Military News

Monday, November 02, 2015

D-M awarded ACC-level CINC award

by Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


10/30/2015 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- Air Combat Command announced Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., as the 2016 ACC Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence award recipient.

Established in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, the CINC Installation Excellence award recognizes the outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who maintain and operate U.S. installations.

"Congratulations to all of you," said U.S. Air Force Col. James Meger, 355th Fighter Wing commander. "Thanks for providing a combat ready force, developing our Airmen the next generation of leaders, taking care of our families and for optimizing the resources we are given to accomplish the mission."

The commander stressed that D-M receiving the award wouldn't be possible without the outstanding support of the Tucson community.

"A special thanks as well to our community partners who are amazing wingmen and provided unrivaled support to the base," he said.

D-M is now competing at the Headquarters AF level with other Major Command submissions. The winner of the Headquarters AF level is awarded a crystal Installation Excellence trophy along with an Installation Excellence flag and a complimentary letter from the president.

War Dog Memorial visits SJ kennels

by Airman Shawna L. Keyes
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


11/2/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- The War Dog Memorial statue visited the 4th Security Forces Squadron military working dog kennels during its tour of military installations in North Carolina, Oct. 27.

The statue, which is a tribute to past, present and future MWDs, will be dedicated Nov. 11 at the Veterans Memorial Park in Columbia, South Carolina.

Staff Sgt. John Makripodis, 4th SFS kennel master, heard about the statue traveling around North Carolina and received a call from one of the statue's escorts, Dennis Lewis, about its arrival to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

"I got a call from Dennis saying, 'hey, I got a monument with a Vietnam handler and a dog, and I'm here in Goldsboro and I'm going to bring it to the base tomorrow,' and I said 'I'll see you at the gate and write you a pass,'" Makripodis said. "I notified leadership and said we got to get this thing known and that it's here.

The statue was modeled after a Vietnam War handler and his dog and honors the more than 4,000 dogs that gave their lives in action or were left behind.

"To me, that statue resembles a tribute to all the lost dogs that were left there [in Vietnam] and even the ones that returned," Makripodis said. "I can probably speak on behalf of every handler in this kennel that it's a glimpse into the outlook of the career field of military working dog handlers and the dogs, because the amount of work the dogs do is for so little, it's beyond me."

Makripodis added that on a single tour overseas, a dog team on average saves anywhere from 60 to 120 personnel, just from roadway sweeps, finding bombs and discouraging the terrorist from bombing installations and bases.    

"Knowing that one dog saved those lives in a six-month span can never be replicated," Makripodis said. "No machine can do such a thing, no human can do it, just a dog, and I wouldn't ever think of any other career field that's better than this."

The 4th SFS leadership and handlers alike came out to admire the statue during its 24-hour stay at the kennels and learn about its back story.

Johnny Mayo, whose likeness is used on the statue, along with his former scout dog, Tiger, both served with the Army's 39th Scout Platoon during the Vietnam War.

"Being K9, there are a lot of historical moments you get with your dog, so when you have a moment like this, when a team of people make a statue like this, it's very emotional," said Staff Sgt. Kristina Dennison, 4th SFS MWD handler. "All handlers are thinking in the back of their minds 'Wow, this is so awesome,' and to be able to experience it with your dog is even cooler. To have this memorial really hits home for us and it needs to be remembered."

Global Broadcast Service: the military's 'direct TV', now available in a rucksack

by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


11/2/2015 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- U.S. service members will soon be able to receive secure data and cable-quality video in near real-time, even in the most remote parts of the world, using smaller, lighter-weight equipment.

On Sept. 28, 2015, officials here awarded a contract to AQYR Technologies, a small business located in Hollis, New Hampshire, for the production of rucksack-portable receive suites, also known as RPRS. The suites are part of the Global Broadcast Service, also known as GBS, a joint program based out of Hanscom that delivers a full spectrum of communications to U.S. warfighters.

The 150-unit RPRS order is valued at just under $14 million and is part of a larger, five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity production contract that has a ceiling of $100 million.

Utilized by all branches of the military and multiple government agencies, GBS operates as a one-way distributor of timely video products as well as unclassified and classified data.

GBS transfers information via Ka band frequencies through Wideband Global SATCOM systems to geographically separated and isolated parties. Information sources vary, but some examples include near-real time feeds from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms; weather reports; mission data libraries and various cable news channels.

"Think of it like a militarized 'direct TV' or direct personal computer," said Kathleen Tubridy, GBS deputy program manager. "It's one-way video or data, with an antenna and digital boxes, including crypto capabilities, which now comes in a more compact size and is able to fit into a rucksack."

The 22-pound rucksack unit is the latest technology added to the line of portable receive suites that includes a larger suitcase model and is geared for special operation forces. It's powered by either an AC source or battery and is comprised of a mini-modem, laptop, crypto component and antenna.

During a recent visit to Robins AFB, Georgia, program officials tested the RPRS with combat communication operators who serve as battlefield first responders.

"We received good feedback on the new rucksack units," said Capt. Dylan Smith, GBS systems engineer. "This system is specifically designed not only to be lighter in weight and more compact, but also user-friendly and easy to set up as well."

While the rucksack model is new, GBS has been in existence for more than 20 years and is highly valued among warfighters from all military branches.

Combat forces deem GBS an integral ISR tool and critical asset, since it has the capability to relay near real-time, full-motion unmanned aerial vehicle video across the theater. Navy operators on the U.S.S. Teddy Roosevelt, for example, have labeled the service as their "primary imagery delivery workhorse." What's more, President Obama used GBS to help deliver his September 11 troop address because the service is able to make contact with military members who would normally be out of reach.

While all Services benefit from the use of GBS, the recent contract award holds special meaning to Hanscom in particular -- it is the base's largest Small Business Innovation Research contract to date.

For some time now, the Air Force has placed a heavy emphasis on promoting small business participation, which ultimately results in greater competition and a better quality of products for the Service. According to GBS program officials, contracts such as these allow small companies to grow into a market they would not normally have access to and become competitive with larger Department of Defense contractors.

Officials anticipate the first delivery of rucksack units the second quarter of 2016 and expect to field 10-15 units per month thereafter.

"GBS provides data and video to disadvantaged warfighters, and the new RPRS will bring a whole new element of versatility," said Donna Durante, GBS program manager. "It extends communication to the edge."

A tail of two 'cities': Tanker joins ranks of 100th ARW heritage, becomes 'Square-D Away'

by Karen Abeyasekere
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


11/2/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Editor's note: This is the second in a two-part series on what it takes to reassign an aircraft.

Aircraft tail number 10267 became officially "Square-D Away" Oct. 21, 2015, when a KC-135 Stratotanker, formerly from McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, underwent the final stage of a transformation to become reassigned to RAF Mildenhall's fleet.

After facilitating necessary structural repairs on the jet during an isochronal inspection, which is similar to a major tune-up on a vehicle, the process of removing the old markings and applying the Square D tailflash then began.

From start to finish, the process of reassigning the tanker took 112 hours, with a minimum of three Airmen working on the tailflash throughout the first 40 hours, according to Tech. Sgt. Mark James, 100th Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Structural Maintenance NCO in charge.

Previously, the tail was removed as part of a fin-fold, to fix a cracked bracket discovered during the inspection, and it was decided that the easiest way to accomplish this was to temporarily remove the tail.

James explained that hangar and aircraft preparation takes six hours; sanding and masking, six hours; primer application, eight hours, including six hours curing time; applying the top coat, 14 hours, including 12 hours curing time; masking and stencil placement, four hours, followed by a two-hour application of flat black - the square painted box on top of which the 'D' decal is placed, which together form the Square D. Finally, there's a full cure of a further 72 hours.

Once the hangar is prepared for aircraft painting, the markings from the previous base must be removed by mechanical means, such as sanding, said Tech. Sgt. Jake Bond, 100th MXS Corrosion Control NCO in charge.

"This is the most laborious part of the process and usually where we run into the problem of finding another base's markings under the previous base's markings," commented Bond. "Next, we apply an epoxy primer, followed by a polyurethane gray topcoat over the areas that were sanded."

