Military News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Members from 7th AF selected for service-level EWI program

by Master Sgt. Marelise Wood
7th Air Force Public Affairs


10/19/2014 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Two members assigned to 7th Air Force have been selected to participate in the Education With Industry program, an Air Force-level developmental education program managed by the Air Force Institute of Technology. 

The program, per its handbook, is a highly-selective and competitive non-degree educational assignment where the member is placed within an industry related to his/her career field.

For Capts. Alyson Busch and Jonathan Walsh, that means an assignment in a civil engineer related field.

Busch is currently the 607th Materiel Maintenance Squadron base civil engineer.  On learning she was eligible to apply for the EWI program for the first time, she jumped at the opportunity.

"Air Force Personnel Center sends out an e-mail with all the special program opportunities available and lists eligible year groups," Busch said. "This year was my first year to be eligible. I looked into it a little bit and decided to apply."

Walsh, currently assigned to the A-Staff, did not pause either when the opportunity presented itself.

"The bulk of my career has been unique ... so, it was right up my alley to do something different," Walsh said.

As selectees to this program, Busch and Walsh can expect to make a permanent change of station move following their time here. They will be assigned to a company for 10 months in which time they will be expected to garner management skills, technical expertise as well as study best practices.

"It's working with our industry partners," Walsh said. "I always like to find better ways of doing things. That is our mission to go into a company and pull out the good things and figure out how to apply them to the Air Force."

Busch is also looking forward to being able to see and make change, but in a different way.

"A lot of these companies are not in areas that have a military presence, so it's also a good opportunity to ... be there representing the Air Force ... to civilians who may never have had any interaction with military personnel," she said. "It's an opportunity for us to be ambassadors for the service."

Busch and Walsh have not yet been notified of what companies they will be assigned to, but they can expect to start their new assignments around late summer of 2015.

USARAK teams make good showing at Army Ten-Miler

by Mary M. Rall
U.S. Army Alaska Public


10/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- U.S. Army Alaska fielded its most diverse Army Ten-Miler teams Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C., and is setting its sights on even more variety in the future with one goal in mind - to win.

The 13 competitors who represented USARAK on the command's men's and mixed teams included males and females who ranged in age from 20 to 40, from private first class to lieutenant colonel and included Army, Air Force and Army National Guard service members.

Team members came from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright, said Army Maj. Brian Mayer, the team's officer-in-charge and signal officer for JBER's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

"It's just representative of how we train every day," Mayer said, noting the Army and Air Force will combine efforts to form running clubs at JBER and Fort Wainwright in preparation for the Oct. 11, 2015, Army Ten-Miler.

"Next year's team starts today," he said.

The pursuit of forming the most competitive teams possible will begin by examining Army and Air Force physical fitness test results from JBER, Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base.

Leaders will identify runners capable of running a seven-minute mile, who have strong health and wellness standards and who won't be separating from the military or experiencing a permanent change of station before Oct. 30, 2015.

"We're looking for people who can run a 70-minute ten-miler or better," said Mayer, who ran his third Army Ten-Miler for USARAK this year and has competed in four overall.

The Oct. 12 event was a first for Pfc. Chelsea Scheuerman, though.
The immunization technician with Medical Department Activity-Alaska on JBER said she had little doubt she would make the team when she ran the qualifier in May.
"There weren't very many females there, and I felt I could run fast enough to make it," Scheuerman said.

The 20-year-old said she sees competition coming, though.

Increased participation in the qualifiers by the Air Force and the forming of running clubs will create a larger pool of athletes to compete against in the future -which may make qualifying for the 2015 event more of a challenge.

"I'm going to have to train a lot harder before the qualifier, rather than after to make the team.

"Hopefully, it will make me a better runner," Scheuerman said. "It's so much easier to run with other people. I have a really hard time running by myself. I'd run much faster if I had a team."

Air Force Maj. Ronald Oliver, the Detachment 1, 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron commander from Fort Wainwright, was the first-ever Airman to compete on a USARAK Army Ten-Miler team.

He said he participated in the 2014 qualifier for the fun of it, never imagining he would make the team.

"I like to run, and it was an area run on Fort Wainwright," Oliver said.

He noted training with Fort Wainwright Soldiers positively impacted his performance at the race in the capital.

