Military News

Monday, May 11, 2015

CRW, 6AS, 3AS,732 AS, train together at Lakehurst

by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs


5/8/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The 621st Contingency Response Wing took part in an exercise at Lakehurst airfield, April 27-30.

Approximately 28 Airmen from the 817th and 818th Contingency Response Groups supported the exercise with a contingency response team along with members of the 6th and 732nd Airlift Squadrons of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and the 3rd Airlift Squadron stationed at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

During the training, the crew members from five U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III's, conducted emergency runway operations, communication proficiency training, night vision goggle training, and a ramp coordinator chief received upgraded training during this exercise.

According Lt. Col. Michael Durband, 6 AS director of operations, the exercise is an excellent opportunity for the units involved to practice with a mission key partner like the 621 CRW.

"This exercise was a culmination of a number separate events with the CRW that focused on a crawl, walk, run concept that started with static load training events in January, February, and April before this culminating exercise," Durband said. "Our teams gain familiarity in a training environment before we interact in a contingency environment like West Africa or the Middle-East. Beyond the hands-on training gained by both Wings, this familiarity is the greatest outcome."

According to Tech. Sgt. Michael Folk, 818th Global Mobility Squadron contingency Response team chief, this was the first time they conducted this exercise on this scale.

"We worked with the 6AS a couple of different times before where we've marshaled their aircraft in or loaded their cargo," Folk said. "This is the first time on this scale that we worked with both Dover and McGuire aircrews to get training for everybody."

"The McGuire and Dover units usually use Lakehurst for their air training so we decided to work with those units to get beneficial training for our Airmen and their aircrews," Folk said "We used our cargo and gave their air crew the options to choose different load plans they wanted to train on, and our porters got the opportunity to train as well."

The CRW is highly-specialized in training and rapidly deploying personnel to quickly open airfields and establish, expand, sustain, and coordinate air mobility operations.

Warriors of the North observe National Day of Prayer

by Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


5/11/2015 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The Warriors of the North took some time out of their day May 7, 2015, to observe the National Day of Prayer, an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked to "turn to God in prayer and meditation." Each year since its inception, the president has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.

The keynote speaker for this year's event here was retired U.S. Army Col. Jill Morgenthaler. Morgenthaler was one of the first 10 women to receive a four-year Army ROTC scholarship, as well as one of the first female military intelligence officers to train alongside men. She was the first female military intelligence company commander to serve along the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea.

Her comments centered around racial and gender equality in the military. Morgenthaler, the daughter of a Marine officer stationed at Quantico, Va., opened by recounting her teenage years in the late 1960s, the social and economic upheaval of the time, and one of her favorite quotes from a prominent civil rights figure.

"As we watched the news in 1968, it was a very violent time for our nation," she said. "Every night on the news, we saw the Vietnam War and its violence. We saw the violence against the peace protestors. And we saw the violence against the Civil Rights Movement. Fourteen years old, I could've turned into a very jaded, cynical teenager, but fortunately there was one leader who came on television, and I felt like he came into my living room. He's one of the few people who often spoke of hope, and that was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

She invoked Dr. King's famous quote, "Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity," as one of her favorites, and one that had a profound influence on her as a leader and military officer.

She explained about how her father was deployed to Vietnam during that conflict in 1969, and she, her mother and her three siblings left their home in the South for New England in his absence, where she first experienced exclusion and prejudice.

"We moved into this town with our Southern accents, and we were treated like we were stupid, ignorant trash," she said. "That was a terrible year. My father gone, all this prejudice we had to endure, but I look back and that year made me a far better leader. I now knew what exclusion meant, and I was going to be a leader that did not exclude."

In 1972, the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program was experimentally opened up to women at 10 universities in the United States, women were being integrated into the regular service, and Morgenthaler enthusiastically signed up.

During her junior year in 1975, Morgenthaler participated in officer boot camp at Fort Bragg, N.C. She had a candid conversation with her father the night before she left.
"He said to me, 'Jilly-Bear, they don't want you. They're going to come after you with a vengeance. They're going to try to break you down, make you cry, they want you to quit.'"

Men in the military in those days, she explained, did not welcome women with open arms.

"They thought in those days that if they allowed women into the military as equals, it would make the military weak, and then the Communists would take over," she said.

Morgenthaler arrived to Fort Bragg in a class of 83 female cadets and 500 male cadets on a post of 50,000 men, where she and the other female cadets were routinely verbally harassed by their male counterparts.