He added that stencils are then applied, which will be painted on along with the decals.

"The final step is applying the 'Square D' on either side of the vertical fin. It takes about nine to 10 people across three different shifts, plus a weekend crew, to complete the process," Bond said.

The Square D - an infamous part of 100th Air Refueling Wing's heritage with the 100th Bombardment Group - is a decal made by the corrosion control shop.

"We have a machine in corrosion that cuts out the decals on vinyl stickers. It takes about 30 minutes per side once it's taped off," explained James, describing how they follow technical order guidance to ensure it's placed in the exact spot on the tail, using rulers to measure exactly how far from the top of the tail and front to back.

Bond added that the corrosion control shop has two machines which aid in producing decals. One is specifically for producing large-scale graphic decals such as the stars and stripes and RAF Mildenhall's station patch located at the tip of the vertical fin.

"This machine is also used for production of the 100th ARW heritage patch, applied to the nose of the aircraft," he said. "Our other machine is a vinyl plotter, used to cut lettering and stencils - such as the white letter 'D' applied to the fin. Both machines are controlled from a single desktop computer with graphic design software, and the placement of all markings is governed by specific dimensions given in both technical orders and Air Force instructions."

Even when moving from base to base, aircraft keep the tail number assigned to them when rolled off the production line for their entire lifespan.

James explained that the purpose of swapping a jet between bases has to do with keeping it from possibly staying in a highly corrosive environment for the duration of its service life.

"Some bases are in more corrosive areas, so aircraft are swapped out to less corrosive bases to keep them from rusting," he said.

As with Airmen, aircraft are on a schedule and swapped out after a certain amount of time on station, which means while the 100th ARW received a "new" tanker, it replaced another which rotated out, so the number of aircraft in RAF Mildenhall's fleet remains the same.

Having the chance to be part of the process which marks a tanker as the 100th ARW's own, by application of the Square D to its tail, lengthens RAF Mildenhall's heritage, and instills a sense of pride in Airmen working on the aircraft.

"I remember reading about the 100th Bomb Group's missions during World War II as a teenager," recalled Bond. "I had no idea that one day I would be a part of that unit's lineage, so for me to be a direct part of applying the 100th ARW and heritage markings to each KC-135 that is newly assigned here is quite surreal.

"There's an immense amount of coordination that has to happen for each of these tailflash changes. It's a good feeling to be a part of that, to see the final product which will be seen by other pilots and people all over this part of the world," he added proudly. "Whenever I see a photo of an aircraft being refueled by a boom with '100th ARW' on the ruddevators, I think, 'Hey - I probably know who put those on there!"

Airmen focus on CAF during Wingman University

by Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


11/2/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Schriever looked more like a college campus as wing members attended a variety of classes during Wingman University Oct. 27 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

The class topics ranged from stress management, to Thrift Savings Plans to sleep enhancement, and each supported the whole-person concept and the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

"The event touched on all four pillars of CAF," said Tech. Sgt. Abifarin Scott, 50th Space Wing resiliency training assistant and Wingman University coordinator. "We had classes directly related to physical, spiritual and mental [pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness].  The social aspect was the area that I think the 'University' aspect touched on the most. It gave people the opportunity to interact with people they wouldn't normally interact with and go to places that they wouldn't normally go."

The unique style of Wingman University was unlike the typical Wingman Day format, and put the control in the hands of the participants.

"It was very beneficial to be able to choose what path you'd like to take in order to enhance yourself and make yourself better," said Senior Airman Kyle Lahtinen, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Each briefing lasted less than an hour and had a limited number of openings for participants, creating a small-group atmosphere.

"Smaller groups are always better - you get to reach out to your instructor on a one-on-one basis instead of being in a mass brief in the auditorium," said 1st Lt. Joshua Thogode, 50th Operations Group.  "It gave you a chance to realize what you're weak in and learn how to make it stronger in that smaller group setting."

While the event gave participants a choice in what briefings to attend, it also gave many helping agencies on base an avenue to reach out to other Schriever members and their families.
"I like the Wingman University idea," said Capt. Robert Seals, 21st Medical Squadron psychologist and Wingman University instructor. "It's great that people get to choose what they want and make a curriculum for themselves, and it's always nice to have command support for us to be able to host classes or do outreach."

