Military News

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

820th BDG teams with RAF, French for exercise GLOBAL EAGLE

by Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan
23d Wing Public Affairs


11/17/2015 - AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGE, Fla. -- The 822d Base Defense Squadron, the No. 15 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment and the French air force wrapped up exercise GLOBAL EAGLE after three weeks of training, here Oct. 16 to Nov. 6.

GLOBAL EAGLE is an annual joint exercise that brings one of the three squadrons from the 820th Base Defense Group and the Royal Air Force Regiment together to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures. Every even year it is held in the United Kingdom and the odd years it is held in the United States. This year, it also included the French air force.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Carl Hook, 822d BDS squad leader, is one of more than 100 people participating in GLOBAL EAGLE this year.

"We're showcasing the different capabilities that we have," said Hook. "The French showcased some of their special operations personnel along with their (Tactical Air Control Party,) the Royal Air Force showcased a live-fire scenario and we just finished showcasing our capabilities.

After a few hours in the sun on Avon Park's north tactical range, Hook and the rest of his fireteam finished demonstrating how they would clear an airstrip of enemy combatants, utilizing dismounted tactics, a military working dog team and a small unmanned aircraft system for reconnaissance.

"We share tools, tactics and procedures and build camaraderie," Hook added. "There's a good chance for future missions downrange where we could be working with them, so it's a great opportunity to talk about all that. I feel very fortunate to be out here and I know a lot of our guys do too."

One of those guys is Airman 1st Class Jordan Cummings, a member of Hook's fireteam from the 822nd BDS.

"We're down here to put together all of our different training so that we can integrate it into our own operations," Cummings said, dripping with sweat and rainwater courtesy of the temperamental Florida weather.

In addition to dismounted operations, GLOBAL EAGLE also included land navigation, counter-improvised explosive device training, combatives, tactical combat casualty care, a sniper team competition and emergency close air support (ECAS) procedures.

Senior Aircraftsman Ben Wood, 15 Squadron RAF Regiment, explained the value of learning how to communicate with pilots to coordinate close air support.

"It's good because we don't get to do anything like that back in the UK," Wood said. "It's more for the forward air controllers and the TACPs. (This training) is good for us (in case) we do ever need it. The day before we were on close quarters battle training, clearing out these buildings here. I've done it before but it's good to come out here mixed in with the Americans and French, it's nice to see new faces when you're doing that.

"It's good to get used to the other nations because obviously we'll be working together on operations," Wood added. "It's nice to get a feel with how other nations train and things like that. It's just honing our own skills and drills so the more training we get, the better we get ... so any training is welcome."

AF welcomes newest 3-star general to lead manpower, personnel, services



By Tech. Sgt. Bryan Franks, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information / Published November 17, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein welcomed the newest lieutenant general to the Air Force, who will serve as the 31st Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, during a Nov. 16 ceremony at the Pentagon.

With her new title, Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso is responsible for comprehensive plans and policies covering all life cycles of military and civilian personnel management, which includes military and civilian end strength management, education and training, compensation, resource allocation, and the worldwide Air Force services program. She is the first female to hold the position.

Grosso said that the Air Force has given her opportunities of increasing responsibility and authority in the manpower, personnel and services arena, including command opportunity positions to prepare her for her new role.

“I never aspired to be a three star,” Grosso said. “I always aspired to be a good Airman and do the best I could in the job the Air Force asked me to do.”

Grosso marked the occasion in front of a host of co-workers, friends and family, who she said were part of the inspiration that kept her moving forward.

“I grew up with an amazing group of role models that were all of my mom’s friends,” Grosso said. “I saw these amazing women and the things they were doing in their lives -- I believed I could do whatever I wanted to do in this world. It never occurred to me to limit myself based on my gender.”

As the new deputy, Grosso said that developing the plans to expand on the Human Capital Annex of the Air Force’s Strategic Master Plan is going to be a huge part of her job to make sure the Air Force is not only capable today, but in the midterm and far-term, and she is excited about the opportunity.

“I have served in positions that didn’t even exist when I was a second lieutenant and you don’t know what this world looks like far into the future,” Grosso said. “The Air Force has such tremendous opportunities for men and women, of all ages and colors, military and civilian.”

Over the span of 29 years, Grosso has held several command and staff positions most recently serving as the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program director.

“To me, the sky is the limit and so my advice is to never hesitate to go through a door, especially if it’s really scary to go through, because the less you know about something the more you grow and I will guarantee you will probably look back on that as your best assignment ever,” she said.

National Guard Airmen partner with local law enforcement, perform life-saving SWAT training

by Senior Airman Kasey Phipps
137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


11/17/2015 - BETHANY, Okla. -- Six members of the Oklahoma Air National Guard trained alongside almost 30 members of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office and other state agencies during a Special Weapons and Tactics school held by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office at a variety of training locations throughout Oklahoma, Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 2015.

