Monday, April 27, 2015

AFRL thruster experiment to fly on X-37B

4/27/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Missile Systems Center, and Rapid Capabilities Office are collaborating to host a Hall thruster experiment onboard the X-37B flight vehicle.

The experiment will be hosted on Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4, the fourth flight of the X-37B reusable space plane.

The first three OTV flights have accumulated a total of 1,367 days of on-orbit experimentation prior to successful landings and recoveries at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The X-37B program performs risk reduction, experimentation, and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies, and it is administered by RCO.

The Hall thruster that will fly on the X-37B experiment is a modified version of the units that have propelled SMC's first three Advanced Extremely High Frequency military communications spacecraft.  A Hall thruster is a type of electric propulsion device that produces thrust by ionizing and accelerating a noble gas, usually xenon. While producing comparatively low thrust relative to conventional rocket engines, Hall thrusters provide significantly greater specific impulse, or fuel economy. This results in increased payload carrying capacity and a greater number of on-orbit maneuvers for a spacecraft using Hall thrusters rather than traditional rocket engines.

This experiment will enable in-space characterization of Hall thruster design modifications that are intended to improve performance relative to the state-of-the-art units onboard AEHF. The experiment will include collection of telemetry from the Hall thruster operating in the space environment as well as measurement of the thrust imparted on the vehicle. The resulting data will be used to validate and improve Hall thruster and environmental modeling capabilities, which enhance the ability to extrapolate ground test results to actual on-orbit performance. The on-orbit test plans are being developed by AFRL and administered by RCO.

The experiment has garnered strong support from AFRL senior leadership.

"Space is so vitally important to everything we do," said Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello, AFRL commander. "Secure comms, ISR, missile warning, weather prediction, precision navigation and timing all rely on it, and the domain is increasingly contested.  A more efficient on-orbit thruster capability is huge. Less fuel burn lowers the cost to get up there, plus it enhances spacecraft operational flexibility, survivability and longevity."

Dr. Greg Spanjers, the AFRL Space Capability Lead and Chief Scientist of the Space Vehicles Directorate, added, "AFRL is proud to be able to contribute to this research teamed with our partners at SMC, RCO, NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  It was great to see our Gov't-Contractor team identify an opportunity and then quickly respond to implement a solution that will offer future Air Force spacecraft even greater capabilities."

La. Air Guard deploys to Bulgaria for NATO training exercise

by Master Sgt. Toby Valadie
Louisiana Army and Air National Guard

4/27/2015 - PLOVDIV, Bulgaria -- The Louisiana Air National Guard's 159th Fighter Wing from Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, is participating in a bilateral Flying Training Deployment with the Bulgarian Air Force at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, April 16 - May 5, 2015.

Approximately 150 Airmen from the 159th FW, with other U.S. Air Force assets, are participating in Thracian Eagle 2015 to increase joint readiness and build interoperability with the Bulgarian forces.

Lt. Col. Matt Rippen, 159th Operations Group commander, said the strengthened relationships and engagements with allies would demonstrate the U.S. and NATO's shared commitment to a peaceful, stable and secure Europe.

"We are here to demonstrate our commitment and resolve to our NATO Allies," said Rippen. "Conducting these bilateral training events helps us strengthen our relationships and improve capabilities.

"The efforts of the 159th Fighter Wing bring the vital contributions of the Air National Guard to enable the Air Force to maintain our global presence and forward presence in Eastern Europe," Rippen concluded.

The training missions include U.S. Air Force F-15C/D Eagles, Bulgarian MiG-29 fighters, Su-25 ground-support aircraft and anti-aircraft missile complexes. During the missions, pilots will train on air-to-air fighting and on the Balkan country's anti-aircraft missile defense infrastructure.

"We are going to fly and work together to exchange experience and improve interoperability between our two countries," said Bulgarian Brig. Gen. Ivan Lalov, Graf Ignatievo Air Base commander. "It is very important to understand each other's techniques, tactics and procedures."

48th RQS trains for the real deal

by Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/27/2015 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- While many Airmen from D-M were finishing up their day, some Pararescuemen were beginning theirs, on the evening of April 14.

The 48th Rescue Squadron conducted a pre-deployment training exercise to teach, train and test Airmen on mass casualty treatment, evacuation, extrication, confined space and collapsed structure rescue.

"This mass casualty (exercise) was different simply because of the complexity of each scenario and the total number of patients," said Staff Sgt. Blake, 48th RQS Pararescueman and a team element leader.

This type of exercise was not one the unit usually practices. The unit combined two rescue teams who were tasked with two missions back-to-back, instead of a single mission. The unit also incorporated the use of realistic helicopters and conex, used as buildings, which gave them the ability to create the effect of a collapsed building.

