Tuesday, March 03, 2015

"Bug" transforms Airman into actor

by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay
432nd Wing/ 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

3/3/2015 - LAS VEGAS  -- In a lonely corner of the art district, nestled within the shadows of the Las Vegas lights, a nearly giant man enters a tiny theatre as it prepares to roar to life. Inside, the smell of excitement looms as people seeking to be entertained fill the small space and the cast prepares for another performance.  The man's adrenaline begins to pump.

Ducking through doorways as he moves backstage, the 6-foot-8-inch man, who plays the fictional character Jerry Goss in the play "Bug," towers over his costars.  Just hours before, however, the actor was referred to as Capt. Ryan Hess, a U.S. Air Force officer. But now, with a change of his wardrobe, he immerses himself into a character.

Whether it's starring as an emcee in military balls, hosting fundraisers dedicated to preserving the historical integrity of his service branch, or handing out laughs at local improv comedy shows and plays, Ryan dedicates himself fully to his greatest roles as a military officer, while striving to reach his childhood acting dreams by night.

Balancing two worlds is a delicate process, particularly when they share no obvious similarities. But to Ryan, the two worlds are more alike than they seem.

"I've taken things I've learned as an Airman and applied them to the craft of acting," Ryan said. "Having discipline, dedication, and being hardworking, as well as having the occasional joke stolen from office conversations, have all helped in my acting and comedy."

Ryan says sharing his love of the arts onstage isn't the only reason he chooses to serve his passion for acting. The instant gratification of laughter and emotional response from the audience is his reward.

"Like serving [in the military], it's creativity mixed with hard work, and the reward is entertaining people," he said.

Much like Russell Crowe's character of Maximus in "Gladiator," who demands respect and attention, Ryan's combination of persona, towering physical presence, and performance leave no room for disappointment when he transforms himself with utter confidence into his stage persona.

"I don't really get nervous so I don't have the typical butterflies that people usually do, but I have a lot of adrenaline. It's something of a rush," he said assertively.

Like Clark Kent, who maintains a daytime career and manifests into Superman when needed, Ryan similarly balances his professional obligations during the day and the need to release his creative side at night.

"For the Cockroach Theatre's  "Bug" the play I'm in right now, I worked from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., then drove to Las Vegas to begin rehearsals by 6 p.m.; it was a significant challenge and tested my dedication to my chosen craft," he said.

Aside from the full duty day and the hour drive to the theatre, which is sometimes clouded with rush hour traffic, Ryan has dedicated hours to perfecting his role during rehearsals, which would sometimes exceed 12 hours in a single day.

Unlike its name suggests the Cockroach Theatre isn't a place for subpar actors.  According to Las Vegas Review Journal, "'Bug' was superb, amazing, genuinely creepy, and explosive." Las Vegas Weekly quoted  it as, "Any play that can make a physically abusive felon its voice of reason, as this does with Goss, takes you to some extreme places. 'Bug' is worth it."

Like opening a window to a world of pure madness, "Bug" features a woman haunted by her abusive ex-husband and the loss of her son. She finds comfort in an Army deserter, and together they become increasingly delusional until an extreme and unexpected climax provides for an epic twisted ending.

From the first certain call

As the plot thickens, Ryan torments his costars with his loud shouts while physically overpowering them before storming offstage. He ducks into a dimly lit room and recalls the moment he found his passion for acting while playing his first villainous roles.

"The bug bit me when I was cast as the villain in "Annie" in 8th grade," he recalled.  "I knew I liked being onstage and acting. As a junior in high school I auditioned for "Taming of the Shrew," and from that point on I was hooked."

It wasn't till much later that Ryan a junior in college allowed his creative side to take him in new directions.

"Friends and I started an improv comedy troupe [like "Whose Line is it Anyway"]. It was with them and their encouragement that I first got onstage at an open mic night to do standup comedy," he said fondly. "After that, I was hooked on both comedy and acting."

Commonly cast as the villain due in large part to his immense size, Hess explains it's relatively easy for him to physically bring his characters to life.

