Military News

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Turkish Air Force Academy cadets visit Spanish Patriot Unit

by Capt. Paulino Vico
Spanish Patriot Unit Public Affairs


8/4/2015 - ADANA, Turkey -- Turkish air force cadets from the General Air Force Academy in Istanbul toured the Spanish Patriot Unit and facilities near Adana ┼×akirpa┼ča Airport, July 31, 2015 here.

The cadets were greeted by Lt. Col. Juan Castilla, Spanish Patriot Unit contingent commander, who gave a briefing on the unit's role in operation Active Fence, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Integrated Air and Missile Defense, and the anti-aircraft system's technical characteristics and capabilities.

Following the brief, the cadets ended the tour by visiting the unit's facilities as well as meet the Spanish soldiers who support the mission. In particular, the cadets viewed the battery deployment control zone, where the students learned about the equipment that makes up the battery, the Engage Control Station, the Multifunction-Radar and the Electronic Power Plant.

The tour is part of a week-long active duty immersion tour to Incirlik Air Base for the air force cadets. This year is the first time Turkish air force cadets have ever visited a Spanish military unit in Turkey. Therefore, the visit was more than just a normal tour. It was an opportunity to highlight the alliance Spain has with its Turkish partners as well as a chance for the cadets to learn about foreign military operations which can benefit them in their future military careers.

In approximately a month, the cadets will commission as second lieutenants in the Turkish air force. They will then relocate to Izmir, Turkey, where they will spend the next three years of military training which will include lessons on anti-aircraft systems such as the patriot system. In the meantime, the cadets will conduct their first training flights.

Editor's note: This article was submitted by the Spanish Patriot Unit public affairs office and published by the 39th Air Base Wing in an effort to highlight the mission, partnership, and operations of U.S. and NATO allies in Turkey.

McChord Airman to be honored as hero



by Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

8/4/2015 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --  A McChord Airman has been selected by the American Red Cross Northwest Region to be honored at their 2015 Annual Heroes Luncheon in Tacoma, Washington.

Senior Airman Joshua Calhoun, 62nd Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory journeyman, is being recognized as a hero for risking his own life while rescuing a surfer who got stranded on a rocky cliff after getting caught in a rip current. The rescue occurred back in April at Ecola State Park in Oregon.

"I caught a wave and I looked over and saw this guy waving his arms above his head, which usually means 'shark'," said Calhoun.

Heeding the shark warning, Calhoun headed back to the shore.

"But I didn't get that eerie feeling of a shark - there were no reported attacks in the area and the seal population isn't huge, so I started thinking the guy was trapped on the outcropping of rocks."

Calhoun's instincts proved correct. The surfer had gotten pushed into the rocky outcropping which runs perpendicular to the shore. The ebb and flow of the tide against the rocks creates small whirlpools, making it difficult for inexperienced swimmers to escape.

Calhoun noticed that where the stranded surfer was standing, he couldn't be seen from the shore because larger rock formations were in the way. Knowing that the water would be rising soon, Calhoun decided he would have to rescue the surfer himself, rather than wait for rescue services to be called.

Not wanting to get caught in the current himself, Calhoun climbed over a large rock formation in order to reach the surfer. Once over that set of rocks, the surf slammed him against the rocks, causing his hands to become bloody. Once over that first rock structure, he decided would be able to safely swim the remaining distance, so he jumped in the water.

"As I got to him, I could see that water was slowly lapping up close to his feet," said Calhoun. "I caught my breath, made sure the leash of his board was tied and explained what we were about to do."

Calhoun instructed the exhausted surfer to get on his board and together they would swim 100 feet perpendicular to the outcropping, far away from the rip current, then head back to shore once safely away from the rocks.

"I was pulling him on his board and he was so tired that he wasn't able to help paddle," said Calhoun. "I made him get off his board and hold my foot as I got on it and paddled away from the rocks.

