Military News

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Face of Defense: Airman Balances Work, Off-Duty Activities



By Air Force Airman 1st Class James L. Miller, 28th Bomb Wing DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D., November 4, 2015 — The echoes of a dribbling basketball bounce around the walls of the gym, then stop. He puts up the shot and cashes in the three.

Basketball is one of the many activities that Air Force Airman 1st Class Matt Hinson, a financial customer service technician with the 28th Comptroller Squadron, participates in as a way to relax after work.

"My job consists of a range of tasks, from helping someone fix issues with their paycheck and answering questions about their leave and earnings statement, to assisting with travel questions and everything in between," Hinson said.

Occasionally, “everything in between” involves staying late to complete various tasks.

"We deal with a lot of different things," said Air Force Airman 1st Class Fabian Miranda-Corpuz, 28th CPTS budget analyst. "But our work load increases during 'Closeout', which is the closing of the fiscal year."

Closeout season is when all the money from the annual budget needs to be spent before it is no longer available.

During the beginning of September, all expenditures must be approved by the base commander. It takes quick communication and extra man hours to ensure all funds are used before the end of the fiscal year without overspending.

"Sometimes we leave work on time and sometimes we stay two or three hours after closing," Miranda-Corpuz said. "We work until the job gets done."

Focused on Customer Service

Whether Hinson is helping customers while on cashier duty, assisting with in-processing new airmen to the base, explaining bonuses or staying late to complete a task, he isn't satisfied unless the customer leaves happy.

"I'm part of a chain, where if I don't do my job right, it affects multiple people down the line -- including the customer -- and that is more trouble and work for everyone," Hinson said. "The best part of my job is the feeling I get knowing I helped someone out and seeing how appreciative they are when they leave."

When he is not behind the counter helping customers, he is out either playing sports or exploring the Black Hills area.

"Basketball is my favorite sport," Hinson said. "But I'll play anything and everything if it means getting out and having fun."

Sports have always been a way for airmen to forget about work and relieve their stress by being physically active.

"At times my job can be mentally exhausting," Hinson said. "So being able to be physically active and release that stress really helps to clear my mind and regroup for the next day."

Hinson added that being stationed at Ellsworth has given him opportunities to explore a region he wouldn't have explored otherwise.

"There are so many outdoor activities to do here," Hinson said. "I especially like hiking -- not only is it a great way to see all the beauty that South Dakota has to offer, but its free, making it a great way to spend time with friends."

Overall, Hinson explained that he enjoys his job and is thankful that even though sometimes it can be stressful, he is able to unwind and regroup with sports, outdoor activities and friends.
"I'm glad the Air Force has given me so many opportunities," Hinson said. "I do my job well and they take care of me -- It is like being on a team; you take care of one other."

50 SW chapel presents Amazing gRace

by 2nd Lt. Darren Domingo
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


11/4/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -  -- Team 5-0 personnel navigated obstacle courses, face-painted opinicus' and shot darts during the first-ever Amazing gRace scavenger hunt here Oct. 30.

Four-person teams congregated in the Building 210 Atrium before starting the 50th Space Wing Chapel's Amazing gRace, which was a test of physical resilience, knowledge of world religion and random virtue-based trivia.

"Teams ran all over base to different stations and were given clues based around faith and virtues," explained Chaplain (Capt.) Portmann Werner, 50th Space Wing chaplain. "Once they arrived at each hidden station, they first had to accomplish tasks such as shooting cups off teammates' heads with Nerf darts, rolling a tire around a track and Pictionary face-painting. They then had to answer five questions based on the themed virtue of the station."

After answering all five questions correctly at a station, the team would be awarded a sticker which, combined with the remaining stations' stickers, would lead to one final answer that needed to be presented at the finish line to complete the race.

"The purpose of the race was morale, but it was also spiritual, we were talking about virtues," Werner said. "A lot of the quotes used were for character building, so that even when reciting them, teams were learning these quotes. Besides having fun, there was team building."

The first team to cross the finish line was composed of Senior Master Sgt. Tiffany Lewandowski, 50th Operations Group first sergeant, Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Miller, 50th Mission Support Group first sergeant, Master Sgt. Zachary Parish, 50th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, and Master Sgt. Michael Kline, 50th Space Wing missions systems section chief.

Airman 1st Class Adrian Ordonez, 50th Comptroller squadron financial support technician, explained the race was fun and challenging at the same time.

