Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scott members provide vision on humanitarian mission

by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

10/28/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- For more than two years the Scott Optometry Clinic has collected used glasses and 700 pairs made their way to Guatemala this past Spring as part of a humanitarian mission called "Beyond the Horizon."

Not only did Capt. Eric Owens and Tech. Sgt. Latoya Cason bring the glasses, but this optometrist and technician team assigned to the 375th Aerospace Medicine Squadron also attended to 1,500 patients, helping them to regain their vision.

"Patients, from infants to elders, stood in line for a long time in really hot weather to see us," Owens said. "Some had not been to a doctor because of the cost of medical care or the distance to a medical facility. Many of them had conditions such as Glaucoma, severe dry eye, pink eye, cataracts and vision correction."

Cason screened patients to find out their history and medical concerns, and distributed medications. She said her most proud moments were seeing people smile as they put on the glasses they brought.

"I remember helping a male who was in his 60's," she said. "After giving him his glasses he began smiling and said he could see the tree leaves clearly for the first time. Sometimes you don't realize how thankful you should be for what you have until you go somewhere else and see people who have less. They are very appreciative for everything they have. All the Guatemalans were very friendly and thankful. People would come to the clinic for care and return the next day bringing in food to thank us."

For both Team Scott members, this was their first time supporting a humanitarian mission. They were part of a larger military team specializing in engineering, construction and health care who deployed to Zacapa, Guatemala, to provide needed services to communities while receiving valuable training. The mission, led by the U.S. Southern Command, is an annual joint foreign military interaction/humanitarian exercise which helps foster relationships with partnering nations.

Owen and Cason also worked with an optometrist and technician from Maxwell AFB, Mississippi, who brought 1,500 pairs of glasses. The other medical specialists present were women's health, pharmacy, dental and dermatology. The staff worked in two school settings with no running water or air conditioning, and temperatures over 100 degrees. A total of 7,000 patients were seen by the six medical specialties.

Global Strike Challenge score-posters combine past, present to make event shine

by Carla Pampe
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

10/29/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- As the time quickly approaches for Air Force Global Strike Command's fourth Global Strike Challenge to wrap-up, the teams have finished competing and scores are being tallied to determine who will be named the "best of the best" in the bomber, missile, helicopter and security forces communities.

However, there is one group that is still hard at work and training up until the last minute for their role as official score-posters at the GSC scoreposting ceremony.

Chosen for their professionalism, sharp appearance and dedication, the eight score-posters, Senior Master Sgt. Travis Chadick, Senior Master Sgt. Randall Kingfisher, Master Sgt. August Rochon, Master Sgt. Joelle Silny, Master Sgt. Arman Soriano, Master Sgt. Steven Zaleski, Master Sgt. Warren Moran, Tech. Sgt. Jessica Chebaro and Staff Sgt. Joshua Begley, have been practicing for weeks to ensure the big event during which the competition winners are announced goes off without a hitch.

"Teams across the command have put in countless hours of training and put the best of the best their wings have to offer and it's our position as command leads to put on a show that coincides with their efforts," said Master Sgt. August F. Rochon Jr., an ICBM Facilities Systems Manager from
Rayne, Louisiana.

The scoreposting ceremony goes back to the roots of the original bomb and missile competitions, with very serious, very professional NCOs posting the scores to build suspense in the audience. While the scoreposting is serious business, the score-posters do add a level of trickery and fun to the ceremony, which keeps the winners a surprise until the last minute.

"All eyes will be watching what we are doing on the stage. We can set the tone for the event and add some fun to it as well," said Senior Master Sgt. Randall Kingfisher, Superintendent for ICBM Requirements from Grove, Oklahoma. "I am really looking forward to hearing the competitors yelling and cheering and seeing their excitement in being rewarded for their hard work."

This was the first year junior enlisted members were added to the scoreposting team, including SSgt Joshua Begley, noncommissioned officer in charge of supply and logistics for the 2nd Security Forces Squadron.

Begley, who hails from Owsley County, Kentucky, said he was honored and privileged to be able to be part of this event.

"It feels really good to be chosen for scoreboard posting and to my understanding I'm the first Jr NCO to be chosen for scoreboard posting," he said. "I guess what I'm looking forward to the most is being able to say that I'm part of a heritage and tradition that has been going on for many years now."

In another first, Tech. Sgt. Robin Samolinski, a spectrum manager with AFGSC's communications directorate from Cleveland, Ohio, is the first enlisted member chosen to serve as emcee for the scoreposting ceremony.

Samolinski, who just moved to Barksdale from Mountain Home Air Force Air Force Base, had no idea what Global Strike Challenge was when she volunteered to audition as emcee.

"Now that I realize what this event is about and understand the level of importance this is for Global Strike Command, I'm honored, humbled and thankful to have landed such a key role and to be a part of something way bigger than I ever imagined," she said. "The thing I am looking forward to most is the thrill of being in front of so many amazing people and sharing in their glory!"

