Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Estonian knowledge, National Guard State Partnership Program

by Tech. Sgt. David Speicher
175th Wing Public Affairs

3/6/2015 - BALTIMORE -- More than 100 Maryland Guard Airmen participated in a meeting with the Estonian American National Council at Warfield Air National Guard Base here Feb. 8 to discuss future cooperation and collaboration.

Marju Rink-Abel, Estonian American National Council president, provided a detailed overview of Estonia, Maryland's National Guard State Partnership Program partner since 1993.

"Cultural exchanges have started," said Rink-Abel.

Eleven cities in Maryland have been paired with sister cities in Estonia, which is an important civilian initiative. Rink-Abel says it is important that Estonians and Americans get to know each other and that those relationships have fostered growth between the two countries.

Many of the Maryland Airmen have either been to Estonia or will go in the near future as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program.

Sentry Aloha pits fighter against fighter

by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz
154th Wing Public Affairs

3/6/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Residents in Hawaii may notice an increase in fighter aircraft activity as well diversity of airframes in and around the airspaces of the state March 5-19 as the Hawaii Air National Guard hosts its second large-scale "Sentry Aloha" fighter exercise of 2015.

Sentry Aloha exercises provide the Air National Guard, Air Force and Department of Defense counterparts a multi-faceted, joint venue, with supporting infrastructure and personnel that incorporates current, realistic, integrated training to equip the warfighter with the skill sets necessary to fly, fight and win.

"Sentry Aloha provides a pivot to the Pacific, combining fifth-generation, fighter integration training with large force employment to provide joint, total force integration between the [Hawaii ANG], Air National Guard, [Air Force], and other DOD counterparts in a current and realistic war fighting capacity," said Lt. Col Kyle Mitsumori, acting director of Sentry Aloha.

Sentry Aloha exercises are hosted and conducted by the Hawaii ANG several times per year, for decades. It has been growing in size and complexity following the 154th Wing's conversion in 2010 to the Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft.

"Everyone participating and supporting is professional and well-trained," said Mitsumori. "The biggest challenge is the enormity of coordination required to execute complex missions and the many moving parts involved."

For this exercise, Air Force F-15 Eagle aircraft from Oregon and Florida will be participating. The Arizona ANG has Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft, Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, and an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft taking part. KC-135s will also be coming from Iowa and Maine ANG. U.S. Naval aviators will be flying variants of the Navy F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from California out of Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, Hawaii. There are a total of 45 aircraft and more than 1,000 servicemen from seven states participating.

"Sentry Aloha is hosted by the [Hawaii] ANG but to be successful at this level the [Hawaii] ANG relies on cooperation and support from the entire Ohana: Pacific Command, Pacific Air Forces, [Federal Aviation Administration], and many other agencies to make it all work. Success is directly related to the HIANG's ability to properly coordinate and include all players in all phases of the exercise."

The Hawaii ANG and active-duty intelligence divisions, in concert with combat planners develop realistic scenarios consistent with current and future world situations. Tactical unit weapons officers contribute to provide relevant and 'tip-of-the-spear' elements for maximum training.

"What's going on is a lot of our potential enemies and near peers have invested in that same force," said Col. Duke Pirak, acting vice commander for Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing. "They learn from us, they watched us and are now starting to invest in the way that we are. So while not commonplace at all now, large air wars will be potentially an integral part of a future war, a major battle."

"[Fighter dogfighting] hasn't happened on a scale that we see in these exercises ... and that's a good thing," said Pirak, explaining the conventional deterrent effect of the Air Force. "There are a lot of folks that just simply don't want to tangle with us in that way."

'Sim Center' executes KR15

by Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel
7th Air Force Public Affairs

3/10/2015 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- Attacks, counter-attacks, bombs, rescues, evacuations and logistics are all elements of conflict, which is prepared for and fought all over the world.

For the participants of Key Resolve 2015, these actions and other important elements of combat come through a buzzing hard drive rather than from a physical foe.

The Republic of Korea Air Force Simulation Center is set up with several components that make up the exercise and make sure it runs smoothly and realistically to accomplish training objectives.

"Our job is to make this training opportunity as realistic as it can possibly be without setting out an exact scenario to follow," said Barry Barksdale, the senior air controller managing simulation operations.

To achieve this level of realism, opposition forces are given the freedom to develop the scenario as the exercise progresses.

"Our OPFORs get a vote," Barksdale said. "The ROKAF-U.S. forces may react to one inject, and the OPFOR can go another direction just to help produce realistic results."

Overall, the retired brigadier general maintains "the God's eye" over the exercise, yet he relies on hundreds of people across the country to apply their subject-matter expertise for various aspects of a conflict. He said the combined experience and overall excellence of the participants from all services and countries makes KR15 the most valuable exercise to train combined forces.

