Military News

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ogden ALC saves time, money with MHU-83 lift work

by Ogden Air Logistics Complex

8/7/2015 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- For many years, the 526th Electronics Maintenance Squadron, part of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, overhauled Munitions Handling Unit-83 lift trucks in support of supply-chain customers at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

The MHU-83 is an aerial lift truck that lifts and secures munitions, weapons, rocket launchers, fuel tanks and other items weighing up to 7,000 pounds onto the pylons of various tactical aircraft. It is a self-propelled, hydraulically-operated lifting device that positions the loads using hydraulic power that is supplied by a piston pump coupled to the diesel engine.

Eventually, the end item sales price for the overhaul work increased to the point where, in 2014, the program office determined it was more cost-effective to buy new units instead of overhauling them. This decision nearly caused the Ogden ALC shop's workload to disappear.

The 526 EMXS established a process improvement team and developed a charter using the Air Force Sustainment Center Way and its tenets of safety and quality to eliminate constraints and waste, thus improving cost effectiveness for our warfighters. The squadron understood it would need to maintain the highest product quality standards that customers demand, and that the squadron had always delivered.

Team members included squadron mechanics, work leads, and supervisors; the Ogden ALC Business Office and Engineering; and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Program Manager of Aerial Stores Lift Trucks, Munition Material Handling Equipment at Robins.

"It has been a collaborated effort with AFLCMC's Program Manager and our team of professionals in the 526 EMXS," said Charles Wright, Ground Power Flight Chief. "We knew we could achieve our full potential and maximize available resources, so we focused our sights on creating a successful environment."

Additionally, the team wrote a comprehensive Statement of Work covering the complete overhaul of the MHU-83, identified unnecessary steps and process constraints, and developed standard work methods on all processes through each build-up cell of the MHU-83.

Using engineering support in the 309th Electronics Maintenance Group, the team developed process orders to ensure standard work throughout tear down, component inspection, build up, final assembly and final testing. The team also performed a Cost Benefit Analysis to aid in decisions of organic versus contract repair, repair versus replacement decisions, and in-house manufacturing of various parts fabrications versus purchase.

"Increasing speed using Standard Work, with decreased flow time per asset, and continuing warfighter-recognized quality, we have decreased work-in-progress and stabilized the production machine throughput to our customer," Wright said. "This robust continuous process improvement effort has resulted in cutting more than 119 hours from the original 561 hours needed to overhaul one MHU-83 -- a 21.2 percent decrease in labor costs."

In terms of total cost savings, the projected fiscal 2016 end item sales price will be approximately $91,000 -- a decrease of $42,000 (31.6 percent) per end item -- which is projected to save customers more than $2.2 million during that period alone.

"Continuous Process Improvement is exactly that," Wright said, "so the shop will continue using the AFSC Way to make additional improvements."

Beale responds to wildfire with local community firefighters

by Airman Preston Cherry
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


8/10/2015 - CLEARLAKE, California  -- Beale personnel from the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron assisted CAL Fire and other fire prevention organizations with fighting a wildfire near Clearlake in California, Aug. 6.

The Rocky fire started July 29, and is the largest of 19 active wildfires burning across the state, consuming nearly 70,000 acres, destroying 43 residences and involving more than 3,500 fire personnel.

Beale personnel are a part of a 17 person strike force. The team is under a unified command structure comprised of five fire trucks from a variety of fire departments; all working under a strike team leader. Beale is in direct assistance with the Yuba-Sutter area, which includes fire departments from Linda, Wheatland, Pleasant Grove and Olivehurst.

"A strike team is a big factor in the California mutual aid system," said Kyle Heggstrom, Linda Fire Protection District fire captain and strike team leader. "Without having five engines running we wouldn't be able to go, and luckily Beale was our fifth engine to join in. Without that engine this strike team wouldn't have been able to combat this fire."

Beale, along with the rest of the strike force, has been battling multiple California fires for nearly two weeks.

"Helping the surrounding community has been great, not only because of the feeling you get, but the learning experience has been one of a kind," said Steven Dobbs, 9th CES fire captain.