She spoke highly of her drill sergeant there, an Army staff sergeant, an African-American man who had grown up in the South and joined the Army to escape poverty.

He had performed so well in Vietnam that he had received a direct battlefield commission to captain. Following the end of the war, he was forced to make a choice between leaving the Army as a captain, or staying in and being demoted back to E-6.

"He took the demotion," she said. "He loved the military that much."

Her drill sergeant told her frankly that when she became an officer the following year, it would be her job to watch out for all of her Soldiers, regardless of their background.

Morgenthaler spent much of her nearly 30-year-long Army career fighting for equality in the military regardless of a member's race, gender, or even sexual preference.

In Germany, long before "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell," Morgenthaler was the executive officer of a headquarters company. She had three NCOs who worked for her at the time.

"Fabulous sergeants," she said. "They did have three strikes against them, though; they were women, they were African-American, and I'll get to the third strike in a minute."

She explained that she and her team were frequently recognized for their work, and at the end of the day they would often gather in her office and talk, sometimes about the comings and goings of the unit, other times just casually.

One night, though, the three sergeants brought it to Morgenthaler's attention that they were being investigated for homosexual conduct. And the rumors were true.

"Strike three," she said. "The problem was, these ladies didn't realize what a quandary they had put me in. I had already been instructed by my O-6 to hunt down homosexuals in the unit and kick them out."

She said she looked up the regulation about homosexuality, and found that anyone convicted of homosexuality during that time could be forced out, charged with a felony, lose their G.I. Bill, serve prison time, and/or never hold a federal job.

"I did the wrong thing, and I did the right thing," she said. "I did the wrong thing by ignoring the commander's orders. And I did the right thing by opening up the law book and showing these women exactly what the military had to say about them. The three stayed in and they did great things for America. Today I'm thrilled that we can all serve honestly and honorably. And that happened because we had the conversation."

"You all have the power," she said. "You all are part of the greatest power in the world. You have the power to watch out for everyone. You have the power to have the conversation. And look what's happening to our nation right now. We should not only remember the words of Martin Luther King, we should act upon them. 'Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.' Let the conversations begin."

EOD trains for any situation

by Airman 1st Class Joshua King
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst


5/8/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Two weeks ago, the 87th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordinance Disposal team was blowing up a World War II-era bomb; this week they are conducting a field training exercise here focused on preparing Airmen for stateside and deployed operations.

"We are trying to replicate scenarios from Iraq and Afghanistan so that we can take advantage of the lessons we learned the hard way," said Master Sgt. Mario Kovach, 87th CES EOD superintendent. "When other conflicts arise we are ready for it."

The EOD team, which trains daily, is continuing their training in a field environment over several days, working with military working dog units to identify hazards and using video game-style controllers to maneuver robots and decommission explosives.

In addition to responding to local area calls, like the WWII unexploded ordnance recently found in Edison, New Jersey, EOD personnel also support all base agencies. EOD responds to any in-flight emergencies, suspicious packages and any incidents that may occur on the joint base's extensive ranges.

A high-risk job like EOD requires continuous, in-depth training to always be prepared for a call, whether it is in garrison, in their community, or when they are deployed. This week's training exercise is one of many training opportunities for unit members. The unit takes advantage of their unique opportunity being at a joint base with all five services, to prepare for missions in a joint environment, as they operate overseas.

"When we deploy, we support whoever needs the support," said Kovach. "Being stationed at a joint base, we have Marines, for example, who we can work with. They support us with helicopter insertions kind of like how we conduct regular operations, that's just one way the other services help."

This field training exercise was a learning experience for younger Airmen, who learn from more experienced EOD technicians in this realistic field environment while operating among their sister services.

"It's a great opportunity because the guys that have been there and done that are able to share a lot of the intangibles that you won't find in a book," added Kovach. "We're able to kind of pay it forward to the younger Airmen, so when things do kick off, we're able to deal with it."

"I feel that I would be more prepared to go over," said Airman 1st Class Jared Rafferty, 87th CES EOD team member, "We know what to do, we've been to some courses and this training definitely seals it in."

During the training there was a situation where the team came across an exposed wire and one team member had to carefully address the scene and check that wire and see if it was connected to an I.E.D. and if it is take the appropriate precautions to disarm the device and keep the team safe.

