Military News

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Experts Gather in Seoul for Second Annual MCM Symposium



By Commander, Naval Forces Korea, Public Affairs

Nov. 05, 2015 (NNS) -- Representatives from eight United Nations Command (UNC) Sending States (SS) joined mine warfare experts from the U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK), for a week-long mine countermeasures symposium, Nov. 2-6.

The second annual UNC SS Naval Component Commander MCM symposium, hosted by Commander, Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), was designed to exchange expertise and enhance coordination and training in critical mine countermeasures capabilities.

"This symposium was very important," said ROK Rear Adm. Park, Ki-khung, the commander of Flotilla Five. "It allowed us to share mine warfare information and tactics among our sending state partners who share our commitment to defend and support the Korean peninsula."

The symposium featured presentations by representatives from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Thailand as well as ROK and U.S., and provided a valuable opportunity to increase readiness in mine countermeasure proficiency at sea.

"Every nation represented here today shares a proud history of service and sacrifice in protecting and defending the Republic of Korea and ensuring a stable environment that has enabled South Korea to emerge as one of the economic and cultural leaders of the world," said Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, commander of CNFK.

The week-long staff talks also included cultural education visits to the ROK Second Fleet to see the ROK ship Cheonan and a visit to the De-Militarized Zone.

"The enduring threat of mines at sea is what brought all of us here this week," said Byrne. "It is my hope that that each nation represented here used this venue to share their expertise and offer their ideas about how we can enhance our mine warfare partnership among the United Nations Command Sending States."

CNFK is the United Nations Naval Component Commander during Armistice and the U.S. and UNC Sending States navies routinely plan, exchange information, train and operate together to strengthen coordination and improve combined capabilities.

Airmen build partnerships beyond flight line

by Senior Airman Damon Kasberg
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


11/5/2015 - POWDIZ AIR BASE, Poland -- For the past three weeks, Airmen and guardsmen have worked together to complete training requirements and build interoperability with the Polish air force during Aviation Detachment 16-1. With less than a week remaining of the flying training deployment, U.S. Airmen made time to reach out to the local community Oct. 30.

Members of the 86th Airlift Wing visited the a Polish special needs school at WrzeĊ›nia, where they received a warm welcome from the students.

"I was really excited to see the kids and their reactions," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chasady Harris, 86th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment apprentice. "Before we even walked into the school, I could see them staring out the windows. Children are our future and having these positive interactions with them helps set the tone for building these strong relationships.

"Being something that makes them happy, even just for that day, was the coolest part. It's something I'll never forget." she added.

With smiles on their faces, the students taught the Airmen sign language and Polish words, performed to 'Singin' in the Rain' and read a Polish poem together.

"The kids were very happy to interact with foreigners," said Agnieszka Mastowska, Special Needs School English teacher. "For our children and teachers, it's a great opportunity to expand our knowledge to speak English and meet nice people. We would love to continue this cooperation."

The children agreed.

"We're happy Americans visited us," said Maria Nowak, Special Needs School student. "We like learning English."

An hour away in the city of Kleczew another group of Airmen visited a military school. They had the opportunity to talk to students and enjoy a friendly game of volleyball against the school team.

"We got our butts kicked, but it was fun," said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jason Sikorski, 264th Combat Communications Squadron flight commander. "The students were engaged and excited to have us there to learn more about our military, American history and our school system. It was a good experience."

The events were coordinated by the 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1, a U.S. Air Force unit that not only works with the Polish air force to foster defense ties but also understands the importance of fostering relationships outside the military.

"Although our mission here is to train with the Polish air force, it is also important to reach out to the people in and around the installations," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Toni M. Ehart, 52nd OG Detachment 1 NCO in charge of material management and security manager. "It enhances our partnership and reflects a positive image not only on the Air Force but also for the U.S. in general. For some, this could be their first encounter with Americans. The feedback thus far has been very positive, and there are continued requests for visits such as these."

As the visits came to an end, Airmen and students said their farewells, but as the Air Force continues to work closely with their Polish allies, it wasn't truly goodbye.

Whether home station or worldwide, 100th AMXS Airmen keep tankers mission ready

by Senior Airman Christine Halan
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


11/5/2015 - SON SAN JUAN AIR BASE, Spain  -- Airmen from the 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are heavily relied upon when it comes to maintenance during Exercise Trident Juncture.

Working long hours both day and night and in all weathers, the team has been assisting the 351st Air Refueling Squadron in the exercise.

