Tuesday, April 14, 2015

18th Wing conducts joint NEO exercise with Navy, Army

by Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris
18th Wing Public Affairs

4/13/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members from the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Army processed 150 families while participating in a joint Non-combatant Evacuation Operation exercise here April 8.

In an Okinawa-wide NEO, evacuees may have to go to the closest NEO point, which may not always be the military branch their family is with, so it is important for the different branches to work together to familiarize themselves with the procedures.

Representatives from finance, the Red Cross, housing and more took dependants and volunteers through the steps needed to take their family from a rally point to being able to board an aircraft to a safe location.

"The purpose of this exercise is to acquaint family members of what the process will be like," said Lorrie Perkins, 18th Force Support Squadron Airmen and Family Readiness Center team lead. "It also lets us practice with real families, so we get an idea of some of the challenges we face [and] we can be better prepared in the eventuality that we have to really do this."

With summer on its way, many new families are being stationed on Kadena Air Base and some of them have never dealt with NEOs and may think they can wait till the last minute to gather paperwork and supplies.

"It's a little easier on people if they understand the process and what might be required ahead of time instead of waiting until a NEO situation comes about and try to put stuff together," said Col. Debra Lovette, 18th Mission Support Group commander. "We are trying to decrease that stress level [for] when a NEO actually happens by letting people know what's available, what they might need to get out of town and what they should be thinking about before they actually do any of it."

While some key items vary from family to family, one important item for any family is passports.

"Once they get into the NEO process, it is very likely they are going to require a passport to get wherever it is they are going next, so that is absolutely an essential to have," Lovette said. "Some families require [certain] medical supplies, those are kind of critical because you don't really know how long it's going to take to get to a location that can resupply your medical needs, so you have to think through how long you might need to have a supply on hand."

For families with kids, it is important to note they will have to wait in line multiple places or be sitting in a queue for a while, so it is recommended to bring electronics, chargers and other entertainment or snacks. It is advised people bring enough food for three days per person. Ideally, they'll never have to tap into that, because there will be a plan in place -- but plans are subject to change.

Perkins said each person is allowed a suitcase weighing 25 pounds, so it is important to figure out what is worth bringing and what can be left behind.

Another important item to have prepared is an NEO folder and to make sure one of the NEO wardens or unit representatives assigned to the squadron has an updated map to the dependant's or other non-combatant's home, if they cannot contact them by phone.

"A lot of the paperwork in the folders is pretty easy to keep and update as you go," Lovette said. "Things change, so it is important to have it put together now when you have time because it is pretty thorough."

The 18th Wing usually conducts a NEO exercise twice a year, but they are looking at increasing the frequency of exercises depending on how much more the other services will participate.

Asymmetric Threat Division trains 18th SFS on high risk response

by Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris
18th Wing Public Affairs

4/13/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Instructors from the Asymmetric Threat Division of Analytic Services provided the 18th Security Forces Squadron with a five-day Pacific Air Forces High Risk Response Training here April 6 through 10.

The training consisted of interactive academics covering the history of the active shooter, defensive tactics and techniques and intense, instructor-led scenarios with role-playing victims and other distractions.

"The training helped gear our security forces up just in case something happens around the base, whether it is an active shooter or someone actually hurting individuals around a populated area," said Staff Sgt. Sedale Berry, 18th SFS training instructor. "It also showed them the tactics they need to rescue victims and hostages and how to take out the immediate threat that is there."

In previous years, Analytic Services realized valuable seconds are wasted waiting for either backup or a SWAT team; this training focuses on the defenders having to act immediately to save lives.

"We teach security forces at all nine PACAF bases," said Jon Mulcahy, Analytic Services Inc. mobile security training instructor. "In the event of an active shooter situation or high-risk response situation going off, we believe these tactics will help security forces quell any threat and quickly get a shooter situation under control with minimum casualties or loss of life."

During training, instructors walked participants through buildings or rooms step-by-step dealing with barricaded suspects, scenarios with one and two shooters and having to clear rooms and remove wounded individuals. Afterwards, the role players were brought in and participants got to test their experience against an assault of noises and visual stimuli while their adrenaline was pumping.

"Role players give security forces a more realistic training," Berry said. "We could do the training without role players, but it wouldn't be realistic, and it wouldn't be beneficial to our people, so they definitely play an important role in the training."

