Military News

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Flying JBER

by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
673d ABW Public Affairs


2/18/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHRADSON, Alaska --
Light breezes flow, as the sounds of a motor makes for mechanical music in the air. A Hobbico NexSTAR remote-controlled airplane flies past its controller -- a rookie learning how to fly for the first time.

Though the hobbyist in question may be new to the RC world, members of the Alaska Radio Control Society have been flying RC aircraft (also known as remotely piloted aircraft) for more than 45 years.

The society uses basic models like the NexSTAR to train and educate new members in the basics of flying RPAs.

ARCS is the largest and oldest radio control model club in Alaska and was established in 1957.

Armand Marshall, ARCS treasurer, said the organization has about 60 members.

The society's membership includes civilians, retirees and all branches of the military.

"Some of our members have one-fourth, 30-percent and 40-percent scale compared to real aircraft," said Edward Cunningham, ARCS member and RPA flier. "We fly anything from combustion engines and battery-powered engines to silent flight where there is no engine at all."

Society members are required to adhere to certain restrictions when they fly their RPAs. The aircraft can weigh at or less than 55 pounds in compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration's Code of Federal Regulations 14, Part 19.

Every member is required to have insurance when they own and fly an RPA of any kind.

"The Academy of Modeling Aeronautics insures us and they also set the guidelines for when we fly," Armand said. "The insurance covers any accidents that happen when we fly, such as an RPA damaging personal property or a personal injury."

The AMA also offers its chartered clubs official contest sanction as well as assistance in acquiring and keeping flying sites.

When the members fly at their approved outdoor sites, such as Groeschel flying site in Wasilla, and Storck Park flying field in Anchorage, they must adhere to FAA regulations.

"We can operate our RPA up to a 400 feet ceiling height and line-of-sight distance," Armand said. "Line-of-sight distance would be about 600 to 750 feet. We go by these regulations from the AMA, because they adhere to FAA regulations of RPAs."

During the winter and school year, the members fly their planes indoors at Teeland Middle School gymnasium in Wasilla and Lumen Christi High School gymnasium in Anchorage. Members flying RPAs indoors must have AMA insurance, and their RPA can only be electric powered and weigh at or less than 16 ounces.

Regulations on JBER at the Elmendorf Field, located off Richardson Drive, are more strict than off the installation.

"If our members fly at Elmendorf field, they are required to inform base operations they will be flying their RPA," Armand said.

All fliers must adhere to the current JBER 3rd Wing Instruction 13-204, Airfield Air Traffic Control Procedures. The instruction specifies fliers can only operate during daylight hours RPAs must remain below a 300-foot ceiling and must not interfere with normal operating aircraft on base.

According to Airfield Safety, recreational or hobbyist RPA flying doesn't require FAA approval, but individuals should follow safety guidelines to ensure the safety of people, property and other aircraft.

According to J.R. Hackett, 673d Security Forces Squadron antiterrorism program manager, if someone observes an RPA operating on JBER in a location other than the RC flying field, they should consider it a suspicious activity and immediately report it to the JBER Arctic Watch hotlines at 552-4444 or 552-2256.

Japan, U.S. conduct bilateral training at Torii Station

by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
18th Wing Public Affairs


2/18/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Emergency response personnel from Kadena Air Base, Torii Station and various departments of the Okinawa Prefecture conducted an annual bilateral aircraft mishap exercise Feb. 17 at Torii Station, Japan.

The exercise was held to create a realistic emergency-response scenario in order to improve cooperation with local government and emergency response agencies.

"I believe we cooperated well and worked well this time, especially during the initial response," said Hidehiko Fujino, Crisis Management in Okinawa director and Okinawa Prefectural Police assistant commissioner. "It went very smoothly."

Japanese emergency services were joined by more than a dozen agencies from Kadena Air Base in reaction to a staged aircraft mishap, which entailed simulated injuries, an aircraft fuselage engulfed in flames and damaged vehicles with simulated victims trapped inside.

U.S. services contributed specialized skillsets to include police officers, firefighters, crash and rescue and emergency management personnel who worked with members from the Okinawa Prefectural Police, Crisis Management Okinawa, Japanese Coast Guard, Nirai Fire Department and more to test their ability to save lives in a crisis situation.

The exercise gave responders the opportunity to bolster their bilateral relationship and interoperability and better understand how different agencies operate and talk through emergency situations.