"I cut a little over two minutes from my qualifier time," he said.

It's those kind of results USARAK Commander Maj. Gen. Michael Shields said he wants to see as the command looks toward developing its 2015 teams.

"I encouraged them to start the running clubs now," Shields said, stressing a joint team will make service members more competitive and will help them perform better.

"It's great we're opening up the aperture and making it a joint team. That's the way it should be."
The examination of physical fitness test running times will begin next month, Mayer said.

Invitations to participate in and train with the clubs will be sent through chains of command at all three installations.

Both clubs will start in January and will include a 13-week training plan to help competitors prepare for the May qualifiers.

According to Mayer, it's impossible to foresee the capabilities of every service member who may participate in the qualifiers, which means training with the clubs won't ensure anyone will make the 2015 teams.

The teams will be composed of runners with the 10 to 14 fastest combined times from the qualifiers, Mayer said. He predicts the formation of the running clubs will visibly impact speed and participation.

"I anticipate next year's team will be phenomenal - probably the best in 10 years," Mayer said.

Civil engineers keep roads, flightline clear

by Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle J. Johnson
JBER Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --  The steel blade suddenly dropped six feet and slammed into the patched asphalt as the "rollover" snow plow ground to a bumpy halt.

The senior airman calmly reached up and to the left for the radio, "This is 71; we've got a broken plow cable here."

"How far out are you? You might as well bring it on in like that," came back the slightly garbled response.

He radioed back an affirmative as he started the rollover back up and let the rest of the Snow Parade go past, each driver looking slightly more befuddled than the previous one.

A hazard like a several-hundred-pound steel plow blade suddenly dropping to bare asphalt is a serious danger  to anyone around it, but to Senior Airman Alex Herschbach, a concrete and pavement equipment operator with the 773d Civil Engineer Squadron, it's just another problem that can easily be fixed.

The concrete and pavement equipment operators, or as they proudly refer to themselves, "Dirtboyz," are the reason JBER service members and employees can make it on base to accomplish their missions.

Every foot of road, every intersection that is clear of debris and every plane that takes off is testament to the work the 773d CES does when nobody's looking.

"We do fencing, cutting trees down, concrete, snow removal and whatever needs to be done really," Herschenbach said.

But what makes the 773d CES's job at JBER unique is what happens in the winter.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Bruce Green, who is also a concrete and pavement equipment operator and Herschbach's acting supervisor, said they begin the winter by nearly doubling the workforce with seasonal civilian employees, bringing the total personnel up to just more than 100.

The Snow Parade provides an opportunity for these seasonal employees to familiarize themselves with the equipment they will be using through the winter and root out defects that may have developed during the summer.

Green said JBER receives the second-largest volume of snow of any base. The only base that receives more than JBER is Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Consequently, JBER gets the highest quality snow removal equipment, said the Westland, Michigan, native.

There are several types of vehicles used to remove snow on JBER. Rollover snow plows are the ones that shave the snow off the roads every year. They have a 12-foot cone of high density plastic lined with steel blades mounted to the front.

Just one rollover snow plow costs $500,000, roughly double the price of an exotic supercar. Green said the Dirtboyz in the 773d CES operate 252 pieces of equipment currently valued at $54.7 million.
Green said the his element can move up to 140 inches of snow in the winter. They shave the snow off the roads, then carry it out to snow dumps in trucks where bulldozers pack it down and spread it out.

He said the weather never really gets warm enough to melt the snow, so it builds up all winter, building into piles that can grow up to 100 feet tall and just as wide.

Some of this snow even finds its way under the dirt and lasts through the summer well into next year's winter, Green said.

"I guarantee you there's snow out there right now," he said.

Due to their size, the machines Dirtboyz use to do this can be dangerous. Safety is something they are constantly aware of as they accomplish their mission.

"Safety is a huge priority," Green said.

The Snow Parade is the conclusion of a week's worth of briefings and safety training the Dirtboyz call Snow School.

In Snow School, service members and seasonal employees are educated and re-educated on the hazards of their job and the required safety measures that need to be taken to avoid injury or death.
"If you're not careful, you could take someone's life," Herschbach said as he looked down in thought. "I try not to think about that while I'm in the cab, you know? I just focus on the task at hand."

