Military News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

VFA-101 "Grim Reapers" introduce F-35C to NAS Oceana

by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ernest R. Scott

10/30/2014 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The "Grim Reapers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 returned to the Naval Air Station Oceana flight line, October 28, bringing with them the future of Naval Aviation.

The F-35C Lightning II completed its' first landing at Oceana, providing Sailors a chance to learn more about the platform.

"The pilots and maintainers are the ones who make the mission possible," said Capt. Scott Anderson, Commander Naval Air Forces, Fleet Requirements. "This is their opportunity to see the advanced capabilities of the F-35."

The F-35 is a single seat, multi-role fighter aircraft designed to eventually replace the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier. The aircraft was planned with a common design, but three unique service variants capable of performing ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions.

"The combat capabilities and mission systems onboard are second to none," said Cmdr. John Allison, a VFA-101 pilot with more than 160 flight hours in the F-35. "The in-flight controls and stealth capabilities provide a huge advantage on the battlefield."

Although VFA-101 is the Navy's newest squadron, they already possess a rich heritage. The original Fighter Squadron (VF) 101 was established in 1942 and flew various aircraft including the F-14 Tomcat. When the F-14 was retired in 2005, VF-101 was disestablished. Today, the "Grim Reapers" are ushering in a new era with the F-35.

"This is a way to pay homage to the past," said Allison. "Carrying on the name gives us a great connection to the F-14 and a great connection to Oceana."

The F-35C is the carrier variant of the Lockheed Martin built aircraft. The first aircraft carrier arrested landing is scheduled for next week aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) off the California coast. By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air vehicles, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.

Healing Hands: Army medic saves a life

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


10/30/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- His eyes were lifeless and empty, staring up at her from the gym floor and she could hear his ribs cracking with each compression, but she knew she couldn't stop.

If she stopped, those eyes would never see life again.

"That was the worst part," she said.

"It was a Wednesday, just a regular day I guess," said Specialist Kayla Richie, a combat medic with the 2d Engineer Brigade, U.S. Army Alaska. "I was just going for a quick workout. I couldn't stay long because I had a Bible study to go to."

However, Sept. 17 would turn out to be anything but ordinary.

"I think I was using the ropes and a gym attendant came up to talk to me," she recounted. "I figured someone had rolled their ankle or something. They know I'm a medic, and whenever someone gets hurt they will occasionally ask me to check it out."

Richie never expected what was about to happen next.

"Someone's passed out on the basketball court!" exclaimed Amber Fraley, a recreation assistant at Buckner Physical Fitness Center, where the incident occurred. "It doesn't look like he's breathing!"

Then, the world slowed down.

Richie ran to the basketball courts and saw the player sprawled on the court. Fraley was already on the phone with 911.

"It was dead quiet," said Chad Personius, a lifeguard at the facility.

"You could tell he passed out," Richie said. "You could tell by how his body was laid out."

"A lot of times, when someone is passed out, they will do quick, shallow breaths as their body tries to get oxygen back to their brain," Richie explained. "He wasn't even doing that."

Richie pushed through the crowd around the fallen player and was quickly at his side. "I rolled him over to check for breathing," she said. "He wasn't."

"I couldn't find a pulse," she continued. "I thought it might be because my hands were shaking and my adrenaline was going. So I took a breath and tried again."

Richie said she told the nearest bystander to go find an Automatic External Defibrillator, and then another man appeared - a man Richie wouldn't identify until the next day.

"I know CPR too," said Army Col. Scott Green, who is scheduled to be the next commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

"Ok, come on, let's go," Richie said.

Richie went to the patient's left side and the colonel took up position at his head to properly position him for rescue breathing.

If his head was angled too far, Green could risk blowing air into his stomach instead of his lungs.

Without scissors to cut the shirt, they had to settle for pulling it up to the young man's shoulders so that the AED could be applied when it arrived.

Richie put her hands on his gray, quickly cooling skin, and began the first set of compressions.
One.

There was no time or reason to close his eyes, so they remained open, staring at Richie as she worked desperately to save his life.
Two.

"I could hear his ribs crunching," Richie said. "I don't know if I broke them, but I had to keep going, you know?"
Three.

She kept counting, every compression jerking those eyes just ever so slightly.

