Military News

Monday, May 04, 2015

WIT tests Wolf Pack readiness in BM-15-3

by Senior Airman Divine Cox
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/3/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea-- -- The sound of phones ringing rippled through the dormitories of the 8th Fighter Wing at approximately 4 a.m., as operational readiness exercise Beverly Midnight 15-3 kicked off here at Kunsan Air Base April 28.

For the next six days, Airmen and their units were inspected and evaluated on simulated wartime scenarios by a team of select individuals. These evaluators are known as the wing inspection team.
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The WIT program is run by the 8th FW inspector general's office. The intent of the program is to inspect, document and educate Airmen on how to perform their jobs in any scenario.

"During exercises, WIT works directly for the inspector general," said Lt. Col. Christopher Heber, 8th FW inspector general. "They inspect and report all write ups to the wing commander to see how the wing is doing in meeting regulation compliance and mission effectiveness requirements."

Kunsan implemented the new commander inspection program about six months ago and it is an important part of improving the Wolf Pack's mission to defend the base, accept follow-on forces, and take the fight north.

Heber said the new program is unique because it truly empowers the wing commander to tailor their exercise to their wing's specific mission.

"This new program is extremely beneficial," said Heber. "Wing commanders know their wing's mission better than anyone else, so these scenarios implemented during these exercises are geared towards making us better as a wing."

During the exercise, the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department had to respond to a structures fire while being inspected by Master Sgt. Shawn Chenault, 8th CES assistant fire chief and WIT member.

"The WIT program gears Airmen up for real world situations by learning and growing from their mistakes in a controlled environment," said Chenault, "It's okay to make mistakes. We as people make mistakes every day; we just have to learn from them and get better."

The Wolf Pack has been performing well during exercises under the new inspection program since its arrival early December.

"I have learned a lot from these exercise scenarios, which include self-aid buddy care, post attack reconnaissance sweeps, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training," said Staff Sgt. Kenyan Hudson, 8th Comptroller Squadron deputy disbursing officer. "The WIT members really do a good job stepping in only when we need help."

The WIT worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure that their respective units were executing each scenario flawlessly and correcting anything that was non-compliant to the inspection.

The IG office will continue to work with WIT members to find ways to strengthen the program so Airmen can continue to execute the mission.

"Our wing inspection team really leads by example," said Heber. "They work hard and inspect hard so that the Wolf Pack will be ready to fight tonight at a moment's notice."

Brothers in arms fly together

by Senior Airman Taylor Curry
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the U.S. military oftentimes have relatives that serve alongside them, and this is the case for the Allen brothers, who were recently reunited at Exercise Max Thunder 15-1 in the Republic of Korea.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jarrod Allen, an F/A-18 Hornet pilot stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., and currently deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, and U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacob Allen, a U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot stationed at Kunsan Air Base, ROK, recently had the opportunity to fly and train together during the biannual air exercise at Gwangju AB, ROK.

"Since we are in different services and fly different fighter aircraft, we haven't really had the chance to work with each other in this type of element yet, so we were glad to have this opportunity," said Jarrod.

The first night of Max Thunder would see the brothers training together in defensive counter air exercises. In that training scenario, Jacob was leading the first four-ship of allied jets, whose task was to defend the area from enemy aircraft. As their time on-station neared completion, the second four-ship approached the airspace to take over responsibility. Jacob's brother, Jarrod, happened to be the lead of the second four-ship.

"The handoff of responsibility is based on timing, so it has to be precise," said Jacob. "When the second four-ship approached, I got to pass responsibility to my brother over the radio, who was then in charge of defending the area."

The brothers grew up as Navy brats, originally from the San Diego area. Their father was a naval flight officer for the E-2 Hawkeye, which motivated them to follow in his footsteps.

"Our dad was a big inspiration to us," said Jacob. "As far back as I can remember, I always knew I wanted to fly, just like my father. We would always go to see airshows, and that was so exciting for us both."

Now as captains, Jarrod, known as "Bluto," Jacob, known as "Apollo", fly different aircraft, but with similar missions.

Both brothers explained that they love their job primarily because in the end, what they do helps people.

"The F-16 provides close air support when troops on the ground call in, and we employ weapons as needed for them to achieve their mission objectives and most importantly, to survive," said Jacob.

