Military News

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

JBPHH provides temporary home to Navy aircraft

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


10/7/2014 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft that have been temporarily relocated to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, due to airfield construction at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay commenced flying operations Oct. 1.

The 18 aircraft from Kaneohe Bay, which include 12 P-3 Orions, four C-20 Gulfstreams, two MK-58 Hawker Hunters and more than 175 maintainers and aircrew members, will perform their primary mission of anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from JBPHH for the next two months.

According to Glen Bailey, 15th Wing Plans and Programs support agreements chief, this is the fourth time K-Bay has deployed its fixed-wing aircraft to JBPHH in the past six years due to an ongoing runway construction project. The units are expected to return in 2015 and 2016 as well.

While at JBPHH, the unit will continue to execute 24-hour operations, providing maintenance and aircrew support as normal.

"We wouldn't have been able to do our mission if we had not relocated here," said Navy Cmdr. Katrina Hill, VP-9 commanding officer. "With the runway work going on at K-Bay, we could not do what we do as an air wing without the help of the JBPHH team."

Hill said the move required support for ground equipment and personnel and training on local security and safety procedures.

"The relocation has gone great, because we are continuing to work on the relationships we built last time we were here," she said. "We could not have asked for more hospitality from the Air Force."

Navy Capt. Lance Scott, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two commander, said the temporary relocation has provided the two units an opportunity to strengthen the working relationship between services.

"We had no concerns coming into this based on the strong relationship we share with the wing," he said. "This is another opportunity for us to reinforce our joint relationship and interoperability which is critical to how we fight as a military."

Scott attributes the unit's seamless transition from K-Bay to JBPHH to the strong partnership between the units.

It took a combined effort between the 15th Wing, Joint Base and 735th Air Mobility Squadron personnel to make the bed-down a success.

"We're happy to help out our Navy counterparts during their airfield construction," said U.S. Air Force Col. Randy Huiss, 15th WG commander. "This is what being a mission partner means ... that we're all part of one big defense team."

First SB-16 flight by operational squadron

by Senior Airman Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


10/8/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Aircrew from 7th Bomb Wing flying squadrons took part in the first flight of a B-1B Lancer upgraded with the Sustainment-Block 16 upgrade outside of operational testing, here Oct. 2.

A pilot and weapons system officer from the 9th Bomb Squadron were joined by aircrew members from the 337th Test and Evaluations Squadron, who provided oversight and information on the new system during the milestone flight.

Eight initial cadre from the 7th BW operational flying squadrons will spend the next three months learning the new systems. When the 9th BS returns from its current deployment, 7th BW cadre will train those pilots and weapons system officers.

In January, the 337th TES received the Air Force's first SB-16 upgraded aircraft. For nearly the past year, they worked to validate technical orders, references, procedures and tactics for operating the aircraft.

"We wanted to make sure we are maximizing the way we employ the aircraft," said Lt. Col. William Alcorn, 7th Operations Support Squadron Mission Training Center director.  "We also want to be sure we are properly applying all the capabilities that SB-16 has to offer and the new ways the displays present information to us, helping us to make sound tactical decisions."

The way pilots fly and weapons system officer's access on-board systems has changed because of physical improvements to the aircraft.

"Information is presented to aircrews in a different manner than it was in the past," Alcorn said. "However, situational awareness provided by the new system is substantially enhanced. Now the entire crew can work more effectively together."

SB-16 is the largest B-1 modification in the aircraft's history. It has increased the jet's warfighting capabilities and improved it's functionality with other aircraft.

"This upgrade impacts our mission significantly," said Maj. Brian Ranaudo, 9th Bomb Squadron director of operations. "It improves our ability to integrate and communicate more effectively with other aircraft in a strike package; by doing so it increases the lethality of the aircraft."

The SB-16 upgrade has increased the survivability of the B-1 Bomber by eliminating many of the aircrew's out dated systems and procedures. Additionally, it has provided a gateway for future upgrades to the aircraft.

"There are only so many options we have with the systems we are replacing," Alcorn said. "This upgrade was critical. Now that we have this new system we can do almost anything."

The 7th BW will continually train pilots and weapons system officers with the new systems while rotating its B-1 fleet to be upgraded. The 7th BW aims to be ready to deploy with a completely modified group of aircraft and aircrew capable of employing by the fall of 2016, if called upon to do so. If so, the 7th BW would be the first unit to operate an SB-16 upgraded B-1 in support of combat operations

US Naval Hospital Guam's MRI Machine Adds Value to Patients, Hospital



By Jennifer Zingalie, Naval Hospital Guam Public Affairs

AGANA HEIGHTS, Guam (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Hospital Guam recently added a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine to its inventory, which not only provides better access for patients, but is projected to save the hospital approximately $225,000 annually.

The machine was acquired as part of the recent construction of the new hospital facility that was completed in April.

"In the past, if an MRI procedure was needed, the patients would have to have their imaging performed out in town," said radiologist, Cmdr. Michael Fenton, of the U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Guam Radiology Department. "In Guam, there are two other imaging facilities that perform this type of imaging exam. The average cost of an MRI exam is approximately $2,000 which adds up over time."

Magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetism and radio frequency waves to visualize the anatomy of the human body. These machines can be useful in identifying disease processes earlier than other medical imaging technologies. According to Fenton, this can result in a more accurate diagnostic work up prior to definitive care. Currently, MRI is also used in diagnosis and treatment of concussive injuries, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Radiologists, such as Fenton, have at least 10 years of education and practical training. When passing a radiologists office, the physician may be seen sitting in a dark room staring at numerous computer monitors, evaluating various images of the body. They are trained to distinguish normal human anatomy from abnormal anatomy.

"When a primary care manager examines a patient and needs to make a diagnosis, we assist by evaluating the patient's anatomy to help them to make an accurate diagnosis. Often, we are asked to perform image guided biopsies (removal of breast, bone, or soft tissue) as well," said Fenton.

He also explained the radiology staff members are able to continuously maintain and enhance their skills on the MRI now the machine is on site. According to him, the radiologists at USNH Guam read approximately 150 imaging studies per day, including X-ray, Computed Tomography, Nuclear Medicine imaging, MRI, and ultrasound.

Strategically located, USNH Guam is a vital asset to the Pacific in supporting Individual Medical Readiness.

"Having advanced imaging capabilities at USNH Guam provides more accurate and timely diagnoses avoiding the need to send patients stateside or on unnecessary medical evacuations," said Fenton. "The ability to do more imaging here on Guam translates to better health care access, improved health care delivery, decreased health care costs and, most importantly, high quality patient care."

With newer and more advanced high-tech equipment, Fenton said the challenge the new hospital faces is ensuring it is a good steward of using the MRI, which means understanding when an MRI is truly needed.

"Having multiple ways of imaging a patient is helpful to make an accurate diagnosis," he explained. "We strive to use the right imaging tool in order to make the right diagnosis. Ultimately, this leads to the best outcome for the patient."

CVW 1, Theodore Roosevelt Begin Integrated Training



By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Alex Millar and Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Wyatt L. Anthony, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 embarked the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (TR) (CVN 71) to conduct integrated training Sept. 16 to Oct. 9.

The arrival of CVW 1, composed of eight squadrons, 61 aircraft, and about 1,300 personnel, is a huge step forward for TR as the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group prepares for an upcoming deployment in the spring of 2015.

"This is the first major step to getting us back into being a combat-ready carrier, and takes us from basic phase to integrated phase," said Cmdr. Brian Beck, TR's air boss, a Scio, Ohio, native.

"When you're trying to knock the dust off and get back into battle rhythm sometimes things are a little slow, but everyone here is already in the mindset of success, so we're really progressing a lot quicker than normal," said Command Master Chief James Tocorzic, command master chief of CVW 1.

Managing eight air squadrons on one ship can be a tasking situation, but preparation and motivation can help smooth the process.

"This has been one of the easiest transitions that I've seen, as far as the air wing coming aboard with the ship's company," said Tocorzic. "It just goes to show the mindset of teamwork that we're already implementing."

Sailors and Marines aboard TR are no longer maneuvering aircraft in a training environment. They are performing as they would on deployment in a combat-ready environment.

"It is a learning curve for my Sailors working the hangar bay because they are no longer training, but working with real squadrons, and overall we are doing really well," said Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (handling) Charles Bringuez, the hangar bay leading chief petty officer, a native of Miami.

As the days and months trickle away and deployment draws closer, CVW 1 will continue to train with TR through the coming months to prepare for the challenges that that lay ahead.

"This is a monumental effort by all," said Beck. "Everything going on is a top-down, bow-to-stern effort. Being on a carrier is the greatest team sport on the planet, especially bringing the air wing and TR's crew together, all into four and a half acres and making it work. There's nothing that even comes close to this."

Ceremony Establishes Fort Worth Reserve Component Command



By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel J. Meshel, Navy Region Southeast Reserve Component Command Public Affairs

FORT WORTH, Texas (NNS) -- An official ceremony marking the establishment of Navy Region Southeast Reserve Component Command Fort Worth (NRSE RCC FTW) was held Oct. 3 aboard Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.

The establishment ceremony celebrated the founding of the sixth regional Reserve Component Command (RCC) operating under Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command.

"NRSE RCC FTW is being established to focus on the needs of Reserve Sailors and their families by sub-dividing Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSCs) evenly into six RCC boundaries," said Capt. William Bach, the first commanding officer of NRSE RCC FTW.

"This realignment will provide the improved oversight and service our Sailors need to provide the strategic and operational support that the active component has come to expect from the Reserve Force," said Rear Adm. Eric Young, commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command, who served as guest speaker during the event.

NRSE RCC FTW provides oversight to 20 NOSCs located across seven states to include Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. The new region is home to more than 7,500 Navy Reservists, 400 Full-Time Support (FTS) Sailors, and nearly 300 Navy Reserve units.

"From coastal riverine squadrons and aviation squadrons to Seabees and information dominance units, Reservists support every facet of the active-duty force," said Bach. "They comprise the hundreds of Reserve Sailors from our region who are currently mobilized around the world providing critical expertise and depth to our fleet and joint commanders."

NRSE RCC FTW is directly linked to Naval Reserve Readiness Command, Region 11, which was established in 1976 and later renamed Naval Reserve Readiness Command (REDCOM) South. In 2007 REDCOM South was disestablished and five regional RCCs stood-up across the United States.

"It's from REDCOM South we draw our roots," said Bach. "This region has since changed, but the headquarters and mission remain the same."

"So now we open up a new chapter in the Navy Reserve with the establishment of NRSE RCC FTW," said Young. "I am confident that this team will bring with them a wealth of experience and leadership ensuring our citizen-Sailors are well taken care of."