Military News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CMSAF visits Vance Airmen, addresses concerns

by Staff Sgt. James Bolinger
71st FTW Public Affairs


10/21/2014 - VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody and his wife, retired Chief Master Sgt. Athena Cody, spent two days addressing the concerns of Vance Airmen Oct. 14 and 15.

"This is not our first visit to Enid and to Vance, but it is our first visit in this capacity," said Cody. "(This visit) was an opportunity to spend time with our Airmen and families and some of the community leaders. It was a chance to thank them for all that they do for our Air Force and for our nation."

Cody spent the majority of his time speaking to Airmen in their work centers and held an Airmen's Call at the Armed Forces Reserve Center.

The majority of the questions Vance Airmen asked visited were about the changes to the enlisted evaluation system.

"I think we will bring some confidence and credibility into this evaluation system as we move forward and introduce the different aspects," said Cody. "The current system is inflated; I don't think anyone would debate that. It doesn't give credit to our top performers in the way it was designed to do. It gives credit to everybody - even if you are not performing at the highest level."

"The new evaluation will give credit to the Air Force's best," he said. "It will ensure Airmen know they are valued, and give them the promotion advantage they deserve."

Another popular topic was the recent force reduction.

"The military budget has to be part of the discussion about how the nation will tackle our fiscal challenge," said Cody during the Airmen's Call. "The Air Force has to fit its mission of total air dominance within the constraints of a shrinking budget. To accomplish this, we had to make some tough decisions about our force structure and unfortunately had to lose some very good Airmen."

"It wasn't just that anybody and everybody who wanted to the leave the Air Force could," said Cody. "We had established criteria, and it was based on the capabilities we needed to retain in our Air Force, and the capabilities we needed to divest ourselves of or had excess of in terms of people."

For uniformed Airmen concerned that the jobs they lost will be filled by contractors or civilians, the chief said the reduction programs were not designed to take responsibility from one component only to give it to another.

"We had to be smaller at all components ... with a minimal impact on the mission," said Cody. "Every uniformed Airman we lost didn't mean we were creating an opportunity for a civilian Airman."

"The American people expect the military to be able to do more with less," he said. "That doesn't mean what is being asked of today's Airmen is not reasonable or sustainable. This is the smallest Air Force America has ever had, yet today's Airmen have persevered and succeeded during the longest continuous combat operations in the nation's history."

"If it ever gets to the point that what the nation needs Airmen to do is not reasonable or sustainable, then military and political leaders need to have that discussion and decide what it is the Air Force will and will not do in the future."

101st Airborne Soldiers depart Senegal for Liberia to support USAID

by Maj. Dale Greer
JTF-PO Senegal Public Affairs Officer


10/20/2014 - DAKAR, Senegal -- The commander of the 101st Airborne Division and more than 30 of his troops departed from Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport here Oct. 19 en route to Liberia, where they will join hundreds of U.S. service members engaged in the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commanding general of the 101st, will take charge of the Joint Forces Command for Operation United Assistance upon arrival in Liberia, replacing U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa.

"Operation United Assistance is a critical mission," Volesky said. "We will coordinate all of the Department of Defense resources in Liberia in support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. government's lead agency in this mission, and the government of Liberia to contain the Ebola virus and, ultimately, save lives."

The Army is sending approximately 700 Soldiers from the 101st as part of the effort, including members of the division headquarters staff, sustainment brigade, combat support hospital and military police battalion, according to Volesky. Another 700 troops will be deployed from multiple engineering units to build 17 100-bed medical treatment units and a 25-bed hospital.

Volesky's flight to Liberia was supported by Joint Task Force-Port Opening Senegal, an Intermediate Staging Base that stood up operations here Oct. 5. The JTF-PO's mission is to funnel humanitarian aid and military support into West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance, according to Air Force Col. David Mounkes, the unit's commander.

"I couldn't be more proud of the professionalism and unique capability that all the members of our United States Transportation Command JTF-PO team have exhibited in this dynamic and challenging environment," said Mounkes, a Kentucky Air National Guardsman. "JTF-PO Senegal stands ready to continue supporting the international response and humanitarian aid the United States and partner nations are bringing to the effort to alleviate human suffering and contain the spread of Ebola."

