Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Service members 'reset' during 3-day retreat

by Staff Sgt. Chuck Broadway
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/10/2015 - FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- The reset button: a spring-loaded, finger-width mechanism on a computer or game console which forces all current activity to cease. Pushing reset instructs a system to shut down, clear temporary memory and restore the device to a healthy, initialized state.

Recently, more than 70 service members and their families from military installations across the Carolinas pushed the reset button Nov. 2-4, to shut down, clear their minds and restore a healthy, resilient lifestyle during the USO of North Carolina Warrior Reset at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The retreat featured briefings and discussions on several topics affecting today's troops and their families. Subjects such as finance, nutrition and health as well as leadership, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide awareness were briefed by subject matter experts and fellow service members who encouraged open dialogue between Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and family members on past experiences and methods to deal with different stressors.

"This course was very effective and stayed true to the concept 'Warrior Reset'," said Tech. Sgt. Dellary Madden, 4th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of installation personnel readiness. "This was definitely a first-class course that provided a well-rounded balance to the word resiliency. I loved how the agencies that supported the training were not military, but in 'support of'. I really felt like (it) was about finding alternative ways to deal with life rather than another training built to check the box or a refresher on basic resiliency."

Army Sgt. Heather Adamson, a 3rd Special Forces Group human intelligence collector stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and said she found great value in the information and activities of the entire event.

"The program has definitely helped me with stress management," she said. "As a soldier with PTSD, I thought the program was outstanding. It's a safe and relaxing environment that teaches different ways to cope with stress."

Along with serious discussions, the retreat mixed in two physical training workouts, a yoga class and calisthenics session, as well as classes on horticulture, music-making and a magician who entertained attendees with an array of card tricks.

"I was pleasantly surprised to see it wasn't your typical military training and was actually a hands-on, stress-relieving and fun course," Adamson said. "The best takeaway from this was the chance to relax here with like-minded individuals who were here to help us. We were able to take that and relax for a few days away from the unit and stress of daily life."

The hands-on aspects of the class drew smiles and laughter to all in attendance, including spouses and children, who spent their days with childcare providers so parents could fully participate in every aspect of the retreat.

Army Staff Sgt. Ron Laugand, a 161st Infantry Regiment drill sergeant from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, attended the retreat with his wife Janet and their two children. Ron stated that it's easy to take your eyes off something and lose focus on the big picture, even with the best of intentions. At the conclusion of the event, both he and Janet said this reset was a great opportunity to refocus and spend time with their kids, growing their relationship.

"It was an uplifting and enjoyable experience to be a part of as (the USO) delivered open arms from the beginning," Janet said. "I learned to be more open-minded and when my family shows they want attention, I won't hesitate to give it to them. I embrace that I'm not alone with what I encounter (as a military spouse). The info put out here allowed people to drop their guard and make a connection, which was my favorite part. We've been to several classes and this one was really positive and exceeded expectations."

"A lot of times people are hesitant to reach out," Ron said. "There's a lot of things available if you branch out and I'm thankful for the USO of North Carolina for this program."

The Warrior Reset retreat, along with complimentary programs such as Spouse Reset and Family Reset, are each held four times a year in various locations close to major military installations. Kelli Davis, USO of NC troop and programs coordinator, is the brain-child behind these events and said the goal was to eventually reach every troop in both North and South Carolina.

"Leadership at different installations requested our help to address the resilience needs of our troops," Davis said. "We wanted to go above and beyond the airport lounges and homecomings that we're known for and make sure we're giving as many tools as we possibly can."

According to Davis different leaders are looking to invest in their troops by sending them to Warrior Reset. Service members with at least a year of service time left and are leaders, or soon to be leaders, within their unit are usually chosen to attend. The November reset had ranks from E-3 to O-5 in attendance. This, along with incorporating integration from different services, helped attendees see a different perspective and provide a stronger support system to each other.

"I love to see the camaraderie," Davis added. "Sometimes troops get stuck in the shell of their installations. Here, we see the struggles are across the branches. The peer support mechanism built into this program is one of the greatest successes we have."