"I always try out to be the villain since my size and voice makes me ideal to be scary and intimidating," he said playfully. "The hero is often the underdog, and it's hard to have the underdog be the biggest person in the room. Contrary to my characters, I do not use my stature to actually make people afraid of me [in real life]."

Ryan said his most recent character, Goss, was challenging to play because he is an alcoholic abusive and violent ex-convict.

"One would hope [Jerry Goss and I] have almost nothing in common," he said seriously. "Besides being physically intimidating, there is very little I share with him. Again, he is the villain, meaning it is fun to play him, but when I leave the stage, Jerry Goss does not come with me."

After Ryan validated his reasons for choosing villainous roles, just before the play begins, among the 60 office-style chairs arranged in stadium formation in the theatre, Ryan's parents and wife were there, sitting no more than two feet from the stage.

Ryan's parents described what they saw from their son's performance as Jerry Goss as completely gritty and contradictory to anything they had experienced from him previously.

"This was different than anything I have ever seen him in," said Karen Hess, Ryan's' mother.  "We are used to more fun productions where, even as the villain, it is fun to watch. This was serious, even scary, but very well done and completely immersive."

Tying the roles together

As he sits patiently in the center of an aged couch back stage waiting for his next scene, the lights in the theatre darken, drawing the audience into even darker places, Ryan said he has used the things he learned as an Airman to help balance his double life.

Ryan also credits the Air Force with showing him that service can be tied into many aspects of life off duty as well as on, no matter how dissimilar they may seem.

"Many people do not realize that like the military, theatre troupes have a hierarchy, which must be respected in order to function as a team," he said. "Learning how to play my part on a team is another thing the Air Force has helped instill in me."

Admitting he failed to secure roles on his first few attempts, Ryan said his service has made him better prepared for the opportunities when they present themselves.

"In a play, once it is show time there's no option to simply bail out, so I made sure that work considerations were handled," he said. "You must define for yourself how much time you are willing to dedicate to your hobby. Simply, as in the military you must know your priorities."

Ryan closes his performance with one more piece of advice to others like him.

"I think everyone needs a creative outlet," he said. "Performing comedy or acting may not be for everyone, but having an outlet is important no matter what you do. It keeps us resilient."

As the audience presents a standing ovation, silence falls on the theatre once again. On  this play's closing night there's one thing that is certain, Ryan will continue to dazzle audiences both in and out of uniform, and regardless of what role he is playing.

'Iron Horse' sets off for final flight

by Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman
23d Wing Public Affairs

3/3/2015 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- 
The 23d Wing sent the Air Force's oldest C-130 to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., "boneyard" for retirement March 3.
Aircraft 62-1863, an HC-130P Combat King nicknamed "Iron Horse," experienced 52 years of service and three different modifications during its tenure.
"The history is rich with this aircraft," said Tim Martin, Air Force Engineering Technical Services advisor for C-130 maintenance personnel. "This is because it is a one of a kind aircraft and there never will be another like it."
Iron Horse began its Air Force career as a C-130E Hercules assigned to the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing during the Vietnam War and ended with a final deployment in 2009 with the 71st Rescue Squadron.
"What makes this aircraft special is that it has flown 27,533 flying hours, the second most of any C-130 aircraft in the Air Force," said Martin.
Iron Horse first got its nickname when it was stationed at Davis-Monthan in 1994 as an EC-130C Airborne Command and Control Center.
After nine years at its future retirement home in Arizona, the historic aircraft was selected by Air Combat Command for its final modification into the HC-130P Combat King.
"[This] was the only aircraft to be converted with Lockheed Martin's tanker conversion program in Sept. 2003," said Martin. "After its conversion, Air Force Special Operations Command made the decision to cancel the program and buy new HC-130J aircraft."
Moody and its 71st RQS welcomed Iron Horse into its fleet in 2007, and it has served here until the HC-130J Combat King II was introduced.
The 23d Wing's transition to the newer J Model began in 2011, so the P Models like Iron Horse have been slowly phased out over the past four years.
"I grew up on these planes from being stationed here in May 2001," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Poe, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section chief. "I thought I would be retiring with these [P Models], but they're still in service."
Once Iron Horse reaches the boneyard, the aircrew assigned to it will attend a retirement ceremony to acknowledge it service.
"The retirement is a remembrance of a whole generation of maintainers," said Poe. "It's also a realization that a whole generation of C-130s is disappearing slowly."
Moody continues to retire older P Models like Iron Horse, and according to Martin, AF 65-00982 is next P Model on the list for Davis-Monthan's boneyard for June.

