Military News

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Model of total force comes to a close at Tinker

by Maj. Jon Quinlan
507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


7/23/2015 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- A historic chapter is now closed as one of the first Air Reserve Component Associations between the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard formally ended June 30 after a successful eight year partnership between the 507th and 137th Air Refueling Wings.

The ARC association ended with an Oklahoma Air National Guard crew's final training flight on a Reserve KC-135, logging the last flight hours under the historic association.

"The 507th ARW's association with the Oklahoma Air National Guard has been a model of Total Force integration success," said Col. Brian Davis, 507th Air Refueling Wing commander. "Our formal association has now ended, but the ongoing relationship between the Guard and Reserve in Oklahoma will certainly continue for years to come."

During the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure and Total Force Integration process, the 507th Air Refueling Wing was selected to become one of the first Air Force Reserve units to serve as a host wing for an associate Air National Guard wing. Aircrew and maintenance members from the 137th ARW moved from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base and started flying and maintaining the KC-135 as equal partners in 2007 at Tinker Air Force Base.

During the association's past eight years, the wings combined have amassed more than 13,500 flying hours, according to Lt. Col. Mark Hole, 185th Air Refueling Squadron director of operations. The partnership successes included an Excellent rating in the 2012 Nuclear and Conventional Operational Readiness Inspection, 86 percent KC-135 Mission Capability Rating, successful deployments to Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Gelsenkirchen Air Base, Germany, and exercise support missions in the Rim of the Pacific exercise.

"From the beginning, members of the Guard and Reserve laid the foundation that made the association work and made it so successful," said Davis. "A total partnership in all areas and at all levels was key. It was the people who made it work. Every unit had a story of teamwork and overcoming obstacles."

Going forward, the 507th ARW will continue to fly and maintain the KC-135R Stratotanker for Air Force Reserve Command. The 137th will transition to Air Force Special Operations Command operating the MC-12 Liberty for the Oklahoma Air National Guard out of Will Rogers.

The 507th Air Refueling Wing 507 ARW is the largest Air Force Reserve flying unit in the state of Oklahoma. The wing reports to Fourth Air Force and supports Air Mobility Command's airlift and air refueling requirements. The wing is responsible for reserve C-17 and KC-135 flight training at a geographically separated unit, the 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron at Altus AFB, Okla.

ACC, AMC training centers collaborate to increase warfighter support

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


7/23/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, visited the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center to meet with Airmen who support, train, and execute the expeditionary mission at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, July 15, 2015.

His visit provided a rare opportunity for the Air Combat Command and Air Mobility Command direct reporting units to have face-to-face discussions regarding best practices and look for opportunities to collaborate.

The Centers support more than 140,000 service members each year and share a focus in two areas: delivering the most relevant training and education programs and strengthening warfighter capabilities in contested environments.

The USAFWC has more than 11,000 personnel at 32 locations who ensure deployed forces are well trained and equipped to conduct integrated combat operations.

Conversely, the USAFEC is comprised of 14,000 personnel at various locations around the world who support rapid global mobility operations for Air Mobility Command.

"The U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Operations School represents one of the EC's four lines of effort," said Maj. Gen Rick Martin, USAFEC commander. "We also support the Air Force's expeditionary needs with our two Air Mobility Operations Wings, 621st Contingency Response Wing, and our units that provide efficient and innovative support at joint base locations. In all of these areas we are continuously seeking opportunities to increase the level of support we can deliver to the warfighter. This sometimes includes collaborating with sister services, foreign counter parts, or other MAJCOMs like this visit with Air Combat Command's Warfare Center."

This was General Silveria's first visit to the USAFEC, but the two organizations have a history of communicating to identify efficiencies, best practices and to avoid duplicating existing products.

"This visit has been an excellent opportunity to get a hands on look at how the EC executes the expeditionary mission," said Silveria. "We're going to continue looking for linkages to support each other. Specifically, we are looking for ways to increase our ability to test in degraded, contested and operationally-limited environments and I see that you all are incorporating these challenges in your training as well."

Silveria met with members of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School's 57th Weapons Squadron, Air Mobility Command's Advanced Study of Air Mobility, 621st Contingency Response Wing, and the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Operations School at JBMDL during his visit.

"We value opportunities like this to showcase our school," said Col. Jay Junkins, USAF EOS commander. "It allows our team of outstanding cadre and staff to provide in depth information about the more than 100 courses, numerous programs and services we provide. It also allows us to obtain feedback and in this case ideas about ways we can continue adapting our products to better serve our joint, total force customers."

Leaders from both Centers agreed that nurturing the relationship between the organizations could have great benefits for individual service members and combatant commands.

"We have some of the best cross-functional instructors in the Air Force here," said Martin. "There is a mix of civilians, contractors and uniform wearers who are all committed to providing the best possible product to support the joint fight. I look forward to seeing where we can take our programs from here."

Face of Defense: Soldier Gets Women’s Softball Team Trial



By Army Sgt. Jesse Smith
2nd Combat Aviation Brigade

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea, July 23, 2015 – It was getting dark as misty clouds rolled across the athletic field. The AstroTurf was soft, stiff underfoot and the smell of leather gloves was distinct.

A female soldier stepped onto the field. A blurred sphere zipped through the air, and then a loud smack could be heard as the soldier caught the softball with her glove.

The soldier, Army 1st Lt. Courtney Clausi, who hails from Ashland, Virginia, and is the assistant personnel officer for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade here, isn’t a typical softball player. She has been selected to compete at a trial to be a part of the All-Army Women’s Softball Team.

Clausi said she grew up in a military family. She began playing baseball around 20 years ago and fell in love with the sport.

‘My Parents Played Softball’

“Both of my parents played softball and they really pushed me to play hard,” Clausi said.

As she got older, Clausi transitioned to play softball.

“Softball grows on you,” she said. “My competitive attitude made me want to be the best and I love working with a team.”

Clausi played softball during high school and afterward at the Mary Baldwin College in Stanton, Virginia.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, she was commissioned into the U.S. Army as UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot. Clausi arrived in South Korea in 2014 and immediately linked up with a member of the Camp Humphrey’s woman’s softball team, which she has now been a part of for two seasons.

A Great Opportunity

Some of the players on the post team who had previously played for the All-Army team and they told Clausi she would have a great chance of making the team. Clausi decided that it would be a great opportunity and sent in her application packet.

Clausi is now waiting until the end of August when she will go compete in a field of around 30 other women who will be narrowed down to 16 players.

She said she is very excited for the chance to represent the Army and feels confident that she can make the team.

Clausi said she wants to make a career out of the Army and that she’ll play softball for as long as she can.

“I love being a pilot and being with soldiers,” Clausi said. “The Army and softball go hand-and-hand for me because I want to leave a legacy as both a soldier and player.”

Clausi said she also wants to become a softball coach so she can pass on all of her knowledge of the sport to the next generation.

Carter, Saudi Leaders Discuss Security, New Challenges



By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash Carter had “exceptionally substantive” meetings with Saudi Arabia’s king and defense minister on regional security issues and new challenges, he said yesterday in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.

The secretary is in the Middle East on a weeklong trip to Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Carter met in Jeddah with King and Prime Minister Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud and others. He later briefed reporters about the discussions.

Closer Relations

“We really rolled up our sleeves on the topics … discussed at the [U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council] Camp David summit in May,” Carter said, adding that the reason for his visit was to follow up on commitments by all countries at the summit to build closer relations in fields that include defense and security cooperation.

Carter characterized the U.S.-Saudi relationship as one that is longstanding and faces new challenges in the region.

“The two new challenges that preoccupy both the United States and Saudi Arabia today are, first of all, Iran and its malign activities in the region and potential for aggression. And No. 2, [the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] and other forms of violent extremism in the region,” the secretary said.

Iran, ISIL

The leaders discussed Iran and ISIL along with regional issues of concern involving Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and others, Carter said. They also talked about several capabilities the United States and Saudi Arabia work on together “to bolster our joint deterrent and response capabilities in the Gulf region,” he added, including special operations and other ground forces, maritime and air forces, cyber forces, ballistic missile defense forces and others.