At one point during the training, the team came across an exposed wire. One team member had to carefully assess the scene, determine if the wire was connected to an improvised explosive device and after determining it was a threat, they took appropriate precautions to disarm the device and keep the team safe.

USAF EC provides 'JET' to West Point Cadets

by Capt. Matthew Chism
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs


5/8/2015 - Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst -- Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point took part in Judgment-based Engagement Training hosted by the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's Office of the Judge Advocate here, May 2 through 3.

The 18 Cadets, currently enrolled in a Combat Leadership class at West Point, took part in lectures, Firearms Training Simulator scenarios, and learned group tactics for use in hostile situations.

JET is a combination of Rules of Engagement and Rules for the Use of Force training, which familiarizes students with the effects that life threatening confrontations have on decision making.

"We're teaching students to understand the tactical dynamics of high stress deadly force encounters and to help them hone the ability to make sound split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving," said Maj. Ryan Hoback, 177th Fighter Wing deputy staff judge advocate and a guest instructor for the training.

Lt. Col. Daniel Smith, an assistant professor in the USMA Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership who teaches the Combat Leadership class, reached out to the USAF EC's JA to incorporate this hands-on experience into his class's curriculum.

"The training provides an opportunity for the cadets to experience making decisions in real-time and it allows them to immediately learn from their classmates' experiences in the simulations," Smith said.

The USAF EC legal team normally provides JET to deploying members of the USAF Judge Advocate General Corps over four days as part of the JA Functional Training Course. Airmen receive training in subjects including law, culture, counter insurgency concepts, and field training. The JA FTC prepares personnel with the skills necessary to effectively operate in today's contingency environments.

During the Cadets' modified training the legal team covered topics such as ethics, self-defense laws, wound ballistics, body trauma, as well as the psychological and physiological reactions people experience in high-stress situations.

"This was an outstanding cross-service training experience," Hoback said. "The entire judgment-based training team was honored to help Lt. Col. Smith provide a unique learning opportunity for the Cadets and help build a solid foundation of knowledge in this critically important area for our next generation of Army leaders."

Members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, New Jersey Army National Guard's Joint Training and Training Development Center, and civilian professionals familiar with escalation of force tactics, techniques, and procedures also supported the JET course.

CV-22 Osprey Squadron Headed for Japan



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – The Department of Defense announced plans to station a special operations squadron of CV-22 Osprey aircraft at Yokota Air Base, Japan, according to a DoD news release issued today.

The first three aircraft will arrive in the second half of 2017 with an additional seven aircraft scheduled to arrive by 2021, the release said.

The deployment of tilt-rotor aircraft will provide increased capability for U.S. Special Operations forces to respond quickly to crises and contingencies in Japan and across the Asia-Pacific region, including humanitarian crises and natural disasters, according to the release.

The deployment will also increase interoperability, enhance operational cooperation, and promote stronger defense relations with the Japan Self-Defense Forces, according to the release.

The CV-22 Osprey is a highly advanced aircraft with unique capabilities and an excellent operational safety record, the release said.

The deployment reflects the United States' steadfast commitment to defend Japan and to station its most advanced capabilities forward as part of the Asia-Pacific Rebalance, according to the release.

Marines Slated for Assistance Mission in Honduras


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – U.S. Marines are scheduled to deploy to Honduras to assist authorities there in potential hurricane disaster response efforts and local construction missions, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said today.

Speaking with Pentagon reporters, Warren discussed the deployment of Marines to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

“About 200 Marines will deploy to Honduras from June to November to coincide with the hurricane season, during which time they could be called upon to provide disaster relief in the region,” the colonel said.

In addition to hurricane response, Warren said the Marines will assist in construction and restoration projects in the country.

Construction of Roads, Schools

“Those Marines will also provide engineering assistance for projects in Honduras to include the construction and rehabilitation of roads and schools,” he said.

“As with all exercises of this type,” Warren said, “the Department of State and U.S. Ambassador were consulted in every step, and approved this deployment, as did the government of Honduras.”

The department’s announcement comes after U.S. Pacific Command announced yesterday the name of its humanitarian disaster relief operation that’s assisting Nepal in the wake of the magnitude-7.8-earthquake that struck there April 25.

In a news release, Pacom noted efforts, led by Joint Task Force 505, have been designated Operation “Sahayogi Haat,” which means “Helping Hand” in Nepali.

LCC gets deep clean

by Airman 1st Class Dillon Johnston
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


5/8/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- A missile alert facility recently underwent a launch control center "deep clean" as part of an effort to improve quality of life for missileers dispatched to the missile field.

