Military News

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

JBLE completes deployment readiness exercise

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


9/1/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- U.S. Service members completed a Phase I Deployment Readiness Exercise at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, Aug. 24-28, 2015.

The exercise, which took place over the course of the week, simulated a mass deployment of the 633rd Air Base Wing and assessed its ability to rapidly deploy to an expeditionary environment within 72 hours following notification to deploy orders.

"This exercise provided an objective look at how the 633rd ABW can deploy," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Matt Cherry, 633rd ABW Inspector General Office director of inspections. "It painted a picture of how well JBLE can rapidly deploy and project Air Power around the world at a moment's notice."

The exercise was part of an initiative directed by 9th Air Force to test each of its subordinate wings' capability to rapidly deploy to support combatant commanders and contingency operations across the globe, and ensure the units' Airmen are ready when called upon.

"The American people rely on us to [deploy] efficiently and in a cost-effective manner, and to provide combat air power anywhere in the world within a limited time frame," said Cherry. "This exercise allowed us to test that ability."

According to Cherry, the exercise mainly focused on evaluating the command, communication and control procedures within the wing.

"We hope to eliminate redundancies and waste and increase our efficiency," said Cherry.  "This evaluation gave us a view on our [Command, Control, and Communications] procedures for once it comes time for JBLE to stand up and move a large number of troops to [a deployed] area of responsibility."

According to 1st Lt. Michael Ricci, 633rd Logistic Readiness Squadron alternate installation deployment officer, the exercise provided an important opportunity for Airmen of all levels to gain experience and familiarity with the procedures and operations they may one day undertake.

"If you're not exercising, you're going to have the 'deer in the headlights' look when something happens," said Ricci. "Having exercises [like this] helps make sure our Airmen know what to do and are ready for when something happens. There are always going to be curveballs, so if you know what to do when everything goes perfectly, you'll be able to adapt and overcome those issues when they arise."

While the exercise provided an opportunity for Langley Airmen to practice mass deployment procedures, the 633rd ABW inspection team scheduled the exercise to capitalize on an opportunity to pair with a Fort Eustis mission partner, the Joint Task Force - Civil Support, which also simultaneously conducted a rapid deployment exercise.

JTF-CS is U.S. Northern Command's standing operational joint task force headquarters comprised of more than 200 military and civilian personnel responsible for planning, anticipating and conducting immediate and decisive chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear consequence management response operations in support of civil authorities in the United States and its territories and possessions.

According to Ricci, partnering with JTF-CS gave 633rd ABW Service members the opportunity to test themselves in a facet not often evaluated at Langley.
"JTF-CS has unique cargo Langley Airmen usually don't see in the 633rd Air Base Wing," said Ricci. "One of our missions is to support our mission partners across JBLE, including JTF-CS. This [exercise] provided another level to help our Airmen train. This diversity will help our Airmen deal with real world scenarios they may see in the future."

While working with JTF-CS provided Airmen with diverse hands-on knowledge, Ricci said the partnership gave them an invaluable experience.

"This exercise gave our Airmen a bigger look [at our mission]. We're not just Langley or Fort Eustis; we support our mission partners who have very important missions," he said. "This exercise opened up their eyes and showed them it's not just the Air Force that has to be ready."

JBER Airmen attend professional development seminar

by Airman Valerie Monroy
JBER Public Affairs


9/1/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The Total Force Development Council and the Arctic Warrior Rising 5/6 hosted a "Take Charge of Your Career" Professional Development Seminar for all senior Airmen and below who have not yet gone through Airman Leadership School at the Elmendorf Professional Military Education Center Aug. 18.

The event was a chance for Airmen to receive career advice and learn new skills.

More than 120 Airmen attended classes on bullet writing, below-the-zone and board preparation, feedback maximization, fundamentals of followership, overcoming obstacles and more.

