Thursday, May 07, 2015

Command Sergeant Major targets education

by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs

5/7/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The Soldier takes aim and aligns his iron sights with his target. All distractions are blurred as he examines his goal with the intensity of an individual determined to succeed. The crack of gunfire penetrates the empty firing range. He's rewarded with the thump of another hit. The next target is 50 meters out, just as its predecessor.

The range spans his entire life, pocked with goals 50 meters apart. Each goal is a step in a journey toward a bigger prize; success.

"I always advise Soldiers to set their goals in 50 meter increments," said Command Sergeant Major Eugene J. Moses, Command Sgt. Maj. of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. "Each target is the goal you want to achieve. After you achieve it, [aim] farther down."

Setting short-term goals allows individuals to make consistent progress toward a larger goal without losing motivation due to slow progress.

Deployments, field training, and changes of station are just some of the unique responsibilities a military service member needs to juggle with their personal life while pursuing an education.

"The most difficult obstacle I've overcome would be achieving personal goals that compete with professional goals [for my time]," Moses said. "Trying to get a degree, go to in-residence classes and online classes, being a father, a husband, a Soldier; it's been challenging."

After 30 years as a combat engineer in the Army, Moses walked across the stage with approximately 40 other college graduates from a variety of different schools and accepted his diploma for a Bachelor's of Science degree in business administration -- four years after actually graduating.

The road to a better education may not be easy or short, but Moses persevered. He said it was definitely worth it, and strongly encourages other service members to do the same.

"Stay on track," Moses said. "Don't lose your focus, don't lose your drive."

Moses actually graduated from college in 2011, but his graduation ceremony was delayed due to his responsibilities as a Soldier and NCO. Shortly after graduating, Moses deployed to Afghanistan and then received orders to a new installation.

Life crept in and for four years, Moses did not have the opportunity to formally be acknowledged for his years of work.

After accepting his ceremonial diploma, Moses took his place with the professors, congratulating each new graduate as they walked across the stage. When the last graduate finished their moment of glory, he resumed his position amongst the graduates in front of the stage.

"When I came in as a private, I said these are the goals I want to accomplish by the time I get out," Moses said. "When you aspire to do something personally, you set the bar at a certain level.

"When you start to see progress, you think, 'This is manageable. I can do this.'"

The military has a diverse toolkit of options for service members to pursue education, both while they are in the service and after separation.

The education centers have counselors dedicated to making sure service members can take full advantage of those options.

That education is not limited to degree programs either; there are several programs that offer financial assistance to pursue skill-related certifications as well.

"You don't want to do 20 years and not have an education to show for it," Moses said. "The military gives you the ability to do that, jump on it."

Moses said the discipline and structure Soldiers are taught can be valuable tools in pursuing a degree. They can utilize Army values to succeed in their personal development and, eventually, civilian employment.

"Soldiers are taught discipline and structure," Moses said. "If you apply that to your education, it'll take you further than you may think."

Moses uses the 50-meter target analogy to stress setting goals. He said the satisfaction each target brings is the driving motivation needed to move on.

Now, with 30 years of service to his country, Moses aligns his sights on a new target.

"I would like to do something in the non-profit area," Moses said.



Taking a breath after more than 50 years of service

by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs

5/7/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHRADSON, Alaska -- An alarm buzzes early in the morning, and a retired Air Force noncommissioned officer reaches over and turns it off; it is the beginning of one of his last days as an instructor for AFJROTC.

After retiring from the Air Force in early 1990, retired Chief Master Sgt. Morris Pickel accepted a job to become the Aerospace Science instructor at the oldest Junior ROTC program in the state of Alaska in July of that same year, but he would not have gotten the job without his military background and education.

"After 30 years' experience in the military and with my extensive military career background, the program organizers decided I was the best candidate to hire," Pickel said.

Alaska was a state Pickel had never lived in before he accepted the job. After telling his wife 'Let's have one last big adventure,' he traveled with his family to the Last Frontier on a 5 year plan that has turned into 25 years and a permanent home.

"Being an instructor and the opportunity to mold teenagers' minds as well as passing on some of my experiences is rewarding," Pickel said.

In his late teens, Chief Pickel made the decision to voluntarily join the military in 1960.