Most participants are at KR15 for the first time, which U.S. Air Force Maj. Leo Daub, KR15 wing operations center chief, described as a challenge, but one his people can overcome with their ingenuity.

"People come from all over the world to make this operation a success," the Illinois Air National Guardsman said. "They are put into positions they may not feel comfortable [in], but I try to follow the advice of General Patton, 'Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.'"

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jake Lacefield is one of those service members.

"Trying to figure out new things in such a short time is a huge challenge," the Indianapolis native said. "My career field doesn't have a direct correlation to what's going on here, so being able to adapt to new skill sets has been quite rewarding."

Traveling to the exercise from the 50th Contracting Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Lacefield said overcoming cultural differences and strengthening partnerships is also a huge reward.

"We are all different, but all have similarities," he said. "We are all military centric and want to do what's necessary to complete the mission. In addition, bridging the gap between Guard, Reserve and active-duty service members produces a dynamic working environment."

Lacefield's Korean counterpart shared similar views on the exercise and expressed readiness as the key takeaway.

"Without practice, we would surely fail in a real-world situation," said ROKAF Capt. Shin, Bok-Young. "It's good to work together to learn to communicate and take lessons from each other, improving the mission on both sides of the table."

Key Resolve is an annual combined and joint command post exercise that employs U.S. military personnel from bases around the Republic of Korea and the United States, as well as the ROK air force. The exercise is mostly computer based.

Key Resolve civil engineers support from start to end

by Staff Sgt. William Banton
7th Air Force Public Affairs

3/10/2015 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- In a nondescript room at the bottom of a random building, sits a group of men and women coordinating engineering requirements for military personnel.

The civil engineers working for 7th Air Force installations and mission support during exercise Key Resolve 2015 strive to ensure all Republic of Korea and U.S. installations remain operational in a contingency situation.

"Our primary mission is to repair the damage that would occur during an attack and try to repair those things as fast as possible," said ROK air force Capt. Young Woon Yoon, exercise and training chief.

To keep that mission going, the two countries must count on on each other.

"We rely heavily on the ROKAF engineers to ensure the airfields are operational," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Anna Narduzzi, 7th Air Force plans and readiness chief. "There are places where U.S. engineers might not have personnel, but we are flying operations."

In operations like KR15, civil engineers support the pre-air tasking orders directly by ensuring all facilities have the proper resources needed to stay operational, to include water and electricity.

"When you say Air Force, the older [Koreans] just think of the aircraft, but with civil engineering we control, take care of or support everything from the start to the end," Yoon said. "I am really proud a lot of the functions that make the operation succeed are done by civil engineers."

According to Yoon, the continuity ROKAF forces provide is essential to mission success, because they don't have to overcome the challenges of knowledge turnover on an annual or biannual basis.

"It makes it much easier, because I can ask [ROKAF members] questions, and I know they're already prepared for whatever may happen," Narduzzi said. "For example, if an airfield lighting system would go down, they are already prepared to move their extra portable lighting system to one of our bases for back up.

"During the exercise, I told them we had an issue with one of our lighting systems and they said, 'No problem; we already have a lighting system here, and it's ready to go. We are going to help you install it.' It gives me a great level of confidence if a conflict actually kicked off to know we are going to be able to work together really well," Narduzzi explained.

Yoon said being trained in the same mission parameters and the strong relations between ROK and U.S. forces helps overcome barriers, because everyone is prepared for the operation's procedures.

The communication limitation is one of the biggest challenges to overcome while working with coalition partners, but Yoon explained time built into the planning ensures better coordination.

Narduzzi also explained everything takes longer to communicate across multiple languages; however, the working relationships between coalition partners help counter any issues arising from this limitation.

"Our offices and engineering units are structured very similarly," she said. "They train on the same systems, and they train together, so all our operations are very well coordinated."

Narduzzi said the experience of working with coalition partners helped in furthering her understanding of the parameters of Key Resolve 15 and how to operate in a real-world situation, which Yoon expanded upon while reflecting on his own past experiences.

"I had a chance to do this kind of exercise in a field location before being assigned here," Yoon said. "Back then, I had a short-sighted vision of doing the entire exercise, but I've now had a chance to see the U.S. Air Force concepts of the operation. I learned a lot from them and was able to find ways to improve our operations. This was a really good exercise to further that knowledge, and I learned a lot form my counterpart captain."

Nondestructive Inspection: highlighting the cracks

by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
15th Wing Public Affairs

3/9/2015 - 3/6/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The 15th Maintenance Squadron's Nondestructive Inspection Lab plays a critical role in aircraft safety.

