Military News

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Max Matlock becomes Barksdale's newest B-52 Crew Chief

by Senior Airman Joseph A. Pagán Jr.
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


12/19/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Children's dreams know no boundaries. They may want to be a doctor, firefighter or even a pirate or ninja. As they grow older, however, their dreams become more realistic.

Maxwell Matlock, 10, a child diagnosed with a life threating cancer, known as T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, dreams of becoming an Airman, and while that may be out of reach now, Barksdale maintainers did their best to push him in the right direction.

"I found out about him about a year-and-a half-ago. I coached him in baseball and wanted to do something special for him," said Tech. Sgt. Mark Haines, 2nd Maintenance Group maintenance operation center NCO in-charge. "Anytime you get the chance to make a difference in a kid's life, it's something that we all should fight for. I live my life for every day; trying to make a child's life better. To do that for Max means a lot."

With the holiday season upon us, Max received many early gifts to help lift his spirits throughout the end of the year and into the next.

Max was first promoted to the rank of colonel, received his very own Airman Battle Uniform, and toured every nook and cranny of a B-52H Stratofortress.

"It feel's nice," Max said with an enormous grin. "I went in the planes, got pictures and looked around at everything."

Without any fear, Max excitedly took on the challenge of walking across the wing of the B-52, and immediately after was taken to the flightline to see his very own name on the aircraft, "Commander Maxwell "Max" Matlock."

"Thank you for all the stuff you showed me and everything that was done," Max said.

While Max enjoyed the many perks of becoming an Honorary Crew Chief, it was his mother, Katherine Matlock, who was most thankful.

"It was awesome. It was amazing," she said. "Just getting to see the smile on his face because he is all about the planes and he loves the military."

Recently, Max talked about joining the military and this is a dream come true, she continued.

For a child with such a heavy burden to receive the Christmas gift of a lifetime, it's his parents who worry the most.

"Max was supposed to be in remission after 30 days. He was not, which put him at high-risk for the leukemia to come back," said Katherine. "It's up to me to give him drugs, but when he hurts, when he's sick, there's nothing I can do about it because it's deadly. This month we were told he has what's similar to osteoporosis in a 70-year-old woman."

Despite these findings, Max remains confident.

"He's a lot more positive than me and his father," she said. "He has a wonderful outlook on this. He says I fought this long, I'll fight again."

Although Max must deal with the harsh reality of his condition, he will continue to fly, fight and win.

From Plane to Table: Reserve aircrew deliver food to thousands in Nicaragua

by 2nd Lt. Steve Lewis
512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


12/23/2014 - MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Donna Wright was anxiously peering out through a rusty fence on a humid Saturday afternoon when a C-5M Super Galaxy touched down on the runway.

She waved at the pilots as the mammoth plane made its way to a parking spot close to the passenger terminal. It was a rainy day in Managua, Nicaragua, so the ground crews at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport wasted no time meeting the C-5 with their two forklifts.

Inside the football field-sized cargo hold of the plane was 125,000 pounds of humanitarian aid, including rice, canned meat and pasta. The cargo was being delivered by U.S. Air Force Reserve Airmen from the 512th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and were going to feed 15,000 children in Nicaragua for the next six months.

To say Donna was excited would be an understatement. For the past 14 years she has been in Nicaragua with her husband, Larry, and had never set foot on a U.S. military aircraft delivering humanitarian aid to their organization.

"A C-5 plane full of humanitarian supplies, are you kidding? That is something that we could only imagine happening," said Donna. "It has been an honor to be able to receive the aid from the U.S. Military and the U.S. Air Force."

Mr. and Mrs. Wright run World Missions Outreach (locally known as Misiones de Alcance Mundial), an international nonprofit organization that provides food, shelter, education and ministry services to the people of Nicaragua. According to Donna, many of the children in Nicaragua live in extreme poverty in homes without access to indoor plumbing or electricity. Very little furniture also means these children are sleeping on dirt floors under tin roofs.  

Saturday's delivery of humanitarian aid by the 512th AW to Nicaragua was made possible through the Denton Program, which is a Department of Defense humanitarian assistance transportation program that utilizes space available military air, surface and sea-lift assets. Cargo delivered through the Denton Program is provided by donors or private charities and is shipped worldwide free of charge for applicants that request transportation support.