Last year, the 18th SFS had 10 people certified to train high-risk response. After they finish the final day, 17 individuals will be certified instructors for high-risk response, which will allow them to keep their Airmen better prepared for any circumstance.

‘Learning from the Holocaust: Choosing to act’

By Holocaust Days of Remembrance Committee, 8th Fighter Wing / Published April 14, 2015

KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- This year, April 12-19 marks the observance of the Holocaust Days of Remembrance, with the official Day of Remembrance taking place April 16.

The Days of Remembrance were established by the U.S. Congress in 1980 to memorialize the 6 million Jews, as well as millions of non-Jewish victims, who were murdered in the Holocaust and suffered Nazi persecution. Each year since then, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has led the nation in commemorating the Days of Remembrance. This year's theme is “Learning from the Holocaust: Choosing to act.”

During World War II, millions of ordinary people witnessed the crimes of the Holocaust -- in the countryside and city squares, in stores and schools, in homes and workplaces. Across Europe, the Nazis found countless helpers who willingly collaborated or were complicit in their crimes, while far fewer questioned their actions.

The victims had no choice in their fates. Their supporters and rescuers, by contrast, were able to make choices. They chose to risk not only theirs, but their families' lives in an attempt to intervene and help rescue those being persecuted.

By choosing to act, these individuals not only saved the lives of others, but demonstrated what it means to treat one another as human beings. These lessons apply not only to the past, but how to treat each other now.

The Holocaust is not the only genocide to take place in this world. The Native American genocide in the early 19th century, the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and the Indonesian killings from 1965 to 1966 are just a few examples. More recently, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is attacking Jewish and Christian people across the world. The horrors of the way these people died have left scars on the hearts and minds of those who loved and knew them; those they shared a bond with.

Those same bonds extend outside of our own local communities, and across the globe. Genocide and discrimination should not sit well with any person of any nation. No matter what our job or station in life, we are all unique and at the same time we are all tied together.

We may look at each other differently because we have different color skin, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and so on, but do we have to persecute each other for it? Would it not be better to get to know someone first before we decide who they are as a person? Do we have a right to judge others and put them in a category which requires discrimination or violence against them?

Our hope is that the Holocaust Days of Remembrance will remind all that even though we are different and come from different places in this world, we all have contributions to make to it, no matter how great or small they may be. Rather than play the role of bystander, we must actively pursue a world where we coexist and choose to act against those who would foster hatred and repeat the mistakes of the past.

DoD Seeks to Identify Unaccounted-for USS Oklahoma Crew Members

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2015 – The remains of up to 388 unaccounted-for sailors and Marines associated with the USS Oklahoma will be exhumed later this year for analysis that could lead to identifying most of them, Defense Department officials announced today.

On Dec. 7, 1941, 429 sailors and Marines were killed when Japanese torpedoes sank the ship during the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Upon disinterment, the remains will be transferred to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory in Hawaii for examination, officials said in a news release, noting that analysis of all available evidence indicates that most USS Oklahoma crew members can be identified upon disinterment.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work approved the disinterment and established a broader DoD policy that defines threshold criteria for disinterment of unknowns.

“The secretary of defense and I will work tirelessly to ensure your loved one’s remains will be recovered, identified, and returned to you as expeditiously as possible, and we will do so with dignity, respect and care,” Work said. “While not all families will receive an individual identification, we will strive to provide resolution to as many families as possible.”

The disinterment policy applies to all unidentified remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and other permanent American military cemeteries. However, this policy does not extend to sailors and Marines lost at sea or to remains entombed in U.S. Navy vessels serving as national memorials, officials said.

Threshold Criteria

The threshold criteria include research, family reference samples for DNA comparison, medical and dental records of the missing service members, and the scientific capacity to identify the remains in a timely manner, officials said. To disinter cases of commingled remains, they added, the department must estimate the ability to identify at least 60 percent of the individuals associated with a group. A likelihood of at least 50 percent identification must be attained for individual unknowns.

"The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is prepared to begin this solemn undertaking in concert with ongoing worldwide recovery missions,” Navy Rear Adm. Mike Franken, DPAA’s acting director, said. “Personally, I am most privileged to be part of this honorable mission, and I very much appreciate the efforts of many people who saw this revised disinterment policy come to fruition."

