Military News

Monday, August 31, 2015

Preparedness Vital to Defense Readiness, Official Says



By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, August 31, 2015 — Tomorrow marks the start of National Preparedness Month, and while preparedness calls for year-round attention, it is a good opportunity to remind Defense Department personnel and their families to be prepared at all times to respond quickly to disasters and emergencies, the acting assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security said.

The scope of national security readiness includes being prepared for any type of crisis in the workplace and at home, Tom Atkin said in a recent interview with DoD News.

National Preparedness Month culminates Sept. 30 with America’s Preparathon! Day, which Atkin described as a “day of action” for the DoD workforce and families to exercise their emergency plans. This year’s national preparation theme is, “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

Mission Readiness is Key

“Preparedness is the shared responsibility of our entire nation,” Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work noted in an Aug. 21 DoD-wide memorandum.

“Preparing individuals, families, components and installations for disasters and emergencies -- from flooding to an active shooter -- ensures the strength of our workforce and our ability to continue to safeguard U.S. security,” Work said in the memo.

The deputy defense secretary noted that national preparedness campaigns provide a “recurring opportunity” to take action before a crisis, “which contributes to fostering a culture of preparedness and to strengthening our resilience.”

What DoD Personnel Can Do

DoD’s preparedness campaign encourages personnel and families to participate this month in three key ways:

-- Take action: Know your hazards, create an emergency communications plan and build an emergency kit;

-- Be counted: Have your organization complete the DoD survey at defense.gov/prepare, and register your action at ready.gov/prepare; and

-- Spread the word: Tell others about your actions and encourage them to take part.

DoD will also emphasize crisis and disaster awareness, emergency communication planning and developing family plans for these hazard themes throughout the month:

-- Sept. 1 to 5: Floods;

-- Sept. 6 to 12: Wildfires;

-- Sept. 13 to 19: Hurricanes;

-- Sept. 20 to 26: Power outages; and

-- Sept. 27 to 30: Lead up to Sept. 30 America’s Preparathon! Day.

Staying Prepared at Work

In the work environment, employees must be aware of evacuation routes, shelters, and have a ready-to-go kit, Atkin said, adding that personnel can plan for emergencies with supervisors and co-workers.

And when DoD personnel are assured their families are prepared at home for a crisis, it adds to mission readiness, he said.

Staying Prepared at Home

Families should prepare by keeping a kit with 72 hours’ worth of food, water, medications and up-to-date essentials, such as flashlight batteries, he said, adding that the kit should be kept in an easy-to-access place.

Supplies and necessities should be ready to go in a moment’s notice for each family member and every pet at home, Atkin advised.

“The reality is in a natural disaster, families will have to care for themselves the first 72 hours,” he said.

Other details to consider are having gas in the car, Atkin added.

Making advance plans for pet care is part of family preparedness, to keep them safe and secure, with plenty of food, water and medications as needed, he said.

Family preparedness planning should also include communicating with relatives, friends and the service member’s chain of command, Atkin said.

“Preparedness has a much broader scope,” than preparing for those in the same household, he said. “And know what they’re doing, too.”

AFSPC Chief visits Buckley

by Senior Airman Phillip Houk
460th Space Wing Public Affairs


8/31/2015 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Air Force Space Command senior enlisted leader visited the 460th Space Wing for the first time since moving to his new position, honoring Airman across the base and answering their questions.

Chief Master Sgt. Patrick McMahon, AFSPC command chief, spoke to Airman about an array of topics, encouraging them that space is important to our country.

"The good thing about space and the good thing about cyber is that you know how important you are," the chief said. "We are the ones our nation relies on because we have chosen to make this our way of life."

Beginning his career in communications, McMahon feels honored to be able to serve in space.

"The fact that I have had the opportunity to stay in space command and strategic command means something to me," he said.

While answering questions from Airman across the wing, several concerns were raised concerning Air Force changes, including the new promotion system.

"I will be honest, there has been no change the Air Force has done in the past three years that has given me pause," McMahon said. "It is always about getting better and evolving. It does not change the amount of individuals getting promoted, it simply changes the order. It is about getting it right."

