Monday, June 01, 2015

Kunsan hosts Buddy Wing 15-4

by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/1/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- The 8th Fighter Wing is hosting members from the Republic of Korea Air Force's 123rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Wing, Seosan Air Base, Republic of Korea, to participate in Exercise Buddy Wing 15-4 here June 1 to 5.

During the five-day exercise, the 20th FW fighter pilots, maintenance and support personnel are integrating with Wolf Pack Airmen on all aspects of the exercise to include mission planning, briefing, execution and debriefing.

"Buddy Wing exercises provide training scenarios that sharpen our diverse skill sets," said Capt. Matthew Kimmel, 35th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot and Exercise Buddy Wing 15-4 project officer. "This is a great way to integrate with our ROKAF partners both in the air and on the ground."

According to Kimmel, Exercise Buddy Wing 15-4 will focus on different aspects of air-to-air and air-to-ground tactical training between the 8th FW and the 20th FW.

"Some examples of the training include defensive counterair and air interdiction scenarios," Kimmel said. "Defensive counterair involves defending a point or area against enemy fighters--where one enemy force attempts to take down the opposing force. Air interdiction scenarios consist of fighting your way into enemy territory and expending ordnance on enemy ground targets."

Combining specific objectives prove beneficial for the participating units during Buddy Wing exercises because Airmen not only refine tactical skillsets but also promote cultural awareness and interoperability.

"For more than 60 years, the ROK-U.S. Alliance continues to be one of the strongest alliances in modern history," said Capt. Min-Gyu Han, 123rd TFS pilot. "I come to Kunsan every year for training, and each time I know that the combined U.S.-ROK training will serve as a great opportunity to learn and understand our similarities, differences and tactical operations of both forces."

Buddy Wing exercises are conducted at various ROKAF and U.S. Air Force bases multiple times throughout the year on the Korean peninsula. The combined fighter exchange program provides pilots an opportunity to exchange ideas and practice combined tactics in order to fight and fly as one Allied force.

Wolf Pack celebrates AAPIH

by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/1/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- On May 7, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a proclamation designating May 1990 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Today, 25 years later, May continues to be observed in the Wolf Pack as a time to reflect, learn and celebrate the impact Asian and Pacific Islanders have had in history.

"We showcase all of the different cultures throughout the Pacific Islands and Asia," said Master Sgt. Maile Bottorf-Wilkinson, 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron superintendent of logistics plans and AAPIH event coordinator. "With the diversity the world has, it's important to celebrate it and bring awareness to other people who may not have grown up around it or experienced those types of cultures."

Team Wolf Pack kicked off the festivities for AAPIH month with an oriental-themed night at the Loring Club.

"We also surprised everybody with a Flash Mob Dance with about 25 dancers who participated," said Master Sgt. Katherine R. Simpkins, 8th Fighter Wing Administration and 3A functional manager.

Also featured throughout the month were a Hot Hula fitness demolition, a lumpia-making class, a Spring Fling Block Party, a Lunch & Learn event at the professional development center, and an Amazing Race. The finale of Team Wolf Pack's AAPIH month was a Luau Party, which showcased oriental cuisines and cultural dances from countries and tribes throughout the Pacific region.

"We had more than 50 volunteers and representatives from across the Wolf Pack community who graciously devoted their time in the multiple events throughout the month," said Master Sgt. Froilan M. Flores, 8th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports section chief. "It was a collaboration of Airmen with different cultural backgrounds that wanted to help out because we wanted to share something about us and our home with everyone."

Heritage months such as AAPIH also help broaden Airmen's perspectives about different nationalities. In particular, this year's theme was "Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion."

"Many Airmen might assume that these events are only for those with Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage," Simpkins said. "We are in a diverse community, so we should take advantage of observance months by learning about each culture and how we can support one another."

As Kunsan Airmen come from a wide range of nationalities, highlighting diverse cultural backgrounds brings a plethora of ideas and ways of thinking to the Wolf Pack community.

"The best part of celebrating AAPIH month at the Wolf Pack is how we support the events as a team and as a family," Simpkins said. "Airmen from all backgrounds helped with the planning, and that's how we pulled off the events successfully."

Wolf Pack welcomes the Lobos

by Senior Airman Divine Cox
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/31/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Fighter Wing relies on more than two thousand permanently assigned Airmen to carry out its mission.

