Military News

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Deputy Defense Secretary Work, Nordic Allies Discuss Region’s Security Threats



By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2015 — NATO faces security threats on its southern, eastern and northern flanks, Deputy Defense Secretary Work said yesterday at the Nordic Deputies Meeting at the Norwegian Ministry of Defense in Oslo, Norway.

The deputy discussed security issues in the northern region and the changed security landscape in Europe in a panel discussion with the chiefs of defense from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland and Iceland.

Work said his trip this week to Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom focuses on the security challenges the United States and its Nordic counterparts face in the High North, the Arctic and Baltics, and follows Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s recent trip to Germany to examine the eastern threat.

The U.S. and Nordic leaders’ talks centered on the changing geopolitical security environment in Europe after “Russia's aggressive behavior in Crimea and Ukraine and the challenge that it presents for all of us in Europe and in the United States,” the deputy secretary said. Work reiterated earlier statements by the defense secretary that the U.S. intends to approach Russia in a very strong and balanced manner.

Work’s Norwegian counterpart, State Secretary for Defense Oystein Bo, described the Nordic-U.S. consultation as the first to exchange views on the security situation in the Nordic region and explore joint cooperation possibilities following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Eastern Ukraine.

Nordic Concerns Lend Insight, Deputy Says

Listening to his counterparts talk about the “very fluid security environment that they face, from Russian activities in the High North to the crisis of displaced persons in the south,” has given him a great deal of insight, Work said.

Understanding the Nordic leaders’ prerogatives, perspectives and threats in the region and how the United States and its northern European partners will mitigate them is vital, the deputy said.

“[The] High North and the north region are absolutely critical to both European and Trans-Atlantic security,” Work said. “The United States values the partnerships [it has] in this region, both through NATO and bilaterally … The close regional cooperation that I heard this morning between the Nordic countries gives me great, great confidence that we'll be able to meet any challenge together.”

Ukraine Should Be ‘Whole’ Again

“We continue to call upon Russia to stop its destabilizing actions and to honor the Minsk commitments,” the deputy said in a press conference following the panel talk.

“We would like to see Ukraine whole again, and we would like to have peace and stability in that part of Europe,” he said, noting that the United States will continue working with its European allies.

“Right now, we believe the right way is through sanctions and diplomacy,” the deputy secretary said.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits Nellis

by Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


9/3/2015 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Defense Secretary (Dr.) Ash Carter visited the base Aug. 26 to observe Red Flag 15-4 operations and speak to Airmen and coalition partners about the future of the force and innovation.

While at Nellis Air Force Base, the secretary visited the 414th Combat Training Squadron, toured the Combined Air Operations Center, visited the Strike Aircraft Maintenance Unit to see F-15E Strike Eagle maintenance Airmen at work, and held an all-call at the Lightning AMU hangar.

"It was a huge honor for us at Strike AMU that he would take the time out of his day to invest such a personal interest in us," said Capt. Christopher Bright 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Strike AMU officer in charge. "He seemed like someone who generally cares."

During the secretary's visit he actively sought out Airmen and had them explain to him their role in the squadron.

"Every time I come here I'm so impressed," Carter said. "I'm impressed by how realistic the training that is done here is."

Red Flag, one of the most advanced training programs in the world, is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies, is coordinated at Nellis AFB and conducted on the vast bombing and gunnery ranges of the Nevada Test and Training Range.

The secretary said as a country, America's military is in a period of transitioning to a full-spectrum defense against less traditional enemies.

"We need to look ahead to a full spectrum of threats," Carter said.

Before departing, he emphasized that training -- like what happens on Nellis AFB -- is what moves the U.S. forward and away from a narrower mindset.

"You here at Nellis AFB are at the center of America's military transition to full spectrum," Carter said. "The new technology like the F-35 and all the other stuff like, space, cyber, electronic warfare, and all the other technology represented here is an ingredient of that transition, but the most important ingredient to it is you.