With each group McMahon visited, he reminded them how honored he was to work with the 460th SW.

"The fact that I have the opportunity to be out here with you and get to see the professionals across Buckley, it means something to me," said McMahon. "I know what you do each and every day for our nation, and I am thankful to be a small part of it."

Team McChord boosts capabilities of USAP

by Senior Airman Madelyn McCullough
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/31/2015 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The 446th and 62nd Airlift Wings are opening new doors for the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Antarctic Program with the use of night vision capabilities.

In June of this year, the first scheduled winter flight in 50 years proved successful when a C-17 successfully touched down at Pegasus Airfield, Antarctica, despite the complete absence of sunlight. Using night vision goggles, pilots were able to successfully navigate to and land safely on the runway without the help of LEDs. The aircraft dropped off passengers and cargo and even took a few people home. One month later, the crew did it again.

Traditionally, those who choose to stay once the last Operation Deep Freeze C-17 flies away in March also choose to stay for six months until WINFLY starts back up in August. Now, with the success of these two winter flights, a new idea is fortifying the foundation for drastic change.

To enable this transformation, the National Science Foundation, which manages the United States Antarctic Program, worked with the U.S. Air Force to use channel flights for their missions. These channel flights deliver cargo and passengers to various locations in the Pacific including New Zealand's neighbor Australia.

"The deployment and redeployment cost of getting a C-17 down here from McChord is substantial," said Lt. Col. Keith McMinn, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron director of operations "That's why we're picking off an airplane from an existing mission just right across the street in Richmond, Australia."

The Air Force authorized USAP to borrow the jet for the June and July missions to McMurdo. To do this, the channel crew flew to Christchurch, New Zealand, where they met with a crew from McChord. While the channel crew took their crew rest, the ODF team flies five hours to McMurdo and five hours back. When the channel crew wakes up in the morning, their plane is back in place and ready to go.

Typically, this type of capability is only used for emergency medical evacuations and air drops, but this new system allows for much more.

Now, McMurdo can continue construction year round, McMinn said. The station is at max capacity during the peak season and needs to expand. With winter flights, they will be able to continue construction in the less congested off-season and will be able to send people for shorter periods of time. This way they don't have to pay them six months for a job that only takes one.

Along with facilitating year-round construction, the capability will expand the possibilities for scientific research.

"Now," McMinn said, "the NSF can get someone in and out of there to do shorter, more targeted research and do it in a way that's cost effective."

Aug. 23 marked the first WINFLY mission of the year using NVGs, successfully landing on the seasonal ice runway just a mile from McMurdo and proving even further that the new system will function as advertised. In fact, the preparation for next winter has already begun.

"It's a precedent-setting activity," said Paul Sheppard, the NSF Division of Polar Programs operations and logistics systems manager. "[The Antarctic Support Contract] is already planning on building it into the season plan for fiscal 2016."

"No longer do we have the mentality that the winter staff and the winter operation is a closed operation," said Michael Raabe, the ASC manager of transportation and logistics. "We have the ability to fly in and out year round. We become more of a mature operation that can dictate, in essence, to the continent what we want to do and not let the continent and the seasons dictate to us."

(The Antarctic Sun contributed to this article.)

NCO finds calling by helping others

by Senior Airman Adarius Petty
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


8/31/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada -- Is this the job for me? Did I pick the right career field? One might find themselves asking this question throughout their Air Force career. If this question arises, don't fret, there are several viable options an Airman has to expand their careers without having to leave the Air Force.

Tech Sgt. Noah Stamps, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief's executive assistant, has first-hand experience with that same situation.

Stamps was not always fond of his job in the Air Force. He first joined the Air Force in 2002 as a security forces Airman at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

Being stationed at Minot often presented its share of unique weather conditions which made it challenging for Stamps to do his job as efficiently as possible.

"Its Minot and it gets down to negative 60 degrees in the winter, and as a SF member you would do a lot of outside work," Stamps said. "So when you're out in negative 60 degree weather and you have to perform with excellence and integrity, those kinds of conditions can test your excellence, integrity and your dedication to service. So being expected to perform in that type of weather, there's nothing easy about that."