Once far enough away from the rocks, they turned and began heading to shore.  Calhoun saw a wave forming so the two once again swapped places.

"I got him back on the board, shoved him into the wave and it took him to shore,' said Calhoun. "I made sure he was safe and then I gave him some homework - some safety articles to research online so he'd know what to do if he ever got in this situation again."

Master Sgt. Daniel Thomas, 62nd MXS PMEL shop chief, helped get Calhoun nominated for the Red Cross award.

"Josh has been so humble during this whole thing," said Thomas. "It's been difficult to get information out of him. He keeps saying, 'Anyone would have done the same thing. I didn't even think about it. He was stuck.'"

Thomas said Calhoun, an avid surfer who has been surfing with his father since he was very young, is probably more comfortable in the water than most people are on land.

"This wasn't a 'big deal' to him," said Thomas. It was just another day at the office."

The Red Cross will present Calhoun's award at the 2015 Annual Heroes Luncheon, scheduled for Oct. 13, at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma.

Nisqually Indian Tribe members visit McChord Field

by Staff Sgt. Katie Jackson
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/3/2015 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- In attempt to rekindle a community partnership, Air Force members at McChord Field, Washington, coordinated a tour of the base for the Nisqually Indian Tribe July 30, 2015.

It is legend that the Nisqually people have lived in the Nisqually River valley in west central Washington for thousands of years and their territory initially consisted of more than two million acres. Their reservation now consists of approximately five thousand acres, some of which is under control of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Military Reserve.

The event was hosted by senior noncommissioned officers at McChord Field and consisted mostly of Nisqually Indian Tribe youth. The goal of the tour was to create a partnership between organizations and to eliminate any perceived barriers about each other's culture. Each squadron involved was given the opportunity to show what it does for the Air Force and why they are an integral part of the community.

"It [the McChord and Nisqually tribe relationship] was [almost] non-existent; they had a relationship with the Army, but not McChord Field," said Master Sgt. Robert Peaden, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant and one of the founders of the community outreach program.¬¬¬ "The relationship was strong in the 1970's but has eroded over the years. We are here to renew that energy to have more community partners with Team McChord from all walks of life."

The tour of McChord Field has been in works for some time now. This idea [originated] by Chief Master Sgt. Gordon Drake, former 62nd Airlift Wing command chief, and Senior Master Sgt. John Lipsey, 62nd Maintenance Group quality assurance superintendent.

"Master Sgt.'s Beverly Lay and Shenica Speck, both 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment section chiefs, and I ran with the idea and wanted to start a community outreach team."

The tribe members began their tour with an introduction from the McChord chaplains; the fire station where teenagers watched firefighters hose down part of the flight line and try on some gear; and the 627th LRS's aircraft parts store where they were able to see what goes into the maintenance of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

After lunch at the Olympic Dining Facility, they continued to the 627th Security Forces Squadron for their next stop.
The youth were shown some of the weapons the security forces Airmen are equipped with. They were able to meet some of McChord's Phoenix Ravens, specially trained security forces personnel dedicated to providing security to aircraft transiting high terrorist and criminal threat areas.

They continued to the 62nd APS with a tour of their facilities and an explanation of an airdrop bundle.

From there they were shown a display of a 60K Halverson tunner loader, a vehicle which provides the capability to rapidly load and unload pallets from an aircraft. The tour was not complete until some tribe members were able to honk the vehicle's horn.

Next, tribe members were given a tour of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft by members of the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. For some of these teenagers, this would be their first time on an aircraft.

Finally, their tour concluded with a briefing from the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Peaden said, "This group is the beginning phase with the Nisqually community, and I hope to have them, along with other community partners, to work together so we can learn from each other cultures and we, Team McChord, can create legacy of support and mentorship for years to come."

Wing defenders accept ANG Squadron of the Year award

by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos
161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


8/3/2015 - PHOENIX  -- Chosen among all Air National Guard security units across the country, the 161st Security Forces Squadron  received the Air National Guard Security Forces Squadron of the Year award during a ceremony here Aug. 1.

