Military News

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

U.S., Turkey to Investigate Attack on Sailors



By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2014 – American and Turkish authorities will swiftly investigate the attack earlier today on three U.S. sailors in Istanbul, Turkey, a Pentagon spokesman said here today.

Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters the Defense Department condemns the attack by an alleged group of nationalist Turkish youths.

The attacks were carried out by “what appeared to be thugs on the street,” Warren said. “These attackers are a great discredit upon the Turks and the Turkish reputation for hospitality. We enjoy a strong relationship with our NATO ally Turkey. We’re confident the Turks will rapidly and effectively investigate [the incident].”

U.S. Sailors Back Aboard Ship

The American sailors, assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ross, are now back aboard their ship following the cancellation of their shore leave, the Pentagon spokesman said.

The USS Ross was on a scheduled port visit to Istanbul, according to a U.S. Navy statement issued today. The sailors managed to get away from their attackers without sustaining injury, the Navy statement said.

Warren said the USS Ross is due to leave Istanbul in the “very near future.”

U.S. to Train With Estonian Air Force

In other announcements, Warren said the United States will train with the Estonian Air Force in an exercise as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve between November 13 and 15. The U.S. military will fly two F-16 fighter jets from the 555th Fighter Squadron, also called the Triple Nickel.

The jets will deploy to Amari Air Base in Estonia, and support personnel from Aviano Air Base, Italy, will round out the operation, he said.

The exercise will include range training with Estonian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, and will focus on maintaining joint readiness while building interoperability capabilities, Warren said.

“Through these strengthened relationships and engagements with our NATO ally Estonia, the U.S. demonstrates its shared commitment to a safe and secure Eastern Europe,” an official added.

Turning to Kobani, Syria, Warren said DoD is “encouraged by the arrival of the Peshmerga” there, in the fight to keep out terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

He added that the situation in the city where the U.S. has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL remains fluid.

“We do believe friendly forces have made some limited gains,” Warren said.

McConnell Airman saves two children from burning vehicle

by Staff Sgt. Abigail Klein
931st Air Refueling Group Public Affairs Office


11/12/2014 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- As his eyes scanned the scattered debris on I-35, Senior Airman Caleb Holman had a sinking feeling in his chest.  A feeling that was confirmed when his glance made its way to the overturned vehicle on the side of the road.

Holman, then a member of the 931st Security Forces Squadron, was on his way from Indiana to McConnell, Oct. 14, 2014, to complete his out-processing when he noticed the overturned vehicle just outside of Kansas City.  He immediately hit the brakes and jumped into first responder-mode to provide assistance.

Timing was essential, as Holman noticed the undercarriage of the car was on fire.  As he inspected the vehicle closer, he knew helping those inside wouldn't be easy.

"The first thing I saw was an [unresponsive] woman with head trauma partially hanging out of the driver's side window.  The car was so mangled and bent I couldn't get her out easily," he said.  "I then heard her two boys in the back seat."

The boys, ages six and nine, were injured, but conscious.  Holman quickly climbed into the vehicle.  Once he pulled the boys out, he discovered another vehicle had stopped on the side of the road.  After ensuring the boys were ok, he left them with the other Good Samaritan and went back to the wreckage.

This time, he checked the passenger side and found a toddler strapped in a car seat.  He used his pocket knife to cut the strap holding the child, laid him on the ground and began performing chest compressions.  When another motorist stopped to help, he showed them how to perform the chest compressions, and went to help the mother still trapped.

Despite his efforts, Holman was unable to extract the woman from the vehicle.  As they waited for medical assistance to arrive, Holman stayed with the woman, prayed with her, and felt her squeeze his hand before she again slipped out of consciousness.

Tragically, neither the mother nor the young toddler survived the horrific accident.  Yet, Holman says he is grateful he was there with them in their final moments.  The two older boys he rescued were taken to a medical facility, and were able to make a safe recovery.

"Caleb's actions are a testament to the selflessness of our Airmen," said Col. Mark S. Larson.  "Like many servicemembers before him, he didn't expect to find himself in that type of situation, but when he did, he acted and saved lives. It is an honor to serve with this caliber of Airmen."
Holman's former supervisor agrees.

"I was glad that he was able to be there and do what he could to console them at the end," said Master Sgt. Scott Flaherty 931st SFS action officer.  "As a Security Forces member, [we] are first responders; it's who and what we are.  We train to neutralize the threat or provide medical aid as needed.  Holman was able to put his fear aside and do what needed to be done."

Holman continues his service as an Air Force Reservist, now serving with the 434th Security Forces Squadron, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind.

Senior leaders, Airmen gather to focus on mobility mission

by Maj. James Nichols
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs


11/12/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS)  -- More than 1,400 Air Force senior leaders and Airmen from across the mobility enterprise attended the 2014 Airlift/Tanker Association and Air Mobility Command Symposium from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The symposium gathered total-force Airmen and civilians, community leaders, and industry experts to promote education, understanding, and professional development in the mobility air force's mission.

This year's theme was 'Air Mobility: Accomplished by Professionals - Skilled and Respected.' Retired Gen. Arthur Lichte, former AMC commander and current chairman of the Airlift/Tanker Association, set the tone by expressing his priorities: supporting mobility airmen, preserving the air mobility culture, and strengthening our bonds.

The event was host to several senior leader keynote speakers, including Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James; Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody; U.S. Transportation Command commander Gen. Paul Selva; AMC commander Gen. Darren McDew; Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. James Jackson; and Director of the Air National Guard Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III.

A common theme among the keynote speakers was the message for all total-force mobility Airmen: "Thank you for what you do."

The senior leaders had laudatory remarks for AMC's recent operations, which include the 12 million pounds of cargo moved out of Afghanistan over the last 50 days by deployed C-5M Super Galaxies, as well as the humanitarian support mobility forces have provided, delivering more than 100,000 meals and 46,000 gallons of water over the last few months. Additionally, the leaders commended mobility air forces for their air refueling support to nearly 500 airstrikes against terrorists. According to the senior leaders who spoke at this year's symposium, these were just some examples of the successful feats by mobility forces throughout 2014.

"You did this without skipping a beat -- and never getting a break." James said. "It's a total-force effort to make these things happen; mobility forces are the bedrock of Air Force operations."

James also added that mobility airdrops broke ISIL's siege of Mount Sinjar, saving more than 20,000 Yazidi people.

"This was your Berlin Airlift, and you performed admirably," she said.

Cody also had high praise for the mobility fleet.

"There is no place on the globe that this Air Mobility Command can't get an Airman or where we can't get equipment," he said. "We stand on your shoulders. You are truly giants. Our Air Force is the most globally engaged Air Force in our nation's history. What you do has meaning."

Selva offered words of praise for the command's Airmen in the room.

"I trust mobility Airmen because they provide solutions," he said. "We have run over 100 missions (in support of Ebola relief), all because mobility Airmen have opened the door to a relief effort that will save hundreds of thousands of lives. This air mobility team is unstoppable."

All keynote speakers lauded the total-force effort in current operations.

"You use the total-force team to accomplish things that no other military in the world can do," Selva added.

Jackson said more than 5,000 Reserve Airmen are supporting rapid global mobility daily, as well as providing local support at home stations supporting firefighting missions, amongst others.

"Your Air Force Reserve is doing just as much as the active duty," Jackson said. "Seventy-five percent of current reservist joined after 9/11. This gives me the confidence that we (have the right people) to do these mission sets."

The National Guard Bureau's director highlighted the Air Guard's seamlessly-integrated capability as a proven choice for the war fight, an enduring choice for security cooperation, and the first choice for homeland operations.

"Guardsmen are always on mission," Clarke said. "You could be overseas defending your country and then come home and have to support a national disaster in your home state."

Across the three main of the AMC symposium, dozens of seminars were offered, focusing on professional development of mobility Airmen from around the globe. Topics covered everything from current operations like airdrops in Iraq, to "new normal" budget realities, to the outlook and recapitalization efforts for the current and future tanker fleet.

One seminar was dedicated to an update on one of the Air Force's newest organizations, the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC), which will have a direct impact on every installation. The center was officially activated under Air Force Materiel Command Aug. 8, and will serve as the single intermediate headquarters for the delivery of installation support capabilities.

According to Col. Brian Duffy, the AFIMSC (provisional) vice commander, the unit's focus is to provide responsive, seamless support to installations, while reducing overhead and costs at the major command level. AFIMSC will consolidate functions now performed individually at each of the 10 MAJCOMs, which will help eliminate redundancies in support to Air Force bases.

As the final keynote speaker for the symposium, McDew provided closing comments and wrapped up the multi-day event.

"You deliver more than just military power," McDew said. "In ways both obvious and subtle, you underpin American diplomacy. You are our mobility professionals and Air Force leaders."

U.S. Security Challenges Not Insurmountable, Work Says



By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2014 – The present-day security environment is challenging, but it is not insurmountable, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work told the Center for Strategic and International Studies here today.

Work -- who opened the center’s Global Defense Forum -- disagreed with assumptions that security challenges facing the United States are unprecedented.

He cited the challenges facing President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he took office in 1953 as proof.

Eisenhower Faced Unsettled Security Environment

“That was also an unsettled period,” Work said. “When President Eisenhower took office in 1953, the U.S. was engaged in a costly, protracted, and unpopular war in Korea. Even after he managed to end the war, U.S.-China relations remained hostile and tense, punctuated by the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1954.”

The Soviet Union had the nuclear bomb and developed hydrogen bombs in 1954, stoking fears of nuclear annihilation. The Iron Curtain had descended across Eastern Europe, and Cold War proxies were fighting in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

While all this was going on, Eisenhower worked to build NATO into a strong and effective military alliance.

“I use this example not to downplay the challenges facing us today, but simply to show we have faced enormous challenges in the past,” the deputy defense secretary said. “I could have picked 1979 and 1983.”

The United States got through that and will get through these days, Work said.

Employing Strategic Patience

Americans today should look to Eisenhower’s approach as he took the vast experience he had gained as a wartime leader and set out to develop a patient strategy for peace, the deputy defense secretary suggested.

“He played the long game,” Work said of Eisenhower. “The thing I admire the most about him was his strategic patience. He knew the U.S. was in for a long, persistent struggle against the Soviet Union and he was determined to best position all elements of our national power to give us the greatest possibility of winning. He rejected both undisciplined defense spending and unwise defense cuts.”

Like Eisenhower, President Barack Obama entered the White House during a time of war “and he was similarly determined to responsibly end ongoing combat operations as quickly as he could,” Work said.

Drawing Down the Military

Obama looked to draw down the military in a responsible way, also, Work said.

“Now post-war defense drawdowns are nothing new,” he said. “This is the fifth major sustained drawdown since World War II. However, I would argue this particular drawdown has been as unpredictable as the current strategic environment, and perhaps even more chaotic.”

It didn’t start out that way, the deputy defense secretary said.

Then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates saw this coming as he moved to draw down the U.S. military responsibly. He eliminated 33 underperforming programs. He told DoD planners to expect slower growth, with fiscal 2015 having no growth. He directed an efficiency initiative to shift dollars from “tail” -- overhead -- to -- “tooth” -- warfighting capability.

Sequestration Presents Big Challenges

And that worked right up until it ran into the 2011 Budget Control Act and sequestration. The planned-for cuts and the added cuts of sequestration meant $1 trillion was taken out of the defense budget over 10 years.

“How can one really plan a program if they do not know for sure if they must prepare to absorb an additional $500 billion over 10 years?” Work asked.

Sequestration triggered on Jan. 1, 2013, although cuts did not start until March 1.

“This represented a one-year, 8-percent cut -- ka-boom -- in base defense spending, and a 12-percent drop in overall spending -- the largest single-year decline in defense spending since 1955 and the Korean War demobilization,” he said. “It is no exaggeration to say we are still recovering from the incomprehensible destructive way sequestration was implemented.”

Changes did come in the shape of the Balanced Budget Act that provided some budget stability for fiscal 2014 and 2015. Sequestration remains on the books and can trigger on Jan. 1, 2016.

Lack of Budgetary Stability Impacts Strategic Planning

“Unless we return to some sort of regular budget order soon, and Congress provides us some budgetary stability and room to make the hard choices we must, we run the risk of building a program that will become increasingly misaligned with strategic environment that we all see is so chaotic,” the deputy defense secretary said.

All this “makes a mockery out of strategic planning,” Work said.

Readiness has been severely impacted, Work said. The readiness crisis came to a head last year, he said, when sequester hit despite the Joint Chiefs going up on the Hill to warn of just that outcome.

The deputy defense secretary said people expected readiness to nosedive or be like a car having a blowout. But it was more a slow leak than an explosion.

“The reality is sequester impacted every node of the man, train, and equipping pipeline and yielded dangerous operational effects,” he said.

Readiness across the force remains fragile and vulnerable to budget uncertainty, Work said.

“What we do know is that we’re in a real readiness trough and it will take time, money, and fiscal predictability to recover,” he said.

Coming to America: 319th Civil Engineer Squadron Airman becomes U.S. citizen

by Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


11/7/2014 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- An Airman from the 319th Civil Engineer Squadron has a special reason to celebrate this holiday season--less than a month ago, he officially obtained his U.S. citizenship.

Airman 1st Class Marco Antonio Guerrero Nacif is a native of Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico, a city named for the last Aztec emperor, located about five hours from El Paso, Texas.

The 26-year-old came to the United States on a tourist visa in 2007, but made a life-changing decision in the beginning of 2014 by enlisting in the Air Force. He spoke about a friend who belonged to the Marine Corps, and a former employer who once belonged to the Army. He said he always enjoyed hearing their stories from their time in the Armed Forces, and that they helped inspire him to find his own story to tell.

"My main reason for joining the Air Force was that I wanted to have that sense of pride and accomplishment, I wanted to have something to tell my kids and grandkids about one day," he said.

Guerrero explained that while the citizenship process normally takes years to complete for non-military members, those who do take the military route see their citizenship application process cut into a fraction.

"Being a military member helps a lot," he said. "At basic training, there is someone there to help you fill out and file the forms. Later, there is an interview where you get asked questions about American history, politics, and to see how well you speak English. Eventually you schedule the oath ceremony and you get your certificate of citizenship. The whole thing takes about three or four months instead of being a temporary resident for a couple of years, then a permanent resident, then applying for citizenship. The military takes priority."

He said that while he enjoys his job as a power production apprentice, he still imagines one day transitioning into the medical field using his previous emergency medical technician education.

"I'm only about 10 credits away from my associate's degree, and I would really love to get my bachelor's before the end of my enlistment," he said. "I'm keeping my options open. I might decide to pursue a commission later on, or I may stay in as an enlisted member."

He summed up his feelings with a single thought:

"I love Mexico," he said. "I was born and raised there, but there are so many opportunities available here that I would never have there. There are many people here who do not know what it truly means to not have actual freedoms. In this country you can do and be anything you want."

New ICBM career model instituted across 20th AF

by Airman 1st Class Joseph Raatz
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs


11/12/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- A restructured operational rotation model for Air Force Global Strike Command missile combat crew officers, tested earlier this year at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, has been implemented across 20th Air Force as part of an ongoing series of improvements to the U.S. nuclear force.

The new "3+3" model creates a career plan for missileers, splitting up their first six years on the job into two three-year assignments. In their first assignment, missileers will focus on developing their weapon system proficiency. When they move on to their second assignment, they will apply their enhanced expertise by serving as an instructor, evaluator and/or flight commander and by providing guidance and mentoring to missileers still in their first assignment.

"The first assignment will focus on developing field intercontinental ballistic missile operations experience," said Col. Todd Sauls, chief of ICBM Operations at Air Force Global Strike Command. "Crew members will be better prepared to handle the demanding requirements of the new instructor and evaluator duty regimen at their follow-on assignment."

Previously, missile crew tours were based around a four-to five-year rotation -- which sometimes extended to nearly six years -- that included instructor, evaluator and flight commander duties. Under this system, inexperienced missileers were sometimes put in a position to instruct or evaluate more senior or experienced officers. This will be eliminated as "3+3" replaces the previous model.

"The new ICBM model will be implemented in phases," Sauls said. "We have to carefully manage the transition from the previous system to the new, and manage exactly when people move, to ensure we take care of our Airmen while minimizing any potential manning problems."

Missileers who have been in place for two years or less will switch over to the new system immediately, whereas missileers who have already completed three years of their tour will continue with their current assignment before switching.

The new career progression is a result of AFGSC's Force Improvement Program, a continuing initiative that focuses on identifying issues faced by the Air Force's nuclear mission and addressing them with comprehensive solutions developed by Airmen who conduct the mission on a daily basis.

"The '3+3' model was visualized by a team comprised of members from the missile units, 20th Air Force Headquarters and AFGSC Headquarters ," said Maj. Ray Vann, ICBM operations lead at AFGSC's Applied Capabilities Office.  "The team identified a need for increased focus on field operations experience. In the past the focus was to become an instructor or evaluator, leading to less experienced people in critical positions.  This model increases operations experience for the crewforce. The field shaped the model to address the issues."

Col. Jay Folds, Task Force 214 director and 20th Air Force director of operations, views 3+3 as vital to mission accomplishment.

"Combat crews on alert in support of U.S. Strategic Command will be more experienced in the weapon system, which translates into improved combat capability," said Folds.  "Further, as officers develop under the 3+3 model, they'll attain a high level of expertise as leaders and operators so they can lead from the front when they become commanders of ICBM units."

In addition to providing missileers with additional training, the "3+3" model may also provide a change of scenery.

"An added benefit to the '3+3' model is the new perspective gained by serving in multiple units as we establish a cross-flow between missile wings," Vann said. "Missileers now will experience multiple wings in the same timeframe that only allowed for one wing in the old system. Missileers will have greater opportunities than ever before. These are new and exciting times for missileers."

Air Force ROTC cadets receive nuclear scholarships

by Phil Berube
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


11/12/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- All it took to convince him was a desire to make a difference after a visit from a general officer from Air Force Global Strike Command and an Air Force offer to pay for his last two years of school.

With a scholarship offer on the table and the words from Brig. Gen. Fred B. Stoss III still ringing in his ears, Air Force ROTC Cadet Jordan Pryor volunteered to enter the nuclear and missile operations career field after finishing his final year at Purdue University.

Pryor is one of 30 AFROTC cadets who have accepted one- or two-year nuclear and missile operations scholarships since the Air Force started targeting "high-quality" students in March 2014 to meet officer requirements in the career field, according to officials at Headquarters Air Force ROTC here.

Stoss, who visited the Purdue ROTC detachment in September, is the director of Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Assessments at AFGSC, headquartered at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

The cadet accepted his in-state tuition scholarship in October 2014.

The biochemistry major admits that the job was not even on his radar scope before Stoss' recruiting visit.

"That is what really opened my eyes to the career field," said Pryor, who had originally planned to become an acquisition officer. "It really had not been something I had even thought about until that point. General Stoss explained the work schedule and duties, and it seemed interesting. That, combined with the opportunity for a scholarship, was what swayed me to volunteer."

Additionally, ROTC officials report that they will be awarding 20 three-year scholarships to college sophomores in November 2014.

The scholarship incentives are part of the strides the Air Force and the command made across the missile community to recruit the "best and brightest future missileers."

Pryor said he's aware of the difficult times the command has gone through, but he's willing to do what he can to be a part of the solution.

"I look forward to begin working in the career field during its rebuilding stages," he said. "That is what I look forward to being a part of. I hope that when I am leaving the Air Force, I can look back and see a distinct change in how the career field is viewed."