Military News

Friday, January 09, 2015

Face of Defense: NCO’s Work Supports 65,000 Airmen



By Air Force Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., Jan. 9, 2015 – In a way, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Diana Scaramouche is the voice of the 65,000 airmen assigned to 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern).

A typical day for Scaramouche includes managing organizational email boxes, coordinating lodging and travel, examining enlisted performance reports and decoration packages, and performing other varying tasks that involve the enlisted force.

As the executive assistant to Chief Master Sgt. Calvin Williams, the 12th AF (Air Forces Southern) command chief, Scaramouche’s voice makes a huge impact on the enlisted force assigned to the eight wings and one direct reporting unit that fall under 12th Air Force, U.S. Southern Command’s air component.

“I am here to assist the chief and to ensure that he’s able to make a concise decision on important matters,” she said.

Handling a Multitude of Matters for the Enlisted Force

On a day-to-day basis, Scaramouche coordinates or researches a multitude of matters involving the enlisted force.

“She keeps me on task and target, and being a junior [noncommissioned officer], she is able to take the things she’s learned and help mentor other junior NCOs, who will someday become senior NCOs leading the Air Force,” Williams said.

Before she began her current duties, Scaramouche was the noncommissioned officer in charge of evaluations for the 355th Fighter Wing.

A Chance to Become a Better Leader

“I was nervous at first about applying to do this job,” she said, “but I have a belief that you should always be open to change and new challenges, and the knowledge that the mentorship from a command chief will make me into a better leader and NCO.”

Scaramouche said that serving as an executive assistant has enlightened her about her unit’s organization and roles.

“Since I’ve taken this job, my eyes have been opened to the extensive amount of work that is put in by our leaders appointed above us to make day-to-day operations move as smooth as possible,” she said.

Airmen From Any Career Field Can Apply

Scaramouche said she almost didn’t apply for the position, because at first she wasn’t aware that airmen from any Air Force specialty code are eligible. But regardless of their career field, she added, airmen interested in applying should have integrity, as well as good time-management and people skills.

“I think any and every AFSC should apply,” she said. “An opportunity like this will allow you to better yourself by showing diversity in your records, as well as strengthening your ability to help airmen.”

MacDill Airman renders first-aid, saves Canadian father of four

by Senior Airman Ned T. Johnston
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


1/9/2015 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- During a night drive with his family, Master Sgt. Terry Willis witnessed a truck run over a man crossing the street with his family at an intersection in Cape Canaveral, Florida, January 2, 2015.

What turned from a night of holiday fun with his family, quickly turned into a split-second decision for Willis - standby in shock or save a man's life?

Willis, a Dover, Delaware, native, served three years as an emergency medical technician in New York City before his time in the military and is currently a Self-Aid Buddy Care and CPR instructor at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

"I've been in emergency medical situations more times than I can count," stated Willis. "I didn't have to think twice before I was running from my car to the scene."

By the time Willis had made his way to the scene, there was already a crowd of people standing around.

"The father of the family had been slammed up against the hood of the truck upon impact and was now lying on the ground bloody, not breathing and unresponsive," said Willis.

Willis rushed to the man's side to start helping him however possible.

"It was dark and raining, there was blood and glass everywhere. The family and all the bystanders were panicking. All the things that are impossible to train for in the classroom were happening around me, but all I could think about was saving this man's life," expressed Willis.

Willis was able to bring the man to consciousness before the Cape Canaveral fire and emergency medical services arrived on scene.

"Being prepared for a disaster was the difference between me saving a man's life and being just another bystander in the street that night," explained Willis.

When asked if Willis felt like a hero for his actions that day, he responded with, "People who act will often tell you that they are not heroes. Instead, they will say that they were just prepared to deal with certain extraordinary situations."

Willis is the 927th Maintenance Squadron metals technology fabrication flight section chief.

Joint Task Force-Bravo learns principles of handling causalities

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


1/9/2015 - SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Service members assigned to Joint Task Force-Bravo attended a three-day course on proper handling of causalities.

"You always have to be prepared for the inevitable. The Mortuary Affairs Operations Familiarization Course is important because we may be called to do this job," said U.S. Army Capt. Mike Pratt, Medical Element officer in charge of preventative medicine.