The two KC-135 Stratotankers assigned during Trident Juncture have given the team many challenges - countering communication barriers with foreign military, having the necessary equipment available for repairs and handling everyday maintenance problems.

The two aircraft encountered a few problems during the exercise but were soon fixed, thanks to the maintainers.

"One aircraft had a gear that wouldn't retract," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Flanders, 100th AMXS production superintendent. "It took around seven hours to fix - the same amount of time at home.  We didn't have the equipment to jack up the aircraft, which is the preferred way, to troubleshoot it, so we had to troubleshoot the best we could with what we had.

The production superintendent explained that what takes the most time in getting the parts fixed is waiting for the parts to arrive from RAF Mildenhall. Back at home station, aircraft can be fixed quicker, without so much down time, because they would have the necessary components on hand.

Maintainers also fixed a problem with a boom bypass valve.

"The valve was allowing fuel in the aft-body undirected," Flanders said. "The aft-body is one of the main body tanks behind the wheel well - one of the bladder tanks in there - and the main issue with that is when you have fuel inadvertently going into that tank it messes with the center of gravity of the aircraft, so it's not going to fly as it should."
Even with the variety of challenges, the team was able to push through and accomplish the mission.

The deployed unit is comprised of 24 Airmen from across 100th AMXS, where nine different specialized units are available 24/7. Many of these units have a major impact on the aircraft including hydraulics, propulsions, fuels and aircraft ground equipment.

Unlike at RAF Mildenhall, where they're responsible for 15 aircraft, here Airmen only have to focus on maintaining the two aircraft assigned during the exercise.

"I think TDY maintenance is much easier than home station," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Kearney, 100th AMXS KC-135 Stratotanker crew chief. "There aren't as many airplanes to worry about; we know exactly when we're flying, what sort of work we're doing that day and roughly how long we'll be working."

Day shift maintainers only prepare the aircraft for launch and most of the maintenance and loading of the fuel to the aircraft is done during the night shift.

"We've got an amazing maintenance crew here," Flanders said. "They've busted their butts and have gotten the job done. They haven't had to work extremely long hours but they've focused on completing the mission. They've put the mission first and have done an amazing job of getting it done. I couldn't have asked for a better group."

Airmen receive mentorship lesson, get inspired at A/TA 15

by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
Headquarters Air Mobility Command


11/6/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- A sea of blue filled the Orlando World Center Marriot, Florida. No, the resort was not filled with water, but with more than 1,500 U.S. Air Force Airmen from across the globe.

Airmen from a wide range of specialties attended Oct. 29 through Nov. 1, to learn about this year's theme, 'Mobility Airmen's excellence in action in the past, present and future' during the 47th Annual Airlift/Tanker Association Convention and Air Mobility Symposium.

The symposium serves as a key professional development forum for Air Mobility Command's Total Force Airmen.

AMC selects 98 Airmen to attend the symposium. The Airmen are divided into classes by rank - Phoenix Stripe for E-5 and E-6, High Flight for O-1 to 0-3 and Cornerstone for civilians. They are provided a specific agenda dedicated to learning topics their ranks will benefit from the most.

They are also provided direct access to senior Air Force leaders including the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Mobility leaders, Gen. Darren McDew, the U.S. Transportation Command commander, and Gen. Carlton Everhart, AMC commander. The environment fosters open dialogue and honest discussions.

Another benefit of the symposium is a large amount of mobility Airmen in one place at one time. This was the first opportunity the new Air Mobility Command commander, was able to speak to so many Mobility Airmen in person. During his time addressing the professional development classes, he discussed how their jobs impact' the overall Rapid Global Mobility mission. He told them AMC is the only command that can enable and sustain United States military missions by providing a refueling service no one else can, swift airdrops, aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation.

"Rapid Global Mobility is essential to our nation's response, and there is a growing need for what we do," said Everhart. "The key to the mobility enterprise, past, present and future, is well-educated and professionally developed Airmen. In order to shape our global enterprise, we must face challenges and find ways to succeed against overwhelming odds. Because our nation needs Mobility Airmen to lead us to a future where today's innovations will become routine."

As examples, he referenced the Mobility Airmen who helped design the C-5M Super Galaxy, C-130J Super Hercules and KC-46A. Everhart described the C-5M as a game changer in terms of speed, payload and mission reliability. He called the C-130J one of the most flexible airlifters in the world, then he posed questions to the audience.