Army supports man's best friend

by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/3/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- People, mission and family are the priorities of the 436th Airlift Wing and when it comes to family, Team Dover does not leave anyone or any companion behind.

The Veterinary Treatment Facility on Dover Air Force Base, Del., consists of three active duty Army members and five civilians who are responsible for providing veterinarian services to more than 4,000 privately-owned dogs and cats and sees an average of 250-300 patients per month.

Army Spc. Sara McGlone, VTF NCO-in charge, said the common services provided are annual health and wellness visits, preventive care measures, and same day sick call appointments for established patients.

"We conduct annual and routine vaccinations and a vast amount of laboratory testing such as heartworm, ringworm, feline leukemia and fecal testing for intestinal parasites," said McGlone. "Heartworms and ticks are also pretty prevalent in this area, so we provide a lot of heartworm, flea and tick preventatives at their visits."

The VTF is also equipped to perform certain radiographic and ultrasonography functions. Other services include dental hygiene care and micro chipping.

Army Capt. Amanda Jeffries, VTF Officer-in charge and veterinarian, is expecting to expand their services even further in the near future.

"We are hoping to institute surgical capabilities within the next few months so we can offer even more services to the populace," said Jeffries.

When the patient's needs exceed the VTF's capabilities or services, they are referred to veterinarians in the local community who may be better equipped to provide the necessary care or treatment required by the patient. Services that require off-base support include major surgeries or care that requires overnight stays or hospitalizations.

"We actually have a great working relationship with our local veterinarians," said Jeffries. "The doctors are very happy to accept our workup of a patient and moves forward based on our diagnosis and perform the procedures necessary."

Bringing your cat or dog to the VTF also comes with its own set of advantages. The price of tests, vaccines and services are less expensive compared to off-base services and there is a greater chance of appointment availability.

"The military standardizes our cost, so we are able to provide these services at a substantial savings," said Jeffries. "For a physical examination alone, you are looking to pay almost 50 percent less than you would downtown."

The VTF also specializes in ensuring your pet is certified to travel overseas with permanent change of station orders. Pets must obtain a health certificate, rabies vaccination and be micro chipped before a PCS. Microchips from the VTF are compatible worldwide to meet requirements overseas.

"If you haven't met the necessities to PCS overseas with your animal, they will be quarantined as soon as they arrive in country," said McGlone. "This is why we urge people to contact us as soon as they receive orders so we can guarantee their animals are fit for travel."

The VTF is open from 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information about services or to schedule an appointment, call (302) 677-5252.

ANG Strategic Planning System meets at Joint Base Andrews

by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs

3/3/2015 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The steering committee for the Air National Guard's Strategic Planning System held a quarterly meeting Feb. 17-20 at the Air National Guard Readiness Center here to discuss updates for Air National Guard strategy and development.

The Strategic Planning System provides a fact-driven, collaborative process designed to shape the Air National Guard's future through deliberate planning with the Director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, and supports the Air Guard's priorities to shape an environment to develop adaptable Airmen, secure the home front while defending the nation, and modernize warfighting capabilities.

The Strategic Planning System meets quarterly but regional meetings will occur later this year where the recently approved 20 year Air National Guard Strategic Master Plan, Officer/ Enlisted Force Development programs, and SPS Membership will be discussed.

"Most importantly, the SPS is expanding the membership and participation of our enlisted force", said Brig. Gen. Kevin W. Bradley, Strategic Planning System chairman. "In coordination with the Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, we are welcoming a chief master sergeant to join with the general officer representative of each region. We are excited about this development as our enlisted Airmen represent more than 90 percent of our force and we know that future Strategic Force Development efforts will be fueled and driven by these Airmen and their field driven input."