Herschbach explained they weren't authorized to wear jewelry of any kind on their fingers or wrists as machinery could catch and rip skin or digits off.

In addition to being constantly aware of safety, Dirtboyz must be constantly ready to work.
Herschbach laughed as he explained his hours, "I've had a water line break Friday night at like 5 o'clock. Well, it's got to be fixed you know?"

"I work whatever the mission dictates," he said with a smile.

The job may call him in and force him to change his plans, but Herschbach enthusiastically said he loves his job.

"I really enjoy my job. I like traveling and meeting people," said the Redmond, Oregon, native. "When you're cruising down the flightline at 35 mph in a rollover spraying snow 15 feet or so out, it's pretty fun."

The snow's coming, but 71's plow cable is fixed and the white stuff doesn't stand a chance.
It's all open road from here.

DRAGON 'fires up' for flight

by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - Hanscom Air Force Base, Ma.  -- The U.S. Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort -- known as the DRAGON program -- to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker and the NATO E-3s at Geilenkirchen, Germany.

DRAGON stands for Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation. And just as its name suggests, finding parts for the aging AWACS fleets is a main concern for both the Air Force and NATO.

"The DRAGON modification is the most significant avionics upgrade in E-3 history," said Col. Jay Bickley, 552nd ACW commander, "and will ensure we remain ready and able to support combatant commander requirements worldwide."

The flight deck modernization replaces most analog indicators with modern digital multicolor graphical displays. In addition, nearly all of the 1970s avionics are being replaced with updated airspace-compliant subsystems. This modernization also allows for elimination of the navigator, dropping the crew size from four to three, as well as adding a Mode-5 Identification Friend or Foe capability.

All aircraft infrastructure such as engines, airframe and mission systems will remain, but the upgraded E-3 flight deck will host a plethora of new technology currently used by the commercial airline industry.

Digital satellite-based communications; modern flight management system suite architecture; and a digital cockpit that includes five glass display screens will offer aircrews easy-to-use and customizable engine, navigation and situational awareness data.

Other new capabilities will include a weather radar that can predict wind shear, an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, warnings, cautions and advisories via an Engine Instrument and Crew Alert System and a fully digital flight deck audio distribution system.

In addition to hard-to-find replacement parts, another reason for the AWACS upgrade is due to changing national and international regulations for civil airspace.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has imposed new flight mandates that need to be met by 2018. With the flight deck modernization, both U.S. and NATO fleets will meet the mandates and will have broader access to airspace

"The operational requirement for the DRAGON modification is to allow E-3 AWACS aircraft to transit world-wide and establish operationally desired orbit areas in accordance with new airspace mandates," said Gordon Fitzgerald, 552nd ACW director for Requirements. "And it's not just about the flight route. It may be that a route is available, but not at the desired altitude for optimum operations.  DRAGON enables and optimizes getting AWACS to the fight and sustaining flight operations."

The Air Force and NATO are progressing together through risk reduction and engineering, manufacturing and development phases, but the organizations will have separate contracts for the production, deployment and operational stages.
Boeing, who holds the current EMD contract, installed one digital flight deck and avionics system onto the first NATO aircraft, N-1, and will also install another system into an Air Force test aircraft, D-1, in the coming months.

Ground testing for the NATO AWACS is slated for this month with an anticipated first test flight scheduled for November. The Air Force expects their fleet of DRAGON enabled E-3s to be delivered by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2025.

Mr. Gordon Fitzgerald, 552nd Air Control Wing director for requirements, contributed to this article.

Hagel, Chinese Leader Discuss Strengthening Cooperation



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met in the Pentagon today with People's Republic of China State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby reported.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Kirby said the two leaders discussed the importance of maintaining the positive momentum that has developed in the military-to-military relationship between the United States and China.

“They also reaffirmed their shared interest in strengthening cooperation on regional and global challenges,” he added, “and noted the potential for greater cooperation in several areas, to include providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief when crises arise, and containing the spread of Ebola in West Africa.”

Hagel and Yang both highlighted the importance of President Barack Obama's trip to Beijing in November and expressed a shared desire that the trip be a success, Kirby said.

USAF helicopter conference attendees discuss future

by 1st Lt Christopher Mesnard
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- Air Force Global Strike Command's Helicopter Operations Division hosted the World-Wide Helicopter Conference here Oct. 7-9 to discuss the current and future state of the Air Force's helicopter fleets.