Twelve personnel from various major subordinate commands stationed at Soto Cano Air Base, completed a mortuary affairs training course, Jan. 6-8. The class was taught by U.S. Army Master Sgt. Shavetta Wallace, U.S. Army South supply and services, in order to ensure designated members of the Task Force are properly trained in mortuary affairs.

"The overall goals for this course are to ensure the Mortuary Affairs officers that have been appointed by the JTF-Bravo commander are aware of their roles and responsibilities and also to afford them the opportunity to come to discuss what they would do if there was a casualty within the JTF-Bravo area of responsibility," said Wallace.

The training provided during the course ensures the proper handling, care, retrieval of remains and personal effects.

"This course is a U.S. Southern Command requirement. Mortuary Affairs Operations Familiarization Course teaches the proper procedures and policies to recover the remains of a casualty as well as their personal affects," added Wallace. "In addition to having a Mortuary Affairs officer, each unit must also have a search and recovery team. It doesn't matter what service you are in, each level of command is responsible for recovery operations."

"By attending this course we are accountable for collection and protection of human remains. With that comes the responsibility to ensure that our service members and DoD civilians are treated with dignity and respect that they deserve," stated U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Martina Chesonis, Joint Task Force-Bravo logistics officer.

The three-day course focused on preparing appointed mortuary affairs officers from each major subordinate command for their duties in the event of a casualty.

"This training is important to me because it prepares me for the unlikely event that I have to employ the skills I've acquired here. It's key that we learn to do it properly so that we can show proper respect for the deceased," added Pratt.

Hagel Meets With Slovak Defense Minister at Pentagon



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2015 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Defense Minister Martin Glváč of Slovakia discussed issues of mutual concern during a meeting at the Pentagon today, according to a statement provided by Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby.

Kirby’s statement reads as follows:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with [Slovak] Defense Minister Martin Glváč this morning at the Pentagon.

Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Glváč for their contributions to NATO and international security, particularly for Slovakia's offer to donate ammunition to support the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and their continued contribution in Afghanistan to include the deployment of 66 personnel to support the Government of Afghanistan.

They also discussed investments in defense. Minister Glváč assured Secretary Hagel that Slovakia will fulfill the obligations to which they committed at the summit in Wales. Minister Glváč highlighted that Slovakia committed to spending 1.6 percent of GDP on defense by 2020 and by 2016, they plan to allocate 20 percent of the defense budget for modernization.

Secretary Hagel and Minister of Defense Glváč discussed deepening their strategic cooperation regarding Slovakia's military modernization plans. Secretary Hagel endorsed Slovakia's modernization efforts, pledged his support of Slovakia's plan to modernize its helicopter fleet and urged Slovakia to consider U.S. origin helicopters to increase interoperability.

Finally, they discussed support to Ukraine, emphasizing that the U.S. and Slovakia continue to present a united front with NATO to deal with Russia's aggressive behavior in the region. Secretary Hagel particularly welcomed the humanitarian and development aid, military training, and the reverse flow of gas Slovakia is providing to support Ukraine's security.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill: how to apply, transfer benefits

by Master Sgt. Timm Huffman
HQ RIO Public Affairs


1/8/2015 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Editor's note: this process applies to Air Force Reservists only. Members of the Air National Guard should refer to their retention office for information on how they can apply, transfer benefits.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a great benefit for Reservists to use when they, or a family member, wish to pursue higher education or training. The education office at Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center has outlined easy-to-follow steps through MyPers that will generate a letter of certification for a member's qualifying active-duty points.

According to Holly Klein, to start the process of applying for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, reservists must first do a review of their point credit summary to determine their eligibility. To do this, they must log in to the Virtual Military Personnel Flight, select "Self-Service Actions," "Personal Data," and then "ANG/USAFR Point Credit Summary Inquiry."

The point credit summary can be somewhat confusing, but Klein explained that it is read line by line and matches up with the member's military pay history. Reservists should look for their qualifying duty type codes, or TDs, which are 1, 2, 3 and 5, and tally the number of days next to each TD.