"The fleet is in a good place right now, but what about the future? What will the airlift aircraft look like and what new capabilities will it bring? How will we use directed energy, hypersonic, nano-technology or remotely piloted aircraft? Are the answers in the technologies that the next tanker or airlifter will utilize, or will they use something that hasn't been imagined yet? These are only a few questions remaining for Mobility Airmen to solve while training to prepare for the future."

One of the attendees, Staff Sgt. Heather Clifton, fire protection journeyman in the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., said she didn't know what to expect from the symposium when she was notified she was selected by leadership to attend.

This is her first time working for Air Mobility Command in her seven-year career. Since she joined, she has worked for Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Force Command. She has been at working for AMC for a year now.

In fire protection, the Airman's main job is to protect the aircraft according to Clifton, who hadn't realized what a small piece her career field plays in the big puzzle of Rapid Global Mobility.

"This convention put into perspective of how well we [AMC] provide global mobility and how much we do for the rest of the Air Force.. "I was really in awe," said Clifton.

The AT/A convention motivated her to be a better mentor and leader for her Airman, Clifton said. She had an opportunity to talk to Everhart after he gave his keynote speech on the last day. After his speech, he addressed Phoenix Stripe for a discussion.

Clifton asked the general, "How do you bring people together and inspire them?" He replied, "You just have to love your people and love what you do," she said.

Out of the more than 50 seminars available at A/TA, Clifton said the best briefing she attended was called, "Mentoring-How We Do It," which consisted of a panel with the three male generals and one female lieutenant colonel. She said she got a good perspective from all spectrums on what it takes to be a mentor.

"If you are a good leader, you inspire others to want to get the job done well," she said. "Professional development is mentoring your Airmen so they can be better than you are now when they get to your rank. It takes leadership and mentoring to help them accomplish this, and that's what I intend to take back to my work center... Hopefully [this information] will broaden our small career field of fire protection."

In the beginning, she was a little uncertain what she would learn, especially since she was new to AMC. But after it was all done, Clifton said she is glad she had the opportunity, even though it took her outside of her comfort level.

For those who are interested in attending the Mobility Symposium as part of the Phoenix Stripe Program in the future, Clifton provided some advice.

"Take the time to notice your weaknesses, improve upon them and ask leadership questions. It will help you figure out your impact in the big mobility mission," she said. "Overall I learned, if you develop Airmen to be the best they can be, and you inspire them both professionally and on a personal level, Airmen are going to want to work for those leaders, because they know their leaders care about them. Gen. Everhart is very inspiring and makes me want to do the mission based on how much he cares for people."

Carter Praises USS Theodore Roosevelt’s Crew Members



By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, November 6, 2015 — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter praised the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its 3,000-member crew during a troop talk while aboard the Navy aircraft carrier in the South China Sea yesterday.

Carter also provided an update on the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The defense secretary is on an eight-day trip in the Asia-Pacific region to get a personal view of the U.S. military’s rebalance efforts.

“ISIL is an evil thing and it will be defeated, because we are the good and they are the evil,” Carter said. “We're the many and they are the few. I don't have any doubt that we are going to beat ISIL.”

Defeating ISIL

Achieving victory over ISIL will take time, Carter said.

He added, “If it were just a matter of us beating them, it would be over quickly. ... As we learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, [the point] isn't just getting them beaten; it's keeping them beaten [to] have this victory stick.”

ISIL and Iran each present challenges to U.S. security interests in the Middle East, Carter said.

Turning to the Asia-Pacific, Carter said the U.S. military has helped to maintain peace and stability in the region for 70 years. The USS Theodore Roosevelt and its crew greatly contribute to that endeavor, he added.

Secretary Salutes USS Theodore Roosevelt’s Crew

Carter told the crew members to tell their families of his and the nation’s pride in them.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew members “do the noblest thing a person can do, which is to be part of securing our country and allowing all other Americans to live in peace, live their lives, and dream their dreams,” he said.

Carter also told the crew they should also let their families know that their service aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt is at “the hinge of everything happening in the strategic history in this era through this cruise. You have seen it all; you have been part of it all.”

Stingers Prove Lethal at Combat Archer


by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker
180th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


11/3/2015 - Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. -- More than 120 members of the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, deployed 38 short tons of cargo and eight F-16 fighter Aircraft to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida in September to participate in Combat Archer.

The two week exercise is part of the Air Combat Command Air to Air Weapons Systems Evaluation Program, which assesses a units overall operational effectiveness, weapons systems performance and reliability.

