Military News

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Warriors of the North battle to be crowned Summer Bash 2015 Champions

by Airman 1st Class Ryan Sparks
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/24/2015 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Airmen here took a break from their daily operations Aug. 20 to compete in a variety of events during Summer Bash 2015.

Summer Bash is a day of competition and camaraderie held annually at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Airmen compete as teams or as individuals with the goal of their squadron being named Summer Bash Champions.

Col. Rodney Lewis, 319th Air Base Wing commander, addressed Airmen before the event kicked off with a 5K run.

"The most important part of today is being together as a family, taking care of each other and having fun," said Lewis.

This year's team events included four-on-four sand volleyball, a kickball tournament, speed golf, wheelbarrow race, grilling contest, water balloon toss, bowling, archery contest, human foosball, soccer drill relay, capture the flag, fire truck pull, cornhole and a bed race.

Individuals were able to represent their squadron in the combat obstacle course, one-mile swim, 100-meter sprint, and watermelon eating contest. Squadrons were able to earn points for volunteering, participating and placing in the top three or winning different events.

Former NFL running back Herschel Walker was the special guest speaker for Summer Bash 2015. He signed autographs and helped judge certain events. After the awards ceremony, Walker addressed the Airmen.

Walker told his story of perseverance and spoke about his admiration and appreciation for all members of the military.

"You are doing something much bigger than you can see," said Walker.

First Lt. Garret Frisby, 319th Force Support Squadron sustainment services flight commander, and his committee began planning Summer Bash 2015 more than three months ago.

"Events like these help bring the entire base together and provide some release from day-to-day work," said Frisby. "Most units allow their Airmen to participate freely the entire day. We care about each other here at Grand Forks AFB and realize how hard we work each day."

The results of Summer Bash 2015 are as follows:

Iron Chef Grilling Competition - Sponsored by the North Dakota Beef Commission
1st Place -319th Force Support Squadron
2nd Place - 319th Medical Group
3rd Place - 319th Wing Staff Agencies/ 319th Comptroller Squadron
4th Place - 319th Contracting Flight

Small Unit Overall Winners
1st Place - 319th Medical Group
2nd Place - 319th Communications Squadron

Large Unit Overall Winners
1st Place - 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron
2nd Place - 319th Civil Engineering Squadron

71st FTS 'Ironmen' return to Langley

by By Senior Airman R. Alex Durbin
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/24/2015 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- U.S. Air Force Airmen, former Service members and families welcomed the 71st Fighter Squadron "Ironmen" back to Joint Base Langley-Eustis during a reactivation ceremony here, Aug. 21.

Deactivated in 2010, the historic fighter squadron will continue its legacy of excellence, but shift its focus from the front lines to now train today's pilots as the redesignated 71st Fighter Training Squadron.

The unit will conduct adversarial air support, or "red air," for 1st Fighter Wing, F-22 Raptor pilots and leverage its 17 T-38 Talon aircraft to provide realistic training scenarios - a mission Lt. Col. Brian Coyne, 71st FTS commander, said will save money and increase mission-focused training, while easing the burden originally shouldered by 27th Fighter Squadron Service members.

"In the past, [the 27th FS] needed to use F-22 flying hours to provide adversarial support," said Coyne. "For a fraction of the cost, T-38s can provide training support, which not only saves money on training, but allows our F-22 pilots more flying hours."

While the squadron's efforts will cut costs and save flying hours, its members also are committed to keeping the 1st FW ready for America's call.

"We're here to provide world-class adversarial air [support] to replicate what [our enemies] will do," said Capt. Nichole Stilwell, 71st FTS T-38 pilot. "Our job is to help polish our F-22 pilots and keep them ready at any time."

Coyne said the squadron's mission is two-fold and will not only help 1st FW pilots, but provide 71st FTS officers the opportunity to master enemy flight tactics, while honing their own piloting skills.

"We plan to make our [pilots] experts on what our enemies will do, which provides a unique opportunity," said Coyne. "Our program here will season them and allow them to bring a diverse background which will increase readiness in our Air Force."

Following his assumption of command, Coyne reminded the squadron of their vital place within the 1st FW.

"You've all signed up for an incredibly difficult and important mission.  You're the [F-22 pilots'] sparring partner.  The sword's already razor sharp - you help the 1st Fighter Wing figure out how to use it better," said Coyne.  "Because of what the Ironmen are doing today, the full force of Langley's combat power will be ready to undertake [war] when the flag goes up.  It's an incredible legacy that the Ironmen of today must, and will, live up to and honor."