MAF "M" is the most recent to receive a LCC cleaning. Using a contracted service, the LCC is temporarily shut down so a more thorough sanitation can be performed.

Daily operations continue as planned during the cleaning, with security forces members monitoring the launch facilities 24/7, while the operations of the LCC are shifted to a neighboring MAF, which keeps the missiles on alert, even with a capsule down.

The missileers still post to their station in the capsule, and are able to watch as their workspace gets a much needed cleaning.

"We spend 24 hours in that environment," said 2nd Lt. Christine Acker, 490th Missile Squadron deputy combat crew commander. "Our only air is coming from upstairs, so having a capsule that's cleaner than it has been after years of 24-hour-a-day constant use will be great."

Normal cleaning which is done by the LCC crews can only get to a small portion of the capsule while remaining operational, and the deep clean allows the capsule to be pulled apart and thoroughly scrubbed.

"There's only so much we can do ourselves down there in terms of what we are allowed to (move) and clean up," said 2nd Lt. Joshua Dishmon, 490th MS deputy combat crew commander.

"When they shut a capsule down, they are able to bring down equipment that we can't use," Acker added. "We have various cleaning products, but that can only get you so far."

The cleaning does more than get the missileer's workspace sanitary; a clean workspace can lead to a better attitude.

"It boosts morale," said 2nd Lt. Aurea Pomalas-Martinez, 490th MS deputy combat crew commander. "Nobody likes to be in a dirty capsule, and it's been a while since they did a deep cleaning. It improves the living conditions for the missileers down there, and therefore improves morale."

"In my personal experience, coming down to a clean capsule, I've had better morale," agreed 1st Lt. Dustin Mountcastle, 490th MS combat crew commander. "Going down there, it definitely helps to have a nice clean capsule, so it's one less thing you have to worry about."

With a fresh clean capsule, missileers are able to stay more focused: keeping all 150 missiles in the field on constant alert.

By the numbers: Operation Sahayogi Haat Airport Operations

by Maj. Ashley Conner
JTF-505 Public Affairs


5/10/2015 - KATHMANDU, Nepal  -- The 36th Contingency Response Group, under Joint Task Force-505, has been supporting Operation Sahayogi Haat at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal since May 5.

On May 9, Airmen assigned to the 36th CRG, in cooperation with DHL contractors and the Nepalese Army, offloaded 530,110 pounds of cargo and uploaded 7,000 pounds of cargo to 13 aircraft.

The average ground time was approximately three hours and the average aircraft download time was 58 minutes.

In total the CRG has downloaded 1,202,273 pounds of cargo and uploaded 32,350 pounds of cargo from 30 aircraft.

While deployed to Nepal, the mission of the 36th CRG is to assist the Nepalese to accelerate airfield operations and increase the capacity to bring in aid via airlift ensuring aid is distributed faster to those affected by the earthquake that struck the region April 25

U.S. Ambassador to Iceland visits Airmen in Keflavik

by 2nd Lt Meredith Mulvihill
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/11/2015 - KEFLAVIK, Iceland -- The U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland visited Airmen of the 871st Air Expeditionary Squadron deployed to Keflavik, Iceland, as part of the Icelandic Air Surveillance and Policing mission May 4.

During his visit, Ambassador Robert Barber met with Airmen, watched an F-15C Eagle training mission and learned about current operations of IAS. He also flew in a KC-135 Stratotanker and observed an aerial refueling of an F-15C.

The Ambassador said he greatly enjoyed the visit and getting to see service members in action.

"I have always been appreciative of the work of our military, so it was a real privilege for me to see how you all accomplish your duties, especially on a mission as important as Icelandic Air Surveillance," Barber said.

He said the U.S.'s involvement in the IAS mission is one of the ways the U.S. maintains close relations to Iceland and keeps its commitment to the bilateral defense agreement the two countries maintain.

"I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and dedication to task of each person I met, and the seamless manner in which each individual performed his or her role in the overall operation," Barber said. "I only wish we could give more people the view I had to see the importance of this collaboration between NATO allies."

IAS is a recurring NATO mission designed to maintain the security of Icelandic airspace. Since Iceland does not maintain its own military force, the U.S. and other NATO allies periodically rotate through Keflavik to provide fighter aircraft presence in the region.