The conference promoted cross talk among the Air Force's helicopter forces, which are principally operated by Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, the Air Force District of Washington and AFGSC.

AFGSC, PACAF and AFDW operate a fleet of UH-1N helicopters whose missions include surveillance of off-base nuclear weapons convoys, support of the Nuclear Security and Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government missions and distinguished visitor airlift.

However, the UH-1N is an aging platform, operating well past its intended life-span, said Col. Todd Worms, AFGSC Helicopter Operations Division chief. To continue safe, secure and effective operations, a more capable platform is required.

ACC currently operates the HH-60G Pave Hawk to fulfill the Air Force's requirement to provide personnel recovery capability for its own forces as well as other Department of Defense forces in hostile or isolated environments.

"We find that even though we're divided up into two operations, pretty much what affects one half affects the other; to include deployments, personnel shortfalls and maintenance issues," Worms said. "This is the one time each year we get to sit down and discuss all those issues with the commanders and the leadership from both sides to make sure we balance impacts across the force, come up with innovative ideas and exchange best practices. Budget restrictions resulted in the conference being cancelled in 2012 and 2013, making this year's information cross flow extremely beneficial."

Although the helicopter community is split across two platforms, the lessons learned from either side can greatly impact the future of the other.

"The Air Force's helicopter community is critical to a number of missions, and a common forum to address current and future issues is important to the Airmen who execute those missions," said Col. Charles Tomko, ACC Personnel Recovery Division chief. "As we move forward with the Combat Rescue Helicopter Program, we will continue to work with our other helicopter partners to ensure we are all successful as a community to execute the missions the Air Force and combatant commanders task us with."

Worms also highlighted areas that a common rotary-wing platform across the Air Force would improve, including reduced training and maintenance costs, personnel efficiencies and common logistical practices across the force.

One particular area where commonality could be felt is in the helicopter training program.

The training that helicopter pilots go through currently requires aircrews to go through additional training when they transition between the UH-1 and the HH-60. A topic of discussion during the conference was how the Air Force can improve this process, avoiding the added cost of operating two separate platforms.

Currently, the goal is to have one rotary-wing platform for the Air Force.

"If we buy the right things and make the right moves, we have an opportunity to build a much more capable and flexible helicopter force at a lower cost," Worms said.

Spangdahlem Air Base honors the "Big Man"

by Senior Airman Rusty Frank
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


10/16/2014 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -  -- For some, it's a great honor to have a building, street or room named after you. For one Airman, known by as "big man" in the local German community and the base, this honor has become a reality.

The gymnasium inside the Eifel Power Haus was named after George Price, 52nd Force Support Squadron special events coordinator, Oct. 16, 2014.

"If I had to sum George Price up in one word it would be 'icon'," said Jude Sorg, 52nd FSS deputy commander. "I think that there is not a better honor that his community and this base could give to George other than to memorialize this particular gymnasium that will last forever in George's name. There is nobody that has given more time, energy, volunteerism and actually more work to fitness and sports in the Spangdahlem area."

U.S. Air Force Maj. Elizabeth Johnston, 52nd FSS commander, said George is an Airman's Airman. Price has served the Air Force and the local community for over 40 years. According to his biography, he joined the Air Force in 1950 and retired at the rank of senior master sergeant in August of 1976. While he served, he was awarded a Bronze Star medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal along with numerous campaign awards. Price served overseas tours in England, France, Germany, Korea  and Vietnam. While he was stationed at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, he won first sergeant of the year four years in a row from 1972-75 for the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing.

After he retired, Price became the athletic director for Bitburg Air Base, and also served as the head coach for the Bitburg Barons basketball team compiling an overall career record of 521 wins and only 48 losses, becoming the winningest head coach in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa history.

"The basketball team was constantly losing and I said 'I can do better than that,'" said Price. "I had a real good friend named Oda Phillips. He was a high school teacher and the smartest basketball man I ever knew, but he couldn't lead a goat to get a drink. But I could get the goat to drink. So I used his brains to teach and we took off and won time after time through his knowledge and my ability to scream and shout that's how we got by."