"All of this doesn't matter without you, without skilled people who know how to operate, who know how to maintain, and who know how to imagine future operations. Without you the technology doesn't get us anywhere. At the end of the day the most important ingredient in the finest fighting force the world has ever known is you."

Face of Defense: Seeing Double



By Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexa Ann Henderson 36th Wing

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam, September 9, 2015 — Driving through the gates at Andersen Air Force Base, someone could easily mistake the two airmen that stand guard there, and it’s easy to see why.

Though not identical, they could almost be the same person, but one has longer hair. They have the same Washington state accent, stand at about the same height with little difference in their features and they bear the same name on their vests.

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Colby and Travis Wakefield are fraternal twins who also are 36th Security Forces Squadron entry controllers.

Although Andersen is their first duty station, this is not the first time the Wakefields have served together since beginning their military careers.

Travis and Colby both signed up for security forces and left for basic training on the same day after asking if they could go together. After arriving at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, for basic military training, they found out they were in the same flight. Together, they graduated and became airmen.

Once they reached technical training, they found a way to become roommates. However, this is not where their camaraderie was destined to end.

"After we had been at tech school for a week or so, we decided to look and see where we were going to be stationed," Colby said. "I looked first, and it said Andersen Air Force Base. My brother decided to look next, and it also said Andersen. We don't know how, but we got stationed together."

The brothers graduated technical training and went home before reporting to their first duty station.

"It was easier to come here, because I had my brother with me," Colby said. "We were going through the same thing."

After spending the first 18 years of their lives with each other, the brothers arrived here in April 2014 to perform the same job within the same squadron.

The brothers currently share the same work schedule, so their days off often coincide.

"We spend a lot of our off time doing the same things," Travis said. "We play golf and other sports with our squadron. We grew up playing a lot of the same sports. We pretty much do everything together."

Having two airmen who look very similar and share a last name can be confusing, so they were given nicknames.

"We call Colby 'Regular Wakefield' and Travis 'Baby Wakefield,' because they were born one minute apart," said Tech. Sgt. Alicia Goetschel, the 36th SFS flight chief.

The twins are soon due to find out where they’ll be assigned when they return from overseas, but they hope it won't be the end of them working together.

"We were told there's a possibility we could be kept together until we reach [higher ranks]," Colby said.

They both agreed that joining the Air Force was one of the best decisions of their life, and they hope to continue their careers together wherever the Air Force may take them.

The Wakefields also have an older sister, a mother and father who live in Washington.

"Every time I call them on the phone to see how they’re doing, they always tell me the same thing," said the twin's mother. "They tell me how happy they are with joining the Air Force and how they are so proud to see just how far they have come."

The twins aren't the only ones who have pride in what they are doing, though.

"It's been a blessing to have them stay together," the mother said. "It's also comforting to us, too; I always find out what's going on from one of the boys. We are so proud of them and all that they have accomplished."

Team Dover participates in Air Force Community Partnership initiative

by Capt Sarah E. Bergstein
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


9/9/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Air Force changes require coordination from all involved in the change and Team Dover and Kent County community members are working side-by-side through Team Dover's P4 initiatives-- Public-Public; Public-Private Partnership-- to help make change possible.

The program, commonly known as "P4," is an Air Force-level program that embraces the use of partnerships to help trim base operating costs. This initiative is a direct response to language included in section 331 of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill, which allows installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions. Such agreements have proven successful at the small handful of installations where they have been implemented under pilot programs, but the new authority permits all military installations to partner with host communities to obtain or provide support services.

"P4 is a way for Team Dover to put ideas on the table to look at partnering with entities like local and state government or private entities in the community," said Col. Lisa Pike, 436th Mission Support Group commander. "This helps us consider projects that are mutually beneficial to both the base and the community."

While partnerships have existed between the surrounding communities for decades, this program is a means for Team Dover and the community to come together on initiatives that promote positive change for those involved while having the oversight and staff support of Headquarters Air Force.

Two P4 meetings have taken place at Dover Air Force Base where about 100 people were in attendance from both the base and the community. The first meeting set the stage in explaining the P4 program, providing examples of partnerships from other Air Force installations, and allowed all who participated to meet, split up into groups, explain their organizations and the impact they have on and within the community, and begin brainstorming ideas.