On May 14, the Wolf Pack welcomed more than 250 South Dakota National Guard from the 114th Fighter Wing, Joe Foss Field, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They are deployed here as the 175th Fighter Squadron, part of the rotational Threat Security Package that strengthens the U.S. forces across the Asia-Pacific region.

This is the 114th Fighter Wing's first deployment to the Wolf Pack as a TSP.

"Our purpose here is not to just support a rotational Theater Security Package to the region," said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Rollag, 175th FW TSP superintendent. "Our purpose is to come here for a few months and help support the Wolf Pack's mission."

The TSP members are no strangers to being part of a pack.

"While deployed here to Kunsan, we are part of the Wolf Pack," said Rollag. "This is meaningful to us because at home we are known as the Lobos, which means 'wolf' in Spanish. There, we are known as the Dakota Pack."

Many of the TSP members volunteered for the opportunity to deploy and team up with another Pack thousands of miles away.

"Like the Wolf Pack, we are a very close knit unit," said Staff Sgt. Jon Vande Hoef, 175th Fighter Squadron aerospace propulsion technician,. "I volunteered for the experience to ensure that I share in the responsibilities of deployments with my unit."

Vande Hoef added that this was his first deployment ever, and that he was nervous and excited at the same time.

To ensure the Lobos felt at home at Kunsan, many Wolf Pack units collaborated to prepare for their arrival and to quickly make them feel like part of the Pack.

"The 8th Force Support Squadron, 8th Medical Group, 8th Security Forces Squadron are all involved with us in the preparation for the TSP arrival," said Tech. Sgt. Darrius Core, 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCOIC deployment and receptions. "After coordinating with the inbound units on what they need, we reach out to various units across the installation to ensure they have their lodging, meal cards, medical care and flightline access. The faster we work to assimilate them into the 8th FW, the faster they are ready for perform the mission."

All of the planning, organizing, and coordinating ensures a smooth transition into the 8th FW.

"We are very excited to be part of the Wolf Pack," said Rollag. "The hard work and planning the men and women of Kunsan did upon our arrival really showed. Our arrival was seamless, and we look forward to helping Kunsan remain ready to fight tonight."

Diamond in rough: Airman's recovery from haunted past

by Staff Sgt. Derek VanHorn
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/29/2015 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Growing up, many of his childhood nights were spent staring through a gaping hole in his bedroom ceiling. He didn't know how it got there, but sometimes it served as a pleasant escape from the surrounding chaos. It gave access to the wide open Oklahoma sky and he positioned his mattress in the corner of the room to watch the stars crawl across it like snails.

He knew at some point the peacefulness would end. As darkness approached, the cockroaches would be out soon and the all-too-familiar sounds of their chomping jaws would be the ubiquitous chorus of the night. But even that was better than the worst nights.

"I was always more worried about getting wailed on for no reason at three or four o'clock in the morning," said Master Sgt. Vernon Davenport. "It happened once or twice a week."

There were too many of those nights, and the days weren't much different. He tried spending most of them doing normal kid things like hitting homemade ramps on his bicycle and laying pennies on the backyard railroad tracks. He learned quickly that if he slipped into the house unnoticed, he'd have a better chance of being left alone through the night.

He picked up a few other things along the way too, like how to roll a joint at four years old, how to chew tobacco, and that the burnt, bent spoons weren't to be used for eating.

Davenport describes his childhood candidly and without pause: "Lonely."

His mother, Martha, was a drug addict and was constantly loaded on whatever she could get her hands on. Men came and went with regularity, and the same went for houses. Moving from home to home was standard, and by ninth grade, Davenport switched schools six times.

He found normalcy only during summers, where he'd spend the few months with his grandparents, J.D. and Marie. It wasn't the ideal setting for a boy trying to find his way in life - his grandma had double knee replacements that required almost constant assistance and J.D. battled failing health from emphysema - but Davenport made due. He pumped gas for minimum wage and any time away from home was time well spent, even with J.D.'s militant, no-nonsense attitude groomed from his days fighting in World War II and Korea.

