Sunday, October 11, 2015

ANG Airman selected as USAF first sergeant instructor

by Tech. Sgt. Theo Ramsey
139th Airlift Wing

10/6/2015 - ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- With nearly six years of experience as a first sergeant for the Missouri Air National Guard's 139th Airlift Wing, Master Sgt. Jan Medina was recently selected as a first sergeant instructor for the U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alb.

The slot for Airmen in the Air National Guard to be selected as a first sergeant instructor is unique and competitive. Medina said she is humbled by the opportunity.

"I am still letting it settle in," said Medina when asked about her selection. "The fact that they chose me makes me want to do it that much more."

Medina will spend four years teaching first sergeants at the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education at Maxwell AFB.

The academy graduates around 500 first sergeants annually and the first sergeant course format is a mix of four weeks of online curriculum followed by two weeks in-residence.

Medina said there is growing momentum to raise the presence of ANG members as professional military education instructors.

"Hopefully we are going to be seeing some more opportunities in that area," said Medina.

The current commandant of the academy, Chief Master Sgt. Danny Doucette, is the first ANG member to hold that position.

Medina has three years of experience as the first sergeant for 139th Security Forces Squadron and nearly three years of experience as the first sergeant for the 139th Maintenance Squadron.

"I think being a first sergeant is the best job I've ever had," said Medina, "It is the hardest but most rewarding."

Former POW discusses resiliency

by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz
157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

10/5/2015 - PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H.  -- Former U.S. Army Air Corps Tech. Sgt. Herman Streitburger recently spoke to members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing about his experience as a prisoner of war during World War II.

During his presentation, Streitburger discussed being shot down, surviving a prisoner of war camp and his eventual escape.

He credits his ability to survive captivity with his discipline and training.

"People owned your body but at least they didn't own your mind," said Streitburger.

The former POW enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on Valentine's Day 1941 at the age of 21.

Initially he took the Army Air Corps exam to be a pilot but washed out of that program and eventually found his way on a B-24 Liberator bomber crew as a gunner and radio operator in the 343rd Bombardments Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force.

On June 26, 1944 their 50th mission targeted Vienna, Austria. Streitburger's bomber got as far as Hungry when they came under attack during their initial point by German Luftwaffe fighters.

Streitburger spent time in several POW camps and later ended up at Camp Stalag Luft IV in Pomerania (now Poland). He and two other prisoners escaped and were eventually repatriated by allied British forces.

During a return trip to Europe years later, he came upon an excavation in the ground called a Fire Pond which collected rain water, ice, and snow.

"I'm standing here looking at it and it hit me like a ton of bricks," said Streitburger. "I had been standing in the exact same spot 61 years before."

The experience is still very emotional for him.

"I'm not ashamed to stay that I got very emotional," he said. "I started to cry and some of the women in my group had to comfort me."

According to Capt. Ryan Tannian, a pharmacist assigned to the 157th Medical Group, and who was responsible for bringing Streitburger to Pease, his story is about perseverance and resilience.

After the war, Streitburger worked in marketing for the beer industry in New York City for many years.  Eventually he and his family moved to New England. They currently reside in Bedford, N.H.

The veteran was greeted by a standing ovation from Airmen attending the event.

"It's a privilege to be here and to be born here," said Streitburger. "I'm grateful for every day of my life."

He said the group that he is, "...96 years young and proud of it!"

He has been featured in an episode of the "Veterans History Project" that is part of the National Library of Congress. Since 2011, he's been speaking to eighth graders at a Manchester, N.H. middle school.

Pegasus drogue, hose, boom systems deployed

By Daryl Mayer, 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs / Published October 10, 2015

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- The KC-46A Pegasus notched another success this week when the systems at the heart of aerial refueling were demonstrated on EMD-2 with the deployment of both drogue systems and the boom.

On Oct. 8, EMD-2 successfully extended the drogue refueling baskets from both the Centerline Drogue System (CDS), located on the belly of the fuselage, and from the wing aerial refueling pods (WARP), located on the wing tips, for probe receiver aircraft. On Oct. 9, EMD-2 extended the boom, the telescoping tube which an operator on the tanker aircraft extends to receptacle-equipped receiver aircraft.