The initial challenge the Airmen faced during this exercise was to respond to two downed helicopters with casualties. Upon arriving on the crash site, the team came under brief enemy fire. After eliminating the enemy, the Airmen split into two groups to provide attention and care to both downed aircraft.
Once the team was able to remove the patients from the crash site, they then provided initial medical treatment and radioed in two HH-60 Pavehawks from the 55th RQS to provide casualty extrication.

"This was a unique training mission," said Blake. "I haven't experienced anything this complex since becoming a PJ."

The team then shifted to a follow-on mission where they separated again. The first group focused on a 6-story collapsed structure where the PJs gained access through the roof. The few team members who entered the structure had to remove all their gear due to the confined space,. Once inside, they searched, located and removed casualties through small windows and lowered them off the roof.

Simultaneously, the second group handled a 5-vehicle site that was the result of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. The Airmen had to work through the vehicles, collecting the patients. They also had to dismember a vehicle to recuse four casualties from a mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle. By the end of the 6-hour exercise, the team had successfully recovered 42 patients.

"Everyone received experience working as a team in a mass casualty (scenario by) performing a number of (Pararescue) skills that are crucial to be able to execute downrange," Blake said.

The rescue team ranged from Airmen who have never see combat to Airmen who have deployed multiple times.

"The younger guys gain knowledge of their capabilities, limitations and their role within the team," Blake said. "The older guys learn how to become more effective leaders and how to deal with unique situations."

Some of the benefits from this training included communication development, equipment familiarization and adapting as a team to an ever changing environment, Blake said.
This exercise gave the team a glimpse at what challenges may lie ahead in their careers.

"This exercise provided realistic training in a controlled environment allowing the team to work through the elements of stress and complexity that come with the aforementioned types of missions," Said Capt. Ben, 48the RQS Combat Rescue Officer. "It was an overall display of the multitude of mission sets Pararescue could be tasked with performing in any given theater. "

(Due to security concerns, the Airmen's last names are withheld.)

Anderson Sentenced to 42 Months Confinement

by Senior Airman Leah Ferrante
49th Wing Public Affairs

4/27/2015 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Major Clarence Anderson III was sentenced April 22 following a three-day general court-martial trial by a military judge to 42 months confinement and dismissal from the Air Force.

Anderson was found guilty of committing six offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice - sexual assault and abusive sexual contact in violation of Article 120; aggravated assault and assault consummated by battery in violation of Article 128; and communicating a threat and kidnapping in violation of Article 134. The offenses were committed in Florida, Alabama and New Mexico against one victim as Anderson changed stations.

"Major Anderson has been held accountable for his action in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice," said Col. Robert Kiebler, 49th Wing commander. "Holloman Air Force Base holds our Airmen to the highest standards and will continue adhere to our Core Values and standards of behavior in order to eliminate sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior."

Anderson was found not guilty of committing two other assaults consummated by battery under Article 128 and one other kidnapping in violation of Article 134.

According to Capt. Ewa Dawson, 49th Wing chief of military justice, Anderson elected to have the trial heard by military judge alone instead of a panel of officers.
Anderson has the option to appeal the conviction.

Lt. Col. Marvin Tubbs II from the Air Force Trial Judiciary presided over the court-martial and sentencing. He was selected by the Central Docketing Office based upon his experience, the nature of the case and his availability. Capt. Peter Havern from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. served as the senior trial counsel with Dawson assisting with prosecution of the case for the government.

Anderson was represented by a military and civilian attorney. Leonard Morales, a civilian attorney from El Paso, Texas and Capt. Trenton Norman from Randolph Air He was arraigned Feb. 9, 2015 followed by a hearing for pre-trial motions. The trial took place from April 20 to April 22. Anderson faced a maximum punishment of life
in prison without a chance of parole.

"The military justice system is fair and just. We ensure our military personnel are
held to high standards and are made accountable for their actions," Kiebler said. "In
keeping with good order and discipline, military personnel must strive for an environment where professional values and respect define how we treat one another
throughout our Air Force Family."

The UCMJ was established in 1951 as the law that governs military personnel.
Unlike civilian courts, which use Article III of the Constitution, for their authority to
prosecute, the UCMJ derives its authority from Article I of the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress.

For the love of running, charity

by Liz Jacobson

4/27/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Gasping for air. Pushing himself. Going the extra mile. Fighting the exhaustion. Loving those gel packs. Thinking of all his support. Smiling as he crosses the finish line. Knowing he has benefitted his community.

Tech. Sgt. Ioan Gaitan took the challenge and ran the 2014 Air Force Marathon as a representative for the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa on the Air Force Enlisted Village team. Gaitan viewed the marathon as a personal fitness challenge and a perfect opportunity to give back to the community. Because of his dedication to the AFEV cause and work to spread the cause throughout his unit, USAFE asked Gaitan to run as a representative in the race.

The Air Force Enlisted Village, according to their mission statement, is a non-profit organization that primarily provides a home for surviving spouses of retired military personnel. AFEV focuses on providing worry free living and camaraderie.

The late retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Binnicker, AFEV CEO, expressed his appreciation to Gaitan in a letter written last year. "The kindness and commitment of individuals like sergeant Gaitan help us continue our mission to provide a home for retired enlisted spouses."

Running a marathon takes a great amount of dedication. Gaitan trained for four months before the marathon. He said, "My spouse always encouraged me and prepared the healthiest food; by having a balanced meal with plenty of fruits and veggies, I always felt strong during the training phase."

After every physical training session with his squadron, Gaitan ran an additional 10 kilometers. He trained during lunches and on weekends.

Gaitan received enormous amounts of support from his family, friends, and leadership. His wife, Lucia, and their children, Alexander, Philip, and Rachel gave unconditional moral support.

"Our three children are too small to run, but they offered me good company and cheered for me every time I went out jogging with them in the evenings. It was an absolute delight pushing the stroller and singing along with them," said Gaitan.

His leadership was very supportive, offering a great deal of freedom regarding his schedule, which allowed Gaitan to train even harder.

"The fact that my leadership allowed more flexibility to work out a training schedule and then participate in the marathon did not mean that the mission became second priority. Every day I put in the required amount of work hours day like my peers did; moreover, I was even more motivated and strove to deliver good quality work in the timeliest manner possible," said Gaitan.

"The run went great because of the rigorous training program adopted allowed me to finish strong." said Gaitan.

The final stretch of the race was more of a mental battle, than a physical one.

Gaitan had to think to himself, "I am prepared and deserve to cross the finish line."

His constant thoughts of his leadership and the support of his family kept him going. The sideline supporters were a great morale booster and took away the pain of the race, even if just for a short time. Gaitan especially identified with a sign that read, "I bet this was a great idea four months ago."

Gaitan finished second out of the forty-six Air Force runners, only two minutes after the first place finisher.

The run was successful and Gaitan raised $2,613 in support of the AFEV, which is almost 10% of the total funds raised, $30,967. Gaitan believes everything went so successfully because he, along with his organization, adopted the mantra, "The sky is the limit." Gaitan and AGOW achieved their goals five times over.

"It has been a privilege and honor to represent 435th AGOW and the entire USAFE in the 2014 Air Force Marathon! However, I could have not done this on my own. I owe it to my great squadron and wing leadership, my family, the professional organizations like Top 3, Chief's group, and the Deuce Club, as well as the 20 volunteers across the wing."

100th LRS roll out new DUI prevention application

by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

4/23/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- The issue of preventing drunk driving incidents is ongoing for all commanders and their units. The Air Force can't afford a single loss of an Airman or their family members through a DUI.

The 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron leadership aim to ensure their members are practicing prevention of any future fatalities on the roads on or off-base through drink driving.

"It is my opinion that as leaders we often attempt to address problems for a generation that we often do not understand," said Maj. Michael Boswell, 100th LRS commander. "Since the millennial generation is defined by their dependency on technology, it stands to reason that technology may be the best avenue to deal with this pervasive issue."

Boswell is passionate about the issue and entrusted a member of his unit to come up with an idea.

"Maj. Boswell came to me and asked me to find out a way to make (a tool everyone could use)," said Airman 1st Class Tynisha Spencer, 100th LRS traffic management journeyman from Fairfield, California.

Drunk driving is unacceptable in the Air Force and society, and Spencer saw there needed to be a way forward.

"We had several DUI incidents in our squadron," Spencer said. "We were wondering why we were getting DUIs as people know they need to use Airmen Against Drunk Driving or use a taxi. The DUI application is a way to say you don't have to drink and drive, there are other alternatives, and this is one of the alternatives."

Spencer thought about a simple tool anyone could use when they weren't in control after one too many drinks.

"It's a designated driver application for people who have a plan and their first plan failed," said Spencer. "The application allows the user to call anyone on it without having to go through their whole address book in their phone. It's in one simple place, and it's easy."

There is never an excuse to get behind the wheel while drunk, and not knowing a number to call is no longer a reason in the 100th LRS.

"It's an application on your phone that you press, the icon is always on your screen, you just tap it when you need it," Spencer said. "If you want to click AADD then you just click their button and it asks you if you want to make the call, and you hit call. You don't have to memorize numbers with the application."