J.D. taught Davenport the tough way, but always made room for justice. If Davenport didn't know what a word meant, J.D. pointed him to a dictionary. If something broke, they'd head outside and get their knuckles dirty fixing it. He was a true guardian to Davenport, and when his grandpa succumbed to his smoking habit in 1995, Davenport was crushed. He'll never forget what those summers meant to him and the dread that followed with each of them ending.

The end of summer marked the beginning of school, which meant moving back in with Martha.

While his awkward, adolescent frame made him an easy target for bullies, school was an escape for Davenport. It offered a sense of belonging, and he played the drums in band and stayed busy with sports to help stay hidden from home.

Martha was usually "zonked out on something" Davenport said, but she still always found ways to carry out her hidden aggressions on him. He was the oldest child of three and the only boy, which is why he assumes he took the brunt of the malice.

"Sometimes the school would call home about the bruises and burns on the backs of my legs," Davenport said. "But she always had an excuse. She'd use hangers, plastic combs, extension cords, cigarettes - anything she could reach."

There was never any method to the madness; the severity just depended on the day. Davenport was treated more like a servant than a son, and on top of senseless beatings, Martha assigned him far from regular household chores.

If she wanted to bathe, it was his job to boil water on the stove and make trip after trip to fill the tub with warm water. When the 8-year-old's hands slipped one day, the results were scars that were more than just emotional. The searing water tore through his shoe and skin, causing second degree burns that left his foot permanently marred.

After he healed up, he was right back at it. Baths were only allowed every other day, and everyone had to share the same water. When the bathtub was finally full after Davenport's labors, he was last in the pecking order to use it. At fifth in line, he refused to do anything but stand in the cold, filthy tub. As much as he wanted to change things, he knew it might come at the cost of harming his two sisters. It was better that he just take the pain and punishment.

"My grandparents remember me trying to climb on my parents' laps and them just pushing me away," he said. "I was the ostracized child, for whatever reason. I guess I didn't fit in with them."

Over time, he adapted. He found a way to make it a game.

"All I could do was learn how not to cry in front of her so I could win the internal battle," he said. "It really pissed her off when I wouldn't cry."

He stopped calling her "Mom" along the way and only refers to her by first name. While winning against Martha felt good, it was only half the battle.

The man he called his father was a drunk. Jeff stood around six feet tall and pushed 400 pounds. Davenport dreaded hearing his footsteps coming down the hallway. He married Martha while she was pregnant with Davenport, and while he wasn't his biological father, he played the part in sparse attempts.

He was overly imposing and eventually became the reason Davenport found himself buried alone in the corner of his room, staring down the barrel of a loaded rifle.

Martha had run off with another man, and Jeff felt just enough responsibility to drag Davenport along as he fired up a relationship with a woman named Colleen. She served a handful of years as a pseudo-mother to Davenport but never really showed much interest; she had her own kids from a previous marriage, leaving him once again unclaimed and to the wayside.

One night while Colleen was away, Davenport was home alone with Jeff. He'd been obedient in relaying beer after beer to him as he barked commands while slouched in his recliner. When bedtime came, Jeff drunkenly coaxed the defenseless eighth-grader to his room and overpowered him with his massive frame.

"I wasn't big enough to do anything to stop it," Davenport said, stone-faced. "I froze. You know when they talk about people freezing during a rape? That happens."

When he came to his senses he stumbled to the bathroom, slammed the door, crumpled to the ground and cried. Only a two-inch thick door separated him from his surrounding hell. He never told anyone about that night; like much of his life, he had no one to turn to.

Shortly after, his interest in life began to rapidly dissipate. The weight of what felt like a shameful secret weighed heavy on his mind and pushed him to a place he'd never been before.

"That's when I got a hold of a rifle and said 'I've had enough of this'" Davenport said. He waited for a weekend when everyone was away from the home where he'd access the gun. He loaded it, flipped off the "safe" switch, bit down on the barrel and rested his thumb on the trigger.

"I don't know why I didn't do it," he said, shaking his head. "I had every intention to. I just never pulled the trigger."

He had hit rock bottom. Thankfully, the pick-me-up he needed was unexpectedly right around the corner.

That month, his middle school hosted a function featuring a motivational speaker. Davenport sat off to the side, detached and trapped in his own world. He remembers the days blending together in a fog, but in a single sentence, the speaker's words might've saved his life.

