Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Staying safe doesn’t have to be a drag during Halloween

by Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs

10/20/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The moon is full, candy bags are empty, and children are dressed as their favorite fictional characters - eager to celebrate the centuries-old tradition of Halloween.

Between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. Halloween night, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Pumpkin Patrol will be out in the housing communities ensuring residents, parents and children are safe.

"Our mission for Pumpkin Patrol is to facilitate safe pedestrian travel, provide traffic assistance and emergency response, and foster community relations to ensure every one has a safe and fun Halloween night in the housing communities," Pella said. "If anyone sees any suspicious activity or has an emergency during Halloween or at anytime, they should find one of us during the patrol or contact the Base Defense Operations Center at 552-8550 or 552-3421."

During Halloween, children age 11 and under must be accompanied by another person at least 12 years of age or older, or by an adult, said Air Force Staff Sgt. Carl Pella, 673d Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of corrections. Trick-or-treaters should use flashlights, wear proper reflective equipment and warm clothing, he said.

"Even with proper reflective gear, running from house to house, walking diagonally across the road or out from between parked vehicles is very dangerous, and parents and children should be aware of their surroundings," said Mike Lundvall, 673d Ground Safety Office administrator.

Pella added drivers should be extremely cautious of children in housing areas and keep their speed limited to 15 miles per hour.

Before leaving home, individuals should make a cautious decision with their costume of choice for the night.

"Costumes should allow the person wearing them to see properly and should not drag on the ground to prevent trips or falls," Lundvall said.

Not only are costumes a part of being safe while trick-or-treating, but safely using proper crosswalks while walking between streets can make the nighttime hunt for candy safer.

During trick-or-treating hours, JBER residents should leave their porch lights on to let children know where to get their candy.

If parents have a concern with the candy their children receive, the Air Mobility Command Passenger Terminal will X-ray candy on Halloween night. For any questions or concerns about the PAX terminal X-raying candy, contact them at 552-3782.

Lundvall said people should walk in groups and be beware of animals, such as resident animals or moose searching for pumpkins to snack on. He also recommends residents keep an eye on candles burning in their pumpkins, as they are a hazard and can possibly start a fire.

"We recommend residents use artificial pumpkins; that way it is less of a hazard to the children and parents having their fun on Halloween night," said Mark Sledge, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron Conservation Law Enforcement officer on JBER.

Within two weeks after Halloween, all JBER residents must take down holiday decorations, and remove all pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns immediately after the hours of trick-or-treating.

Leftover decorations could become a free meal for animals, which is not safe for residents or wildlife.

There can be a hefty fine for the individual accused of negligently feeding wildlife in Alaska, Sledge said.

According to Alaska State Law 92.230, a person may not negligently feed moose, bear, other wildlife, or leave human food, animal food or garbage in a manner that attracts animals.

For further information about trick-or-treating safety on JBER, contact the safety office at 552-6850, the Wildlife Conservation office at 552-8609, Aurora Housing at (907) 753-1023 or (907) 375-5515, or the 673d SFS at 552-5345 or 552-2132.

C-130 crash victims remembered by colleagues, leaders

By Mark Wyatt, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs / Published October 19, 2015

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- More than 1,000 people attended a memorial service here Oct. 16 to honor two Hanscom Airmen killed earlier this month when the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft they were on crashed shortly after takeoff from Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Senior Airman Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, of McDonough, Georgia, and Senior Airman Nathan C. Sartain, 29, of Pensacola, Florida, were members of the 66th Security Forces Squadron.

During the service, colleagues took time to remember them personally.

"If you were blessed to be his friend, then you had an incredible person in your life, one who leaves us with a legacy we will never forget," said Staff Sgt. Lee Shortell during his remarks on Sartain.

Shortell, who was Sartain's supervisor, added that there were very few people he knew "whose focus on the mission and pride in their work came anywhere close to Sartain's."

Staff Sgt. Derek Smiling, who spoke about Ruiz on behalf of Tech. Sgt. Matthew Marquart, said she was an "amazing troop."

"Kcey Ruiz, you were not only my troop, my sister-in-arms, but you were my friend and you are my hero," Smiling read. "I can proudly say, ‘Kcey, you changed me.’ She made me a better person, changed the way that I am as an NCO, as a supervisor, and as a human being."

Also recalling the two Airmen was the base commander.

