Military News

Friday, March 13, 2015

Service with a smile: MPS achieves excellence through empowerment

by Airman 1st Class Dillon Johnston
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


3/12/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Results from the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 Air Force Personnel Center personnel action report have affirmed the 341st Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Section as the best in Air Force Global Strike Command.

The MPS attained not only the best in AFGSC, but second overall for small MPSs Air Force-wide, and third for all MPSs in the Air Force, regardless of size. These achievements were made possible through consistent dedication from the Team Malmstrom members who work in the MPS.

"We are not a '1-800-Here's the website organization;' that's not our style," said Brian Jolly, 341st FSS manpower and personnel flight chief. "Our attitude is to delight (each) customer by delivering the highest possible standards."

Providing a number of vital personnel processes for the base, including implementing the new Force Improvement Program initiatives, the MPS constantly delivers professional and accurate services, helping to keep Team Malmstrom in the fight.

"With FIP dominating the news, what often is overlooked are the people behind the scenes implementing medal programs and the new special duty and assignment incentive pay programs. (Those are) our guys," said Ken Sylva, 341st FSS MPS chief. "They're like linemen on a football team, in the trenches doing the heavy lifting with little glamor or recognition, but the moment they stop, our operators get sacked."

One of the "linemen" on the MPS team is Staff Sgt. Leanee De Los Santos, a force management supervisor. She strives to provide excellent customer service because it's how she would want to be treated.

"I know I wouldn't want my records messed up," De Los Santos said. "I try to help everybody as much as I can and provide the best answers, and make sure everybody is taken care of."

As a relatively new staff sergeant, De Los Santos has only been to one other base, but can easily see the stark differences in how her new MPS operates.

"There's a lot more customer care here," she said. "Just better interaction with the community and overall people on the base."

What makes this particular MPS unique is the abundance of young first-term, first-base Airmen who are responsible for the base's personnel workload every day.

"We have an extremely, extremely young staff," Sylva said. "Where we're authorized two master sergeants and a senior master sergeant, we had none that quarter. Where we're authorized four technical sergeants on the MPS central staff we had two, and where we're authorized five staff sergeants, we had three.

"When you look at the manning board, it is completely filled up with first-term, first-assignment Airmen, and that's what makes them special," he continued.

Sylva and Jolly believe promoting an environment of innovation and trust is paramount in growing their young Airmen.

"We don't dwell on our people making mistakes - we just don't," Jolly said. "Our people don't come in (to work) feeling threatened, I think that's important in developing our Airmen."

"I want them to lean forward and take risks," Sylva said. "And we try to reinforce that - we don't try - we do reinforce that."

"You can't have innovation if you don't let them have the freedom to think," Jolly added.

Looking to the future, Sylva and Jolly want to continue in the same direction and strive to attain even greater achievements through continuous process improvement and challenging and empowering the staff of the MPS.

"We ask our Airmen to do things that are far beyond their (paygrade)," Sylva said. "I tell our Airmen that my job is not to make them staff sergeants, if you're an Airman my job is to make you a technical sergeant.

"We are constantly double checking and triple checking each other - not in a 'gotcha' standpoint, but from a 'how can we improve this' standpoint," he continued.

In the end, all of the hard work that goes into making the lives of Team Malmstrom members easier comes from respect and pride in the work they do each day.

"We're proud of the operators on base," Sylva said. "We take great pride in helping them complete their mission, because it is a team fight, and if they are in here taking care of personnel it means they aren't out there taking care of operational, maintenance, and security forces business."

Women play huge role in World War II aviation efforts



By Martha Lockwood, Air Force News Service / Published March 13, 2015

FORT MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- The Air Force's acceptance of women into the force dates back to long before the first "Women's History Week" celebration in 1978.

In 1942, the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) took the unheard-of step of forming and employing two women's aviation units. That same year, a unit of flight nurses who had not yet quite finished their training, were sent into North Africa on Christmas Day following the Allied invasion in November of that year.

And the history of women--civilian and military--was forever changed.

WASPS, WAFS and a Willingness to Serve

Originally, the idea of using women pilots was first suggested in 1930, but was considered "unfeasible," according to information maintained at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Then, in mid-1942, an increased need for World War II combat pilots, favored the use of experienced women pilots to fly aircraft on non-combat missions.

Two women's aviation units--The Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS--with a capital S) and the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were formed to ease this need. More than 1,000 women participated in these programs as civilians attached to the USAAC, flying 60 million miles of non-combat military missions.

These two units were merged into a single group, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program in August 1943, and broke ground for U.S. Air Force female pilots who would follow in their footsteps decades later.