Davis said it's most important for the military to know there are people outside the installation who are there for them. By bringing in top-notch instructors who are invested in the well-being of the military and their families, the overall resilience of the force remains strong.

"This is a valuable toolset I wouldn't have known about and I feel the word should get out," said Adamson. "Anybody needing PTSD or stress management techniques should come through here. The coping for anxiety, stress, traumatic brain injury ... I would send every Soldier in my unit to this program."

As 2016 fast approaches, the USO of NC is gearing up for another round of Warrior, Family and Spouse Reset retreats. Any service member or family members interested in attending one of the programs can contact Kelli Davis at 919-840-3000, or visit www.uso-nc.org.

18th Air Force supports largest NATO exercise in 20 years

by Senior Airman Christopher Reel
1st Combat Camera Squadron

11/10/2015 - ZARAGOZA, Spain -- Multiple 18th Air Force units worked together to perform a personnel drop of more than 500 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers in support of Exercise Ultimate Reach, Nov. 2 - 7, a subsection of NATO's largest exercise in 20 years, Exercise Trident Juncture.

Ultimate Reach is an annual U.S. Transportation Command-sponsored live-fly exercise designed to evaluate 18th Air Force's transportation units' ability to plan and conduct strategic airdrop missions.

This year's Ultimate Reach consisted of a fleet of seven C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and eight KC-10 Extenders to move the airborne division members to a drop zone in Zaragoza, Spain.

The C-17s from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, took off from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, Nov. 3, and flew through the night to Zaragoza, Spain. Once over the drop zone, the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team conducted a Joint Forcible Entry exercise in front an international audience of military leadership, dignitaries and media.

The exercise demonstrates 18th Air Force's ability to move forces and equipment anywhere on earth in a matter of hours, which is instrumental to the collective defense of NATO and other partner nations.

"As with TRANSCOM, Air Mobility Command and the United States, we have a responsibility to NATO and to use this exercise as an opportunity to train with our NATO allies," said Capt. Chris Mahan, C-17 aircraft commander. "Missions like this create that interoperability with our allies and sister services."

In order to make the trip without stopping, KC-10 Extender tankers from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and Travis Air Force Base, California, refueled the C-17s on the way to Europe and on their return trip.

"Without us, other aircraft with less fuel capacity will have to land and refuel more often," said Airman 1st Class Amy James, 32nd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator. "We enable worldwide missions to be completed more efficiently."

Eight tankers met with the C-17s over the North Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night. Maj. Mitch Ehresman, 305th Air Mobility Wing current operations flight chief, said this capability allows them to support combatant commanders throughout the world by helping get the assets they need into theater as quickly as possible.

"It all comes down to time and range," he said. "Without our fuel supply, C-17s couldn't go directly to Spain and fighters would have much more limited time dropping ordnance downrange before landing to refuel."

America's Global Response Force provides combatant commanders with critical options to respond to international crises, but cannot do so without trained and validated support from its joint Air Force partners. This exercise is another example of this constant training.

"We provide and posture rapid mobility forces for things like this global response force and move the Army anywhere in the world at any time," Mahan said. "Training like this is extremely important. For us to provide a direct-delivery sortie halfway around the globe without stopping is quite impressive. It's something we don't get to exercise very often, but days like this we can not only do that but succeed in doing it."

The overall mission was coordinated from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, at the 618th Air Operations Center.  The 618th AOC is 18th AF's execution arm, providing the Air Force's global reach. It plans, schedules, directs and assesses a fleet of nearly 1,100 mobility aircraft in support of combat delivery and strategic airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world.

For Ultimate Reach, the 618th AOC acted as the command and control authority for the C-17s and KC-10s. The AOC coordinated with the operations centers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and communicated mission changes with the aircraft formations via secure satellite links.  Additional coordination was required with the 603rd Air Operations Center's Air Mobility Division in Germany and the NATO Combined Air Operation Center Torrejon in Madrid, Spain.