"The program provides donating agencies with a great opportunity to move humanitarian cargo to places like Nicaragua and it saves a tremendous amount of transportation costs for these organizations," said Ken Hundemer, director of operations, Denton Operations at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

In fact, the Denton Program is one of the main reasons why Donna and World Missions Outreach have been able to continue providing food and other services to the people of Nicaragua.

"We were sending so many containers to Nicaragua each year that we were in great financial need. A few sponsors helped, but it wasn't nearly enough to cover the shipping cost." said Donna. "When we received the first shipment from the Denton Program everyone at World Missions Outreach were completely blown away! The Denton Program has been a game changer for WMO, and ultimately, a life changer for thousands of children."

The humanitarian mission to Nicaragua provided the 512th AW C-5M Reservists with an opportunity to train on the numerous aspects of operating and maintaining the aircraft. Pilots were able to conduct mission planning and meet flight hours, maintenance crew chiefs ensured the aircraft operated smoothly and loadmasters optimized the placement of cargo for a safe flight.

The relief supplies being delivered on behalf of the Department of Defense also supported the diplomatic efforts of the U.S. embassy in Nicaragua. Col. Matthew D. Anderson, senior defense official and attaché for the embassy, said the U.S. has been working to increase their cooperation with the Nicaraguan government on matters like humanitarian and disaster relief.

"Having the U.S. Air Force support us by delivering food to thousands of children here is a huge deal," said Col. Anderson. "The Dover C-5M and its aircrew were instrumental in participating in an important program."

For Donna Wright and World Missions Outreach, the delivery of humanitarian aid by the U.S. Air Force Reserve's 512th AW provides a lasting impact on her organization and the children in Nicaragua.

Back on the runway, Donna had the opportunity to observe the numerous pallets of food being transferred from the C-5M's outsized cargo area to the forklifts. It is a moment 14 years in the making for her witnessing the efforts of the aircrew members working side-by-side with the Nicaragua airport personnel. All 125,000 pounds of food were going to be safely stored in a warehouse, ready to be delivered to the empty bowls of hungry children throughout the country.

And just before the aircrew closed the C-5M ramp and began preparing the aircraft for its trip back home, Donna was able to shake the hands of everyone involved with Saturday's humanitarian mission and thanks them for their efforts.

"We have great pride in the United States and our service members on these humanitarian missions have brought food, school kits, health kits, clothes and shoes for the children here," said Donna. "We appreciate the help and support from our U.S. military and the Denton Program."

'Tis the season: Dragons give gift that keeps on giving

by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


12/24/2014 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England  -- Members of the 48th Component Maintenance Squadron Green Dragons Rising 6 stepped up and donated £3,250 to Highfield School Ely. To support the school's dance program, the donation will give students the opportunity to have fun and enjoy the benefits of having a weekly dance class.

Highfield is one of Cambridgeshire's six area special education schools, with 104 students in attendance. The school provides a large variety of programs and activities to ensure all of the pupils have a fun and flexible curriculum that teaches life skills in a safe and nurturing environment.  One of the programs students enjoy is dance class, which has been threatened due to funding limitations.

"Our organization's purpose this entire was year was to fund the dance lessons that have been cut because of budget constraints," said Tech. Sgt. Gerardo Valdez, 48th CMS Rising 6 outgoing president. "The entire squadron has facilitated the money needed for the program. Approximately 70 Airmen, spouses, local businesses and volunteers have been involved in our cause."

Many students would not have the opportunity to participate in any type of dance program without the school's help since most dance studios are not set up to take in students with disabilities. Dancing on a regular basis gives Highfield students a wide variety of benefits, to include better coordination and muscle development. All of the benefits are apparent in the classroom, where students are more focused and have more discipline due to the teamwork they experience during dance class.

The Highfield faculty and students appreciate everything the Rising 6 has done for their school.

"What they are doing has a real impact here," said Julia Hammond, Highfield School income generator. "Without their support, we would really be struggling, and we would have to reduce our dance provisions. It's hard to say how much we really appreciate that and how much the children will benefit from the class."

100th SFS, MOD Police 'spot' way to improve security, community relations

by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


12/22/2014 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Base personnel may notice people at certain positions outside the perimeter fence with large cameras pointed towards the flightline of RAF Mildenhall. For those new to the base and their families, this may be a concern.