The Air National Guard Security Forces director, Col. Ed Kingdon, and the career field manager, Chief Master Sgt. Todd Miskelly, hand delivered the trophy to the squadron and presented it in front of the entire 161st Air Refueling Wing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

"I was just in DC and the Colonel [Kingdon] could have just handed the plaque to me then, but he knew the importance of addressing our team in person," said Lt. Col.  Denise Sweeney, 161st Security Forces Squadron commander.

This award encompassed three main components: the deployed mission, the in-garrison mission, and community involvement.

"Your nomination package showed us you are a well-rounded unit." said Miskelly. "You are very active in your federal mission, fully engaged in your state, and committed to your community. In other words, you're an outstanding example of what the Air National Guard is all about and we are very proud of you."

Specifically, Kingdon praised the squadron for being one of the first units in the ANG to receive the new resiliency training.

"I look throughout the wing and I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of you than I am right now," said Col.  Gary Brewer, Jr., 161st Air Refueling Wing commander. "We keep raising our hands for every mission. We're saying 'yes,' we're stepping forward, and we're trying to be the best contributors [to the war fight], not just to the state, but to the Guard and to our nation."

The squadron has deployed more than 50 members within the last two years, a feat their commander  was proud to highlight.

"Defenders...you are phenomenal. You are outstanding," said Sweeney. "We have had back-to-back deployments, and that is all while balancing that in-garrison mission. And it doesn't come easy. If we didn't have this solid foundation, esprit de corps, and what you do on a day-to-day basis, this award wouldn't have been possible. You sacrifice every day and you don't complain. You are inspiring."

MC-12W returns flying operations back to Will Rogers Air National Guard Base

by Senior Airman Kasey Phipps
137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


8/1/2015 - WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- The 137th Air Refueling Wing officially welcomed flying operations back to Will Rogers Air National Guard Base by recognizing the arrival of the Air Force MC-12W aircraft during a ribbon cutting ceremony, Aug. 1.

"We're very excited to have the mission back at Will Rogers and have everybody here and back under one roof," said 137 ARW Commander Col. Devin R. Wooden.

Following Wooden, Army Maj. Gen. Robbie L. Asher, the Oklahoma National Guard Adjutant General, spoke on the varied history of the 137 ARW and its aircraft while also looking forward to the importance of the MC-12 mission.

"This is going to be a challenging mission," said Asher. "This is going to be an exciting mission, and this is going to be a demanding mission. There's a huge need for this aircraft in theaters around the world."

The arrival of the MC-12 and the 137 ARW's transition to the Air Force Special Operations Command marks the return of flying operations to WRANGB for the first time since 2007.

"This is important to bring flying operations back to Will Rogers because it allows our Airmen to actually see the mission," said Wooden. "It lets everyone know that what they're supporting is actually taking place and just gives a visual indicator of what it is we're here to do.

Lt. Gen. Bradley A. Heithold, Air Force Special Operation Command commander, looks forward to the partnership between AFSOC and the Oklahoma Air National Guard and focused on the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aspects of the AFSOC mission.

"The whole reason why we're standing up this wing here is so we can provide more ISR to combatant commanders," he said. "It's vitally important to the success of our mission on the battlefield."

The MC-12 is the first of 13 aircraft slated to arrive at WRANGB.

California Air National Guardsmen "Take Down the Towers" Overseas

by SrA Brian Jarvis
129th Rescue Wing


8/1/2015 - MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Just as one upgrades to a new cell phone, the military often has to upgrade its communications systems. Only in this case, "upgrading" antenna towers as high as 120 feet is a considerably greater chore.

For this purpose, the California Air National Guard journeyed to Lajes Air Base in the Azores, Portugal, tasked to remove three antenna towers and ensure they were properly decommissioned.