"These two defenders embodied the character, honor, dedication and sacrifice of true heroes," said Col. Michael A. Vogel, installation commander. "I could not be more proud and humbled to stand here today as Nate's and Kcey's base commander."

Ruiz and Sartain were deployed with the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan as Fly Away Security Team members as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

At their home station here, both were installation entry controllers and also armorers.

"On behalf of all the men and women of the 66th Security Forces Squadron, I can tell you how proud we all are of Kcey and Nathan's exemplary service, friendship and defender kinship," said Maj. Joseph Bincarousky, the 66th SFS commander, to the families of the fallen Airmen. "They will always be a part of this family, and your families will always have a place in our hearts."

Both Airmen were posthumously awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal by their unit commander.

Vogel vowed to continue to honor the Airmen's memory by completing the mission.

"We will not falter; we will succeed," he said. "And we will always remember our two fallen heroes and those who loved them."

Combat weather forecasters help keep pilots out of harm’s way

By Staff Sgt. Tyler Alexander, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs / Published October 19, 2015

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- It’s a tough job trying to predict Mother Nature and when it comes to weather, everyone’s a critic. Thinking the day holds nothing but sun and your picnic gets rained out can be aggravating. Now try to tell a pilot he can’t fly because the weather patterns shifted. This dilemma is something deployed weather forecasters face every day.

“When we’re talking visibility, you kind of have to be as accurate as you possibly can,” said Senior Airman David Baily, a 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster. “They have limitations on whether they can safely get into an airfield or not. We really try to stay on top of it and kick out the weather observations to keep aircrew updated.”

Deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, members of the 386th EOSS weather team do what they can to keep the aircraft flying. Every hour they step outside to collect weather data through observation. Their equipment collects air speed, pressure and gives them the chance to visually inspect the atmosphere surrounding the flightline. In a sparse region, like Southwest Asia, observation data is gold to a forecaster. With the limited points of terrain around, these forecasters also rely on host nation partnerships to help gather as much information as possible.

The more data they receive, the more accurate their forecasts are. The more accurate their forecasts are the greater chance a flying mission receives the green light. It’s a relationship pilots come to trust and rely on.

“In the Air Force, having an accurate forecast can determine the success or failure of a mission,” said Capt. Benjamin De La Cruz, the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing flight safety officer in charge. “In the C-130 (Hercules) community, it not only plays a major part in the beginning stages in mission planning, but also during airdrops, tactical missions and max effort landings. It is also the leading cause of many aviation mishaps or is a contributing factor.”

Changing weather isn’t the only challenge these Airmen face. Forecasters trust in experience, but deployments usually last only six months. At their home station they have years to learn the ins and outs of a region. When the winds change, forecasters can look back over their time and realize these changing winds signal a storm and plan accordingly. To mitigate this in a deployed environment, forecasters learn to trust their observations and higher headquarters.

“The biggest thing in weather is experience,” said Staff Sgt. Gregory Everson, a 386th EOSS weather forecaster. “We are overseen by 28th Operational Weather Squadron at Shaw (Air Force Base, South Carolina), and they rely on us and we rely on them. They have the subject matter experts and the continuity and we can reach back if we need to.”

Despite the challenges faced, these forecasters feel what they are providing to the base, and the pilots, are helping the Air Force play a vital role in Operation Inherent Resolve.

“Depending on what the weather is, it could change an entire base’s day. There’s a lot of pressure but the people we work with trust us to do our job and do it correctly,” Bailey said.

Continuously training with Coalition partners key to success

by Capt. Gerald Underwood

10/19/2015 - LOS LLANOS AIR BASE, Spain -- The commander of 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force at USAFE-AFAFRICA visited the participants of the Tactical Leadership Programme's 15-3 Flying Course on Sept. 24, in Albacete, Spain.

During his visit, Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray stressed the importance of continuously training as a coalition in order to meet future security challenges. Nearly 80 pilots, crew, and staff from 12 nations gathered to hear Ray speak, and he thanked them for their commitment to building partnership capacity.

"Working well together is an integral part of our shared security," Ray said. "In NATO, we have the benefit of strong national friendships, and programs like TLP build on those bonds to improve Composite Air Operations."

The purpose of the TLP program is to increase the effectiveness of Allied Air Forces by training side-by-side, and is one of the many ways the Air Force works with its NATO allies to face security challenges as a unified force.

Ray also discussed the multi-faceted nature of operations in Africa. "What we do in Africa has to be flexible. It's not one issue but a series of challenges that require a different approach to each one," Ray stressed. "Our French allies have been doing some great work along with several other countries, and we need to continue those efforts and be able to adapt to changing situations."

