Military News

Monday, September 14, 2015

Face of Defense: Airman Teaches Self-Defense in Deployed Setting



By Air Force Senior Airman Cierra Presentado 455th Air Expeditionary Wing

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, September 14, 2015 — Anywhere there could be trouble, it’s crucial for military members to be able to defend themselves. That's why one airman teaches a combatives class here.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Yamil Roman-Rivera of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron uses his knowledge and skills in martial arts to conduct self-defense training with service members assigned here. He offers classes to interested individuals and teaches skills that may come in handy in the deployed environment or back at home station.

“Before I joined the military, I was a martial arts instructor for five years," Roman-Rivera said. "I taught kids from the ages of 3 years to adults in basic self-defense, as well as traditional Chinese martial arts and even cardio kick boxing."

He said he's been through Air Force and Army combatives courses and has taught it for the past three years. His course here at Bagram helps students learn how to defend themselves in numerous situations. So-called "green on blue" attacks -- attacks by Afghan partners on coalition members -- are still possible in today’s combat zone, as is facing an enemy combatant in close quarters.

Helpful in Multiple Situations

The class also aids in sexual assault prevention. Participants are taught how to escape if they find themselves in an assault.

Regardless of the situation, it’s important for members to know how to react if they find themselves fighting for their own safety.

“I teach basic strikes like punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and more complicated moves like rear-naked choke, guillotine choke, arm bars and triangle chokes,” he said. “I also teach escaping from these moves. All of these moves are important. With knowledge comes power, as well as confidence that you have the tools and knowledge to defeat an adversary, because you may be attacked prior to you having the opportunity to get to your weapon system.”

With combatives perceived as being hard to grasp, Roman-Rivera said he gets mostly male participants, but having taught small children and individuals with little to no martial arts background, he said he is patient and open to teaching anyone who is willing to learn.

Defend the Base

“I’ve never done a combatives class before and Roman-Rivera was very helpful and patient when teaching me the moves,” said Army Spc. Cody Hougnon, Task Force-Solid personal security detachment team member. “He made everything really easy to learn. I encourage my fellow soldiers, especially the females, to take the class.”

Roman-Rivera said he enjoys teaching combatives to airmen and soldiers and encourages individuals or units to schedule organized classes.

“What I enjoy most about teaching combatives is that I’m giving individuals the tools to protect themselves, especially when they’re unarmed,” Roman-Rivera said. “You never know where you will be when a threat will present itself here in the AOR, traveling on leave or back at home station in your everyday life.”

Roman-Rivera will continue to offer the class as it fits into the basic “Defend the Base” concept under U.S. Air Forces Central's stated priorities.

“There are many martial arts classes here at Bagram and back at home station," Roman-Rivera said. "I encourage all to get at least a basic course of self-defense to give you the tools necessary to be resilient. Active shooter incidents are on the rise, as well as other random acts of violence. Make yourself a hard target 24/7.”

Third Air Force leadership visits Team Mildenhall

by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


9/10/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray, Third Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright, Third Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force command chief, visited RAF Mildenhall, Sept. 9, 2015, to meet with leadership and Airmen to get an inside look at the base's mission and discuss current issues in today's Air Force. This was Ray's first official visit to the U.K.

The distinguished visitors started the day with an Airman's breakfast where Wright touched on the importance of innovation.

"Light, lean and lethal," stated Wright. "You and your Airmen have to come up with innovative ways [to accomplish the mission]. Once you figure out your core tasks, you have to improve them. Ask yourself what are some better ways to get the job done and implement them."

Ray and Wright then attended a mission briefing where they were briefed on the wing's heritage and top issues affecting the base.

During their visit, the Third Air Force leadership held an all-call to address current issues to include budget constraints, manpower and personnel.

"It's not about doing more with less, it is about doing the best you can with what you have," said Ray. "We have to be world champions and [focus on] doing the very best we can every day by having the character to step in and make a difference."

After the all-call the leaders spent the rest of the day visiting units around base and recognizing Airmen for their outstanding accomplishments.

"You guys are doing amazing things and I wish I had an easier way of telling the outside world about how hard the job is and how easy you make it look," said Ray. "No one can do what you can do."

Humble heroes of 352nd SOMXS rescue Mildenhall resident

by Senior Airman Victoria H. Taylor
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


9/10/2015 - RAF Mildenhall, England -- Saturday, August 15, 2015, started as every other normal day off for friends and 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron co-workers Staff Sgts Scott Caldwell and Blake Broekhove.  As avid mountain bikers in their free time, they planned a trip to Chicksands Bike Park in Shefford, England, to spend the day away from aircraft grease and replace it with dust and dirt.