"We have limited assets on the island, so any type of training that we can do with the local community helps us to prepare to work together in the event that something bad actually happens," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Benjamin Scott Powell, 18th Civil Engineering Flight assistant chief of training.

In order to deliver a commitment to maintain safety, U.S. forces must be prepared to face any emergency that can occur on Okinawa. Flight training is conducted in areas that are bilaterally approved and are continually evaluated and adjusted to ensure a minimum impact is made on local communities.

"I expect us to conduct this bilateral training on a continuing basis," Fujino said. "It will help both Japan and U.S. officials to understand each other; moreover, it will enhance safety for people of Okinawa, which is very important."

Buckley Airman "strikes out" competition during Military Bowling Championship

by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury
460th Space Wing Public Affairs


2/17/2015 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- Some people never get the chance to turn their hobbies into achievements, but one 2nd Space Warning Squadron Airman proves that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

From Jan. 16-25, Staff Sgt. William Buchanan, 2nd SWS space operator, attended the 57th Military Bowling Championship held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The annual five-day tournament is an event where active-duty, reserve, guard and retired military members can unite in camaraderie and esprit de corps, according to the Military Bowling Championship website. Buchanan was on a team of six service members from all over the U.S.

Although this was Buchanan's first year competing in the championship, he's no stranger to the world of bowling.

"I've been bowling for 27 years, ever since I can remember," he said. "My mom was the manager of the bowling center growing up on Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. That's how it all started."

Buchanan met up with his best friend, Tech. Sgt. Anthony Meadows, 746th Security Forces Squadron, Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, at the championship. Buchanan and Meadows met in high school in the Air Force Junior ROTC program and began bowling together. Buchanan credited Meadows for the success he has experienced in his bowling career, as well as pushing him to attend the championship. He said Meadows has been his constant inspiration and, growing up, they would constantly push each other to get better.

"We'd always bowl in tournaments together," Buchanan said. "I would always try to beat him, and he'd always try to beat me. We were always competing with each other."

"(Growing up), our inspirational attitudes, drive and desire became contagious to one another," Meadows said. "We inspired each other to be better, not just in the sport but as individuals."

Meadows had competed in the Military Bowling Championship before and encouraged Buchanan to attend so that they could meet up with one another. Buchanan said this was their first time seeing each other in over four years.

"To see (him) for the first time in years was great," Meadows said. "I knew we would not get many opportunities to be in the same location, but this is one where we can make a good attempt to make sure we get together every year. To see him and watch him bowl the way he did was amazing and constantly reminded me that we were brothers."

Buchanan said the championship was intense, but nonetheless, his team struck out the competition. Buchanan's team took 15th place out of 262 teams.

"It was actually pretty crazy," Buchanan said. "(There were) 1,500 people of military backgrounds from all over the world. They're really good bowlers -- really intense."

Although Buchanan excels at the sport, he still has aspirations to improve himself, Buchanan said. He is considering trying out for the Air Force bowling team next year, as well as working toward bowling his third perfect game. A perfect game entails knocking over all 300 pins, essentially rolling a strike during every frame.

"Over the 27 years I've bowled, I've had two perfect games," Buchanan said. "I'm trying to get another one. It's one of those sports where you can get better by yourself. You have to go out and practice by yourself, train yourself and get better on your own."

From a young age, bowling has been one of Buchanan's favorite pastimes. He said he couldn't be more grateful for the experiences, as well as the opportunity to engage in his favorite hobby with fellow service members during the championship.

"I love it," Buchanan said, referencing the sport. "I will be doing this for the rest of my life."

Double dock nearing completion

by Airman 1st Class Sean D. Smith
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs


2/13/2015 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The phase dock under construction has been a Minot Air Force Base landmark for over two years. Construction began in October 2012 - now the dock is approaching completion. With a projected finish date in early spring, it won't be long before the doors open and it starts to see use.

"Right now we only have a few docks that can fit a full plane," said 5th Civil Engineer Squadron lead programmer, Katie Merkin. "This structure is unique because it can fit two planes, fully enclosed."
At more than 80,000 square feet, it's not a small building - and it's come at a cost of 38.5 million dollars.

"That space has to be column-free to fit around the planes. It has to span the whole distance - so the trusses have to be really deep and that's part of the reason that it's so tall," Merkin said.

The dock is supported by over 900 piers, averaging 12 feet deep, which are embedded in the ground to support the building, and a mechanical room on the second floor takes up a significant portion of the second level to house the dock's heating system.

"The double dock was designed and constructed to receive a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating, so it is energy efficient," Merkin said. "It's all ground source heat as well, except for radiant heat in the hangar bay."