The Strategic Planning System was invited to attend the Blue General Officer Summit by the Director of the Air National Guard. The Strategic Planning System addressed more than 150 general officers attending the Blue General Officer Summit, which was a meeting held during the same week, and briefed the Air National Guard Strategic Master Plan and advocated for continued field representation.

The Air National Guard general officer field experience represents 3,000 plus years of service, what a powerful pool of strategic planners to draw upon.

The Strategic Planning System helps establish a framework of planning principles to guide the alignment of current and potential Air Guard missions align with federal and state requirements. This guidance is developed through the use of historical collaboration between state Guard leadership, the Strategic Planning System, and the National Guard Bureau and represents a collective vision on the Air National Guard's strategic direction that will guide the path for the future force structure for the Air National Guard.

NY ANG creates more training opportunities for Airmen

by Tech. Sgt Brandy Fowler
107th Airlift Wing

3/3/2015 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- The 107th Airlift Wing hosted an Instructor Certification Program here recently with 16 New York Air National Guardsmen attending in order to become facilitators for Professional Military Education courses.

The program lasts 10 days and is taught by instructors from the I.G. Brown Training Center at McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The course content is designed to prepare non-commissioned officers to facilitate Air Force PME classes at their home station, which are referred to as satellite courses. This will help the unit cut travel costs and increase efficiency.

PME is important to Airmen because it requires members to continue their education during their careers and to develop skills to become effective leaders and supervisors. Airmen are required to gain an understanding of their positions in the military structure and the importance of fostering a commitment to the profession of arms. The training is required for each tier of enlisted ranks and must be completed with a passing score to advance.

This training comes on the tail of the recent change of command at the 107th. Col. Robert Kilgore took the reigns as the 107th's new Wing Commander in February. He has emphasized that PME is of utmost importance for unit members to accomplish.

"In order to ensure our Airmen could compete for jobs and promotions on equal footing, we needed to make sure PME was not holding them back", says Kilgore. "The Guard has had a difficult time getting our young Airmen into Airman Leadership School in the past and we needed a solution to that problem."

New York State Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Rich King, was looking for ways to increase the availability of professional development for Airmen across the state. He, along with the 107th Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Philip Tavenier, came up with a solution.

"We can train our own people and offer PME classes they need to advance their careers," said Tavenier. "We want our people to have the same advantages so we are going to train our [non-commissioned officers], here in Niagara Falls, to lead our Airmen forward."

The 107th has a history of resiliency. The unit is currently transitioning to a new mission, flying the Air Force MQ-9 Reaper remotely-piloted aircraft. The unit previously flew the Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and before that, the Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.

Members from the 107th also respond to New York State emergencies and have been readily involved in Operation Lake Effect Storm as well as Hurricane Sandy and Irene relief efforts over the past few years.

The 107th shares a base with the 914th Air Reserve unit, who is scheduled to host an Air Show in July. There will be a MQ-9 on static display during the show and will serve to educate the community on the mission of this new aircraft and its many capabilities.

Working together to forge stronger bond

by Senior Airman Michael Washburn
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/2/2015 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Twenty four U.S. and Japan Air Self-Defense Force members met for the first time at Yokota's Enlisted Club for the start of the 2015 NCO exchange program Feb. 17.

The 10-day program pairs JASDF members from multiple bases around Japan with U.S. personnel to get a better understanding of the various missions at Yokota and experience a different culture.

The program pairs individuals from each service based on their career fields.

"The program has been great," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason Hemphill, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief lead technician. "We've really gotten to know each other, and we've talked about our different jobs and how similar and different they are. I'm fairly new to this base, and I've been able to ask them a lot about their culture and tell them about ours."

By participating in events like these, U.S. service members get to know the person behind the uniform.

"This helps break down the cultural barriers," Hemphill said. "We get to know these guys on a personal level. It allows us to open up to each other."