"He said 'Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem'" Davenport remembers. "He talked about how someone always has it worse. I remember thinking 'I don't know if anyone's got it worse', but I decided to take those words to heart and hold onto them."

Davenport found a way to push through. When life took its swings, he always swung back.

"You endure," Davenport said. "Even at your lowest of lows - when you're under the rock - you have to keep trudging along."

He pressed on through high school as a multiple sport letterman and worked his tail off in the classroom, earning all As on every report card. The little things still stung, like watching his buddies hop in cars with their families while he wheeled his bicycle to the street. But by now, he'd learned how to survive on his own. His arduous past conditioned him to face anything with stoicism, and his grandfather's discipline never left his side.

Before his junior year, he set his sights on the U.S. Air Force. He'd seen a video on medics, and it was all he wanted to do.

"If I didn't join the military, I was going to run away," Davenport said. "There was no plan B."

Following graduation, his recruiter informed him he'd landed his dream job. He hopped in the car with him for the two hour drive to Oklahoma City and took his first airplane ride to San Antonio where he attended Basic Military Training. In many ways, he was finally free.

Sixteen years later he bounces around in his office with the enthusiasm of a lotto winner. As much as some might have tried to take it away, there's still a ton of kid left in him. He's now the first sergeant for the 35th Communications Squadron, a job specifically designed to help others.

He spent 14 years as a medic, where the service to others was similar at its core -- even in the most grisly of situations.

"When you do eight deployments as a medic, you see a lot of nasty, horrible stuff," Davenport said. "It makes urgent care centers in the states look like a walk-in sick call. It's the most horrific thing you've ever seen in your life and you're helping these guys fight to survive. You can't describe it."

He said these grueling experiences have helped put his life and past in perspective. He's kept quiet about his past for nearly two decades; he didn't want pity for being dealt a bad hand in his childhood.

It wasn't until watching a video of an Air Force Academy appearance when the words of U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III reached him on a personal level. Welsh talked about how every Airman mattered; how each member was a person rather than a number and how every Airman has a story to tell. The message convinced Davenport that his story might help encourage others who have also reached dark, lonely places.

"I don't want people to treat me differently because of my past -- you love people for who they are, not what they've been through," he said. "I just hope my example can help that one person that's struggling to get through something."

Now, he lives the role. His existence revolves around selflessness.

"Sometimes I forget I'm the first sergeant with rank and I end up being the guy that's just there for someone," Davenport said. "I need to personalize with my people; I need to get down and get in the trenches with them. I owe them my sincerity."

Through all the years of rejection and trying to fit in where he wasn't wanted, he's finally found his home. The Air Force let him be himself. He admits the recovery process is constant and he's accepted the fact that some things will never make sense to him. But he feels whole - something he never thought possible for so many years.

"It's made me a stronger person," he said. "Sure it sucked and I wish it could have been different, but there's no reason to dwell on it. It's all made me who I am today."

D.C. Air National Guard Search & Recovery Team aces evaluation

by Airman 1st Class Anthony Small
113th Wing Public Affairs

5/19/2015 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.  -- The D.C. Air National Guard special disaster-response team concluded a week of training with a final evaluation exercise in order to be certified by the Defense Department, May 11-16.

The Guardsmen successfully completed the training tasks required to achieve Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear and High Yield Explosive - Enhanced Response Force Package validation according to DOD standards.

A key section of that response was the DC Air Guard's Fatality Search and Recovery Team, whose mission is to locate and recover the remains of victims killed in hostile action or natural disasters.

"This is a unique capability that only the Air National Guard possesses, and it's an essential capability for domestic support operations," said Master Sgt. Dan Marx, 113th FSRT NCO in Charge. "This skill will allow us to provide short notice assistance to local, state and federal agencies."

The training and evaluation was staged at the Virginia Fire Training Center, a unique facility that features a robust assortment of training environments, including collapsed buildings and structures.

"The Virginia Fire Training Center is a pretty impressive facility," said Tech. Sgt. Jeremiah Smith Team Bravo Lead 113th Wing's FSRT. "The disaster area has buildings that have been reduced to piles of rubble. It's about as realistic as you can get."

The mission of CERFP is to respond to CBRNE incidents and assist local, state and federal agencies in conducting consequence management by providing capabilities to perform patient decontamination, emergency medical services and casualty search and extraction.