Hagel Underscores Importance of U.S.-Malaysia Relationship

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2014 – In a phone conversation with his Malaysian counterpart today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the importance that he and the Defense Department place on the U.S. relationship with Malaysia and on the Asia-Pacific region, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement summarizing the call, Kirby said Hagel and Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein discussed several security issues, including Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant activity and concerns about militant Islam in Southeast Asia.

The two leaders also discussed Malaysia's upcoming chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the continuing investigation into the July 17 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, the admiral said.

“Secretary Hagel and Minister Hishammuddin reaffirmed their commitment to a strong bilateral relationship and reaffirmed their commitment to working together to confront global challenges,” he added.

Air Force Medical Trainers Arrive in Monrovia

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2014 – A team of Air Force medical trainers has arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, to train non-U.S. medical personnel as part of Operation United Assistance, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said today.

In a meeting with reporters at the Pentagon, Warren discussed the team’s arrival as well as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s validation of a 21-day controlled monitoring period for troops returning from western Africa.

The 20-member team will conduct the training at the National Police Training Center in Monrovia, the colonel told reporters.

“Currently, 79 non-U.S. medical personnel are training with our 20-person Air Force training team on station,” Warren said, adding that 1,104 U.S. military personnel are conducting various activities in support of the joint force command in the United Assistance area of operations.

Controlled monitoring period

Warren also discussed Hagel’s decision today to validate the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s recommendation to implement a 21-day controlled monitoring period for service members from all military branches returning from western Africa.

Warren said 42 personnel now are undergoing controlled monitoring in Vicenza, Italy.

Hagel’s order directs the Joint Chiefs to develop within 15 days for his review a detailed implementation plan for how the policy will be applied, Warren said. “The operational planning -- what the secretary has asked for -- is to be able to fully understand the logistics behind how we’re going to implement this 21-day controlled monitoring across the force,” he added.

It is also important to note, Warren said, that the defense secretary and Joint Chiefs will examine the 21-day controlled monitoring program for modification as necessary. The Joint Chiefs will review the program as it plays out over the next 45 days.

“We’ll continuously look at it,” he said, “and if adjustments need to be made, we can make them.” Warren added that to his knowledge, no service member has demonstrated any symptom of Ebola.

Face of Defense: Soldier Uses Training to Help Community

By Army Sgt. Justin A. Moeller
5th Special Forces Group

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Oct. 29, 2014 – For many soldiers, fulfilling the call of duty is sometimes not enough. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Roberts, a food service sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, uses his Army skills to make his community better.

For a little over a year, Roberts has devoted the majority of his off-duty time volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville and Christian County, Kentucky.

“It started with my church a little over a year ago, when I first got involved with the Boys and Girls Club,” he said. “They said, ‘We know you like to cook and like to take care of kids. Do you want to help out?’ and I said, ‘Sure,’ and the first time I went, I fell in love.”

Roberts said it was easy for him to enjoy helping, because he was using a tool the military ingrained in him to better the lives of children in need.

Helping children who might not get an evening meal

“We have assisted the Boys and Girls Club to be able to feed children who might not get an evening meal,” said Mary Curlin, ministry coordinator for All Nations House of Prayer and a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville and Christian County. “They were not able to provide as many meals as they wanted to when they first started out.”

To help the Boys and Girls Club provide enough meals, Roberts said, he uses his own funds to buy what cannot be provided, because, it furthers his passion for both helping and cooking.

“Cooking is my passion,” he said. “It’s my job, and it’s nice to use what the Army has taught me, especially when using it at the Boys and Girls Club. There around 150 children who come here, and who can cook for that many people? Not too many, and with me having to cook in bulk all the time, [that] makes it that much easier.”

It also makes it a lot easier to work with children when you have children of your own.

“He has young kids. He interacts well [with these children]. He is a positive role model for the young men who come here; they look up to him,” Curlin said. “He has also taken on responsibilities of coaching in the Bud Hudson Football League, where a lot of the children on his team also come to the Boys and Girls Club.”

Coaching football

Coaching a team takes a good amount of effort, so to help with that, Roberts turned to his fellow soldiers for help. Army Pvt. Adrian Cortez, a food service specialist with the 5th Special Forces Group, coaches with Roberts.

“I started coaching with him because I love football and I love teaching these kids football,” Cortez said. “It helps make them better, and makes me better for teaching them.”

Roberts was nominated to accept his battalion’s jersey, which will be presented during a military appreciation observance at Austin State University’s Nov. 8 football game.

“Sgt. 1st Class Roberts has continually volunteered his time and energy despite long work hours running the dining facility and has never asked for anything in return,” said Army 1st Sgt. Steven K. Toro, first sergeant with the Battalion Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. “He has made a significant impact in the Hopkinsville community and selflessly gives to underprivileged children in order to provide them with hot meals.”

Recognition is not the reason why he helps his community, Roberts said. “My first sergeant said that it’s because of all of the things that I do in the community,” he added. “He knows that I don’t do it for the glamour. I do it because I love it.”