When the member has reached 90 days of qualifying active duty service, they become eligible with 40 percent of the benefit. At 180 days, eligibility goes up ten percent and increases ten percent for each additional six months of active duty service. At 1,095 days of qualifying service, the member qualifies for 100 percent of the benefit. Time spent on active duty for basic military training and technical school do not initially count towards eligibility. However, once the member reaches 80 percent eligibility, that time becomes eligible.

After eligibility is determined, reservists may request a letter of certification through MyPers by utilizing the "Email Us" tool. The request should indicate the member's component, that the request is for "Benefits and Entitlements", and the subject should read "Post 9/11 GI Bill Application." The member must also indicate whether they have been a member of the Air National Guard since Sept. 11, 2001. This letter is not necessary if the member has a DD 214 showing three years of active duty service since Sept. 11, 2001. As members complete additional qualifying active duty time, they may request a new letter of certification to move to their eligibility to the next percentage level. Once the VA has documented the increase, the VA will increase the benefit at the beginning of the next term.

Once ARPC has provided the letter of certification, the member may begin the application process for their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits through the VA. They may apply before receiving the letter of certification from ARPC, but the Department of Veterans Affairs may not be able to see all of the Reserve Airman's qualifying active duty service when determining eligibility. The letter of certification also works as supporting documentation to appeal the VA's initial decision as well.

To apply with the VA, Airmen must visit the VONAPP website and fill out the Post 9/11 GI Bill application, VA 22-1990. After logging in, the member will indicate they wish to apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill by clicking on the "Create a New Form" drop down menu and selecting "Education Benefits." According to Klein, the first question in this application is the most important, as it is where the member will revoke eligibility for another GI Bill program in favor of using their 9/11 GI Bill. This revocation may not be changed and the member may wish to contact ARPC Education Services to confirm other eligibility. If the member has their letter of certification from ARPC, they will upload it at the end of the form in addition to or in lieu of a DD214.

Once the VA has reviewed the application, which may take a few weeks or months depending on the time of year, they will provide a certificate of eligibility indicating what percentage level the member qualifies for.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill program provides 36 months of 40 to100 percent of tuition and fees, capped at the most expensive state school; basic allowance for housing at the staff sergeant with dependents rate; and a $1,000 annual stipend for books. Additionally, once the member reaches 100 percent eligibility, they also qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Under this program, a number of schools across the U.S. will provide additional funding to students at their schools, often making up the difference between the amount paid by the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the cost of tuition at that institution.

Members of the Selected Reserve also have the opportunity to transfer some or all of their Post 9/11 benefit to spouses and children. This may be done at any time after the member has six years of satisfactory service, and as long as the member has at least 40 percent eligibility. Transfer is accomplished via www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect. Transferring benefits incurs a four-year Selected Reserve service commitment, so this should be done as early as possible in the process.

"It doesn't behoove you to wait, as you can always revoke the benefit," said Klein. "If you give even a small percentage to each dependent, than you can always toggle the months around as needed, even when you leave the selected reserve."

Klein said members should transfer benefits even if they are unsure of who may actually use the benefit, as the allocated months can always be adjusted or revoked. Benefits not transferred while participating cannot be given after leaving active duty or selected reserve status. Klein added that unused benefits will revert back to the member.

These benefits may be transferred to a spouse, regardless of age, once the member has 6 years in service. After 10 years time-in-service, these benefits may be transferred to children registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, up to their 23rd birthday, so long as they are registered as a full-time student in a degree program. The member makes their dependents eligible by giving them a month or more of their benefit. Children may begin using transferred benefits starting at age 18 and up to their 26th birthday for higher education.

In order to begin receiving the transferred benefits, eligible dependents must also create an account on the VONAPP website and complete a VA form 22-1990E and communicate the Post 9/11 GI Bill information to their chosen school.

"This is the most encompassing educational benefit the VA has ever given members," she said. "It will pay for everything from a certificate program to your second master's degree, to a doctoral program, use it to the fullest."

This VA benefit may be used towards higher education such as degree programs, flight training, apprenticeships and certificate programs.

For full details on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, visit the VA webpage. Another useful tool is the GI Bill Comparison Tool, which will provide an estimate of how much your benefit will pay based on the school you plan to attend.