"There's a lot of effort that goes into coordinating all the details needed to make missions like these successful," said Maj. Nate Padgett, the lead exercise liaison for the AOC. "For major exercises, a big piece of the planning process is to ensure the seams between the operators and command element are tied-up. Key components, that don't come up in stateside missions, are things like obtaining diplomatic clearances, ensuring there's enough, and the right type of, ground support at the final destination, and solving how to communicate securely with aircraft while they're over the ocean. Any one of these seemingly small considerations could derail the entire mission, and we handle all of them."

NATO's Trident Juncture and 18th Air Force's Ultimate Reach demonstrates NATO allies' interoperability and global response. The 2016 NATO Response Force certification exercise consists of more than 36,000 troops from more than 35 NATO allied nations.

"In addition to Air Mobility Command, Pacific Command also assisted in this global reach," said Captain Dan Naske, Ultimate Reach lead Air Force planner. "Ultimate Reach truly is a great opportunity to showcase our ability to have global reach across the world and show NATO that we are there to support them."

Eighteenth Air Force is responsible for carrying out Air Mobility Command's operational air mobility mission. Since 9/11, AMC and 18th Air Force, with a mission to deliver hope, fuel and the fight and save lives, have moved more than 22.7 million passengers, 2.7 billion gallons of fuel and 229,000 patients.

South Dakota Air National Guard Focuses on the Family

by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Stewart
114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2015 - SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Members of the 114th Fighter Wing, South Dakota Air National Guard, participated in a Yellow Ribbon Welcome Home Event, here, for recently deployed Airmen and their families.

The Yellow Ribbon event provided an opportunity to learn about the benefits and resources available as they reintegrate back into their civilian lives.

The event also gave senior leadership from the local, state and national level a chance to thank and recognize them for their service and sacrifice.

"That moment of the deployed member and the family being reunited is something they both look forward to with a sense of anticipation and joy", said Lt Col. Bill Tesch, wing chaplain, 114th Fighter Wing, "But soon after, the reality of life sets in and families have to adjust to a new way of doing things, which can bring on feelings of resentment or disappointment."

Tesch went on to stress that these feelings are normal, and the Yellow Ribbon Welcome Home event is one place members and their families hear about the resources and benefits available during reintegration.

As the operation tempo of the National Guard increases, leadership quickly realized that deployments did not just affect service members, but also their spouses and families.  The Yellow Ribbon program was developed in 2008 based off of programs individual states were using to help reintegrate their service members.

"I have not been able to get any of my to-do list done", said Staff Sgt. Daniel Lindsay, 114th Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Element, "I have been too busy cuddling and taking care of my wife and kids."

"I've missed him a lot," said Tessa Lindsay, spouse of Staff Sgt. Daniel Lindsay, "It's nice to have him back home."

Members were briefed by the Mike Haugen, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program manager, on where to find all the resources they need for their transition.

Along with the many resources provided to service members at this event, numerous dignitaries were there to show their appreciation to both the member and their families.  The dignitaries there to shake each deployed members hand were Sen. John Thune, Sen. Mike Rounds, Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, and Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, the Adjutant General for South Dakota.

"It was an honor having the Governor and Senators and everyone else there." said Senior Airman Nolan Bostic, 114th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament systems specialist.  "It made me feel very important."

The 114FW Airman returned from a deployment to the Pacific Theater as part of a rotational Theater Support Package.

Honoring veterans past, present this Veterans Day

Commentary by Gen. Lori Robinson
Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces

11/10/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --  -- To the men and women of Pacific Air Forces and to veterans across the services, I offer my sincere gratitude and appreciation for your dedicated service. As you know, this Wednesday commemorates a significant date in our nation's history, a day in 1918 where a signed armistice marked an end to World War I. The historical significance of Veterans Day reminds us of the sacrifice of military service. On this day, let us honor the thousands of American veterans, past and present, for their love of country and their willingness to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

A couple of weeks ago, the University of Hawaii hosted the Air Force football team, resulting in a 58-7 victory for the Air Force. I had the privilege of attending a pep rally where I met many of our Air Force's future officers from the 2016-2019 graduating classes. One of the things that struck me was their connection to our heritage through their class exemplars. The Airmen they selected to aspire to were Maj. David "Klepto" Brodeur, Col. George "Bud" Day, and Capt. Louie "Zamp" Zamperini.