The F/A-18 is also focused as a ground forces supporter, with the main goal looking out for Marines on the deck, Jarrod added.

"My current mission out at Kunsan flying the F-16 and working alongside ROKAF pilots is a great opportunity," said Jacob. "It's sometimes challenging, but I love it because it keeps me sharp. If I'm ever called to do what I'm trained to do, I'll be ready."

Even though they have not been stationed together, the two brothers occasionally bump into each other while on the job.

"Before this exercise, the last time we saw each other was in Jordan for a couple of hours," said Jarrod. "It wasn't long, but it's still good to see my brother any chance I get."

Max Thunder, the largest flying exercise held on the Korean Peninsula twice per year, is aimed at increasing U.S. and ROK interoperability with dissimilar aircraft and enabling the two allies to be battle-ready for any potential situation on the ROK.

Wolf Pack, ROKSOF practice base defense

by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- For the first time in more than seven years, Republic of Korea Special Operations Forces from the 35th Battalion, 7th Airborne Brigade, sharpened their combat skills alongside 8th Security Forces Squadron Airmen here during Exercise Beverly Midnight 15-3 April 29.

The simulated wartime integration incorporated the Wolf Pack accepting follow-on forces by configuring the installation to support more than 150 ROKSOF members, and defending the base through the use of the combined defense plan posture.

"As the 8th SFS continues to build its relationship with ROKSOF, we invited their unit to attend the exercise to practice our combined defense plan," said 1st Lt. David Krigbaum, 8th SFS air base defense officer in charge. "Integrating with the 35th Battalion definitely enhances our combined defense procedures in the event of increased hostilities on the peninsula."

Although the entire integration - from start to finish - was complete in 24 hours, it took various agencies to prepare for ROKSOF's arrival and provide them support while here.

"Internally, we had to process their personnel and equipment onto the installation in a secure manner," Krigbaum said. "We needed support from the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron and 8th Force Support Squadron to ensure we had sufficient bed-down, latrine and water capability for their troops. We needed the 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron's support to transport their troops on base as necessary. We also worked with the Kunsan Inspector General and Wing Inspection Team to ensure the scenarios and injects would maximize our training opportunity with the ROKSOF. To top it off, we coordinated with the Gunsan National Police Agency and our 8th Fighter Wing judge advocate to guarantee all legal aspects were covered."

After receiving a mission brief and bed down information, ROKSOF immediately hit the ground running with the Wolf Pack's defenders. For many defenders, exiting the installation to integrate coordination, improvised explosive device detection and removal, and convoys with mission partners was uncharted territory.

"For many Airmen, this was their first time integrating with any Republic of Korea military member, which can be quite a challenge considering there's a language barrier," said Master Sgt. Nicole Wrisley, 8th SFS standardization and evaluation NCO in charge. "This training was especially unique not only because we had the chance to train and interact with our ROKSOF counterparts, but typically everything that occurs during Kunsan's quarterly exercises stays inside the base. The key to integrated defense and the combined defense plan is to have different layers of deterrence. Enemy threats need to be detected and defeated outside the wire."

As ROKSOF members and Wolf Pack Airmen integrated operations over the course of the 24-hour exercise, many lessons were shared as tactics were exchanged.

"It was incredibly valuable for us to practice things that were largely theoretical to both units; when you get into the habit of simulating things, you begin to forget the details and lose sight of what needs to be improved," Krigbaum said. "As we ran missions together, we constantly refined our processes so that we operated comfortably together in a battle rhythm that promoted safety and demonstrated lethality against an enemy. All of the things we missed in planning became obvious by training together, and we were able to develop solutions both during and after the exercise."

The integration not only provided an opportunity to strengthen the U.S.-ROK alliance at Kunsan, but also established the groundwork for future partnered exercises.

"The integration provided significant validations and lessons learned for both the 8th SFS and ROKSOF in terms of reception, staging, integration, tactics, communication and command and control," said Lt. Col. Ian "Sheriff" Dinesen, 8th SFS commander. "This iteration is the baseline for multiple combined exercises both units plan to participate in annually here at Kunsan. Additionally, both organizations will continue to hold regular planning sessions and training events outside the scope of wing-level exercises in order to foster continued growth and development as well as to provide even higher fidelity of our combined combat capability sets."

Two DoD Defense Employees are Service to America Medal Finalists



By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2015 – Two principal Defense Department leaders are finalists in the 2015 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, DoD officials announced today.

The Service to America organization’s website says the medal winners represent the many federal employees whose work makes the country better, healthier and stronger.

Susan S. Kelly, director of the Pentagon’s transition-to-veterans program office, is a management excellence finalist, and Charles E. Milam, principal director of military community and family policy, is a finalist in the career achievement category.

Preparing Service Members for Civilian Life

Kelly is recognized for transforming and enhancing the way the federal government annually prepares more than 200,000 service members for jobs, education and personal skills needed for civilian life, according to a Service to America Medals release.

Finding employment and transitioning to back to civilian life can be difficult and sometimes traumatic for service members. Kelly led the sweeping overhaul of a 20-year-old program, helping service members begin considering their transition out of the military long before discharge, and collaborating with several federal agencies for extensive and focused assistance than was provided in the past, the release said.

“[Kelly] built this program from an empty room with simply the law and a White House mandate to guide her,” said Stephanie Barna, principal deputy secretary of defense for readiness and force management.

Program Stood Up in Less Than Two Years

The now fully fledged program operates at 206 sites worldwide, covers every service branch and incorporates other federal agencies, Barna said, adding that Kelly stood up the program in less than two years.

Among the numerous challenges in revamping the transition program was working with all branches of the military, their different traditions and varying populations. “Susan has really had to work to bring each of them into this program in accordance with their culture,” Barna said.

“That’s the crux of the entire change -- having the system acknowledge that everyone, whether you are a four-star general or serving only four years in active duty, will separate from the military service and go into civilian life,” Kelly said. “No matter how old you are, you will not go fishing and hunting the rest of your life.”

Programs for Service Members, Families

During three decades of federal service, Milam devoted his career to improving the lives of millions of service members and their families, DoD officials said.

Milam was recognized improving the lives of millions of service members and their families by instituting many programs that, for example, helped deployed soldiers stay in touch with loved ones back home, and increased health and wellness options on bases.

In the wellness arena, Milam developed the Healthy Base Initiative to combat readiness, which offers anti-obesity incentives, and health and fitness programs.

DOD officials note that one of the main causes for the release of personnel from active duty is their failure to meet height and weight standards, and that good health and fitness are critical to combat readiness.

“All of Chuck’s work is cutting-edge and cost effective, with a laser-sharp focus on the well-being of troops and their families,” said Rosemary Williams, the DoD deputy assistant secretary for military community and family policy. “He has impacted the military community so positively and so globally.”

“It’s a lifelong mission for me to give back to the military,” Milam said. “I think about what service members and their families have now and what they could have tomorrow. I’m in a job where I can help effect change.”

ACC commander praises 552nd ACW's professionalism

by April McDonald
Tinker Public Affairs


5/1/2015 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OKLA. -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, took time to meet with Airmen of the 552nd Air Control Wing last week.

"I needed to come out and see the Airmen, and see what I can do to help them," Carlisle said last week, following his first visit to Tinker Air Force Base since taking over as commander of ACC last November.

After his visit April 21-22, the General admitted how impressed he was with the 552nd ACW and the professionals who carry out its important global mission.

"(The E-3 'Sentry' Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft) AWACS is engaged everywhere in the world," he said. "They're usually the first ones there in any kind of challenging environment and they're the last ones to leave. They're critical to our success."

General Carlisle added that being able to command and control aircraft is essential to the nation's ability to quickly and effectively react to world events.

"The first two things you have to do in any campaign anywhere are to be able to command and control and you have to gain and maintain air superiority," he said. "Both of those functions require the E-3."

Though AWACS have been deployed continuously to the Middle East for the last 24 years, the fleet still faces the challenge of operating in a fiscally constrained environment.

Carlisle said he's the last person in the world who wants to lose any AWACS, but if the Budget Control Act remains in effect, it will happen.

"We have to balance across the Air Force in everything we do," he said. "And in many areas I'm responsible for - command and control; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, bombers and fighters -- I don't have enough resources in any of those areas. I have to take some assets out of every one to balance and give the most capability I can with the amount of money Congress gives us."

Right now, any decision on reducing the AWACS fleet has been delayed until 2019. General Carlisle said if the BCA law is changed or if world events change, there are opportunities for leaders to revisit that issue.

"It's not that we want to do it," he said. "But we have to balance. Every area in the Air Force under the BCA takes a cut, every single area."

The general said leaders must still make other "incredibly difficult decisions that will affect families." Those decisions include the size of the Air Force and the size of the civilian workforce that supports it.

Other decisions like future procurement programs and current platforms also need to be decided. Though the Air Force is the smallest it's ever been, General Carlisle said he would rather have less capacity than a hollow force.

"I want whatever I have to be trained, ready and modernized to be the best force we can have for the amount of resources the American people give us," he said.

Getting fueled for the mission

by Senior Airman Keenan Berry
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


5/1/2015 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- When pilots prepare to take off, they know one thing above all: there's a full tank of gas. The 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron's fuel management flight takes pride in ensuring all aircraft and vehicles receive the proper fuel and required amount to fulfill the mission. This key resource enables airmen around the installation to complete their tasks and keeps Whiteman going full speed ahead.

The fuel management flight works around the clock to provide 24/7 fuel support.

"Our primary responsibilities are to put clean, dry fuel into an aircraft," said Senior Airman Joshua Gibson, 509th LRS fuels distribution technician.  "We make sure there are no contaminants and no water within the fuel."

The flight relies on filter separators to ensure no contaminants or water reach the aircraft. These filter separators are installed on all equipment and hydrant facilities that provide fuel.

"Once the fuel goes into the tank, we use the centrifugal pumps to send it where it needs to go," said Airman 1st Class Kyle Birch, 509th LRS fuels distribution technician. "The fuel goes through our filter separators where the water and contaminants are separated from the fuel. The water is heavier than fuel, causing it to sink to the bottom."

The flight also ensures cryogenics are stored within the aircraft. Cryogenics is liquid oxygen used to assist pilots in breathing while airborne.  In its cold liquid state, oxygen is below -321 degrees Fahrenheit.

The flight will receive notification from the maintenance operations control center whenever an aircraft or vehicle is in need of refueling.

The flight will take the truck out to refuel it once they receive the aircraft information. They refuel the aircraft by using the R-11 tank trucks or an R-12 hydrant servicing vehicle. The crew chief will hook the hose up to the aircraft once the truck is grounded, then the crew chief will give the good-to-go to fuel the plane.

"We use Jet A fuel for all aircraft here on base," Gibson said. "Jet A + 100 is a thermal stabilizing additive which cleans engine out to prevent carbon deposit buildup. Aircraft use the Jet A + 100 as coolant to cool down the avionics and engines to avoid overheating."

The flight relies on their Type 5 hydrant system (underground piping beneath the flightline) to pump into the hardstands where they refuel aircraft. This allows us to use hydrant trucks or the pantographs in the docks.

A pantograph is a metal pipe assembly that hooks into a pit with single point nozzles on the end of the arm to hook into the aircraft.

The technicians refuel the B-2 using pantographs. The pantographs connect to the '"moose head," also known as the hydrant coupler. The pantograph cart has two single point nozzles, one rated at 600 gallons per minute.

"When the fuel tanks reach a certain level, we have to restrict the flow to 300 gallons a minute or the pressure will damage the aircraft," Birch said. If the tank gets too full, the piping seals keeping the aircraft in tact will rupture damaging the aircraft.

The fuels distribution flight plays a significant role in the Whiteman mission. Without fuel, vehicles are rendered useless making it difficult to complete tasks.

"I like that we are an integral part of the flying mission," said Gibson. "Fuel has always been essential to the mission, and that will never change."

JB Charleston's newest dental hygienists graduate AF sponsored program

by Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs


5/1/2015 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Three Airmen completed a two-year dental hygiene program April 29, 2015 at Trident Technical College in Charleston, S.C. The program is part of the Air Force sponsored dental hygiene training scholarship program.

Technical Sgt. Terina Waiganjo and Staff Sgts. Sandy Molina and Hollynd Walker became the Air Force's newest dental hygienists by earning their associates degrees and passing the Dental Hygiene National Board Exam and state board examinations for licensure.

The program, which began in 2008, currently allows four dental assistants, staff sergeants and above, to attend Trident Technical College full time while remaining on active duty.

