Military News

Friday, October 17, 2014

CAF domains like ‘legs on a chair’

by Capt. Jason Smith
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs


10/17/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Comprehensive Airman Fitness promotes a holistic approach to health in four domains:  mental, physical, social and spiritual.

The Air Force Instruction for CAF, AFI 90-506, hit the streets in April 2014, but the new instruction doesn't make comprehensive fitness a new lifestyle concept.

Air Combat Command adopted CAF in 2009 based on the Army's framework of the Army Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program. One of the four domains of CAF, social health, is addressed in an October 2010 Defense Centers of Excellence newsletter. The article states "social fitness includes financial health, social connectivity, leadership skills, relationships with family and friends, and unity and work relationships."

According to Gina Ramirez, licensed professional counselor for Outreach/Resiliency Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, social health can be defined as the ability to communicate and make meaningful connections with others. It's an effort to maintain a social network with an ability to work well with others.

"As one of the four domains, (social health) can be likened to legs on a chair," said Ramirez. "You should have all four; mental, physical, social and spiritual; to make up healthy living. Although there will always be room for improvement, no matter which domain, each brings an essential element of wellness. Within the social domain is our ability to communicate. Communication runs through each domain and is our way of relating to the environment and those around us."

Ramirez said getting to know coworkers is important for better relationships.

"Encourage team and moral building events within and outside of the office," said Ramirez. "Notice what other social avenues the person has out of work; friends, family, creative groups, sports groups, church organizations. Where do they get their social needs met? There are many resources on base to help Airmen get plugged into the community--on or off base."

Crash survivor shares resilience story to Airmen

by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


10/16/2014 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The men and women of Team McConnell participated in a Wingman Day event Oct. 10, to develop their communication skills, resiliency and focus on Air Force core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

Wingman Day's premier event was a speech from Jared Estes, McConnell's honorary command chief and survivor of an alcohol related car crash.

Estes and his wife Paige were hit by a vehicle operated by an intoxicated driver in 2005. When Estes awoke from a coma two weeks later, half his body was severely burned and was informed that his wife, Paige, had not survived.

Estes faced years of excruciating pain in recovery, however, he didn't spend his time speaking in remorse; rather, he spoke more about how he persevered through difficult times and the elements which helped him pull through it: grace, attitude, teamwork, goals and perspective.

"Teamwork is what wingman day is all about," said Estes. "In order to combat our circumstances, we can't do it by ourselves. We need to help each other. It took the help of surgeons, doctors and family members to get me where I am today."

Through his story, Estes shared how he learned to set and accomplish goals, from leaving the hospital room for the first time, to attending countless sessions of physical therapy, court cases, surgeries and eventually, gathering the strength to mourn at his wife's grave.

While many have not faced the same challenges Estes faced, he suggested hardships are more common than people realize.

"We're all fighting the same internal battles inside, but sometimes we fail to acknowledge it," he said. "Something as simple as a smile could make a huge difference to your fellow wingman."

Small acts of kindness like this are what Estes considers 'living with grace.'

Estes bounced back from his losses, but still reflects on the past to keep a positive perspective on what is really important.

"There are so many of us who go through really difficult times of pain and loss," he said. "And when we're in the heat of it, we like to just think of the better days. A lot of times, when we finally recover, we forget about all that trouble and pain we went through."

Estes paused to display a picture of his face after the accident. It's masked with charcoal-colored third-degree burns, which required a few moments to identify as a person.

"That's when we start to focus on all those tiny things that should not really be consuming us," he added.

Of all the life lessons Estes gained from his recuperation, he said that letting go was one of the most important. In order to grow, he had to let go of his old self and embrace who he is now.

"I tried so hard to be the guy I was before the accident," he said. "But I didn't look like him; people didn't treat me like him. The more I tried to be like him, things went worse for me. Not only did I have to go through a sort of grieving process for Paige, but I also went through that for myself."

Hundreds of Airmen honored Estes with a standing ovation after the speech concluded. Col. Joel Jackson, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, then asked the audience "what are you going to do?" should they be in a situation where they can put a stop to alcohol abuse.

Other professional development opportunities were also staggered throughout Wingman Day such as the Airman and Family Readiness Center's Four Lenses class and other courses, covering topics such as a spouse resiliency, dignity and respect, and financial management.

Estes was the last one out of the base theatre, staying late to answer questions and relate to Airmen who had experienced similar tragedies and recoveries in their lives.

"One of my favorite things about coming out here to McConnell is the attitude, teamwork and the feeling for respect for each other is just amazing," said Estes. "It's not something you get in the civilian world. You guys are models; not just for me, but for so many people. I am so lucky to have the chance to spend time with you all."

Dunford Succeeds Amos as Marine Corps Commandant



By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2014 – After nearly four years as Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James F. Amos today passed command to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. in a ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington.

Amos, who is retiring, has a long record of leadership and impressive accomplishments in his 44 years of military service, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said at the change of command ceremony.