Although the climate at his first base was somewhat difficult to endure, Stamps recalls one of the pros about his first base was his phenomenal leadership who valued morale, promoting Comprehensive Airmen Fitness before it was popularized.

He credits having great leadership that valued taking care of their Airmen for shaping his future outlook on how he would value his Airmen and those around him.

"I'm a firm believer in that if you take care of airmen 100 percent of the time, they will take care of the mission 100 percent of the time with 100 percent of their effort," Stamps said. "If you are focused on the mission and forget about the people both will suffer."

As he progressed through the ranks, the feeling of wanting to make a difference in the Air Force and take care of Airmen every day steadily grew. It was at this point in his career that Stamps decided to apply for retraining.

"I wanted to retrain, to help Airmen in a different way," he said. "I had great mentors who helped with my decision to stay in the Air Force. They got me to realize what my gifts are, what my talents are and where they can be used."

In 2006, a career as a photojournalist seemed to suit Stamps' gifts but a few months before leaving for Fort George G. Meade, Maryland to attend technical training the Air Force merged Public Affairs and Visual Information career fields which reduced the number of Airmen in the career field.

Being a resilient Airman proved critical as Stamps was once again left wondering what to do next.

"My next two choices to retrain were to be a firefighter or a chaplain's assistant," he recalls. "Being a new husband and dad left me feeling like a career as a firefighter wasn't for me so I choose to be a Chaplin's assistant."

The new position gave presented multiple opportunities to help Airmen in need of something more both spiritually and mentally.

"I loved the idea of helping people out in a different capacity," said Stamps.

Once again the need to discover different ways to make an impact Airmen and their careers pushed Stamps to apply to be an Airman Leadership School Professional Military Education instructor and in September 2009 he joined the ALS team at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

"Teaching PME was a transforming experience for me," he recalls. "My impression of teaching prior to stepping into the classroom was that I would be the one imparting my vast knowledge on a generation of new staff sergeants. The reality is that they had a lot to teach me; I learned more from my students than they did from me."

Although many attempted to discourage him from being an instructor, Stamps continued to apply for the special duty position until was eventually picked for the job and offers a piece of advice to all those that may face similar challenges.

"Always pursue your passion," he said. "There are so many people that join the Air Force and are given an Air Force Specialty Code, given a job. A lot of people grow into loving their job. Some people don't and if you don't grow into loving what the Air Force has given you then you needed find something that is going to help you pursue your passion."

Stepping out of his comfort zone proved beneficial to his career development into a non-commissioned officer and whole person concept.

"Teaching PME made me a better NCO, a better leader, a better man... I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to be a part of their lives as they added significant value to mine," he said.

Experiencing multiple special duty assignments and two AFSC's, three deployments, graduating 22 ALS PME classes and holding a total of four jobs in his 13 year career that have prepped him to give advice to help other Airmen that may be wondering what the Air Force has in store for them as well.

"Tech. Sgt. Stamps is full of immense knowledge and has been a key mentor of mine for about a year now," says Senior Airmen Andrew Ingersoll, 432nd WG/AEW executive administration. "His leadership and mentorship have guided me in the right direction in not only with career decisions but also in life decisions."

Impacting the Airmen beneath him isn't the only task that Stamps is focused on.

"It is easy to see how TSgt Stamps' diverse career and breadth of experience has made him such a resilient leader," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, 432nd WG/432nd AEW command chief. "It is an awesome sight to watch him engage with Airmen of all ranks as he provides mentoring, counseling, and many other wingman fundamentals. Noah is an NCO that leads by example and exemplifies our Core Values of Integrity, Service, and Excellence."

One thing is certain, no matter where the road may lead Tech. Sgt. Noah Stamps will be continue to inspire Airmen to pursue what brings them the greatest satisfaction.

"I will keep pursuing my passion, as long as I can wear this uniform and take care of people with excellence and integrity," Stamps said. "My advice to people is pursue your passion don't accept what was given to you if that's not what fits you."

Airmen weather through Marine tactics course

by Staff Sgt. Eric Summers Jr.
Moody Air Force Base, Ga.