Will Hock, 9th CES fire captain said, Beale leadership has put a lot of trust into the fire department here since this is the first time they have worked as a strike team for the county. Although this type of strike team is new for Beale, the experienced gained is unmatched and cannot be recreated on base. It's essential for the training of Beale firefighters.

"This is my first time being out with a strike team," said Airman 1st Class Austin Kauffman, 9th CES firefighter. "This is a unique experience to participate in a fire of this magnitude. It's something we don't get to see too often at Beale. It's been a learning experience to see how the fire reacts in the heavy tinder and brush, along with how the weather affects it."

The real-world incident involved Beale personnel fighting the flames directly, but equally important, included the prevention of fire expansion such as "mop-ups."

"Mop-ups are one of the most critical aspects of firefighting," Heggstrom said. "This is a time when we have to slow down our operation, get all of the hot spots on the edge of the fire and prevent it from expanding and causing larger fires."

With the fire nearing complete containment, Beale firefighter and the other strike force members will be returning to their home stations soon.

"The strike team has become one big family," Heggstrom said. "We're fortunate to have assistance from Beale and it's a tremendous training opportunity for them.

"During 2015, California has endured a significant amount of wildfires; they are ranging from the Northern area of the state to the South. I feel all crews have benefitted by participating in the mutual aid system. It's valuable for the state of California having Beale involved in the strike team."

SMA visits troops in the Last Frontier

by Sgt. 1st Class Joel Gibson
USARAK Public Affairs


8/10/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey visited the Last Frontier July 30 and 31 to give the Soldiers, Army civilians and families of U.S. Army Alaska an opportunity to address their concerns at the highest level, and to see how USARAK conducts some of its training.

First, Dailey visited Fort Wainwright and toured the Northern Warfare Training Center, where Arctic Warriors showed the Army senior enlisted adviser how they train to fight and win in high-altitude and extreme cold weather conditions and types of equipment used.

At both Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Dailey hosted town hall meetings in which he told Soldiers, Army civilians and family members of the SMA initiatives and explained their significance.

Dailey then opened the floor to questions, stating the concerns raised were being recorded and he would present them to the Chief of Staff of the Army.
At JBER, one of the immediate concerns was confusion over the Army online conduct policy.

"You can still have fun without hazing, without bullying and without sexually harassing," Dailey said.

Soldiers also raised concerns about Army Physical Fitness Test standards and methods changing, as well as uniform regulations.

Dailey responded by saying there are predictive and combat-focused tests being considered which would be based on a Soldier's military occupational specialty.

Also on the table are uniform updates like black socks with the improved physical fitness uniform, the Eisenhower style jacket with the Army service uniform, and unisex dress and drill sergeant headgear - which are receiving support in online polls.

In response to a question about why medical appointments require a long wait, Dailey said much of the wait comes from people missing appointments and rescheduling them.

"Should we charge Soldiers for missed appointments?" Dailey asked. The question was met with a resounding "hooah."

After the town hall meeting, Dailey met with several USARAK agencies, stopping by the Sergeant First Class Christopher R. Brevard Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and meeting with Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Ferdinand.

One of the major recurring themes in the NCO Academy visit was National Guard units using Regular Army training facilities - and vice versa - in an effort to save money spent on travel costs for Soldiers.

"He came down with extreme interest in the importance of what we're doing with training here," said Staff Sgt. Jason Hernandez, the quality assurance officer of the NCOA. "And not just smoothing over and giving you roundabout words, but a direct plan and a time line of when to expect results or changes."

Staff Sgt. Sean Callahan of USARAK Public Affairs contributed to this story.

ACC commander releases new command strategy

by ACC Public Affairs
Headquarters Air Combat Command


8/10/2015 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va.  -- Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command released the ACC's 2015 command strategy "Securing the High Ground"
today.

The principles the document outlines are designed to chart a deliberate course for ACC that will transform today's Combat Air Force into the CAF of tomorrow.

"This strategy outlines my priorities for ACC and provides a roadmap to ensure the Combat Air Force can provide unmatched air dominance for our Nation now and into the forseeable future," said Carlisle.

