Friday, April 17, 2015

Work Discusses Russia with Military, Intelligence Leaders

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, April 17, 2015 – Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work participated in what he called a wide-ranging and frank discussion with U.S. European Command leaders in Stuttgart, Germany, today, listening to the challenges they face in the theater and how the command plans to balance them.

“They worry about foreign fighters that flow back and forth, they worry about all the illicit forms of trafficking that come up from the south, and then, of course, there is all the activity in Ukraine,” Work said in an interview on the way back to Washington.

The deputy secretary said he particularly wanted to hear their thoughts on Eastern Europe and the Russian activities in Ukraine.

“It was a very interesting and frank conversation,” he said, “and it is invaluable to me -- someone who sits in the Pentagon most of the time -- to hear commanders in the field talk about issues.”

Work spoke with a group composed of officers in the field and members of the intelligence community so they could cross-talk to each other. “One of the things that is evident is over the past 13 years of war we’ve focused on the Central Command area of responsibility, and therefore, the majority of our intelligence focus has been in that area, as you would expect in a time of war,” the deputy secretary said.

Lessons of Cold War

European Command needs some of the intelligence expertise it once had when the command was America’s bulwark against the Soviet Union, Work said. “Eucom is thinking about a lot of the lessons of the Cold War that we need to think about again,” he added.

Since 1989, Work noted, the entire U.S. national strategy has been trying to get Russia into Europe as a contributing partner. “We believed for the longest time we were doing well in making them a partner,” he said. “But President [Vladimir] Putin has surprised us. It’s clear that he doesn’t want to be a partner.”

But Russia did sign the Minsk Agreement, Work pointed out, and he called on Putin to honor that pact. “We’ve asked for Russia to remove all its troops from Ukraine,” he said. “We’ve asked them to stop supplying separatists, because that has caused the separatists to violate the Minsk agreement. Right now, I’m satisfied the strategy is a good one. But like any strategy, it’s an interactive game. It depends on what the other side is thinking.”

Seeking Impartial Monitors in Ukraine

Putin is not admitting the troops in Eastern Ukraine are Russian, even though Eucom and NATO have shown the world the proof. “President Putin is lying to the Russian people; there are Russians in eastern Ukraine,” Work said.

“We would welcome impartial monitors to look on both sides [and have been] trying to get [Organization of Security Cooperation in Europe] monitors in,” he added. “It would be very interesting to hear how President Putin explains when there is clear evidence that his people are there.”

Also, Work said, in the 13 years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russian and Chinese capabilities expanded “faster than we anticipated.”

The most recent Quadrennial Defense Review looked at two combatant commands as being the most challenging: U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command, Work said, and Russia’s actions in illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine and its continued actions in eastern Ukraine add U.S. European Command to the list.

“We are trying to make Russia and China partners in the international order,” the deputy secretary said. “We do not want to fight them. The key question now is asking what are their aims, what would deter them, and how do we keep from getting into a crisis?”

AFGSC recognizes best in the command

by Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

4/17/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Air Force Global Strike Command announced its 2014 Outstanding Airmen of the Year here April 16 at the 12 OAY Banquet.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, AFGSC commander, recognized the nominees and the accomplishments that distinguished them from their peers.

"They did everything expected plus a little bit more," Wilson said. "That's what separated them; they did a little bit more."

The nominees and winners were selected by their squadron, group, wing, and Numbered Air Force leadership as the top enlisted Airmen across the 25,000-member command.

"I'm looking at a bunch of leaders for our command and I'm really proud to be serving with you all," Wilson said.

Congratulations to the 2014 AFGS Outstanding Airmen of the Year:

Outstanding Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Mason S. Meherg, 509th Comptroller Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri

Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Shonta C. Simes, 509th Force Support Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri

Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Nancy K. Auger, 5th Medical Operations Squadron, Minot AFB, North Dakota

Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Richard D. Scavola Jr., 341st Maintenance Operations Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana

Outstanding Honor Guard Member of the Year: Senior Airman Jeffrey R. Scolley, 341st Maintenance Operations Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana

Outstanding Base Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Aaron J. Porter, 2nd Force Support Squadron, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana

Romania, US reaffirm commitment to European security

by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/17/2015 - CAMPIA TURZII, Romania  -- Leadership from the Romanian Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Air Force's 3rd Air Force conducted a visit of Romanian and U.S. Air Forces executing a bilateral training deployment at Campia Turzii, Romania, April 16.