8/28/2015 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.  -- -- Aircraft ranging from bombers to fighters to helicopters all have one similarity between them that can be either friend or foe.

Mother Nature.

But one specialized group of Airmen is able to tell whether service members are dealing with friendly forces or one of its most deadliest foes. Amongst these Airmen, two have made history in their career field by being the first combat-weather Airmen to graduate from a marine specialized course.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Leo and Tech. Sgt. Nathan Morton, 18th Weather Squadron, were the first Air Force weathermen to graduate from the U.S. Marines Meteorological and Oceanographic (METOC) Weapons and Tactics Instructors course.

"I have to admit it was probably the most fun I ever had at a training event," said Leo, 18th Weather Squadron weapons and tactics chief. "They welcomed us with open arms and then tried to learn as much from us as we could learn from them, because this is a training environment for them too; trying to learn what we had done, the way we do things because they are vastly different."

The two Airmen learned a multitude of information about Marine Corps operations from beginning to end.

"The ultimate goal is to develop a well-rounded professional who is knowledgeable and comfortable with the planning, integration, and execution necessary to successfully conduct Marine Expeditionary Force-level combat operations," said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. John Bathon, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One METOC division head. "The objective of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor syllabus for METOC Prospective Weapons and Tactics Instructors (WTIs) is to introduce not only the six functions of Marine Aviation in support of Marine Air Ground Task Force operations, but also how the MAGTF concept integrates within joint/combined operations to support our national objectives."

Leo said the course made him knowledgeable on a variety of subjects opposed to just weather.

"We learned about HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket system), patriot batteries, and the way in which a fighter execution zone or missile execution zone is formed," Leo said. "So it's pretty much a broad overview of the entire battlefield rather than just specifically weather, which allows you to then integrate weather more appropriately into the planning process."

Along with learning how other pieces of a battlefield puzzle can fit together in planning and executing a mission, they were also able to come together with their sister service for the first time in their careers.

"It's very rare that the Air Force weather community and the Marine weather community get to work together at all," Leo explained. "So it was a unique opportunity to see weather from their point of view. They work the lower areas where the land meets the sea and the Air Force, we are typically concerned with over land, so it was a little bit different for us."

Bathon said that while the training did not differ from having the Airmen, there was still a new spectrum each service was able to see and value from.

"The training was not different, but it absolutely added a new perspective to the training," Bathon continued. "Having Air Force students really assisted with understanding how METOC not only supports the MAGTF, but how it supports joint operations, as well. Understanding how Air Force METOC is manned, trained, and equipped will assist Marine METOC planners when operating in a joint operation.

Both Air Force students gained an understanding of how Marines plan and execute missions as an integrated air-ground task force and were more conscious of what Marine METOC can bring to joint METOC operations," Bathon said.

"I think one of the main things [I gained from the class] is opening up that discussion between Marine weather, Navy weather, and Air Force weather, so that we can learn off of one another," Leo said. "That's what we really get out of this and what is going to further the weather career field as a whole. Learning from each other than, again, having to reinvent the wheel each and every time we come up against a problem, because our problems are very similar. Talking with Marines and being through those classes, we have very similar problems and as far as the career field goes and we can get a lot off of learning from one another."

Bathon agrees that there was a great camaraderie amongst the students which helped them develop into teams.

"METOC students specifically worked together as a team to create a 'one operation, one forecast' mind-set and voice for the team," Bathon said. "This increased their opportunity for success by relying on the strengths and weaknesses of each PWTI to develop a timely and accurate forecast that could be used by decision-makers to make go/no-go decisions and ensure safe flight."

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kenneth Ferland, 18th Weather Squadron agrees that developing lines of communication between the services was an important skill for the airmen to learn due to their mission. The 18th WS provides weather support to the U.S. Army 18th Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, N.C.

"This course allows us to better integrate with the Army," Ferland. "The scenario I always tell our folks is this...just telling the Army it is going to rain is not enough. You need to be able to tell them how and why that rain will impact their mission and provide alternatives to help them make decisions."

After the course, Leo said that he could think of several instances in his past where the information he learned could have proved useful.