"I joined because I wanted to travel around the world," Pickel said. "When I decided I wanted to join the military, I looked at the Army, [but] they do too much camping out for me, the Marines were too gung-ho and the Navy were around too much water for me to handle. The Air Force looked like it would be a decent job, so I joined."

At the beginning of his career, Pickel was a Morse-intercept operator.

"At the time I had that job, it was all code," Pickel said. "My unit and I would sit and listen to airwaves for any information, just as the National Security Agency does today. We would transcribe it onto a typewriter, but I wasn't fast enough to fully become a human computer, so to say."

Pickel took an opportunity to retrain and become an airborne weapons mechanic.

"I happened to be a weapons specialist, at the time President [John] Kennedy was in office, and started the Air Force Commandos," he said.

In 1961, Kennedy ordered the military to start training airborne warfare specialists, a career field Pickel decided to be a part of.

"I raised my hand and said it sounded like fun," Chief Pickel said. "I was young and dumb, and willing to do anything at that time. It provided me with the opportunity to go through Air Force survival schools and special trainings to prepare for what I would be doing later in my career."

A weapons mechanic checks and tests weapons release and gun systems on various military aircraft.

Pickel spent the next 10 years as an aerial weapons mechanic and helicopter gunner with the 1st, 605th, 24th, 20th and 415th Special Operations Squadrons.

His career led him to multiple deployments throughout the world during times of peace and war. His most memorable time was in Southeast Asia.

"I had missions to Vietnam, which lasted about three years," Pickel said. "I had 350 combat missions there as a crew member on UH-1P helicopters, in which I was extremely lucky."

During Pickel's time as a helicopter crew member, his team was shot down three times but only a few survived.

"At that time, we lost about 75 percent of our crews and helicopters within our organization," Pickel said. "We had 20 helicopters and lost 15. Someone was riding on my shoulder at that time."

After his time in Vietnam, he became a part of the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing at what is known today as Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, as a crew member on C-130 Hercules and C-118K gunship aircraft.

"I came back from a routine evaluation mission one day, and I decided it wasn't for me anymore," he said. "I was on my 12th time of trying to get my annual certification on a Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar; we landed but it was horrendous. We didn't know if we were going to land or crash. As soon as we landed, I kissed the ground and I cross-trained as soon as I possibly could."

His next 20 years were spent as a professional military education instructor and boom operator on KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender aircraft. After his retirement, he joined the AFJROTC program in Alaska, hoping to change his students' outlook on life.

"As an instructor for JROTC, I teach discipline, leadership and followership to the students," Pickel said. "I see a big change; from these kids disrespecting others to making their beds at home and becoming good citizens when they graduate. Once these kids move on from school, I see them from time to time and I get to see as an instructor what I did to help them in the real world."

A previous student of Chief Pickel's, Marine Sgt. Jacobus Blignaut, U.S. Marine Corps Military Entrance Processing Station liaison, had the idea of going to college just like any other high school student.

"I was born and raised in South Africa," Blignaut said. "When I moved here I didn't know much about the U.S. military. I joined AFJROTC because a friend of mine wanted me to do it with him."

Blignaut said he didn't know what to expect going through the course.

"My mentality going into AFJROTC, it was just another class to go through in high school," he said. "After meeting Chief Pickel for the first time, I wanted to be just like him."

Once Blignaut was opened to a world of opportunity, he intended to make a life-changing decision.

"Chief opened my eyes to a whole other world," Blignaut said. "I joined the Marine Corps because it fit my personality better. I believe going through the AFJROTC course with chief as my instructor, it prepared me and helped me become the Marine I am today. The life lessons and leadership skills he gave me have helped me become very successful in my current military career."

Blignaut is one of the many graduating AFJROTC students who have joined the military after graduating from the course.

"These kids are looking for a family, something to join and be a part of," Pickel said. "I tell the parents of my cadets, if you are not engaging your student, someone or something else will and you may not like what it may result into being."

This is Chief Pickel's last school year as an instructor for the West High School JROTC program.

"It was supposed to be a five-year plan, but now it's been 25 years, and I wouldn't change it for anything," Pickel said.