Mircea Dusa, Romanian Minister of National Defense, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, Romanian army Lt. Gen. Nicolae Ciuca, Chief of General Staff, and Romanian air force Maj. Gen. Laurian Anastasof, Chief of the Romanian Air Force Staff, toured the installation, congratulated Airmen and participated in a media event related to the progress of the theater security package.

"We are here today at the invitation of our Romania friends who, like other Eastern Europeans, are experiencing real anxiety in the wake of aggression in the Ukraine," Roberson said.  "Intimidating actions, which continue, have created significant distress among Eastern Europeans and resurrected thoughts of a not too distant past."

Roberson said that U.S. European Command and the U.S. Air Force deployed additional forces on the continent to reassure its allies and partner nations, which he described as an effective way to show that European security is an American priority.

The U.S. Air Force's 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the Romanian air force's 71st Air Base's MiG-21 fighter aircraft and Puma helicopters partnered together for training, also known as Dacian Thunder 2015, in order to build upon both nations' joint capabilities and ensuring a stronger partnership as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen and support equipment from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, serve in various operations, maintenance, mission support, medical and wing staff functions there, reflecting a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.

He added that the TSP represents the first of its kind in the European theater, while reflecting those used in the Pacific theater since 2004.  "Although Mr. Putin's recent actions are of concern, this team is not only in response to him and Russia but also part of a long-range plan," he said. "The essential point is that rotational constructs that we see here [are] part of a steadfast commitment to the long-term safety and security of our NATO allies.

This rotational construct is also a method for projecting forces at the right time and to the right combatant commanders."

Roberson also highlighted the 354th EFS's accomplishments since arriving in Europe in February 2015: the execution of more than 400 flights with more than 1,000 training hours in support of missions with Poland, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Romania and others; many flying training deployments and interoperability events; support to Joint Terminal Attack Controllers certification; as well as Combat Search and Rescue training.

"These Airmen and A-10s of the 354th EFS provide a strategic symbol as they represent U.S. commitment to European security and stability," Roberson said.

Anastasof echoed Roberson's assessment of the TSP, citing it as "more proof of America's continued commitment to European security."

"Notable accomplishments in theaters of operations provide evidence of how thoroughly and responsibly our military forces approach exercises like this one and, at the same time, clearly show the benefits of military cooperative relationships such as between the U.S. and Romania, following the principle 'Training together -- fighting together,'" Anastasof said.

He also said that the exercise will continue to be a part of future plans when considering its relation to accomplishing assumed NATO and national commitments.

"Both NATO and strategic partnership commitments of the Romanian air force, as well as the way we choose to meet them, give expression to our solidarity and determination to successfully complete joint projects on the benefit of peace, freedom and democracy," Anastasof said.

The ceremony concluded with U.S. and Romanian aircraft recommencing training.

"All these training events focus upon increased readiness and toward greater stability in the area," Roberson said. "Together, we stand to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace."

Air Force Chief of Staff praises Tinker Airmen, community support

by 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs Staff

4/17/2015 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- After nearly four days of engaging with Tinker Airmen and community leaders, the Air Force Chief of Staff, cited Tinker as a "crown jewel" doing remarkable work for the nation.

During his visit, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III repeatedly expressed his appreciation for the way Tinker Airmen are carrying out the vital national defense missions here.

"Every combatant commander in the world brags about you," he said during one of his three All Calls with Airmen. "They all want more of you ... more of what you bring to the fight. They all recognize the incredible job you are doing here."

Whether talking about the work of the Air Force Sustainment Center, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, the 72nd Air Base Wing, the 448th Supply Chain Management Wing, the 507th Air Refueling Wing, the 552nd Air Control Wing or other Air Force active and reserve component units here, the Chief had across-the-board praise for the way Tinker units execute their respective missions.

"All of the issues we will talk about (during these visits) are interesting, but what is important to the Air Force is that the work that you do -- the work here at Tinker -- is as exceptional here as it is across our Air Force. You are the machine that keeps this enterprise moving," he said.

While viewing some of the OC-ALC's KC-135 Program Depot Maintenance operations, General Welsh was shown how incorporating the AFSC Way has resulted in increased speed and throughput gains.  He also visited the 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group, the 76th Software Maintenance Group and B-52 Program Depot Maintenance where he was shown other examples of how AFSC units strive to become more cost effective every day.

"When I travel the Air Force and I look at the condition of  the platforms which are flying 40, 50 and 60 plus years after they began flying ... it's stunning, actually unbelievable," said General Welsh. "We can do it, because we have facilities, organizations and people like you."

General Welsh described the sense of pride in the OC-ALC as palpable.  "I'm a big believer that pride is a key to our Air Force," he said. "I saw people working on airplanes who were as proud of the job they do rebuilding an airplane as are those in any mission area in our Air Force."

The complex wasn't the only unit where the general saw examples of Airmen making every dollar count.

At the 72nd Security Forces Armory, General Welsh talked with "Defenders" to learn how the unit is coping with the transition to new deployment cycles and how they are continuously improving operations to improve their work centers.

"For the past 25 years you (Air Force units) have been working pretty hard," the general said.  You have been deploying, coming back, training, working hard and deploying again."

General Welsh said one of the objectives of the Air Force plan to right-size the force is to rebuild career fields heavily hit by past reductions so that units such as the 72nd SFS aren't working 12-hour shifts for years at a time.

While at the 552nd ACW, the general thanked the wing for continuously providing command and control on a scale unequalled by any other force.

"Command and control is the heartbeat of U.S. joint military activity," he said. "You deploy constantly all over the world doing what no one else can do.  You are the first in and generally the last to leave.  From both the air and the ground, you set the standard in this mission area every day."

General Welsh also explained why the Air Force is proposing divesting seven of the wing's E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system aircraft from the fleet.  He stressed that E-3 modernization must be completed to keep the aircraft ready and capable in the environment the Air Force expects to fly and fight in over the next 10 to 15 years.

"The problem is that as resources come down, we don't have money for modernization," he said. "We will trade off airframes now to do the modernizations we need.  Not modernizing is not an option for our Air Force."

The general also saw examples of the how the 72nd Air Base Wing is working to enable Team Tinker success through programs such as the installation's innovative resiliency program.  General Welsh and his wife Betty, heard first-hand testimonials from people who had participated in the program.

Efforts to enhance resiliency fit well into the general's focus on caring.

"We have to care more," explained General Welsh. "We have to care about the people around us because I truly believe we work with the best men and women on earth.  You have to care enough to get beyond just 'good morning' and 'how are you.'"

"I'm a huge believer that every Airman has a story. Some are inspirational, some are sad and some just make you feel good...," said the general.  "But each story is unique.  If you don't know the story, you can't lead that Airman as good as you could otherwise.  It's really that simple."

General Welsh also said that while people care about each other, there are still some things going on inside the Air Force that are unacceptable such as harassment and sexual assault.

"We have people who don't feel respected in the workplace, who don't feel that their opinions are valued. We have people who don't understand that diversity is the strength of our Air Force," he said.  "It's not acceptable that someone doesn't feel valued or they don't feel part of the team.  We are just better than that!"

General Welsh said all Airmen must care more about becoming better at what they do. "Every day we have to care about getting better at our jobs," he urged. "We must fight and win our nation's wars. There is no second place."

The general said he saw many examples of people doing that at Tinker; working hard to improve efficiency, reduce costs and use less resources so the Air Force can use them in other areas. "What you are doing here is what we have to do Air Force wide," he said.

In addition to accompanying the general on several unit visits and community events, Mrs. Welsh also had a full schedule of her own, getting a look at initiatives inside and outside the gates which support Tinker quality of life.  Her schedule included visits to the 72nd Medical Group, the base chapel, the Balfour Beatty Community Center in military housing, the 72nd SFS key spouses and the Atkinson Heritage Center off base.