Senior Master Sgt. David Solis, who led the mission, said it brought together airmen from every corner of California, including his own 129th Communications Flight as well as the 144th Communications Flight, the 146th Communications Flight, the 147th Combat Communications Squadron, the 149th Combat Communications Squadron, and the 222nd Communications Maintenance Squadron.

"The common misconception is that we sit behind a desk. But 'comm' people are extremely innovative and by virtue are some of the sharpest tools when it comes to the arsenal of tools the Air Force has," Solis said. "Their collective experience on both the military and civilian side is what made this mission successful, and bar none I would go to war with any one of these individuals."

The process of removing a tower step-by-step required a team effort of blow-torching metal foundations, unbolting plates, and cutting wires one at a time to ensure the tower falls in a straight line and in the right direction.

147th Communications Flight Master Sgt. and first sergeant Jerome Thomas said that logistics and flexibility were key to the mission, such as when a crane didn't fit size restrictions, leaving the airmen with no choice but to free-fall a tower to the ground instead.

"This is the first time I've worked in unison with other wings, and it's a great experience mixing together and learning who each other is," Thomas said. "Each person is integral in what they do and brings something to the table. Everyone is counted on in comm."

Once antenna towers are decommissioned, they are typically made available for purchase from the general public for scrap metal or commercial purposes via the Defense Reutilization Marketing Office.

On the training side, Guardsmen instructed Lajes Air Base's 65th Communication Squadron on proper technique for safely climbing up and rappelling down from antenna towers, as well as how to inspect equipment and rescue someone who's hurt.

Overall, five airmen became certified in tower climbing while 17 received instruction that will help them prepare both for a potential deployment or a compliance inspection.

"We remained professional and focused on the mission at hand," said 129th communication technician Tech. Sgt. Garrison O. Simpson, who led the instruction. "When you teach, you learn more, so through my teaching I strengthened my own background in tower equipment. I was proud to serve." 

Also accompanying the mission to provide support and train with their active-duty counterparts was the 129th Security Forces and the 129th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

"We were able to conduct an assessment to help them prepare for an upcoming inspection, and we were able to trade learning tools that we can bring back home," said Master Sgt. Michael Conner, a unit training manager with 129th Security Forces. "Overall they seemed pretty motivated."

For Airman 1st Class Alexis Schneider, who recently joined the 129th Logistics Readiness Squadron, the mission provided a chance to see how her unit operates in the field.

"I learned new info that I can bring back to the base and got some really good insights," Schneider said. "I bonded with the airmen from my base and had never worked with other sections before, so I got to see what they do and work as a team."

Given that Lajes Air Base is preparing to undergo a draw-down from roughly 300 full-time personnel to about a third that size, Solis said there could be a chance to further assist their active-duty down the line.

"They're about to experience what the Guard experiences every day, so we have a unique opportunity here to advise the active duty on the challenges that we face as Guardsmen," Solis said. "I'm happy to report that I'm thoroughly impressed with the capabilities of the people that I'm working with here, and this mission has reset my expectations of the Guard."

Keeping the Buff young: aircraft structural maintenance

by Senior Airman Jannelle Dickey
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


8/5/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- At times, the B-52 Stratofortress gets weary from long missions, and it is up to a team of specialists to replenish the skin and bones of the aircraft.

The 2nd Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight consists of three units: structural maintenance or "sheet metal", nondestructive inspection and metals technology.

These sections are critical to maintaining and fabricating aircraft parts in order to keep the B-52 in flight.

In addition to the combination of three units, the 2nd MXS integrates reservists from the 707th MXS as a part of the Total Force Integration program.

"We work together as a flight in the sense that everything we do ties together," said Senior Airman Dylan Fox, 707th MXS aircraft structural maintenance journeyman. "We aren't side -to-side all the time but we are always working hand-in-hand toward one goal."

Sheet metal focuses on the maintenance and appearance of the B-52's outer skin.