"We actually had a late start because [Broekhove] overslept," said Caldwell with a smirk directed at Broekhove.

The two were eager to hit the bike trails, but needed to fuel their vehicle and themselves before the hour-long journey began. As they made their way through the roads of residential Mildenhall, they both spotted an elderly man lying motionless on the pavement.

"At first, I saw two dogs hovering over him so I thought he had been attacked, but I really didn't know what happened-- I just knew something was wrong," said Caldwell. "We just did what I would hope anyone else would do."

Broekhove abruptly brought the car to a halt and they swiftly exited the vehicle racing to the man's unresponsive body which by that time was surrounded by three passers-by trying to gauge the situation.

"There was no thinking; everything just happened and we reacted," said Caldwell.

Just like that, Broekhove went into action, immediately directing one of the onlookers to dial 999 while he assessed the situation and simultaneously asked the injured man questions in the hope of getting a response.

"I checked his pulse and he had none; not only that, but he was cold," Broekhove said, shaking his head in disbelief. "I immediately thought the worst; I thought he was gone."

Even though they couldn't find a pulse, the two were not giving up. Instantly putting their military Self Aid Buddy Care skills to work, they began performing CPR; Broekhove giving the unconscious man chest compressions while Caldwell gave rescue breaths to survive.

"I was singing 'Staying Alive' in my head," Broekhove said with a smile while describing how he was able to keep the steady rate of approximately 100 compressions per minute. "And I will tell you from experience, it does work."

Constantly working to save his life, the two Airmen continued to desperately get a response, but the man was only able to reply with gasping breaths. They continued CPR for more than 15 minutes until paramedics arrived and instructed them to continue the life-saving task until their kit was prepared.

"Once the ambulance arrived, we tried to help them in any way we could," said Caldwell. "I was holding IV bags, fetching things out of the ambulance or just passing them equipment."

Eventually, a second ambulance arrived along with a few police cars and an Air Ambulance helicopter that landed in a field near the incident.

"Once the medics from the Air Ambulance arrived, they began getting the man on the stretcher to transport him to the helicopter," said Caldwell. "That's about the time that one of the police officers started to clear the area and we left."

After leaving the scene, the two kept their original plans and continued to the bike park.

"We were both pretty uneasy for the rest of the weekend," said Broekhove as he recalled the incident. "We didn't know if the man had made it or not. By the time we left, he was breathing on his own, but there was still that fear of not knowing."

Later, witnesses explained they saw the man coming around the corner on his bicycle when he collapsed, hitting his head on a concrete wall before falling to the pavement. A representative from the East of England Ambulance service who was also of the first responders on scene and wishes to stay anonyms explained that the man suffered a cardiac arrest causing his collapse.

"They did a fantastic job in performing life support until we arrived," said the paramedic. "When people see a medical emergency, it's easy to freeze up and be overwhelmed by the situation in front of them. However, [these two] stepped in to assist the ambulance crews [and helped save his life]."

With the worry of the victim's health still on their minds, the two Airmen sought out his family to learn of his good health and received multiple unexpected gifts of gratitude endless expressions of thanks for their heroic acts that day.

"Their actions showed courage," the paramedic added. "It was a real team effort between the U.S. Air Force personnel and the East of England Ambulance service crew."

Hickory dickory dock: Crew chiefs work around the clock

by Airman 1st Class Cary Smith
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/11/2015 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy  -- This year so far has been demanding as Aviano's missions were heard roaring across skies all over the world from Turkey to Afghanistan, and all the way to Sweden.

Even with F-16 Fighting Falcons deployed to multiple locations, the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs continue their busy schedule.

"It's our job to make sure the remaining jets are good to go," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Keitha Whitaker, 31st AMXS crew chief. "The flying schedule never changes here because pilots still need to meet their flying qualifications."

To ensure the remaining jets are ready for the following day's flight schedule, three shifts of Airmen work around the clock.

Day shift performs aircraft launch and recovery as well as flightline inspections. Swing shift handles the majority of maintenance concerns. Mid shift completes the 24-hour day with final pressure checks and prepares the jets for the next rotation to start.

Daytime crew chiefs start with their pre-flight inspections. They also manage all the tasks associated with take-offs, refueling and landing.

"Day shift ends with their post-flight inspections after the jets land," said Whitaker. "Once they find any issues, they hand the workload over to swing shift expeditors."