"Events like the 'Take Charge of Your Career' seminar are important to bridge the gap between the time an Airmen attends the First Term Airman Center program and the time that he or she goes to ALS," said Tech. Sgt. Callie Lewis, 673rd Air Base Wing PME instructor. "It is imperative that Airmen learn early on that they have to be proactive and take initiative in every aspect of their lives and careers in order to reach their full potential."

Among the guest speakers was Chief Master Sgt. Michael Burton, 3rd Maintenance Group superintendent, who spoke to the Airmen about being 100 percent invested in what they're doing.

Burton grew up on a farm baling hay and cutting tobacco. He explained how his former farm life prepared him for doing his job in the Air Force. It gave him the mindset to always work hard and do his best.

"Nobody else is going to be doing your job except for you," said Burton. "We all have the responsibility to do our best. We are the Air Force."

Along with motivating Airmen in their career, Burton encouraged everyone to continue their education by sharing his sharing his experiences with getting his Community College of the Air Force degree when there weren't as many benefits for military members as there are now.

"Use your education, use your benefits wisely," said Burton. "Benefit yourself and benefit the Air Force."

For Senior Airman Lauren Mainolfi, 673rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineering technician, this seminar was an opportunity to receive vital new information and to meet new people.

"The more information we get exposed to the better," said Mainolfi. "I learned about groups I didn't know existed and got a chance to network."

Mainolfi said one of the things she was most happy about seeing was the variety of perspectives from all the guest speakers. She said she would really appreciate events like this to happen again.

Lewis said many Airmen were crying out for an opportunity to learn all this beneficial information.

"From the overwhelming positive feedback we received, the event was a huge success," Lewis said.

145th Civil Engineer Fire Fighter named Air Guard's best

by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
145th Public Affairs


8/31/2015 - MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- During a banquet held July 22, 2015, at McGee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Alcoa, Tenn., Staff Sgt. Jeret E. Kinnaird humbly accepted the "Chief Albert Fitzpatrick Award" after being recognized by the Air National Guard's Fire Chief Association as Military Fire Fighter of the Year for 2014.

Kinnaird is the lead instructor for the Air National Guard's Urban Search and Rescue Technician Course taught at the North Carolina Air National Guard, 145th Regional Training Site in New London, N.C.

Recognized as the best in the country, Kinnaird stays extremely busy teaching classes, many times back to back with no days off. To date, Kinnaird has successfully taught over 900 Air National Guard and Active Duty firefighters in the Rescue I and II Course. In 2014 alone, Kinnaird instructed 12 Rescue Tech I & II courses resulting in over 360 certifications being achieved by units representing 42 states.

145th Regional Training Site in Stanly County is the only location in the United States that provides the Urban Search and Rescue I and II Course. There are two other instructors besides Kinnaird who teach up to 30 members per class with each class running 12 days straight.

The dedication that is seen every day by those who work with Kinnaird is evident by the high regard his supervisors and peers have of him.

"His willingness to succeed in the class room by continually looking for ways to improve and hone in on teaching and mentoring skills, is just one reason why his student critiques are so high." said Chief Master Sgt. Daryl Cook, Chief of Fire Emergency Services for the NCANG. "He has a genuine gift for instructing and connecting with each and every student, which makes him highly effective at making material stick months and years after the student leaves.

"He is a remarkable firefighter trainer," added Master Sgt. Donald D. Willis, Jr., Assistant Chief of Operations for the NCANG and Kinnaird's supervisor. "He never asks any of his guys to do what he wouldn't do himself. He consistently leads from the front, approaches all issues and challenges with a level-head and always takes care of his troops."

In addition to being a member of the North Carolina Air National Guard Fire Department and having a dual-role with the unit as a rescue instructor, Kinnaird also serves the NCANG base and community as a North Carolina State MCA Firefighter.

"His ability to "change gears" is truly admirable." said Cook, "He has an unmatched ability to situationally lead or follow; watching him is fun but at the same time, a learning experience for many who pay attention."

"I feel honored to have received this award," said Kinnaird, "but I feel it was earned by the entire team. We all work extremely hard. As a team, we are dedicated and focused to the mission and to our people. It's more than a job to us and we do it the best way we can."