One of the programs highlighted is the Home Away from Home program which provides single airmen with a "host family" from the local community.  In just its first year, there are 206 Airmen and Sailors enrolled in the program.

General Welsh also engaged with the Tinker community; speaking at a bridge dedication in Moore for a fallen Airman, addressing a group of civic leaders during a luncheon in downtown Oklahoma City and serving as the featured speaker for the annual Tinker Community Dining Out.

At the bridge dedication ceremony, the general honored Airman Kamenski D. Watson, a native of Moore, who was  killed in a highway accident in 2008.

"His commitment to family, the Air Force and his country represent an idea. It's the idea that there are some things that are eternal," said General Welsh. "There are things that matter. Faith matters. Family matters. Hard work matters. The idea of service-before-self matters. That's why I am so proud to join you here today."

Airman Watson's brother, Senior Master Sgt. Alonzo Watson, and his stepsister Tech. Sgt. Josie Maple, both in the Air Force, were also in attendance at the dedication.

During the Community Luncheon and Tinker Community Dining Out, the general thanked Oklahomans for their legacy of support to Tinker's missions and its Airmen.

The general cited efforts such as the recent partnership to acquire the land needed for beddown of the KC-46A Pegasus as vital if the Air Force is to adapt to the pace of change.

"The KC-46A is one of our three top modernization priorities, along with the F-35 and the long-range strike bomber," he said. "Even when we are done buying the last of the 179 KC-46s in 2028, we will still have about 215 65-year-old or older KC-135s in the fleet."

The general went on to say the Air Force must continue to match the pace of change or risk becoming irrelevant.  He warned that air forces that fall behind the technology curve become irrelevant and when an air force becomes irrelevant the joint force becomes irrelevant.

"The way air power now operates, forces on the modern battlefield without airpower will lose," he said.

During the dining out, General Welsh talked about some of the impressive mission and community accomplishments here and again thanked both groups for all they do to sustain the Air Force.

Saying the Air Force represents the Spirit of America, his address included several poignant Airmen's Stories reflecting the core values of America's Air Force.

"I am so proud of the men and women in your Air Force," he concluded.

New group, same mission focus

by Senior Airman Stephanie Morris
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

4/14/2015 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The 54th Helicopter Squadron is undergoing a change of leadership and now falls under the newly activated 582nd Helicopter Group.

Activation of this new unit came about as a way for the 54th HS to have a direct line of aviation leadership to the 20th Air Force.

This change will allow the squadron to interact directly with 20th AF aviation experts on aviation centric issues, said Lt. Col. Chris Brady, 54th HS commander.

"The 54th's main mission is to support missile field operations," Brady said. "This includes escorting convoys, conducting security sweeps and providing a deterrence presence in the missile field."

54th HS pilots and flight engineers spend approximately 75 percent of their time conducting security operations in support of the missile field's mission. The rest of their time is spent in training.

"Training is an ongoing activity for our squadron," Brady said. "We are constantly conducting training to ensure that our personnel remain at the top of their game."

While conducting operations in the field, members of the 54th HS provide aerial information in real time to convoys and personnel on the ground. They are able to warn personnel in the field of obstacles that would otherwise impede or slow the mission.

Several aircraft escort convoys and conduct security sweeps along the route simultaneously.

During such operations, aircrew members are required to adhere to stringent safety and mission guidelines such as maintaining safe distances from pedestrians and landmarks.

The UH-1N helicopters used by the squadron have a maximum altitude of 10,000-15,000 feet. A typical crew consists of two pilots and one flight engineer, but security forces members and medical personnel augment the crew depending on mission requirements.

In addition to first aid and survival equipment, the UH-1N is also equipped with search and rescue equipment such as a forward looking infrared camera, a rescue hoist and night vision goggles.

During all missions, safety is a top priority.

"We teach our guys to fly friendly," Brady said. "We are taught to avoid tree lines and obstacles that could pose a danger to the aircraft. We also make every effort to avoid houses, cattle and other populated areas."

During training evaluations, the squadron focuses closely on the crews understanding of safety, judgment and situational awareness. Smart planning and avoidance of obstacles or residential areas are put at the forefront when planning any mission.

The base also ensures that they don't compete with civilian search and rescue assets, Brady said.

"We respond to search and rescue requests in North Dakota and the surrounding states when specialty equipment is needed," said Maj. John Parrish, 54th HS chief of standards and evaluation. "We don't compete with civilian search and rescue teams in the area."

Within the last year the squadron has noticed a steady increase in air traffic in the local area, such as oil field helicopters performing site surveys and other civilian traffic, Parrish said.

Although Minot crews are taught to avoid structures and pedestrians as much as possible, those sharing the airspace are governed by the rules of their particular agency and may have differing policies, Parrish explained.

"We get a lot of support from members of the communities that we operate near," Brady said. "Our squadron's focus is to execute our mission and keep our people trained while minimizing our impact on the community."

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders receive Congressional Gold Medal

By Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information / Published April 16, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders April 15 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center Emancipation Hall.

The medal, created by the U.S. Mint, is the highest civilian honor Congress can give on behalf of the American people.

“We want to thank Congress for enacting and presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tokyo Raiders this day,” said retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole, one of the two remaining Raiders. “We are honored to accept this prestigious and most appreciated award.”

Seventy-three years ago, 80 men achieved the unimaginable when they took off from an aircraft carrier on a top secret mission to bomb Japan. These men, led by Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, came to be known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Congressman Pete Olson presented the medal, and Lt. Gen. John “Jack” Hudson, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force director, accepted the medal on behalf of the Raiders.

“If here, the Raiders would tell you that they just wanted to help out with our nation’s war effort,” Hudson said. “The Doolittle Raiders’ service model of excellence … is an inspiration for all of today’s military.”

On April 18, the 73rd anniversary of the raid, the medal will be presented to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force by Cole, a co-pilot of Crew No. 1, during a ceremony at the museum. The other surviving Raider, Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, an engineer-gunner of Crew No. 7, is also planning to attend.

Face of Defense: Army NCO Acclaimed for SHARP Work

By Army Master Sgt. Kap Kim
10th Mountain Division

FORT DRUM, N.Y., April 17, 2015 – Being the best at whatever she does is nothing new for Army Sgt. 1st Class Chylciale M. Washington -- she’s made a career of it.

Among her many accolades, Washington was recently named one of U.S. Army Forces Command’s best sexual assault response coordinators during the selection for the Department of Defense’s Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator awards.

However proud she is of that distinction, Washington said she’s prouder of the 10th Mountain Division’s Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response and Prevention program that she and her original four-member team built from the ground up and ultimately cultivated into one of the Army’s best.

“Winning is important to me, but I think it’s more important for the 10th Mountain Division as a whole,” Washington said about the nomination. “It sets a tone and lets ‘big Army’ know that 10th Mountain has a great program.”

Army Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, former Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division commander, nominated Washington from the field of Fort Drum SARCs, in large part, because of the job she did during last year’s deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. She was one of six SARCs named as the best throughout FORSCOM.

Leading by Example

“Sgt. 1st Class Washington leads by example, and many people find her enthusiasm and dedication both inspiring and motivating,” Townsend wrote in his recommendation. “She has been the driving force behind several policies and programs that have been instrumental toward increasing SHARP awareness [and] victim services and improving incident response coordination between the numerous Sexual Assault Response Team agencies.”

This was Washington’s first nomination since starting as a SARC in 2010, when she was fresh off the trail as a drill sergeant from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. She was assigned to the 7th Engineer Battalion as a firefighter, and she helped to raise the division’s SHARP program from its infancy.

“Basically, we started from scratch,” she recalled.

Through months of the growing pains of taking over programs from responsibilities shared by both the Equal Opportunity and the Family Advocacy programs, Washington said she is really happy to look back and see the progress they’ve made together to meet the Department of Defense’s directives.

“It’s come a long way from where it began,” she said. “In the beginning, we started doing these classes and we just patiently waited for things to kick off.”

Educating Soldiers to End Sexual Harassment

Earlier in her career, as an equal opportunity representative, Washington worked to both educate soldiers and end sexual harassment within her unit. Through her time as a firefighter and a drill sergeant, she witnessed things that troubled her. She wanted to be the person who would let others know that certain behavior was not OK and there was something that could be done about it -- that it needed to be dealt with appropriately -- at all levels.

As the program evolved into the SHARP program it would later become in 2012, Washington proudly accepted the appointment as one of the three original enlisted SARCs. And though she never really needed the title to do what she had always done as a leader, it would become increasingly important for the rest of the division throughout the last couple of years.

For Army Maj. Charity O’Dell, former 10th Mountain Division SHARP director, Washington was a “trusted adviser” to the program managers and division leadership.

“She is a game-changer,” O’Dell said of Washington. “Her tactful and diligent navigation of a very sensitive program -- to focus on the positive, empower soldiers and commanders with resources and make lasting partnerships with SHARP partners -- has built a strong foundation for the future.”

In her two years as a division SARC, Washington helped to educate and train advocates at every level. She helped to establish the installation’s SHARP Resource Center and helped to build the bench of SHARP advisers from two dedicated civilian advocates into more than 600 credentialed soldier-advocates stationed at Fort Drum and Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Continues SHARP Duties in Afghanistan

During 10th Mountain Division’s deployment to Afghanistan, she continued her duties. As the director this time, she was alone for several months. She spearheaded the first SHARP consultation during command inspector general inspections of deployed units. During her journeys throughout eastern Afghanistan, Washington gathered troop concerns to provide advice to the commander. She gathered the deployed SHARP partners together to form a seamless program for all service members.

Washington, with her tall frame and seemingly stern look, can’t hide her drill sergeant past. Yet, she knows her success was, in large part, due to the tools she learned at Fort Leonard Wood in training those rough-around-the-edges civilians into soldiers she would eventually train for combat.

“It was challenging at times, but I was always honest with all my soldiers,” she said. “I’d tell them, ‘Six months after [advanced individual training], you could be on the first plane going to wherever necessary.’ For a lot of them, it wasn’t what they wanted to hear, but I told them what they needed to know.”

Deployment to Iraq

During her time at the 7th Engineer Battalion at Fort Drum, Washington deployed to Iraq, where she ran into many of her former recruits.

“I saw so many of them and they’d tell me, ‘You told us,’” she recalled.

Throughout her time as a SARC, Washington would draw on the qualities she had through her time as a drill sergeant during the Iraqi surge: compassion, understanding and dedication. And those qualities would become paramount to her duties as a SARC.

“We have to be dedicated to what this program stands for, and we need compassion for any soldier, civilian or family member who comes through that door all the time,” she said. “It’s those qualities, but the biggest is being yourself -- that strong leader.”

Despite plenty of earned admiration, Washington said she always understood that her ego had to be subordinate to the mission and those she was put there to help.

“Nothing that we get in that office is ever the same -- everything is always different and there may be different circumstances,” she said. “There are many times you may need assistance and you have to swallow your pride, pick up the phone, and call someone for help.”

And she did on many different occasions. Yet, it would be those times when she would admit to learning the most from the many different SHARP partners she has met.

‘Really Happy’ With Program

Washington finished her time as the 10th Mountain Division’s SARC shortly after her redeployment from Afghanistan, leaving a job she said she had grown to love. Although the SHARP program was stressful with a demanding work schedule, Washington said she enjoyed it from the moment she started.

As a SHARP pioneer, Washington said she is “really happy” with where the program is today, but admitted that there is still more that she wants to see.

“I think our training and facilitation is getting better, and we need to continue to work harder on it because we have gotten to the point where PowerPoint is not it,” she said. “We need more vignette-based training, and we need to be able to tell soldiers what happens to these harassers, these assaulters -- that’s what soldiers need to know.”

Her recent move to Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, will take her back to her firefighting roots. It’s something that Washington said she’s excited about, but she also will continue to take her vast SHARP program knowledge and experience wherever she goes.

“This move is not going to change anything that I do because I’ve always been the type of person who listens to a soldier -- always,” she said. “As far as the SHARP program, I’m going to continue to be proactive in the program.”