Expeditors are the foremen of the job, assigning tasks to the maintenance crews and overseeing the work. The workload is divvied out with crucial tasks assigned to more experienced crew chiefs and less in-depth jobs to newer Airmen.

Swing shift works on disassembling and repairing sections of the aircraft based upon where that jet fits in the timeline for completion.

"Swings are the backbone of our maintenance," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jose Burr, 31st AMXS NCO in charge. "Their primary task is to repair all the discrepancies on an aircraft so it is ready for flight the following day."

Maintenance crews tighten the last bolts, fix all the final discrepancies, and log their work for accountability as the workload is passed over to the next shift.

Before the sun rises, mid shift comes in and handles the brunt of servicing. They perform fluid checks, minor maintenance, and pressure checks to complete final preparations and clear the aircraft for the morning.

"Everything we do is team-oriented with the crews involved around the clock," said Whitaker. "What helps us get through long hours of hard work is leadership, knowing that they are here to guide us on the right track."

There is pressure to get the job done quickly and accurately so that the next day can start on schedule.

"The leadership here reminds Airmen to work as a team and leave no one behind," said Burr. "I remind them that every sacrifice is recognized and that everyone is equally important to the mission."

With greasy hands and sore arms from struggling against tightly fastened bolts, crew chiefs take pride in their work and contribution to the overall mission.

"It is very fulfilling to take a faulty product and put blood, sweat and tears into it," said Burr. "Our crew chiefs get to see their work transform into a capable aircraft flown on missions all over the world."

Scott nurses save boy's life

by Airman 1st Class Kiana Brothers
375 Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


9/11/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- A 9-year-old boy would not be alive today if not for the quick action and skills of two Scott AFB nurses.

Capts. Michelle Trujillo and Linda Clarkson, both with the 375th Medical Group, spent the Labor Day weekend camping at Lost Valley Lake Resort in Owensville, Missouri., when they noticed a child being brought out of the water and people gathered around.

"I grabbed Trujillo by the arm and said 'let's go!'" said Clarkson. The child was laying on the bank when they finally reached him, and without thinking they both yelled to call 9-1-1.

The boy was blue and unresponsive, and when they checked for a pulse they couldn't find one. Trujillo started compressions and Clarkson took control of his airway.

"Before we knew it, we were both down in position and starting CPR," said Clarkson. "I keep saying this is what we train for, and this is what we do, because it was over whelming and nerve wrecking."

Trujillo added, "We continued doing compression until, finally, he started breathing on his own. After we got the boy to breathe on his own again, the ambulance arrived."

They explained that they were near a small swim area with a lot people in the lake. The boy, Isaiah West, was there for the weekend and his dad was at the scene.  According to the sheriff's report, three teens "felt something under water" and immediately pulled Issiah out of the chest-deep water and onto shore.

"We've talked about it a couple times, and thinking back on it and we just did what we were supposed to do," she said. "We stayed calm and relied on our training to get us through the situation.  We know we have been trained well, and we gave that family back their son.  We have the satisfaction of knowing that little boy is alive and back at school."

Since the incident, they've kept in touch with family who said they are "extremely grateful" and have sent pictures of Issiah coloring and smiling as if "nothing really happened."

All the attention from local media and base officials have been a way for them to encourage others to learn and know CPR.

"We're hoping that individuals take the opportunity to learn CPR. People on that beach felt helpless because they were not prepared," Clarkson said.

If an Airman is in a situation that they are trained to handle, they should definitely step up whether it be medical or nonmedical, said Truijllo.

Lost Valley Lake and Issiah's parents plan to host a celebration for all those who had a hand in saving his life. The resort also wants to incorporate CPR training into the event for their staff members and their guests in hopes to become more prepared.

McConnell Pilot awarded Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

by Airman Jenna K. Caldwell
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Aff


9/14/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.  -- Capt. Jessica Rybicki, 384th Air Refueling Squadron executive officer and pilot, received the 2015 National Aeronautic Association Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy.

The award was established in 1948 in honor of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the pioneers of flight.

The annual award recognizes an officer for significant contributions to the community and advancement of enduring value to aviation as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

Rybicki, a former NASA engineer and current KC-135 Stratotanker pilot, uses her experience to teach the principles of flight and astronautics while encouraging others to continue innovations in aviation.

Rybicki encourages youth here and within the local community, through a number of outreach programs, to explore academics and career fields in science, technology, engineering, and math.

"It's a fun program, and I have a lot of fun doing it," said Rybicki. "It's important for kids to be enjoying their studies and continuing to work hard and find opportunities to use the skills that they are learning."