The strategy is based around Carlisle's three priorities:

· Provide for Today: Deliver the greatest amount of combat capability to meet our national security objectives and win our nation's wars.
· Prepare for the Future: Balanced capabilities and capacity to meet the demands of a complex and uncertain world.
· The Foundation of Airpower: Airmen and their families.

"Our job is to provide the maximum amount of capability we can to the combatant commanders," Carlisle said.  "As the lead for five of the Air Force's 12 core functions, we have to build the best Air Force we can now and in the future given the resources the American people provide us."

Carlisle noted that ensuring the Air Force's capacity and capability to successfully meet those five functions--air superiority, global integrated ISR, global precision attack, personnel recovery, and command and control--would be a challenging undertaking in what has become a increasingly complex and uncertain environment.  However, he added he was confident that the command's Airmen were up to the task.

"Our Airmen are our asymmetric advantage over any adversary that we may face," he said. "We must make sure they're resilient and have everything they need to face the unique challenges of military life, and set conditions that support joint force objectives and the national military strategy."

Within the strategy, Carlisle noted that despite having "more mission than we have people, time or money" he was confident in the command's future and its enduring commitment to "protecting the foundation of airpower and securing the high ground for America."

"ACC has a proud heritage of meeting difficult challenges with success," he wrote. "That will not change as we go forward."

A copy of the 2015 ACC Command Strategy is available for review and download at http://www.acc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-150810-026.pdf.

For more information, please contact ACC Public Affairs, at (757) 764-5007.

JBER medical personnel see patients as family

by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs


8/10/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- So there you are, sitting in your doctor's office and he says the words you've been expecting, but hoping would never come.

"I think surgery's your best option."

There's a brief moment of processing, then your heart decides to take up residence in your stomach.

Surgery can be daunting; many people are uncomfortable with the idea of trusting themselves to a stranger's care while at their most vulnerable, but to highly-qualified surgeons and technicians at the Perianesthesia Unit in the 673d Medical Group, each patient isn't a stranger - he is somebody's family.
"We keep families safer," said Senior Airman Kristie Stenhouse, a medical technician at the Anesthesia Procedure Unit. "We can fix things that happen close to home, so family overseas don't have to worry."

The APU sees approximately 12 to 20 active duty, dependent, or veteran patients a day for everything from obstetrics to cataracts.

Like any other part of the hospital, a visit to the APU begins with a doctor's appointment.

"At your appointment, you will discuss your concerns and have your questions answered regarding your planned surgery," said Tech. Sgt. Danielle Gagne-Thibodeau, noncommissioned officer in charge of the APU.

The surgeon will then explain the procedure, the risks, the benefits, and alternatives to surgery.

"After all your concerns are answered," Gagne-Thibodeau said, "The surgeon will sign the consent form with you."

"Once that happens, the doctor puts the referral in for the pre-op clinic," Stenhouse said. "The nurses meet with you and go over your medical history to make sure you are fit for surgery."

Typically, the date of surgery will be decided at this point, but in some cases, surgery is performed the same day as the pre-op appointment, to ensure nothing changes between appointments, Stenhouse said.

"This is your opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding your surgery," Gagne-Thibodeau said. "Our nurse will tell you when you need to stop having food and drinks, when you should call for your show time, and what you need to bring on the day of surgery."

The APU is split into four main sections: check-in, preoperative, operating room, and recovery. Each of these serves a different, but essential purpose to ensure surgery is as smooth and comfortable for the patients as possible.

"You will be required to present your photo ID at check-in," Gagne-Thibodeau said. "Here you will be asked to change into a gown, remove all undergarments, jewelry, glasses, dentures, and hearing aids."

During this process, patients will be asked more questions regarding their medical history. There will be questions which need to be posed repeatedly to ensure nothing slips through the cracks prior to surgery.

The technicians start an intravenous drip and make sure the patient is comfortable.

"I don't want to cause my patients pain, so when I do IVs I like to do them fast and quick," Stenhouse said.

