Friday, June 05, 2015

B-52s to Demonstrate Long-Range Strategic Capabilities in Europe

by United States Strategic Command Public Affairs

6/5/2015 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Three B-52 Stratofortresses assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, deployed today to Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford, United Kingdom. The deployment demonstrates the United States' ability to project its flexible, long-range global strike capability and provides opportunities to synchronize strategic activities and capabilities with allies and partners in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) area of operations during the month of June.

During the short-term deployment, the strategic bombers, supported by more than 330 Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen, are scheduled to conduct training flights with ground and naval forces around the region and participate in multinational Exercises BALTOPS 15 and SABER STRIKE 15 over international waters in the Baltic Sea and the territory of the Baltic states and Poland. The bombers will integrate into several exercise activities, including air intercept training, simulated mining operations during SABER STRIKE, inert ordnance drops during BALTOPS, and close air support. Each activity provides unique opportunities for bomber crews to integrate and train with other USEUCOM components and regional allies and partners while exercising the U.S.'s key bomber capabilities.

"This deployment to RAF Fairford was specifically designed and closely coordinated with the United Kingdom and our regional Allies to ensure maximum opportunities to synchronize and integrate our bomber capabilities with their military assets," said U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander. "Participation of B-52s in Exercises BALTOPS and SABER STRIKE demonstrates our nation's steadfast commitment to promoting regional stability and security, fostering cooperation and increasing interoperability as we work alongside our allies toward mutual goals."

The deployment demonstrates the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and U.K. Elevating RAF Fairford to active status is a key component to this deployment due to the critical capabilities of the base. The fully-developed and tested infrastructure and support facilities at the airfield, as well as its strategic location and unique capabilities, establish the base as a key location for large-scale exercises and readiness operations and an ideal site for bomber operations.

RAF Fairford has a long history of bomber operations, serving the contingency requirements of the U.S. and Royal Air Forces and their NATO partners since it first opened in 1944. Most recently, RAF Fairford served as a forward operating base for deployed B-52s and B-2s in June 2014. Both platforms conducted training evolutions in and around the U.K. during this time and B-52s participated in the 70th anniversary of D-Day commemoration events.

USSTRATCOM's bomber force regularly conducts combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with allies and partners. B-52 participation in Exercises BALTOPS and SABER STRIKE follows several global missions during the past year to enhance interoperability.

Two B-52s participated alongside Jordanian forces in U.S. Central Command's (USCENTCOM's) Exercise EAGER LION 2015 in May. The mission consisted of a nonstop 30-plus hour sortie from the continental U.S. to the USCENTCOM area of operations.

In April, four B-52s flew round-trip flights to the Arctic and North Sea regions. The training mission, POLAR GROWL, enabled bomber crews to conduct air intercept training with fighter aircraft from the U.K., Canada and the Netherlands.
B-52s also participated in NATO Exercise NOBLE JUSTIFICATION in October 2014, during which the bombers assisted in the exercise's focus of validating the Spanish Maritime Force as the 2015 Maritime NATO Response Force.

USSTRATCOM is one of nine DoD unified combatant commands and is charged with strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction; and analysis and targeting.

Whiteman Airman receives Lance P. Sijan award

by Senior Airman Joel Pfiester
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/5/2015 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- A Whiteman Airman was recently named the 2014 Lance P. Sijan award recipient in the company grade officer (CGO) category.

Capt. John Sullivan, 509th Security Forces Squadron operations officer was recognized May 28 during a ceremony hosted by Air Force Global Strike Command commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson.

The award, first presented in 1981, was established in honor of the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. Capt. Lance P. Sijan was a fighter pilot who was shot down over Vietnam Nov. 9, 1967, and was later killed while a prisoner of war.

The Sijan award recognizes the accomplishments of officers and enlisted members who have demonstrated the highest quality of leadership in the performance of their duties and their personal lives.

This is Sullivan's first time winning the Lance P. Sijan award at the Air Force level. However, he received the wing-level Sijan award in 2010 while assigned to the 87th Air Base Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

A humbled Sullivan credits his success to the team work that goes into the mission at Whiteman.

"The mission of the 509th BW is tremendous," said Sullivan. "I am just lucky enough to be the operations officer for the 509th SFS and that I get to be a part of this fantastic team."

Sullivan is responsible for the one of the Air Force's largest nuclear deterrence security forces squadrons, overseeing more than 550 personnel who protect Whiteman's greatest resources.

Sullivan orchestrated the security plan during two major exercises, and manages the physical security for more than $45 billion worth of aircraft and munitions on a daily basis. He was named the 8th Air Force 2013 Company Grade Officer of the Year (CGOY) as well the AFGSC Security Forces CGOY in 2013.

Sullivan's consistent demonstration of leadership led to him receiving the award.
"I don't know if people realize what a big deal that is," said Wilson. "First of all, he's an outstanding leader. To be recognized amongst Whiteman's best would be phenomenal but to be recognized as the Air Force's best CGO (in the leadership area) is spectacular. It is indicative of the talent we have here at Whiteman. He is a rock star. He is one of those role models leaders who will go on to do great things for our Air Force."

Continuing the legacy: Tibbets takes command of 509th Bomb Wing

by Staff Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/5/2015 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- During a historical ceremony June 5, Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV took command of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

Tibbets' grandfather, Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets Jr., was the pilot of "Enola Gay," the B-29 Superfortress known for dropping the "Little Boy" atomic bomb Aug. 6, 1945, on Hiroshima, Japan.

At the time, the then-colonel was assigned to the 509th Composite Group, a predecessor unit to the 509th Bomb Wing.

Now, his grandson is in command of the world's only fleet of B-2 Spirits and the 5,500 Airmen who make the stealth bomber mission possible.

The outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Glen VanHerck, is headed to be the Air Force Global Strike Command director of operations at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

During his final farewell, VanHerck focused his speech on thanking those in attendance: the chaplain for the invocation, his family for their support and finally, the men and women of the 509th for their hard work during his tenure.

"Stay razor sharp and ready to go," said VanHerck in the final farewell to his Airmen. "It's a matter of when, not if, you will be called upon again. Keep leading and own it every day."

Tibbets is coming from an assignment as the deputy director for nuclear operations, Global Operations Directorate, U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. He has been stationed at Whiteman twice before in multiple roles including a B-2 pilot, deputy chief of wing standardization and evaluation, director of operations, and commander of the 393rd Bomb Squadron.

Like VanHerck, Tibbets' speech focused largely on thanking people: the Lord for making all things possible, the state and federal officials for their attendance and finally, the men and women of Whiteman.

"Thank you for the time, energy, passion and devotion you have dedicated to welcoming my family to Whiteman for the third time," said Tibbets, who in past interviews has credited his father with helping inspire him to join the Air Force.

Tibbets said he hopes for three things from the base's Airmen: that they take care of themselves, that they take care of their families and to be excellent in their duties.

"If my grandfather was here today, he would tell all of you how proud he is of the great things you do for our nation," he added. "Each one of you is a source of power for the mission - you make it happen each and every day. I will serve with passion, humility, courage and respect every day, and I ask the same of you."

Leadership stresses care in Travis visit

by 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

6/4/2015 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lt. Gen. Carlton Everhart II, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Rob Rodewald, 18th AF command chief, stressed the importance of Airmen taking care of themselves and their families June 1 to 3 during a visit to Travis Air Force Base, California.

The 18th AF is the operational arm of Air Mobility Command, the major command under which Travis falls.

The pair visited the base dining facilities, air traffic control tower, radar approach control, dormitories and stopped at David Grant USAF Medical Center, the Air Force's largest medical facility in the continental United States.

Everhart called the Airmen at Travis "unbelievable."

"I'm telling you, from the ground to the air to the air to the ground, you are getting it done all over the place," he said. "We are the world's greatest airpower. ... You know how to make that happen."

Everhart and Rodewald also flew on a C-17 Globemaster III sortie and visited the leadership of the 349th Air Mobility Wing and the 621st Contingency Response Wing as well as the host 60th AMW.

The two spoke to Airmen for more than an hour during an all-call at the Base Theater, touching on subjects such as the revamp of the Enlisted Performance Review, the ongoing fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the possible restructuring of Basic Allowance for Housing for dual-service couples.

Rodewald used the all-call as an opportunity to urge members to seek help when they need it, citing the number of service members who have committed suicide this year.

The chief touched on his understanding and experience, emphasizing that having a "source of hope" is necessary for everyone.

"I'm married," he said. "I have five wonderful children. I've thought about some of the worst things that can happen to me and it's not fun, but I need to do that. I need to find out what my source of hope is. It's going to get me to the next day."

Rodewald also discussed the new enlisted evaluation system, saying the new system will emphasize feedback focused on duty performance.

"Taking classes and other stuff is important, but none of that matters if we lose the next war," he said.

The command chief spoke on the service's ongoing effort to increase awareness of sexual assault and sexual violence, telling the audience that in his first 15 months as 18th AF command chief, almost every incident involved alcohol.

"We can stop this problem right now," he said. "There's a continuum of harm. We need to stop that. We have the power to stop that. Take care of your wingmen."

