Military News

Sunday, October 04, 2015

111th Attack Wing plays crucial role planning, safeguarding papal visit

by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond
111th Attack Wing Public Affairs

9/30/2015 - HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Members of the 111th Attack Wing played a key role at the Pennsylvania National Guard Headquarters in the days leading up to and during the highly-anticipated papal visit Sept. 26-27, for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

The Attack Wing Guardsmen, staged at Fort Indiantown Gap, were critical in the planning process and maintained readiness in the event of emergency situations requiring National Guard intervention during the first papal visit to Philadelphia in over 35 years.

"My role here is as an air planner to coordinate and integrate with the Army," said Lt. Col. Scott Meier, 111th Air Operations Group deputy group commander, and member of the Joint Task Force. "[The Pennsylvania Army National Guard] has the lead on this and we're coming in to support with any background knowledge that we have and might be able to fill them in. If something happens that we have not planned for then we need to truly organize crisis action planning and come up with a strategy to move folks into place."

Lt. Col. Fred Phelan, 111th AOG member and also part of the JTF, stated that his work as a wing member translated well to his assignment at the state headquarters. He also acknowledges that while some operations and acronyms differ between the Army and Air sides of the National Guard, accomplishing the overall mission trumps any variations.

"We have the one overall common core," said Phelan. "We have that bond that we are all from the state of Pennsylvania, serving at the request of the governor, so the Army and the Air Force here have a seamless transition and a unity of effort."

The Guardsmen of the 111th ATKW all agree that their work and experience at the wing level  helped to fulfill the needs of the state when they were called upon to do so.

"What we've learned [back at home station] is the job process, which is a joint process that allows us to speak a common language with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps who are here now," said Meier. "So, as we come to sit down and plan, we're all able to operate off of the same things: common language, common vocabulary, working towards the goal together."

But being called up in support of a domestic operation, such as support of the papal visit, also requires Guardsmen to be prepared to work in any facet needed by the state-not just what they do at home station.

Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania Deputy Adjutant General-Air, said that domestic operations, like the papal visit, are completely different from the federal mission in that they may require members to fill roles outside of their Air Force Specialty Codes.

"We're all eligible to be put on state active duty," said Carrelli.  "If the governor calls, we're going. And you may be from finance, you may be from public affairs, you may be from logistics, but I may need you to do traffic control...I may need you to do reassurance in our communities. So, you may not always be called to do your AFSC."

While the general maintains that members of the National Guard are always eligible for state activation--requiring them to fill any role necessary-the papal visit called upon Attack Wing members skills seemingly tailor-made for this operation.

"I know that our Guardsmen will answer the call and no matter what [they] are asked to do, [they] will be ready and do a great job," said Carrelli. "That's who we are."

Utah's 151st Maintenance Group wins ANG Outstanding Unit Award

by Staff Sgt. Annie Edwards
151 ARW/PA

9/30/2015 - SALT LAKE CITY -- The 151st Maintenance Group was awarded the Air Force Association 2015 Air National Guard Outstanding Unit Award at a ceremony in National Harbor, Maryland, Sept. 14.

The award, which covered achievements from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2014, recognized the unit for exceptionally meritorious service, and cited their dedication, work ethic, and sound maintenance practices.

The group attained an 81 percent mission capable rate, exceeding the Air Force's refueling fleet average of 73.57 percent.

Col. Susan Melton, commander of the 151st Maintenance Group, praised the hard work and efforts of the entire unit.

"I am very proud to be a part of our great organization and am so thrilled for each and every member who is so critical to ensuring we are successful in our mission and so deserving of this award," said Melton. "The men and women of the MXG are very dedicated and work extremely hard every day to keep our aircraft in as good of shape as they are in."

In addition to achieving a high mission capable rate, during this time the group also deployed more than 120 individuals and several aircraft in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve, and agile combat for Air Force operations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations.

"We can't be successful in our mission without the contributions of each and every member," said Melton. "I am so proud and impressed every day with how well these maintainers are able to keep our 51-plus-year-old jets flying and in such great shape."

The 151st flew more than 5,420 hours in the past fiscal year, a record high for the unit.

Guard aeromedical teams strengthen skills during Vigilant Guard

by Tech. Sergeants Lynette Olivares and Paul Santikko
133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

9/29/2015 - Camp Ripley Training Center, Minn. -- The capabilities of the Minnesota National Guard's 109th Aeromedical Squadron were recently put to the test during Vigilant Guard, a state-wide exercise to improve the state's military and civilian responders' ability to work together during a natural disaster.

Vigilant Guard is a United States Northern Command and National Guard Bureau sponsored exercise designed to improve emergency coordination, response and recovery management with federal, regional, local, civilian and military partners.

During natural disasters or other state emergencies, saving time saves lives. If civilian capabilities are overwhelmed, National Guard and other military resources can be called upon to move critical patients from remote scenes to distant medical facilities quickly.

"Our role in the exercise is to stabilize and transport patients from the field to higher echelons of care," said 109th AES Director of Operations Maj. Jeramy Browning. "Our highly-trained flight medics care for sick and wounded patients, maintain their health and well-being aboard the plane, getting them to the definitive care they need. Being able to participate in this exercise helps us refresh protocol and procedures of working with civil authorities, sister services as well as state and local entities."

During the exercise, the aircrew and medical team of the 109th transported simulated patients from the 133rd Airlift Wing in St. Paul to Camp Ripley. On arrival, the team worked with other National Guard medical personnel to transport additional mock patients from UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to the unit's C-130H Hercules aircraft to simulate the continuation of care during a state emergency.

"This exercise gives us a great opportunity to improve our interoperability with the Army Guard, civilian healthcare providers and emergency response personnel," said Aeromedical Evacuation Technician Staff Sgt. Britt Monio. "In the event of a future, real world scenario like this, we know that we will be well prepared and the incident command system should run effectively, so that patients get the medical care they need in the fastest and safest way possible."

Using volunteers portraying victims, the 109th Airmen trained on a variety of in-flight processes and procedures, including litter carries across a flight line, checking and maintaining vital signs, and maintaining the overall care of patients in flight.

"Every single person in our squadron loves what they do," said Browning. "I'm so proud of my unit and the great work they do - whether it's on base during a drill weekend or they are flying around the state or world helping people with their outstanding level of care."