"I've seen people passed out. I've seen people hurt, but this was totally different," Richie said. "There was nobody home."

Ten.

"I just kept thinking, 'This is somebody's son," Richie said.

Fifteen.

Green leaned down to begin rescue breathing. "No! It's thirty now!" Richie said as she continued compressions.

Twenty.

"Come on man! Come on!" Richie pleaded in between compressions.

Thirty.

She finished the first set and Green gave two rescue breaths. While he did this, Richie frantically ripped off the weight gloves she still had on from working out.

Then they checked his vitals, there were none. So they started over.

"I was so scared I was shaking," Richie explained. "I just kept thinking and praying, 'Oh God, please let this guy come back.' But it just didn't look good."

Toward the end of the second set of compressions, Fraley came running onto the scene with an AED. Several people ran to help get the packaged device unwrapped and ready for use.

"One gentleman was pulling the pads out while someone else positioned the unit," Personius said. "I grabbed the pads and started applying them."

Personius positioned himself on the patient's right side and applied the pads even as Richie was continuing compressions. The automated system was already attempting to analyze the patient's vitals before all the pads could even be applied.

"Analyzing, do not touch the patient," came the primitive male robot voice from the AED.

"We had to stop, step back and wait for it to do its thing," Richie said as if remembering the anxiety of the moment.

Finally, the AED said, "Analysis complete, shock advised."

"Everyone get back!" Richie commanded. "Nobody touch him!"

Personius and Fraley began pushing the crowd back, a friend let go of the man's hand, and the button with the orange lightning bolt on the AED began to flash.

Personius pushed it.

"On T.V. you see them twitch, but this was different," Richie said with a disturbed shudder. "His whole body ... jumped."

"At this point, I'm trying not to cry, because nobody wants to see the one person they think knows what they're doing break down, you know?" said the Mililani, Hawaii, native.

The shock was over in a heartbeat, but there was still no pulse.

While the AED charged, they began the third set of compressions.

The patient's neck strained, tendons bulging against the skin and a sucking sound came from his throat.

"He's trying to breathe! Let's keep going!" Richie exclaimed.

"He kept making this short, gurgling breaths," Richie said. "But he wasn't really breathing, there was no exhale. I never heard air come out."

The AED was nearly charged and emergency personnel came rushing in with their equipment.

"Just keep going until we're set up," they said.

Finally, the AED was ready to analyze again and they stopped compressions to let it do so.

The unique robotic voice said, "No shock advised."

"That's good," Richie said. "That means it's detecting vitals."

As the analysis completed, the emergency personnel took over and began to put intravenous fluids into the fallen player.

"As soon as they put the IVs in, he jumped awake, trying to fight them off," Richie said. "All I could think was, 'Oh thank God. Thank God.'"

Richie received the Army Achievement medal for her instrumental role in saving the man's life.

Richie didn't know anything about it until attending the state of the brigade address when her noncommissioned officer, Army Staff Sgt. Kelee Williams - who is also a combat medic with the 2d Engineer Brigade, U.S. Army Alaska - asked her, "So what's up with your award?"

"What award?" Richie responded.

Then she was called to the front.

"I was trying not to blush, I was so embarrassed," Richie said with a laugh. "I just wanted to tiptoe into the shadows."

Before she had time to think, she heard the command, "Attention to orders!"

Army Lt. Col. Kirt Boston, the rear detachment commander for the 2d Engineer Brigade and the rear detachment's command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Major Bryan Lynch, presented the medal to her.

To Richie, it was never about recognition; as a matter of fact she said she tried very hard to get away with saving this person's life anonymously.

"I didn't tell anybody," Richie said. "My NCO didn't even know. I didn't want them to do all this stuff."

Richie even said she tried to sneak back to where she was working out so she could finish her workout before her Bible study. However, she ran out of time because the emergency personnel kept stopping her to ask questions about the incident.

"I was very impressed with her medical and technical knowledge," Green said. "She was very calm and collected."

"It seemed like just another day for her," Green expanded.

Richie may have simply been in the right place at the right time, but she was at the gym because she's also a fitness enthusiast.

Richie said her passion is for fitness and sports, but said she wanted to be either a mechanic or a medic because she enjoys helping people and hands-on work.

As a combat medic, Richie gets to help people with her hands.