NDI specialists conduct inspections of aircraft parts much like a doctor would inspect someone with a broken bone. They use x-ray and ultrasound equipment to identify and diagnose defects and cracks without damaging the aircraft components.

"When you think NDI think aircraft doctor," said Tech. Sgt. Samuel Djonorh, non-commissioned officer in charge of the NDI Lab for the 15th MXS. "If you go to the doctor he uses equipment to diagnose what is wrong. NDI is similar, a part comes into the lab and we don't know what is wrong, we use our equipment to determent if there is a crack or damage to the part and if it needs to be replaced or repaired."

In addition to the x-ray and ultrasound, NDI technicians use magnetic particles, dye penetrant and eddy current to test aircraft parts for damage and structural integrity.

According to Airmen 1st Class Jose Herrera-Valtierra, nondestructive inspection specialist for the 15th MXS, the magnetic particles inspection uses magnetic fields and a magnetic particle compound to detect flaws in components. The magnet particle compound contains a neon green dye that glows under a black light, and iron particles that attach to the components when magnified.

Senior Airman Emily Morrissey, nondestructive inspection specialist from the 15th MXS, explained dye penetrant inspection is used to identify surface defects in metals and plastics. Dye penetrant uses a fluorescent dye that sinks into any defect and highlighting the defect on the component.

Djonorh said, eddy current is used to examine large areas very quickly, unlike magnetic particle inspection or dye penetrant, eddy current doesn't require the use of any liquids. In addition to finding cracks, eddy current can be used to check metal hardness in components and parts.

However, not all of the NDI technician's work happens in the lab.

"I enjoy when we are up on the wing of the aircraft inspecting a spar or a panel and you look up to see the entire airfield," said Morrissey.

Additionally, the NDI technicians work with aircraft crew chief, structural engineer and aircraft metals technology to ensure aircraft parts are structurally sound.

"I like when we make a big call on a critical part being cracked and we keep a part that could fail off the aircraft, that is when I really like my job," said Herraera-Valtierra.

15th WG Airmen experience air refueling

by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
15th Wing Public Affairs

3/9/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Airmen from the 15th Wing got an aerial view of the fighter aircraft refueling during a KC-135R stratotanker incentive ride March 5.

The eight Airmen representing the 15th Operations Group, 15th Medical Group, 15th Maintenance Group and the wing staff agencies were hand selected by their supervision to participate in the incentive flight.

According to Lt.Col. Jason Work,  96th Air Refueling Squadron commander, the primary mission of the flight was to conduct aerial refueling operations with four F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 162nd Fighter Wing Fighter Wing with the Arizona Air National Guard and four F-15 Strike Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing with the Oregon Air National Guard in support of Hawaii Air National Guard exercise Sentry Aloha.

During this mission, the Airmen were allowed to lay down on either side of the boom operator in the boom pod and watch as the fighter aircraft conducted refueling operations.

"This was my first time flying in a KC-135; I thought this was absolutely awesome," said Senior Airman Alicia Sims, 15th MDG family health clinic technician. "I don't know that much about airplanes, but I think that made the experience better."

For some Airmen, it wasn't learning about the planes that enhanced the experience but learning how the mission comes together.

"This was a great experience. Seeing real air power reinforced why I am in the Air Force," said Capt. Nicole Ward, 15th MDG family health clinic nurse. "It helped me understand how what we do in the medical group supports the flight crews, so they can conduct their mission."

PACAF Airman helps strengthen bond between U.S., China

by Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs

3/10/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- An Airman assigned to the 15th Operations Support Squadron is tapping into a unique set of skills to support the U.S. Pacific Command's priority of strengthening its foreign partnerships.

Capt. Joshua Hu, 15th OSS executive officer, speaks Chinese Mandarin and has used his ability to translate to support three PACOM missions over the last year.

Hu said his previous job on the PACOM surgeon's staff set him up for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that followed. When the People's Liberated Army Senior Medical  Delegation from China made their inaugural visit to the U.S., the Air Force was in need of someone who could translate English to Chinese, and Hu stepped up to the plate.

The Taiwan native then travelled with the delegation from Hawaii to the Pentagon to translate for meetings with the joint service assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and the  Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy surgeons general.

"One day, I was here in Honolulu, and the next, I was at the Pentagon translating for very high level officials," he said. "Honestly, it was nerve wracking, but I got enjoyment out of helping build and strengthen the relationship between U.S. and China."

Following his work for the PLA delegation visit, Hu was then offered another opportunity to put his translation skills to work during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 when PLA sent their navy hospital ship, the ARK PEACE, to participate in the exercise for the first time in history.

