Military News

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

ROK, US crew chiefs keep jets flying

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


6/5/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The flying mission does not stop. At any given hour, teams of maintainers work as their uniforms reek and glisten of oil and hydraulic fluid.

Regardless of the time, day or severity of the weather, these men and women report to their duty sections every day with one mission -- keep their aircraft flying.

The KF-16 Fighting Falcon crew chiefs from the Republic of Korea air force 123rd Maintenance Flight, 20th Fighter Wing, Seosan Air Base, and the Wolf Pack's 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron worked around the clock to inspect, troubleshoot and maintain F-16s and KF-16s during Exercise Buddy Wing 15-4 here, June 1 to 5.

"Our U.S. counterparts collaborated with us to ensure we had the necessary equipment and resources to do our jobs on the flightline," said ROKAF Warrant Officer Young-Ki, 20th Fighter Wing crew chief. "The generous support they provided allowed for a seamless transition in terms of shifting maintenance operations from Seosan to Kunsan Air Base."

This is the first time in 15 years since Young-Ki visited Kunsan Air Base for a Buddy Wing Exercise.

"There were things that have changed since my first Buddy Wing exercise at Kunsan Air Base in 2000," Young-Ki said. "However, our mission to support training sorties through perfect maintenance remains the same."

As Seosan crew chiefs provided maintenance to ROKAF jets, their U.S. counterparts from the 8th AMXS provided support to pilots from the 35th Fighter Squadron.

"My leadership briefed me how Exercise Buddy Wing 15-4 is in place here to strengthen our bond with the ROKAF," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Brenton Repine, 8th AMXS assistant dedicated crew chief. "I think being a part of the partnership between ROKAF and the U.S. is very special. It's pretty cool to know that I'm part of a coalition force."

Whether working to ensure aircraft are mission capable for exercises like this iteration of Buddy Wing or assisting a wingman with a maintenance issue, a crew chief's primary responsibility is to generate sorties.

"I think everyone on our maintenance team is incredibly vital to the mission," Repine said. "We all have a mission to work towards and if it doesn't get done, then aircraft aren't going to fly."

Dirt Boyz dream big, dig lifestyle

by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


6/9/2015 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Perhaps Confucius said it best, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

For two Dirt Boyz assigned to the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, Confucius seems to have hit the nail on the head.

Senior Airman Andrew Sundling and Airman 1st Class Adam Pryor, both 354th CES pavements and heavy equipment operators, find joy in their job, but their only wish is for more snow on the ground.

"I like being stationed at a colder base because I love the snow removal aspect of our job," Pryor said. "I've always had a fascination with equipment, but I'd like to go places to learn different parts of our job such as inspections of pavements."

Sundling has seen a different side of his job due to a seven-month deployment to Al-Udeid, but explained that snow removal is exciting to him and one of his favorite aspects of being a Dirt Boy.

"Being able to deploy was a turning-point for my career because I was always busy and got to drive machines other than a snow broom," Sundling said. "I love this job and I've had good mentors along the way and would like to stay in the military as a Dirt Boy for as long as I can."

Weather permitting, the Dirt Boyz shouldn't see snow for a few months, but there are plenty of other tasks to complete before the first snowflake falls again.

"After winter breakup we clean up the streets and sidewalks and take care of any job that might come up," Pryor said. "Some of our bigger projects include assisting with water break repairs and cleaning all of our snow equipment so that we can turn it in for summer rebuild."

The Airmen's next base may or may not include large amounts of snow, but trying to make the best of where they are now seems to be the general consensus from other shop members who've seen the two in action.

"Sundling and Pryor are two great Airmen who can receive a task and you know it's going to be done right without having to look over their shoulders," said Staff Sgt. Randy Hare, 354th CES pavements and equipment vehicle control officer. "They are more than willing to do any job you give them and don't complain about the task, no matter how minute. They are all around good guys to have in the military."

Hawaiian Raptors surge to new record

by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
15th Wing Public Affairs


6/9/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- A record breaking number of F-22 raptor sorties were successfully launched from the runway at JBPHH, June 6.

Pilots of the F-22 from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 199th Fighter Squadron and the 19th Fighter Squadron teamed up with maintenance Airmen from the 154th Wing and 15th Maintenance Group to launch and recover 62 Raptors in a day.

A sortie surge, or an increase in flying operations, simulates wartime operations, which is higher than the standard training tempo. The increase in sorties tested the flying capability of the total force integration squadron known as the Hawaii Raptors.

Operators, maintainers, and supporting personnel all played their part to set the new record.

"Morale seemed to be at an all-time high, with pilots literally grinning from ear to ear," said Lt. Col Justin Spears, 19th FS Commander. "Spirits seemed equally high on the maintenance side. When I went out to the ramp I was continually asked by every maintainer I saw, 'What's the sortie count?' and 'How many are we going to get?' Those men and women did an absolutely phenomenal job quick turning jets, fixing broken aircraft, replacing tires when plugs blew, and running the hot pits."

According to Spears, in a normal week around 50 sorties are scheduled. By flying 62 sorties, the Hawaiian Raptors flew more than they would ever fly or schedule in the normal five day flying week.

The previous record was 46 sorties in one day with 14 aircraft, this recorded was broken using only 12 of the 18 aircraft in the smallest F-22 squadron in the Air Force.

"This proves that we are a much more confident unit, said Staff Sgt. AlanMichael Warner, 154th Maintenance Squadron. "We have gained a lot of experience and knowledge on this aircraft. We know how to attack issues and succeed with the mission."

In order to fly as many sorties as possible pilots and maintainers conducted hot pit refueling, a procedure performed to rapidly refuel the aircraft and allow it to complete a second sortie in a short amount of time.

During a hot pit refuel the pilot will stay in the cockpit with the jet running while the maintenance crews perform safety checks and refuel the aircraft allowing it to return to flight in minimum time.

"Our maintainers got 12 aircraft out on the line and got them flying and not only started with 12 but then launched another 12 and another 12 and kept it going until we got 62 sorties," Spears said. "This would not have happened if not for the Airmen working the jets."

Carter ‘Incredibly Optimistic’ About America’s Position



By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash Carter summarized the Defense Department’s dynamic role in stabilizing global security while implementing U.S. national strategy during remarks here yesterday.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Center for the National Interest, where he accepted that organization’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award, the secretary also sounded several notes of caution as he addressed issues of concern that affect people around the world.

Carter said in his opinion, the United States is in “much better shape than many will admit.”

“This may be controversial … [to] a body of realists, and maybe a little surprising coming from a secretary of defense,” he said, “but I am incredibly optimistic about America’s position in the world today.”

People, Technology

“The greatest thing about the U.S. military, the finest fighting force the world has ever known, is its people,” the secretary said. “But second comes the technology.”

Carter, who previously served in the Pentagon as chief of acquisition, logistics and technology, as well as deputy defense secretary, noted that the department itself doesn’t make any of its own weapons, hardware and software.

Unlike the nationalized arms supply established under the Soviet Union, he said, “our system is one where we buy from companies that are subject to all the other pressures of companies that have to live in competitive capital markets. … That is the great strength of our country.”

Security and Opportunity

The United States is a powerhouse on the global network because it has remarkable, unparalleled strengths,” Carter said, noting that the U.S. economy has made great gains since recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Continued progress is assured, he added, “because of America’s dynamic and innovative businesses, world-class universities, and the domestic energy revolution now underway.”

U.S. forces have improved readiness, maintained an unmatched operational edge and preserved unrivaled capabilities, he noted. “No other military possesses this kind of skill and agility backed by experience,” he said.

Strategic Outreach

The best way to ensure a better future for the planet is to seize a strong place of comparative advantage in the burgeoning markets represented by an exploding global middle class, the secretary told the audience.

During his recent travels in the Asia-Pacific region, Carter signed a joint vision statement in Vietnam and concluded a 10-year defense cooperation framework in India.

“There,” he said, “we’re protecting our country, and our allies and our partners, and supporting a regional security architecture, built on a foundation of rules and norms, that has helped so many in the region to rise and prosper.

“Regardless of what is going on … in other parts of the world,” said he continued, “for decade upon decade, during Democratic and Republican presidencies, in time of surplus and deficit, war and peace, it is the United States that has helped maintain stability, and the resulting prosperity, in the Asia-Pacific, uninterruptedly, for seven decades. Our rebalance, so-called, to the region is simply about making sure we always will.”

Middle East

The United States also is taking a balanced approach in the Middle East in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Carter said.

“We strike from the air while on the ground, we’re advising and assisting the Iraqi security forces,” he said, “because we know that only they can secure their country in the long run -- because their leadership is the only path to ISIL’s lasting defeat.”

The secretary emphasized that civilian safety and working with the Iraqi government have been paramount considerations throughout that campaign. “We’re trying to take great care to protect the lives of fellow human beings, in stark contrast to our enemy,” he said. “And alongside a global coalition of allies and partners, we’re working by, with and through the government of Iraq, because we believe that a multisectarian Iraq -- while, in fact, difficult to preserve -- is better than the alternatives.”

Defending Interests and Values in Europe

“We’re defending our interests and our values in Europe as well -- standing with those eager to keep moving forward, and against those who would turn back the clock,” Carter said.

“The Kremlin and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, are challenging NATO, the United States and the international order,” he continued. “But this past year has demonstrated once again the solidarity of NATO and its partners in Europe. And only a few years after some questioned the relevance of the trans-Atlantic alliance, NATO has been re-energized, and we’re doing a great deal together, including exercises, joint training, and capability enhancement.”

Threat Factors

Although he remains optimistic, Carter said, he acknowledged that the world presents many challenges, ticking off a list of persistent threats.

“North Korea continues to provoke, ISIL’s barbarism outrages the world, [and] Russia’s aggressive actions have upset more than two decades of peace and stability in Europe,” he said. “In Asia, disputes over rocks and shoals are complicated by evolving power dynamics, as several regional powers rise. … Terrorism, foreign fighters, cyberattacks, and other ills threaten lives and the security of many around the world – including in the United States.”

Leading Security Efforts

Since returning to government as the 25th secretary of defense, Carter said, his travels have reminded him that the nation’s strengths are multiplied by an unrivaled network of allies and partners. “From Japan, Korea, Australia, India and others in the Asia-Pacific; to our NATO alliance in Europe; to our global coalition against ISIL and other close partnerships in the Middle East, we have these strong and deepening relationships for several reasons,” he said.

“First, nobody’s more capable, as I said,” Carter told the audience. “We have unparalleled people, technology, training and experience. Second, our antagonists and competitors push many states towards us, giving us so many friends and partners and leaving countries like China and Russia, not to mention North Korea, to stand largely alone. And third, nations seek our friendship, not because of our power alone, but because of the gravitational pull of our country’s ideals, and values, and goodwill.”

Strategic Perspective

Although its unrivaled advantages and global network of friends make America’s global strength unique, Carter said, it’s important to maintain perspective, looking upon the whole world, being clear-eyed about strengths and vulnerabilities, and avoiding the complacency that has overtaken so many established powers throughout history.

“We must not allow that to happen,” he said. “Strategy, now as in the past, is about perspective. Keeping perspective means keeping all the world in synoptic view. It also means knowing which mix of foreign policy tools is best for a given situation. It means understanding where our challenges today fall in the context of history – and how we can use history’s lessons to pursue today’s opportunities.”

Preventive Defense

It means appreciating that preventing the development of serious dangers, when possible, is more efficient and effective than confronting them later, Carter said.

“Too many tend to forget this last point,” he said, “but by standing strong today with diplomacy, economic tools and our military, we can forestall worse problems down the road.”

That approach served the United States well in the aftermath of World War II, the secretary said. “That’s the approach that [former defense secretary] Bill Perry and I termed ‘preventive defense’ years back, in a book we wrote when we left government service 20 years ago. Preventive defense, like preventive medicine, meant averting dangerous developments before they required drastic remedies.”

But just as preventive medicine does not ensure perfect health, he cautioned, preventive defense is not a guarantee of American security.

“What it can do,” he explained, “is appreciate the uncertainty inherent in the international system and help us pursue balance between interests and principles, between excellence in action and prudence in restraint, and between today’s security and the future’s threats.”

Victim Advocates lend a helping hand

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera
JBER Public Affairs


6/10/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- During a feedback session, he was told to start looking for volunteer opportunities. Soon after, he received an email about a program asking for volunteers; he applied without knowing what he was getting into. Suddenly, the 20-year-old Airman found himself a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response victim advocate.

For the past seven years, Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Greene, a 673d Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, has been a victim advocate. Although he hadn't put thought into it, he has never looked back.

"I was 21 when I received my first phone call asking for help," Greene said. "When I answered the phone, the first thing I thought was 'Holy crap! What did I just sign myself into?'"

Greene said during that first call, he was just going through the checklist sounding like a robot.

"I sounded like an ass," he said. "I was not there for them. All I wanted to do was try to get the job done."

His patient told him not to treat him like a technical order. Realizing his mistake, he learned to treat everyone with compassion.

That call changed everything for him.

"Growing up, I was a sheltered little boy living in a bubble," Greene added. "I had no idea what I was doing."

After talking to his mother about the program, the Escondido, California, native found out his mother had been in an abusive relationship. It opened up his eyes to see the darker side of the world.