A perk of the double dock design is construction efficiency, one advantage the new dock has over its older counterparts is that with two planes in a single hangar, maintainers can potentially share equipment.

"The dock has full wash capabilities for two planes," said Bruce Johnson, Army Corps of Engineers project engineer. "There's over an acre of hangar floor with full fire suppression."

It's not just the tremendous size of the structure that's demanded over two years of construction time. The phase dock is almost 200 feet high, but that's only what's visible aboveground.

"The foundation is the same depth as the runway, since it's used by the planes," Merkin explained. "All the docks are the same way, but it's not what most people think about as something needed for a dock."
Another noticeable feature is the interior observation deck.

"You can see the whole hangar," Merkin said. "And when the doors are open, the entire apron. It's really quite impressive to look out and see all that."

"The weather at Minot AFB can be a challenge. This new, state of the art facility provides 5th Bomb Wing maintenance crews an increased capacity for keeping our B-52s operational throughout the year," said Lt. Col. Bryan Opperman, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "The 5th CES is proud to enable that mission."

Air Force Chief of Staff reaffirms importance, value of all Airmen

by 2nd. Lt. Brooks Payette
157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


2/17/2015 - PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H.  -- The Air Force Chief of Staff visited Airmen at the 157th Air Refueling Wing here during an all-call meeting Feb. 17 where he shared his key message.

Get to know the Airmen around you - at a moment's notice any of them could become the most important to the U.S. Air Force's mission was the message relayed by Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

"Never forget how critically important you are to this unit, the air national guard, the Air Force and this nation," Welsh said, standing in front of an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. "Some days you will be the most important person ... on other days, the Airman next to you is going to carry you."

Welsh highlighted his message in a conversation with Airman 1st Class Katelyn Spencer, a commander support staff member of the 157 Logistics Readiness Squadron. He reminded Spencer that she could serve as a key link to ensuring airmen get out the door for deployments necessary to defending the country.

"[Welsh] reminded us how important we are even at the lower ranks," said Spencer, who enlisted in June 2013 and recently completed her technical training. "He let us know that the guard plays a big role and that we matter."

The all-call was part of a day long visit to Pease. The base has served as a successful model for the Air Force's Total Force Integration initiative and is slated to receive a new tanker aircraft, the Air Force KC-46 Pegasus aircraft, in late 2018. The 157th ARW is also the most recent recipient of the Maj. Gen. Stanley Newman Award, which recognizes the Air National Guard's outstanding wing or group contributing to the overall success of the Air Mobility Command.

"You should be proud of the unit you represent and you should of the job you do," said Welsh. "You have no idea how proud I am of you."

Col. Rob Burrus, 157th ARW commander, said it was an honor to host Welsh and believed the visit was a tribute to the important work done by Airmen at the Wing.

"He understands the unique relationship we have with the total force and our active-duty partners in the 64th Air Refueling Squadron," said Burrus. "His message of recognizing our Airmen's accomplishments resonates with me personally and it should resonate with all of our Airmen equally.

Following Welsh's remarks, he fielded questions from active duty and guard Airmen pertaining to training issues, funding concerns, cyber security and more. Welsh challenged all Airmen to be forward thinkers and put forth ideas to solve problems locally and Air Force wide - a major of initiative of the Air Force.

"No one knows your job and your day-to-day mission better than you," said Welsh. "We should be listening to you."

Welsh noted that the key to tackling almost any issue Air Force wide will be through improved communication and Airmen taking the time to learn more about their counterparts, a lesson he said he learned while serving as commander of the 8th Fighting Wing, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.

"If you don't know their story, you can't lead the Airmen," he said.

Before departing, Welsh took the opportunity to reaffirm his belief in the value of all Airmen with a message to Spencer and the airmen around her.

"We have known each other for an hour, but I'd die for you," said Welsh. "I am just naive to believe if it mattered you'd do the same for me. That is what makes us different. It is a commitment that everyone in here in this room has made."

First African American Tomb Guard Recalls ‘Walking the Mat’



By Jacqueline M. Hames
Soldiers Magazine

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2015 – Arlington National Cemetery rests on an expanse of rolling hills in northern Virginia. One of the busiest tourist spots in the cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which sits at one of the highest points in the cemetery.