"The team has special training and equipment that allow them to operate in a wide spectrum of hazardous environments, including those contaminated by biological, nuclear or chemical agents," said Marx.

While the protective gear includes a battery-operated air purification system, the suits themselves are not ventilated, and ambient temperatures during the exercise hovered in the mid-80s, Marx said, requiring careful management of work-rest cycles.

By the time they finish donning their suits, our team members have about 20 minutes to work, Marx said. "So that's 20 minutes to get into the hot zone, do what you need to do, and come back out. The warmer it is, the longer it takes to recover remains. High temperatures make for a very time-consuming process."

Even with the high temperatures and intense environment the 113th Wing's  FSRT achieved their mission.
"The recovery process went extremely well, despite the heat and intense environment," said Smith.

Another challenge was the presence of simulated ambulatory survivors, courtesy of more than 40 actors who were hired to add a dose of unpredictable realism to the scenario.

"This exercise really gave us a new realization of what we should expect in a real-world situation," said Marx."We're going to have news media and the civilian community watching us while we perform our mission, and some of those civilians are going to want and need help."

For the 113th Wing's FSRT, that kind of awareness may be the most valuable lesson learned during the training and evaluation.

"This training was important, It gave us a real foothold on exactly what our purpose is with respect to homeland defense, and how intense it can get," said Senior Airman Dominique Comer Alpha Team Lead 113th Wing's FSRT. "It's a dirty job but someone has to get the victims back to their families"

Funeral service to be held for 9th CMSAF in Arlington

By 11th Wing Public Affairs, / Published June 01, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- A full military honors funeral service honoring the ninth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James C. Binnicker is scheduled to be held at 9 a.m. EDT, Aug. 14 at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Binnicker died March 21 in Calhoun, Georgia.

The ceremony is open to the public and expected attendance includes immediate family, friends, civic leaders and military members.

“Chief Binnicker was a leader amongst leaders,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody. “We will always remember his service ... not because he was the chief master sergeant of the Air Force, but because he set the standard as an innovator and as a leader, because he added to our joy and brought triumph and glory to our Air Force, and because he left an everlasting impact on every Airman who crossed his path.”

The uniform of the day for military personnel attending the service is full service dress.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Air Force Enlisted Village.

Send flower donations to:
Memorial Chapel Flowers
101 McNair Rd.
Fort Myer, VA 22211

AIR MOBILITY COMMAND: 23 Years of Global Reach for America

from Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

6/1/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Today, Air Mobility Command celebrates 23 year of unrivaled Global Reach, with a rich heritage dating back decades.

A new era in air power history began when AMC was born at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. June 1, 1992, after the Military Airlift Command and the Strategic Air Command were inactivated.  Elements of those two organizations, MAC's worldwide airlift system and SAC's KC-10 and KC-135 tanker force, combined to form AMC. The new command was assigned approximately 155,035 military and civilian personnel, including 85,765 active duty, 46,561 Air Force reservists, and 22,709 Air National Guard men and women.

Today, more than 118,000 active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command and Department of Defense civilians make AMC's unrivaled global mobility operations possible.

For 23 years, AMC Airmen have played a key role in the nation's most notable warfighting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; peacekeeping missions and operational efforts in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda and East Timor and Libya; and humanitarian response in Turkey, Honduras, Afghanistan, Haiti, and most recently, Nepal.

Mobility Airmen have become the heart of rapid global mobility - putting the "global" in Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power for America.

(Kathy Gunn, Air Mobility Wing History Office, contributed to this article.)

Morón AB celebrates 75 years

by Senior Airman Damon Kasberg
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/1/2015 - MORON AIR BASE, Spain  -- Thousands of people flocked to the flightline of Morón Air Base, Spain, as the Ala 11th, Spanish Air Force welcomed them to attend an open house from May 30-31.

The event was held to celebrate Morón's 75th anniversary.

"The local populace in the cities surrounding the base such as Utrera, El Coronil, Morón de la Frontera, and Arahal have been talking about this event for months," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Katherine Plichta, 496th Air Base Squadron Operations Support Flight commander. "The support from all air base partners as well as aircraft from all over Spain makes this a once in a lifetime celebration. The range of activities and demonstrations that are being offered this weekend also make this event special."