Due to the positive feedback from the event, Team 5-0 can expect to see Wingman University again in the future.

"I think Wingman University was a huge success," said Tech. Sgt. Tawny Devine, 50 SW chaplain assistant and Wingman University coordinator. "We received great feedback about the different format. The feedback will definitely convince everyone that this format should be used in the future."

CPIP set to kick off for DCGS enterprise

by Staff
Air Combat Command Public Affairs


11/2/2015 - Joint Base Langley-Eustis -- The second iteration of Air Combat Command's Culture and Process Improvement Program, this time focusing on the Distributed Common Ground System enterprise, is set to begin at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Nov. 2.

The program will take the same grass-roots approach the recent MQ 1/9 CPIP, but is tailored towards the airmen and families who are part of the DCGS enterprise.

"It is incredibly important for us to look at the [DCGS] enterprise and the ways that we can fix it," said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command.  "We have to figure out strategically what we are going to do in the future, as this is a long term capability for our Air Force.  We have to figure out how to build this enterprise and take care of these young men and women."

Leadership began by sending surveys to approximately 9,000 officer, enlisted, and civilian airmen in late October to help identify concerns and stress factors in the DCGS community.  Starting Nov. 6, three DCGS CPIP teams will travel to 12 bases beyond Joint Base Langley-Eustis to engage with airmen and their families and build upon the information discovered from the survey results.  The base visits will span the total force components.

The ultimate goals of these functional surveys and interview teams are to identify challenges, even those that may be difficult to define and address, and recommend solutions to senior Air Force leaders by mid-December.

The intent is to provide an opportunity for airmen to know their concerns and ideas are being heard at the highest levels and for senior leaders to take action to make meaningful, near-term improvements.

The CPIP teams are also hoping to hear responses from family members.  When the teams visit each of the bases, both airmen and family members will have an opportunity to voice their feedback through questionnaires and interviews.

In addition to surveys and interviews, the DCGS CPIP team created a Facebook page www.facebook.com/DCGSCPIP, where airmen and their families can get updates throughout the program, and have 24-hour access to the CPIP team.

The bases scheduled for visits are as follows:

- Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia (Nov. 3-5)
- McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas (Nov. 7-8)
- Terre Haute, Indiana (Nov. 7-8)
- Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts (Nov. 7-8)
- Lackland Air Force Base, Texas (Nov. 10-11)
- Fort George G. Meade, Maryland (Nov. 10-12)
- Salt Lake City, Utah (Nov. 11-13)
- Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii (Nov. 13-16)
- Fort Gordon, Georgia (Nov. 14-17)
- Beale Air Force Base, California (Nov. 15-17)
- Hurlburt Field, Florida (Nov. 19-20)
- Ramstein Air Base, Germany (Nov. 19-21)
- Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea (Nov. 19-21)

After the CPIP teams leave each base, a staff contingent at Headquarters ACC will analyze the results and provide real-time feedback to the teams for improving the interview process.  Once all of the base visits are complete, the CPIP team will attempt to determine why certain indicators were reported in the data and interview process.

The findings and recommended solutions will be developed by DCGS unit members who are part of the DCGS CPIP team, representing their peers throughout the enterprise.  Based on what they learn through the course of their site visits and surveys, the members will then present their recommendations for improvement to senior Air Force leaders with equities in the DCGS enterprise.

"I'm looking forward to hearing the solutions and ideas that the team brings back," said Carlisle.  "I'm looking for innovative thought and new ways to look at things, as well as ideas that we can do to make it the enterprise that it needs to be for our Air Force in the future."

Dunford Salutes U.S., South Korean Troops on DMZ Duty



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

PANMUNJOM, South Korea, November 2, 2015 — For two days in Seoul, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. participated in meetings to strengthen the U.S.-South Korean defense alliance.

At the end of the meetings, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff traveled 35 miles north to the Demilitarized Zone here between North and South Korea to see why this effort is so important, and to thank the American and South Korean soldiers who man “the front line of freedom.”