"New Airmen aren't used to seeing people so close to the fence with a camera," said Adrian Carver, a tail spotter from Mildenhall, Suffolk.

The law is different in the U.K. and although this can prove challenging when new service members assigned to the 100th Security Forces Squadron arrive, the agencies on base work together to educate personnel.

"The U.K. has no law for taking photographs of aircraft or structures from outside establishments, as long as they're not trespassing on the facility," explained Paul Glover, Defense Community Police Constable from Selby, Yorkshire.

However, on RAF Mildenhall there is a system in place which allows members of the community to view the aircraft arriving and departing from base. The tail spotter program joins local knowledge with base law enforcement, allowing locals to view aircraft from the perimeter. In exchange, they are the eyes and ears for the Ministry of Defence Police and for the 100th SFS.

"Because the spotters are around the establishments most days, sometimes for hours on end, they are in a position to notice any activity out of the ordinary, for example people who don't meet the usual spotter profile," said Glover.

The spotters get a lot out of their time at the fence, and the authorities inside the fence are grateful for their observations. But to ensure the program can continue, there are rules in place to protect both sides.

"All the spotters are checked through the police, and registered on a database. Each member has a registration card which they can use to identify themselves in the first instance," added Glover. "They are to respect private property and to comply with any requests given by law enforcement agencies. This would include moving away from a fence line if asked to do so."

This relationship between like-minded individuals from the local area and the U.S. Air Force began long ago.

"There have been spotters in the U.K. since around 1930 onwards. The base has had spotters since post-1945, when aviation became a common sight," Glover explained. "The spotters have been around the base since the late 1950s."

The program was set up as a joint development between the MOD Police, 100th SFS and the 48th Security Forces Squadron, at RAF Lakenheath, in response to the ever-increasing numbers of plane spotters surrounding the bases.

"If we see something that's a little out of the ordinary, we pass that information on. We were given cards with telephone numbers to the police. If we see something wrong, we can make a phone call and they can be there as quickly as possible," Carver added. "Prior to the program, if a spotter saw something of concern we would need to drive to the visitor control center, say 'we need to speak to someone.' This was valuable time lost."

Here, it's a good relationship where the different nationalities work together to ensure the safety of the base population and assets. The tail spotters hope this relationship will continue.

"As long as the security forces and the military police would like our help, we will be here," Carver explained.

The people Carver meets at the fence are as passionate as he is about this support continuing.

"I've only been doing it (tail spotting) for about eight or nine years which compared to some is a short period, some people that I know have been doing it for over 50 years!" he exclaimed.

Some photos taken by the spotters can be seen in publications, but mostly Carver and the other spotters are outside the fence, come rain or shine, for their passion for military aircraft.

"Mostly the photos are for my own amusement," Carver explained. "Not only is it just taking the photos, a lot of it is a social thing as well. We meet at the various locations and hang out and chat."

For more information, contact the MOD Police office at commercial 01371 854444.

77th WPS training is as real as it can get

by Airman 1st Class Alexander Guerrero
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


12/24/2014 - SNYDER ELECTRONIC WARFARE RANGE, Texas -- The 77th Weapons Squadron and the 39th Airlift Squadron from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, participated in a simulated airfield seizure with Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the 66th WPS, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and a U.S. Army Special Forces unit, Oct. 21-23, in Snyder.

The airfield operation was organized to provide training opportunities for aircrews, JTACS and soldiers alike, while building cohesion through the communication and tactics used during the exercise.

"The training that took place in Snyder was a 'flex targeting sortie three' which means it was a force-on-force scenario," said Lt. Col. Jonathan Creer, 77th Weapons School commander. "Among those participating in it were B-1B Lancer's from the 77 WPS, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the 66th WPS, and C-130J Super Hercules from the 39th Airlift Squadron that were dropping U.S. Army Special Forces troops."

During previous exercises, aircraft platforms and Army units were simulated. Including multiple units to perform different aspects of the exercise added a higher level of realism for all players involved.

"It was a complex mission set that the 77th gave their students," said Capt. Sam Dunlap, 39th Airlift Squadron chief of weapons and tactics. "There were many difficult situations that required a good deal of problem solving from the students."