Buckley SARC changes lives, perceptions

by Senior Airman Phillip Houk
460th Space Wing Public Affairs


5/8/2015 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "We are here for literally everybody on Buckley," said Peggy Moore-Mccoy, 460th Space Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. "We are here for military, spouses and dependents, retired, veterans, Department of Defense civilians and contractors. If you are affiliated with Buckley or the military at all, we're here for you."

Due to the experiences she's had, Moore-Mccoy has a unique view on survivors and why many of them join the military. She wasn't dealt the best hand early in life, however, her drive and determination has allowed her to use her early experiences to help others.

"My early childhood was filled with a lot of domestic violence," she said. "I had one of those childhoods where I was raised in the inner city, saw a lot of gang violence and had to avoid a lot of gang violence. My three brothers ended up in jail and two of them died in jail from violence, drugs and alcoholism."

To change her path in life like many before her, Moore-Mccoy used the U.S. Air Force.

"Basically I came into the military to get away from violence," she said. "I was in the military for eight years, doing cryptologic maintenance. There were only 10 women who originally entered the career field. I loved being in the military and it was definitely a calling."

Moore-Mccoy served for several years, separating due to family reasons. After separating, she made a shocking discovery that opened her eyes to the reality of sexual assault.

"My oldest daughter was actually a victim of sexual assault," she said. "She cannot tell us who the perpetrator was, we just know something happened. It haunts me that we were unable to help her at that time."

After she separated, Moore-Mccoy continued to using the skills the Air Force taught her, allowing her to pursue her real passion.

"As my family got older, I decided to go back to school and get my degrees," she said. "While I was getting my degree I was working as a teacher and educational counselor."

After receiving degrees in communications studies and counseling, Moore-Mccoy continued to work as an educational councilor until presented with a new opportunity in 2005.

"When I got the information about this particular program, it hit me at home," she said. "There are boys, there are girls, who are hurt by this crime and offenders who get under the radar simply because we don't suspect them as offenders."

A friend of Moore-Mccoy asked if she had heard about a new AF job. She said they were looking for people who have counseling degrees to be what they call a SARC. "That is so cool and exactly what I want to do," she said.

"It was one of those blessings where God said, 'This is exactly where you need to be,' and it was absolutely fantastic," she said.

Because of the empathy she has for sexual assault victims, Moore-Mccoy has a unique understanding of what the military means to them.

"They survive a trauma, they survive being a victim of some type of interpersonal violence in their childhood," she said. "Believe it or not a lot of survivors actually come into the military to gain a sense of power, control and family. The military becomes powerful to them because they gain a family tie, and gain a sense of power, from being a person in the military"

A benefit of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program is its ability to work with all parts of the military, not only small portions. This effort included the many events held by the SAPR program during the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month activities held through the month of April.

"The month raises awareness of the crime," she said, "but also raises awareness of the resources available, prevention methods and education."

The events held by the SAPR program included a 5k run, a day of bowling, a presentation given by sexual assault survivors and many booths set up throughout the month to raise awareness, and change one major misconception still seen on Buckley.

"Lots of civilians think they cannot come talk to us, that we are not here for them, and that is not true", said Moore-Mccoy.

Beyond being available for the entire base, the SARC has begun working with outside agencies to increase awareness and cause change on a larger scale.

"We are cutting edge, we are the ones who are actually changing society," she said. "Colleges are now where the military was a few years ago under the media spotlight. In not knowing exactly what to do, they are actually turning to the DOD to see what they have done. Even in this area there are three major colleges who are mimicking the bystander intervention training the Air Force did."

Part of this attitude towards sexual assault has been created through the Air Force placing sexual assault as a high priority. Because of this Moore-Mccoy and victim advocates throughout the year host events, teach and show how important sexual assault prevention is.

"People can come and talk to us without opening a case," she said. "They can get information, they can tell us their story, the can get options for reporting, they can get care and services, and wait until they are comfortable with opening a case and do it."

Due to the efforts of the SAPR program, Moore-Mccoy has noticed a shift in the types of reports being made.

"Recently many of the cases are now coming to us on the lower end of the spectrum of harm," said Moore-Mccoy. "That means that people are now coming to us reporting instances of sexual assault that involve touch, rather than waiting until it involves rape."

When approaching Moore-Mccoy with a question, there is one important thing to remember.

"The most important thing to remember is that our conversation is confidential," she said. "They don't have to worry about me sharing it, they don't have to worry about me notifying command or anything like that. My goal is to put them at east so they can talk about whatever is going on."