The school allowed four Security Forces and two Tactical Air Control Party Airmen from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City and state law enforcement to learn precise joint operations and procedures that could be used to save lives in real-world situations.

"Collaborating with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office provides great joint training and helps us prepare for local state support and tactical missions," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Delarber, 137th Security Forces flight chief.

The techniques taught in the school can be used directly by SF Airmen, who are charged with ensuring base defense both here and abroad, and TACP Airmen, who perform tactical operations while deployed.
Students worked through a wide range of in-depth scenarios and tasks, including trauma care, building and vehicle entry, shield and gas mask use, search and clearance, assessing threats, low light operations, and hostage situations held at the Southern Nazarene University campus in Bethany and at a firefighting training center in Edmond.

"A lot of the scenarios are from situations we've encountered real world, either our team or other teams," said Lt. Jason Ruegge, Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office tactical unit team leader. "We work in reverse order a lot of times and put in place what we want the officers to learn from the scenario. Then we build the scenario backwards."

The rigorous training scenarios, which include live-fire simulation ammunition and explosives, are designed to mimic the stress that can complicate decision-making in rapidly changing environments.

"We try to make the training as real as possible and get their stress levels as high as possible, so that these things come back to them when they are in a stressful situation," said Sgt. Jimmy Lilly, Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office tactical unit senior team leader.

The participants of this joint school left with an appreciation for collaborative learning that captures the expertise shared by both law enforcement and military operators.

"Now, we all speak the same language. We understand the tactics. We understand the mission. We can push forward and get it done," said Ruegge.
This is at least the 10th year for the SWAT school, and the program continues to develop, said Ruegge. The scenario locations vary each year, allowing Airmen and officers to adapt to their environment and their team members.

Inspiring next generation: Secret Squirrel Raiders honored at Parkway High School

by Senior Airman Amanda Morris
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


11/16/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Students from Parkway High School honored veterans during their annual Veterans Day Tattoo Ceremony Nov. 11. Three members from Barksdale Air Force Base attended as guests of honor to be recognized for their roles in Operation Senior Surprise, a previous classified mission that helped kick-off Operation Desert Storm.

Operation Senior Surprise was a mission cooked up by Strategic Air Command during Operation Desert Shield. The term Senior Surprise was the official name of the mission, but aircrew and maintainers creatively came up with the name Secret Squirrel so they could track schedules and discuss the mission in unclassified areas.

At the start of Desert Shield, a select group of aircrew and maintainers from the 596th Bomb Squadron were briefed about the conventional air launch cruise missiles.

"I was first informed of the mission in August 1990 and then had six months to train on the new weapon. We couldn't tell anybody anything," said Warren Ward, Air Force Global Strike Command deputy chief of programming division and 596th Bomb Squadron B-52G Stratofortress co-pilot, during Operation Senior Surprise. "The 62nd BS and part of the 596th BS were largely deploying forward yet a large portion of the 596th stayed at Barksdale. We were watching our brothers in arms going forward, yet we were staying back. We had to work under a veil of secrecy."

Once briefed, the groups began extensive training to ensure that the aircraft could fly long range missions safely and flawlessly.

"When we launched the weapons, the sun was barely coming up," said Ward.

The morning of Jan. 16, 1991, seven B-52G Stratofortresses from Barksdale took off heading toward Iraqi targets, launched 35 conventional air launch cruise missiles, and returned in secret.

These buffs were the first combat sorties launched for the liberation of Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Storm, and it marked the longest combat sortie flight totaling 14,000 miles in 35 hours and 24 minutes. The clandestine mission set the standard for long range strike.

The mission remained classified until Jan. 16, 1992, when the crewmembers and maintainers who made the mission possible were presented with air, achievement and commendation medals for their efforts.

Three of these raiders shared their Veterans Day with the school to honor other veterans and to be recognized.

"It was a great honor to be recognized by Parkway. Here we are 25 years later, and the fact that they chose this particular event in history as the theme for their annual event is humbling," said Col. Trey Morriss, 307th Bomb Wing vice commander and 596th BS electronic warfare officer, during Operation Senior Surprise. "This event was a learning moment. This generation was born in a time of constant global warfare, fighting terrorism, so it is easy to forget and become complacent. Veterans Day and Memorial Day are great opportunities to remind, refresh and teach."

"It was very humbling to be part of this event, and I'm grateful because the torch is being passed to a new generation," Ward said. "We must educate people and pave the way for new generations. We need to continue to inspire patriotism to guarantee that we have a nation to hold onto in the future. I hope the ceremony has shed a light on these students to think about joining the military. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the Parkway tattoo."