JBER PT clinic makes temporary move

by Staff Sgt. William Banton
JBER Public Affairs


10/30/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The 673d Medical Operations Squadron's Physical Therapy Flight has temporarily relocated from the JBER hospital to Hangar 5 due to facility renovations. The construction, scheduled to last 91 days, should be complete by early February.

"We want to improve patient flow; we want patients to see a state-of-the-art facility," said Air Force Lt. Col. Randy Green, PT Flight Commander.

The upgrades include an AlterG - a treadmill that uses technology invented by NASA.

The treadmill reduces pain on joints when people run by reducing the gravity's impact on the body.

"The treadmill lifts up people who have pain when they run; we can take half your weight off," Green said. "It's a great tool for running."

"Overall, we are trying to maximize the functional space while providing the most effective area for both our patients and our staff," said Tech Sgt. Adeleke
Peterson, PT Flight superintendent.
"We are trying to save money, because as a military treatment facility we have rules that govern how we are supposed to start patient care here," Peterson said.
"We try to put the best foot forward always, and give the best care they will receive anywhere, in the best environment they can get anywhere. So they come in feeling good, and they leave feeling good," Peterson said.

The PT flight will maintain all current capabilities at the temporary facilities.

"If anything, our capabilities may be expanded a little bit [at Hangar 5] because they have Arctic CrossFit; we are waiting to get the plyometric balls and ropes [which they have]," Green said. "The only thing we are looking at now is how to accommodate the small number of people who require childcare."

Teddy Child Watch, a free child-care program run by the Armed Services YMCA at the hospital, may not be an option for parents, due to the move physical therapy appointments being in another facility.

It is still being determined if the current rules and regulations of the Teddy Child Watch will allow for parents to drop off their children, due to the appointment not being in the same building.

"We are trying to coordinate child care availability, but it's not a guarantee," Peterson said.

"If anything is going to be diminished, that would probably be it.

"But it is the patient's responsibility to ensure proper child care; all we can do is let them know what the options are, and try to get them in the best situation possible so they can get their treatment," she said "Our goal is to make the best physical therapy clinic in Alaska; we want to make this the place people want to come to for rehabilitation," Green said.

Peterson said she agreed with Green's sentiment.

"One of the big things military members working here like to say is 'we're tasked with the best job in the military,'" Peterson said. "We get to rehab the war fighters, their dependents, retirees. We improve them, and improve everybody else who gets to come in here."

Goodfellow memorializes Sgt. Brandenburg

by Senior Airman Joshua Edwards
17th Training Wing Public Affairs


10/29/2014 - GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Goodfellow held a memorialization and building dedication ceremony for Sgt. Dale Brandenburg, Vietnam War veteran and airborne radio maintenance technician, at the 17th Training Group, building 448, Oct. 27.

In 1972, Brandenburg attended the Airborne Radio Maintenance Technician training at Goodfellow. He used this training while serving on an EC-47Q reconnaissance aircraft in the Vietnam War. During a night mission, enemy forces shot down the EC-47Q carrying Brandenburg. He and three other tail-end crewmembers were never found.

"Today we memorialize Dale Brandenburg," said retired Chief Master Sgt. Ed A. Bendinelli, Freedom Through Vigilance Association member. "It is my fondest hope and that of the heritage chapter of the FTVA that every young enlisted Airman, Soldier, Sailor or Marine training here, now and in the future, will see Dale's name."

Tommy E. Guy, keynote speaker and Brandenburg's friend, spoke at the memorialization about Brandenburg's training, war experience and personality.

"As an Airman, Dale Brandenburg was remarkable," said Guy. "He understood what was expected of him, and he did his duty. I remember Dale as a gentle and kind person."

At the end of the event, Bendinelli, Guy, Col. Kimberlee P. Joos, 17th Training Wing Commander, Beth A. Jewell and Clara B. Woodburn, Brandenburg's nieces, unveiled a shadow box containing Brandenburg's medals, photo and biography.

"After 40 years, it's amazing that so many people are dedicated to making sure that this happened," said Woodburn.

The shadow box is now on display inside the newly dedicated Brandenburg Hall.

This dedication fell in the 17th TRW's Resilience Week, which is designed to target each of the four Comprehensive Airman Fitness pillars. The memorialization fell into the spiritual fitness pillar.