The JTF-PO is staffed by more than 70 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Contingency Response Group, based in Louisville. The Kentucky troops are augmented by seven active-duty Airmen from Travis Air Force Base, California, and Joint Base Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

116th Air Control Wing logistics planners: on time, every time

by Tech. Sgt. Julie Parker
116th Air Control Wing Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Have you ever wondered how military units deploy aircraft, equipment and thousands of people each year, many times on short-notice?

Anyone who has ever deployed knows there is an incredible amount of planning that goes into military operations. That is especially true for the members of 116th Logistics Readiness Squadron Deployment Distribution Flight who are responsible for implementing plans to move people, cargo and military assets downrange.

Short notice or otherwise, the 116th Deployment Distribution Flight plans, processes, and deploys resources 100 percent on time, every time.

Airmen who comprise the flight are a mixture of Georgia Air National Guard and active-duty members, who in 2014 alone processed more than 1,300 Airmen and Soldiers who deployed to forward operation locations around the world with zero discrepancies.

According to Capt. Christopher Swann, the officer in charge of the 116th Air Control Wing deployment section, they are responsible for ensuring the right people and gear make it to the right place at the right time.

"During deployment operations, the flight becomes a deployment control center where the logistics planners are responsible for delegating and monitoring the execution of all things deployment related," said Swann.  "And there is very little room for error."

According to Swann, missing a deadline could mean missing an airlift.

"We ensure the left hand talks to the right and no one gets left out," said Master Sgt. Darrin Srader, a logistics planner with the 461st Air Control Wing.

Logistics planners implement first-hand knowledge of aerospace expeditionary force requirements, current contingency operations, installation deployment readiness and local deployment exercises.

"The job is rewarding and challenging at the same time," said Tech. Sgt. Adam Adair, who has been a full-time Guard member with the 116th Air Control Wing since August 2008.

"Anyone thinking of becoming a logistics planner must be proficient at multi-tasking, have excellent communication skills, and have the ability to learn and adjust quickly to ever-changing processes," said Adair.

"It's their job to think outside the box," added Swann. "Whether the task is deploying a pallet of equipment, a team of people, or a squadron of aircraft, the planners figure out how to get it there with as little airlift support as possible, as soon as possible."

When Airmen and Soldiers return home from deployment, the planners switch gears to the reintegration phase of their job, ensuring all members have the necessary resources for a successful transition.

According to Swann, each deployment presents a different set of challenges, and one of the keys to successful logistics planning is the ability to adapt and overcome.

"At the end of the day, it's about getting things done quickly and efficiently," said Adair.

Fly with the Delaware National Guard

by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
166th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - NEW CASTLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Delaware -- If you've ever stared off into the clear blue sky and dreamed of sailing off into it; if you've ever gazed up at a gentle layer of pure white clouds and wondered what it was like to glide along the top of it; if you've ever felt that patriotic sense of pride well up inside of you and wanted to do something about it; if you think a career in aviation sounds exciting to you - then you should know that the Delaware National Guard offers two extraordinary opportunities to fulfill your dreams of taking flight while serving your state and your nation.

Delaware Air Guard crew positions and aircraft

If you wish to be a crew member on a fixed wing aircraft you have the opportunity to take to the air in the C-130 Hercules transport, the versatile tactical airlift aircraft operated by the Delaware ANG from the New Castle ANG Base, Delaware.

Delawareans have seen our Lockheed C-130H model aircraft flying into the wild blue yonder to perform local training or humanitarian missions or to deploy overseas since our factory-fresh aircraft arrived in the mid-1980s.

The Delaware ANG's 166th Airlift Wing operates eight C-130Hs with about 120 air crew assigned to its four crew positions - pilot, combat systems officer (CSO; previously called a navigator), flight engineer (FE) and loadmaster.

The wing's flying unit, the 142nd Airlift Squadron, has approximately 40 pilots, 20 CSOs, 20 flight engineers and 40 loadmasters. The normal air crew compliment is five with two pilots; the aircraft commander and the co-pilot. The total air crew equals 10 percent of the wing's 1,200 members.