As space becomes available and once the nurses on the preoperative side are ready, patients waiting in the clinic's main lobby will be rolled to that side of the clinic where the patient meets with their doctor and the nurse who will be in the operating room.

Here, information will be verified again to ensure there have not been any misunderstandings.

"We will verify your information frequently to ensure we meet the optimal safety and care you deserve," Gagne-Thibodeau said.

They'll explain the type of anesthesia to be used, the risks associated, and some possible side effects of the procedure.

In the operating room, the doctors use electronic nerve stimulators to ensure the patient is completely unconscious before beginning surgery.

"After [the procedure] is done you come out to the recovery area," Stenhouse said.

"When they come out of surgery I want to make their pain tolerable," she said. "Make them warm make them comfortable."

Nurses in the recovery area ask patients to rate their pain on a scale of 0 to 10.

"Thats our way for adults to tell us their pain range," Stenhouse said. "For kiddos we have little faces they can point to and say which one they are. It's kind of cool. It lets the kids have more of a say with what's going on with them."

When patients are breathing well on their own and their pain is tolerable enough to move, they are escorted into the check-in area as they get ready to head home.

Be it a knee arthroscopy or a gallbladder removal, surgery can take a physical and emotional toll on the patients.

There is also an emotional impact on the staff because the patients aren't just seen as patients. They are people. This is particularly true when a miscarriage happens, she said.

"When you lose a child, it's very emotional," Stenhouse said. "It really brings you back to what we're doing here."

Each patient is in the APU for a different reason, with a different history and background, but the men and women who work at the APU want them all to have the same story - success.

"I wouldn't want someone to take care of my family in Oklahoma and not provide them the best care," Stenhouse said. "It's just treating others like you want your family to be treated. Like you'd want to be treated."

Whiteman AFB B-2 bombers deploy to Guam

by Headquarters Pacific Air Forces

8/10/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Three B-2 bombers and approximately 225 Airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, deployed to Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, Aug. 7 to conduct familiarization training activities in the Pacific region.

This training deployment demonstrates continuing U.S. commitment to regular, global strategic bomber operations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Air Force Global Strike Command continues to routinely deploy bombers to Andersen, providing commanders from Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Pacific Command a global strike capability and extended deterrence against potential adversaries.

For more information, please contact the PACAF Public Affairs office at 808-448-3219.

Marines Help With Typhoon Relief in Saipan



By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2015 – U.S. Marines and sailors have been helping local and federal agencies in Saipan with relief efforts since Aug. 7, after Typhoon Soudelor struck the island Aug. 2-3, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said here today.

More than 48,000 people live on Saipan, the largest island of the 300-mile archipelago that makes up the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the western Pacific Ocean.

Marines and sailors from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the USS Ashland, a forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship in the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, have been working since they arrived in Saipan to distribute relief supplies there, Davis said.

Delivering Needed Aid

“Marine Corps MV-22 [Ospreys] from the 31st MEU based in Guam and the USS Ashland have delivered a total of five water bladders to the island,” he added, noting that Marines are manning the 3,000-gallon water containers 24 hours a day.

The Ashland also delivered Federal Emergency Management Agency generators from Guam, and personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are helping set up power wells on Saipan, Davis said.

Four MV-22B Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, 31st MEU, are staged in nearby Guam and are providing airlift support as part of relief efforts, according to a statement released by the 31st MEU.

So far, the 31st MEU has delivered more than 11,400 gallons of water and 48,300 individual ready-to-eat meals to five distribution sites across the island. Marines also have set up a water purification system to produce more drinking water for the people of Saipan, the statement said.

The Ashland returned to Guam and will bring back to Saipan a high-production tactical water-purification system, multiple mobile water containers, equipment to repair and restore power and about 10,000 pounds of Red Cross relief goods, the statement said.

When it arrives in Saipan, the Ashland will produce up to 40,000 gallons of drinking water a day to be distributed by the 31st MEU Marines. The 31st MEU was conducting scheduled training in the Asia-Pacific region when it was redirected to support Saipan relief efforts, the statement said.

