Friday, February 20, 2015

3rd Wing’s 2014 Big Winners

By Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
673d Public Affairs

2/20/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Airmen of the 3rd Wing gathered to honor the 2014 Annual Award winners during a ceremony at Hangar 1 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb. 20.

The awards recognized the Airmen and civilians who demonstrated superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements during 2014.

"Today we recognize the 12 most outstanding Airmen of the Year and the accomplishments they have achieved throughout the year of 2014,"said Air Force Col. Charles Corcoran, 3rd Wing commander.
The award winners included 2014 Airman of the Year, Airman 1st Class Hannah Waddell, 703d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; 2014 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Tech. Sgt. Marvin Parrish, 703d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; 2014 Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Senior Master Sgt. Karen Boerman, 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; 2014 Company Grade Officer of the Year, Capt. Austin Skelley, 90th Fighter Squadron; 2014 Category I Civilian of the Year, Rebecca Dallas, 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron; 2014 Category II Civilian of the Year; Marty Harris, 3rd Maintenance Squadron; 2014 Category III Civilian of the Year, Steve Johns, 3rd Maintenance Squadron; 2014 Honor Guard of the Year, Staff Sgt. Jordan T. Hayes, 703d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; and 2014 First Sergeant of the Year, Master Sgt. Tremayne Neals, 3rd Operational Support Squadron.

Not only did the 3rd Wing celebrate individual Airmen for the year of 2014, the wing received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the Pacific Air Force composite wing category.

This accolade is awarded by the secretary of the Air Force to numbered units that have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units.

Corcoran said the accomplishments of the wing's Airmen are evident in the accolades being obtained within the wing.
"Our aircraft wouldn't be the best they could be without these outstanding Airmen we have servicing them and keeping the mission running every day," Corcoran said. "I am proud to work alongside some of the best Airmen in the Air Force."

Offutt Airman earns medical service award

by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Blake
55th Wing Public Affairs

2/19/2015 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb.  -- The Air Force Medical Service recently announced a 55th Medical Group Airman as the 2014 Personnel Reliability Program Military Treatment Facility Monitor of the Year.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephanie Dean, the award recipient, operated as the PRP MTF Monitor for several years and her hard work did not go unnoticed.

"Sergeant Dean served for more than two years in the PRP clinic and from start to finish was the backbone of the program," said U.S. Air Force Col. Thatcher Cardon, 55th Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander. "The protection of our nuclear programs and awards we received were a direct result of her excellence and integrity.  Not only that, but she is a ton of fun to work with."

She has now switched jobs and works as the family medicine residency NCO-in-charge and her current leadership couldn't be more proud.

"Sergeant Dean is an outstanding young NCO and leader," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Banks, 55th Medical Operations Squadron FMR chief. "Her dedication to the Personnel Reliability Program, and ability to lead a team, proved vital to the success of the 55th Medical Group, 55th Wing, and U.S. Strategic Command missions. Her award is well deserved and we all here at the 55th Medical Group are proud of her."

When she served as the PRP MTF monitor, her role had an impact on Offutt and its tenant units.

"My responsibility was to be the liaison between the 55th Medical Group and the Personnel Reliability Program units on base," said Dean. "PRP deals with all of the members throughout the wing that deal with the nuclear enterprise like the 55th Security Forces Squadron, the Navy detachment unit, and several units that are part of United States Strategic Command.  Some of my responsibilities were tracking training for the medical group, helping the inspections teams with set up within the medical treatment facility, and certifying new personnel to be PRP."

She was also very active outside the unit. Dean completed 15 credit hours towards her bachelor's degree in business administration, completed all her Community College of the Air Force requirements and even found time to volunteer several hours at a local school.

Dean said she was honored to receive the award, but could not have done it without her team.

"I was very excited to win this award," said Dean. "The PRP team at Ehrling Berquist does an amazing job.  A lot of hard work has gone into the program and everyone involved has done an amazing job. I enjoyed my time at PRP and this award is without a doubt one of my greatest accomplishments."

