Military News

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dempsey: NATO Can Focus on Both ISIL and Russia



By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ISTANBUL, September 11, 2015 — NATO has the capacity to focus on two simultaneous problems facing the alliance -- Russia and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

"Russia has fielded military capabilities that -- were they to have an intent to do harm to the alliance -- they would have the capability to do so," Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said.

"NATO is big enough and powerful enough and stable enough to be able to deal with both threats at the same time," the chairman said.

"But what we're seeing is a period of time where we can have the tendency to look at one threat for a while and then we look at the other threat for a while," he said. "Frankly we got to keep our eye on both threats over time."

Dempsey is in the middle of a weeklong trip that began with a stop in Germany to meet with his German counterpart. He then traveled on to Turkey for a NATO Military Committee conference being held Saturday.

The Roots of ISIL

ISIL, he said, is a manifestation of deeper, broader and longer-term issues, including pervasive instability, disenfranchised groups and ethnic and religious conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.

"The underlying issues that allowed ISIL to be created or to create itself are not going to be resolved in the near term," he said.

"NATO has on its southern flank that non-state threat and what that particular threat requires is us to look transregionally," Dempsey said.

NATO will also benefit from hearing the perspective of the conference's host nation, Dempsey said, adding that he hopes to have one-on-one discussions Saturday with Gen. Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s chief of General Staff.

"I do look for the opportunity on the sidelines of conference to get his perspective, find out how he views the issues that are confronting not only his country but NATO, because they are of course the eastern flank of NATO," Dempsey said.

The chairman said he sees Turkey as critical to NATO’s understanding of the issues it faces.

As the only Muslim country in NATO, Turkey is "very important in helping us try to figure out how to resolve the issues that are evolving in the Middle East and North Africa," he said.

Dempsey said he looks forward to discussions on the response of each nation to the multiple, complex issues facing the alliance -- both unilaterally and as a part of NATO.

The day-long NATO session kicks off Saturday morning with opening remarks by Akar, and Czech Gen. Petr Pavel, the chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Sessions are to address topics including the European migrant crisis and NATO's mission in Afghanistan.

Face of Defense: Sailor Qualifies as Air Force Security Services Flight Chief



By Air Force Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., September 11, 2015 — A sailor assigned to the 628th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, recently became the first Navy master-at-arms to become certified as an Air Force security forces flight chief.

Due to a dwindling number of certified flight chiefs, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ethan Holland volunteered to participate in a 60-day certification to become one. He completed his training in June and is now in charge of an average of 16 people per shift to include Airmen and civilians who provide security programs throughout the installation.

Holland first arrived in Charleston in August 2014 and was assigned to the 628th SFS Harbor Patrol Unit, protecting the waterways at the JB Charleston Weapons Station. After hearing about the need for certified flight chiefs he gave his leaders a call.

"When I made contact I was expecting to be a fill-in or backup flight chief and I thought I was going to continue to work harbor patrol," Holland said. "To my surprise I became a full-time flight chief."

During the training period, Holland was tasked with learning every job a security forces defender would need to know while on the job. He became proficient with the procedures for serving as an entry controller, patrolman, base defense operation center controller and flight chief, and learned all operating instructions and Air Force Instructions associated with each position.

At the conclusion of the training, defenders are required to pass a written and verbal exam, a weapons knowledge exam and a practical scenario test.

"The most stressful part about the training was the test," Holland said. "I was the first sailor to take it and I didn't want to give the Navy a bad reputation."

Holland scored a 98 percent, placing him among the top 10 percent in the squadron.

As a flight chief, Holland has a long list of responsibilities, including leading, managing, supervising and performing force protection duties for all base personnel and resources. A top priority for him is ensuring airmen protecting the base are well taken care of, he said.

Air Force Capt. Jonathan Blount, one of Holland's supervisors in the 628th SFS, said, " Holland's story is truly what the joint base concept was meant to do; bring multiple services together to do the mission."

Becoming the first sailor to become an Air Force flight chief has opened the door to others who are interested in following in his footsteps. There are currently three sailors at JB Charleston going through the flight chief training program.

"It's always a good feeling to know you are the first to do something," said Holland. "I would like to thank my Air Force counterparts who helped me throughout the qualification process. I couldn't have done it without their support."

According to Holland, the best part of the job is working with another branch to accomplish the mission.

"I've never been in charge of another branch's service members and working with the Air Force has been an honor," Holland added. "I've gotten to work with dedicated service members who always put the mission first. Charleston is a great place to be and I enjoy being a part of the 628th Security Force Squadron."

JTACs train at Poinsett

by Senior Airman Jensen Stidham
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/8/2015 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Operations Support Squadron Poinsett Electronic Combat Range hosted the U.S. Army Special Operations Command during joint terminal attack controller training in Wedgefield, South Carolina, Aug. 31 through Sept. 3.

The training was conducted by USASOC JTAC's with help from the 20th Fighter Wing to conduct close air support controls in a joint environment.

"It's very important to do training like this," said Sgt. 1st Class Peter Quarleno, 1st Special Forces Command, 3rd Special Forces Group JTAC.  "The more you get out and get on the radio and control aircraft, the more comfortable and better you get at it. When we are in a static training environment like this and not getting shot at it's a lot easier to get better at this job."

Poinsett was used as one of three strike locations for the training because of its ability to receive live munitions.

"It works here because we have an air-to-ground range just a few flying minutes from Shaw where local Air Force F-16s can drop and shoot inert ordnance, along with several observation points that the JTACs can use to conduct live type 1 and 2 controls," said Onelio Renedo, 20th OSS range operations officer. "The short distance to the range allows about 45 minutes of range time for the aircrews and controllers, making the most of the training time."