"I didn't know how close to home [it would hit] until talking to [that] victim," Greene said. "When you hear their story, telling you what happened to them, [it] gets to you. I also have two younger children and it can potentially happen to my family; it scares the crap out of me."

Before he became a family man, he was only worried about himself. In the seven years he has been a VA, he found at anyone can potentially be a victim.

"All the people that I've seen go through this -- there is no color, you can be tall, fat, short, male, or female -- there is no demographic," the father of four said.

As a victim advocate, Greene possesses essential information and resources. His primary role is to serve the needs of sexual assault victims and or survivors for as long as needed.

"Every time that phone rings, I am terrified [about what I am going to say]," Green said. "You try to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally, up to the point you hear the person talking on the other line. You are never prepared for the next call. In no way shape or form are they ever the same; it's always been different situations for me."

Greene, along with more than 30 other victim advocates at JBER, is the first line of support for victims of sexual assault. They provide emotional support and information about what to expect, and connect victims to other services while maintaining the victim's confidentiality.

"You are just trying to make sure they are safe, make sure they are where they need to be, and if they need someone to talk to, you are there," Greene said. "We help them get back to their feet."

In his time, Greene said he has seen some of the victims become stronger and watches them slowly build themselves up.

Sometimes, they contact the victim advocate later and provide an update that things are better. "That's really the whole responsibility of the job -- helping them seize control of the past," Greene added.

"You never want to see a silver lining, but I can help and see them get better -- continue to live and not let that person take away what was taken from them. -- Even if [the perpetrator] took a fragment of who they are, they still have everything to look forward to."

Based on what he has seen, he said sexual assault is the worst crime because sometimes there aren't any wounds -- it's only words, feelings, emotions. There is often no evidence of bullet or stab wounds, or photos of the damage done.

"I can never put myself in their shoes because it has never happened to me," Greene said. "I can never say I know how they felt.  The best thing I can do is let them know that no matter what happened, I will be there until they do not need me anymore."

After one of his annual SAPR training briefs at the base theater, one Airman thanked him.

"That's all I ever need, to know that one person's life is better," he said. "If we can help one person's life then we can make a difference at that point. If this base has 41,000 people and if everyone helped one person, then we would have helped 41,000 ... I hope that message gets out there and take away something from it. That's what I hope will happen. I hope that somebody hears or sees what I am doing."

Darmaly Williams, 673d Air Base Wing SAPR program manager, said Greene is a tremendous asset to the SAPR program and has given thousands of man hours to help people understand why the SAPR program exists.

"His passion is tangible," Williams said. "Our office has received many compliments over the years stating the impact Greene made during a class, or [while] addressing an individual's specific questions about the program and its nature."

In fiscal year 2014, there were a total of 6,131 reports of sexual assault in the Department of Defense. The term covers a wide range of misconduct from rape to inappropriate touching of another person with intent to abuse, humiliate or degrade the victim.

Greene added, "I will continue to be a victim advocate because I want [sexual assault] to stop. Will it stop? Probably not. You cannot stop evil and you cannot stop stupid. You many never stop the problem, but we can get darn close and fix a lot of things that are wrong."

'Recharge for Resiliency' smooths reintegration process

by Staff Sgt. R.J. Biermann
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


6/10/2015 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- More than 600 Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing are currently deployed to over a dozen different locations around the world. Time away from home takes its toll on everyone and every family differently; but during the reintegration process it's important for families to find time and opportunities to rebuild relationships.

"Spouses take on the roles that their Airman had, children aren't used to seeing you, and you're not used to having anyone around - that's the hardest part of transitioning back into home life," said Master Sgt. Anthony Costa, 31st Comptroller Squadron first sergeant.

To help with this transition, the Air Force recently kicked off a new recreationally focused program - "Recharge for Resiliency."

"The program aims to lift morale by offering discounted [Information, Tickets and Travel] and [Outdoor Recreation] trips and programs," said Laurie LeBlanc, 31st Force Support Squadron Marketing coordinator and R4R program manager. "The beauty of it is there's so much to see here in Europe, and there's no limit to the number of trips you can take."

According to LeBlanc, R4R is much like its predecessor, PLAYpass, except trips and programs are the only items available at discounted rates. Additionally, not all trips are offered through the program.

"Outdoor Recreation is currently offering four discounted trips and ITT is offering two, with plans of offering more," LeBlanc said. The golf course is also offering a [Ladies Professional Golf Association] clinic in August and a foot golf program every Sunday throughout the same month."

Individuals or families can take advantage of the program after their sponsor is away for 30 days or more in support of an operational mission; or upon return from their time away. To verify enrollment eligibility, the sponsor must first request a letter from their first sergeant. This letter must be presented to the ITT or ODR offices when signing up for a trip.

"I know how painful the [post-deployment] transition can be," Costa said. "Recharging is important to help you get back at supporting the [Aviano] mission."

Pápa, Ramstein join to save lives

by Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


6/10/2015 - Ramstein Air Base, Germany -- Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) multi-national aircrew members from Pápa Air Base, Hungary, partnered with a critical care aeromedical transportation team (CCATT) stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to receive two wounded patients June 8, 2015, in Bulgaria.

Two units came together for this first CCATT mission to transport patients, with one in critical condition, traveling approximately 2,000 miles from Bulgaria to Ramstein where they would receive additional medical support.

"Our C-17 (Globemaster III) pilots always had the capability to accomplish a CCATT mission," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Stephen Blackstone, Heavy Airlift Wing pilot. "Our airframe is designed to become a flying intensive care unit and it is great to showcase our ability to accomplish this, integrating that experience is only going to make us better."

Adapting the best practices in the U.S. Air Force, Royal Canadian air force, Australian air force and the United Kingdom's Royal air force, the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing ensures they are operationally ready for any mission, securing their role as the world's first and only multinational C-17 wing. The wing's structure is designed to operate in support of the Strategic Airlift Capability's mission of providing combat and humanitarian airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation wherever and whenever required.

"It was a great experience working with all the nations on board," said Maj. Scott Jensen, 86th Medical Squadron critical care air transport team physician. "The most important thing we learned during the mission is that the Heavy Airlift Wing's team is capable of executing a flawless patient transport, and it is definitely something I see us utilizing more in the future."

Though members include the U.S. and eleven European countries, the SAC program operates independently of any command by the European Union, United Nations, or NATO.

"Apart from the U.S. pilots, none of the other nation's personnel in this squadron have previous experience flying a C-17," Blackstone said. "We have fighter, helicopter, even propeller pilots operating this massive cargo airframe so our training needs to be the best of the best to respond to these real world missions."

In 2014, the Heavy Airlift Wing accomplished 251 mission requests from 12 nations and transported more than 20 million pounds of cargo.

"We perform essentially every mission a U.S. C-17 unit does," Blackstone said. "Medical evacuation, strategic airlift and tactical airlift and now CCATT AirEvac to name a few, as well as accomplish missions requested by the other 11 nations that are a part of our unit."

By accomplishing the CCATT mission, the Heavy Airlift Wing team hopes they will be utilized more often and for more diverse operations.

"Every new mission set we do is rewarding to the unit," Blackstone said. "We undergo a lot of training to ensure we maintain these abilities and I believe we are one of the best options to accomplish CCATT missions, especially with how close we are to Ramstein."

The Strategic Airlift Capability gives its member nations cost effective access to jointly owned and operated strategic airlift.

USNAVSO/US 4th Fleet Conducts Conference With Peruvian Navy



By Lt. j.g. Victoria Einbinder, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

LIMA, Peru (NNS) -- Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet Rear Adm. George Ballance was welcomed by members of the Peruvian Navy to the Centro Naval in San Borja, Lima, Peru for the annual U.S. Navy and Peruvian Navy Operational Naval Committee (ONC) conference, June 2-4.

"I am pleased to be here today representing our joint efforts in international cooperation," said Ballance. "Conferences such as these are imperative to our goals of developing relationships with our partner nations, addressing new mutual concerns as they arise, and most of all continuing the great partnership between our two navies,"

During the conference, participants engaged in face-to-face discussions regarding their involvement in various exercises and theater security cooperation events for the upcoming year. Exchanges also focused on developing operational and tactical procedures which allow for increased interoperability between the two navies and proposed future combined operations and exchange visits of personnel in operational areas.

ONC Peru ultimately resulted in a memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed this year by Ballance and Peruvian Rear Adm. Ricardo Menendez, the Chief of Staff for the Peruvian Navy Commander of Pacific Operations. The MOU outlines the U.S. and Peru's interactions for the coming year.

Peru and the U.S. have a strong partnership, evidenced through their focus on maritime security and enhanced through joint exercises and events. Cooperation and training events in the past have included PANAMAX and the UNITAS series of exercises, which stemmed from work done at previous ONC meetings.

ONCs provide a platform for the U.S. Navy to engage with partner nations and identify efforts that will enhance relationships and mutually beneficial goals. The agreements they produce and engagements they lead to directly support the U.S. Navy's new Maritime Strategy, which emphasizes cooperative relationships with international partners.

USNAVSO and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.