It was during this time his teams won a total of 11 continental sport conference championships along with six USAFE championship titles. He also was volunteer coach for the "All-Star" basketball team representing USAFE in the first two U.S. Air Forces Central Command tournaments, and his team won the first two "Basketball Tip-off Classic," tournaments in 1991 and 1992. While he coached, Price won the USAFE Outstanding Sports Director for the Year in 1982, 1984, 1987 and 1992. Finally in 1992 Price became the first civilian inducted into the USAFE Sports Hall of Fame.

Leadership decided to dedicate the court to Price during the final stages of the gymnasium construction.

"We had our previous wing commander out visiting the new facility," said Johnston. "As we were driving him back to the office he started asking what we are going to name the facility. Then we started talking about the individual rooms and he knew George's background and knew him very well, and he thought what a great match, to match up that court with that name."

Always the coach, Price has advice for the future competitors that will play on the court bearing his name.

"As the gym grows older and I'm gone, it's not always about winning. It's nice to win, but be kind, thoughtful and caring to each other," said Price.

25th Air Force commander, command chief visit Beale AFB

by Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Maj. Gen. John Shanahan, 25th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, 25th AF command chief, are visiting Beale Air Force Base, Calif., from Oct. 14 to 18.

The 25th AF commander and command chief have been learning about the 9th Reconnaissance Wing mission and the assets the installation brings to the numbered Air Force. The 9th RW and 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., re-aligned under the 25th AF from the 12th AF as of Sept. 29.

"I couldn't be more excited to have Beale and the 9th RW as part of the 25th AF," Shanahan said. "I've looked at this for many years; how can we bring all of this together? The 55th and 9th wings bring so much capability."

So far, Shanahan and Towberman's time at Beale has included visits to the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, multiple ISR units, and the 9th Medical Group. They have viewed aircraft, rode all-terrain vehicles around the base perimeter, and dined at various facilities on base. The visit will conclude with their attendance at Beale's Air Force Ball Oct. 18.

"They packed a lot into the first 48 hours," Shanahan said. "They have kept me going from morning to night, but it's important for me to see the entire spectrum of what goes on here at Beale. I've been really impressed with the people and missions that I have seen. The last 48 hours will end with the Air Force Ball Saturday. What a perfect way to close out a trip."

RMD Sailors Take the Reenlistment Plunge Underwater



By Quartermaster 3rd Class Benjamin Winslow, USS Rodney M. Davis Public Affairs

BANDOS, Republic of the Maldives (NNS) -- Sailors from the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) conducted an underwater reenlistment ceremony off the coast of Bandos Island, Oct. 8, during the ship's recent port visit to the Maldives.

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Michael Norman, from Kenner, Louisiana, and Quartermaster 3rd Class Christopher Jurado, from Echo Park, California, reenlisted on the ocean floor during an open water dive in service dress whites and SCUBA gear.

"Not many people get to do their first reenlistment underwater," said Jurado. "It was a unique experience."

The event required considerable coordination, including retrieving diving certifications by mail, waterproofing reenlistment certificates, and briefing local diving instructors.

"Several Sailors went on their very first open water dive just to see this event," said Lt. Jennifer Fleming, Rodney M. Davis operations officer and the reenlisting officer for Norman.

"Lt. Fleming caught me off-guard when she passed me a coin after the oath," said Norman. "I was lucky to have my own department head be a certified diver - I think it was a check off the bucket list for both of us."

Commanding Officer Cmdr. Todd Whalen, Executive Officer Cmdr. Shockey Snyder and other members of the crew observed the ceremony while snorkeling below the water's surface.

"We have re-enlisted Sailors in some interesting places, but this was the first underwater re-enlistment I've been a part of," said Whalen. "Petty Officers Norman and Jurado are some of the Navy's finest, so I was honored to be at their ceremony."

Following the ceremony, guests continued to dive and snorkel, experiencing the unique biodiversity and beauty of the Maldives. The celebration continued ashore, where Sailors enjoyed the local cuisine and entertainment, including traditional Maldivian music and dance.

"My favorite part of the ceremony was when my shipmates and best friend dove down to shake my hand and give me an underwater hug to congratulate me," said Norman. "It was definitely one of the proudest moments in my career."

Rodney M. Davis, homeported in Everett, Washington, is on patrol in the Indian Ocean conducting theater security cooperation in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation.