Military News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Student pilot earns second set of wings

by Airman John Day
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


11/24/2014 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- One flight surgeon has taken the next step to become the 14th Pilot-Physician in the United States Air Force.

Capt. William Smith, 14th Flying Training Wing Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 15-02 student, became the first pilot to earn his silver wings in the new pilot-physician selection process during a graduation ceremony Nov. 21 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

The path to becoming a pilot-physician in the United States Air Force can be daunting. Required are the silver wings of an Air Force pilot, one operational tour as a pilot, and to be a licensed physician with at least one year as a flight surgeon.

Attending the graduation was special guest Col. Bill Mueller, Director of the USAF Pilot-Physician Program. Mueller is also one of 14 pilot-physicians in the entire Air Force.

While pilot-physicians have the same day-to-day flight schedules as regular pilots, they are able to see the mission with two sets of expertise.

"The pilot-physician program allows the Air Force to leverage the dual expertise that we get from officers with experience in two very specialized areas and to help see connections between operations and human capabilities," Mueller said.  "These officers have a depth and breadth of knowledge that enables the Air Force to solve complex problems involving humans and ensure mission success."

The program, though small, is open to many, including pilots who are already rated, medical officers who are flight surgeons and civilians with either of the two certifications and a desire to serve. By using the chain of command, those wishing to be considered can communicate with Mueller and submit a package for consideration of acceptance.

"You have to have tenacity," Mueller said. "You can't just pick up the phone and expect to get the ball rolling with just one phone call. A person who wants to pursue this field has to be really tenacious and make this a goal they strive for."

Mueller came to congratulate and welcome Smith into an elite career field combining two very specialized jobs.

"I always wanted to be a flight surgeon and to be involved in operational medicine, but I had never thought of being a pilot-physician until I got to Tyndall Air Force Base as a flight surgeon," Smith said.

It was only after hearing about one pilot-physician's story did he decide to pursue this unique career path.

"When I was in Tyndall, Lt. Col. Jay Flottmann was flying F-22s and he encouraged me to apply once they started allowing flight surgeons to apply to UPT," Smith said. "With his involvement in the F-22 hypoxia problem, I saw the benefit of having an aeromedical expert in the cockpit and that is what drove me to go the pilot-physician route."

Mueller was able to reflect on the F-22 problem as well and pinpoint why Flottmann was the ideal officer to help solve in this challenge.

"Colonel Flottmann was able to put the problem into terms that pilots, doctors, congressional and Air Force leaders could understand because he carried such great credibility and experience in two specialized areas," Mueller said. "This ultimately helped reassure the Air Force that the F-22 was ready to return to flight."

One area that greatly benefits from pilot-physician expertise is Human Systems Integration, or HSI.

"Whether they are in a bomber, a fighter or a transport tanker, HSI helps commanders understand where the human fits in and how to help ensure that what these Airmen uniquely bring to the equation is going to be effective and optimized," Mueller said. "HSI helps the Air Force better utilize Airmen to power the Air Force mission."

Another area in which pilot-physicians are able to gather useful information is Human Performance. Mueller said Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Thomas W. Travis, Surgeon General of the Air Force and a pilot-physician, stresses the importance of Human Performance in accomplishing the Air Force's mission.

"Human Performance is when you optimize Airmen's health in the context of performing the mission.  Maximizing Human Performance increases combat capability," Mueller said. "It helps us fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace."

With a more streamlined process, the Air Force hopes to generate more bright minds for this vital role.

"We hope to grow the program to between 24 and 28 pilot-physician positions in the Air Force," Mueller said. "We believe the pipeline to select flight surgeons to attend UPT will help us reach this goal."

Civilian employers tour Army and Air National Guard facilities

by Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago
103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs


11/20/2014 - BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Civilian employers from around the state gathered to participate in an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve "bosslift" at Bradley Air National Guard Base, Connecticut, arriving early on Oct. 28th, 2014.

The day started with coffee and donuts followed by a briefing from Col. Fred Miclon, vice commander of the 103rd Airlift Wing, about the mission of the Flying Yankees and then by the Connecticut ESGR committee about the importance of civilian employers to the ANG.

"I just wanted to say thank you," said Ted Graziani, state chair for the Connecticut ESGR committee. "Each and every one of you puts in the time and effort to abide by USERRA and it really shows through your commitment to your military employees."

USERRA, also known as the uniformed services employment and reemployment rights act, is a federal law that outlines rights and responsibilities for both military members and employers regarding employment and being called up to serve in a military capacity.

Following the briefing, the group was escorted to the hangar where they got an up close and personal look at one of the recently acquired C-130H Hercules aircraft.  The tour included sitting at the controls of the aircraft and walk through the cargo area.

Available throughout the C130H were Airmen to answer any question from the group.

The group was then transported to the Army Aviation Support Facility, home of the 169th Aviation Regiment to experience the Army side of the Connecticut National Guard.

Upon arrival the group was briefed by Sgt. Major Tony Savino on the daily operations of the Army Guard. The group received tours of the CH-47 Chinook, and the UH-60 Blackhawk. Again, the civilian employers got a chance to sit at the controls of these aircraft and ask any questions they may have had.

Following the tours, participants were treated to a real military experience when each member of the group was given a meal ready to eat for lunch. MREs are prepackaged food intended for military personnel working in the field.

Once the group was fed they made their way to the helipad where they boarded a UH-60 Blackhawk piloted by Capt. Rick LaGrega, commander, headquarters and headquarters company 1/169th Aviation Regiment, general support aviation battalion and lifted to Southbridge airfield to conduct a counter clockwise loop.

"As a Soldier and a company commander, I cannot emphasize enough how vital the support of employers is to the Connecticut National Guard," said LaGrega

After the practice approach at Pittsfield Airfield; the Blackhawk flew back to Bradley ANG to return the group to their parked vehicles.

"The bosslift experience was absolutely fantastic... my team from UTAS-Danbury Defense Systems were extremely impressed with the tours, presentations, and the history lesson," said David Imbrogno, general manager of defense systems, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and space systems, United Technologies Corporation, aerospace systems.

ESGR regularly supports events like this for civilian employers with the goal providing them with a better understanding and mutual respect of military members and their obligations.

JSTARS showcases value of manned platform during multi-state exercise

by Tech. Sgt. Regina Young
116th Air Control Wing Public Affairs


11/20/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Operators from the 116th Air Control Wing and the 138th Military Intelligence Company took to the skies to provide real-time situational awareness to F-16 Fighting Falcons, AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopters and ground forces during the Operation Carolina Thunder exercise.

The multi-state, multi-component, collective training exercise conducted during the South Carolina National Guard drill weekend, involved more than 650 participants from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee National Guard units.

Using the one-of-a-kind battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the E-8C Joint STARS, the Airmen and Soldiers provided targeting data and intelligence for attack aviation, fighter attack and friendly maneuver forces in the vicinity of the Savannah River Site near Augusta, Georgia.

The JSTARS crew from the Georgia Air National Guard welcomed aboard Army Capt. Michelle Roberts, a deputy intelligence officer with the South Carolina National Guard.

"Having Capt. Roberts aboard is a great asset to JSTARS," said Maj. Kenneth Billings, mission crew commander with the 128th Airborne Command and Control Squadron.  "She is able to provide insight to what the South Carolina National Guard needs from us."

"The ability to train with a liaison on the jet is a great asset because they can speak from the perspective of their particular unit, and this helps us fuse that with the way we do things and provide a better product for our customer," said Billings.

During the flight, Roberts acted as the ground liaison officer supporting military intelligence operations and got a chance to get her hands on the equipment, learning first-hand the capabilities that JSTARS brings to the fight.

"The incorporation of JSTARS is huge," said Roberts. "From an intelligence perspective, JSTARS provides the overall common operation picture from air to ground, and we can use that to relay where the enemy threat actually is."

According to Billings, the biggest value of JSTARS that makes this possible is because it is a manned platform versus being remotely operated from a ground control station.

"Having operators onboard the actual aircraft allows us more flexibility in ever-changing operational environments," he said.

Training exercises like Operation Carolina Thunder are a step toward strengthening relationships with different states and components that exist in the National Guard and also showcase the full spectrum of capabilities that JSTARS has to offer.

"I can see a lot of training and mission opportunities with JSTARS coming from exercise Operation Carolina Thunder," said Roberts.

Building resiliency in numbers

by Dianne Moffett
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs


11/25/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Most Airmen have probably heard the expression "there's strength in numbers." Most Airmen have also probably heard of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness. When it comes to building resiliency, the two are not unrelated.

The four domains of CAF are mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness, which enhance resilience in individuals, families and communities.

In the social domain, "strength in numbers" is an underlying theme. According to the Air Force's CAF program, it's important to develop and maintain trusted, valued friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication, including exchange of ideas, views and experiences.

Finding comfort in the company of others, especially in times of anxiety or need, is social fitness.

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury's Tips to Boost Resilience in service members Web page, suggests that people who receive support from a group have a better a chance of conquering bad health and may increase their sense of well-being.

The DCoE points out Airmen express their social traits differently, but when Airmen exhibit healthy social connections and behaviors, their units thrive. The stronger the unit is socially, the more resilient it will be.

It's important to have good relationships with family members, friends and other service members. Nevertheless, leaders can also help build social resiliency within their command by fostering a sense of camaraderie, providing a clear understanding of the mission and encouraging unit cohesion.

"What is most important is Airmen and leadership support those who may be facing challenges," said Lt. Col. Mitzi Thomas-Lawson, Mental Health Branch chief, Office of the Command Surgeon, Air Education and Training Command. "There are many indicators to let someone know a co-worker, friend, or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of mental illness or substance abuse.

"If you notice anyone isolating him or herself, try to draw that individual into group activities. And, above all, reach out if you or someone you know may need someone to talk to," Thomas -Lawson said.

And as Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James specifies in an Aug. 19, 2014, story on Air Force Link, "taking care of Airmen is one of the Air Force's top priorities.

"CAF supports my main priority by ensuring all people and families within our Air Force are taken care of by providing a great opportunity for us to grow resiliently in our careers and our personal lives," James said. CAF is a lifestyle and culture that focuses on making sound choices while building a thriving Air Force."

The holiday season provides many opportunities to gather with others, to laugh and bond, spend quality time with peers and family, and engage in healthy activities. The DCoE's website adds that social activity helps relieve stress, builds connections with others, and the uneasiness of missing family and friends.

Whether on a deployment or at home, Airmen should make sure to spend some of their downtime around others - even if it's something as simple as playing a game of catch, getting involved in base and community activities, playing music in a band or volunteering with a service community program.

Just as Patrick Henry, one of America's founding father's famously said, "United we stand, divided we fall." Airmen must band together to stay socially fit.

Air National Guard Station receives radome prototype

by Senior Airman Jennifer Pierce
103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs


11/20/2014 - BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Conn. -- A radome was raised and installed on the radar tower at the 103rd Air Control Squadron in Orange, Connecticut, Oct. 25.

The name radome is a blend of the words radar and dome, refering to the protective shield that encompasses a radar antenna.

"The ACS received the radome through the Small Business Innovation Research Program," said Senior Master Sgt. Keith Haessly, mission systems superintendent with the 103rd ACS.  "SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages U.S. based small businesses to engage in research and development with the potential for commercialization."

It took from Oct. 6 to Oct. 24 to build the fiber composite radome, said Master Sgt. Bruce Przygocki, NCOIC of ground radar systems maintenance.

The radome, built by the Ebert Composites Corporation out of San Diego, CA, is 32 feet in diameter and 27 feet high. It is has 45 individual panels and is held together with over 2,500 fasteners. A lightning protection system composed of five lightning rods is affixed to the top of the radome along with a warning light, said Przygocki.