Of the more than 25,000 women who applied for pilot training under the WASP program, 1,830 were accepted, 1,074 were graduated, and 916 (including 16 former WAFS) remained when the program was disbanded in December 1944. WASP assignments were diverse--as flight training instructors, glider tow pilots, towing targets for air-to-air and anti-aircraft gunnery practice, engineering test flying, ferrying aircraft, and other duties.

Although WASPs had the privileges of officers, they were never formally adopted into the USAAC. In November 1977--33 years after the WASPs program was disbanded--President Carter signed a bill granting World War II veterans' status to former WASPs.

Winged Angels

It was a slightly different story for flight nurses who were members of the military from the beginning. As it was with so many advances and innovations resulting from World War II, the USAAC radically changed military medical care, and the development of air evacuation and the training of flight nurses were advanced to meet this need.

After the invasion of North Africa in November 1942, the need for flight nurses exceeded the supply, and women who had not yet finished their training were called into action and sent to North Africa on Christmas Day. Finally, in February 1943, the first class of Army Nurse Corps flight nurses graduated.

Unlike their stateside-stationed counterparts in the WASPs, flight nurses (nicknamed "Winged Angels") in the Army Nurse Corps served in combat. They were especially vulnerable to enemy attacks because aircraft used for evacuation could not display their non-combat status.

These same aircraft were also used to transport military supplies. In anticipation and preparation for almost any emergency, flight nurses were required to learn crash procedures, receive survival training, and know the effects of high altitude on a vast array of pathologies.

Of the nearly 1.2 million patients air evacuated throughout the war, only 46 died en route. About 500 USAAC nurses (only 17 died in combat) served as members of 31 medical air evacuation transport squadrons throughout the world.

When President Harry Truman signed The National Security Act of 1947, creating the Department of Defense, the U. S. Air Force became a separate military service. At the time, a number of Women's Army Corps (WACs) members continued serving in the Army but performed Air Force duties.

The following year, some WACs chose to transfer to the Women's Air Force (WAFs--with a lower case s) when it finally became possible to do so.

Originally, the WAFs were limited to 4,000 enlisted women and 300 female officers, all of whom were encouraged to fill a variety of ground duty roles--mostly clerical and medical--but were not to be trained as pilots, even though the USAAC had graduated the first class of female pilots in April 1943, during wartime.

In 1976, when women were accepted into the Air Force on an equal basis with men, the WAF program ended, but not before many milestones were achieved and marked along the way in preparation for today's Air Force woman.

The WAFs in Evolution

The first WAF recruit was Sgt. Esther Blake who enlisted on July 8, 1948, in the first minute of the first day that regular Air Force duty was authorized for women. She had been a WAC, and she transferred in from Fort McPherson, Ga.

The first recruits reported to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in 1948. When basic training was desegregated in the Air Force the following year, many African-American women recruits joined, even though the integration of quarters and mess had not yet been achieved.

At first, WAFs wore men's uniforms with neckties. It was "a look" that didn't last long, and winter uniforms for WAFs were modeled after flight attendants' uniforms, using the same material as the men's winter uniforms.

The necktie was abandoned early on, and was replaced with tabs on the collar. The summer uniform--a two-piece dress made of cotton-cord seersucker--didn't fare as well. Ill-fitting, it required frequent ironing. It would be years before a suitable women's uniform would be achieved.

Milestones Along the Way

In its 10-year lifespan, from 1951 to 1961, the 543rd Air Force Band (WAF) was served by 235 women musicians, with approximately 50 members at any one time. This band, the WAF Band as it was known, along with the all-male Air Force Band, served as ambassadors of the Air Force simultaneously.

The WAF band marched in both of President Eisenhower's inaugural parades, and they played for President Kennedy's inauguration, among other concert engagements throughout the nation. The band was deactivated in 1961. Some say that it was a victim of its own success.

It was during this same time period--1956--that a WAF section was introduced into the college-level Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program, and by 1959 four universities were running ROTC WAF sections. By 1970, they had achieved a national presence.

Concurrent with the expansion of the ROTC women's cadet program, Congress passed Public Law 90-130 in 1967, lifting grade restrictions and strength limitations on women in the military.

And with the end of Selective Service (the "draft") in 1973, recruiting practices changed. Shortly afterwards--1976--the separate status of WAF was abolished, and women entered pilot training as military personnel for the first time. (The WASPS and WAFS of World War II had come in to service as civilians with pilots' licenses.) Our country's bicentennial year also saw women entering the service academies, which had not been opened to them prior to President Ford's administration.

By 1993, women were receiving fighter pilot training, and Lt. Gen. Susan J. Helms (then Maj. Helms), member of the first class of the U. S. Air Force Academy to graduate women, was also the first American military woman in space as part of the Space Shuttle Endeavor team.