The 166th AW is one of 19 ANG units and about a dozen Active-duty and Air Force Reserve locations that operate over 400 C-130s and its variations. The Air Force is considering several modifications to extend the useful life of the C-130H aircraft.

"The C-130H is such an important crew aircraft," said Lt. Col. Michael Reneski, chief pilot in the 142nd AS. "Everyone has a job to do, and everyone has to do it on time." Coordination and teamwork is the key for the different positions, said Reneski. "CSOs and pilots have to work very closely together as a team," especially on the timing of approaches for a landing to handle the "what" and "when" of actions to be taken, he said. "CSOs have extra work for ocean crossing missions, and work positions with the pilot for safety, and clearance for takeoffs and landings.

"Night vision goggle flying brings added elements to the job of all aircrew, but in particular to the pilots. CSOs and flight engineers have added work for airdrops and tactical flying, and loadmasters for airdrops and for engine running on-loads and off-loads.

"The work of FEs involves handling a lot of systems," such as electrical, fuels, anti-icing or de-icing, air conditioning, heat, pressurization and engines," said Reneski.

The two upcoming articles in this series on how to become a pilot or CSO in the Delaware ANG, and how to become a FE or loadmaster in the Delaware ANG will provide details for interested applicants.

Delaware Army Guard crew positions and aircraft

If you wish to be a crew member on a rotary aircraft you have the opportunity to take flight aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter operated by the Delaware Army National Guard.

The Delaware ARNG operates Black Hawks from the Army Aviation Support Facility at the New Castle Airport, New Castle, Del., and the unit received the first of their 14 Black Hawks a decade ago.

The Black Hawk, manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft, serves in the most extreme conditions found on earth. The UH-60 models flown by the Delaware ARNG are commonly found operating on battlefields in Southwest Asia in support U.S. forces and conducting humanitarian missions throughout the world.

The Black Hawk requires two pilots, and the Delaware ARNG has 30-40 UH-60 aviators spread out among two units; one utility unit and one medevac unit, both of which have seen extensive duty while deployed overseas recently to Southwest Asia combat zones. Volunteers with the utility unit also deployed to the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 for Hurricane Katrina relief operations.

The utility unit is Company A, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, part of the 72nd Troop Command. Utility flights include two crew chiefs, and the mission is to provide aerial command and control support, limited air assault, air movement for an army division and VIP transport.  Their state mission is to transport VIPs and Delaware Emergency Management Authority personnel, and assist with mass communication efforts in the event of an emergency by using aircraft mounted speakers. While the role is not frequently provided within Delaware, they can also deliver equipment and supplies.

The medevac unit is Company F, Detachment 1, 1/126th General Support Aviation Battalion. Medevac flights include one crew chief and one flight medic, and the mission is to provide aeromedical evacuation and support within a theater of operations. They have a limited state role, and would be a backup in the event civilian first-responder medevac helicopters were overwhelmed, such as in a sustained mass-casualty scenario. The unit did deploy to Fort Lewis, Washington for a year, performing medevac on-call duty to assist civilians in distress in the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest.

The large majority of helicopter pilots in these units are Warrant Officers (WO), but a small number are commissioned officers, typically the platoon leader, executive officer or commander.

An upcoming article in this series on how to become a pilot in the Delaware Army National Guard will provide details for interested applicants.

Crew training periods, pay and benefits

Annually, each air crew member in the Delaware ANG or ARNG completes 48 Additional Flight Training Periods (AFTPs), which consist of four-hour paid training blocks. These AFTPs are in addition to the standard 48 four-hour paid training periods which all members of the Delaware Guard typically perform during 12 Unit Training Assemblies (UTAs), the standard once-a-month weekend drill.

All air crew receive flight pay, and sometimes hazard pay, in addition to the normal pay and benefits afforded to Delaware Guard members. That includes pay for UTAs, college assistance available from the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Delaware National Guard state tuition assistance program, the opportunity to participate in medical and dental care programs, and a monthly military pension which starts at age 60 for those who complete 20 "good years" of service.