Brodeur was a decorated F-16 pilot who deployed as an advisor to the Afghan Command and Control Center and was subsequently killed in 2011 when an Afghan military trainee turned gunfire on him. Col Day served during three major wars and when shot down in Vietnam, refused to yield to his tormentors at the Hanoi Hilton for five years and seven months, escaping once despite tremendous injuries. Capt Zamperini, the subject of the book and subsequent movie "Unbroken," was a World War II bombardier who survived 47 days at sea after his plane experienced mechanical difficulties and had to ditch, only to be captured and held prisoner for two years in Japan.

Every generation has faced difficult challenges, and our generation is no exception. This Veterans Day, I ask that we reflect upon the importance of what we do. Whether you are military or civilian; active duty, Reserve or Guard; Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coast Guardsman, each and every one of you plays a vital part in safeguarding our way of life. And, despite how much we ask of you and your families, you continue to amaze me with your character, your resilience and your devotion to duty and country. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Face of Defense: Soldiers Discuss Service, Veterans Day

By Army Staff Sgt. Tina Villalobos, 301st Public Affairs Detachment DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

HOHENFELS, Germany, November 9, 2015 — Although World War I officially ended June 28, 1919, the fighting had stopped several months earlier, when “an armistice … between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, according to the Veterans Administration. Through legislation passed June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became Veterans Day -- a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Since the 9/11 attacks against America, many U.S. service members have become seasoned warriors, some with multiple deployments under their belts. Many troops have chosen to continue their service in the military.


"The greatest thing about the Army is the camaraderie," said Spc. Judy Mera Rosa, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator, and self-described "military brat" with 10th Engineers Brigade, Headquarters and Headquarters Company. "Camaraderie is what it's all about, because if you don't have it, it is just another 9-5 [job]."

Although her father is a retired Army major, Rosa made the decision to join on her own.

"My father definitely talked me through it. He shared what he knows and gave me whatever advice he saw fit," Rosa said. "The Army has helped me grow as a person. I like the structure. The Army gave me some direction and purpose. I have learned more about who I can be for other people, rather than just who I am for myself."

Some troops have a family legacy of military service. Others bravely blaze a new trail and join the military seeking new challenges and an opportunity to improve their lives.

Army Sgt. Charles Roseboro, a combat engineer with 10th Engineers Brigade, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, from Charlotte, North Carolina, is the first in his family to ever serve in the military. As one of six siblings, Roseboro wanted to set a good example for his younger siblings.

"One of the biggest reasons why I joined the military is because I just felt like I was stuck in time. Sometimes you need to be taken out of your element to actually work on yourself," Roseboro said. "By serving in the Army, my family can see me doing something a little different than the norm. It's good for my brothers and sisters to see. There are six of us; we range in age from 14 to 25."

Saluting Veterans’ Sacrifices

Roseboro said the significance of Veterans Day is clear to him.

"Veteran's Day is a day that we can sit back and think of the people who have gone overseas and fought wars for many decades for our country, and in some cases died -- much thanks to those before me," he said.

Roseboro said he’s grown as a person since he joined the Army.

"I've learned a lot about different cultures, and how people live, and how people value certain things in life," he said. "When I was in Afghanistan, I would always see this guy at 7:30 in the morning, herding his sheep from one field to another to keep them healthy and give them exercise. I felt like that was something so good, but also so disciplined, because he did it at the same time every morning. I noticed the dedication that he had for his family.”

Roseboro added, “I am a different person since I joined the Army. I have started [earning] a college degree and I have become more professional."

President Barack Obama spoke of the sacrifices of the nation’s veterans and their families in his 2015 Veterans Day Proclamation.

"On Veterans Day, we reflect on the immeasurable burdens borne by so few in the name of so many, and we rededicate ourselves to supporting those who have worn America's uniform and the families who stand alongside them," Obama said in his proclamation.

Soldiers’ Personal Sacrifices

Rosa's husband is also a soldier, but stationed elsewhere.