"The core mission of Pegasus is to fuel the fight, so deploying the boom and drogues signals real progress toward demonstrating the ability to pass fuel in flight," said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. "This sets the stage for the main act, which is hooking up to and refueling an aircraft in flight."

The rigid, centerline boom used on the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender, has been the Air Force standard for in-flight refueling since the 1950s. With a 1,200 gallons per minute transfer rate from the KC-46, the boom will be the fastest way to refuel. Like all previous tankers, the Pegasus can refuel a single aircraft at a time on the boom.

On the other hand, Air Force helicopters and all Navy and Marine Corps aircraft use the hose and drogue method of refueling. The two drogue systems on the KC-46, CDS and WARPs, pass fuel at a rate of 400 gpm, and the WARPs can refuel more than one aircraft at a time. The KC-46A is a leap forward, as it can conduct boom and drogue refueling on a single mission without landing to reconfigure.

"These capability gains are vital to the tanker mission in support of global reach and global power providing the U.S. military the ability to extend the range of aircraft to respond wherever it's called to duty,” said Col. Christopher Coombs, the KC-46 system program manager. “This tanker will be able to refuel any fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter in the (Defense Department) fleet, while being able to take on fuel itself,"

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46As to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet. The program is currently working to meet the required assets available date, a milestone requiring 18 KC-46As and all necessary support equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs by August 2017.

'Tigers' Honor Missouri Servicemembers at Military Appreciation Day

by Tech. Sgt. Traci Howells
131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

10/6/2015 - COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Amidst a sea of black and gold, America's colors flew proudly as nearly 67,000 University of Missouri football fans honored 10 Missouri servicemembers at Faurot Field here Saturday.

The recognition was part of the 17th annual National Adopt A Warrior Program, hosted by the United States Exercise Tiger Foundation.  The 10 honorees were chosen out of 79 nomination packages to represent active duty, Guard and reserve component military members assigned in Missouri.

The honorees included Staff Sgt. Daniel Middleton, a tactical data link coordinator from the 157th Air Operations Group at Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Base, Missouri.  Middleton was recognized for his work during a 240-day deployment in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Inherent Resolve.  As an interface control technician, Middleton was responsible for providing an accurate air picture to combat aircraft and ensuring the safety of flight of U.S. and allied combat aircraft engaged in the Global War on Terror.

"It really means a lot that my supervision thought enough to nominate me for this honor," Middleton said.  "I didn't think I was doing anything out of the ordinary, I was just doing my job."

The group was hosted for the weekend in Columbia.  In addition to the recognition ceremony, the group was treated to an awards banquet on Friday night, as well as a breakfast the morning of the game.  At the banquet, Middleton received the Master Sgt. Lee A. Messina Trophy for Outstanding Enlisted Achievement, and the U.S. Exercise Tiger Foundation's Medal of Combat Valor.

The Adopt A Warrior Program is presented by the U.S. Exercise Tiger Foundation, which was named after the Battle of Exercise Tiger in April 1944.  During this U.S. Navy training exercise in preparation for the D-Day assault on Normandy, France, eight allied ships were attacked by German forces, and many lives were lost.  However, the operation was kept classified for more than 50 years and its heroes went unacknowledged.  The foundation's mission is to honor servicemembers from all branches and ensure that no military Veteran is forgotten.

Susan Haines, the national executive director of the USTF, has overseen the organization of the Adopt A Warrior Program each year since its start.  The planning, she said, is a15-month long process, and while one event is taking place, the next year's is already in the works.

"In all of my 17 years, I've never gotten tired of organizing such an awe-inspiring event," Haines said.  "It is so wonderful to be part of a program that honors our military."

The Missouri servicemembers honored are:

· Maj. Jack Windes, executive officer, 1-135th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Missouri Army National Guard, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
· Capt. David Leonard, deputy wing chaplain, 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
· Senior Master Sgt. Brian Little, advanced airlift tactics training superintendent, 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard,   
   Rosecrans ANGB, Mo.
· Gunnery Sgt. Sidney Richards, assistant Marine officer instructor for the Navy ROTC at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
· Sgt. First Class Colon Estrada, 94th Engineer Detachment, Canine Company, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
· Master Sgt. Dan Hatch, acting chief, 442nd Fighter Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
· Tech. Sgt. Dustin Schwartz, assistant section chief, 442nd Fighter Wing, AFRC, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
· Sgt. Lori Beth Singer-Bare, E Company, 1-148th Infantry Regiment, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
· Staff Sgt. Charles Felker, senior drill sergeant, C Company, 1-148th Infantry Regiment, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
· Staff Sgt. Daniel  Middleton, tactical data link coordinator, 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, Jefferson Barracks  
  ANGB, Mo.