Originally formed in December 1940 as the 71st Pursuit Squadron, the 71st FS has flown a variety of combat aircraft including the P-38 Lightning, P-80 Shooting Star, F-86 Sabre, F-106 Delta Dart, and F-4 Phantom.  In 1975, the 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron moved to Langley and was equipped with the F-15 Eagle, which it flew for more than 30 years before its deactivation.

Over the course of its history, the 71st FS saw combat in numerous conflicts across the globe including World War II, Operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom, and was credited with the first air-to-air victory in Desert Storm. For its valor and excellence in combat, the unit earned numerous accolades, including three Presidential Unit Citations, eleven Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, and five Hughes Achievement Trophies.

Carter Welcomes Senior Civilian Leaders to Pentagon



By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, August 25, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter and some of his top advisers yesterday briefed a group of civilians from around the nation -- leaders from business, academia, filmmaking and city government -- as part of the department’s longest-running public liaison program.

For most of the years since 1948, the secretary has invited American business, community and academic leaders to the Pentagon, and to directly observe and engage with members of all five of the armed services at facilities in the United States and sometimes internationally.

The program began as the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference and now is called the Secretary of Defense Senior Leader Engagement Program, or SLEP.

Engaging Opinion Leaders

Over the years the department has conducted 84 programs for 6,700 invitees to boost public understanding of national defense.

The competitive program seeks to illustrate the U.S. armed forces’ strength and readiness and educate attendees on the challenges faced by service members and their families. It also provides the public a closer look at national defense policies and programs through the eyes of the opinion leaders who take part in the program.

Carter welcomed the SLEP members to the Pentagon yesterday, taking photos with each one, giving them challenge coins, and answering questions.

Earlier in the day, the group heard briefings by defense officials involved in policy and in operations.

Dr. Mara Karlin, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, explained how the department plans for its future.

“We actually are mandated by Congress to look 20 years out" and to look for future trends, she told the SLEP group.

Visualizing the Force of the Future

“If we look 20 years back, the department was barely using e-mail,” Karlin added, noting that trends for the future could include robotics or autonomy or 3-dimensional printing.

“3-D printing … in many ways can change what we're doing but it can also change what our partners, our allies and our adversaries are doing,” she explained.

The experts in her office, with the rest of the department, work to understand some of the wars DoD might fight in the future -- wars with great powers, states with nukes, states with weak governments and terrorists on the rise -- and use those to do scenario-based planning, Karlin said.

From the scenarios come decisions from the services about how to use their capabilities, then from the department about how to invest in the future force for such fights and how to make changes if the scenarios are wrong.

Countering ISIL

From Air Force Lt. Gen. Tod D. Wolters, director for operations on the Joint Staff, the group heard about current defense challenges, including the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“The counter-ISIL game plan is huge -- it’s something that we know will probably take a full three years to resolve,” he told the group.

The department has looked at ISIL from all angles -- in isolation as it resides in Iraq and Syria, and in its potential forms elsewhere -- from a counter-ISIL program that starts at Islamabad and tracks through the west, through the Middle East and all the way down to the northern and western tips of Africa, he said.

They do that, he added, “to ensure that the efforts are coordinated across that swath of territory from a counter-ISIL game plan to ensure that we're doing the smartest things we possibly can.”

SLEP Highlight

For the rest of the week, the SLEP members will visit, learn about and participate in operations with members of the Coast Guard, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Air Force.

For past members of the DoD outreach program, this hands-on experience was a highlight of the trip.

In a 2011 blog post, program alumni Tom Garfinkel, president and chief operating officer of the San Diego Padres Baseball Club, described part of his experience.

“We fired multiple types of weapons and participated in training exercises. We traveled on Air Force planes and Marine helicopters, and we toured nuclear submarines and rode in anti-mine vehicle protection system and amphibious assault vehicle convoys,” he wrote.

“But most importantly, and certainly most impressively, we met and spent significant time with the men and women who have dedicated themselves so selflessly to service in the Marines, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard,” Garfinkel added.

On the radar: Robins lab to support C-5 software, hardware upgrades

by Jenny Gordon
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/25/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The C-5 System Integration Lab here has been prepping to accommodate upcoming changes to the weapon system's color weather radar capabilities for the last several months.

Full-scale development is now underway by Lockheed Martin Corp. to update to a new version of the color weather radar, as well as its core mission computer, which is the heart of mission planning while a C-5 is in flight. It allows the crew to see where danger spots such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and high winds are.