There's talk about family, culture, their jobs and the one thing that everyone can talk about: food.

"I learned from Hemphill a great barbeque recipe," said JASDF Tech. Sgt. Takenobu Masuda, Central Air Defense Force 7th Air Wing. "In exchange, I taught him a recipe for ramen. I also was able to try banana pudding, which I thought was amazing."

Overall, the program has been a big hit for those who took part.

"I think the experience has been invaluable," Hemphill said. "It's not something you can go and pay for. It's been an honor to experience it."

NCLS 2015: AFGSC commander encourages cadets to be bold officers

By Amber Baillie
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

3/3/2015 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command shared stories about Airmen and public leaders to inspire cadets to be innovative Feb. 26 during the 22nd annual National Character and Leadership Symposium.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson spoke to cadets in Arnold Hall on the achievements of basketball star Michael Jordan, former Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and others to outline essential qualities needed of Air Force leaders.

"Today we need bold leaders," he said. "We need leaders with vision who dare to push the boundaries. Real leaders are those who see something and say, 'I'm going to make a difference.' It starts with initiative."

Wilson said real leaders continue to learn every day.

"When I was a wing commander at a pilot training base, I used to laugh when cadets would graduate and say, 'Yay, learning is finally over,"' he said. "In reality, it had just begun. I encourage you to read every day. It can be fiction, non-fiction or anything. Diversity of thought is important. Expand your horizon. Don't let yourself get pigeonholed into groupthink. Reading expands your world view and if you don't continue to read and learn, you will become irrelevant to those you lead."

Communication is foundational in leadership success, Wilson said. He noted Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president, as one of the greatest communicators of all time, changing the course of history with his Gettysburg Address on equality during the Civil War.

"Your ability to communicate will separate the good from the great," he said. "We have some great examples now, such as the chief of staff of the Air Force, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. He is one of the most gifted communicators I've ever heard. He has a way of powerfully connecting to every audience. Leaders who can communicate their ideas, beliefs, passions and reason will inspire others."

When leaders empower their Airmen, they remove obstacles and barriers to their success.

"We have some really talented and capable young Airmen today," Wilson said. "You need to let them do their job. Delegate levels of responsibility and don't micromanage them. They're continuing to stretch and grow and the Air Force will be better because of it."

Wilson emphasized small wins produce big victories.

"It's okay to strike out," he said. "It's okay to fail. We're going to learn something from it. If we're not pushing the envelope on how we do things, we're not trying hard enough. That's what we've learned on our journey at AFGSC."

As the commander of AFGSC, Wilson is responsible for organizing, training and maintaining all U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear-capable bomber forces.

"Innovation is in our DNA - it's in our lifeblood," he said. "It is how we continue to move the world forward, by being bold and innovative leaders willing to challenge the status quo, think differently and make the Air Force what it needs to be."

Real leaders identify and develop real talent, Wilson said.

"Michael Jordan went home crying to his dad in high school because he was cut from the basketball team because he wasn't good enough," he said. "I've talked to a lot of people who were told, 'I couldn't do this.' They proved them wrong. Most of the time, they had a mentor, someone to listen to, someone they respected and who pushed, motivated and inspired them to become who they are."

Wilson's father and grandfather attended the U.S. Military Academy. His grandfather was aide to Army Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright during the Allied surrender at Bataan April 9, 1942.

"It was the largest surrender in U.S. history," Wilson said. "You learn so many things from your family growing up and in my case, I learned about duty, honor and country, sitting around the dining room table. I was blessed to grow up in a family with strong military tradition who live their core values. Those are a couple of my heroes and role models--who are yours?"

Bishop visit strengthens Incirlik's spiritual resiliency

by Senior Airman Michael Battles
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

3/3/2015 - INICRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey  -- Being stationed overseas away from family, friends and the comforts of home can take a toll on Airmen and their families', which is why Incirlik Air Base provides the needed resources to ensure the overall resiliency of Team Incirlik.