Air Force announces retirement of AFSC commander

Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

5/7/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Air Force officials announced May 7, 2015, the retirement of Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Litchfield, commander of Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

The general will retire effective June 5, 2015, after 34 years of service.

Litchfield entered the Air Force in 1981 as a distinguished graduate from the ROTC program at Norwich University, Vermont. His career spans diverse logistics and acquisition assignments supporting weapon systems at wing, major command, Air Staff and the Joint Staff levels. He has commanded squadron and group levels in addition to commanding two wings and was the Director of Logistics, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker.

As AFSC commander, Litchfield ensures the Center provides operational planning and execution of Air Force Supply Chain Management and Depot Maintenance for a wide range of aircraft, engines, missiles, and component items in support of AFMC missions. He is responsible for operations which span three air logistics complexes, three air base wings, two supply chain management wings, and multiple remote operating locations, incorporating more than 32,000 military and civilian personnel. In addition, he oversees installation support to more than 75,000 personnel working in 140 associate units at the three AFSC bases.

On Feb. 13, 2015, Air Force officials announced the President's nomination of Maj. Gen. Lee K. Levy II to the rank of lieutenant general with assignment as AFSC commander.

Air Force officials have also announced the assignment of Col. Steven J. Bleymaier -- currently director of staff at AFMC headquarters -- as commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill AFB, Utah.

RAF Mildenhall CDC best in Air Force

by Airman 1st Class Kyla Gifford
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

5/6/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- The RAF Mildenhall Child Development Center was awarded Air Force's best Child Development Program of the Year 2014. Competing against 84 other CDCs across the Air Force was no small challenge, and it took an above and beyond effort of the whole team.

"It's a lot of hard work, a full team effort. What we get rated against is all about the team and having great base support," said Janet Evans, CDC director from Manchester, N.H. "Many of the things we were recognized for involved our leadership backing us. It's the program, yes, but it's also the support of people from the top, down."

The RAF Mildenhall CDC serves over 250 families and about 400 children throughout the year. Staying on top of this evolving environment takes constant work and dedication.

"It's learning how to get creative real quick, and that's what we do," said Evans. "No job is beneath anybody."

Everyone is motivated to be part of the team. The CDC staff is more like a family than co-workers; all of the decisions are made together.

"We come together and we try to think outside the box. What can we do differently? What can we do better? What can we offer up? Getting information from all of our staff and our parents," Evans said.

The family style atmosphere and innovative mindset, coupled with the dedicated and passionate leadership allows the staff to focus on its top priority on the needs of the families and children.

"It's just basically doing the job, but then doing more than the job as well" said Nick Batey, CDC assistant director from Brandon, U.K.

One program that goes above and beyond is the CDCs newest project, the Inclusion Action Program. This program focuses on children with special needs, and working on what care each child needs from the very beginning. It is based on positive communication between the CDC staff, parents and pediatrician to determine how to provide a more comfortable environment for their child.

"It's been a really impressive success," said Batey. "It's just nice to know that when the family leaves we've done something for both the child and the parent. Watching them grow and develop in the program is amazing."

Other programs offered by the CDC are: the Pre-Kindy program, Month of the Military Child events, job shadow days and quarterly parent workshops. All of these programs are dedicated to making the best environment possible for the children.

The RAF Mildenhall CDC will also host a U.K. conference in September. This gives families and staff from around the U.K. and Europe the opportunity to interact with helping agencies and attend classes. Classes that will be offered include toddler potty training, working with children with challenging behaviors and professional development classes for entry level teachers. The conference will also allow the opportunity for the CDC staff to grow in their leadership skills and education within childcare.

"We have to have the space to meet the needs of the community, make it affordable for everybody and make sure we are licensed and accredited," explains Evans. "But most importantly we ask ourselves every day: what did you do to go above and beyond for the families and the base? These are the reasons our program is successful; the families always come first."

AF establishes new key developmental reporting identifiers

By Master Sgt. Lesley Waters, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information / Published May 06, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force has established four new reporting identifiers to identify Airmen serving in key developmental positions outside of their control Air Force specialty, effective April 30.