“He helped make peace -- and keep it -- in the Balkans. He commanded Marine aviation in Iraq. He served in important positions of responsibility at NATO and the Pentagon,” Hagel said.

“...As commandant, Jim brought a Marine aviator’s focus, discipline and creativity to the challenges facing the Corps at this unique time in our history,” the defense secretary said. Amos was the first Marine Corps Commandant to have come from the aviation community.

A Marine Corps in transition

Amos’ tenure as commandant spanned the drawdown and conclusion of two wars and a period of great budgetary uncertainty and wrenching challenges for the military, Hagel noted.

After more than 13 years of war, Amos oversaw the Marine Corps’ revitalization of its amphibious and expeditionary roles, the secretary said. Under Amos, he added, the Marine Corps led the way in the strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. And, under Amos’ leadership, “the Marines established an innovative rotational presence in Australia that will help strengthen our partnerships and alliances across the region,” the defense secretary said.

“From North Africa to the Middle East, when crisis strikes, the Marines are first responders, because Gen. Amos made readiness and the health of the force his highest priority, ensuring that Marines meet their mission with the right tools at the right time and with the highest standards of integrity and discipline,” Hagel said.

New commandant

“Great commandants are formed from great challenges,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who presided over the change of command ceremony.

“Today we say Godspeed to one great commandant, while we welcome the Marines' next great commandant,” Mabus said.

Dunford becomes the 36th commandant of the Marine Corps after a storied career as an infantry officer, Hagel said.

“Over the last two years his steady leadership -- his wise leadership -- of the International Security Assistance Force has successfully kept our transition in Afghanistan on track and on focus despite, despite unrelenting challenges,” the defense secretary said.

Dunford “is superbly qualified and prepared to help write the next chapter of the United States Marine Corps’ history,” Hagel said.

Obama Activates Reserves for Operation United Assistance


By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2014 – President Barack Obama has authorized the Defense Department to call up a small number of National Guard or reserve troops that possess special skills needed to aid efforts in stopping the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

Obama issued an executive order yesterday authorizing the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to order the Selected Reserve and certain members of the Individual Ready Reserve to deploy to West Africa, where as many as 4,000 U.S. troops are headed, most of them to Liberia, to support U.S. and international efforts to stop the rapidly spreading virus that has killed nearly 4,500 people.

U.S. officials say Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel requested the order after determining that specialists with skill sets needed by Operation United Assistance, including engineers, comptrollers and religious specialists, were in short supply, or to replace active-duty personnel.

Already, elements of the Kentucky Air National Guard are in Dakar, Senegal, to establish a staging base for the Liberia-based mission, having volunteered and deployed before the presidential order was issued.

U.S. Navy's Overseas Force Structure Changes Underscore Commitment to the Asia-Pacific



From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy announced today that the ballistic missile defense (BMD)-capable guided-missile destroyers USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Milius (DDG 69) will become part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) based at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.

As part of the U.S. Navy's long-range plan to put the most advanced and capable units forward, Benfold and Milius will leave their current homeport of San Diego and forward deploy to Yokosuka in the summers of 2015 and 2017, respectively. The move directly supports the announcement made by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in April of this year that the Navy would commit to sending two additional BMD-capable ships to the defense of Japan by 2017.

The Navy also announced that the guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) will conduct a hull swap with USS Lassen (DDG 82) and become a member of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in early 2016. USS Barry will forward deploy from its current homeport of Norfolk, Va. while USS Lassen will return to the U.S. and homeport in Mayport, Fla.

Barry, Benfold, and Milius will all complete a midlife modernization, making them among the most capable ships of their class. All will be fitted with the latest Aegis Baseline 9 combat system which includes state of the art air defense, ballistic missile defense, surface warfare and undersea warfare capabilities. The three Flight I ships will also receive upgrades including a fully-integrated bridge, improved machinery, damage control and quality of life improvements, an advanced galley and commercial-off-the-shelf computing equipment.

As part of their Aegis combat systems, each ship is outfitted with the Mark-41 Vertical Launch System for multiple types of guided missiles and is capable of defensive and offensive operations against aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, surface ships, submarines and shore targets.

These U.S. BMD-capable forces, combined with the sea-based missile defense systems operated by their counterparts in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, as well as the new TPY-2 radar at Kyogamisaki scheduled to start operations later this year, provide the U.S.-Japan alliance a regionally responsive missile defense capability. They also represent a significant improvement in capability and will provide the FDNF with greater capacity in all mission areas including regional Ballistic Missile Defense and Ballistic Missile Defense of the Homeland.

Lassen will return to the United States and homeport in Mayport, Fla., following a 10-year forward deployment to Yokosuka. Lassen will later undergo modernization to upgrade her combat systems to the latest Aegis program standards.

The United States values Japan's contributions to the peace, security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific and its long-term commitment and hospitality in hosting forward deployed U.S. forces. These forces, along with their counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, make up the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives.

This forward deployment is called an Overseas Force Structure Change. The force structure change is part of the Navy's long range FDNF plan to rotate newer and more capable units forward. Increasing FDNF capability supports the United States' commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.