"The use of weaponry and the effective weather, the different types of weather, I think I really could of used that downrange," Leo said. "I got back from Afghanistan in late November and a lot of the stuff, seeing it, kind of made me realize that we could provide our customer with more. I think this course kind of helped narrow it down to what was most important and some ways in which we can provide more accurate weather support for our guys."

Though weather may not always present the most optimal conditions for to complete a mission it's up to the weather Airmen to find the best opportunity for success.

"Anyone can go do a mission in clear-blue, perfect, sunny weather," Leo said. "We make our money by being able to pin point the weather and let them know accurately when, where, and how it's going to happen, so we can capitalize on the battlefield."

New program aimed to improve MQ-1/9 community begins at ACC

by Shaun Eagan
Air Combat Command Public Affairs


8/31/2015 - Langley Air Force Base, Va.  -- The initial stage of Air Combat Command's new program, the Culture and Process Improvement Program, began here, Aug. 21, and is designed to take place across 12 Air Force active duty, reserve and National Guard bases.

The CPIP was established to target and develop methods of improvement for concerns identified by Airmen and family members in the MQ-1/9 career fields.
 
The program, set to happen throughout the month of September, began by sending surveys to 3,366 officer and enlisted Airmen to help identify concerns and issues in the MQ-1/9 community.  Starting Sept. 8, two CPIP teams will travel to 12 bases to engage with Airmen and their families and build upon the information discovered from the survey results.

"We're seeing problems in the MQ-1/9 community at both the major command and base levels that can be solved quickly," said U.S. Air Force Col. Troy Jackson, C2ISR Operations division chief and CPIP officer in charge.  "Airmen in this career field are being exhausted with no end in sight; we want to fix this."

Approach

The program, comparable to Global Strike Command's Force Improvement Program, takes the same grass-roots approach, except it's tailored towards the MQ-1/9 communities, according to Jackson.  CPIP presents a holistic approach to identifying where improvements need to be made both in the work environments and overall quality of life.

"A lot of assumptions were made over the years, and people don't realize how stressful and overworked the MQ-1/9 field is," explained Jackson.  "We're asking Airmen to do a lot when they're either not trained properly or not ready for what's being asked of them, which leaves the Airmen burned out."

The approach towards the program is to focus on fixing smaller problems fast, and discovering any long-term strategic goals to improve the more complex, deep-seeded problems of the Airmen through the process.

"The idea is to present an opportunity for Airmen to understand they're being heard and to speak their mind," Jackson said.  "They need to know their leadership wants to hear their needs and appreciates what they do."

How it's getting done

Besides the CPIP teams reaching out to Airmen, they're also hoping to hear responses from family members.  When the teams visit each of the 12 scheduled bases, both Airmen and family members will be allowed to voice their opinions through questionnaires and interviews.

The bases scheduled for visits are as follows:

- Creech Air Force Base, Nevada (Sept. 9-11)
- March Air Reserve Base, California (Sept. 13)
- Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona (Sept. 13)
- Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico (Sept. 15-16)
- Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas (Sept. 15)
- Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri (Sept. 17)
- Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico (Sept. 18-19)
- Berry Field Air National Guard Base, Tennessee (Sept. 19)
- Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (Sept. 21)
- Springfield Municipal Airport, Ohio (Sept. 21)
- Fargo Air National Guard Base, North Dakota (Sept. 23)
- Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, New York (Sept. 23)

In addition to surveying and interviewing Airmen and their families, the CPIP team created a Facebook page and a blog in hopes of expanding to a wider audience, according to Jackson.  The Facebook page will stay updated throughout the program and provide an opportunity for 24-hour access to the CPIP team.  The blog will also be available to provide program updates and provide open and anonymous responses.

"This isn't about fixing chow halls, gyms, or the other base amenities that have been looked at before," explained Jackson.  "We want to provide the MQ-1/9 community the same level of holistic quality of life and professional development as other weapon systems, and this is a step towards it."

Feedback

When the CPIP teams leave each base, a CPIP contingent at ACC Headquarters will analyze the results and provide real-time feedback to the teams for improving the interview process.  After completing the base visits, the CPIP team will determine why certain indicators were reported in the data and interview process.