“We'll have an opportunity to follow up on many of these issues, both with President Obama with the king, when the king visits the United States in the fall,” Carter said, adding that he invited the defense minister to the United States in association with the king's visit or at another time.

Regional Security

The secretary said both the king and the defense minister reiterated their support for the Iranian nuclear deal.

Carter said the leaders also discussed strengthening training and other kinds of planning.

On Yemen, the secretary said they talked about the need that both the Saudis and the U.S. shares for a political settlement to the problem. "That's the way to keep the peace," he said. "That's the way to restore the humanitarian situation there. They see that as we see that: as the key.”

MFLCs offer services at Schriever

BY Kaitlynn Davis
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


7/23/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Located in the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the Child Development Center, Military and Family Life Counselors are ready to help service members and their families cope with stressors involved with military life. The services they offer extend much farther than the building doors.

Counselors strive to give non-medical counseling, providing situational and solution-oriented assistance to Airmen, their families, couples and groups affiliated with the military. MFLCs create short-term solutions instead of building a longer-term relationship, as one would with a traditional counselor.  They also offer more flexible services, such as being able to meet those seeking help outside of the office.

Cheryl Jensen, an A&FRC community readiness specialist, offered examples such as meeting on base, downtown, at the library, or a coffee shop.

"Utilize [the MFLC]. It's an awesome program and you can talk to her about anything." Jensen said.

Counseling covers areas such as conflict resolution and anger management, parenting, deployment stress and more. Services are confidential with no records kept, and reaching out will be kept private except in cases of danger or abuse. The counselors rotate every six months from the base, further protecting confidentiality.

The program at Schriever has two specially certified counselors working closely with A&FRCs to adapt strategies specifically to Air Force members and families. Counselors are highly qualified, having attained either a Master's or Doctorate level license.

Andrea Hernandez, an A&FRC community readiness consultant added, "We like our MFLCs. So far the ones we've had here at Schriever have been really good at what they do. They are all well educated in their field, and I think it is just a good resource."

Military affiliated community members and children can seek specialized help by either visiting the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Child Development Center or anonymously calling the A&FRC for the counselor's phone number.

For more information, contact the A&FRC at 567-3920 or visit the Schriever Air Force Base A&FRC web page and select the Life Skills tab.

Combat Camera Deploys in Support of Southern Partnership



By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Huggett, Expeditionary Combat Camera

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Expeditionary Combat Camera (ECC) are deploying with the Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), in an effort to support Navy Expeditionary Combat Command's (NECC) mission throughout U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

While deployed, Combat Camera Sailors will be providing video and photo documentation of humanitarian medical aid, diving operations, and documentation of construction efforts by Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1.

"One of our Sailors is dive qualified and will capture underwater imagery and the other is air crew qualified," said Cmdr. Doug Gabos, ECC officer in charge. "It will be those Sailors integrated into the right places that will capture the innovative operations the JHSV crew and our partners are expected to conduct," Gabos added.

"Supporting these operations allows everybody to see the efforts the Sailors are making and the good they are doing for these areas," said Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Hogman, assigned to ECC on the Spearhead. "Documenting this deployment offers us a great opportunity to further demonstrate the important capabilities Navy Expeditionary Combat Command can provide."

ECC Sailors receive expeditionary warfare training that allows them to work with any command assigned to NECC. Combat Camera's mission is to provide direct imagery capability to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, military departments, combatant command and joint task forces during wartime operations, worldwide crisis, contingencies, and joint exercises.

"It allows Combat Camera the opportunity to embed and seamlessly integrate with various units from NECC," said Petty Officer 1st Class Kathleen Gorby. "We are getting a great opportunity to display the capabilities of NECC outside of wartime."

JHSV 1 will be training with long-established partners from Central and South America, the role of documentation is critical and the pictures will tell the story of interoperability and our enduring partnerships.

"Spearhead will be an important part of the deployment." said Hogman. "It will provide the transportation of all the food and supplies we will need in order to support the deployment."

ECC Sailors, along with Spearhead are expected to return in Oct. 2015.