As McConnell's STEM program coordinator has reached out and formed partnerships with local schools; visiting classrooms, arranging base tours, teaching children and helping boost their interest in aviation.

"Rybicki demonstrates a continued dedication to the aviation community and a passion for teaching the next generation of future aviators," said Lt. Col. Nils Hallberg, 384th ARS commander. "Her passion is contagious, and it lives on through each of the students she has inspired."

Rybicki, a Minneapolis native, contributes much of her success to the guidance from the support of her family and from her mentors and superiors.

Creech Airmen participate in CPIP to improve the RPA enterprise


by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


9/11/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada -- Creech Airmen and families were the first to participate in the initial stage of Air Combat Command's new Culture and Process Improvement Program here, Sept. 10 and 11, 2015.

The CPIP teams will visit 12 Air Force active duty, Reserve and National Guard bases and was established to target and develop methods of improvement for concerns identified by Airmen and family members in the MQ-1/9 career fields.

"It's important for our Airmen to take advantage of this opportunity to be heard," said Col. Case Cunningham, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "The CPIP is an avenue for our Airmen to effect change. This program is a priority for ACC leadership to address the challenges and stressors of the RPA enterprise."

The program began by gathering interviews from within the remotely piloted aircraft enterprise to include Airmen from operations, operations support, maintenance, and mission support functions.

It also included sending surveys to 3,366 Airmen, both officer and enlisted, to help identify concerns and issues in the MQ-1/9 community.

"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."

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 toward it."

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

One Creech Airman offered some important advice to others in the RPA career field as the team prepares to visit the remaining locations.

"Be frank, open and honest; this is for improvement and it is non-retributional," said Capt. Benjamin, 432nd Wing/432nd air Expeditionary Wing flight safety officer, MQ-1B Predator evaluator pilot. "Work small to big, take what will help immediately and move outward to the greater goal of retainability."

He said no concern was too big or too small to be addressed.

"Everything is on the table; don't [fail to] mention something because you think it is not attainable. Use emotion to describe the issues," said Benjamin.

Airmen and families unable to attend a CPIP interview can send their input to ACCA3.A3M.CPIP@us.af.mil.  Concerns and comments emailed and discussed during interviews are completely un-attributable.

Following Creech AFB, the team visits are as follows:

- 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)

Once CPIP teams leave each base, 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.

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

The CPIP's mission is to collect as much honest feedback as possible.  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.

"It's well-intentioned, but it's only as effective as the results," said Benjamin. "This program will be relevant if its results are heartfelt by those that are outside the community."

Dempsey: 'Terrible Human Suffering' in Syrian Conflict



By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

TALLINN, Estonia, September 14, 2015 — The Syrian refugee crisis and the "terrible human suffering" could cause Europe to become "more involved in the Syrian conflict," according to the top U.S. military officer.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not predict what sort of additional actions Europe could take, but he did note the refugee crisis in the Balkans in the 1990s "galvanized" European political leaders and eventually led to NATO intervention in the Balkans.

Dempsey spoke to reporters aboard his plane Sunday as he traveled from a NATO Military Committee Conference meeting in Istanbul, on to Estonia for meetings with military and government leaders.

Refugee Crisis Impacts Strategy

"One of the things we are going to carry back home and recommend to elected officials, in Europe in particular, is greater collaboration with the European Union on this crisis," he said. "There's already collaboration."

Dempsey, who retires at the end of this month, said he could not predict if the current U.S. strategy for Syria would change. "The reason I don't know is literally the refugee crisis," he said.

The U.S. strategy, the chairman said, focuses on efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The efforts include a partnership with the Iraqi government, trying to create a diplomatic path to Syria, and conducting air strikes in Iraq and Syria against ISIL.

He said he was satisfied with the actions of the United States in carrying out the mission it planned. But he said, speaking as "General Dempsey" and "citizen Dempsey," there is no way anyone could be satisfied with the outcome.

Spillover Effects

"It would be inconceivable for me to say I'm satisfied with the way things have evolved given the terrible human tragedy," Dempsey said.

The chairman added, "I ask myself, is this one of those moments where we will see kind of a convergence of this terrible human suffering in the form of refugees … and will at some point, Europe have to become more involved in the Syrian conflict, because of the spillover effects?

"I think the answer is probably yes," he said.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there are more than four million registered Syrian refugees in countries neighboring Syria.

The UNHCR says thousands of Syrians are fleeing deteriorating conditions inside Syria and neighboring countries, and risking "everything on perilous journeys to Europe."