"Our motto in sheet metal is 'beat it to fit, paint it to match,'" said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Reynolds, assistant sheet metal NCO in-charge. "We complete various jobs to keep the jets in the air and corrosion free."

Once Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conducts an inspection of the B-52, sheet metal repairs any defects that are reported. They restore and repair the wings, panels, hinges, apply paint and decals, and identify and treat corrosion.

"One of our biggest goals is to keep corrosion to a minimum," said Fox. "We are really aggressive towards corrosion prevention."

"The B-52s have been back and forth over saltwater environments," Reynolds explains. "With the jets being in an environment like that, it can be harsh on them."

It is vital for these Airmen to pay attention to detail in every aspect of job whether big or small.

"Doing a five minute job can prevent foreign object damage," said Reynolds. "A loose rivet could get sucked up into the engine and there goes millions of dollars."

Fixing cracks or replacing rivets may seem simple, but the B-52 can't fly without a repair from sheet metal.

"Crack repairs are considered a red x: no fly condition," said Fox. "For me to fix it and say it's up to standards, allows the B-52 to complete its mission."

Sheet metal never stops; they ensure the B-52s are ready for the mission 24/7. Fox takes pride in being a part of the bigger picture.

"I get to fix a piece, ensuring a jet defending our country stays in the air," he said. "This makes my job really rewarding."

Editor's note: This is part one of a three-part series on the mission of the 2nd Maintenance Squadron fabrication flight.

Warren Airmen rise to the Challenge!

by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs


8/4/2015 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo.  -- Ninetieth Missile Wing Airmen gathered in the Trail's End ballroom, waiting for the announcement of who among them were selected to represent the wing at this year's Global Strike Challenge. The room went dark and the Airmen fell silent.

Suddenly, a shot rang out, followed by several more.

Capt. Joshua Haynes, replete in cowboy hat, bandana and black duster storms the room with two six-guns loaded with blanks, creating an orchestra of noises livening the crowd. It was time to get the show started.

This week marks the beginning of the fifth annual Global Strike Challenge and, the 90th Missile Wing held their announcement, July 31 to motivate the base and the Airmen competing.

Global Strike Challenge is the world's premier bomber, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and security forces competition.

Teams from the 90th Missile Wing and Warren vie for the title of the best of the best in AFGSC.

Airmen will compete through September, testing the capabilities of mission critical units along with essential supporting agencies. Units participating from Warren include the 90th Security Forces Group, 90th Maintenance Group, 90th Operations Group, 90th Mission Support Group and 36th Helicopter Squadron.

"I think it's an awesome competition," said 1st Lt. Daniel Uresti, 320th Missile Squadron. "This year I'll be competing, so I'm training every day until competition."

The single thing each competitor shares, despite facing different challenges, is their motivation to succeed.

"It really makes all of the different units work together and motivate each other," Uresti said. "You cheer each other on. It's not an individual competition or a specific unit's fight. We're all in this together."

Each team has a personal instructor assigned to assist them in their path to victory.

"I feel confident. Our base has phenomenal people competing and coaching," Staff Sgt. Katie Coble, 90th Maintenance Group quality assurance evaluator and past competitor. "I'm using my previous experience of doing the challenge as a team chief to help me be a better instructor."

Maj. Grant Fowler, 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron, is the wing lead for the GSC. He said, there are several objectives for the Global Strike Challenge. Through competition and teamwork, the event aims to foster esprit de corps, recognize outstanding AFGSC personnel and teams, and improve combat capabilities.

Like scopes aimed at a target, the competitors appear to be ready to tackle every challenge they meet head on. However, winning is not the purpose, but a milestone for the competitors.

"This is to motivate and increase the morale, to push us to work harder and shows us the fun side of our careers," Fowler said.

To help those Airmen make it to the finish line, it will take the effort of the entire base populous.

"For us to be a success, it'll take the dedication and motivation of everyone [on Warren,]" Coble said.