Ray was updated on operations, academics, and the future of the program by Col. Antonio Bernal Fuentes, TSP commandant, Col. Cloyce Adams, Warrior Preparation commander, and Lt. Col. Ethan Myers, Detachment 1 commander.

Earlier in his visit, Lt. Gen. Ray coined TSgt LaBrake, SSgt Rivera, and SSgt Clark for their contributions to their units.

Dirt Boys set foundation for OIR recovery mission in Turkey

by Airman 1st Class Cory W. Bush
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

10/13/2015 - DIYARBAKIR AIR BASE, Turkey  -- Eight 'Dirt Boys' from the 435th Construction Training Squadron and 786th Civil Engineer Squadron deployed to Diyarbakir Air Base, Turkey, Aug. 12, 2015, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

The team's sole mission for deploying to the Turkish installation is to build a bare base to support Airmen and assets that will conduct personnel recovery operations in Syria and Iraq. Over the past 36 days, the Airmen have dumped, graded, leveled and rolled more than 78,000 tons of rocks and gravel.

"Everything starts and ends with the foundation," said Staff Sgt. Jack DeMato, 435th CTS pavements and construction equipment operator. "You have to have a solid foundation to build a base. We started right away so that the other Airmen could build the facilities that the follow-on forces will being using throughout their deployments."

For DeMato, the type of work he is doing in Diyarbakir is what he practices and teaches on a daily base at his home station.

"The majority of the dirt boys deployed here are from the training flight where we actually teach bare base construction planning and layout to other Airmen," DeMato said. "What we're doing here today is practicing what we preach."

DeMato also mentioned that the project is special to him.

"I have a great sense of pride in the work I am doing here," Demato said. "This is the largest sized project I have ever been a part of. To be able to look back and see where it all began as a grassy field with a few trees to where it is now, really makes this mission special to me."

According to Demato, the biggest challenge the team has faced throughout their deployment to Diyarbakir is unseen objects below the surface.

"This area was filled with massive boulders, which made it a tad bit more difficult to flatten everything out. But, it wasn't a showstopper," DeMato said. "Whether we have to do it by hand or heavy machinery, dirt boys are going to get it done one way or another."

Since arriving, the dirt boys have worked approximately12 to 15 hour days to build up and ensure mission readiness of the deployment site. According to DeMato, it's the Airmen he works with every day and 'not stopping till the job is done' mentality that gets him through the long hour days.

"I came here with some really hard working guys," Demato said. "We haven't stopped working since we got here and they still have a smile on their face. There is the big goal of going home in the end, which is a driving factor to keep going, but for me it's the 'cradle to the grave', finished product I want to see to be able to hand over to the next Airmen deployed here."

NATO partners break the ice, builds partnerships

by Andrea Jenkins
23rd Wing Public Affairs

10/13/2015 - AMARI AIR BASE, Estonia  -- Nearly 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron gathered with Estonian and German air force members during an icebreaker event at Amari Air Base, Estonia, Oct. 1, 2015.

Hosted by Estonian air force leadership, the icebreaker event was designed to bring the deployed Airmen together with the NATO allies they will spend the next several months working alongside to build relationships and further develop interoperability.

"The event is a great way to start to the deployment," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Gully, 74th EFS first sergeant. "I think it will help not only our Airmen, but our NATO partners, get to know each other. This event let us meet the allies whom we'll be working alongside during this deployment, start building more effective relationships and camaraderie and increase interoperability."

U.S. Air Force and Estonian air force leadership agree the benefits of events like these are endless and build relationships.

"The importance of an event like this is for people to get to know each other," said Chief Master Sgt. Janis Jallai, Estonian air force command chief. "Estonians are shy people but events like these allow us to loosen up and get talking more."

The event allowed the NATO allies a chance to take a break from work and interact with each other in an informal setting.

"Usually we are sitting in one corner sitting quietly around ourselves and this icebreaker is an opportunity to interact with you guys and get to know your culture better than what we are used to," said Estonian air force Maj. Hardi Lammergas, air surveillance wing commander. "It's a great opportunity that (allows us) to get to know each other as allies."

"We are such close allies," added Lammergas. "It is a great opportunity for (the U.S. Airmen) to get to come over here, get to know the Estonian people and our culture. It's one thing to study things on paper and another thing to come and meet face-to-face with each other, see the landscape and work closely together."