"Combat Archer is not just a training event," said Maj. Gregory Barasch, 112th Fighter Squadron director of operations. "It is a formal evaluation of the total weapon system; man, machine and missile, as well as the squadron's ability to conduct air-to-air missions."

With over 30 Combat Archer exercises conducted annually, the primary purpose of WSEP is to evaluate the effectiveness of the total air to air weapons system including aircraft, weapon delivery systems, munitions, aircrew, support equipment, technical data and overall maintenance operations. The secondary objective of Combat Archer is live-fire missile training for pilots before ever deploying to a combat environment.

"Exercises like Combat Archer provide a rare opportunity to load and employ live missiles with threat-realistic targets, maximizing the live-fire opportunities," said Barasch.

"Over the course of the two-week exercise," said Senior Master Sgt. Roger Newsome, 180th FW Weapons Supervisor, "Our eight jets logged 129 flight hours, flew 122 sorties and fired 10 live missiles, meeting all requirements with zero discrepancies."

"The experience of shooting an air-to-air missile for the first time takes away any questions," said Capt. Roy Poor, an F-16 pilot with the 180th Fighter Wing. "Now we can employ in combat with confidence."

Along with the rare chance to fire live missiles, Combat Archer also provided the opportunity to conduct Force Integration sorties, training with dissimilar aircraft, fourth and fifth generation fighters like the F-15 Strike Eagle and F-22 Raptor, as well as the Navy's F-18 Hornet.

Training with dissimilar aircraft allows sister services and coalition partners to work together on mastering combat tactics and operational-level campaigns in a controlled, strategic, advanced and realistic environment.

"It's been great working alongside some of the other forces," said Master Sgt. Stacie Dice, an F-16 mechanic with the 180th Fighter Wing. "We're out here with the Navy and the Active Duty Air Force, flying alongside other aircraft from those units."

Though the F-16 pilots and maintenance personnel from the 180th Fighter Wing train maintaining their currency and efficiency to provide effective combat power at home and abroad, sorties are conducted utilizing training munitions. These training munitions are built and weighted the same as live munitions, giving pilots a realistic feel of flying fully loaded jets.

Flying with training missiles affords pilots opportunities to familiarize themselves with the feel of the jet loaded with various munitions configurations during simulated combat training missions similar to what might be experienced in a real-world combat environment. The pilots train on the step-by-step process of firing a missile without actually employing one.

Not only that, this training provides the strategic agility needed to fight against a formidable and aggressive adversary in a continually strained fiscal environment.

"We were able to learn the strengths and weakness of each airframe," said Poor. "While also learning how best to maneuver together allowing for maximum lethality in a combat situation."

"Our mission here at the 180th Fighter Wing is to be the most lethal, innovative and efficient fighter wing in the Total Force," said Dice. "Nothing says lethality like putting missile on target."

With more than 500 personnel from five units, 30 fighter aircraft and over 45 live missiles shot, this exercise was the largest in Combat Archer history.

Doolittle Raider honored with shadow box



By Senior Airman Hailey Haux, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information / Published November 06, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- People began trickling into the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon. Roughly 15 minutes before go-time, it is filled to the brim. Everyone came there to see one person and hear his story; a story so historical and significant it could make anyone swell with pride.

Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, one of two surviving members of the Doolittle Raiders, just turned 100 years old in September. He is as lively as ever and received a shadow box during his visit, Nov. 5.

“(It is) very nifty and appropriate,” Cole said. “I accept it in honor and on behalf of the rest of the guys, with sadness, that are not here to (receive it.)”

Incased in the wooden box were several patches to show the history of the bomb squadrons, two clips from bombs and a flag that was flown on Sep. 7, 2015 over Southwest Asia in honor of Cole’s 100th birthday.

“To be up here on stage with (Lt. Col. Cole) is honestly dizzyingly wonderful,” said Col. John Martin, the 28th Operations Group commander. “Sir, you are beyond just a World War II hero, you are an American icon, a patriotic legend, and a big part of Air Force history … at Ellsworth Air Force Base, inspiration is not very far away when we think about the cornerstone of our legacy and the Doolittle Raid. It motivates us (and) it inspires us to this very day.”

Cole answered several questions from the anxious crowd, not skipping a beat when asked what was on his mind during the raid.

“There were several things on my mind,” Cole said. “We had to deal with the fact that you are scared all the time, you have to learn to put that aside and think positively. You just don’t dwell on things being bad.”

In the end, it took 80 brave men, 16 aircraft and a huge risk to change everything about the war in the Pacific. Their actions inspired a nation and continue to inspire today’s Airmen.