Participating units included the Spanish Air Force, U.S. Air Force 496th ABS and Marine Corps Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa. Visitors had the opportunity to see static displays from both countries' armed forces, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, P-3 Orion and MV-22B Osprey.

"Everyone has been extremely nice here," said U.S. Marine Capt. Matthew 'Flame' Shaw, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 226th SPMAGTF-CR-AF MV-22B Osprey pilot. "We've had a steady stream of people come up to ask questions, take picture next to the Osprey and tour the inside. Getting this close to an aircraft with the Osprey's capabilities is a once in a life time opportunity for some of these people."

When attendees looked to the skies they were treated with a show from the Spanish Air Forces' Patrulla Águila, Casa C-101 Aviojets demonstration team and Patrulla ASPA, EC-120 helicopter aerobatic display team.

"I'm proud to visit Morón and feel what it's like to be around the military," said Jose Jimenez Garcia, open house attendee. "We don't get to do this often, get to see who they are. Being here helps us understand the military life."

In its 75-years, Morón has had a long history of working side-by-side with the United States. It hosts U.S. Air Force and Marines units, and supports operations throughout Europe, Africa and Central Asia.

"The relationships between Spain and the U.S. has been magnificent and we've been able to help other friendly, allied countries," said Spanish Air Force Lt. Juan Sanz Penalver, Ala 11th historian. "The American presence in this base is very important, logically. They've given us security, jobs and employment. In exchange, we've offered them our support with the installation. The reality is that today we are friends, allies and we work together. Defense is our shared interest."

While it's uncertain what the next 75 years has to offer Morón, it's clear by looking across the flightline during the open house, Morón has built a heritage of U.S. and Spain partnership.

100th ARW changes command

by By Senior Airman Christine Halan
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

5/29/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Col. Thomas D. Torkelson, accepted command of the 100th Air Refueling Wing from Col. Kenneth T. Bibb, Jr., May 29, 2015, on RAF Mildenhall, England.

The handing off of the 100th ARW guidon symbolizes the relinquish of command, passed from Bibb to Torkleson.

The presiding officer, Lt. Gen. Darryl L. Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander,  commended Bibb for a job well done and charged Torkelson to have motivational mission accomplishment, the compassionate care of Airmen and their families, and the drive to innovate and improve.

The outgoing 100th ARW commander, Bibb, thanked all Airmen, civilians and British guests for their service and hard work while he was in command.

"Thank you for your continued support of those who defend freedom," said Bibb. "It was an honor and privilege to serve our great nation and command the Bloody Hundredth."      

Following the change of command, Torkelson spoke to members of Team Mildenhall and challenged the Airmen and civilians of the 100th ARW to "Be ready, stay balanced, and get better."

"To the Airmen of the Bloody Hundredth, understand that you are the backbone of power projection in this area of the world, and that you are the "Global" in Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power," said Torkelson. "The 100th Bomb Group vets have a saying, 'Once a part of the 100th, always a part of the 100th.' It is a sincere honor to be back in the Bloody Hundredth as an active member. Team Torkelson vows to extend their storied legacy a few more years with your help and to continue the 100th Air Refueling Wing's tradition of being 'Square-D Away.'"

Prior to arriving at RAF Mildenhall, Torkelson served as the vice commander of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan.  However he's no stranger to RAF Mildenhall. He was formerly the 351st Air Refueling Squadron commander from July 2010 to June 2012.

Passing the torch: 501st CSW welcomes new commander

by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

5/29/2015 - RAF ALCONBURY, England -- Since its relocation to RAF Alconbury, England, in 2007, five U.S. Air Force officers have commanded the 501st Combat Support Wing.

During a ceremony on base, May 28, Col. Kevin Cullen became the sixth, when he assumed command of the nation's only combat support wing from Col. Angela Cadwell.

Regarded as Pathfinders, Airmen of the 501st CSW built a legacy as pioneers of new ideas and radical solutions - a tradition Cullen said he wishes to build upon.

"Together, we are bounded by professionalism, inspired by innovation and fueled by Pathfinder pride," the commander said. "With those three pillars, our potential is limitless."

Poised to ensure three air base groups, co-located between the United Kingdom and Norway, Cullen said he is committed to ensuring the groups and mission partners are resourced, sustained, trained and equipped to provide exemplary mission support to U.S. and NATO warfighters.