"Spiritual wellness, as well as the other domains, has four elements," said David F. Sullins, 17th TRW installation resilience program specialist. "The first element of spiritual is core values.  Sgt. Brandenburg's service-before-self attitude was ever present in all that we learned about him and, from what I am told, was one of his strongest attributes.  The other three elements of this domain are perseverance, perspective and purpose, all of which can be related to him."

With the strength of their backs, Joint Task Force-Bravo delivers goods to Hondurans in need

by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman
Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs Office


10/30/2014 - SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- What started as a small group of friends wanting to explore the Comayagua mountain valley in 2007, has grown exponentially to a large group of service members on a hike for a "higher power."

For the 57th Chapel Hike, more than 130 members assigned to Joint Task Force-Bravo laced up their hiking boots and trekked almost four miles up a mountain to deliver over 3,800-pounds of donated dry goods, to a remote village near Potrerillos, Siguatepeque, Honduras Oct. 25.

"For this trip, the governor of Comayagua and the chaplain's office worked together with some guidance provided by Joint Task Force-Bravo's intelligence office and civil and military operations office, along with Joint Security Forces to select a village," said U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Smith, Joint Task Force-Bravo chaplain assistant.

There are approximately 130 families living in the village, which is difficult to access by vehicle. Typically, villagers have to walk several miles to the closest market for supplies and carry their groceries home by hand. To help carry the load, the volunteers filled their backpacks and carried the supplies.

"The Chapel Hike was a blast and completely worth the few extra pounds I had to carry on my back," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Whitley Collier, 612th Air Base Squadron weather forecaster.   "I would do it again in a heartbeat."

The donated goods were purchased by the JTF-Bravo Chapel using funds donated by the volunteers, which helps provide a family with approximately three-days worth of food.

The Chapel Hike was a new experience for several people who are new to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.

"It was a great experience seeing so many people here at JTF-Bravo coming together for one single purpose," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Samuel McClellan, Joint Task Force-Bravo command chaplain.  "It made me realize that the chapel hike is comprised of three parts. First, we are giving a great amount of help to some very poor people. Secondly, it is a good eye opening experience for many of us coming out of the comforts of our homes in the U.S. Finally, it was a very good relationship building opportunity for us with the governor of Comayagua. From my understanding, she was previously unaware of the impact we made during these chapel hikes. Hopefully this will continue to build upon our motto of 'Progress through Unity'."

After delivering the food and supplies, JTF-Bravo members spent time interacting with the villagers and playing with the children, to include providing them with two piƱatas full of candy to break open and soccer balls, which were donated by the non-profit organization Kick for Nick Foundation, to kick around.  Many of the kids also filled their hands, pockets and shirts with the candy and snacks given by the volunteers.

Since the chapel hikes originated in 2007, over 9,500 service members have donated over $167,000 and volunteered their time to deliver more than 207,000 pounds of food and supplies to several remote villages.

Headquarters RIO activates at Buckely

by Master Sgt. Timm Huffman
HQ RIO Public Affairs


10/30/2014 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Headquarters, Individual Reservist Readiness and Integration Organization was ceremonially activated and Col. Christopher E. Cronce formally assumed command during a ceremony at the Air Reserve Personnel Center here Oct. 28.

The activation and assumption of command were the culmination of a 12-month transition of responsibility for the individual reserve from the Readiness Management Group, Robins AFB, to HQ RIO.

About 75 Airmen and invited guests attended. Special guests included State Representative Su Ryden, 36th Colorado Congressional District, and Col. John Wagner, commander of Buckley's 460th Space Wing. Additionally, HQ RIO detachment commanders, program managers and superintendents were present.

"There's a flag in there just waiting to come out... When we uncase it and unfurl it, it represents all of the hard work that has gone into establishing this organization," said Brig. Gen. Samuel C. "Bo" Mahaney, HQ ARPC commander, in presiding the ceremony.

Mahaney emphasized the fact that activating the new organization is to ensure the individual reservist is taken care of.

"In the past, there was a little joke out there - Individual Mobilization Augmentee, I'M Alone - and that used to be a reality," he said. "But the RMG moved that ball down the road and HQ RIO is taking it further. They have a first sergeant, they have a chief, they have a commander. They have someone they can rely on, someone who is responsible for them."