The second meeting was held several weeks later to allow the participants some time to think on the program and the ideas brought to the table and to come back with new ideas or information as to how to go about setting these potential ideas into motion.

The categories of work groups are broken down into: Live, Work, Learn, and Play. Members in each working group are generally a part of a business or company that falls into one of the above areas, so that when the working groups sit down to work through potential ideas, their background relates to those in their group.

"These first two meetings have been extremely positive for the base," said Pike. "As we've looked at 'The art of the possible,' we've had immense participation from the community and tremendous support from those bringing big ideas with even bigger potential to the table. We're very fortunate to be a part of this community and look forward to what P4 can do for Team Dover and the community."

The next P4 meeting will take place at Dover AFB on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to noon at The Landings. For additional information on the program, to request to attend, or for media coverage, contact the 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs office at (302)-677-3372 or e-mail 436aw.pa@us.af.mil.

Thule hospital vital safeguard at Top of the World

by Steve Brady
21st Space Wing Public Affairs


9/8/2015 - THULE AIR BASE, Greenland -- When you're living 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle and the closet big city is hours away by air, the availability of health care is a big deal.

Enter the Thule AB hospital. The 821st Air Base Group operates the Thule hospital, a small but vital facility at the Department of Defense's northernmost base.

"We manage the health care and medical programs at Thule," said Tech. Sgt. Amber Russo, 821st Support Squadron Surgeon General Flight chief. "We saw about 290 out-patients in July, and three in-patients."

Russo and Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Dellacca ensure the hospital is stocked and the equipment works, and oversee the daily operations of the contracted Danish doctors and nurses who provide the health care. The providers care for all the active duty and contractors stationed at Thule.

"Our Danish providers rotate every four to six weeks or so," Russo said. "We work with them on a daily basis as a liaison between them and (the 21st Medical Group at Peterson AFB) to make sure that our active duty members are medically ready and fit to fight."

"The providers do an amazing job providing care for our patients," she said. "They are very personable and love to interact with our active-duty members. It's a very unique assignment to be able to work with providers from a different country and they are a pleasure to work with every day."

The hospital, built in 2004, offers an emergency room, imaging including ultrasound and X-ray, a pharmacy, laboratory services, immunizations, primary care, a morgue and outpatient care. It also has beds for in-patients and an operating room for minor surgeries. Two dental chairs are also available for a visiting dentist from Denmark every couple months. The Drug Demand and Reduction Program, Self-Aid Buddy Care and CPR classes are also held at the hospital.

The in-patient admissions are typically for dehydration or a minor surgery, she said, while the really sick are flown out if necessary.

"For really sick patients we can air-evac them out, otherwise we work with Andrews Air Force Base for higher level care," Russo said.

While providing 24-hour emergency services in such a remote area is not simple, it's a job she said she enjoys.

"I like being here for the active duty," Russo said. "It's not out of the norm for (Airmen here) to see a provider from a different country, so it's nice to be here as a sort of patient advocate to help with their medical needs."

Scott Airman completes humanitarian mission in Honduras

by Senior Airman Megan Friedl
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


9/9/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The Air Force is known for developing skills with each Airman they train, one of which is to support and build relations with local communities.

Tech. Sgt. Mark Lopez, 375th Medical Support Squadron biomedical equipment supervisor, did his part by spending two months in Honduras supporting locals at the Dr. Salvador Paredes Hospital in downtown Trujillo.

He and his team also supported New Horizons exercise personnel who constructed a two-classroom schoolhouse in Ocotes Alto.  As a 375th Medical Support Squadron biomedical equipment technician, Lopez ensured equipment was in good working order. That's not all he did though.

"I went really far out of my scope. I assisted with surgeries, and I even delivered a baby," he said.

The 15-person medical team that Lopez was a part of also worked in many new ways.
They repaired medical equipment, trained partner nation personnel, and developed a preventative maintenance program.

Maj. Norman Zellers, 60th Medical Operations Squadron medical physician assistant, from Travis Air Force Base, California said, "Lopez was integral to establishing a relationship with the local hospital. His work repairing the medical equipment and developing a relationship with the Honduran medical repair department made our presence in the hospital much more beneficial to the overall humanitarian mission."

New Horizons is a joint humanitarian assistance exercise that the U.S. launched in the 1980s and is annually done with a partner nation in Central America, South America, or the Caribbean.

"For me it was just so gratifying," said Lopez. "It felt like I really made a difference, and I could see firsthand what I'm doing directly impacted the community."

The experience also gave Lopez more perspective of what his family's heritage is like. He grew up in Miami, Florida, but his family is from Colombia.

"I got a little taste of what I want my life to be like after the military," said Lopez. "I want to go back to my roots."

The team was left with a lasting impression of how their actions affected others.

"I will not forget how the local community went out of their way to thank the United States and their military members for being in the hospital and seeing Hondurans," said Zellers. "It was touching on many levels."

After returning from his trip to Honduras, Lopez believed the mission helped much more than the Hondurans.

He said, "It not only enriched our relationships with our neighbors, but it enriched our own lives."

AFGSC Senior NCO Receives Air Force-Level Award

by Joe Thomas
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs


9/9/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Kloehr has dedicated his life to efficiency and best practices. As a result, he is now the Air Force-level winner for the FY 14 Air Force Outstanding Cyberspace Systems Award.

"We're presenting this award to Senior Master Sgt. Kloehr for his extraordinary performance and leadership in communications and cyber," said Gen. Robin Rand, Air Force Global Strike Command commander. "The great thing about this award is that it doesn't look at any one thing. It looks at the whole individual."

The award spans a year of accomplishments as the program manager for AFGSC's Plans and Policies section -- accomplishments that include the execution of more than $13 million in assets, as well as oversight for five Air Force-level projects across six wings.

"I try to get the government the best product at the best price," Kloehr said. "I've always looked at how we can do things better, and I always advocate for plans that won't cost us more in the long term."

However, efficiency is more than managing cost. Kloehr works to make sure all AFGSC communication systems are integrated properly and in accordance with Air Force and Department of Defense standards.

"You have to look at the grand scheme," he said. "You have to look at the DOD plan and the Air Force plan and make sure that your plan is aligned with them."
For Kloehr, efficiency and cost management are part of a life-long habit; a mindset that stretches back to his childhood in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

"I would always recycle," he said. "I would always tell my mother that she couldn't throw something away, that it could be used or reused. Back then it was a lot of work because I had to separate everything myself. I never got paid. It was just the right thing to do. I've carried that mentality with me through life."

In addition, Kloehr says he is driven by something more than mere efficiency. In a search for greater job stability and a higher calling, Kloehr decided to join the Air Force.

"I left a pretty lucrative job to join," he said. "I took a 40 percent pay cut, but I knew I had to find something different."

Kloehr added that he was also motivated to join by his brother who was an Airman at the time. With a college degree and work experience in a technical field, Kloehr sought a similar career path in the Air Force.

Throughout his career, Kloehr has applied his practical knowledge about Air Force communication systems to project development, an approach that has led him to receive this recent distinction. Despite his years of expertise, Kloehr remains humble, saying that the competition for this award was undoubtedly stiff.

"I've been on award boards before, and a lot of times it just comes down to that one bullet," he said. "There isn't one single thing that I can point to that would single me out; I wouldn't even say that there were five things. When they look at people for these awards they look at scope of responsibility and execution."

Although Kloehr remains humble about the receiving the award, those who work with Kloehr say that the recognition is more than deserved.

"Senior Master Sgt. Kloehr has continually proven himself an expert in his field and has significantly contributed to many modernization efforts for the command," said, Maj. Scott Papineau, Plans and Policies branch chief. "I'm very happy to see him recognized for all his hard work at such a high level."

Kloehr added that his main goal is to become a senior NCO at the command level so he can lead young Airmen and teach them the lessons he's learned throughout his career.