Due to the close proximity, the 55th Fighter Squadron was selected to participate in the exercise to fulfill training requirements.

"The 55th FS is being used because they are currently working on six weeks of close air support training," said Capt. Joseph Winglemire, 20th Fighter Wing ground liaison officer. "What I do for them is coordinate all of the JTACs and scenarios which I create based on real world locations, and then I brief all of the pilots participating in the exercise."

Along with training requirements, the JTACs called in both live and dry runs consisting of the GBU-12 and 20mm rounds from the F-16's M-61A1 cannon.

"Live training is when there are live aircraft flying on the range with live ordinance dropping from the aircraft," said Quarleno. "Dry runs are when live aircraft are flying over the range or military operating area but aren't dropping any live ordinances. Both live and dry procedures are pretty much the exact same for the JTACs and the pilots just without dropping anything."

Although JTACs make the decision where to drop an ordinance, nothing can be dropped without knowledge of the weather.

"Weather is involved in intelligence preparation for the battlefield," said 1st Lt. Derek Romanyk, 20th OSS wing weather officer. "I check the weather about ten minutes before the simulated attacks and let the JTACs know the surface winds and cloud decks which are the different layers of clouds in the sky. They use the weather data I give them to judge the predictions they make themselves."

Throughout the week, 151 successful close air support controls were made, providing the USASOC JTACs an opportunity to hone their skills controlling aircraft in preparation to protect our country in times of conflict.

Special mission aviator earns coveted award

by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


9/11/2015 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Staff Sgt. Sven Raemer, a special mission aviator assigned to the 34th Weapons Squadron, was recently awarded the Staff Sgt. Henry "Red" Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Member Airman of the Year Award.

The annual award is given to an enlisted aircrew member for their outstanding accomplishments related to flight activities, how their leadership abilities impact unit members, and what actions the Airman has taken for self-improvement through education and training.

As a special mission aviator, Raemer mans a .50 caliber machine gun on an HH-60G Pave Hawk or AC-130 Gunship, and is in charge of ensuring the safety of passengers and equipment before, during and after a flight.

While serving as a special mission aviator with the 56th Rescue Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, from January 2013 to December 2013, Raemer deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"There was an Afghan soldier who had been shot in the head," Raemer said. "We landed right away and picked him up. Less than five minutes later we were back at the forward operating base and we got him into the hospital. A couple of months later, we were doing a regular medivac of transferring a patient to Bagram (Air Base). While at the hospital we ran into that Afghan solider who had taken a round through the head. He survived and was learning to walk and talk again. That was pretty cool."

According to his award citation, Raemer flew 127 combat hours over 86 missions where his technical expertise and airmanship led to the recovery of 64 casualties from the battlefield.

In addition to his actions while deployed, Raemer also showed leadership and self-improvement, furthering his education by completing four college level entry placement exams and working towards a Bachelor's degree.

"We're proud of him. It's not likely that you're going to get an award like this," said Tech. Sgt. James Juniper, 34th WS special mission aviator. "For being new to the unit, it shows that he's the one we wanted to hire; it shows that we picked the right person."

Staff Sgt. Henry E. Erwin, the award's namesake, served as a radio operator aboard a B-29 Superfortress in the Asia-Pacific theater during World War II. During a 1945 bombing mission over Koriyama, Japan, a phosphorus bomb prematurely exploded in the aircraft seriously wounding him. As smoke filled the plane, Erwin was able to throw the bomb out of a window, saving the aircraft and its crew. For his actions, Erwin was awarded the Medal of Honor.

"[Erwin's story] just epitomizes doing everything you can possibly do for your crew," Raemer said.

Farragut Lends a Helping Hand to Stranded Fishermen



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jackie Hart, USS Farragut Public Affairs

RED SEA (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) and an embarked detachment rendered aid to a distressed fishing vessel in the Red Sea, Sept. 8.

Farragut Sailors and an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter crew assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46 noticed the disabled boat.

Farragut's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team approached the vessel and found three fishermen inside.

"We found a small boat that appeared to be dead in the water, and as we approached them it became apparent these men were extremely dehydrated and hungry," said Lt. j.g. Joshua Bowling, Farragut's navigator and VBSS boarding officer. "We learned they had been stranded for three days, and quickly realized how critical it was for us to provide them with nourishment and a way in which to return home."

The team provided food and water and determined what was wrong with their vessel. After discovering the extent of the damage to the motor, the team arranged to have the boat brought onboard Farragut in order to make repairs to the motor.

The next morning, VBSS team members brought the fishermen and their boat aboard Farragut. Each fisherman received a medical assessment from the ship's independent duty corpsman, a change of clothes and breakfast.

"We were able to treat these men for both dehydration and malnourishment initially with small portions of food and bottled water," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jacob Seekins, noting the men had spent the previous three days in 95-degree heat. "They were very appreciative for our services, and though a language barrier existed, it was evident they were genuinely grateful we were able to help."

Machinery Repairman 1st Class Daniel Kerby and Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jason Derks performed maintenance on the mechanical and electrical systems on the broken motor and successfully returned it to full operation.

"After reconditioning the cylinders and spark plugs and rewiring the engine correctly, both Petty Officers Kerby and Derks had the motor running great in no time," said Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Bryan Hatch, who supervised the repairs.

After determining the outboard motor was fully operational and supplying the fishermen with food, water and fuel to continue their transit, Farragut Sailors lowered the boat back in the water and bid the men safe travels back to their home.

"One of our missions here is building positive relations with local fishermen in order to protect the seas and pattern of life," said Bowling. "I am proud to have been able to help and to be able to say we positively affected the lives of others while operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations."

Farragut is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. The ship is homeported in Mayport, Florida.

Farragut is part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), which is comprised of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81).