Though there is a spectacular view of Washington, D.C., visitors don’t pay much attention to the scenery. They are focused on the white marble sarcophagus and the lone soldier who guards it, 21 steps at a time. While there has been a 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week military guard at the Tomb since July of 1937, the 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) didn’t assume its watch until 1948. And it wasn’t until 1960 that the Tomb Guard selected its first African American soldier to “walk the mat.”

Drafting and Recruitment

Specialist 4th Class Fred Moore, the first African American posted to the Tomb Guard, was drafted Aug. 13, 1959, and left his home in Cleveland, Ohio, for basic training shortly after. He wasn’t pleased with being selected and spent the first part of his training thinking about how he could go back home.

“When I got my letter from the government telling me that I had been selected, I was upset because I was working, and a lot of the guys, the friends that I knew they weren’t working,” Moore said. “And I had a job, and then when I went into the service, they were still doing what they were doing, and it just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.”

One night, Moore’s platoon sergeant lined up the new recruits and asked how many of them had been drafted. He sympathized, acknowledging that the draftees might have a few complaints about being in the service. And then he reminded everyone, “The Army can do more to you than you can do to it.”

“So, I just said ‘OK, I’m going to straighten up, I’m going to do the best I can, and make the best of it,’ and it worked out real well for me,” Moore said.

Moore was sent to the reception center at Fort Knox, Kentucky, during training. He and the other recruits were subjected to a series of tests over three days before they were given any assignments. An officer called Moore into his office and noted that Moore had scored exceptionally well on the tests. He went on to emphasize Moore’s physical build: 185 pounds, 6 feet 1 inch, and asked Moore if he’d like to be in Honor Guard Company.

“Well, I didn’t have a clue as to what he was talking about, I didn’t know what Honor Guard Company was,” Moore said. The officer explained it was a spit-and-polish outfit, so Moore agreed to the assignment. When he received his orders after training, he was a little disappointed because his fellow soldiers were all going to exciting places, like South Korea and Germany, and Moore had to say he was going to Fort Myer, Virginia.

Honor Guard Company is the nickname for The Old Guard’s Company E, 4th Battalion. The company also comprises an escort platoon, a casket platoon, a firing party and a continental color guard. When Moore arrived in late 1960, he was assigned to the firing party.

“You were busy all the time. You were busy, just about every day. When I first got there, once I got my training and settled into the company, I was on the military firing party, we did military funerals in Arlington National Cemetery,” Moore recalled. “We fired the rifles over the graves, and we did that five days out of the week. Sometimes, we would have burials every half-hour on the hour.”

When the weather was good, the company would participate in parades and ceremonies, sometimes functioning as a ceremonial guard for visiting dignitaries.

“I was in the inaugural parade for John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was just coming in and Eisenhower was going out, and also … I was part of his inaugural ball. I was part of the outfit that performed,” Moore added.

Tomb Guard

Now-retired Army Col. Neale Cosby, who served as a platoon leader with the Tomb Guard and was the Honor Guard Company’s basketball coach, had first choice of the soldiers qualified to stand watch of the Tomb. He selected Moore for duty under the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion and assigned him to Quarters Number 1, in preparation for Tomb Guard duty.

“I got to know him on the basketball court, and like him, and respect him. Not only was he a good soldier, but he was a good guy, he was a very steady guy, an all-American soldier,” Cosby said. He added that soldiers on the Tomb Guard should be able to present themselves well at attention, have straight posture, be coordinated at handling a rifle and be able to keep the 21-count well. Moore seemed to possess all those qualities.

“Plus the fact that … you don’t want just good soldiers. You want good citizens, good Americans, good people, and he was all that,” Cosby said.”I could tell that. And it was not, in fact, it did not skip my mind that he was black and none had ever served there. And I thought it was the right thing to do, and I looked around and I thought, ‘This guy’s got everything, why don’t I do it?’”

In January of 1961, President Kennedy brought the president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, to the Tomb for a wreath-laying ceremony. Nkrumah asked Kennedy why he didn’t see any people of color on the Tomb Guard, Moore explained. Nkrumah’s concern became Kennedy’s, and orders traveled down the chain of command in The Old Guard. Moore, already in line for Tomb duty, was moved quickly into a sentinel position.

“The next thing I know, the word came back to the company that they told me to get my stuff, I was moving out of the 3rd Platoon, I was going down to the Tomb Guard platoon, I was going into training, and that was in January. So I went into training in January and in March I became a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” he said.

Then-Spc. 4th Class John Ranum was on the relief (a relief is the shift a guard is assigned) that Moore joined, and described Moore as a “straight trooper.”