During the exercise, Hu was responsible for negotiating the exercise schedule, coordinating ship distinguished visitor tours and translating. His work eventually landed him on the PLA ship where he spent 10 days controlling helicopter operations and liaising with RIMPAC command and control nodes. Hu is credited with helping land the first U.S. helicopter on the ship.

Hu's work efforts during RIMPAC were described as "critical to the engagement effort" by U.S. Navy Capt. Lynn Wheeler, executive officer onboard the USNS Mercy (T-AH-19).

"It is impossible to describe how valuable he has been," she said. "All of the members of the team have been critical to this effort, but his experience in this role has paid huge dividends."

After his success with RIMPAC, Hu said he was pleasantly surprised to learn he'd been selected to help out with another high-level mission, this time serving as the interpreter for USPACOM's reciprocal senior medical delegation visit to China.

"The entire experience has been cool ... being a part of history," he said.

Though Hu, who lived in Taiwan until he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 10, has been speaking Mandarin all his life, he said he still studies to prepare for interpreter gigs, because they are a lot of responsibility.

"I am fluent in the language, but I don't translate full time, so I had to study on my own to make sure I did a good job," he said. "Normal conversation is different than official function dialogue, and you have to make sure you translate the right words, so you don't commit any diplomatic or protocol errors."

Hu said being a good interpreter also means understanding the culture and the context of words, so the right messages are not lost in translation.

"You don't want to fail at this," he said. "You want to make sure you do the best you can, so you can enhance the relationship between the U.S. and China."

Though Hu has returned to his primary job as the 15th OSS executive officer he said he looks forward to the future and what new opportunities that may bring.

"I'm very appreciative to my leadership and PACOM for giving me these opportunities," he said. "I wouldn't have had these opportunities or been able to go on these trips if not for the support of my leadership in both commands."

In the meantime, Hu plans to keep his translating skills sharp by hosting workshops to teach interested Airmen the basics of the language.

Outstanding Human Resource Advisor selected

by Tech. Sgt. David Speicher
175th Wing Public Affairs

3/7/2015 - BALTIMORE -- A Maryland Air National Guardsman was selected as the 2014 Air National Guard Outstanding Human Resource Advisor of the Year Jan. 29.

The National Guard Bureau selected Senior Master Sgt. Sterling Johnson, 175th Wing human resource advisor, because of his contributions to diversity, inclusion, cultural change and force management.

Johnson was recognized as having outstanding programs in place for the 175th Wing. The Guard Bureau has requested that Johnson use the wing's program to enhance the other units in the Mid-Atlantic region.

"Now that we have the number one program, we will show these others wings what we do," said Johnson. "My vision is to streamline [Community College of the Air Force] degrees at these other wings."

Johnson feels he was awarded for working closely with the Army National Guard and setting up new initiatives to enhance Airmen's careers. He organized practice interview boards and worked with the Baltimore Orioles baseball organization for a wing event at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He also coordinated retirement seminars and improved basic morale and welfare for the wing. He has worked hard for Airmen to use the College Level Examination Program, which allows students to take an exam to demonstrate knowledge of a subject matter and with a passing score, receive credit without taking the class.

"The biggest thing I am proud of is CLEP testing and fast tracking wing members to their Community College of the Air Force degree," Johnson said. "An associate degree will enhance not only our members' careers but also their personal lives outside the fence."

Johnson, who previously been the 175th Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, is in his fourth year in the job. He felt working as the Human Resource Advisor was the next level from being a first sergeant because it allows him to direct programs at the wing level. Even though he finds it logistically tough, he finds it "easy because of the love of the job."

Because of time restraints of a traditional guard drill weekend, he works with a lot of groups on base: the Chief's Council, First Sergeant Council, Junior Enlisted Council, student flight, retirees and mid-level non-commissioned officers.

"I am always looking for feedback to support all aspects of our wing members' needs," said Johnson.

Johnson is proud of the wing's effort in professional military education. The 175th Wing is one of only four of the 89 wings and units in the Air National Guard hosting both an Airmen Leadership School and NCO Academy classes in the same year.

The program will not rest on its laurels and Johnson has plans for the future. Johnson wants to build a mentorship program targeting mid-level NCOs to increase their supervisory skills.

"I consider these individuals instrumental for the future of our Airmen," Johnson said. "We want to create an environment of inclusion to enrich their self-confidence."

Regional isochronal inspection mission ends

by Senior Airman Nathanial Taylor
167th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/10/2015 - MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The 167th Airlift Wing's regional isochronal inspection mission here came to an end March 6 with the conclusion of its final Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft inspection.

