Military News

Monday, April 20, 2015

AF realigns B-1, LRS-B under Air Force Global Strike Command



By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, / Published April 20, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force have directed the realignment of the Air Force’s B-1 bomber fleets and Long Range Strike-Bomber program from Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command, effective Oct. 1.

The move will realign the Air Force’s core mission of global strike and all of the service’s bombers under a unified command responsible for organizing, training and equipping Airmen to perform this mission.

“This realignment places all three Air Forces bombers under one command and brings the LRS-B program with it,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “Consolidating all of our Air Force assets in this critical mission area under a single command will help provide a unified voice to maintain the high standards necessary in stewardship of our nation’s bomber forces.”

Sixty-three aircraft and approximately 7,000 people will transfer from ACC to AFGSC under the realignment. Since moving from Strategic Air Command in 1992, the B-1 has played an essential role in combating the nation’s enemies, either projecting combat power from bases in the United States or from forward operating locations around the globe.

Airmen who drive B-1 operations have demonstrated the platform’s long range strike capability, delivering its conventional weapons on target from home station, making it a perfect fit for joining the B-2 and B-52 under AFGSC, James said.

"With a single command responsible for the Air Force’s entire long range strike fleet, the Airmen in AFGSC will benefit from better coordination and increased sharing of expertise across the five bomber wings,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “Consolidating all conventional and nuclear capable bombers within the same command allows the Air Force to streamline the global strike and strategic deterrence missions, and create a lasting positive impact for the Air Force’s global strike capabilities.”

Both the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and the 28th BW at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota will continue to serve as the host wings and provide installation support and services to other units on the bases.

"We expect the transfer to be imperceptible to the majority of Airmen at Dyess and Ellsworth as they will continue to work for the same supervisors and units," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command who was recently nominated to serve as the vice commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Neb.

“The impacts of the realignment will become noticeable over time as crosstalk among maintainers and aviators increases across all three platforms, creating opportunities in training, tactics development, doctrine development, aircraft modernization and acquisition,” Wilson said.

The consolidation of the global strike mission under AFGSC follows the Air Force’s plan to elevate the commander of AFGSC from a three-star to a four-star general officer position, which Gen. Robin Rand, currently the commander Air Education and Training Command, will assume.

688th Innovates Cyber Training with Wing-wide Tournament

by 1st Lt. Carly A. Costello
688th CW Public Affairs


4/20/2015 - Joint Base San Antonio, Texas  -- The 688th Cyberspace Wing held its first CyberDome Tournament March 4-5 at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

The CyberDome consisted of hands-on cyber challenges intended to enhance Cyber Mission Force tactical skill sets for 688th Cyberspace Wing cyber operators, according to Robert Kaufman, 318th Cyberspace Operations Group deputy director.

The 39th Information Operations Squadron out of Hurlburt Field, Florida, led the event with the help of the 318th COG and the 90th Information Operations Squadron out of San Antonio.

"We hosted the CyberDome and provided access to the event," said Peter Dunn, 39th IOS Senior Mission and Student Training Systems manager. "[We also provided] support for the participants and guided the participants through the event."

Eleven units from the wing participated in the tournament, including a wing staff team comprised of Col. Michael Harasimowicz, 688th Cyberspace Wing commander, and Col. Chad LeMaire, 688th Cyberspace Wing vice commander.

"CyberDome was a chance to show our street creds," Harasimowicz said about his team. "It is important for me to demonstrate my commitment to cyber operations. The bottom line is I want the entire wing to know from the top down that I have an expectation that we are all operationally aware, relevant and ready."

The 92d Information Operations Squadron took first place, with the 39th IOS in second and the 688th Cyberspace Wing Leadership Team in seventh place.

"I thought it was a well-orchestrated event," said Tech Sgt. Dal Whelpley, 92d IOS team member. "[We learned] additional tactics, techniques and procedures from each member of our team. Each one of us brought different ideas to the table and it worked out magnificently. Our tenacious attitude for winning combined with our technical expertise in various specialized areas contributed to our victory."

The idea for a wing-wide cyber competition started last July at a strategic planning meeting, according to Harasimowicz.

"I listed 10 difficult events [and] programs to pull off in the next year," he said. "This specific effort was to innovate new ways for training, developing and competing with small unit tactics. I initiated a similar effort as squadron commander of the 33d Information Operations Squadron in order to bring different parts of the squadron together. I observed this type of competition in other parts of our Air Force. This recipe is proven [as] competition hones competency."

With the 688th Cyberspace Wing having several geographically separated units, the event helped bring several of these units together and fostered learning through a competition environment. And those involved saw it as a great success.

"The event was awesome," Harasimowicz said. "My goal was to bring the distant parts of our wing together in one unified effort. We have been building great synergy across the 38th Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group and the 318th Cyberspace Operations Group, and this proved that we are a team determined to improve ourselves and the Air Force every day."

"I thought it turned out great," said James Hird, 90th Information Operations Cyber Modeling and Simulation Flight chief. "The competitors learned a lot, especially from each other during the debrief as they dissected what worked and what didn't.  What stood out for me was the incredible level of experience and expertise in the facility. This was a grouping of some of the most advanced cyber warriors in the Air Force and the entire Department of Defense. It was a great team effort involving officers, enlisted, civilians and contractors coming together quickly to pull off a successful competition."

Units at the 688th Cyberspace Wing will hold more of these events in the future, and wing leadership plans to be a part of future tournaments.

"I want everyone in the wing to recognize that our leadership team is committed to staying relevant in the cyber fight," Harasimowicz said. "Between me, Col. LeMaire, the wing and Numbered Air Force executive officers, we fought hard and had a gallant finish. More importantly, I was really proud of all the teams. There were healthy rivalries at every level of competition. Hopefully next time, we can involve more people.  I want to express my sincere thanks to all involved in putting the plan into action, especially Rob Kaufman who was the visionary and motivator behind all of this innovation."

Gunfighter Flag 15-2: bringing deployments home

by Airman Connor J. Marth
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/20/2015 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Airmen from the 366th Fighter Wing and 266th Range Squadron teamed-up with sailors, Marines and Army National Guardsmen for combat training scenarios during Gunfighter Flag 15-2.

Gunfighter Flag provides a joint-service combat experience to simulate deployed situations.

"We mainly work with the Army and the Marines downrange, so when they come out here we get to see how their operations work and vice versa," said Maj. Jason Williams, 366th Security Forces Squadron commander. "Everybody speaks differently and when we get to work together like this it really helps us understand each other."

The culmination of joint forces in the real-world can sometimes be a daunting task. Gunfighter Flag provides the opportunity for sister services to approach problems and work through them together. The weather was one of those problems.

"We got caught in a snowstorm on Tuesday," said Maj. Aaron Ruona, 366th Fighter Wing liaison officer. "Getting heat out there this time of year was something we didn't think we'd need initially. But of course, weather changes, you're going to need heat out there."

Difficulty and inconvenience during exercises can sometimes create valuable learning experiences. The remote location of Saylor Creek Range reminded the 366th Medical Group just how much more difficult deployed environments can be.

"We can't call up general surgery and take them up to a sterile operating room to save their life," said Capt. James Wirthlin, 391st Fighter Squadron flight surgeon. "If we had the resources we could save everyone, but often times that's not the case. We try to bring as many people as we can downrange to save lives and these training environments certainly help them prepare for that."

Gunfighter Flag 15-2 was also an opportunity for mission-specific, close-air support training from aircraft such as U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, U.S. Navy EA-18 Growlers, U.S. Air National Guard A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and U.S. National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters.

The Saylor Creek and Juniper Butte range complexes offer flexible airspace providing pilots with the room they need to train accurately and safely.

"Close-air support in a contested environment is vital to warfighters across the globe," said an Air Force combat controller. "It's imperative that we are all thinking and acting as strategic as possible due to the constantly evolving battlefield."

Gunfighter Flag exercises allow the Department of Defense to train and prepare for future joint service and deployed situations through their unique terrain and airspace capabilities. Thanks to these scenarios, the personnel involved will be able to take what they've learned into future deployments.

"It's a very valuable experience to be able to pull everyone out of a hardened facility and re-create really rough conditions," Wirthlin said. "If you train in the worst, you're prepared for the worst."

Beale honors Holocaust Days of Remembrance

by Airman 1st Class Taylor A. Workman
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


4/20/2015 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.,  -- Team Beale honored the Days of Remembrance with a commemorative "Learning from the Holocaust: Choosing to Act" themed breakfast held at the Recce Point Club here April 17.

Liz Igra, a Holocaust survivor as well as the president of the Central Valley Holocaust Educators' Network, dedicated her time to speak at the event.

"On my sixth birthday, I got a star. Every child loves stars," said Igra. "Mine was yellow and it said 'Juden' the German word for Jew."

Igra and her mother Anna Kranz, survived Nazi persecution by acquiring false papers and assuming different identities to hide their Jewish origin. Together they escaped from a Polish ghetto in December 1942 and travelled across Czechoslovakia to Hungary, braving harsh winters and battling illness, where they hid in various locations until the end of the war.

Most of Igra's family was murdered in the Belzec death camp, which was responsible for the execution of an estimated 600,000 Jews within its nine months of operation, to include her father Szymon Kranz, a surgeon, who was deported from Czortkow in August 1942.

She briefly recalled her last interaction with her father.

"He wore grey pants, a light blue jacket, a green tie, a white shirt. He looked so handsome," said Igra. "I remember this so well because that was the last time I saw my father."

The Belzec extermination camp orchestrated the murder program in the design and implementation of the gas chambers. It was the precursor for Auschwitz, added Igra.

Shortly after she spoke, she admitted to feeling as though she had hiked a mountain, but that the emotional exhaustion that spawns from sharing her painful story is well worth the accomplishment she feels as a teacher and a survivor.

"I want our Airmen to learn about her story, her hardships and how she overcame it, we need that kind of resiliency" said Master Sgt. Vanessa Hernandez, Aerospace Physiology Technician and event co-chair. "It is that spiritual, emotional, physical resiliency, which we have to have as Airmen--as combat Airmen. She is a great role model for all of us."