Coming, full circle, the final chapter for the WAFS and WASPS of World War II was achieved in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter awarded them full status as veterans, complete with benefits. A fitting epilogue was added in 2010 with the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal. Today, there are approximately 300 of the original women air force pilots still living.

By the Numbers

The milestones cited above are just that--the highlights of women in service to their country. Each day, women in the Air Force distinguish themselves and honor those who have gone before them by doing the jobs that matter to us all--performing in professional, administrative, technical and clerical positions.

Women make up 19 percent of all Air Force military personnel and 30.5 percent of all civilian personnel. Of the female officers, 55 percent of the female officers are line officers, and 45 percent are non-line. Of the 328,423 active duty personnel, 62,316 are women, with 712 female pilots, 259 navigators and 183 air battle managers.

Women's History Month

Today, Women's History Month awareness for all the armed services is initiated by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute headquartered at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.. Among the tools and initiatives for observing this month-long celebration of the role women have played throughout history, the Institute is making available a free download of this year's Women's National History Project poster, "Women's Education--Women's Empowerment."

Empowerment of women has strengthened the services. Starting with the WASPS and WAFS of World War II, through the WAFs of the '50s and '60s, through the acceptance and promotion of women at the service academies, each generation of women and their evolved sense of service to their country, has prepared the future for generations of women seeking unlimited opportunity.

(Martha Lockwood is the chief of Air Force Information Products, Defense Media Activity)

Taking initiative for the ICBM mission

by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs


3/11/2015 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Effective communication is essential to the success of any military organization, and that effective communication must be present at all layers. This also applies to Airmen who are part of Air Force Global Strike Command.

Missileers, from the 90th, 91st and 341st missile wings, rely heavily on communication channels to be effective.

The missile communications maintenance sections at each wing maintain the communication equipment - including the Nuclear Command, Control and Communication systems - used by the ICBM launch control centers, launch facilities and the base command posts.

Tech. Sgt. Dan Sutton, 20th Air Force ICBM communications manager, assists in acquiring necessary tools to help the MCM sections accomplish the mission.

"The MCM sections are critical to the mission because they ensure U.S. Strategic Command operation requirements for communications are maintained," Sutton said. "This means emergency action messages, or launch execution orders, and routine messages can be delivered to the missile combat crews that execute the nuclear mission."

Sutton and several liaisons for units in the missile wings work under Chief Master Sgt. Brian Arbegast, 20th AF logistics and communication's chief.

"Sutton was hand selected for this position," Arbegast said. "He came highly recommended and was admired by his peers."

Sutton said he works hard to give his children someone to be proud of.
"Other than work, everything I do is focused on how it will reflect on [my children]," Sutton said. "I always believe actions speak the loudest and hope my actions set a good example to others."

When not working to revamp the MCM section, Sutton said he enjoys creative hobbies as an outlet from work, such as woodworking.

"It allows me to get away and relieve stress [along with] creating things for other people," Sutton added. "I just finished a gift box that was a gift for someone special to me."

Woodworking and his family give him a chance to take a breather from challenges he faces at work, he said.

There are many long-standing areas that need improvement and attention in the missile communications area, but according to Sutton, upgrading training equipment by making it as operationally realistic as possible will increase the quality of training.

"[Sutton] will have a few hurdles to overcome in the future, but he has the skill necessary to [make it happen] and knows when to ask for help," Arbegast said. "He is a good Airman and a good role model."

Sutton is currently working on improving the training equipment used by the MCM sections.

"He takes a lot of initiative and coordinates well with the wings to see what they need," Arbegast said.

Issues are brought to light during Sutton's coordination with the units leading to his efforts to improve their work environment.

Sutton will put on the rank of master sergeant July 1, 2015.

"There won't be a big change to my current duties, however there are significant changes in responsibility that come along with moving into the senior NCO corps," Sutton said.
Sutton said teamwork is the key to success and the reason he is where he is today.

"Several things have helped me in my career," Sutton said. "Working with good subordinates, peers and supervisors; having a strong work ethic, putting in my best effort and staying focused. I know I have a family that depends on me."

CMSAF explores nuclear mission, encourages Airmen

by By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


3/12/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont.  -- At the heart of America's national defense lies the nuclear triad, consisting of three elements: land, air and sea. Each of these components work together to provide the nation's most effective defense system and serves as one of the greatest protective powers the world has ever known.

On the land based leg of this triad is the Air Force Global Strike Command. Through this command, a home front based nuclear mission is continuously evolving to keep up with the demand of protecting the American people, while providing the best quality of life for its Airmen.

In an effort to explore this leg of the nuclear mission more in depth, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody has spent time at each installation within the command; speaking with Airmen and observing them perform their duties firsthand.