The wing had successfully served as one of the Air Force's three regional isochronal inspection hubs for more than eight years since the mission was announced in December 2006.

An isochronal inspection is an extensive examination and maintenance of an entire airframe and systems that seek to increase the overall performance and safety of the aircraft. The regional hub program was launched in 2007 to improve the mission capabilities of the Air Force's C-5 fleet.

"It's setup as preventative maintenance," said Master Sgt. Harry Sinex, a 167th isochronal coordinator. "Every aircraft is required to undergo an inspection every 420 days."

There are three different levels of isochronal inspections; minor, major and depot. Each level of inspection is more extensive than the last and requires more of the plane to be taken apart. As a minor hub, the 167th isochronal team, which was made up of most of the 167th Maintenance Group, had roughly 2,500 tasks that had to be done for each aircraft during the inspection.

"A task is just a basic write up that said what we had to do," said Sinex. "Each task has multiple parts and sub tasks that need to be accomplished. Total, there are more like 10,000 items that need to be accomplished for each inspection."

The team fixed any items that they found on the checklist that needed to be repaired if it could be done at a local level. In addition to the items on the inspection list, the isochronal team frequently went above and beyond, repairing items that they noticed during the inspection, but were not part of the official inspection.

When the wing first received the regional isochronal mission, the Maintenance Group was still new to the C-5 and its systems. While they had performed isochronal inspections on the smaller Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, the C-5 inspection process required more manpower and was more indepth.

"We started this process from scratch," said Master Sgt. James Buckley, a 167th isochronal coordinator. "We only had the C-5s for about a year when we received the regional isochronal mission. We didn't really have the right stands or tools that we needed at first, we had to build all of that up ourselves with a small group of people."

The C-5 regional isochronal program was the first of its kind in the Air Force and was still being worked out when the wing received the mission. Early on, the team worked with its counterparts from the other two regional hubs at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and the Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, to develop and streamline the process, while also implementing their own variation to the inspection program.

"From the beginning, we were determined to have a paperless process," Sinex said. "We were also able to save a lot of money by fixing things locally and building our own parts if we could."

During the eight years as one of the regional hubs, the 167th team performed at a high level, often with less manpower than they were authorized. Even at the peak of their manning, the Maintenance Group was well short of the 120 slots allotted to them for isochronal inspections, including the contingent of active duty Airmen that were assigned to the wing to assist with the regional program.

Despite this, the inspection team averaged a 39-day isochronal inspection cycle per aircraft. In total, the team serviced 63 aircraft from eight different bases, counting the 167th.

While their average total inspection time was more than the other two isochronal hubs, when manpower is taken into account, the wing was hitting similar marks as their counter parts, Sinex said.

As the Air Force transitions to a leaner fleet, cut backs mean that many of the older C-5s are being retired, decreasing the maintenance demand for the airframe. Due to this decrease, the regional isochronal inspection mission has come to an end as the 167th transitions away from the C-5 to the Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

Though the C-17 doesn't currently require an isochronal inspection, the Maintenance Group has already seen the effect of their experience on their ability to work with the C-17, Buckley said.

"Our first home station check, which is a less extensive inspection for the C-17, we got done in nine work days," Buckley said. "The other bases that we have been in contact with have taken double that time for their first [home station check]. We are hitting numbers in our first [home station checks] that bases that have been in the C-17 business for three years are just now hitting. That's all because of the expertise we gained from building our own regionalized [isochronal] process."

While the Maintenance Group worked closely on the Regional Isochronal Inspection Program, it wouldn't have been possible without all of the other shops on base that contributed to the process, especially the Logistical Readiness Squadron who ordered and coordinated all the parts needed for repairs, Buckley said.

by Tech. Sgt. Wolfram M. Stumpf
140th Wing Public Affairs

3/8/2015 - AURORA, Colo. -- The 140th Civil Engineer Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard, located at Buckley Air Force Base here was honored recently with the top two awards a civil engineer unit in the Air National Guard and the Air Force can receive.

The 140th CES received the Air National Guard William L. Deneke Award and the Society of American Military Engineers Curtin Award.

The Air National Guard William L. Deneke Award is named after retired Col. William L. Deneke and is awarded to the ANG Outstanding Civil Engineer Unit of the year. The winner of this award then competes for the Society of American Military Engineers Curtin Award, named after Maj. Gen. Robert H. Curtin, the former Air Force Director of Civil Engineering from 1963 to 1968, and is presented to the Outstanding Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron in the categories of large unit, small unit and Air Reserve Component. The 140th CES won both.

The 140th CES traveled the world in 2014, taking on projects from right in their back yard of Colorado to the Highlands of Scotland.