Dunford came face-to-face with North Korean soldiers during his visit to the Joint Security Area. As his party arrived at the South Korean Freedom House, North Korean soldiers came from their headquarters. The chairman and his party went to the line separating North and South Korea and the North Korean soldiers approached, taking pictures of the American leader.

A Silent Encounter

Dunford listened as Army Col. James Minnich, the secretary of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, explained the workings of the Joint Security Area. All the while, North Korean soldiers stood about eight feet away, snapping more pictures.

Not a word was exchanged between the two sides. When Dunford went in to the JSA conference room, North Korean soldiers peered in through the windows.

Before moving to the Truce Village, Dunford visited with U.S. and South Korean soldiers who serve together as part of the Joint Security Area Battalion. The general thanked the soldiers for their service in the area.

Serving on the DMZ “is tough duty” that requires discipline and around-the-clock readiness, Dunford told the soldiers.

The expectation on the DMZ, he added, is that “if something happens you are going to respond in minutes -- not next week, not next month -- but in minutes. The expectation is that you’ll be ready.”

It is tense on the DMZ, where U.S. and South Korean soldiers always keep a close watch.

“They are game-on every day and that’s the expectation -- that they can fight tonight and they can fight tonight and win,” Dunford said.

Coming to the DMZ also allows the general the opportunity to walk the ground and visualize it. “It reminds you of the challenge we have up here and the expectation of just being ready in case something happens,” he said.

Dunford said seeing the combined unit of U.S. and South Korean soldiers reminded him of how close the partnership between the two countries is. “There is probably not another organization out there with the level of integration we have up here along the DMZ in the security battalion,” he said.

The combined unit, he said, is a microcosm of the U.S.-South Korean alliance.

Dunford visited the DMZ the day after Defense Secretary Ash Carter did the same. Their visits illustrate the importance the United States places on the alliance with South Korea and on Asia as a whole, the general said.

During his first month as chairman, Dunford said, he estimates that he spent 50 percent of his time on Asia-Pacific issues. “This is only my second visit outside the United States and it’s here in Korea, so I think that reflects the importance of the Pacific to the United States,” he said.

Face of Defense: Detroit Marine Honored at Lions Game



By Marine Corps Sgt. J. R. Heins, 4th Marine Corps District DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

DETROIT, November 2, 2015 — A local Marine was honored as a 'Detroit Lions' Hometown Hero' during a National Football League game, Oct. 20, at Ford Field here.

Marine Corps Sgt. Benjamin J. Annarino, a native of Livonia, Michigan, took to the field as more than 60,000 fans cheered during a break in play in the third quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears.

Annarino, now a canvassing recruiter in Richmond, Michigan, was nominated via the Detroit Lions website, where service members and first responders can be recommended through a public community nomination process. The organization then selects one individual to become a game's “Hometown Hero", according to Michigan Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Ronnie P. Cyrus, the Hometown Hero/Salute to Service coordinator for the Detroit Lions.

Saluting Service Members

“The Detroit Lions … are proud to salute men and women who serve our country,” said Cyrus, a native of Lapeer, Michigan. “We select an active duty, wounded or retired member of the military or local emergency services who has made the community proud through their courageous service and exemplary character.”

Annarino said he felt like a local celebrity after hearing he was selected.

“I am the type of person that does not like to be in the limelight or have too much attention on myself,” Annarino said. “When my family and I entered the stadium, we were treated very well. When we walked out onto the field I had no idea how the crowd was going to react, but it turned out to be an amazing and humbling experience.”

As Annarino and several of his family and friends walked down the tunnel leading to the sideline, he began to feel a nervous excitement come over him, he explained.

“When I was walking down the tunnel all I could hear was the crowd screaming,” he said.

Cyrus said Annarino and his family received one of the warmest and loudest cheers of the day.
 “To me it felt like I was out there for 20 minutes, but it was probably closer to 15 seconds,” Annarino said. “Honestly, it felt like their cheers were in honor of all those who serve, not just me. It put everything we in the military do, in perspective for me. It reminded me that our nation loves our military for all of our sacrifices, and it was something that I will never forget and I am extremely thankful for.”