The voice of the Enlisted Force

by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs


1/9/2015 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- She is the voice of the 65,000 Airmen assigned to 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern). A typical day in her life consists of managing organization email boxes, coordinating lodging and travel, examining enlisted performance reports, decorations and all things that involve the enlisted force. To some this may seem overwhelming, but to her it's just another day at the office.

As the executive assistant to the 12 AF (AFSOUTH) Command Chief, Tech Sgt. Diana Scaramouche's voice makes a huge impact on the enlisted force assigned to 12 AF (AFSOUTH).  

"I am here to assist the chief and to ensure that he's able to make a concise decision on important matters," said Scaramouche.

On a day-to-day basis, Scaramouche can be seen coordinating or researching a multitude of taskers involving the enlisted force at the eight wings and one direct reporting unit that fall under 12 AF.

"She keeps me on task and target, and being a junior NCO she is able to take the things she's learned and help mentor other junior NCOs, who will someday become senior NCOs leading the Air Force," said Chief Master Sergeant Calvin Williams, 12AF (AFSOUTH) Command Chief.

Prior to being the executive assistant, Scaramouche was the 355th Fighter Wing NCOIC of evaluations. Though she looks forward to the challenges of her new job, she was a little weary at first.

"I was nervous at first about applying to do this job, but I have a belief that you should always be open to change and new challenges, and the knowledge that I'll get from the first hand mentorship from a command chief will make me into a better leader and NCO," said Scaramouche.

Since she's become an executive, she's been able to learn a lot about the function and role that a Numbered Air Force plays in the Air Force.

"Since I've taken this job, my eyes have been opened to the extensive amount of work that is put in by our leaders appointed above us to make day-to-day operations move as smooth as possible," said Scaramouche.

A typical package consists of two letters or recommendation, one from the individual's squadron commander and one from the individual's squadron chief, as well as copy of Single Unit Retrieval Format, last five Enlisted Performance Reports, and pt score sheet.

One thing Scaramouche thinks almost stopped her from applying was that she did not know that every Air Force Specialty Code can apply to become a command chief executive assistant.

"I think any and every AFSC should apply, an opportunity like this will allow you to better yourself by showing diversity in your records, as well as strengthening your ability to help Airmen," said Scaramouche.

Scaramouche believes that individuals who are interested should have good time management and people skills, as well as have integrity. She also thinks one of the most important things is that Airmen don't let an opportunity like this slip away from them.

Credit available for officers serving in strategic joint environments

by Master Sgt. Timm Huffman
HQ RIO Public Affairs


1/8/2015 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The U.S. military is increasingly a joint environment and that means the Air Force Reserve needs officers qualified to lead troops, regardless of their branch of service.

Because of this, Reserve officers who have served in a joint environment at the strategic level may apply for joint service credit through the Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center's Joint Officer Management program.

"By having joint qualified officers in the Air Force Reserve, we are able to deploy or work in joint environments without a lot of spin up time," said Sara Simms, JOM service manager. "The officer can report to duty and be ready to go; not have to learn the language of the other services prior to accomplishing the mission."

In order to be eligible for joint service credit, the Reserve officer must perform duty that meets the definition of joint matters, which are matters related to the achievement of unified action by integrated forces. Along with experience in the joint environment, to become a Joint Qualified officer, they must also complete their Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) I and II.

There are two established tracks for completing qualifying duty: Experience based Joint Duty Assignment and Standard Joint Duty Assignment.

The E-JDA is an experience-based path. This track is accomplished when the officer performs strategic planning and command and control duties in a multi-service, multi-agency environment where they led strategic or command and control operations. An example of this type of work is a deployment to a combatant command and the officer would need to demonstrate how their duty fulfilled the strategic or C2 role.

To earn credit on the E-JDA track, the Reserve officer must self-nominate their experience within a year of the end date of that experience thru the Joint Manpower Information System.  An officer must accumulate 36 points total and complete JPME I and II to become a Joint Qualified Officer. A self-nomination must be for 30 or more days, where 30.4 AD duty days are equivalent to one joint point. These 36 points can be earned in several different experiences, or one.