"We provide our country and Allies a set of unique, diverse and critical strategic capabilities," Cullen said. "My challenge to individuals, squadrons, groups and the wing is to continue to light the way into new and amazing territory."

Presiding over the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, placed complete confidence in Cullen's ability to continue the wing's path of excellence.

"It's a perfect fit," Roberson said. "Col. Cullen is right where he needs to be."

Serving as the critical entry and relay point for cyber activities across the U.S. European, Africa and Central Commands, as well as the U.S. State Department, the 501st CSW would not enjoy its stellar mission success rate without a highly trained team of professionals, Cullen said.

"Your dedication to the mission, and each other, are the fundamental building blocks of our combat capability," Cullen said. "We are the Pathfinders, and we light the way for all others to follow."

Face of Defense: Supply Soldiers Deliver the Goods in Poland

By Army Spc. Marcus Floyd
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP KONOTOP, Poland, June 1, 2015 – Heading out at 4 a.m., Army Staff Sgt. Marcus Carr Sr. and his supply team put on their gear and jumped into their tactical vehicle to deliver breakfast to the soldiers in the field here.

Although chow doesn't start for two more hours, Carr is adamant about getting the food to its destination on time.

“When I first came in the Army, I had a first sergeant and a commander who would ride me constantly, making sure the soldiers were fed on time,” said Carr, a unit supply sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

“When I was younger I didn't understand it,” he said, “but as I got older, I understood that if a soldier is not fed on time, the soldier cannot complete the mission.”

Operation Atlantic Resolve

The Army supply team has brought Carr's “mission first” mindset to Poland as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between NATO allies.

Besides issuing food, Carr and his supply team also provide expendable and repair materials and building maintenance items throughout their unit’s area of operation.

“If it's not on time, the whole mission is delayed,” Carr said. “That's why I feel we are the backbone behind every mission.”

However, that mission hasn't been without its logistical challenges, Carr said. Normally supplied with a government purchase card used to make on-the-spot purchases from the local economy, the supply team has had to find ways to purchase supplies.

In following with the goals of Atlantic Resolve to work with NATO allies, the team was able to find a solution to the problem, Carr said.

Doing 'Just About Everything'

“We just make it happen,” he said. “We have our friends -- the French, Poles and Canadians -- and we do whatever it takes to help them. And in return, they help us.”

Atlantic Resolve has not only been an opportunity to work with NATO allies but has also provided Carr's soldiers with invaluable experience.

“The whole time we've been out here I've done just about everything a supply guy can do,” said Army Pfc. Milton Shelton, a unit supply specialist. “I'm knee-deep in lateral [equipment] transfers, [financial liability investigations for property loss], everything in regard to my job.”

Shelton, fueled with excitement from his experiences at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, takes every challenge in stride.

To prepare for the mission to Poland, Shelton said, the supply team transferred equipment from another unit, and although the process would normally be lengthy, they managed to accomplish the goal in about a week.

Rising to Challenges

“It's not challenging. You just rise to the occasion,” he said. “You don't really have time to dwell on challenges. You just have to do the job.”

Signed for a company's worth of equipment, Shelton rose to the occasion and experienced a side of the Army supply system rarely experienced by junior-enlisted soldiers.

“Most soldiers don't get that kind of experience, especially fresh out of Advanced Individual Training," Carr said. “So these guys will have first-hand experience with just about everything you can encounter.”

Carr said he and his soldiers have learned much in Poland.

“We can learn more out here. We have more time [in the field] out here,” said Army Spc. Tiereef Kales, another supply specialist assigned to the unit.

Rewarding Work

Kales and Shelton said they’ve gained extensive supply experience during their deployment to Poland, including inventories and investigations.

“It makes me feel good because I know I have poured everything I was supposed to pour into that soldier,” Carr said. “It makes me feel good also knowing that if I leave here right now, that soldier can step in my shoes and wear them well.”

Although his chain of command shows their appreciation for his hard work, getting the chance to improve his skills is reward enough, Shelton said.

“I'm glad I'm getting to learn all the stuff I'm learning,” he said. “I'm glad I'm getting to do everything I'm doing because it's going to make me a better noncommissioned officer.”