MQ-1B Predator Accident Report Released

Release Number: 030915

9/9/2015 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- A total electrical failure caused by a short circuit led to the crash of an MQ-1B Predator in the Central Command Area of Responsibility March 1, 2015, according to an Air Combat Command abbreviated accident investigation board report released today.

The aircraft was assigned to the 432nd Wing, Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and was under the control of aircrew assigned to the 196th Reconnaissance Squadron, 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, based at March Air Force Base, Calif.  At the time of the mishap, the aircraft was conducting a combat support mission. The aircraft was destroyed on impact with losses valued at approximately $3.9 million. There were no injuries or reported damage to private property as a result of the crash.

The board president determined, by a preponderance of evidence, that the cause of the mishap was a short circuit in the aircraft's onboard printed wiring board. The short circuit caused electrical generation to exceed the capacity of both alternators and drained both batteries, leading to total electrical failure. Without electrical power, the aircraft was unable to sustain flight and crashed.

Operation Llama Fury: Joint base training aims to standardize AFSC

by Senior Airman Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/9/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- Explosive ordnance disposal Airmen from three bases descended upon Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for a training exercise, Aug. 24-28.

Teams from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Moody and Andrews Air Force Bases participated in Operation Llama Fury, where teams competed against each other to promote cohesion and standardization across the EOD career field.

"This was a training opportunity for us to try to standardize the way we do things as EOD techs," said Master Sgt. Tracy Passerotti, 4th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight noncommissioned officer in charge. "It gave us a chance to work on a lot of our training fundamentals as well as teamwork and crosstalk for the different EOD flights attending."

The exercise began much as it would in a deployed environment, where EOD units from multiple bases are teamed together to form a unit downrange. The teams conducted a quick meet and greet, went over safety procedures specific to the base's facilities, and discussed the strategy for the week ahead.

The 4th CES EOD unit also provided the EOD teams with F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft weapons familiarization training.

"When you're sourced for a deployment, you may go and support aircraft you have never seen before," Passerotti explained. "So what we're trying to do by bringing all these other units in is give them a chance to actually get their hands on the jet and train with some of its munitions configurations."

Instead of getting spun up through books and diagrams, the EOD Airmen were given firsthand training by the 4th CES EOD team.

The three-man EOD teams trained and exercised on a multitude of scenarios, including responding to improvised explosive device and unexploded ordnance threats, practicing basic demolition techniques and reacting to F-15E munitions emergencies.

The Airmen were given general guidance on each setup but relied upon past experiences and training to choose the best methods to complete each task.

"EOD is unique in that no two responses are ever the same," Passerotti said. "You could give 10 teams a scenario, and you're going to see 10 different ways of getting it done. What's great about that is you get out of your own mindset of how things have to be done and see a different perspective that can help you down the road."

The EOD teams competed in four daytime challenges to earn the best gear for the nighttime operations.

With night-vision goggles and flashlights ready the teams set out on a trek across the EOD training range to put their knowledge and skillsets to the ultimate test.

The exercise culminated with the EOD teams applying the training received during the week to compete against each other to see who could accomplish a concluding set of scenarios in the most efficient and safest manner possible.

Even though the Seymour Johnson team won the final challenge, the competition was beneficial to all participants

"The training we're getting here is exceptional," said Airman 1st Class Josh Holbrook, EOD technician 11th CES, Joint Base Andrew. "Everything is real, and we're doing it by the book -- how it's going to be if we encounter it in person. I'm just finishing upgrade training and getting into my five-level certifications, so this [training] is going to help me get signed off on the majority of the things I have left."

Master Sgt. Roger Hughes, 4th CES EOD logistics chief, said he hopes the event's success leads to it becoming an annual event held at other bases to expose the Airmen to different facilities and training ranges and further standardize training.

"Training opportunities like this can be hard to come by, so we take advantage of them whenever we can," Hughes said. "That way, we can operate in a safer manner so that we can not only protect the surrounding area, but we can also protect ourselves."