The C-5 Galaxy's current robust testing environment at Robins includes a facility that uses a salvaged cockpit section from a C-5 which crashed at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, in 2006.

The existing flight deck allows 578th Software Maintenance Squadron electronics engineers, technicians and computer scientists the ability to simulate and test software, perform pre-flight tests and eliminate issues before it is used on live aircraft.

"If we can eliminate issues through testing in the SIL, we don't tie up people and resources down the line," said Robert Hermann, 578 SMXS director.

But in order to accommodate the pending workload associated with the new color weather radar, several hardware modifications to the existing lab had to be worked.

That included designing, fabricating and installing an electronics cabinet/enclosure; fabricating and installing cables from the lab's cockpit to the cabinet/enclosure; and, designing an antenna fixture and pedestal that allows for proper antenna rotation during testing.

An air conditioning and heating unit that maintains temperature and humidity inside the enclosure was also installed. Along with the color weather radar's receiver/transmitter, the enclosure, located on the building's roof, will support the antenna fixture/pedestal assembly and the radome.

That radome, which took about a week and a half to fabricate, simulates the functionality of an actual C-5 nose radome. The radome's shape was formed using a wood mold, sealed with joint compound, covered and sanded, painted and applied with fiberglass epoxy.

The radome was designed and built in-house by a team led by Chris Causey, C-5 SIL tech lead, along with electronics engineers Andy Adams, John Crutchfield, Brandy Herrmann, Tony Kirksey, David Ogden and Emile Sumner, and computer scientist Todd Morris. Also assisting was painter Jason Blount with the 402nd Maintenance Support Group.

Engineering and manufacturing development testing of the color weather radar is scheduled to begin here in mid-November.

A team got together in advance of testing to build the radome here which will ensure the C-5 SIL will be ready by the fall.

Eliminating the major constraint of building the radome at Robins demonstrated taking initiative and applying ingenuity to provide a solution which is part of key concepts outlined in the Air Force Sustainment Center's Art of the Possible.

The AoP "creates a culture that is focused daily on identifying and urgently eliminating process constraints affecting the process critical path during execution."

Once complete, the C-5 SIL will have the capability to receive live data from the antenna, picking up weather patterns that can be transmitted back to engineers working inside the C-5 simulator.

"We had to design and implement this modification to the SIL so that the radar would function just as it does in a fielded C-5 aircraft," said Warner Paris, 578 SMXS Flight B director, who oversees the C-5 SIL. "For high fidelity testing capabilities, we want to simulate the aircraft and its environment."

Advantages over the older weather radar include the addition of windshear and turbulence detection, a digital output signal that will reduce electronics required to interface with digital displays and equipment, a lower power pulse with comparable range and mitigation of obsolescence, supportability and sustainment issues.

"The new color weather radar is a functional upgrade over the old radar, detecting more weather feature details," said Paris. "It will have additional capabilities but with less drain on the aircraft, less power but with a comparable range due to the technology in use."

Designed to support sustainment of the C-5, the SIL can perform independent verification and validation testing of operational flight program changes.

Miles of cables and wiring that run from the lab's ground floor to the roof are part of the bench that supports two configurations of the C-5 in the field: the Avionics Modernization Program , AMP, and the C-5M Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program, or RERP.

Through these capabilities, actual on-board systems in the SIL flight deck work in conjunction with simulations for other systems that exist on the actual aircraft, as well as conditions that exist within and external to the aircraft.

That is, simulating systems that are not present, such as engines, landing gear, control surfaces and fuel; simulating external conditions such as wind, temperature, barometric pressure and air traffic; and simulating aircraft conditions and responses such as cabin pressurization.

'This is depot work - this is what this base was meant to do'

by Jenny Gordon
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/21/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Heavy structural repairs occur every single day at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, yet one in particular has received some extra attention during the last few months.

As an F-15C was moving early on through programmed depot maintenance in the 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, a vertical crack measuring about 7 inches was discovered along one section of the fighter jet's bulkhead.

This particular aircraft had been previously inspected in the field using an ultrasonic testing technique (nondestructive inspection); however, when the aircraft arrived on station the crack that was detected earlier this summer was larger than anticipated. Lab testing will continue to further investigate.

After consultations with system program office engineers, the options were to either replace this particular bulkhead or scrap the entire plane.

"You can't use an airplane if that crack gets too big," said Dave Currie, an F-15 aerospace engineer. 