PACFLT Commander Reaffirms Close Ties with Singapore, Thanks Sailors During Southeast Asia Visit



From Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, made his inaugural visit to the Republic of Singapore Aug. 26-28 to reaffirm the U.S. Navy's strong partnership and ties with the Singapore Armed Forces. The visit followed two days of leadership engagements in Kuala Lumpur, where Swift met with Malaysian defense officials and discussed the Navy's commitment to peace and stability in the region.

During his Singapore visit, Swift met with the Republic of Singapore Chief of Defense Major-General Perry Lim and Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Lai Chung Han, after inspecting a Guard of Honor at the Ministry of Defense headquarters.

"Our long-standing partnership with the Republic of Singapore Armed Forces reflects our shared commitment to security in Southeast Asia," said Swift. "We're grateful for our strong ties with partners like Singapore that help our Navy remain forward deployed and ready to contribute to the greater stability of the region."

Swift also made time to visit with U.S. Sailors and their families during a town hall at Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC).
During a question and answer session, Swift discussed the rotational deployments of littoral combat ships (LCS) to Southeast Asia, including USS Fort Worth's (LCS 3) current 16-month deployment, and the planned rotational deployment of four LCS to the region by 2018 as part of the U.S. Navy's support for the Pacific rebalance. Swift also highlighted the 21st anniversary of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a series of bilateral exercises held annually to enhance interoperability with nine regional navies.

"CARAT remains a critical venue for increasing maritime security cooperation throughout South and Southeast Asia," said Swift. "Your hard work and critical engagement during these exercises is one of the reasons why the United States remains the partner of choice for many nations in this region."

Swift also responded to a wide range of personnel topics, including uniforms, the fiscal budget, and future manning initiatives. He emphasized the importance of the Navy's forward presence and thanked Sailors for operating forward in a critical and relevant area of the world.

"I greatly appreciate what you do; day in, and day out," said Swift. "I'm also very thankful for our families who have chosen to serve alongside our Sailors and civilian personnel far away from home and away from your extended families. Your support makes all the difference."

COMLOG WESTPAC is the U.S. 7th Fleet's provider of combat-ready logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships to keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled, and fed.

Additionally, Task Force 73 conducts advanced planning, organizes resources and directly supports the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

USS Chafee Completes OMSI in Support of Maritime Security



From USS Chafee Public Affairs

WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) conducted an Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) with U.S. Coast Guard's 14th District, Aug. 5 - 21, in the Western Pacific Ocean.

OMSI is a maritime security operation designed to enhance maritime domain awareness, increase law enforcement presence, and expand at-sea law enforcement capabilities throughout Oceania.

"We were there to provide key presence in the region and build partner nation capacity for a critical oceanic partner," said Cmdr. Shea Thompson, Chafee's commanding officer. "Our presence with the Coast Guard and our partner nation set a new tone of deterrence in the region and will prevent future violations."

The Navy-Coast Guard team, including the two embarked MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, conducted a total of 19 external visual inspections and nine boardings to internally inspect fishing vessels across three separate jurisdictional areas - high seas, Marshall Islands and Nauru exclusive economic zones (EEZ). The boarding inspection resulted in some documented violations and, more importantly, demonstrated U.S. commitment to regulating these fishing areas in partnership with our friends in the region.

"Working side by side with Coast Guard in support of District 14's initiative was a unique and beneficial mission for Chafee Sailors," said Lt. Robert Eidson, Chafee's weapons officer. "Not only were we able to experience, first hand, the great efforts required for law enforcement at sea, we also had the privilege of working side by side with an elite Coast Guard Law Enforcement team. The team provided invaluable training to Chafee's Visual Board Search and Seizure team to include tactical team movements, tactical combat casualty care, and safe boarding techniques. Cognizant of the level of expertise that comes with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement team, we welcomed this training with enthusiasm."

OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program which leverages Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the U.S. Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness (MDA), ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling the waters around the numerous islands associated with the United States throughout the region. Each of these islands have territorial waters stretching out to 12 miles from shore. Beyond that, stretching out to 200 nautical miles is an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), an area defined by international law that allows each nation exclusive rights to the exploration and use of marine resources. Oceania contains 43 percent, or approximately 1.3 million square miles, of United States' EEZs.

Chafee was deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Africa Alumni Return to NWC for Regional Symposium



By Daniel L. Kuester, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Eighty-two representatives, many graduates of U.S. Naval War College (NWC), from 25 nations and the African Union attended the 12th Regional Alumni Symposium - Africa at NWC, Aug. 25-27, as part of the school's continuing education program.

Over three days, the group discussed defense, maritime domain, migration, humanitarian assistance and other topics important to the African continent.

The event, titled "Enhancing Regional Maritime Security," was co-hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and the U.S. 6th Fleet, and sponsored by U.S. Africa Command.

Thomas Mangold, dean of international programs at the school and organizer of the event, says the symposium was both a continuing education effort for graduates and a way to build relationships for the nations involved.

"This is an effort to continue the professional military education long after they leave here," said Mangold. "This was a way to reach out to make sure our international alumni are getting current information. The second thing the symposium does is help network and build relationships. And not just with the U.S., although that is very important, but also with each other so they can work together and start building relationships, friendships and eventually trust between their countries."

Keynote speaker for the symposium, Amanda Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, gave an address titled "Africa's Strategic Importance; a U.S. Department of Defense Perspective."

"In terms of African security," Dory said after her presentation, "the maritime domain is fundamental to economic prosperity for Africa. Whether it is getting products or innovation out and in [Africa], it is important to have all these leaders here in Newport renewing their acquaintance with one another and with the U.S."

The subjects addressed at the symposium are relevant to this vital area, according to Mangold.

"Topics are chosen because they are important in the region and also to the world," he said. "Migration, for instance, is one of the most important topics in the world. We have top experts here to help understand the issue. We also had a session focusing on humanitarian assistance and disaster response with the doctor who arranged the American relief effort during the Ebola crisis.

Vice Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, Rear Adm. Thomas Reck noted that in the long term, the NWC affiliation also benefits international relations.

"You can see the importance that these individual nations place on the education they receive here," said Reck. "And then to actually gain those friendships and incubate those partnerships over the years until it gets to the point that these graduates are now heads of navy for their countries."

Reck, a NWC graduate himself, pointed out that these relationships are vital to what he called "the global network of navies."

"It is always important to anchor back on those relationships, and keep that trust built so it will be strong when the next generation of leadership comes along," he added.

Mangold said the global network of high-ranking navy officers is something NWC takes seriously.

"It's important for the Naval War College because we have over 40 heads of navies from around the world who have graduated from here," said Mangold. "We are a leading educator. We have this event here because we are one of the few institutions who could do it."

One of the attendees, Cmdr. Abdellah Benhamou, director of the Royal Moroccan Naval Academy, said that NWC is the best place and the right environment for this symposium.

"It is the kind of environment [at NWC] that you know beforehand that it is going to be productive," said Benhamou. "[The conversation] is going be free from political constraints that keep you from discussing matters frankly and asking the right questions."

"What this symposium does is offer attendees a chance to meet, talk about issues that are important, offer shared experience and perspective. That all makes them more trustful of each other," Mangold added. "All navies need to work together. One of the best outcomes from this event is that our graduates call their other alumni when they have issues."

As host of the event, Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president, NWC, stressed that building and maintaining relationships is vitally important in an increasingly unstable world.

"The operational environment is more volatile, more uncertain, more ambiguous and more dynamic than ever before," said Howe. "How are we, as military professionals, to deal with such an environment? I would offer that the answer lies in a commitment to continuing professional education and by nurturing meaningful relationships with friends and allies."

NWC is a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 students and about 1,000 distance learning students a year carrying out four missions: educate and develop leaders, help define the future of the Navy, support combat readiness, and strengthen maritime partnerships. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885 and about 300 of today's active duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.