As a team they provided more than 3,500 hours of community service supporting multiple agencies all across Colorado. They were an integral key player in the rebuilding of the runway at Buckley, which also involved moving the entire Colorado ANG Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft alert and training mission 20 miles away to Denver International Airport for 90 days. They created the first recycling program for Thumrait Air Base in Oman with the potential of avoiding more than $100,000 in waste removal contracts. Additionally, they worked side by side with the Royal British Army for Operation Flying Rose in Scotland, United Kingdom, helping to accomplish a large variety of base improvements, while gaining one-of-a-kind training with coalition forces.

"Getting these awards is a huge honor for us," said Senior Airman Ellie Gustafson, a structural journeyman. "While we were in Scotland, many of us did jobs that were not part of our Air Force specialty and completed the jobs ahead of schedule. This is a perfect example of how well our unit works as a team."

According to the approximately 86 members that make up the 140th CES, they strive during every mission to not only do the job the right way, but to exceed all project expectations.

This level of commitment has not gone unnoticed and the squadron will be presented the "most prestigious awards for any CE unit" at a later date to be determined, according to Lt. Col. Thomas J. Nefe, 140th CES assistant base civil engineer.

The 140th CES is building on their blue print for future successes. They will travel to Slovenia as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program.

"We have hopes this will strengthen our partnership and result in future Deployment for Training opportunities for other ANG units" said Chief Master Sgt. Holly Allen, 140 CES.

The unit will also continue to pursue a one-of-a-kind partnership with the active duty, Civil Air Patrol, and Colorado Army National Guard, in renovating the historic hangar 909 at Buckley for its adaptive reuse as a regional F-16 simulator training center, logistics readiness squadron facility, base operations center, deployment processing facility, along with many other uses that will alleviate upwards of four military construction projects that are needed, in a budget constrained environment.

"I believe this is possibly the first of its kind effort to combine resources from four separate agencies for a single purpose," said Lt. Col. William Smith, 140 CES. "We are also working towards modernizing our alert facilities and the F-16 main apron and developing a state of the art Aerospace Support Equipment Facility and making major upgrades to the airfield lighting system. Our vision, is to ensure Buckley is prepared to receive fifth generation fighter aircraft by fiscal year [2018] ... we're not going to be the roadblock to the new mission bed down."

Oregon Airmen Receive Bronze Star Medals

by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd
142 Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/9/2015 -  PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore.  -- Two Oregon Air Guardsmen were recently awarded Bronze Star Medals during a ceremony here for leading engineers during a recent deployment to Afghanistan, despite persistent rocket attacks and indirect fire.

Lt. Col. Jason Lay and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Gilbert served alongside one another during a recent deployment to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Resolute Support.

In attendance was Maj. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Adjutant General, Oregon, who praised both Airmen for their dedication to the mission.

"They set a new expectation for others to aspire to," Hokanson said.

Both service members are assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron here and deployed with the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron from April 20, 2014 to Oct. 14, 2014.

"Lt. Col Lay and Chief Master Sgt. Gilbert are good people, hard workers - and they fully embraced the mission - to keep the airway open and to keep the people safe on base," said Chief Master Sgt. John McIlvain of the 142nd Civil Engineer Squadron, who served with Lay and Gilbert on the deployment.

Lay received the Bronze Star for meritorious service as the commander of the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. He led a team of 101 total force engineers who managed a 740-acre airfield, executed 970 work orders and oversaw 35 construction projects worth more than $123 million.

The actions of these Oregon Airmen ensured the airfield remained capable of supporting ongoing combat operations at the busiest combat logistics center operated by the Department of Defense.

"The leadership of Lt. Col. Lay and Chief Master Sgt. Gilbert enabled them to push themselves and their team to very high levels," said Col. Donna Prigmore, 142nd mission support group commander.

Gilbert received the Bronze Star for his distinguished service as chief enlisted manager of the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. He led 99 Airmen through the completion of 970 work orders, 13 high priority projects and maintenance of the airfield.

Prigmore said both awardees possess a tremendous amount of technical expertise and the leadership needed to accomplish the mission under tight deadlines.

"It was a fast-paced, no-fail mission," said Gilbert about the significance of the deployment. "We helped oversee the transition between Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Enduring Support, which included a large decrease in the number of boots on the ground."

The Bronze Star Medal was established in 1944 and is the fourth-highest individual military award and the ninth-highest by order of precedence in the U.S. Military. It is awarded to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious service in a combat zone.

A Chaplain on ice

by Nic Kuetemeyer
180th Fighter Wing

3/8/2015 - TOLEDO, Ohio -- It is the coldest, driest, and windiest place on Earth. There is no further or more remote deployment military personnel can be sent on. Operation Deep Freeze takes Air National Guardsmen 2,400 miles south of New Zealand and is a scientific operation, not a military one.