Remove and Replace

An expensive part to purchase and replace, the decision was made to replace the 626 bulkhead through the Defense Logistics Agency supply chain. The 626 bulkhead sits near the rear of the aircraft and center fuselage. It's a significant structural component that takes a lot of wear and tear during flight, and connects several critical pieces of the aircraft, including the wings and engines.

Planning began and procedures were set in motion to figure out how to accomplish this first-ever repair process. It was pulled out of regular maintenance into an unscheduled depot level maintenance gate for additional work. Once the work is completed, it will continue through PDM.

With the replacement bulkhead originating from an E model, there would be a learning curve when it came time to separate the aircraft's existing cracked bulkhead, and install a new one.

But in order to remove the bulkhead, the aircraft had to be split in half.

"The most challenging part involved removing the fasteners that were inside the center fuselage," said Dennis Pickett, 561 AMXS aircraft structural repair mechanic. "They were hard to get to and knock out. You get pretty scratched up doing it."

The entire process from disassembly of the aircraft to installing the new bulkhead took seven weeks which was on schedule. Special tooling was required to drill the wing lugs which delayed the project five weeks. However, work resumed early this month and was completed Aug. 8. The aircraft now moves into the reassembly phase with estimated completion on Aug. 24.

Pickett estimates that once it came time to reinstall the bulkhead, 500 to 600 fasteners were tediously and carefully re-attached to marry the two sections. Everything had to be perfectly in place during assembly; no single hole alignment can be off.

"What we tried to do once it was taken off is put it back in the same position it was in, if not better," he said. "It'll be a better plane going out than coming in.

"This is very tedious work that needs to be done right," Pickett added. "This bulkhead is carrying a lot of stress and a lot of weight -- there's no room for error. You make one error, and you don't get another bulkhead."

Staff Sgt. Glynn McDaniel, 402nd Expeditionary Maintenance aircraft battle damage repair technician, spends a lot of time travelling to locations to repair aircraft. He said this opportunity afforded him good training, learning different techniques along the way.

"The most stressful thing about taking it apart was accounting for every single small piece you took off," he said. "You keep everything because you never know what you can't have, can't find or can't order later on." 

McDaniel said the work was educational.

"There's so much to learn," he said. "As far as structural repair, this is it right here. It doesn't get any heavier than this." 

More than just a job

The core team is quick to point out that success of the bulkhead replacement didn't involve just a single shop. Everyone from DLA to NDI to the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group and 402 EDMX played an essential part.

"I think the next time this happens we'll be ready," said Rick Weeks, 561 AMXS flight chief. "We know the tooling we need, how things should flow and all the players we need."

Pickett, who has been at Robins for 30 years said it takes more than just showing up to do this kind of work.

"I tell everyone that it's all about experience, knowledge and dedication. If you don't have dedication to this job, you'll never get it done. This is a reflection on you. Work together, and we'll get the job done," he said.

"F-15s, C-130s have their heavy load, C-5s and C-17s -- all have certain jobs that they can only do at Robins Air Force Base," he said. "This is depot work -- this is what this base was meant to do."

Integration lab to support C-5 software, hardware upgrades


by Jenny Gordon
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/25/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The C-5 System Integration Lab at Robins has been prepping to accommodate upcoming changes to the weapon system's color weather radar capabilities for the last several months.

Full-scale development is now underway by Lockheed Martin to update to a new version of the color weather radar, as well as its core mission computer, which is the heart of mission planning while a C-5 is in flight. It allows the crew to see where danger spots are such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and high winds are.

The C-5 Galaxy's current robust testing environment at Robins includes a facility that uses a salvaged cockpit section from a C-5 which crashed at Dover Air Force Base, Del., in 2006.

The existing flight deck allows 578th Software Maintenance Squadron electronics engineers, technicians and computer scientists the ability to simulate and test software, perform pre-flight tests and eliminate issues before it's used on live aircraft.

"If we can eliminate issues through testing in the SIL, we don't tie up people and resources down the line," said Robert Hermann, 578th SMXS director.

But in order to accommodate the pending workload associated with the new color weather radar, several hardware modifications to the existing lab had to be worked.

That included designing, fabricating and installing an electronics cabinet/enclosure; fabricating and installing cables from the lab's cockpit to the cabinet/enclosure; and designing an antenna fixture and pedestal that allows for proper antenna rotation during testing.

An air conditioning and heating unit that maintains temperature and humidity inside the enclosure was also installed. Along with the color weather radar's receiver/transmitter, the enclosure, located on the building's roof, will support the antenna fixture/pedestal assembly and the radome.