Prior to the kickoff of the Mizzou-South Carolina football game, the official party joined the honorees on the field for a special tribute to military forces and a presentation of a wreath in conjunction with the school's Military Appreciation Day event.  The official party included Gen. Robin Rand, Air Force Global Strike Command commander; Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, 509th Bomb Wing commander; Brig. Gen. Randy Alewel, commander, Land Component, Missouri Army National Guard; and Col. Michael Francis, 131st BW commander.

The entire stadium became quiet for a moment of silence, and the crowd paid their respects as the honor guard posted the colors and Marching Mizzou played the national anthem.  Two Whiteman T-38 Talon trainer jets performed a flyover to wrap up the pre-kickoff ceremony.

"I'm very proud of all our members of the armed forces who were recognized today.  It really goes to show what high-caliber Airmen and Soldiers we have serving this country," said Francis.  "It was a fantastic event and a great way to honor all of our Missouri military members who do so much in service to our nation."

Spirit in the sky

By Delanie Stafford, 55th Wing Public Affairs / Published October 10, 2015

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFNS) -- As part of an initiative to provide more effective spiritual care to members of the base’s flying community, 55th Wing chaplains are now becoming aerial qualified to go where aircrews go.

"If we can get to where our people work, we can connect them with the support they need," said Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Farar.

By "where our people work," Farar is talking about flying alongside Offutt's aircrew members during operational missions.

"You can't reach resources from 30,000 feet," Farar said. "When we are on site, we can (provide services) faster, better and more accurately."

Farar said it’s difficult for his staff to reach members of Offutt's flying community, who typically work much longer days than those with traditional jobs. An average mission can start before the sun comes up and last well into the evening.

"It's often going to be toward 6 p.m. by the time they wrap things up," Farar said. "They're not going to go see the chaplain. And the more time that lapses between the perceived need for help and the availability of help, the less likely they will be able to seek out help."

Farar, who recently became aerial qualified, flew on his first mission Oct. 5 and said he has already seen the benefits.

"I struck up a relatively deep conversation with somebody," Farar said. "It would not have happened if I was not there on the spot. Because I was there in the moment, where he had time, we ended up having the conversation he wanted to have."

Chaplain (Col.) Bruce Glover, a 25th Air Force chaplain, was present for Farar's flight and commended Farar and 55th Wing leadership for supporting the initiative that provides squadron-focused warrior care.

"A chaplain being on flying orders and spending time with aircrew is precisely the kind of unit engagement that we as a chaplain corps need to be doing," Glover said. "To care for Airmen, we need to be in the air."

Farar's flight is believed to be the first operational flight ever for a 55th Wing chaplain, according to Offutt's Host Aviation Resource Management office. Functional managers at Air Combat Command also believe it’s a first for the command.

Farar said all five of Offutt's chaplains should be fully trained and qualified by the end of the year. He estimates that each chaplain will fly on at least six missions per year, totaling more than 30 missions between them.

Farar said being close to the flying community is important in building trust between chaplains and Airmen. It became even more evident to him during his deployment to the Middle East earlier this year, where he was able to fly with aircrews from the 55th Wing.

"Once we were there, around them, and I understood their world, and their language and what they were going through -- instantly, after that flight, I got an influx from that particular airframe," Farar said. "We engaged them with some teamwork things, some spiritual resiliency issues, suicide prevention... I had so many requests, I couldn't accommodate them all."

The initiative, started by the 55th Wing chaplain in April 2014, became a reality when Farar stepped onto an RC-135 Rivet Joint as Offutt's first aerial-qualified chaplain.

"The (38th Reconnaissance Squadron) is excited at the opportunity to fly with Chaplain Farar and the rest of Team Offutt's chaplains," said Lt. Col. Matthew Waszak, the squadron’s commander. "The face-to-face contact allows chaplains to roll up their sleeves aboard the jets with aircrew, and offers a mission view through the unique aspects of the aircrew lens."