2014 CFC Mission Kicks Off at 145th Airlift Wing



by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
145th Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2014 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) was kicked off as members of the 145th Airlift Wing listened to retired Lt. Col. Rose Dunlap, Loan Executive for Central Carolina CFC, explain new changes for the 2014 CFC fundraiser.

During a meeting held at the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) base, Charlotte Douglas Intl. Airport, Dunlap explained to military and federal employees that they can now designate donations to local organizations outside their permanent duty station. This means if they have a favorite CFC-approved charity in their hometown or other locations, employees can now give to those organizations in addition to the normal local charity listing.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an Executive Order creating the Combined Federal Campaign. The CFC offers each Federal employee a once-a-year, in-the-workplace opportunity to contribute to human health and welfare charitable agencies. The use of payroll deduction was authorized as an easy way to make charitable contributions giving Federal Employees an opportunity to support worthy causes.

CFC is the world's largest and most successful workplace charity campaign, with more than 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and internationally, which help to raise millions of dollars each year. Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season (September 1st to December 15th) support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.

The annual fundraising drive is a way to give to those charities and organizations that continue to support our families during deployments, care for our sick and injured and provide additional services to our community and our world.

Donations made through the NCANG have been increasing and gaining national attention. "Last year the NCANG almost doubled their donations from the previous year. Pledges made went from $9,629.00 to $15,125.00 with 50 percent more airmen and federal employees contributing," said Dunlap.

In 2013, the 145th Airlift Wing received the campaign's most prestigious award; the 2013 Greater North Carolina CFC American Eagle "Top Perch" award. The award is given to NC federal government agencies that donate the most money to CFC per capita.

"Lt. Col. Dunlap deserves significant praise for her tireless efforts," said Col. Marshall Collins, commander, North Carolina Air National Guard. "Our success in the 2013 CFC fundraiser speaks volumes as to the generous nature of our employees and the nature of the 145th Airlift Wing helping our neighbors in any situation."

Service members and federal employees have always been at the forefront of "taking care of our own". CFC gives us another way of continuing the legacy of "Serving Our Country - Supporting Our Community!"

North Carolina Air National Guard Supports "I am Air Force Energy"

by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
145th Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- October is Energy Action Month throughout the federal government and in the Air Force. "I am Air Force Energy" is a campaign dedicated to educating Airmen on ways they can maximize their energy efficiency and mission effectiveness.

Throughout October, members of the 145th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) are sharing innovative ways in which Airmen and their families can make more energy-aware choices. These include turning off lights, limiting the time vehicles idle, shutting down unnecessary appliances and other equipment and observing energy efficient behavior on the job. Implementing these sorts of practices can have a significant impact on reducing energy demands.

"My concept of Energy Conservation is simple, treat your workplace as you would your own home." said Master Sgt. George "Jason" Huffstetler, Facility Manager, 145th CES. "Our average electric bill at the 145th is $28,000 per month. If you were paying that bill would your mindset change?"

At the North Carolina Air National Guard (NCANG) base, 145th CES leads by example.
Several old HVAC condensing/chilling units broke and were replaced with more efficient units.

Infrared heaters were installed throughout NCANG's Geographical Separated Unit (GSU) in Stanly County, N.C. "Even with the polar vortex we experienced in January, we reduced the propane use in Stanly County by 30 percent." said Lt. Col. Milton Addison, commander, 145th CES.

In August of this year CE replaced the overhead doors in one of the maintenance buildings. The immediate impact was that their thermostats had to be raised 2 degrees because the new doors reduced the air infiltration so much that the customer was cold, lowering the electric bill by reducing the need for air-conditioning.

Individual solar lights were installed, illuminating the track around the fitness center. Energy conserving fixtures are used on all new construction and repair projects. Many rooms now have occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on and off.

Over the past few years, 145th CES airmen and contractors have also been aggressive in upgrading and repairing the water distribution system, eliminating leaks and improving performance. All renovations and construction, both at the 145th AW in Charlotte, N.C. and at the NCANG's GSU in Stanly County, N.C., use low-flow fixtures. Even plants, shrubs and trees have been replaced with more hearty varieties to help eliminate ground watering.