Later this year, Dean will continue her Air Force journey, alongside her six year-old daughter to San Antonio where she will serve as a technical instructor at Fort Sam Houston.

National Guard Aviators Fly Supplies to Tangier Island

By Cotton Puryear
Virginia National Guard

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 20, 2015 – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe authorized an Army National Guard helicopter mission that delivered food, mail and medical supplies to residents of ice-bound Tangier Island yesterday.

The mission was carried out in conjunction with the governor’s Feb. 16 emergency declaration issued in the wake of recent frigid weather impacting large swaths of the nation’s eastern seaboard.

The 1.2-square-mile island, located in the Chesapeake Bay, has been unable to receive routine seaport deliveries due to icy conditions.

“Accomack County contacted us to see if there was any way critical supplies could be delivered to Tangier Island, since icy conditions were preventing boats from making their usual deliveries,” said State Coordinator Jeff Stern. “We coordinated with Maryland public safety officials and the Coast Guard, and tasked National Guard aviators to carry out the mission at the direction of the governor. This was executed within hours after we received the request thanks to this week’s emergency declaration.”

UH-60 Black Hawk Crew

The National Guard aviators performed the mission flying a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. They’re assigned to the Sandston, Virginia-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment.

“I am really proud of how quickly and effectively our air crews responded to this request,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia. “They displayed the Guard motto of ‘Always Ready, Always There.’ This is just another example of the great partnership we have with [the Virginia Department of Emergency Management] and how that partnership helps keep the citizens of the commonwealth safe.”

The helicopter’s crew flew first to the Accomack County airport to pick up emergency management personnel to assist in moving the needed cargo, then flew to Crisfield, Maryland, to pick up the supplies before heading to Tangier Island, where the aircraft and cargo were met by residents of the island.

“Our entire job and our role are really focused on the community and on helping them out,” explained Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joshua Jacobsen, who helped pilot the mission and who moved to Virginia from Minnesota two years ago. “It felt good for me personally to give back to the state that I feel has really embraced and welcomed me as a Virginian.”

Frigid Regional Weather

Tangier Island has been iced-in since late last week when freezing temperatures swept the state, making regular deliveries of mail and supplies impossible.

“We all forget sometimes how great it is to have our military, and they keep us free, but in these situations it’s not just to protect our outer boundaries, but to help the citizens as well,” said Charles Pruitt, director of public safety for Accomack County. “It’s great to have the National Guard available to do this for us.”

Earlier this week, more than 125 Virginia National Guard personnel staged for possible winter storm response operations at locations across the commonwealth after Gov. McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. The soldiers, airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force were ready to support the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency response organizations.

Fueling the Strike Eagle's fire

by Senior Airman Ashley J. Thum
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/19/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- The shimmering heat waves that emanate from jet exhaust ... the rumble of twin Pratt and Whitney engines ... the unmistakable aroma of pure Jet A fuel.

The sights, sounds and smells of F-15E Strike Eagles in flight are made possible in part by the tireless efforts of a group of Airmen strategically placed just minutes from the flightline.

The 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants, or fuels, shop takes charge of the base's entire fuel supply from the moment delivery trucks carry it on base to the second it leaves a refueling hose - whether it's attached to a fighter jet or a support vehicle.

Senior Airman Kurtis Schiemann, 4th LRS fuels service center controller, explained how the group manages their tasks.

"The fuels service center is like the brains of the operation," Schiemann said. "We're responsible for ordering all of the fuel on base and keeping track of every single gallon of fuel, jet or ground."

After receiving calls from the Maintenance Operations Center notifying them of an aircraft's location, Schiemann and other controllers use a standardized program to coordinate a refueling run within the mandated 30-minute response time. Distribution operators are then called to the small window of a room, akin to a command post, where they're given a kit that gives them all the pertinent information about the truck they've been assigned. Then the operators jump in their truck and make their way to the flightline.