Salvage Operations

In the years immediately following the attacks, 35 crew members were positively identified and buried.

During salvage operations from June 1942 to May 1944, the remaining service members’ remains were removed from the ship and initially interred as unknowns in Hawaii’s Nuuanu and Halawa cemeteries. In 1947, all remains in those cemeteries were disinterred for attempted identification. Twenty-seven unknowns from the USS Oklahoma were proposed for identification based on dental comparisons, but all proposed identifications were disapproved.

By 1950, all unidentified remains associated with the ship were re-interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, commonly known as the Punchbowl.

In 2003, the DoD laboratory in Hawaii disinterred one casket containing USS Oklahoma remains based on historical evidence provided by Ray Emory, a Pearl Harbor survivor. The evidence helped to establish the identification of five servicemen; however, the casket contained the remains of up to 100 men who have not yet been identified.

Analysis of remains will begin immediately after their arrival into the DPAA laboratory and will use current forensic tools and techniques, including DNA testing, Pentagon officials said. Service members who are identified will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Navy and Marine Corps casualty offices began notifying the next-of-kin this morning, officials said.

Airman aims high for the future

by Tech. Sgt. Raymond Mills
JBER Public Affairs

4/14/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Since early childhood, Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Kimberly Daugherty has admired service members, especially those who fly. The shiny wings displayed on their uniforms instilled in her a sense of wonder. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she always responded with the same answer: an astronaut or pilot.

Unfortunately, her dreams were dashed when her parents told her she would never fly due to poor eyesight. At an early age, she started wearing glasses to correct her vision.

"My dream was already squashed by the time I was 6 years old; I didn't know what avenues I had," said Daugherty, now a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster with the Alaska Air National Guard's 249th Airlift Squadron.

Resigned to disappointment, Daugherty continued a life without direction.

"After graduating high school, I was working in useless jobs that weren't going anywhere," Daugherty said. "It was just working to work."

Before long, she found herself working as a blood donor technician at a local mall. Little did she know, her life was about change for the better.

One day, she found herself assisting a uniformed member, who happened to be a recruiter and flight officer.

Over several visits, Daugherty said he continually spoke to her and seemed to constantly present a professional image.

"I didn't know what officer was or enlisted was, but I knew I could be air crew, so I said 'Sign me up," Daugherty said. "As soon as I found that out, my entire perspective changed."

A self-described "late bloomer," Daugherty didn't imagine herself in the military. She changed her mind when she found out she could fly even if she didn't have perfect eyesight.

Before long, Daugherty enlisted in the Alaska Air National Guard as a C-17 loadmaster.

"I had a friend that had just completed the training who said 'Is it impossible? No. Is it something you can do? Yes. And it's worth it when you finish,'" Daugherty said.

After Basic Military Training, she attended the Basic Loadmaster Course, which was followed by Water Survival-Parachute Training and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training.

"SERE training was scary and intimidating," Daugherty said. "It's something I will never forget, and every time I think about a zombie apocalypse, I think SERE training."

After nine months of training, Daugherty emerged as a qualified C-17 loadmaster. Upon completing her initial training, she returned home and served a short active-duty tour for follow-on flight training.

"[It] was stressful, rewarding and definitely worth it," she said. "It's not easy, but it's worth it once you get through it. Earning my enlisted aircrew wings, I'll never forget that day."

Once, while on a flight, some pilots asked Daugherty why she didn't get her real wings.

"I was insulted, but it made me realize that I wanted to get my pilot wings," said Daugherty.

To further her personal and professional goals, Daugherty enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage to pursue a commercial flying license, as well as taking lessons at the Elmendorf Aero club to get her private pilot license.

According to Wally Hansen, chief flight instructor at the Aero Club, the club not only supports recreational pursuits, but also supports the military mission by providing training and certification requirements for service members who are pursuing flight careers.

All of her training and education is in pursuit of her goal of flying commercially or militarily.
"They say having your private pilot license is highly recommended because it shows perseverance," Daugherty said.

Determined to succeed, she has remained focused and continued her education and flight training.

"I can watch the Guard pilots all day long, take what I learn from them and apply it to a different aircraft," Daugherty said. "The fundamentals are the same."