On a recent visit to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Cody toured several work centers and Missile Alert Facilities, viewing the effects of the Force Improvement Program implementation while experiencing life locally deployed in the missile field.

FIP was employed as a grass roots initiative to provide Airmen stationed at missile bases with a better quality of life and to deliver funding for tools and equipment.

He also spoke to Airmen on the enlisted force structure, education benefits, budget constraints and soon-to-be implemented programs that will provide a better Air Force for current and future Airmen.

"It's really important that what we're doing is the right thing to do," Cody said.

Putting the appropriate resources in the right areas is critical to getting things the way they are supposed to be, he said.

"We've instituted developmental special duties to make sure we're getting the right people, at the right time, in the right jobs that have a broader impact on the institution," Cody said. "We continue to move forward in evolving professional military education to deliver it in the right method to our Airmen at the right times in their careers."

According to Cody, every generation of Airmen has a responsibility to provide a better platform for future generations.

"I'm confident we're doing that, and in very meaningful ways," he said.

An honest assessment of where the Air Force lies is critical to developing a solid plan in moving forward, he believes. If a program does not work the first time, review it, redesign it and make the changes that will answer the problems we need to address.

Through tactical level feedback from Airmen and supervisors in the missile field, this assessment presents itself in a real form and reveals a better understanding of what works and what doesn't.

When it comes to the mission, excellence is achieved as a team. For the individual, striving to be the best Airman possible on a daily basis will contribute to the team reaching that goal.

"Just do your best every day," Cody said. "If you give your best every day and you work hard, on any given day you will be the best. On other days you won't and that's ok; you'll be celebrating the fact that somebody else is the best because they're your teammate."

Navy Names Next Destroyer



Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today during a ceremony held at the Navy Memorial that the next Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, DDG-119, will be named Delbert D. Black.

The future USS Delbert D. Black was named in honor of the first master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON).

During his time as MCPON, Black served as an advisor to many boards dealing with enlisted personnel issues and as the enlisted representative of the Department of the Navy. He is also credited with the establishment of the command master chief program.
Current MCPON Mike Stevens joined Mabus at the ceremony held to honor the legendary deck-plate leader.

“It is a great honor to name this ship in remembrance of such a revered sailor,” said Mabus. “I have no doubt that all who serve aboard her will carry on the legacy of service and commitment exemplified by Master Chief Black during his storied career.”

DDG-119 will be the first ship to bear the name Delbert D. Black.

Arleigh-Burke class destroyers conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. DDG 119 will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare including integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capabilities.

DDG 119, the third ship of the FY2013-FY2017 DDG 51 multiyear-procurement contract, will be constructed at Huntington Ingalls Industry (HII) shipyard. The ship will be 509 feet long, have a beam length of 59 feet and be capable of operating at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Liberty Airmen crush records

by Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/11/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England  -- In February, the 48th Fighter Wing surpassed all expectations; not only exceeding the wing's goal for combat training flights, also known as sorties, but also beating the Air Force standard.

According to the F-15E Strike Eagle squadrons, 594 sorties were flown for the month.

"Liberty Airmen are crushing records," said Col. Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander. "They're 'Forward, Ready, Now,' with better training for aircrew and more time for quality maintenance; yet flying more sorties than ever because of their discipline with the flying scheduling effectiveness program."

The FSE program tracks activity on the flightline and the wing's ability to make and execute a solid plan. Increases in FSE demonstrate stability and predictability of flightline operations, meaning that an increase in FSE directly impacted the Liberty Wing's ability to fly a record number of F-15E sorties.

"Our aircrews were able to complete 111 percent of their combat mission ready requirements for the month," said Col. Scottie Zamzow, 48th Operations Group commander. "This extra training is not wasted. Like AT&T's rollover minutes, the extra training will continue to benefit us in the future."

The rollover training sorties are important because unpredictable events and poor weather can sometimes curtail the wing's flying plan.

"When Liberty Wing Airmen are provided resources, time, support and a stable and predictable environment, then the sky is the limit on what they can accomplish," said Col. Brian Stuart, 48th Maintenance Group commander. "What made this happen were the incredible maintenance and operations teams that instilled the mindset of: make a plan, stick to the plan, execute the plan and debrief the plan."

Credit for this accomplishment is largely attributed to the aircraft maintenance units and operations teams; however, it reflects the collective efforts of every Liberty Airman.

"I'd like to give a shout-out to the entire wing for making this record-breaking month happen," Novotny said. "You've heard me describe our wing as a watch before - where every piece of the watch may not be visible, but is essential. Our FSE happens because every piece of our 'watch' is working as it should be and pulling their weight to project combat power."