But all work and no play isn't what the facility maintenance section instructor is aiming for.

"I want them to have fun," Coble said. "At the end of the day it's a friendly competition."

Coble, along with a few of the other instructors for the teams, have experienced the full force of the GSC and are working to ensure the Airmen competing get the most out of the experience.

Col. Stephen Kravitsky, 90th Missile Wing commander, closes the event with his expectations of the competition.

"This isn't about the wing or competing with the other wings, the focus is on those Airmen competing," Kravitsky said. "At the end of the day, whether we bring home the trophy or not, have fun, enjoy your time and learn from this experience."

DoDEA Announces Changes in Educational Leadership



Department of Defense Education Activity News Release

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 5, 2015 – The Department of Defense Education Activity today announced the selection of a new principal deputy director and associate director for education, said Thomas M. Brady, DoDEA director.

Linda L. Curtis moves into the role with the departure of Adrian B. Talley who will become the executive director of student services in Prince Georges County Schools in Maryland.

Brady cited Curtis’ experience in DoDEA schools as a critical factor in moving the system’s priorities forward in the coming months and years. The new assignment is a promotion for Curtis, who moves to tier 2 of the federal civil service’s Senior Executive Service. Curtis currently is the director of DoDEA Pacific Schools.

Brady also named Gael Coyle as acting area director of DoDEA Pacific Schools – she is currently the deputy director for curriculum, instruction and assessment for DoDEA Pacific Schools.

Experienced Educator

“Dr. Curtis’ experience in DoDEA truly spans every level -- from teacher to administrator to educational leader,” Brady said. “She served in DoDEA schools in Europe as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, district superintendent, and deputy area director.”

He added, “In our stateside schools, Dr. Curtis has served as the deputy director for curriculum, instruction and assessment and the interim area director. Not only does she bring a vast amount of experience and perspective, but she also brings a tremendous amount of energy and dedication and a passion for education and student achievement. We are fortunate to be able to invest her experience into achieving our school system’s top priority of college and career readiness.”

Curtis shared her thoughts about her new assignment and continuing to serve military-connected students and their families.

“It is an honor and privilege to continue to serve our military and civilian families,” she said. “I have been fortunate to serve in a variety of positions from teacher to director in all three areas -- Europe, Pacific, the Americas, and now at DoDEA headquarters. This promotion gives me an opportunity to bring my field experience to the headquarters level,” she added.

“I look forward to working with the headquarters staff in support of DoDEA Director, Tom Brady,” Curtis continued. “By focusing on college, career, ready standards, 21st century skills and high student achievement, DoDEA will continue to be a world class school system.”

Prior to joining DoDEA, Curtis, taught in Australia and in Fort Wayne, Indiana, schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University. Additionally, she earned two master's degrees from Indiana University in school administration and elementary education with a concentration in reading and special education. In 2006, Curtis earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Argosy University.

Nearly 30 Years of Experience

Brady cited Coyle’s nearly 30 years of experience in DoDEA schools as a valuable attribute in her new assignment.

“Dr. Coyle’s experience in a wide range of positions from classroom teacher to administrator to assistant superintendent will be invaluable to directing our schools in the Pacific as we transition to college and career readiness throughout the DoDEA school system,” he said.

Prior to her current assignment, Coyle was the assistant superintendent of DoDEA’s Fort Stewart/South Carolina District. She has also served in DoDEA as the principal at Alconbury High School in England. She joined DoDEA schools in Edzell, Scotland, at Halsey Elementary School as a mild-to-moderate, learning-impaired teacher and later worked in England and Iceland as an educator and an administrator.

Coyle was also a junior high and middle school classroom teacher in Eugene, Oregon. She received her master’s degree from the University of Oregon in special education and completed her doctorate in administration and supervision of education at Oklahoma State University.

Curtis and Coyle begin their new assignments August 9.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade education programs for school-aged children of DoD personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

DoDEA also provides support and resources to local educational activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.