"This is a wonderful program which is considered to be one of the best in the nation," said Master Sgt. Caroline Bunce. "It increases the capabilities of dental care we can provide to our military members." Bunce is the 628th Aerospace Medicine Squadron dental flight NCO in charge that is the liaison between the military students and the school.

Dental hygienists differ from dental assistants by providing specialized care such as examining teeth and gums, cleaning patient's teeth, applying preventative treatments and administering local anesthetics.

Each year active duty dental assistants throughout the Air Force apply for the program. Application requirements include meeting with a board, completing all required prerequisite courses and having a competitive grade point average. There are only two dental hygiene programs in the Air Force; the other is located in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Colonel Michael Cunningham, Air Force Dental Corps director and Air Force Medical Service Recruitment and Force Sustainment chief, congratulated the graduates and looks forward to future accomplishments from the new hygienists, he said.

"We are proud to foster highly qualified Airmen who will provide outstanding support to ensure our force is mission capable and ready for deployment," Cunningham said.

According to Bunce, civilian hygienists who work for the Air Force cannot deploy or work in remote locations. The Air Force currently has 60 active duty hygienists who are readily deployable throughout the world to provide healthy oral care for Airmen.

"Our newest hygienists have broadened their skills and capabilities and are ready to enhance the dental care for our service members worldwide," Bunce said. "We currently have four other Airmen who are set to graduate next year who are doing really well so far in the program."

During the program, students are required to work in a dental clinic to ensure skills taught in the classroom are perfected and applied to actual patients. The three military students conducted their clinical trials on the base with military members in need of dental care.

"Our dental flight has a wonderful relationship with the faculty at Trident Technical College and we look forward to working with them in the future to produce more highly qualified hygienists," Bunce said.

Face of Defense: Student Makes Time for National Guard Service



By Oregon Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Patrick Caldwell
116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team

BAKER CITY, Ore., May 4, 2015 – Oregon Army National Guard Pfc. Chelsea Fudge is a busy young woman. The 19-year-old full-time student at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon, also works four part-time jobs.

And Fudge -- who is working toward a degree in music education -- also volunteers her voice to various celebrations and events across the region and stages her own small concerts.

“I’ve been singing for big events since I was 13,” she said.

One of her part-time jobs is serving as a member of the Oregon Army National Guard’s Foxtrot Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team.

Guard Service Helps With Academic Goals

Once a month, Fudge follows Interstate 84 south as it slices through a remote section of Oregon to attend drill in Baker City. She said her interest in the guard is helping her to achieve her academic goals.

Her enlistment bonus and the GI Bill kicker program have helped her solve some of the common financial challenges many college students face, she explained. And her experience in the Baker City Army National Guard unit has proven to be beneficial, she added.

“It has opened a lot of doors for me. It has been an amazing journey,” she said.

Fudge said she enjoys operating one of the heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks that her unit uses to keep the tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles of the 116th’s 3rd Battalion on the road.

“I really like it,” she said. “I have made so many connections with people. And I’m getting a lot of life experience. And a paycheck doesn’t hurt.”

Still, she said, her guard time isn’t all about the money.

Opportunity to Take Responsibility

“It is a self-sacrifice, and it has been an eye-opener,” she said. “This gave me the opportunity to take responsibility for my job.”

In August, Fudge and her guard unit will journey to the Mohave Desert to conduct training exercises at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. The rotation already is shaping up to be the ultimate peacetime test for the Baker City guard unit, and Fudge said she is eager to go.

“I’m looking forward to it, because it will be another experience,” she said. “It will open up a lot of my learning processes.”

Army Lt. Col. Brian Dean, the commander of the 3rd Battalion, said Fudge epitomizes the kind of soldier his unit seeks out and mentors, calling her “a remarkable young woman.”

“She is focused, dedicated and embodies both the Army values and those of ‘Eastern Oregon’s Own,’” he said. “We are all proud of her.”

Dean added that soldiers like Fudge indicate his unit has a bright future. “We are looking forward to seeing and helping her as she grows,” he said. “She is a magnificent role model and exemplifies what makes eastern Oregonians successful locally, nationally and globally.”

The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team consists of Army National Guard combat units from Idaho, Montana and eastern Oregon.