Senior Airman Brandon Osborn, 4th LRS fuels specialist, is one of those operators.

"A typical day for us is when a jet lands and we go out and fill it up," Osborn said. "Usually, we each fill from five to seven jets a day."

Although the squadron's main priority is refueling the base's fleet of F-15Es, Osborn explained they're also capable of handling different types of transient aircraft.

"The process is usually the same, other than the location of the fuel tanks," Osborn said. "Some aircraft also have two single point receptacles."

Refuels are accomplished with the help of Airmen from the base's Aircraft Maintenance Units. An operator parks near a jet and hands over the refueling hose to the crew chief. Once it's been coupled to the single point receptacle, the operator adjusts the throttle to control the speed of refueling, all while gripping the emergency cutoff switch known as the "dead man."

Once the operation has been accomplished, the operator packs up, notes the transaction and moves on to the next aircraft.

An exception to this rule comes in the form of hot pit refueling, a process developed to return jets to the air faster and limit their time on the ground. A jet's engines remain live during hot pit refuels, decreasing the strain on them by reducing the number of times they're switched on and off. This requires Osborn and other operators to position their trucks where crew chiefs can marshal in jets to pull up for a refuel one after another, similar to normal vehicles pulling up to a gasoline pump.

Throughout hot pit refuels, POL Airmen work hand in hand with Airmen from the AMUs to maintain control of the situation and complete the refuel safely.

Safety is the standard in the world of fuels, and the POL laboratory is no exception.

Senior Airmen Noah Lazurka and Derek Wilson, 4th LRS fuels laboratory technicians, uphold that standard by performing regular tests on the base's supply of jet and ground fuels.

"A big part of our job is sampling the jet fuel to make sure it's clean and dry," Lazurka said. "Every time fuel comes on base, we sample it. We also sample our refueling units once a month to make sure the filter elements in the filter separators, that catch water and particulates that could make their way into aircraft, are still good."

Wilson explained the frequency of fuel deliveries varies, but it normally adds up to about 700,000 gallons per week.

"We flush our pumphouses monthly and we also sample the liquid oxygen our trucks carry for aviators' breathing," Wilson said. "Transient aircraft that come in sometimes need lox [liquid oxygen] tank refills. We don't test it here, but we do sample it and send it away for testing."

One of their regular tests involves assessing the free water and particulate content, as well as the color, of Jet A. They do this by extracting fuel from a tank and exposing single weight and Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory pads to the fuel and reading the results.

"Sometimes you catch fuel that's bad," Lazurka said. "Jet A has additives that are put in it, and they each have a specific purpose. It's our job to make sure the right amount of additives have been put in the fuel so the aircraft can operate correctly."

Each task in POL could be a simple one were it not for the sheer volume of fuel and the number of tanks the shop is responsible for.

"It's good to know that we're vital to the mission," said Staff Sgt. Chris Ericksen, 4th LRS fuels accountant.

In fact, the work the POL shop does every day has an effect that is even more far reaching than most people might realize.

"It's a really good feeling because all of the F-15 aircrews come here to train, so what we do has a big impact around the world," Osborn said.

Carter Greets Workforce, Outlines Priorities at All-hands Meeting

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2015 – During a standing-room-only all-hands gathering in the Pentagon’s auditorium today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter enthusiastically greeted those he will lead and discussed his priorities as the 25th secretary.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work introduced Carter, citing the defense secretary’s “deep understanding of our business, of our shared enterprise, of organizing and training and equipping an organization [and] a fighting force that is ready for war and operating forward to preserve the peace.”

Taking the podium, Carter said, “The first and most important commitment for me always has been and always will be to you … I mean all of you -- those who make up the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, and the finest and most decent fighting force the world has ever known.”

The total national team includes soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. It includes civilians and contractors, he added, “and the fallen, the families of the fallen and wounded warriors. I think we have to start there.”