The four new key developmental position reporting identifiers are: key developmental senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant enlisted positions on headquarters Air Force staff and the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy (9D100), enlisted engagement manager/international affairs (9L100), secretary of the Air Force enlisted legislative fellows (9N000) and Military Entrance Processing Command senior enlisted advisor (9M000).

"These positions confirm our continued commitment to the development of our enlisted force, and the ability for enlisted Airmen to serve at the highest levels,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody.

Airmen assigned to these positions will be considered performing outside of their normal career progression pattern, requiring a different duty Air Force specialty code from the current AFSC. Their duty AFSC will reflect the reporting identifier. The Airman’s control AFSC will match the primary Air Force specialty code (except for skill level, if necessary).

For example: Senior Master Sgt. Smith, 3S091, is selected for 9N100 duties. Smith’s CAFSC will remain 3S091, the primary AFSC will remain 3S091 and the DAFSC will be updated to 9N100.

Eligibility to serve in one of these positions includes the following:
• Grades: senior master sergeant – chief master sergeant
• Skill level commensurate with grade.
• Overall enlisted performance report rating of 5 on the last three enlisted performance reports.
• 80 percent or above on the last two fitness tests, or 90 percent or above on the most recent fitness test, with no failure on any portion within the last 12 months.
• No assignment on file - personnel with an approved follow-on assignment can be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Airmen receiving a selective reenlistment bonus (SRB) are eligible to apply. For those selected to serve in a key developmental position, future SRB payments will be affected. Although members would maintain their primary and control AFSCs and could stay qualified within their respective AFSCs, they would no longer serve within the specialty, which is a requirement to maintain SRB payments.

For Airmen to avoid recoupment of an SRB, they must have completed at least 50 percent of the current enlistment and agree to waive all remaining payments. However, if an Airman accepts a key developmental position before completing at least 50 percent of the current enlistment, recoupment will be required.

Permanent change of station consideration:
• For permanent change of station consideration, an Airman’s return from an overseas date must be within the report-no–later-than-date window to apply. Airmen with an indefinite overseas return date are eligible for nomination and PCS consideration.
• Airmen stationed stateside must have at least 24 months’ time on station as of the RNLTD to be eligible to PCS.

Approximately six months prior to a senior master sergeant key developmental position becoming vacant, the vacancy will be advertised on the Equal Plus listing. The key developmental chief master sergeant enlisted positions on headquarters Air Force staff and the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy commandant position (9D100) will be filled through the Air Force Chief’s Group nomination process. Once the advertisement period ends, the Air Force Personnel Center enlisted assignments branch will forward eligible applications to the hiring authority for selection.

“The Airmen serving in these positions will shape our future,” Cody said. “They will lead Air Force initiatives and influence future policies. The Air Force will benefit for years to come."

Misawa Sailors Take Part in Onagawa, Japan's Mikoshi Festival

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan C. Delcore, Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs

ONAGAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors stationed and deployed at Misawa Air Base, Japan, took part in Onagawa, Japan's sacred mikoshi festival May 3.

The Sailors helped local citizens carry a portable Shinto shrine, known as a mikoshi, to Onagawa's neighborhoods and businesses as priests prayed for another year of protection and good fortune.

"This festival has happened here for over 200 years. Onagawa is a fishing town and it's important that we pray for a calm ocean and a lot of fish," said Suzuki Noriyuki, a resident of Onagawa who owns a fishing company and who helped organize the Sailors' visit.

Fishing companies, grocery stores, and the local hospital were also visited during the festival.

Noriyuki, along with other local leaders, visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, last April to visit with U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet leadership and thank them for their help during Operation Tomodachi. While there, U.S. Pacific Fleet leadership agreed to continue to support Onagawa by sending U.S. Sailors to attend the city's mikoshi festival.

"When the 2011 tsunami happened, the American Navy was the first to bring relief supplies for the city of Onagawa. The U.S. Navy helped clear debris and reopen the Sendai Airport which is a major hub for flying in relief supplies to the Miyagi prefecture. It would have been even worse if we didn't have those supplies for the surrounding areas that were affected by the tsunami. Many lost everything during the tsunami and the Navy ensured we had what we needed and that the survivors were kept safe," said Noriyuki.