Everhart told Airmen that the future of the Air Force lies with them. He urged them toward innovation and fresh ideas and asked people to come to him when policies aren't in line.

"I never want to hear you say, 'Well, that's the way we've done it before,'" he said. "If there are roadblocks there, you need to tell me.

Face of Defense: Soldier Finds a Family in the Army

By Army Capt. Jessica Meyer
2nd Combat Aviation Brigade

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea, June 5, 2015 – The U.S. Army is about being a team member, leading soldiers to complete the mission and at the end of the day being there for each other.

Soldiers can find a family inside their unit that can help push them and motivate them to become better and provide support and resiliency.

The Toughest Talon is a competition that soldiers in the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade here participate in each year. It is the ultimate physical and military skills challenge.

The event includes an Army Physical Fitness Test, rope climbing, cross fit, tire flipping, litter carrying, road marching, stress shooting and a nine-line medevac radio transmission. Only a handful of selected soldiers participate in the competition from each battalion.

During his assignment to South Korea, Army Sgt. Timothy K. Han, a command group driver assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, participated in three Toughest Talon competitions and two Best Warrior Competitions sponsored by the 2nd Division.

Why would Han participate in all of these competitions?

Setting an Example

“I want to set an example to other soldiers that you can do competitions even after the daily tasks that we all have to do,” Han explained.

Army Sgt. Ken Chambers, a senior signal support specialist who have been working with Han over the past 7 months said Han “is competent and motivates his fellow soldiers to work harder.”

Han also is the remedial physical training instructor for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company here. Every evening, he wears a tactical vest and instructs PT for the soldiers who need help.

Han said he wears the vest “to understand the difficulty that the overweight soldiers face when they do pushups and other exercises.”

Lost Friend Provides Motivation

Although he has a passion for challenges, Han added that he does find the physical competition to be extremely stressful. Every time he wants to quit, Han said he thinks of his friend, Kevin Tran, which helps him find his motivation.

“I met Kevin when I was in the 7th grade and we hung out all the time until he passed away my junior year in high school,” Han said.

Having grown up without the support and care from his parents, Han said the loss of his best friend crushed his heart.

“When Kevin passed away and my brother joined the Air Force, there was nobody around for me,” Han said.

He said he thought he could get over the sorrow of losing his friend by joining the Army.

‘I Love the Army’

“I have never done any competition before, never won awards, and never had meals three times a day before joining the Army,” Han said. “I love the Army, and I have such a large amount of support from my chain of command.”

During his assignment in South Korea, Han said that he plans to join the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, a private U.S. Army organization for enlisted noncommissioned officers.

For his long-term plans, Han said he wishes to have a family and become a good dad because he never had that growing up.

Joint, Allied forces prepare to honor heritage

by Senior Airman Nicole Sikorski
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/4/2015 - NORMANDY, France -- More than 100 U.S. Air Force Airmen are in Normandy, France, finalizing preparations to commemorate the 71st anniversary of D-Day.

Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing's 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will use four C-130J Super Hercules to provide air support for a D-Day commemoration ceremony on June 7.

Throughout the week leading up to the celebration of France's liberation from Hitler's control during World War II, the 37th AS is conducting low-level formation flights. They will also participate in memorial ceremonies to honor the fallen comrades who gave their lives on June 6, 1944, during Operation Neptune.

"We're very proud to be here and to be a part of this," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Chad Thompson, 37th AS pilot. "It is very humbling to come here and to see our heritage and celebrate what our forefathers did before us."

Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines have come together to show support during this week for not only Americans who served, but to strengthen partnerships abroad.

"It is surreal to visit and see the places where many men died for our freedom," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Gerhart, 6th Ranger Training Battalion ranger training brigade instructor. "I enjoy working with (joint and allied forces) to be able to celebrate those who paved the way for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization foundation."

Many French nationals come from all over to celebrate with patriotic clothes and decorations around the community to thank Americans for their service to their country.

"I am very proud to see the support from our American allies," said Phillip Catherine, Picauville mayor. "We are very appreciative for this here. For us, this is a (vivid and emotional memory.)"

On June 6, 1944, U.S. and Allied forces dropped more than 13,000 paratroopers from aircraft to liberate France of Nazi control.

American military forces and locals have come together to recreate that memory for Normandy.

"It's an honor to be out here remembering what Americans did during WWII," said Staff. Sgt. James Gaston, 37th AS loadmaster. "I'm humbled to participate with my team."

Military presence will continue to provide support to honor the fallen, who died to pave the way for the next generation.