According to Daugherty, falling back on education and training makes all the difference.

"I used to be scared and nervous to fly solo and land, but now that I completed my first solo, I'm not scared anymore," Daugherty said.

Overcoming fear and anxiety is an integral part of the flying mission. Daugherty said real-word experience can't be replaced by a classroom or a book.

"Anyone can learn to fly a plane, but it's the ones that work the best under stress that the Air Force wants," Daugherty said.

Although flight training is known to be challenging in Alaska's environment, Daugherty's ambitions fuel her drive.

"Alaska's weather is a blessing and a curse, [when learning to fly,]" Daugherty said. "It's taken me longer than I wanted to, but that's nobody's fault, it's just the nature of the beast."

Staying positive and focused is the only way forward.

"They say if you do what you love, it's not work anymore," Daugherty said. "The aero club is a club, but it's also a family. It's cool because you surround yourself with people who have the same passion as you."

Daugherty said she finds inspiration from a quote by World War I flying ace Maj. Eddie Rickenbacker.

"Aviation is proof that if given the will we have the capacity to achieve the impossible," the ace said.

"It's an attitude," Daugherty said. 'What can you do,' not 'What can't you do?'

For more information, call the Elmendorf Aero Club at 552-5435.

Local nationals visit family tombs in munitions storage area

by Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris
18th Wing Public Affairs

4/14/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 18th Munitions Squadron opened their gates to allow more than 400 Okinawans the opportunity to visit family tombs for the annual Shimi celebration here April 12.

Shimi is a week-long festival to celebrate the New Year's Day for the dead. In the old days, Okinawans celebrated on the Lunar New Year in January, but the timing changed with the adoption of Chinese customs.

Normally during the festival, the tombs are cleaned by younger family members about a week before the celebration. Since the munitions area is only open for one day for the families due to security, locals sped up the process by cleaning in the morning and gathering the remainder of the family around lunchtime.

"The visit provided an opportunity for the Airmen of the 18th MUNS to physically interact and experience firsthand the culture, religion and tradition of our host nation," said 2nd Lt. Lyneth Ann Battle, 18th Munitions Squadron material flight commander. "It also helps bridge the relationship between service members and Okinawans."

The extensive 5,900-acre munitions area's dense jungle is home to 20 family tombs, some of which have been around since before World War II. The visiting locals were welcomed into the area by 18th MUNS volunteers through gates not open to the public. Once inside, the volunteers escorted the visitors to their respective family tombs in order to maintain accountability.

"Some families have relocated their ancestors from the munitions storage area. Those who have chosen not to still remain within the munitions storage area," Battle said. "Each year during Shimi, our obligation is to ensure their tradition lives on, and they can see their ancestors."

After a brief ceremony that included prayers, the locals paid their respect to their ancestors by offering food, drinks and incense. Usually, they burn the incense and paper representing money for the deceased to use during the coming year, but since munitions storage does not allow open flames for safety reasons, they had to omit that part of the ceremony.

"I have been coming on base to pay respects to my ancestors for the last five years," said local national Uehara. "This is a great event, because the whole family comes together to do this."

In Okinawa, Shimi is usually observed on a Sunday between the first week in April and the first week in May at the family's discretion. On some outer islands of the prefecture, Shimi is still observed on the Lunar New Year.

Carter, Spain’s Defense Minister Discuss Bilateral Relationship

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2015 – In a phone call with Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter recognized Spain's strong contributions to global security and its commitments to NATO, calling Spain a "full-spectrum ally," Pentagon officials said.

In a statement summarizing the call, officials said the two defense leaders discussed Spain's contributions to counterterrorism efforts and joint military collaboration, and that Carter thanked Morenes for Spain's continued hospitality in hosting U.S. forces and their families at Moron and Rota.

Mutual Security Benefits

“Both men acknowledged the mutual security benefits of this arrangement, as well as the related labor concerns at Moron,” the statement said. “They expressed confidence that the strong U.S.-Spain bilateral relationship would help resolve these concerns favorably for both countries.”

Carter acknowledged the long history of defense cooperation between the United States and Spain, officials said. This was the first conversation between the two leaders, and they both noted that they look forward to meeting in person soon, they added.