"It was amazing, our first station was inside Building 210, and then we went to the Airman and Family Readiness Center, and then we got lost," Ordonez laughed. "My favorite part of the race was shooting toy guns. I learned it's not about the problem, but more so the attitude you have toward solving the problem."

Werner wanted to highlight his volunteers who made the event successful.
"We could not have done this without all of the volunteers. We had tons of volunteers show up, especially last minute," said Werner.

Werner also highlighted one volunteer, Capt. Collin Mcsorely, 2nd Space Operations Squadron.

"He just stood out in the middle of the cold by himself to divert teams to where they're supposed to go, and apparently he was just doing pushups and sit-ups to stay warm," shared Werner. "A lot of the teams were cold and a lot of the volunteers went through a lot. I can't thank them enough."

Werner wanted to encourage Team 5-0 to be sure to sign up for future chapel events such as the Amazing gRace.

"Every team said that they had an absolute blast," said Werner. "Participants told us this was way more fun and elaborate than they expected. If we do it again, you can expect the same, so don't miss out."

For more information on upcoming chapel events, or chapel services in general, contact 567-3705.

Defense Department to Host Virtual Education Fair



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2015 — Registration is now open for the Defense Department's first virtual education fair, scheduled for Nov. 19.

The fair is for service members and spouses. It provides the opportunity to chat online with representatives from several schools about degree and certificate programs, financial aid, tuition and fee costs, and Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

To register for the Department of Defense’s Voluntary Education Virtual Education Fair, go to http://www.dodeducationfair.com. The fair runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Information on participating schools will remain accessible online after the event as well.

During and after the event, participants will have access to prerecorded sessions that will cover high-growth career fields and degrees, tools and resources for choosing a school, and bridging education and credentialing.

"We're excited to offer this opportunity," said Dawn Bilodeau, chief of the Defense Department's voluntary education program. "This fair will help service members and their spouses make informed choices about their postsecondary education goals. They can get the important information they need from schools, without the pressure."

Participating schools have a signed agreement with the Defense Department to provide a quality education to service members and military spouses.

"It’s never too early to start planning for your future," Bilodeau said. "Going back to school now for a postsecondary degree or certificate will certainly help to ensure your future success."

Well-educated, well-trained service members are critical to a changing postwar military force, she added. Today’s military demands educated service members with expert technical and trade skills. As the military re-aligns and becomes lighter, faster and more technical, those with technical skills and higher education will have better job security when they transition from the military.

"The Department of Defense is committed to making higher education accessible for service members," Bilodeau said.

Carter Reiterates Call for Peaceful Resolution in South China Sea



By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated today the U.S. call for a peaceful resolution to the tensions in the South China Sea.

Carter spoke during a media availability at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers’ Meeting -- Plus in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur.

"We urge all claimants to permanently halt land reclamation, stop the construction of new facilities and cease further militarization of disputed maritime features," he said.

Carter said he told the defense ministers the United States "does not take sides in these maritime disputes, but we do take the side of peaceful resolution under international law."

Several Asia-Pacific countries, including China, are involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Freedom of Navigation Not New Concept

The defense secretary announced he will visit the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, as it conducts routine operations while transiting the South China Sea.

The aircraft carrier, Carter said, is a symbol of the United States' commitment to the rebalance and the importance of the Asia-Pacific region.

The United States, he said, will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits.

"Freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce are not new concepts. They're not theoretical or aspirational goals," Carter said. "In this part of the world, these were rules that worked for decades to promote peace and prosperity."

He noted the tensions in the South China Sea were part of the discussions during meetings with his counterparts at the ASEAN meeting.

"I understand this is a difficult issue for many countries, but I'm confident that this forum will continue to play a useful role in resolving these tensions through dialogue and cooperation," the defense secretary said.

Carter said he has accepted an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jingping to visit that nation, and looks forward to making the trip in the spring.

Rebalance to Pacific

This trip is Carter’s third to the Asia-Pacific region as defense secretary, he noted, and President Barack Obama will be traveling to that part of the world in the coming weeks.

"This is a region vital to America's future, which is why our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific remains top priority," Carter said.

The defense secretary called for an inclusive regional architecture that is strong, capable and effective enough to ensure all nations continue to rise and prosper.

To realize that, Carter said, there needs to be a security architecture that is inclusive and open.

"It should respect rights, not might. It should reward cooperation, not coercion. It should be based on international law and globally accepted norms," he said. "In that future, ASEAN will continue to play a central role."