"Ebert began work on this project in early 2010 by designing the specialty material.  In late 2012 they were awarded a contract to fabricate a rigid radome prototype for installation at an existing radar site," said Haessly.  "The ACS was selected as the show-place location in mid-2013 and design and construction began shortly thereafter." 

The radome installation required three employees from the Ebert Composites Corporation, nine Airmen from the ACS, and the assistance of the Smedley Crane Company out of Branford, Conn. Although the installation of the radome took significant coordination between two civilian companies and the ACS, the successful project will result in reduced labor for Airmen moving forward.

"We are now saving over 300 man-hours per year with the new radome installation," said Przygocki.

Located on the Connecticut shoreline, the site receives high winds and a wide range of environmental conditions from extreme heat to bitter cold and the snow and ice that goes with it, said Haessly.  Being located in close proximity to major industrial areas, the dome will be exposed to dirt when blown in by weather.  Fortunately the dome's material enables it to repel dirt, mitigating a downside to more traditional domes.

Anytime there was a weather warning for high winds, we would have to fold the antenna to protect it from possible wind damage. Now, we no longer have to fold the antenna and we feel secure in knowing that the $2 million antenna is being protected by a radome capable of withstanding 140 mph winds, said Przygocki.

One outstanding feature about this particular radome is its completely maintenance free design.

"This is the first radome of its kind," said Przygocki. For the next 25-30 years, the radome requires no maintenance.

Now that we have the radome, we are able to focus entirely on our mission instead of having to worry about changing weather conditions, protecting the antenna, or even maintaining the radome itself, said Przygocki.

Civilian employers tour Army and Air National Guard facilities

by Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago
103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs


11/20/2014 - BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Civilian employers from around the state gathered to participate in an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve "bosslift" at Bradley Air National Guard Base, Connecticut, arriving early on Oct. 28th, 2014.

The day started with coffee and donuts followed by a briefing from Col. Fred Miclon, vice commander of the 103rd Airlift Wing, about the mission of the Flying Yankees and then by the Connecticut ESGR committee about the importance of civilian employers to the ANG.

"I just wanted to say thank you," said Ted Graziani, state chair for the Connecticut ESGR committee. "Each and every one of you puts in the time and effort to abide by USERRA and it really shows through your commitment to your military employees."

USERRA, also known as the uniformed services employment and reemployment rights act, is a federal law that outlines rights and responsibilities for both military members and employers regarding employment and being called up to serve in a military capacity.

Following the briefing, the group was escorted to the hangar where they got an up close and personal look at one of the recently acquired C-130H Hercules aircraft.  The tour included sitting at the controls of the aircraft and walk through the cargo area.

Available throughout the C130H were Airmen to answer any question from the group.

The group was then transported to the Army Aviation Support Facility, home of the 169th Aviation Regiment to experience the Army side of the Connecticut National Guard.

Upon arrival the group was briefed by Sgt. Major Tony Savino on the daily operations of the Army Guard. The group received tours of the CH-47 Chinook, and the UH-60 Blackhawk. Again, the civilian employers got a chance to sit at the controls of these aircraft and ask any questions they may have had.

Following the tours, participants were treated to a real military experience when each member of the group was given a meal ready to eat for lunch. MREs are prepackaged food intended for military personnel working in the field.

Once the group was fed they made their way to the helipad where they boarded a UH-60 Blackhawk piloted by Capt. Rick LaGrega, commander, headquarters and headquarters company 1/169th Aviation Regiment, general support aviation battalion and lifted to Southbridge airfield to conduct a counter clockwise loop.

"As a Soldier and a company commander, I cannot emphasize enough how vital the support of employers is to the Connecticut National Guard," said LaGrega

After the practice approach at Pittsfield Airfield; the Blackhawk flew back to Bradley ANG to return the group to their parked vehicles.

"The bosslift experience was absolutely fantastic... my team from UTAS-Danbury Defense Systems were extremely impressed with the tours, presentations, and the history lesson," said David Imbrogno, general manager of defense systems, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and space systems, United Technologies Corporation, aerospace systems.

ESGR regularly supports events like this for civilian employers with the goal providing them with a better understanding and mutual respect of military members and their obligations.

Accepting follow-on forces the Wolf Pack way

by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


11/25/2014 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- From dawn to dusk and late into the night hours, the roaring sounds of fighter aircraft filled the skies of the Korean Peninsula, Nov. 14 to 22.

To sustain the largest flying exercise on the Korean Peninsula, Kunsan AB adapted to meet the needs of multiple units who joined the Wolf Pack from across the Pacific. As sorties were generated between five different services using eight different airframes, the 8th Fighter Wing proved its ability to rapidly establish mission capability and unity of command in Exercise Max Thunder 14-2.

"For Max Thunder, my flight is the cornerstone of the tenet 'Accept Follow-on Forces,'" said Capt. Melissa Jamison, 8th Force Support Squadron sustainment services flight commander. "We worked tirelessly to receive follow-on forces, provided them a place to rest and fed them in order to keep their mission contributions in all capacities at the highest effective rate."

A semi-annual joint training exercise, Max Thunder 14-2 brought more than 1,000 personnel from various ROK Air Force units, the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Navy to Kunsan AB.

Despite these figures, Kunsan maintained the capacity to host and sustain additional units with various bed-down requirements, whilst simultaneously conducting rigorous flying missions.

"We double-billeted nearly all of our rooms in the Wolf Pack Lodge," Jamison said. "We are the only lodging facility in the Air Force that has two beds in standard rooms, as our lodging function was built with contingency support in mind. In addition to the extended lodging capacity, we were very grateful to have the participating sister services bring cooks to bolster our kitchen operations. We had a total of seven cooks from the Marines and the Navy. It was a very special experience to look into the O'Malley Dining Facility and see the blend of uniforms working together seamlessly. It was the very definition of a joint operation."

For Master Sgt. Justin McDonald, 8th FSS customer support superintendent, his role in contingency operations is the facilitator and NCO in charge of the personnel processing unit.
McDonald said his role in Max Thunder and similar exercises encompasses total force accountability.

"We are just one piece in the process, but we work with more than seven agencies to take care of everything from 'cradle to grave,'" he said.

From 8th FW Safety, to the Office of Special Investigations, and public health - nearly every agency within the Wolf Pack played a role in supporting additional units to ensure the success of the joint large-force employment training.

"My role as a logistics planner is to organize the incoming forces of Marines and Sailors," said Senior Airman Sarah McDermott, 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron logistics planner. "This includes in-processing, receiving their cargo, lodging and transportation - so we made sure to get in contact with the necessary areas of the base; even down to making sure a bus is ready to pick them up as soon as they step off that plane."

Other agencies played a crucial role to ensure the efficient allocation of various aircraft and their crewmembers.

"There were over 80 aircraft that participated in Max Thunder with an additional 22 support aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Shateenie Stokes, 8th Operations Support Squadron deputy airfield manager. "It was our responsibility to guarantee adequate parking for the aircraft and a facility for all maintenance personnel, as well as ensuring smooth arrival and departures for all aircraft."

Kunsan AB is the only air base in the ROK where U.S. and ROKAF flying units reside together, a trait that makes it ideal for an exercise like Max Thunder. This partnership enables the U.S. to practice sharpening their skills with their ROKAF allies not only for exercises, but on a daily basis as well.

"We train together so the integration of troops is seamless during actual combat," said 1st Lt. Kyle Deroner, 8th FSS readiness and plans chief. "At the end of the day, it's one team, one fight, and we all need to work together to accomplish the main objective."

41 total-force Airmen selected as KC-46 aircrew

by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs


11/25/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS)  -- Forty-one officers and enlisted members from active duty, Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard have been selected as KC-46 Pegasus initial operational test and evaluation aircrew, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Nov. 24.