"Since the Air Force is the largest consumer of energy among all federal agencies, it is imperative we do our part." Lt. Col. Addison added, "We need to conserve energy and look into ways to start using more renewable energy.  For the most part, utility bills are like taxes it's always going up, so everything we do to conserve energy will help the NCANG save money for its most valuable asset - Airmen!"

North Carolina Air National Guard; Staying Aware - Always Prepared

by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
145th Public Affairs


10/20/2014 - CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When it comes to disasters, normally there is little or no warning. Depending on where you live, you seldom get an announcement that gives the exact time and location when a devastating tornado, hurricane, earthquake or even a major fire might happen. Whether naturally occurring, man-made, or technological, un-expected disasters threaten the safety of our personnel and jeopardize our ability to accomplish the mission.

Do you have an evacuation plan? Where can you go for the best protection? Is your emergency kit ready? How about medical supplies, food, water, blankets?  The better prepared you are, the more likely you'll be able to save a life. Knowing what to do when disasters happen and how fast you can react may mean the difference between safety of you, your family, your pets and even the lives of those around you.

The North Carolina Air National Guard, (NCANG), 145th Civil Engineer Readiness and Emergency Management Flight (CES/EM), work hard all year to encourage Airmen and their families to "Be Ready!" Recurring events like National Preparedness Month, Active Shooter Exercises and Natural Disaster Table Top Planning help keep awareness on the forefront of everyone's minds.

With the mission to support the community, the 145th Airlift Wing, CES/EM also maintains one of 21 Mobile Emergency Operations Center's (MEOC) for the Air National Guard. The MEOC is a quick response asset which provides the community's Incident Commanders interoperable communications and emergency response support for various events and exercises across North Carolina and the Southeastern region.

Through the continuous efforts of our installation's "Be Ready" campaign, our community will be armed with the knowledge needed to enhance our national security, resilience, and readiness. National Preparedness Month specifically is an annual campaign started by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security in the year following 9/11. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of personal preparedness and to increase the number of people who are prepared for emergencies.

As an annual requirement we surpass this through coordination with the local City of Charlotte Fire Department, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and various agencies.  Historically, we have hosted an Animal Control Decontamination exercise, coordinated on Federal Aviation Administration exercises and on a daily bases maintain a unique Air National Guard response mission intertwined with the Fire and Emergency Services community.

Colonel Marshall C. Collins, Commander of the 145th Airlift Wing, said, "I encourage everyone to learn about our potential hazards, put together an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan, and join in local efforts to become a partner in preparedness. Only by working together as a team can we truly "Be Ready" for emergencies."

Hurricane Hunters fly 'Gonzalo' in Atlantic, 'Ana' in Pacific

by Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo
403rd Wing Public Affairs


10/21/2014 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- It's been a busy two weeks for the Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew their last of 15 missions into Hurricane Ana in the Pacific Monday while gathering weather data for the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

On the other side of the globe, the hunters wrapped up a week-long deployment to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, flying their last Hurricane Gonzalo mission Oct. 16 in the Atlantic.

It's not unusual to have storms this late in the season, said Maj. Jon Brady, 53rd WRS aerial reconnaissance weather officer.

"The peak of the season is in September, but there is a historical trend for it to re-spike in October. Some of the biggest storms and hybrid storms form in October," he said, adding that Hurricane Sandy struck in October and was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

What is extremely rare is to have a third hurricane hit Hawaii in the same season, said Brady, who added the Hurricane Hunters only deploy to the Central Pacific when Hawaii is threatened. Hawaii has been hit by five hurricanes since 1952, until this year the last hurricane to strike the islands was Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

The Hurricane Hunters deployed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hawaii for the second time this season and began flying missions into Ana Oct. 16. The unit deployed to Hawaii in August to fly Hurricanes Iselle and Julio. The last time the squadron deployed to Hawaii was in 2007 for Hurricane Flossie, which wasn't a direct hit and brought light damage to the islands.

"The Pacific is much warmer than normal," said Brady. "This is indicative of an El Nino, which gets the water much hotter than normal and causes more storms to form in the Pacific than the Atlantic, which was the case this year."

Ana, the 21st named storm in the Pacific, became a Hurricane Oct. 18, passing to the south of the Hawaiian Islands, but caused severe weather and heavy rains over the weekend.

