team with a global focus, and led a U.S. search team to recover downed, sensitive technology with zero compromise to national security. He also earned his second associate’s degree and completed 12 semester hours toward a bachelor’s degree. He was recently awarded a Silver Star and his second Bronze Star for heroism in combat during his sixth deployment to Afghanistan.

Tech. Sgt. William Posch
Duty title: Pararescue Craftsman
Unit: 308th Rescue Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida
Hometown: Indialantic Beach, Florida
Highlights: Posch led a crisis evacuation of more than 126 Americans from the U.S. Embassy in the South Sudan capital of Juba. He headed a 23-person team during an expeditionary combat deployment and has provided more than 1,560 hours of Combat Rescue coverage, rescuing 143 persons. His knowledge and skill contributed to his squadron’s effectiveness by providing training for Airmen and joint service personnel. His battlefield experience, coupled with his understanding of the tactical operations, contributed to his design of schematics of a Personnel Recovery Tactical Operations Center, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of command and control of rescue and recovery operations.

Tech. Sgt. Doug Matthews
Duty title: Combat Controller
Unit: 125th Special Tactics Squadron, Portland, Oregon
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Highlights: Matthews completed a one-year mobilization with the 125th Special Tactics Squadron that included a three-month combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During this deployment, Matthews was injured when his team came under heavy enemy fire. Matthews was thrown from his vehicle when an improvised explosive device detonated directly below his gun truck. Refusing medical evacuation, Matthews continued to fight, calling in close air strikes, providing cover for his team to reconsolidate. Matthews was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his heroic actions. After spending a year in intense physical therapy, Matthews has returned to full combat mission-ready status.

Tech. Sgt. Toyre Hudson
Duty title: Mental Health Flight Chief
Unit: 6th Medical Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
Hometown: Columbus, Georgia
Highlights: Hudson provided exceptional leadership for 47 personnel delivering mental health care to the Defense Department’s largest single-unit area of 215,000 beneficiaries. He deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan where he served as the non-commissioned officer in charge of Combat Stress, providing oversight to 11 forward operating bases, ultimately supporting 15,000 joint service members and 50 coalition nations. Hudson conducted 21 outside-the-wire missions to assist 110 warriors in crisis. He also served 65 days as a first sergeant during Army combat skills training, resolving more than 1,200 equipment and personnel issues. In this capacity, he ensured his team of 45 Airmen was prepared to support combat operations throughout Afghanistan.

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Gangadeen
Duty title: Staff Instructor
Unit: 1st Space Operations Squadron, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Highlights: Gangadeen served on a one-year deployment in Afghanistan as the lead Professional Military Education advisor to the Afghanistan Air Force, where he guided the creation of the AAF training regiment. During his deployment, Gangadeen directed 44 AAF courses for 60 career fields, evaluated four maintenance training contracts worth $527 million, and revealed six duplicate contractual requirements which saved $40 million. He quickly responded to a vehicle-born IED threat ensuring the safe return of 33 coalition and 22 civilians to Kabul International Airport. As a certified convoy vehicle commander, he led seven outside-the-wire NATO mobility missions, securing 18 members with zero incidents.

Tech. Sgt. Latoria Ellis
Duty title: Contracting Team Lead
Unit: 502nd Contracting Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Highlights: Ellis led a 25-member team that completed 86 contracts for Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, the Air Force’s largest medical wing. She spearheaded a $2 million energy savings acquisition in which 19 buildings were retrofitted with solar panels, reducing the utility bill and saving the Air Force $6,000 a year. She also steered a $1.9 million generator efficiency project, replacing 33 percent of defective grids in Military Family Housing, reducing output by 14 percent and saving the Air Force $24,000 a year. Ellis completed 223 hours of training at the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, garnering her Distinguished Graduate and Academic Achievement Awards. She was also named Air Education and Training Command’s NCO of the Year, which put her as number 1 out of 13,039 non-commissioned officers.

Staff Sgt. David Wallace
Duty title: Plans and Programs
Unit: 91st Security Forces Group, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota
Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia
Highlights: Wallace was selected as the Air Force's 2013 Outstanding Security Forces Support Staff Airman of the Year while serving as the Plans and Programs non-commissioned officer. During that time, he authored a response time matrix for 150 off-installation nuclear sites, which maximized resources and minimized response times. His product was benchmarked throughout 20th Air Force for all intercontinental ballistic missile units. He refreshed outdated site defense plans to enhance the security posture for 150 launch facilities and 15 missile alert facilities. He completed four college courses, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. Wallace also organized the Minot Air Force Base Spouse Showcase, which highlighted base products and services to more than 300 dependents.

Senior Airman Aaron Feliciano
Duty title: Avionics Systems Journeyman
Unit: 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico
Hometown: St. Cloud, Florida
Highlights: Feliciano was instrumental in modernizing the 49th Wing’s MQ-9 fleet by successfully upgrading 13 MQ-9s in less than five days, increasing the combat mission readiness of 340 aircrews. He led a five-person remotely-piloted aircraft safety modernization team that upgraded 11 aircraft and reduced processing time from 90 days to less than two weeks with a 100-percent maintenance quality assurance rating. As the avionics section trainer, he certified 99 tasks, trained 11 Airmen and raised the section’s qualifications by 35 percent. He completed his Community College of the Air Force associate’s degree in avionics systems. Additionally, he re-missioned an MQ-9 training sortie which supported the recovery of an injured German Air Forces Airman stranded in the New Mexico desert.

Senior Airman Ariful Haque
Duty title: Water and Fuel Technician
Unit: 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan
Hometown: East Elmhurst Queens, New York
Highlights: Haque led five Japanese national employees maintaining and repairing the Yokota Air Base bulk fuel storage area, Type III hydrant fueling systems, and high-level control valves, which enabled air operations at the sole airlift wing in the western Pacific. In this position, he led a storm pump renovation project that solved two years of flooding in U.S. Forces Japan Headquarters, eliminating the risk to multiple networks vital to operations. Relying on his criminal justice background and language skills, he partnered with the local Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment to develop realistic scenarios for a joint training exercise for agents assigned to Japan. As a member of the Yokota Air Base Honor Guard, he established the first drill team in Pacific Air Forces and has performed as a ceremonial guardsman throughout the region.

Senior Airman Shabree Heasell
Duty title: Intelligence Support Element Analyst
Unit: 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
Hometown: San Luis Obispo, California
Highlights: Heasell was selected as a Tactics and Training Analyst supporting 115 personnel. In this facet, she identified 43 smuggling routes across a 193 square-mile area, leading to the discovery and elimination of 12 terrorist workshops, 20 improvised explosive devices, and 50 weapons caches. Additionally, she developed nine primary and alternate evacuation routes for the Secret Service, which ensured the safety of the President of the United States and 223 staff personnel during the president’s $85 million diplomatic visit to Africa. She volunteered 1,270 hours to 15 organizations, and led 350 volunteers through 53 events, raising more than $2 million in sales and proceeds that were donated to local schools and charities.

ANG Airmen perform communications upgrades

by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht
177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/17/2014 - ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. --  Hundreds of miles from home, Airmen from the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 212th Engineering Installation Squadron, Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts, are the 177th Fighter Wing here doing final telecommunications upgrades recently that culminate a ten year project.

The unit is a specialized group that travels throughout the northeast region assisting other National Guard bases with communications infrastructure.

"Atlantic City is an enjoyable place to work,” said Master Sgt. Keith Delage, as his team was working to splice cables deep in a manhole. “This is one of the bases we've been supporting for a long time. I've been coming here for about eight years now, and the leadership and other Airmen from the 177th Fighter Wing have been very helpful with getting us what we need to get the job done."

The latest mission for the 212th EIS has lasted two weeks, and has seen Air Guardsmen from across the communications career field teaching each other their trade.

"This is great for our new guys that are training," Delage said. "On jobs like this we do cable pulls; work with copper and fiber, and even antenna work. We have radio Airmen assisting with splicing, and infrastructure guys shadowing and assisting the radio Airmen, so it's a great learning experience. They're getting the full spectrum of communications."

The 212th EIS brought a wide range of capabilities necessary to complete the mission.

"Once again, the professionalism of the 212th is apparent in their work," said Lt. Col Thomas Dahl, the 177th Communications Flight commander. "They have been repeating years of quality service to the 177th Fighter Wing."

"It's been really interesting and educational seeing the Air National Guard cyber spectrum, all of those layers coming together,” said Airman 1st Class Jonathan Tuxbury, an RF radio specialist from the 212th EIS on his first trip. “We have RF radio specialists, airfield systems specialists, and cable/antenna systems Airmen all working together to complete the mission."

SACEUR dedicates new NIFC building

by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs


9/18/2014 - RAF MOLESWORTH, United Kingdom  --  During a ceremony at RAF Molesworth, United Kingdom, Sept. 3, U.S. Air Force Gen. Phillip M. Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, unveiled the dedication plaque for the new NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre.

Established October 2006, the NIFC functions as a multi-national intelligence organization, made up of 26 NATO nations and one non-NATO nation, which supports operations across three continents.

Breedlove recognized the invaluable and tailored intelligence services NIFC provides.

“We need creditable and capable intelligence,” he said. “I get this from you.”

The NIFC team accomplishes this critical mission by providing intelligence to warn commanders of potential crises, and to support the planning and execution of NATO operations; to include direct intelligence support to NATO Special Operations Forces.

The intelligence provided through these operations significantly enhances NATO’s ability to support a variety of worldwide military operations. The new state-of-the-art facility is the first step in fulfilling NIFC’s endeavors to enhance NATO analytic depth and operational focus as they continue to monitor emerging crises. 

Breedlove expressed the importance of having the proper environment to facilitate that vision. 

“Great people deserve a great facility,” he said. “Today at least we get to dedicate a great facility that allows you to do what you need to do. You always work better when you feel good in your environment and this certainly is a great place to provide you with an environment to work.”

Breedlove thanked the men and women of NIFC for their contributions and their continued pursuit of excellence.

“You meet the expectation all the time,” he said. “You have raised the bar.”

Mental health management earns Bronze Star

by Senior Airman Jared Duhon
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


9/18/2014 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- Master Sgt. Tanya Miller, 436th Medical Operations Squadron mental health flight chief, received the Bronze Star Medal Sept. 9, 2014, here for her work while deployed to Afghanistan with the Army.

Miller, then a technical sergeant, was the NCO in charge of the Combat Stress Control Clinic with the 1-502 Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan from December 2013 to May 2014. She said receiving the award has been an exciting experience.

"I screamed when I learned about getting the award," said Miller. "The medal was shipped to my house and I was amazed, I was not expecting the award."

The Dover, Arkansas, native oversaw care for 12 Forward Operating Bases consisting of 13,500 soldiers.

"I spent a lot of time traveling to each location," said Miller. "In some cases I would have to travel to some soldiers, who would have to be medically evacuated out of the FOBs. My job was to ensure they got the care they needed."

Col. Kevin Murphy, 436th Medical Group commander, presented the medal and spoke about her accomplishments, saying that the work she accomplished is amazing.

"From day one she has been an outstanding performer and never had a task too big for her," said Murphy. "The programs she built will be in place long after she is gone. Even before she received this well-deserved medal she was one of our star performers."

The program she created was the Tele-Behavior Health systems, which when installed, reduces appointment wait times from four weeks to one day.

"I scrounged for parts and pieces to make sure the systems worked," said Miller. "Once they were working I moved them to the four remaining FOBs that didn't have the system setup. This allowed for the psychiatrist to talk with soldiers at any time she was available and not necessarily when the clinic is open, improving wait times for solders to be seen."

Miller's husband, Master Sgt. Larry Miller, 9th Airlift Squadron first sergeant, said he can't keep up with his wife.

"It's great for her to get recognized for something I always thought was true," said Master Sgt. Larry Miller. "And it is awesome to know she earned something that is difficult for someone to earn in the mental health world."