The KC-46 is slated to enter the Air Force inventory, pending the results of operational test and evaluation, in 2016. Developed by Boeing in Mukilteo, Washington, the aircraft is set to replace the KC-135 Stratotanker, which has been actively employed since 1956.

"Test and evaluation aircrew will evaluate the tanker's capabilities under all circumstances and situations to ensure that it meets all operational mission requirements," said Maj. Broc Starrett, an official with the AFPC Mobility Air Forces rated assignments section.

"This is a significant milestone in the careers of the pilots and boom operators selected to test the new tanker," Starrett said. "Airmen selected for test and evaluation positions must be the best in their field, so selection for the program is very competitive. These total-force Airmen will have significant impact on the future of the Air Force mobility mission."

To see the selection list and for information about other personnel issues, go to myPers. Select "search all components" from the drop down menu and enter "KC-46 Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) Aircrew Selection Board Results" in the search window.

315 MSG earns 4th Air Force accolades

by Michael Dukes
315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


11/25/2014 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The 315th Mission Support Group was awarded the Tech. Sgt. Anthony C. Campbell Jr. Award during a ceremony Nov. 19 in Riverside, Calif. as the best mission support group in the Fourth Air Force.

"Winning the Campbell Award is an awesome achievement, but the greatest reward is watching a very diverse group of professionals pull together every day and make the mission happen," said Col. James Hurley, 315 MSG commander. "I am proud to be a member of the Best MSG Team in 4AF!"

Contributing to the group's accomplishments are its logistics readiness, aerial port, security forces squadrons, airlift control flight and explosive ordnance disposal team. Together they have deployed, provided fueling support, moved cargo, protected assets, trained foreign nationals, transported passengers, saved time and millions of dollars, provided humanitarian support and one member even gave the gift of life through the organ donor program.

Col. Scott Sauter, 315th Airlift Wing commander and Chief Master Sgt. Gigi Manning, command chief, accepted the award.

"Chief Manning and I were honored to collect the Campbell Trophy at last week's Raincross Awards Dinner on behalf of Col Hurley and the 315th Mission Support Group.  This speaks to the hard work and professionalism of the entire 315th MSG and serves to honor the memory of this award's namesake, TSgt Anthony C. Campbell, Jr.," said Col. Scott Sauter, 315th Airlift Wing commander. "They, the 315 MSG, had an outstanding year...best in 4th Air Force!" 

The annual awards dinner is preceded by a commander's workshop and is attended by commanders and command chiefs from each of the 15 flying wings, one flying group and one regional support group under the numbered air force's umbrella.

(Linda Welz, 452nd Air Mobility Wing public affairs, contributed to this story)

Hagel Focused on Defense Mission, Kirby Says



By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is focused on the defense mission as the search for his successor begins, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

“The secretary is going to stay at the job and stay at work and continue to do the things that he has been doing the last two years,” Kirby told reporters during a news briefing.

In Hagel’s time at the department he’s launched more than a dozen reforms, the admiral said, noting that many of those reforms have been implemented and some -- including a military justice system review and efforts to reduce military sexual assaults -- are still being worked through.

“He's very much focused on implementing the recommendations and changes that he has accepted from the reforms that we put in place ... [and] also working with the groups that he has working on other reform initiatives he has out there,” Kirby said.

The defense secretary will continue to emphasize the three priorities he outlined in a speech in Chicago in May: people, capabilities and partnerships, the press secretary said.

“It's very much for him about, you know, continuing to keep -- to keep his foot on the pedal and moving forward,” he said.

Of particular importance is continuing to develop the U.S. relationship with Asian-Pacific nations, Kirby said. Hagel was forced to postpone a planned trip to the region due to scheduling conflicts. But, the press secretary said, the department and Hagel are committed to the rebalance.

“The secretary has made six trips to the region since he's been secretary ... He has been very, very much a point man on the Asia-Pacific rebalance, securing important agreements with many countries over there for increased U.S. rotational presence,” the admiral said.