The National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu and the National Hurricane Center in Miami rely on satellite images and Doppler radar for their forecasts models. The data the hurricane hunters provide improves the accuracy of the track forecast by 15 to 20 percent, said Dennis Feltgen, NHC public affairs officer.

"When you look at the satellite imagery you are not sure what is going on inside the storm. Sending the Hurricane Hunters into a storm is the equivalent of going to the doctor's office and getting an MRI," he said.

To gather this data, aircrews fly through the eye of a storm four to six times to locate the low-pressure center and circulation of the storm. During each pass through the eye, they release a dropsonde, which collects weather data on its descent to the ocean surface, measuring wind speed and direction, temperature, dew point and pressure. During storm flights, the aircrews transmit weather data via satellite communication every 10 minutes to the NHC or CPHC providing forecasters vital data on a storm's intensity and direction, assisting them with their forecasts and storm warnings.

The NHC used this data earlier in the month for forecast and storm warnings for the Caribbean Islands impacted by Hurricane Gonzalo.

The squadron deployed to the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport in St. Croix Oct. 10 to track the weather system that formed into Tropical Storm Gonzalo Oct. 12 and became a hurricane Oct. 14.

As the system made its way through the Caribbean Islands, the deployed aircrews relocated to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, Oct. 13. Aircrews continued around-the-clock reconnaissance of the hurricane until Oct. 16.  They flew out of Homestead and Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. The squadron flew 15 missions gathering data on the storm, which at its strongest was a Category 4, and caused damage in Antigua, Saint Martin and Bermuda. The storm struck Bermuda Oct. 18 as a Category 2.  The storm's remnants hit the United Kingdom late Monday.

While crews recover from Hurricanes Ana and Gonzalo, the squadron is moving on to the next storm. The Hurricane Hunters are flying a low level investigation mission today on a storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico near the Bay of Campeche west of Yucatan.

Face of Defense: Texas Guard Soldier Saves Roommate’s Life



By Army Maj. Randall Stillinger
36th Infantry Division

GRAPEVINE, Texas, Oct. 21, 2014 – A Texas Army National Guard soldier saved his roommate's life after the accidental discharge of a weapon in July.

Pfc. Wil Ledford, 19, of Grapevine, used skills and techniques he had learned just two months earlier while attending the Combat Medic School at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Ledford, a 2013 graduate of Southlake Carroll High School and a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3-124th Cavalry Regiment in Wylie, said he was in his apartment when he heard a gunshot. He went into the next room, saw his roommate looking down at his leg, and asked, "Did you shoot yourself?"

The matter-of-fact response was a somewhat casual, "Yeah."

Military training kicks in

Ledford's military training instantly kicked in, as the hollow-point round had penetrated the femoral artery in the left leg and blood came out very fast. He described it as a "garden hose shooting red Kool Aid all over the place."

He went for his medical aid bag and placed a tourniquet as high as possible on the leg. The first tourniquet did not stop the bleeding, Ledford said, so he put on a second tourniquet, which worked.

Next, "I just threw him over my shoulder and carried him to his truck," he said, referring to one of several carrying techniques taught to combat medics. He then drove his roommate to an emergency room, which was less than five minutes away.

It wasn't until about 20 minutes later that he fully realized what had just happened, Ledford said.

After several surgeries that included skin grafts and the removal of arteries from his other leg, Ledford's roommate was released from the hospital earlier this month and is expected to be able to walk again in seven to eight months.

Medical career wasn’t a goal

Although he had thought about the possibility of a career in medicine, Ledford said, it wasn't really a goal. After scoring well on military entrance tests, he added, he was given a few options and thought that "combat medics sounded the best."

Ledford said he thought he might get a chance to use his medical training in his National Guard unit, but that he never thought that he'd have to use it in his own apartment.

Army Capt. Matthew Colia, Ledford's company commander, said the soldier’s actions were extraordinary. "This situation was one that required decisive action, and Private Ledford answered the call of duty," Colia said.

Ledford, who is a mechanic at an auto repair shop in civilian life, said his military training and this experience have prompted him to apply for schooling to become a paramedic.