“He had to be good. Well, we all had to be pretty good, but … he was exceptional,” Ranum said of Moore.

Moore wasn’t nervous for his first shift of sentinel duty because the training had prepared him well. However, he remembered it being a little overwhelming. That first crowd felt like the largest crowd of the day to Moore. He added that stepping onto the mat for the first time was a “great feeling.”

He was unaware he was the first black soldier on a Tomb Guard relief until an article came out in Ebony magazine in September 1961.

The Tomb Guard reliefs were organized differently during the 1960s, with 12 soldiers on duty as sentinels. There were three reliefs, Ranum explained, with four men on each relief working in 24-hour shifts. Ranum said the more difficult times to walk the mat were at night, or in bad weather.

“It was easier with the people around, because if there was no one there -- which was very rare, maybe the first hour in the morning -- you had to be just as straight as [with] the people there, because you never knew,” he said. “Every day was different, every walk was different, and it was just very interesting to watch people, although we had to look straight ahead practically all the time. It was interesting to see the effect the place has on people and sometimes you could just tell that someone … had a real interest and was nostalgic about being there. Very moving.”

Ranum and Moore served on the same relief for about six months and grew very close. One day, during the height of summer, Moore recalled relieving Ranum from his post. It had been raining off and on all day, so Moore had gone on duty with a rain jacket. The moment he stepped on the mat, it stopped raining. When he came off the mat after his half-hour walk, he took the jacket off. On his next walk, he went out without the rain jacket, and sure enough it started raining. Things went on this way over the course of the day: Whenever Moore was prepared for rain, it was sunny; when he dressed for clear skies, it drizzled.

Ranum spent the whole shift laughing at him, like any good friend would.

Moore remembers soldiers talking about being uncomfortable while on duty at night in a cemetery, but he’s not sure why it made some people nervous. When the moon was out, the white marble of the amphitheater reflected the light, making the area extremely bright.

“You could see a chipmunk,” Moore remembered.

Proud to Serve

Moore was drafted into the Army during a tumultuous period for civil rights, when racial discrimination was rampant. However, he said he didn’t experience that in the Army, and he got along well with his fellow soldiers.

“To tell you the truth, I considered myself blessed because I didn’t have any problems whatsoever. No problems, no problems at all,” he said. He credits that blessing to being around other good people.

After Moore’s duty as a Tomb sentinel was over, he went on to the Noncommissioned Officers Academy and graduated with honors. He went home to Cleveland after his two-year service requirement ended. He lost touch with Ranum, Cosby and other members of his relief until 1998, when he went to a reunion of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The society, which is a 501(3)(c) organization with the goal of protecting and enhancing the image of the Tomb and the soldiers who stand guard, was founded by Cosby and four former sentinels.

Moore hadn’t seen anyone from his Army days in 37 years, and had to reschedule another family function to attend the society’s reunion. When his wife, Joyce, found out about the reunion, she was insistent that they attend, Moore said.

“So we went down and we just had a fantastic time, you know, and it was strange, and then younger guys that had been guards down there, as soon as they heard my name they knew who I was, and I was kind of baffled,” he said. So many people wanted to take pictures with him and knew his name that he had to ask what was going on. He discovered he was part of the Tomb Guard test; soldiers had to know who the first African American sentinel was in order to become sentinels themselves.

Moore has been to as many bi-annual reunions with the society as possible, and when he goes, new sentinels tell him that he “paved the way,” but Moore said he is more proud of them than they are of him.

“They’ve just elevated (the position) and that’s what makes me proud,” he said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: In 1997, Army Sgt. Danyell E. Wilson became the first female African American Tomb Guard.)

USS Paul Hamilton Departs on Deployment



From Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) departed on an independent deployment to the Arabian Gulf and Western Pacific Ocean.

While deployed, Paul Hamilton and its crew of more than 300 Sailors will conduct theater security cooperation and maritime presence operations with partner nations.

"We are proud, confident, and ready for all tasking Paul Hamilton will be assigned," said Commanding Officer Cmdr. John Barsano. "For many of our young Sailors, it's the first time they will live aboard for eight months and travel overseas. I could not have asked of anything more from the crew for this upcoming deployment."

Commissioned May 27, 1995, Paul Hamilton is the third U.S. Navy ship named after the third secretary of the Navy. His term in office included the first months of the War of 1812, during which time the small United States Navy achieved several remarkable victories over British warships.

Paul Hamilton is a multi-mission ship designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group. The ship is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 21 and is homeported in Hawaii within the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.