Invictus Games London: wounded warriors compete, overcome adversity

by Capt. Carolyn Glover
U.S. Air Forces in Europe - United Kingdom Public Affairs


9/18/2014 - LONDON -- Participants in the first-ever Invictus Games returned home after a week of vigorous, friendly competition at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London which concluded Sept. 14.

The Invictus Games was an international Paralympic-style event designed to spotlight sacrifices made by wounded warriors and their families, and cultivate healthy competition in the realm of adaptive sport.

The word 'Invictus', meaning 'unconquered', represents the perseverance and accomplishment of the wounded warrior fighting spirit. His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales sought to carry the impact of this message from the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado to an international audience, bringing together for the first time 430 serving and retired military athletes from 14 nations. One-hundred of these competitors represented the United States.

"The Invictus Games is one of the most professionally executed adaptive sports events on the planet. With the push to recognize the abilities of wounded military veterans, we can showcase the human spirit and our willingness to overcome any adversity at any time in our lives," said Steve Otero, U.S. Air Force Wounded Warrior communications officer.  "These games provide an international platform for a nation's defenders and heroes to demonstrate the resiliency they live each and every day."

Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa vice commander, took the opportunity to witness the impact of competitive adaptive sport first-hand by attending several matches, and  getting to know the U.S. athletes, coaches and families, developing a personal understanding of the road to recovery through adaptive sports.

"I'm impressed with these athletes' attitudes and their physical abilities," Jones remarked. "It's reassuring to me that their lives have not stopped with their injuries. Their ability to perform at the highest level is really inspiring."

Jones also participated in the Recovery Summit - a meeting of senior leaders aimed at exchanging information on wounded warrior recovery policy with participating nations.

According to Lt. Gen. AR Gregory, U.K. Armed Forces chief of defense personnel, who co-chaired the summit, "We will all approach recovery in a different way, but I believe we all share a commitment to do the best we can for those who serve our respective nations. By focusing on our duty of care for each individual, we can support their recovery and enable a successful return to duty or transition to civilian life."

Several key U.S. government and military leaders also joined Jones in attending the games to show support for the wounded warriors in action.  Also in attendance were a Presidential Delegation led by Dr. Jill Biden, Mr. James Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense of Warrior Care Policy, and U.S. Navy Admiral James A. Winnefield Jr. vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Although the Invictus Games have come to an end, the training and the competition will not stop anytime soon. The 2014 U.S. Warrior Games are set to begin Sept. 28.

"The Invictus Games serves as a broader mechanism for our veterans of all services and all nations to show our public what they are capable of doing.  I think the Warrior Games will benefit from this broader perspective," said Jones. "My hope is our athletes will use this as a sharpening of their skills, and they'll do even better when they get back to the Warrior Games in the United States. I know it will be easier on their body clocks!"  

Piece of the Fight: Defenders let the K9s do the Talking

by Senior Airman Xavier Navarro
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


9/17/2014 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE,N.D. -- It's "ruff" defending the main gate; weather conditions aren't always great, shift hours are long and guards are up at all times.

However, the main gate is the first line of defense, and if you're an intruder trying to infiltrate the installation, you're barking up the wrong tree.

The unofficial motto of the 319th Security Forces Squadron K9 section is "K9 leads the way." It's their job to detect personnel, drugs or explosives before people or vehicles enter the base. The 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, is in charge of the entire Department of Defense military working dog program. The "puppy program" looks for a specific breed of dog with qualities such as high drive, prey drive, confidence and dogs that are not sensitive to loud noises.

"Every dog is different just like every human is different," said Silmon. "There is more than one way to do things when it comes to fixing a problem or correcting a dog's behavior."

Silmon said it's more than just going to work. "We build relationships with these dogs, we feed them, groom them and clean them."

Dog handlers work night and day training canines. Some of the exercises that canines go through to be ready to deploy at any time are sight and scent scouting, building searches and other realistic scenarios.

"As a dog handler I have been deployed once," said Silmon. "We perform detection exercises here on base that would happen in a real world situation downrange."