That radome, which took about a week and a half to fabricate, simulates the functionality of an actual C-5 nose radome. The radome's shape was formed using a wood mold, sealed with joint compound, covered and sanded, painted and applied with fiberglass epoxy.

The radome was designed and built in-house by a team led by Chris Causey, C-5 SIL tech lead, along with electronics engineers Andy Adams, John Crutchfield, Brandy Herrmann, Tony Kirksey, David Ogden and Emile Sumner, and computer scientist Todd Morris. Also assisting was painter Jason Blount with the 402nd Maintenance Support Group.

Engineering and manufacturing development testing of the color weather radar is scheduled to begin here in mid-November.

A team got together in advance of testing to build the radome here which will ensure the C-5 SIL will be ready by the fall.

Eliminating the major constraint of building the radome at Robins demonstrated taking initiative and applying ingenuity to provide a solution which is part of key concepts outlined in the Air Force Sustainment Center's Art of the Possible.

The AoP "creates a culture that is focused daily on identifying and urgently eliminating process constraints affecting the process critical path during execution."

Once complete, the C-5 SIL will have the capability to receive live data from the antenna, picking up weather patterns that can be transmitted back to engineers working inside the C-5 simulator.

"We had to design and implement this modification to the SIL so that the radar would function just as it does in a fielded C-5 aircraft," said Warner Paris, 578th SMXS Flight B director, who oversees the C-5 SIL. "For high fidelity testing capabilities, we want to simulate the aircraft and its environment."

Advantages over the older weather radar include the addition of windshear and turbulence detection, a digital output signal that will reduce electronics required to interface with digital displays and equipment, a lower power pulse with comparable range and mitigation of obsolescence, supportability and sustainment issues.

"The new color weather radar is a functional upgrade over the old radar, detecting more weather feature details," said Paris. "It will have additional capabilities but with less drain on the aircraft, less power but with a comparable range due to the technology in use."

Designed to support sustainment of the C-5, the SIL can perform independent verification and validation testing of operational flight program changes.

Miles of cables and wiring that run from the lab's ground floor to the roof are part of the bench that supports two configurations of the C-5 in the field: the Avionics Modernization Program , AMP, and the C-5M Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program.

Through these capabilities, actual on-board systems in the SIL flight deck work in conjunction with simulations for other systems that exist on the actual aircraft, as well as conditions that exist within and external to the aircraft.

That is, simulating systems that are not present, such as engines, landing gear, control surfaces and fuel; simulating external conditions such as wind, temperature, barometric pressure and air traffic; and simulating aircraft conditions and responses such as cabin pressurization.

The 402nd Software Maintenance Group develops, engineers, tests and maintains software for a wide range of aircraft and other weapons systems.

AF Senior leaders give State of the Air Force address

by Senior Airman Hailey Haux
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information


8/25/2015 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III held a State of the Air Force address at the Pentagon, Aug. 24.

The first topic of discussion was about Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone's heroic actions aboard a train in France. James briefed that Stone's unit will be nominating him for the Airman's Medal.

"American Airmen bind themselves to a set of core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do," James said. "Airman Stone and his friends personified 'service before self.' Their fearlessness, courage, and selflessness inspire us all."

In her opening statement, James pointed out the many achievements the Air Force has made such as responding to an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, providing humanitarian relief in Nepal, maintaining ongoing commitments in Afghanistan and in the Pacific, and reassuring allies in Europe in the face of a resurgent Russia.

James announced an upcoming training exercise that will involve an F-22 Raptor deployment to Europe. Welsh highlighted the advanced aircraft's capabilities saying that European allies would like the Air Force to operate with them in multiple types of scenarios.

"Being able to train side by side with them and do that kind of training is really important to us," he said. "This is a natural evolution in bringing our best air-to-air capability in to train with partners who have been long and trusted ones."

James also discussed the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant where the Air Force has executed nearly 70 percent of the air strikes and flown more than 48,000 sorties supporting operations in Iraq and Syria.

"We are now one year into Operation Inherent Resolve," James said. "We've said from the start this would be a multi-year fight requiring political, economic, and military actions. We've made good progress with our strategy of deny, disrupt, and ultimately defeat. Thanks to airpower, we denied their advances and have completely disrupted their tactics, techniques, and procedures."

The secretary went on to say the Air Force is still the greatest on the planet because of its Airmen.

"America expects an Air Force that can fly, fight and win against any adversary," James said. "We must continue to give our nation the Air Force capability it needs today and well into the future. This will only occur by properly investing in our Airmen and our capabilities."

James and Welsh then answered a multitude of questions from media on a wide-range of topics.