But the Air National Guard has two unique assets at its disposal that are necessary to the success of the United States Antarctic Program; the special ski-equipped Air Force LC-130 "Skibird" aircraft from the 109th Airlift Wing in Schenectady, New York, and the Air National Guard Chaplain Corps.

"We can provide something unique," said Maj. Pete Drury, Chaplain at the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton, Ohio. "We can provide what a full civilian or a full military person can't."

Drury was one of three ANG Chaplains selected to be sent to the bottom of the world for this very special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Once a Chaplain has completed a mission there, they will not be selected again.

"One of the cool things that an ANG Chaplain can provide is that we understand and can accommodate the secular person and the person who has a non-religious spirituality," Drury said with a characteristically broad smile. "Because a non-religious person still has spiritual needs. We have a unique capacity to provide that."

The Antarctic Program's mission is to not only expand knowledge of the continent itself but to also further research on climate changes, space, and many global issues of scientific importance. The remote and diverse community is made up of civilians, government officials and employees, scientists, graduate students, contractors, and military personnel.

Even though caring for and catering to the many different needs of the community may sound like a challenge, it's a challenge that Drury relishes. And the town of McMurdo doesn't disappoint in presenting that challenge. Comprised of approximately 850 citizens, the townspeople of McMurdo come from all types of non-religious and religious backgrounds.

"We're not just there for the ANG folks who are flying the LC-130s, we're there for the town," said Drury, explaining that he did not wear his uniform six out of seven days a week. "The people who go to Antarctica aren't your usual demographic. You get to work with, I think, the most interesting and eclectic people on Earth."

Drury recounted stories to explain just how eclectic and interesting the people really are in McMurdo. When he first arrived, a support worker from the town was showing him around, helping him get acclimated to his surroundings.

"I told him I wanted to know where everything was around town," he said. "So he's pointing out 'these people are in this building, that's the electrical shop.' And all through the conversation he's talking about Socrates and Plato, history, science and philosophy. It's almost a university feel."

It was summer for the six weeks he was "on the ice" and Drury didn't see a sunset until he was back in New Zealand. But snow rarely melts in Antarctica, not even to give way for a run.

"I did a half-marathon on the ice shelf ... I did a 10k the first week I was there," said Drury proudly. "When the ice starts to melt, it gets slushy. But not like it gets slushy in Ohio. It's a dry slushy, it's more like running in sand."

The "summer" in Antarctica might be hard to imagine for people living in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly when you remember that's the holiday season. Not only did Drury provide over a hundred counseling sessions, weekend services, and guaranteed the free exercise of religion for all faiths represented, he also provided holiday services.

"Over the holidays they get a big boost in morale," he said. "That's the second part of what we do, providing for other religious traditions. The Jewish community said they had the best Hanukkah in 20 years. We were featured in the [British Broadcasting Corporation's] 'Hanukkah in Antarctica.' One pilot mentioned that this year's Hanukkah was the next best thing to being home."

Providing for other religious traditions and non-religious spiritual needs of military members is something the Guard Chaplains do every day they wear a uniform. But because he has a civilian side himself, Drury found he was well prepared to provide for the non-military needs as well.

"That comes from being in the Air National Guard," Drury said. "The military provides the awareness and the mindset on how to do the neutral part. The civilian side helps us better connect with the civilian population. We have a unique niche that provides this. This is a time when we really hit our stride."

Drury said that while military members are accustomed to the idea of privileged communication, a civilian is not. They are not readily familiar with the non-religious counsel a chaplain can provide.

"A civilian needs to be told 'You can talk to us in complete confidentiality," said Drury. "But once they find that out, they talk about whatever they need."

In a stark, unforgiving, and austere environment like Antarctica, a chaplain's counsel can be in high demand. The harsh reality is that on an island as big as the continental United States and Mexico combined, with limited medical facilities, the danger of injury or even death is ever-present. Bereavement and grief counseling are part of what the chaplains are there to do.

But the landscape can provide a certain dazzling beauty as well. Drury spoke reverently about the Chapel of the Snows, the southernmost facility dedicated to worship in the world, as being one of the most unique places he's ever been to.

"It overlooks Mount Discovery," he said. "You look out the back and you see this spectacular Transantarctic mountain range."

Drury's time there might have been short, but it is clear he cherished every minute he was there. Drury's favorite part of the trip was being with the people in McMurdo. He couldn't speak highly enough of the people there.

"You get this amazing group, I love that," he said. "In a lot of ways, I felt like I had the easiest six weeks out of the whole season."

Hawk soars past 10,000 flying-hour milestone

by Tech. Sgt. Marie Brown
U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

3/10/2015 - U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs  -- Shortly before dawn Mar. 7, an RQ-4 Global Hawk embarked on an Operation Inherent Resolve mission that sent the aircraft soaring past the 10,000 flying hour milestone at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft 2019, or "A2019", was the first block 20 and first RQ-4B model to arrive here on Oct. 16, 2010. It's the first Global Hawk to reach 10,000 hour flying milestone. During its service, the aircraft has been providing support to warfighters by relaying communications between people and aircraft as well as enabling airstrikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Da'esh forces.

"This particular aircraft carries the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payload, which replaces the imagery sensors normally installed in the aircraft," said Lt. Col. Anthony, launch and recovery element operations supervisor. "It is primarily a data and communications bridging node. It can support multiple bridges simultaneously across multiple radio types. We like to call it 'Wi-fi in the sky'."

Both manned and unmanned aircraft continue to fly in support of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance requirements for Operation Inherent Resolve. ISR helps coalition leaders gain better insight about the security situation on the ground, and strengthen the ability of Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces and their international partners to effectively counter ISIL.

The accomplishment of flying more than 10,000 hours was shared by the entire Hawk Aircraft Maintenance Unit and supporting units.

"It takes a team effort to maintain an aircraft," said Staff Sgt. Paul, RQ-4 Global Hawk crew chief. "Every six months there is a new rotation with a new group of people who have helped maintain this aircraft since its arrival."

Paul has been working with this aircraft off and on for just over nine months, most of which has been here in the area of responsibility.

"When I got here the jet had 9,104.9 flying hours," said Paul, currently deployed from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. "Yesterday's milestone flight was flight 402 and it took off with 9,982.9 hours. It flew for 30.5 hours and landed Mar. 8, surpassing the 10,000 flying hour milestone."

A2019 also holds the record for the longest block 20 flight, which is currently set at 31.5 flying hours.

The Block 20 model began flying in 2004 and was initially fielded with imagery intelligence (IMINT)-only capabilities. Three Block 20s have been converted to an EQ-4 communication relay configuration, carrying the BACN payload. 95 percent of its flight time has been accumulated since it was reconfigured with the BACN payload in 2010.

"This highlights the proven reliability of unmanned systems and the advantages they can provide," said Anthony. "Although other aircraft also carry the BACN payload, the RQ-4's 30+ hour endurance is ideal for this communication bridging mission."

"This milestone is paving the way for other aircraft and the future of other unmanned aircraft systems," said Paul.

Anthony said it isn't just the team here that made this milestone possible.

"I'm fortunate to have been part of this historic event and enjoyed celebrating with all the maintainers and support crews who make it happen daily," said Anthony. "Grand Forks and its sister units at Beale AFB, Calif., have their own teams of maintainers and communication support personnel that enabled this milestone too. It's a whole new paradigm that I'm still getting used to, and the beginning of a new era in aviation."

Iditarod Champion visits Alaska F-22 Reserve Unit, JBER

by Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

3/10/2015 - Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska  -- Two-time Iditarod champion, Dallas Seavey, visited with members of the Air Force Reserve's 477th Fighter Group as well as members of the 3rd Wing here March 4.

"I try to have a pretty high-tech fancy dog sled," Seavey said. "Carbon fiber stanchions, lightweight aluminum, we are cutting ounces and inches everywhere we can, but it doesn't really compare [to the F-22 Raptor]."

Seavey is a third-generation Alaskan sled dog musher; in 2005 he became the youngest musher in history to run the Iditarod. Seavey won the Iditarod in 2012 and 2014.
This year the Air Force Reserve is a Lead Dog Partner of the Iditarod sled dog race, "the last great race on earth."

The Iditarod is a 1,000-mile sled dog race across the rugged terrain of Alaska and is a state- wide tradition. This year marks the 43rd running of the Iditarod and the first year of the Air Force Reserve's sponsorship.

Tech. Sgt. Andrew Eichorst, 477th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, spent time with Seavey showing him America's most advanced fighter Jet, the F-22 Raptor.

"Having local Alaskans such as Dallas join us in our recruiting effort is going to give us an upper hand in filling our open unit positions," Eichorst said.

The Air Force Reserve is hoping its partnership with the Iditarod will help raise awareness of the opportunities available in the 477th Fighter Group to serve in the Air Force Reserve right here in Alaska.

"Having the Air Force Reserve involvement is an awesome addition to our Iditarod family," Seavey said. "And getting to come down here and meet the individuals in person is an amazing privilege."