The MWD experience different environmental settings from detecting searches on roof tops to exposure different chemicals that can be used as an ingredient in an explosive. These scenarios build confidence in both the canine and the handler.

"I work with some of the best dog trainers and handlers that the DoD has to offer," said Silmon. "It's not just me putting time into the dogs, it's the whole [section]. People stay hours after and before shifts so that we and the dogs are able to complete a mission."

Another mission of the K9 section is to defend valuable assets on base. While in a deployed area, their mission is to lead the front of a team by detecting any improvised explosive devices or other traps.

"We defend all assets on base like the Global Hawks, High Frequency Global Communications Systems and support key personnel at their offices and residences," said Silmon. "We also have a great capability at defeating IEDs and booby traps downrange."

The dogs may look cute and cuddly, but MWDs are not pets. They are a detection screen and a psychological deterrent that makes intruders think twice about putting their paws on the base.

"No machine can outperform military working dogs' detection capabilities," said Staff Sgt. Brett Silmon, 319th SFS military working dog handler. "They'll work harder, faster and longer and that's what we need and desire in the field."

100th LRS family runs cohesive support system

by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


9/17/2014 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- 
Every commander needs a good support system. The 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, Maj. Michael Boswell has a valuable team at his side.
Overseeing the team is Master Sgt. Vivian Lewis, 100th LRS commander's support staff section chief from Vancouver, Washington.
"Basically, I oversee the commander's support staff programs that the 100th Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Section has delegated down to the units. These include programs such as enlisted performance reports and decorations," Lewis explained.
Lewis is not alone tracking more than 300 personnel in the squadron. She is assisted by a team of Airmen and civilians including Senior Airman Alexis Musumeci, 100th LRS commander's executive from Oregon, Wisconsin.
"As well as organizing squadron events, my main job is tracking suspenses and awards, making sure they arrive on time to the group level," Musumeci explained.
The commander's support staff role is vital in ensuring each Airman has their EPR turned in and added to their records on time. To an Airman, this record of what they have done in the past year is critical to their career. It's used in decorations and awards and, during a permanent change of station it gives the new base a snapshot of what their Airman has accomplished at their previous base.
This team not only ensures EPRs are taken care of, but they are responsible for a great many things, including all the administration items that need to be done on behalf of the commander.
"Task management was a big challenge for me -- prioritizing things and making sure what needs to get done is getting done -- that was hard because of my previous organization skills. This job has really helped me develop those skills," Musumeci explained.
Musumeci had to learn fast but she had a team to help her grow as an Airman in her new role.
For the team, the workflow keeps them busy but they enjoy their job and meeting the people in the squadron.
New members arriving to RAF Mildenhall are assigned a sponsor to welcome them and make sure they're taken care of and get settled.
"My main responsibility is the fitness program, but I also take care of in processing. A military member sponsors someone coming to Mildenhall to help them get a place and assist them with what needs to be done," said Kimberly Roark, 100th LRS secretary from San Antonio. "I enjoy helping, meeting and assisting people."
Tech. Sgt. Michael Graydon, 100th LRS NCO in charge of customer support from Belvidere, Illinois, also enjoys this aspect of the work.
"I came from the MPS, (which means) you really didn't have a chance to know anybody because you took care of the whole base populous," Graydon reflected. "As a squadron, you have an opportunity to know the people by first name or last name basis and learn a little bit about their background -- as a person."
The support staff works in an office near to the commanders'. A commander needs a reliable commander's support staff to ensure he meets his deadlines. Lewis said working with her commander is the thing she enjoys most and it keeps her on her toes.
"Keeping up with him, that's the challenge," Lewis laughed. "He's very spontaneous."
A commander needs to have a good working relationship with his team.
"(Maj.) Boswell, oh man, he is very delightful to work with. He's very personable and understanding, and I love that in a leader. He's somebody that you can go to and talk to about anything. On a personal level, you can disregard rank in a closed door conversation and he'll give you his knowledge and his insight without all the military jargon," Lewis reflected.