After his assumption of command, Cronce praised the work of the RMG and RIO staff, saying he was both amazed and impressed by what has been completed since the transition of responsibility began. He thanked those who worked tirelessly, devoting a lot of thought, creativity, hard work and a lot of time, to getting HQ RIO up and running. He also cited the importance of the work of the RMG's final commander.

"Col. Dawn Wallace -- her leadership, her vision, were instrumental in where we are at today," he said. "She has a drive that is unbelievable and we have followed her plan throughout this transition."

The transition from the RMG to HQ RIO was a part of the Air Force's decision to consolidate as much personnel transactional work at ARPC as possible. However, some functions of IR management were unique to the RMG, thus HQ RIO was formed.

HQ RIO first opened its doors for business and began assuming the management of the individual reserve force, Feb. 1. The transition continued over the next several months, with the RMG inactivating at the end of September. Additionally, the 15 RMG detachments were restructured into seven detachments and eight geographically separated operating locations.

As the new organization matures, it will continue to evaluate and streamline processes, ensuring the Air Force has an efficient, well-equipped and battle-ready individual reserve force.

Cronce told the members of his new unit that it was important to take a moment and look to the future of the organization and the exciting times that lie ahead for it. He said there were three key things the organization had to keep in perspective as it grew.

"Flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness. These three concepts are, in my mind, critical to HQ RIO if we are going to be successful in our mission to seamlessly integrate war-time ready individual reserve forces to meet Air Force and combatant commander requirements," he said.

How to Make a Schedule Before You Move



Research indicates that the divorce rate among military families is higher than the average divorce rate in America. One reason for this high rate might rely on the fact that military families move on a regular basis. When you or your spouse receives new orders, you need to prepare both yourself and your family for a new town and a new home. Creating a schedule that shows you what you need to do during each step in your move can cut down on your stress and help you get through the process easier.

Decide What Needs Done

The day that you receive those new orders is the perfect time to start planning for your move. Before you write down a single thing, decide what you need to do. Do you need to contact the utility companies and turn off the water, power and television at your old address? Do you need to go through a storage locker filled with things from your last move? Do you need to contact your children's school and make arrangements to send their records to a new school? There are many things you'll need to do to prepare for your move.

Make a Schedule

Once you have an idea about what you need to do, you can create your schedule. Depending on your rank and other factors, you may have six months or longer before you move or as little as two or three months. Write down each thing you need to do and when you need to do it. Some things, including cleaning out your refrigerator and taking a final walk through, can wait until the last few hours. Other things on your list, including dropping off donations to a charity or packing out of season clothes, are things you can do early on.

Follow Your List

After creating your schedule, follow the list in order. Take care of a few things every week until you can cross off those last few steps. This helps you keep track of what you still need to do and lets you see the progress you made. Check your list every few days or at least once a week to add any new things you need to do before moving. Click here to see some other tips from military families about what they did and how they prepared for previous moves.

Mobility teamwork is key to retrograde mission

by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


10/30/2014 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- As the United States and its coalition partners reduce their presence in Afghanistan, there has been a robust retrograde mission to ensure that as much equipment and materials that supported the warfighters there are recovered. Team Dover C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft and Airman from both the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings have played a vital role in making this mission happen.

"The C-5M is ideally suited for the heavy, outsized lift support of retrograde operations," said Col. Michael Grismer, 436th Airlift Wing commander. "We've seen extraordinary results pairing this amazing flying machine with an all-star total force team of maintainers and operators who continue to deliver excellence."

The goal of the retrograde mission is to ensure equipment and materials deemed valuable to the warfighter for future use are recovered. Every effort is being made to recapitalize those assets and put them back in use to bolster military capability and ensure U.S. Armed Forces maintain readiness for the future.

Without a proper port in Afghanistan, the heavy lifting in moving these assets falls onto the backs of C-5M, C-17 and C-130 Hercules aircraft. Active Duty and Reserve units from Team Dover have joined forces seamlessly with Airmen from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Travis AFB, California, Fairchild, AFB, Washington and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Lt. Col. Matthew Husemann, 9th Airlift Squadron commander, said success in this mission demands an orchestrated effort from a large network of mobility professionals.

"This is not a one-person effort," he said. "This is a total force effort, especially when you include the vital role our Reserve brethren have played in supporting this mission."

One of those Reserve partners is Col. Jonathan Philebaum, 512th Operations Group commander, who served as an aircrew member during some of the missions. He said it was a valuable experience seeing the mission firsthand and that he was proud that the Reserve was able to supply one of the five aircrews supporting the historic mission as well as provide the leadership positions for the current rotation. He was also pleased to see a strong working relationship between Active Duty and Reserve aircrews at Team Dover continue in a deployed location.

"It doesn't matter who you are and what kind of patch you wear when you go downrange and you are in the fight," he said. "You just come together and do whatever the mission requires of you."

It has been a process that Lt. Col. Jonathan Diaz, who deployed from the 9th AS and served as the 385th Air Expeditionary Group Detachment 1 commander from August to October, said he is honored to have been a part of. During his time in theater, his group flew more than 70 missions and transported more than 12 million pounds of cargo.

"We broke (Air Mobility Command's) operation cargo load record more than five times," said Diaz. "Our crews are loading double what an average C-5 mission carries."

A common item being retrograded is mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles or MRAPs, which are among the more than 50,000 estimated vehicles that need to be recovered from Afghanistan. Husemann said one load of the seven large MRAPs made for a memorable mission.

"We had a load of 280,000 pounds, which is about the limit for that aircraft," The Dayton, Ohio, native said. "The C-5M does amazing work, even with 280,00 pounds loaded you just push up the power and she is ready to go."

Husemann said with the C-5M being a moderately new aircraft, the retrograde mission has been a valuable opportunity for the aircraft to prove its worth.

"There are a lot of growing pains that go with that in the sense of training and logistics," he said. "We need to learn how to use this new capability and maximize it. In our current stage of the retrograde mission, I feel we are doing a great job maximizing that capability."

Husemann said these challenges have shown how valuable maintenance personnel are in making the mission happen. He said Afghanistan is not a normal logistical hub which makes getting parts difficult. He said it is impressive to watch them work through the problems and keep the aircraft mission-ready.

Diaz said good teamwork is key to the success of the retrograde mission.

"Communication has been the most vital part aspect to making this mission work and I believe the level we accomplished is unprecedented," The Tampa, Florida, native said. "These levels of communication have enabled us to move an additional 20 percent of cargo, which is the equivalent of 20 C-5M missions or 80 C-17 missions. This has saved more than $4 million to date."

It is a mission that Philebaum said he will never forget and believes the capabilities of the C-5M may be stretched further.

"I will never have an opportunity like this the rest of my life," he said. "The operation we are conducting right now in this stage is going to set a lot of records. But, records are meant to be broken. Our attitude is to make sure we really know exactly what this aircraft is capable of."

Battle Management working to improve nuclear scenario planning

by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


10/24/2014 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- A program that allows national leaders and combatant commanders to plan for deliberate and crisis nuclear scenarios is getting a significant upgrade.

The Integrated Strategic Planning and Analysis Network, or ISPAN, provides planning capabilities for U.S. Strategic Command in support of their mission for strategic deterrence and global strike. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Battle Management Directorate, headquartered at Hanscom AFB, Mass., manages the program at Offutt AFB.

There are two subsystems to ISPAN: the Mission Planning and Analysis System, or MPAS, and the Global Adaptive Planning Collaborative Information Environment. MPAS is an integrated system comprised of several different software applications that is currently undergoing an extensive modernization effort, referred to as ISPAN Increment 4.

"STRATCOM needs to be able to rapidly conduct operations across a range of conflicts," said George Beck, ISPAN program manager. "This MPAS effort will dramatically improve the efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of planning and analysis."

The ISPAN program management office, co-located with STRATCOM at Offutt, previously successfully delivered two high-level ACAT major automated information programs, ISPAN Block 1 and ISPAN Increment 2, so the PMO possesses the experience for Increment 4, he added.

According to program officials, MPAS is the nation's comprehensive system for developing fully executable nuclear plans and options in support of national leaders. Increment 4 improves the system with regard to deliberate planning, responsive crisis action planning for both aircraft and missile and integrated operations.

"Once the modernization is under way and new capabilities delivered, users will find the system processes faster and also that active planning will be improved," Beck said. He added that all the current systems that are part of MPAS will be upgraded and some new systems will be added.