Ogden ALC repairs firefighting C-130 after emergency landing

by Bill Orndorff
Ogden Air Logistics Complex

10/16/2015 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The 572nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, like other squadrons within the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, sometimes does "drop-in" work on C-130 Hercules aircraft, adding them into its repair schedule where possible.

On Oct. 7, 2015, the unit did a final flight check on a C-130 that literally dropped in a year before -- that is, made an emergency landing on the Hill Air Force Base runway with its nose gear stuck in the wheel well -- and remained here for repairs.

It all started on Aug. 17, 2014, when the crew of aircraft 92-1533, a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System C-130, belonging to the Wyoming Air National Guard, discovered its nose landing gear wouldn't extend.

"It wasn't scheduled to land at Hill," said Jack Clay, 572nd aircraft lead mechanic, one of the 30-plus people who worked on the plane. "They were working on a firefighting assignment when the emergency occurred. I'm amazed at how the pilot handled the airplane."

With fire department and emergency crews standing by, the aircraft landed in a bed of fire-retardant foam around 1 p.m. No one was injured and the runway wasn't damaged.

"The pilot made a smooth landing," recalled William Ferrell, a C-130 crew chief and a member of the Crash Damage, Disabled and Recovery Team. "The only damage was to the underside of the aircraft."

Ferrell and eight others used a crane to lift the front of the aircraft, tow it to a maintenance area and secure it with an emergency nose landing gear extension, a process that took a little more than four hours, which minimized the time the runway was closed.

Following a five-month investigation into the cause, it was determined that a broken support rod for the landing gear uplock actuator caused the failure. This damage eventually led to a fleet-wide inspection and resulted in identifying several other defective rods in the C-130 fleet.

Repairs included replacing the landing gear, floorboards and rails, and the sheet metal crews had to rebuild several parts of the 23-year-old airplane including its exterior skin. The entire forward belly section of the aircraft had to be rebuilt, Clay said.

"The heat generated by the landing melted the wiring harnesses in the belly of the aircraft, so our electricians had to completely rebuild and replace them," Clay added. "It was a big team effort within the 572nd."

A 35-member crew of sheet metal mechanics, general aircraft mechanics, electricians, planners, structural engineers, crash damage recovery experts, supply chain management, material expeditors, and representatives from Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and Lockheed Martin Corp. helped get the aircraft flying again.

"We followed the AFSC Leadership Model to rebuild and successfully return the aircraft to the customer," said David Mann, 572 AMXS squadron director. "We all shared a common goal of getting the aircraft back in the fight as soon as possible. Our highly skilled artisans focused on removing constraints from the processes of repairing a crash damaged aircraft by maximizing all the resources available to them throughout Team Hill."

The maintenance team focused on speed, quality, safety and cost effectiveness.

"Through the efforts of the logisticians and maintainers the aircraft was completed in a timely manner, under budget and was built utilizing the highest quality standards," Mann said. "In fact, all systems checked 'good' on the very first functional check flight. It truly was a remarkable performance by the entire team!"

The C-130 was returned to its unit, the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming ANG, on Oct. 13. The MAFFS 3 air tanker is used for water and fire retardant bombing of fires throughout the United States, according to a 153rd fact sheet.

U.S. and ROK Submarine Forces Bolster Alliance

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian G. Reynolds, Commander Submarine Group 7 Deputy Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Group (COMSUBGRU) 7 conducted bilateral talks with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Oct. 12-13 at Jinhae, Korea.

The 42nd Submarine Warfare Committee Meeting (SWCM) brought together representatives from the U.S. and ROK navies.

Rear Adm. William R. Merz, commander, Submarine Group 7, met with Rear Adm. Youn Jeong Sang, commander, Submarine Force (CSF) (ROKN) to discuss planning combined exercises, training and continued development of integrated anti-submarine warfare plans.

"This provided an excellent opportunity to bolster the alliance between the U.S. submarine force and our Korean counterparts," said Merz. "I am confident that staff talks like these reinforce our partnership in ensuring peace and stability in the region."

At the conclusion of the conference, a formal agreement was signed between COMSUBGRU 7 and CSF, reaffirming the longstanding relationship and pledging continuing support between the two submarine forces.

Established in 1994 during the birth of the ROKN submarine fleet, the conference has evolved into a discussion between U.S. and ROKN submarine forces focused on submarine tactics, force integration and future submarine development.