The second track, S-JDA, is accomplished by filling one of the 306 Individual Reserve positions on the Joint Duty Assignment List. These positions are already identified as meeting the requirements and definitions of joint matters. In order to qualify for joint credit in these positions, the member must work three years and perform a minimum of 36 days per year in their billet. They must also accrue ten experience points during that time period. The officer can earn joint credit in two years, working 36 days per year, however, they must earn 18 experience points. Those additional points can be earned either before or after the JDAL assignment.  Officers may combine S-JDA experience with the E-JDA path.

Officers who would like to self-nominate their experience for joint credit must do so within one year of ending that experience.  In order to have the best chance of receiving credit, submitters should consider these five points:

1. Clearly write what and how the work led to a unified action.
2. Ensure most duties were performed at the strategic level. Operational and tactical level work, such as feeding of troops, does not qualify for joint credit.
3. Review and follow the JOM Handbook when writing packages.
4. Provide all required supporting documents, which may include relevant orders, reconciled travel vouchers, award citations, officer personnel records, and letters of evaluation.
5. Understand the definition of joint matters. Receiving a joint award or working in a joint environment does not necessarily meet that definition. Positions meeting the definition of joint matters are those the strategic decision making level.

Brig. Gen. Samuel C. Mahaney, ARPC Commander, encouraged officers to pursue opportunities that would allow them to perform at the joint strategic decision-making level. He said that from his own career experience, working in the joint environment was a great and eye opening experience.

"As the Air Force Reserve joins the Air Force and Department of Defense in a future of increasingly joint operations, we expect leaders to embrace joint and to expand their horizons in the decision-making process," he said.

Members who believe they qualify for joint service credit can learn more about the self-nomination process by visiting the Total Force Joint Officer Management MyPers page and reviewing the Total Force Joint Officer Management Handbook and the how to Submit discretionary points link. Members may also contact the ARPC JOM office by calling 720-847-3413 or emailing afrc.dpajjom@us.af.mil.

Dobbins community bids farewell to deployers

by Senior Airman Daniel Phelps
94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


1/8/2015 - DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga.  -- Tears were shed and hugs were given as more than 150 Airmen from the 94th Airlift Wing prepared to depart  this week for a deployment to Southeast Asia.

Before they departed, members of the unit held a ceremony to honor the Airmen and their families for their sacrifices.

Maj. Gen. Stayce Harris, 22nd Air Force commander; Pam Younkers, Chief of Staff of the Air Force civic leader advisor; Col. Brett Clark, 94th Airlift Wing commander; and David Connell, president and chief executive officer of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce; shared words of gratitude with the deployers and families.

"It will be a challenge being away from your families," acknowledged Harris. "But, remember you're only a Skype or e-mail away. Families - thank you for your support and remember your Air Force family is here for you."

Younkers echoed the general's sentiments.

"It is our privilege and honor to pray for you," she said. "Remember, we are only a phone call away."

1st Lt. Josh Rower, 700th Airlift Squadron aircrew member, and his wife Katie held their 8-month-old boy and expressed mixed emotions as he got ready to leave for his first deployment.

"This is really bittersweet," said Katie. "I'm really excited for him, but sad to not see him for so long."

Senior Airman James Bonilla, of the 94th Maintenance Squadron, said he was anxious about the deployment.

"I'm a little nervous," he said. "I'm leaving my family behind and we're expecting a child soon. But, I know my wife is strong. Fortunately, with today's technology we can still keep in touch every day."

The team from the 94th AW will be providing airlift and/or airdrop personnel and supplies within the Central Command area of responsibility, said Col. James DeVere, 94th Operations Group commander.

"Our U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules' will operate throughout the Middle East to include Iraq and Afghanistan," DeVere added.

Though combat missions have ended in Afghanistan, this has no effect on the 94th AW's deployment, Devere stated. The deployment is a scheduled Aerospace Expeditionary Force mission.

"Our aircrews and ground support personnel have been training for specific airdrop missions to meet CENTCOM requirements and prepared to execute the mission," DeVere said.

"They have trained and prepared for this for a long time," echoed Clark.

This is the second AEF deployment for the 94th AW since converting from a C-130 training mission to a combat coded wing.