"This is a unique experience. I definitely want to learn about the culture while I'm here and learn about everything while I can. Most people were willing to come up and talk to me. I've also went up and talked to a lot of people, and there was a lot of fun interaction," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Lonnie Shepard, from Rockwall, Texas.

The members of the team consisted of Builder 2nd Class James Delacruz, assigned to Public Works Department, Misawa, from Popanga, Philippines; Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) Thomas Johnson, assigned to Naval Air Facility, Misawa, from Wilsonville, Ala.; Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Kester Baird, assigned to Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment, Misawa, from Brooklyn, N.Y.; Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Liam Fazio, assigned to Commander, Task Force 72, from Fort Wayne, Ind., Yeoman 2nd Class Robert Barker, assigned to Navy Munitions Command East Asia Division Unit Misawa, from Colorado Springs, Colo.; Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Joenel Gloria, assigned to Aviation Support Detachment, Misawa, from Ewa Beach, Hawaii; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Lonnie Shepard, assigned to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Far East Detachment, Misawa, from Rockwall, Texas; Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Alejandro Henriquez, assigned to the Screaming Eagles of Patrol Squadron 1, from Chicago; and Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class David Malievsky, assigned to the Black Ravens of Electronic Attack Squadron 135, from Hotchkiss, Colo.

Face of Defense: First Female F-35 Pilot Begins Training

By Air Force 1st Lt. Hope Cronin
33rd Fighter Wing

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., May 7, 2015 – Air Force Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group deputy commander, completed her first training flight in the single-seat F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter here May 5.

Previously, Mau completed 14 virtual training missions in the F-35 Academic Training Center’s full-mission simulator.

“It wasn’t until I was taxiing to the runway that it really struck me that I was on my own in the jet,” said Mau, formerly an F-15E Strike Eagle pilot. “I had a chase aircraft, but there was no weapons system officer or instructor pilot sitting behind me, and no one in my ear, like in simulators.”

And with that, like the other 87 F-35A pilots trained here over the last four years, Mau thundered down the runway and was airborne as the first woman in the Air Force’s premier fighter.

An Easy Adjustment

“It felt great to get airborne,” she said. “The jet flies like a dream, and seeing the systems interact is impressive. Flying with the helmet-mounted display takes some adjusting, but it’s an easy adjustment. The training missions in the simulator prepare you very well, so you’re ready for that flight.”

The initial flight in the F-35 training syllabus is designed to orient pilots with the physical aspects of flying the F-35 as compared to other fighters they’ve flown previously, such as the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II or F-22 Raptor.

Women have served in combat aviation roles in those and other aircraft for more than 20 years.

Mau acknowledged that although she may be the first woman pilot in the F-35 program, her gender has no bearing on her performance. She joked that the only difference between her and her fellow F-35 pilots is the size of her G-suit and facemask -- both extra-small.

A Great Equalizer

“Flying is a great equalizer,” Mau said. “The plane doesn’t know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support,” she explained. “You just have to perform. That’s all anyone cares about when you’re up there -- that you can do your job, and that you do it exceptionally well.”

Mau’s combat experience and technical prowess in the cockpit were the primary draws for her selection to her position with the 33rd Operations Group.

“Lieutenant Colonel Mau brings a valuable level of combat and operational knowledge to our team,” said Air Force Col. Todd Canterbury, 33rd Fighter Wing commander. “We’re nearly a year out from declaring initial operational capability with the F-35. We need battle-tested pilots to help us put the F-35A through its paces and ensure we have a trained and ready force of F-35 pilots to feed into our combat air forces.”

Canterbury witnessed Mau’s leadership and combat effectiveness first-hand when they were both deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, where she was part of another important milestone for women in the combat aviation community.

Made History in Afghanistan

While with the 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Mau was part of the first all-female combat sortie. The combat mission provided air support to coalition and Afghan forces in Afghanistan’s Kunar Valley. From the pilots and weapons system officers of the two F-15E jets to the mission planners and maintainers, the entire mission was carried out entirely by women.

“As a service, we need to attract the most innovative and skillful airmen possible for one reason: it makes us more effective,” Canterbury said. “The broader the net that we cast into the talent pool, coupled with a laser focus on performance, ensures we have the best airmen in place to carry out the mission. Performance is key, and it’s the standard we hold all of our airmen to in the Air Force.”