Commitments and Priorities

To those he will lead, Carter explained how he sees the job and what he’ll be doing, and detailed his commitments and priorities.

Carter said a critical responsibility for him as defense secretary is “to make sure we never put anyone and their family in [harm’s way] without the greatest care and reflection about why we're doing it and what its purpose is and what the benefit is for our nation and for the future.”

A primary role in the job, the secretary said, is to assist the president and the national leadership in making decisions that will keep the nation safe and protect the country and its friends and allies now and into the future.

“We're a large institution … a beacon of quality, if I may say so, in the federal service, so we have a lot to offer our national leadership in helping them make decisions,” Carter said.

DoD’s ‘Great Expertise’

“I intend to be very active in doing that,” he added, “and I will be counting on you to help me, and lift the great expertise of this department and all its people to the service of the country's national security decisions.”

Carter summarized the multiple national security threats -- old and new -- facing the nation, but said the nation also has bright opportunities to explore.

“We are not only the finest fighting force in the world, but I think we're the brightest beacon of hope as a country in the world,” Carter said.

“If you want evidence of that,” he added, “take a look at who has all the friends. The United States has friends and allies in every part of the world. No other country on earth can say that, [and] our antagonists have none or few.”

Opportunities to Pursue

Carter said the country has a lot to be proud of and many opportunities to pursue, “if only we can all come together and grab hold of them” for a better future.

Today’s constrained budget and resource environment presents challenges, he acknowledged.

“If we're going to convincingly make the case to our people that they need to spend more on their defense -- which I believe they do -- we need to, at the same time, show them that we know we can do better at spending that money,” Carter said.

Being open to change and to the wider worlds of technology and culture will help make the Pentagon better at spending money, and better at succeeding in the future, he added.

Continuing to Excel

“If we're going to continue to be the best, we need to be open to the future and open to change. And you'll see me challenging you all and myself to be open in that way,” the secretary said.

For the Defense Department, succeeding in the future also means attracting young people to the department’s mission, he noted.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States were a “terrible” thing, Carter said. However, 9/11 also was a "galvanizing thing for our country,” he said, that “motivated many people” to come to the defense of the nation.

Attracting the Next Generation

There is something compelling about the commitment, the mission and the excellence that those in DoD’s workforce represent and that those to come will find attractive, he added.

“They'll want to follow, not in our footsteps, because … they're going to want to do it in their own way, but in the same general direction that we came,” the secretary said.

Carter said he’ll try in the best way he knows how to speak to the country as a whole “about us and who we are, and try to reflect who you are. And speak to the generation to come and appeal to them and challenge them to fill the shoes of the really excellent people I see in front of me.”

He told the audience, “You are excellent. You mean everything to me. The people of this department are so very wonderful and my wife Stephanie and I are so very devoted to you.”

That, Carter said, “is why I'm back. It's that simple. It's you. It's the mission. And I look forward once again to being in your ranks and working with you.”

Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Qualifies for Campaign Medal

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2015 – Operation Freedom’s Sentinel is a qualifying operation for award of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Department of Defense announced in a release issued today.

Additionally, the release said, the transition from Operation Enduring Freedom to Freedom’s Sentinel also marks a new campaign phase, “Transition II,” for the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Garfola Wright signed a memorandum authorizing these changes retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015.

Qualifying Operations, Phases, Inclusive Dates

The qualifying Afghanistan Campaign Medal operations, campaign phases, and associated inclusive dates for each are as follows:


-- Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) – Sept. 11, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2014.

-- Freedom’s Sentinel – Jan. 1, 2015 to present.

Campaign Phases:

-- Liberation of Afghanistan – Sept. 11, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2001.

-- Consolidation I – Dec. 1, 2001 to Sept. 30, 2006.

-- Consolidation II – Oct. 1, 2006 to Nov. 30, 2009.

-- Consolidation III – Dec. 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011.

-- Transition I – July 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014.

-- Transition II – Jan. 1, 2015 to present.

Service members should contact their respective military departments for additional guidance.