"Most definitely, being away from my husband is my biggest sacrifice," Rosa said. "We joined the Army together. We've been apart for basic training, Advanced Individual Training, and then the last two rotations. We are getting through it -- but I miss him and I want to be in the same room with him."

Most soldiers find their own means of coping with the necessary sacrifices. Roseboro said he stays focused on his mission and big-picture outcomes.

"The greatest sacrifices I make being in the military are being away from my 9-month-old son and being away from my family," he said. "What kind of evens me out is knowing that I am in a state of bettering myself. At a certain point, when it is time for me to hang up my uniform, I have done the best I can to provide for my family and show them a better route in life."

Roseboro appreciates the benefits of military service and he encouraged other young men and women to follow his lead.

"I would tell any young woman or young man considering joining the Army -- ‘Do it!’" he said. "Go get a college education. There are so many benefits that come with the military -- go travel the world. You don't have to do 20 years; you can just do one contract.

“There are so many benefits, [including] as the G.I. Bill,” Roseboro continued. “You will always be a soldier. So, once you get out and you're looking for a job as a civilian, you'll network with those battle buddies and they can help you out."

Honoring, Supporting America’s Veterans

The President's proclamation highlighted the importance of honoring and caring for the nation’s veterans.

"Our true strength as a Nation is measured by how we take care of our veterans when they return home," Obama said.

"Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just world,” the president continued. “They have been tested in ways the rest of us may never fully understand, and it is our duty to fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans and their families.”
Obama added, “On Veterans Day, and every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve, and let us recommit to pledging our full support for them in all they do."

Tuskegee Airmen program lets students fly

by Senior Airman Rachel Hammes
55th Wing Public Affairs

11/6/2015 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, NEB. -- "You're doing really well. Remember, you have to constantly fly here, or else you're letting the airplane fly you and we don't want that. The airplane doesn't have the brain you've got, and it might take us someplace we don't want to go."

Michael Cook, a flight simulator supervisor with the 338th Combat Training Squadron here, helped his student maneuver through a dense wall of snow clouds, gaining altitude until the aircraft reached clear air. Once there, it was smooth sailing.

Cook, who has worked with flight simulators for the last 16 years is used to helping newly-minted pilots-to-be gain confidence. But the three Alfonza W. Davis Middle School seventh graders crowding the RC-135 OFT simulator Nov. 3 are not part of his usual demographic. But that's the whole point, said Cook.

The Tuskegee Airmen Flight Simulator Program was created in 2012 by the Alfonza W. Davis Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated, and aims to perpetuate the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen "through ongoing positive and beneficial relationships with youth," according to the organization. The program partners with Offutt Air Force Base once or twice a month, bringing groups of nine students ages 11 to 18 to experience the simulator.

By making younger students more interested in STEM subjects, TAI hopes to encourage a passion for science and technology that will carry on into adulthood, Cook said.

"Our country has fallen way behind the rest of the world in science, technology, engineering and math," he said. "When I was growing up, we were the number one nation in the world in those disciplines. We put a man on the moon in 1969, just as I came on active duty, and we did that with minimal computers. We're hoping if we can get one of nine students interested in the STEM subjects every visit, we as a country can grow back to what we were - ranked number one."

Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Blalock, the vice president of the local chapter of TAI, agreed with Cook.

"This is the age when kids are influenced the most," he said. "If we provide them with knowledge and experiences that expand their thought process, then we are able to guide them down a path of success versus letting them being influenced by negative factors."

The program has already brought over 500 students to Offutt AFB to experience the simulator.

"It was really fun," said Mollee Francis, a seventh grader who flew the simulator for fifteen minutes with Cook's help. "It was like you were the one flying the plane."

"It was so cool," said Alivia Conway. "You get to do this when you're really young, and you don't have to take any classes to do it."

The program made them both want to be pilots, they said.

Prior to their turn in the simulator, Todd Clark, flight simulator supervisor with the 338th Combat Training Squadron here, briefed them on the purpose of the local chapter of TAI in creating the program.

"The Tuskegee Airmen had a goal - fly for the U.S. Army Air Corps," he said. "They didn't let all the obstacles society put in their way stop them. You guys are like them - you're going to take us where we're going."