The 77th WPS aircrew who participated in the simulated airfield assault worked closely with the JTACS to destroy key enemy resources and provide close air support, which is a likely scenario for B-1s in a combat environment.

"Our goal is to provide as advanced real-world tactic training as we can," Creer said. "We have many types of capabilities at our disposal, including JTACs from the 66th WPS, who used their tactics, techniques and procedures to enhance the experience for our B-1B crews."

The training provided new learning experiences, not just for the weapon school students in B-1Bs, but for the Airmen in the C-130Js as well. The C-130J pilots had the opportunity to practice enabling high altitude, low-opening parachute jumps for U.S. Army Special Forces.

"There are only a few units that jump out the back cargo ramp and being at the higher altitudes drives us to have different mission considerations," Dunlap said. "At that higher altitude we have to depressurize the cabin in order to drop the ramp so it changes some of our planning and gives us a different environment to work in."

CSAF visits Team Aviano

31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/22/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- United States Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, Ms. Heidi H. Grant, and Mrs. Betty Welsh visited Airmen and their families here, Dec. 22, 2014.

During their visit to the 31st Fighter Wing, Welsh and Grant received a mission brief, participated in an open discussion during breakfast with Airmen and hosted an all-call to address some of the main challenges the Air Force will face in 2015 and beyond.

Among the topics discussed were force shaping, fleet modernization and renewing an operational focus in the face of persisting fiscal austerity.

"If we keep you guys, we win. If we lose you, we might as well hang it up now," Welsh said to more than a thousand Airmen and their families gathered in a hangar.

Following the all-call, a few outstanding performers were recognized by Welsh for their professionalism and leadership.

Welsh and Grant have been working closely with Department of Defense leaders, as well as Congress, to strike the right balance between preserving funding for people and programs and maintaining the capacity to project power abroad.

"The 510th Fighter Squadron could be ordered to go conduct Baltic Air Policing in 3 days," Welsh said. "Because of their professionalism and readiness, there's no question about their ability to make this happen."

During the all-call, Welsh also discussed the importance of pride to the future of the Air Force. He described a passage he found in his father's, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Mark A. Welsh Jr., will that showed how much the Air Force meant to him.

"He'd given specific instructions about his funeral and other events, but he only underlined one thing: 'Bury me in my service dress,' " Welsh said.

Before his appointment to CSAF, Welsh served as U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa commander and he noted the continued importance of air power in this area of responsibility.

"Despite the shift to the Pacific, there are still operational requirements in Europe," Welsh said regarding the missions that Aviano is called on to support. "While we have reduced our presence in this theater, the need for combat capability is still very real."

Dyess Fire Department trains with local college

by Senior Airman Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


12/24/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Dyess Fire Department participated in a mass casualty exercise Dec. 12, 2014, at the Texas State Technical College Abilene campus in Abilene, Texas.

The Dyess Air Force Base firefighters provided auto extrication service for paramedic students at the school.

For many of the paramedics, this was the first time they had come in contact with the heavy machinery firefighters would use to pry open and remove vehicle parts to access injured patients. After windows, doors and roofs were removed, patients were moved to a triage area where they received medical care.

Dyess emergency services often work hand-in-hand with ambulatory services from the city of Abilene. The training provided participants a glimpse into the coordination between both organizations, similar to what they would see after a real-world incident.

"Here at Team Dyess, one of our main priorities is to maintain a community bond with downtown emergency service providers," said Master Sgt. Jeremy Pickett, 7th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of fire prevention. "It is great when we are able to train with them, so we all know how to function during a real-world scenario. We have to be able to rely on the local community, and they have to be able to rely on us as well."

Firefighters from Dyess and the paramedics from TSTC each brought capabilities the other organization wouldn't ordinarily have.

"If someone was trapped in a car, in most cases, TSTC paramedics don't have the ability or equipment to get to those individuals. As a fire service, we carry all the equipment necessary to open up a car or provide that auto extrication," Pickett said. "As Dyess has no emergency medical services at its clinic, paramedics from Abilene respond and transport personnel from Dyess to local area hospitals."

The event came with cost savings to the base's fire department as well.

"Real-world training gets fairly expensive, such as buying vehicles to cut apart, paying for fuel and using life flight helicopters to transport victims," Pickett said.  "Anytime we can team up with someone and get training without having to pay for everything, benefits us because we save all money."