The findings and recommended solutions will be developed by peer-selected MQ-1/9 members that are part of the CPIP team.  The members will then present the CPIP's recommendations for improvement to Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of ACC.

"The past has shown the Air Force tried to fix smaller aspects at the base level, but only so much money can be thrown at certain problems," said Jackson.  "This approach will allow us to view what's happening in the MQ-1/9 career field.

"These Airmen deserve an opportunity to have personal and professional development, lifestyles, work environments and other benefits just like any other Airman," Jackson continued.  "There needs to be a constant problem-solving goal."

The purpose of CPIP is to collect as much honest feedback as possible.  Jackson explained that Airmen and their families are being presented with the ability to be heard and tell the Air Force both what's bothering them and any recommendations they may have to improve issues.

"Airmen need to provide us with their unfiltered responses and opinions when we visit," said Jackson.  "Your responses are going to the commander of ACC, so what you say is what gets reported."

MQ-1s test deployment capability in Latvia

by Capt. Holly Hess
USAFE Public Affairs


8/31/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Two MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) and approximately 70 Airmen deployed to Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia to test the unit's ability to forward deploy, and to conduct air operations while assuring NATO allies of our commitment to regional security and stability.

Airmen and aircraft from the 147th Reconnaissance Wing of the Texas Air National Guard based in Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, began arriving in Latvia Aug. 24. This temporary deployment of aircraft and personnel will continue through mid-September.

"The big win is being able to rapidly deploy, setup shop, fly and exercise all of the agreements, arrangements and relationships that went into making this happen. It validates basing and airspace arrangements, operations and host-nation agreements in a very real way," said Lt. Col. Christopher Recker from the operations directorate at U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Headquarters.

"This will test mobility, maintenance and logisticians arranging airlift," he said. "Personnel have to make decisions about bandwidth, satellite communication, frequency allocation and frequency clearing."

Once validated, this model may be used as a responsive and flexible option for operations in the future.

"This is not a one-time operating zone. We created an airspace arrangement that is enduring, so when we need to go back, it will be available," said Recker.

Another portion of this deployment is intelligence training. It is based on a platform called the European Partner Integration Enterprise (EPIE) which provides a mechanism for sharing intelligence information with coalition allies and partners.

Two intelligence officers from Poland and each of the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were invited to participate.

"While the crew is flying in Latvia, we will sit shoulder-to-shoulder with our Baltic allies and teach them how we go through full-motion video processing," said Lt. Col. Anthony Bellione, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander's action group chief.

Although the deployment is not gathering intelligence information for operational use, it tests the ability to share intelligence information, and tests the capabilities of the secure-NATO pipeline used to disseminate intelligence products.

"The intent is to reassure our allies, by showing them a different capability set. This is the intelligence component that deepens our commitment with our NATO partners in the region," said Bellione.

The squadron will also conduct partner familiarization on RPA operations.

"Utilizing a satellite data link, the squadron will familiarize our Latvian allies on long-range flights so participants understand the opportunities and challenges of RPA operations," Recker said. "Additionally, there are plans for NATO joint terminal attack controllers to receive training calling in airstrikes in coordination with A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and information received from MQ-1s."

During operations, air controllers coordinate airspace traffic based on host-nation agreements to ensure safe operations.

"The Predator will operate in positively controlled airspace. Everyone in that airspace is participating, which means all aircraft are in voice and radar contact with controllers, taking vectors, climbing and descending," said Bellione. "U.S. Air Force pilots are at the controls actively flying the airplane every moment of the flight."

"This is a weapons system that enables the most powerful aspects of the warfighting cycle. It enables information to be distributed to decision makers, and allows tactical pause when necessary to make smart decisions. All of that saves lives, saves resources and influences a lot of decisions," said Recker.

This deployment is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative which demonstrates America's solemn commitment to reinforce the safety and territorial integrity of our allies and partners, in addition to strengthening the security and capacity of allies and partners in the region.

Through these strengthened relationships and engagements, the U.S. alongside European allies and partners, train to meet future security challenges and demonstrate a shared commitment to a safe and secure Europe.