The application can be made specific for each person so they can choose who they need to call.

"There's a number for AADD or a taxi company, or whoever you want to pick you up, your supervisor, or if need be, the commander," she added. "It just calls straight to them."

Some people may not call a taxi if they are unsure where their location is, or the taxi cannot find them if they have given an incorrect location, so they feel as if they have no choice but to drive themselves home, even when they know they shouldn't. For people new to a base and country, they may not know the name of the place they are located. This application can help.

"It also maps out your location," Spencer explained. "So if you don't know exactly where you are you can easily send your location in a text message so you can be found. The text message is a map with a pin to show where you are."

The 100th LRS know there is a long way to go to eradicate drunk driving. However, if this application saves just one life, then it will have been worth the effort.

"We can't fully prevent DUI's, but we definitely want to lessen them within our squadron and hopefully one day the Air Force," Spencer stated. "Just now it is open to the 100th LRS to see how the trial run goes and how the squadron works with it. We hope that the whole Air Force will use it in the future and save lives throughout the world."

Boswell is proud of what his Airman has achieved.

"As Airmen we often celebrate renovation of ideas vice embracing and fostering innovation," Boswell explained. "Airman Spencer has exhibited true innovation and creativity and has excelled far beyond my expectations."

Currently the application is completed but in the testing stage to iron out any problems before rolling out across the squadron, and potentially the world.

USS Theodore Roosevelt Returns to Arabian Gulf

From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)
escorted by USS Normandy (CG 60), transited the Strait of Hormuz from its station in the Arabian Sea to the Arabian Gulf April 24, to rejoin other U.S. and coalition forces supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Theodore Roosevelt and Normandy had operated in the Arabian Sea since April 19 conducting maritime security operations to ensure the sea lanes in the region remained open and safe.

In recent days, the U.S. Navy had increased its presence in this area as a result of the current instability in Yemen. It is not uncommon for the U.S. Navy to position its forces in those areas requiring more focused attention in order to ensure the freedom of navigation. The United States remains committed to its regional partners and to maintaining security in the maritime environment.

Independent Deployer Certification Exercise Set to Kickoff

From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- U.S. Navy ships are scheduled to participate in an independent deployer certification exercise (IDCERTEX) in the Southern California operating area April 25-May 3.

IDCERTEX will provide a multi-ship environment to train and certify independent deployers in surface warfare, air defense, maritime interception operations, command and control/information warfare, command, control, computers and combat systems intelligence and mine warfare.

The exercise, led by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F) and executed by Commander, Carrier Strike Group Fifteen (CSG 15), will include Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3, Commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC), Commander, Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW 9), Commander, Destroyer Squadron 21 (DESRON) 21, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), the guided-missile destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and Littoral Combat Ship USS Freedom (LCS 1).

IDCERTEX will serve as CSG 15's final opportunity to evaluate and certify Higgins and Sailors from USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) Crew 101, embarked aboard Freedom, across multiple warfare areas prior to regularly scheduled deployments.

The exercise involves training between multiple ships and aircraft and consists of flight operations, submarine tracking, strait transit formations, replenishment-at-sea and other required mission evolutions.

"This exercise not only serves as an opportunity to certify Higgins and LCS Crew 101 to execute a wide variety of missions while deployed, but also leverages other units scheduled to be underway, such as the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, to provide integrated training that Higgins and LCS Crew 101 wouldn't otherwise have," said Rear Adm. Joe Kuzmick, commander of CSG 15.

Freedom and Higgins are homeported in San Diego as part of U.S. 3rd Fleet.

Leading the naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line, U.S. 3rd Fleet provides realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

Oklahoma City Visits Yokosuka During Routine Patrol

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian G. Reynolds, Commander, Submarine Group 7 Public Affairs

FLEET ACTIVITIES YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) arrived at Fleet Activities Yokosuka April 22, for a port visit during its deployment to the Western Pacific.

This was the first port visit for Oklahoma City's crew during its current deployment.

Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing over 6,000 tons when submerged, Oklahoma City is one of the most modern attack submarines in the world. The submarine's stealth, mobility, endurance, and firepower allow this covert, multi-mission platform to operate independently or in conjunction with a carrier strike group or joint forces to support the interests of the United States wherever and whenever needed.

The scheduled visit gave Oklahoma City crew members the opportunity to explore the rich history and culture of Japan.

Oklahoma City is the second U.S. ship to be named for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Commissioned on July 9, 1988; Oklahoma City is the 35th nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine of the Los Angeles class. Oklahoma City is currently homeported at U.S. Naval Base Guam.