One new improvement will be expanded planning. Another subsystem will be data federation -- to ensure that whatever type of document or data is required gets to where it needs to go.

In addition, the analysis and quality review systems will be enhanced. Due to the upgrades, sustainment will also become easier and more cost effective.

"Some of the software the current MPAS is using is from the 1980s," said Beck. "By modernizing that to the 21st century, we'll be able to drive down future sustainment costs."

He also mentioned that using more virtualization capabilities will reduce the equipment's physical footprint and increase of the number of potential competitive suppliers.

The program office awarded five single award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts to four contractors: BAE Systems, Leidos, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. There is a three-spiral process to the project, and task orders will be awarded for each spiral.

"This is a high-level ACAT I (acquisition category one) and MAIS (Major Automated Information System) project with OSD as our milestone decision authority," said Beck. "The program office will be the integrator throughout the entire project to ensure these important capabilities are available."

Nellis holds MARE to prepare

by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


10/30/2014 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- Aug. 28, 1988, three Italian fighter jets collided during a performance at an air show at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Seventy people died and more than 340 spectators suffered serious injuries during one of the worst air show disasters in history.

Nellis Air Force Base held a major accident response exercise, or MARE, here Oct. 28 to test how the installation would respond to a similar incident if it were to occur during the 2014 Nellis Open House.

During the MARE, first responders were called out to the Nellis AFB flight-line in response to a simulated aircraft crash that "killed" or "wounded" more than 25 people.

"Overall, I think the response went well," said Maj. Jennifer Cowie, 99th Air Base Wing Inspector General director of inspections. "With any exercise it's difficult to portray what a real scenario would look like and the chaos that would ensue following a major accident, but the response was effective."

Firefighters from the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron were the first to respond to put out the downed aircraft's simulated fire; members of the 99th Security Forces Squadron were on hand to help get injured spectators to safety and to control a raucous crowd that gathered near the crash site; first-response teams from the 99th Medical Group set up a triage site and transported injured spectators to medical treatment facilities both on and off base; and organizations from around the installation were put on standby and stood ready to respond if called upon.

Because of the responders' synergy, Master Sgt. Jeffrey Wyatt, 99th Air Base Wing Inspector General exercise planner, said he believes the base is ready to respond to a real-world crash if it were to occur here.

"Based off how we executed the exercise today and based on how the units responded, I believe that if there was an aircraft mishap during the open house, the installation would be able to respond effectively because of how our plans are written," Wyatt said.

Although holding the MARE was a requirement for the installation to host the upcoming open house, Cowie and Wyatt agreed that the exercise will benefit all involved participants well past the event, because of the extensive training Nellis Airmen receive both in the air and on the ground to mitigate the likelihood of an aircraft incident.

"Although we hope a scenario like this never comes to fruition, it can happen any time," Wyatt said. "Think about Red Flag, Green Flag, plus our primary mission here. Aircraft are flying all the time. Even though we are primarily focusing on the open house, being that this is such a busy air field, this could happen at any time."

Hagel: Monitoring returning troops provides 'safety valve'


By Tech. Sgt. Jake Richmond, DoD News, Defense Media Activity / Published October 29, 2014

Ramstein Airmen support Ebola fight, mitigate risks at home

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- A 21-day monitoring period for U.S. service members returning from areas affected by Ebola in West Africa provides a margin of safety that troops and their families wanted, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here Oct. 29.

During an interview at the Washington Ideas Forum here, Hagel said the policy he signed this morning was "discussed in great detail by the communities, by the families of our military men and women," who very much wanted a "safety valve" in place.

The order implements a recommendation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to place all U.S. military service members returning from Operation United Assistance into a 21-day controlled monitoring regimen. It applies to all military services contributing personnel to the fight against Ebola at its source, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

Review required within 45 days

Hagel's directive to the Joint Chiefs also stipulates that they provide operational specifics for the program within 15 days and a review of the new regimen within 45 days. The review will take into account what officials learn and observe from the initial waves of personnel returning from Operation United Assistance, and will result in a recommendation on whether the controlled monitoring should continue, Kirby said.

"The secretary believes these initial steps are prudent, given the large number of military personnel transiting from their home base and West Africa and the unique logistical demands and impact this deployment has on the force," the press secretary said. "The secretary's highest priority is the safety and security of our men and women in uniform and their families."