In support of Incirik's spiritual resiliency needs, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the military services, U.S., Rev. Richard Spencer, visited the 39th Air Base Wing to conduct a Catholic Mass and confirm eight Incirlik dependents, Feb. 24.

According to Ch. (Capt.) Bedemoore Udechukwu, 39th ABW chaplain, the eight dependents have been preparing over the last year to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation from Spencer.

"The purpose of this visit is to spiritually empower the candidates in their spiritual journey," Udechukwu said. "When a candidate is confirmed, they are empowered to be more active in ministering to others and their community, to bring the joy of the gospel to everyone."

Spencer explained that this event was next step in the candidate's spiritual development.

"Tonight was an opportunity for these young adults to make a public witness to their decision to be followers of the Christian message of the gospels," Spencer said. "Confirmation is the moment in which a young adult will stand before the community to say 'yes' I am making a mature decision to become a full member of the Roman Catholic Church."

Additionally, Udechukwu said that his visit was important to the spiritual fitness of Incirlik.

"Spiritual fitness is a vital component of combat readiness," Udechukwu said. "It enhances the quality of life of our Airmen and their families. Therefore, spiritual fitness helps to shape a sustainable future for Team Incirlik, our community and NATO friends."

Along with holding Mass, Spencer also visited Incirlik as a church relicensing official for 39th ABW's Catholic chaplain Udechukwu. Each year, chaplains must be relicensed by the church in order to continue their ministry. This is Spencer's fifth time to Incirlik as the licensing official.

The one-day base visit, which also included a chapel staff and family meet and greet and an office call with base leadership, concluded with a celebration reception for the candidates.

Carter Honors Navy Reserve as Centennial Observance Begins

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2015 – The Navy Reserve is beginning a yearlong celebration of its centennial, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter today offered his congratulations to “this great American institution for 100 years of distinguished service in defense of this country.”

In every conflict since World War I, reserve sailors have served with courage and distinction, making vital contributions to the history of the Navy and the nation, Carter said in a statement.

“That tradition continues today,” the secretary said. “I thank each of our reserve sailors and their families for their service and sacrifice. And I thank all the civilian employers and communities that support our reservists.

“The men and women of the Department of Defense celebrate the Navy Reserve's heritage this year,” Carter continued. “We salute the reserve sailors serving around the world today. And we commend the Navy Reserve for being ready always.”

100th LRS Airman ensures aircraft quick turn

by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

3/2/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Everyone who joins the Air Force may have a different reason to do so, but the new life they receive could allow new Airmen endless possibilities.

For Airman 1st Class Daniel Lingefelt, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels fixed facilities journeyman from Pendleton, South Carolina, it was because he wanted a fresh start.

"My main reason for joining was to get me out of my hometown; I chose the fastest career field that would do just that," he stated.

He said his work is rewarding, but certain aspects can be challenging.

"The most challenging part of the job is the administration side of things -- (completing) paperwork and requirements for going to school," the South Carolina native said.

He said he knows paperwork is a valuable part of his work. The paperwork ensures safety guidelines are followed to the letter, and that any problems are recorded and improved upon.

He also sees how his work ensures the aircraft have a quick turn-around and are back in the air assisting NATO allies when they are needed.

"We check out our fuels systems daily to make sure there are no fire hazards, that they are clean and are fully operational," the specialist explained. "We also make sure we have sufficient fuel stock where we need it, so we're able to provide quick and sufficient support to aircraft. It can take around 30 to 45 minutes to fuel a plane (or it can take several hours), depending on the fuel request."

Teamwork is what it takes to ensure the aircraft are always mission-ready, which is what Lingefelt enjoys most about his job.

"The aspect I enjoy most about my job is the people. I love coming to work and hanging out with these guys," he added.

Lingefelt is just a normal young man from South Carolina.

"I like to play video games and just about every sport I can do," he said.

But his career choice has meant that with hard work and dedication, he is able to keep his nation's vital pilots airborne to defend their country. His seemingly behind the scenes role in that mission has not gone unnoticed by wing leadership.

"My highlight was getting coined by Col. Bibb (Col. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., 100th Air Refueling Wing commander)," Lingefelt said proudly. "We had the opportunity to brief the commander on our daily operations at our cryogenic facility."

Lingefelt's supervisors trusted the young Airman to brief leadership because of the knowledge and skill he displays each and every day while at work.

"Anything I ask of him, he accomplishes," said Staff Sgt. Dakota Ferris, 100th LRS fixed facility supervisor from Mackinaw City, Michigan. "He is very good at time management and a great guy to have around."

Lingefelt is glad to be assigned to RAF Mildenhall and hopes to be serving his country for many years to come.

"I wouldn't want to do anything else," he stated proudly.

US, Australian, Indonesian Navies Commemorate WWII Battle of Sunda Strait Aboard USS Sampson

From Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SUNDA STRAIT (NNS) -- Senior officials from the United States, Australia and Indonesia paid their respects to the crews of USS Houston (CA 30) and HMAS Perth (D 29) during a wreath laying ceremony March 1, commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Word War II Battle of Sunda Strait.

In the early morning of March 1, 1942, the cruisers Houston and Perth were sunk by the Japanese Imperial Navy in the Sunda Strait, about 60 nautical miles from Jakarta, Indonesia. During the battle, in which both ships fought to the last of their fuel and ammunition, 696 U.S. Sailors and Marines aboard Houston and 375 Australian sailors aboard Perth, including the captains of both ships, lost their lives. The wrecks remain their final resting places as war graves beneath the sea.

"I have had the privilege of meeting several relatives of Houston personnel who continue to visit Indonesia to remember and honor their lost relatives," said U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake. "They remind us of our duty to protect war graves such as these, here and all over the world. We thank our Indonesian partners for their commitment to do so," he added.

The commemoration featured two wreath-laying ceremonies aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the Royal Australian Navy Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84). Civilian and military representatives from Australia, Indonesia and the United Kingdom attended the ceremony on Sampson, including Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson.

"Australia continues to work closely with Indonesian authorities to ensure this site is properly preserved as a mark of respect for those sailors of all nations who died. This is a war grave which represents the importance of our enduring friendship with the Indonesian people," said Grigson.

Two Indonesian navy (TNI-AL) patrol boats escorted the multinational formation through the very waters that Houston and Perth sailed from Jakarta en route to Australia via the Sunda Strait 73 years before.

"We remember those ships today and the many service members across the region who lost their lives during World War II," said Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Task Force 73. "Today is also about honoring our longstanding alliance with Australia and our growing partnership with the Indonesian navy. That partnership was on full display during a bilateral diving survey of the Houston wreck last summer and continues to help us protect the dignity of these sites today," he added.

Among the Indonesian delegation was Rear Adm. Hutabarat, commander of the Western Fleet Sea Battle Group. Hutabarat and Williams were classmates at the recent Naval War College Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Flag Officer Course at U.S. Pacific Fleet's headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

"Every navy has their own tradition in how they honor their heroes who have lost their lives at sea," said Hutabarat. "Because these ships rest in our territorial waters, it was very special for us to remember them along with representatives from the U.S. and Australian navies."

During the ceremony, Sampson's crew manned the rails in their dress white uniforms as salutes were rendered and wreaths were lowered from the aft quarterdeck into the water above the wreckage of each ship. An American flag was presented to Dana Charles, vice president of the Houston Survivors Association, who represented the families as an honored guest. All hands then rendered honors to Larrakia as her crew lowered another wreath while passing alongside.

Following the ceremony, Sampson and Larrakia proceeded into Jakarta for a port visit. The commemoration at sea and port visit marked Sampson's return to Indonesia since supporting Indonesian-led search efforts for AirAsia flight QZ8501 along with the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) in January.

"We were humbled and honored to be involved in the AirAsia search efforts," said Cmdr. Steve Foley, Sampson's commanding officer during a reception March 2. "We were leaving Singapore at the time of the tragedy and we all wanted to participate. The crew responded tremendously, and working with the Indonesian partners made it all possible."

Homeported in San Diego, USS Sampson is conducting an independent deployment to the Western Pacific in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.