Boom simulator preps students for refueling mission

by Senior Airman Dillon Davis
97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


8/10/2015 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Altus Air Force Base is home to one of the most advanced systems used to train future U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft boom operators.

The Boom Operator Weapons System Trainer is a simulator used by boom operator students here at Altus AFB to provide hands-on training before they even leave the ground. The simulated training allows the students to run through nearly any scenario possible and tests their abilities to respond appropriately to a variety of challenges they may encounter during an actual refueling mission.

"The BOWST saves approximately $217,603 per student in flight hours," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Thomas Vesser, 97th Training Squadron boom operator instructor. "This is because we were able to reduce our flying requirement by three sorties and move that training into the BOWST."

Aside from the obvious cost-saving reasons for simulator training, the BOWST ensures that boom operator students are better prepared to handle in-flight refueling. The students are able to hone their skills in a risk-free environment; therefore, they are able to make "rookie" mistakes without endangering lives or Air Force assets.

"As a boom operator, you are not only responsible for accomplishing the mission, but you are predominantly responsible for the lives onboard your aircraft and the receiving aircraft," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Mary Claire Bolo, 203rd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator student, Hawaii Air National Guard. "Like anything else, things can go wrong and the BOWST gives us the opportunity to recognize, be aware and calmly correct the conditions that are deemed unsafe."

Each boom operator student completes a total of 16 BOWST training simulations before they take to the skies. The required simulations test the Airmen on a variety of different possible scenarios they may encounter while refueling other aircraft.

"This is where we apply what we've learned in the classroom setting on a KC-135 boom operator simulator," said Bolo. "We go through multiple abnormal and normal operating procedures until our instructors feel we are proficient and ready for the real deal. Being in the BOWST broadens our situational awareness in all aspects of flight for when we, the boom operators, are in control of the aircraft."

The classroom instruction gives students the knowledge necessary to safely perform the air refueling mission, however, it is not until they reach the BOWST portion of their training that they are able to put that knowledge into action and reaction.

"The most important thing I'll be taking away from the BOWST is the malfunction procedures," said Bolo. "We work closely with our instructors, who are prior boom operators, and they share with us their knowledge and expertise on what to expect once we become operational."

The boom operators in training get to learn their craft from highly qualified and experienced instructors who were previously boom operators.

"The BOWST also gives the instructor an opportunity to explain in detail and even pause the scenario to discuss the procedures throughout the training event," said Brian Buss, boom operator instructor.

Simulators, in conjunction with expert instructors, have not only improved training efficiency, but also the quality of training received here at the 97th Training Squadron.

"The BOWST portion of training, I feel, is absolutely necessary to accomplish as a boom operator student," said Bolo. "If I didn't first fly the BOWST, I wouldn't feel comfortable at all stepping on an aircraft."

Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For



The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Nehemiah E. Butler Pocomoke City, Maryland, will be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery. In late December 1950, Butler and elements of Company C, 19th Infantry Regiment (IR), 24th Infantry Division (ID), were deployed near Seoul, South Korea, when their unit was attacked by enemy forces. During the attempt to delay the enemy forces from advancing, Butler was separated from his unit while moving towards a more defensible position. Butler was reported missing Jan. 1, 1951.

On July 19, 1951, a Republic of South Korea military officer told U.S. Army Graves Registration Services (AGRS) personnel about the remains of a U.S. serviceman, who, died and was buried near the village of Chik-Tong-ni. The AGRS team located the remains. Due to lack of documentation, the remains were declared unidentified. The remains were interred as unknown at the U.N. Military Cemetery in Tanggok, and were later disinterred and transferred to the Central Identification Unit (CIU) in Kokura, Japan. In 1955, the remains were transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), commonly known as the “Punchbowl”.

In 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) re-examined records and concluded that with advances in technology, the possibility of identification of some of these unknowns buried in the Punch Bowl now existed.

In the identification of Butler’s remains, scientists from the DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence, dental and chest radiographs comparison, and mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched his sister.
Today, more than 7,800 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams.