Military News

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Local, state and federal law enforcement strengthens partnerships

by Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
21st Space Wing Public Affairs


11/18/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Air Force Office of Special Investigations 8th Field Investigations Squadron and Detachment 808 hosted their annual Law Enforcement Luncheon with 122 law enforcement representatives from 26 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, Nov. 13, 2015.

The luncheon gathers Armed Forces and local law enforcement representatives to strengthen working relations and partnerships between the community and military installations. The guest speakers for the luncheon, speaking on the impact of the military on community policing, were Police Chief Peter Carey, Colorado Springs Police Department, and Sheriff Bill Elder, El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

The alliance between the community and the military installations is important to keeping the area safe. There are approximately 664,000 people in El Paso County, and it is home to five of the largest, highly-active military installations in the state, said Elder.

"I am proud of the collaboration we have in our community between the civilian law enforcement agencies and our surrounding military installations," said Carey. "I think the way we do things is unique and I believe we have established a model other communities should emulate."

During the luncheon, the Teller County Sheriff's Office and Chaffee County Sheriff's Office were also recognized for actions that saved the lives of two active-duty Air Force members.

Working with AFOSI and CSPD, the Teller County Sheriff's Office was recognized for their quick response locating an Air Force member in time to prevent an attempted suicide, Sept. 2014.

The Chaffee County Sheriff's Office also helped locate an Airman in June 2015 after the Airman became injured and went missing for three days while hiking in the Mount Shavano area.

Both Sheriff's Offices, along with other local and military law enforcement, worked together to bring the Airmen home.

"The success of this area is fully dependent on (the community) and the military, it's dependent on the relationships that we talk about, and the relationships we build and sustain," said Elder. "I'm honored to work alongside so many true heroes day in and day out; I'm proud to live in such a patriotic community and thank each and every one of you for your service."

Currently just under half of the police applicants and people hired for CSPD have military experience, said Carey.

"One of the biggest opportunities that we all have is that we can learn from each other, we have every chance to train together, share the same facilities and otherwise gain from the collective experience as military members and civilian law enforcement officers," said Carey, "I can say without hesitation that the members of my command staff have learned a lot from seeing how the military counterparts operate."

The alliance between the community and the military installations is just as important to military as it is the community.

"It is critical for the military to have a close partnership with local, state, and federal law enforcement," said Lt. Col. Laurinda Reifsteck, AFOSI 8th Field Investigations Squadron commander. "Those partnerships are critical to enabling the U.S. Air Force to sustain its mission capability and take the fight to our enemies."

The annual luncheon is one of several events the 8th Field Investigations Squadron leads and participates in on top of their duty positions from criminal and fraudulent investigations to counterintelligence. AFOSI offers world class training in forensics, interrogations, crime scene processing, firearms, and much more in more than 40 overseas locations and in all 50 states.

CRW Airmen establish airfield, link allies during Exercise Ultimate Reach

by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Hannen
621st Contingency Response Wing


11/19/2015 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Thirty-five Airmen from across the 621st Contingency Response Wing deployed to Zaragoza, Spain in support of Exercise Ultimate Reach from Nov. 2-8.

The Airmen enabled seven C-17 Globemaster IIIs to drop approximately 600 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division as part of the joint and coalition exercise that drew participants from not only the U.S. Army but also C-17 crews from Joint Base Charleston, S.C.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

The multi-national live-fly exercise designed to showcase the ability of 18th Air Force to plan and conduct strategic airdrop missions drew participants from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

More than 5,000 U.S. service members participated in Trident Juncture, the largest NATO exercise conducted in the last 20 years that served as an annual NATO Response Force certification exercise.

"We were there to make sure the aircrews and paratroopers could integrate into the exercise without any issues," said Maj. Ryan Fandell, 921st Contingency Response Squadron contingency response element commander from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. "We are a mobile airfield with capabilities to control the air traffic, command and control, aircraft maintenance and passenger movement."

Thirty-one of the 621st CRW's Airmen participating deployed from the 921st Contingency Response Squadron, two were from the 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron and the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron provided a Spanish speaking translator from Travis AFB.

"Working with multiple nations and services always presents a challenge to get everyone to talk on the same page," Fandell said. "But our Airmen did a fantastic job of working through those challenges and making the exercise a success for not only the U.S. Air Force, but all the units and nations that participated."

One of the keys to success was providing members who could literally speak the language of their host nation. Tech. Sgt. Moises Chavez-Zavala, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron Spanish interpreter, from Travis AFB proved to be the critical link between Airmen and their Spanish counterparts.

"Prior to my arrival I spent a lot of time studying and practicing various forms of speech that is native to Spain," Chavez-Zavala said. "That preparation let me accurately communicate what each participant was saying. I am aircraft maintenance by trade, and as a former sheet metal technician, my prior job was handy because I was able to understand the maintenance jargon being used by each country's participants."

This was Chavez-Zavala's first time participating in an exercise of this type, and he looks forward to more opportunities to use his skills he said.

"Normally my operations consist of translating in a classroom where material is being taught to the partner nations," he said. "If given the opportunity I would do this again in a heartbeat. I think it is important role that we play and it's very effective to bridge that communication and see the mission. It is very rewarding to see that piece of the puzzle where our contributions play a key role in executing such a large exercise."

Beyond Spanish speaking expertise, the 621st CRW also provided a key advising asset in the form of an Air Mobility Liaison Officer, Air Force Capt. Frank Culick, attached to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.

As an AMLO, Culick provided a unique strategic and tactical capability by facilitating communication between the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Spanish assets.

Before the exercise, Culick assisted the 82nd in gaining a strategic capability at Fort Bragg's Joint Operations Control Center by coordinating with TACC for real-time tracking of aircraft as they flew across the ocean to the drop zone. Arriving in Spain, Culick provided coordination with the Spanish Air Boss on communication plans for the mission planning cell, deconflicted weather limitations to further facilitate airdrop operations, and while on the drop zone (DZ) in Zaragoza, had eyes on the DZ and run-in headings to confirm that no obstacles had been constructed since the published DZ survey. As only specific personnel are authorized to control a large formation such as the seven aircraft employed during the exercise's large-formation paratrooper drop, Culick served as the secondary DZ controller.

"The Army and Air Force planners have limited face-to-face contact prior to final stage of an exercise, so knowing each of their paradigms is an invaluable asset to understanding and communicating the needs of both," Culick said. "On a tactical level, as an AMLO I provide that insurance for clearing large aircraft formations over a DZ in the event STS is unable to support."

Culick said exercises like Ultimate Reach are important because it exemplifies the strategic and tactical expertise that the AMLO provides to any operation.

"By being embedded with the Army, we are able to address mobility issues at a lower level thus increasing the efficiency of an operation," Culick said. "Simply, we are able to address a very wide spectrum of mobility questions that gets the job done."

The 621st Contingency Response Wing is highly-specialized in training and rapidly deploying personnel to quickly open airfields and establish, expand, sustain, and coordinate air mobility operations. With bicoastal units at both Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., the 621st consists of approximately 1500 Airmen in three groups, eleven squadrons and more than 20 geographically separated operating locations aligned with major Army and Marine Corps combat units. The wing maintains a ready corps of light, lean and agile mobility support forces able to respond as directed by the 18th Air Force in order to meet Combatant Command contingency requirements.

The 621st CRW accomplishes its mission through four distinct and integrated lines of effort--618th Air Operations Center executed by its Air Mobility Operations Squadrons, Building Partner Capacity through engagements performed by the Mobility Air Advisors, Providing Mobility Expertise directly at the point of need with embedded Air Mobility Liaisons, and Contingency Response Forces who open, operate and close airfields for mobility operations around the world.

ANG director receives Order of the Sword invitation

by Master Sgt. David Eichaker
Air National Guard Public Affairs


11/18/2015 - NEW YORK -- Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III, director, Air National Guard, received the enlisted corps' top honor that can be bestowed upon an officer as he was presented an invitation to accept the Order of the Sword at a historic fire station here, Nov. 11.

"You are the leader who has shaped the Air National Guard and the enlisted corps forever," said Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard. "On behalf of the enlisted force, you truly deserve this invitation."

Clarke accepted the invitation as several senior enlisted ANG leaders looked on.

"Thank you for this," Clarke said. "This is such a tremendous honor. I am deeply touched that all of you invited me. This is very special, historic and certainly quite memorable. This is a tremendous honor for me both personally and professionally to receive this award."

As the Air National Guard's Enlisted Field Advisory Council looked on, the invitation was presented inside Fire Department New York 10 House with the 10 House Bravest Memorial in the background. The memorial honors six fire fighters from the firehouse who have fallen in the line of duty.

"For them to honor me like this, I just wish there was a way for me to pay a bigger honor back to them," Clarke said. "To get it today, on Veterans Day, presented to me in Firehouse 10, right here next to the World Trade Center location where the towers went down on 9/11 is memorable, historic, and obviously touched me deeply that somebody thought of me and presented it to me at this time."

The Air Force enlisted force established the Order of the Sword to recognize and honor military senior officers for significant contributions to the enlisted force. The presentation must be conducted in a way that ensures the dignity, respect and honor in which the enlisted force has placed upon this distinguished recognition. On Veteran's Day at this location ensured those requirements were met. The fire station lost 5 firefighters in the Sept. 11 attacks. During the early days of the WTC rescue and recovery operations, the firehouse was used as a command center and rest and recuperation station for fire department operations at the site.

Hotaling talked about the significance of the location for the invitation.

"A place of honor--a firehouse symbolizes everything the Air Guard is all about," said Hotaling. "It is composed of citizens who are designed to protect the community and to run towards danger. We wanted to talk to you where there was honor surrounding the invitation."

The day chosen for the invitation to be presented was also significant.

"Veteran's Day is designed to celebrate not only patriotism but also veterans who have served and sacrificed," said Hotaling. "Presenting this invitation to you on Veteran's Day is truly symbolic."

Air Force noncommissioned officers may nominate any eligible individual who has met the established criteria to be honored with the Order of the Sword. EFAC served as the executive agent and agreed with Clarke's nomination for this high honor.

"EFAC represents the 91,000 ANG enlisted force and voted unanimously to approve the invitation," said Hotaling.

Clarke, who became the ANG director in March, 2013, paved the way for enlisted professional development by supporting the Senior Enlisted Leadership Management Office. He also expanded the pool of future leaders through mentorship, which increased depth and competencies in the enlisted force. Clarke also reduced the amount of man-hours spent on ANG ancillary training by 80 percent, putting Airmen back on mission.

"9/11 took the Air National Guard from a strategic reserve to an operational reserve," said Hotaling. "The second most significant event since 9/11 is you becoming the director of the Air National Guard. The Air Force has transformed forever under your watch. You were the leader who gave the enlisted force the ability to go out and shape the new ANG. We can't thank you enough for what you have done for us."

This invitation for the Order of the Sword astonished the ANG top general.

"I was surprised by the EFAC who presented me with an invitation to accept the Order of the Sword on behalf of 91,000 members of the enlisted corps," said Clarke. "I can't wait to tell all my family about what this means."

Clarke will become the 13th ANG officer to receive the Order of the Sword. It was first awarded to Maj. Gen. John T. Guise, who served as the director of the Air National Guard from 1977-1981.

The Order of the Sword presentation is scheduled to take place on April 17, 2016.

Face of Defense: Sailor Advances Fuel-Saving Measures



By Kenneth Stewart Naval Postgraduate School

MONTEREY, Calif., November 19, 2015 — Naval Postgraduate School student Navy Lt. Cmdr. Korban Blackburn is developing an optimization tool dubbed the Optimized Transit Tool Easy Reference, or OTTER, which has the potential to save the Navy millions in fuel costs.

“Lieutenant Commander Blackburn’s thesis work is contributing to the important problem of reducing fuel consumption in the fleet. Reduced fuel consumption means lower operational costs, less sensitivity to volatile fuel prices, and most importantly, reduced resupply needs -- meaning that ships are able to operate on station longer before they need to rendezvous with a tanker for refueling,” said Blackburn’s thesis adviser, NPS Assistant Professor Emily Craparo.

“If I can stay on station for an extra week without fueling, I have optimized my operational capabilities. That’s the goal,” Blackburn said.

OTTER is part of Blackburn’s thesis project at NPS’ Department of Operations Research. Although not fully complete, it is already garnering attention throughout the fleet and was recently awarded the Athena Project’s Waterfront Athena Eight Admiral Sims Award for Intellectual Courage. The Athena Project bills itself as an “innovation-fueled initiative to make the Navy better through powerful ideas, unique solutions and intellectual courage.”

Finding Most Fuel Efficient Speeds

OTTER is used to determine the most fuel efficient speeds at which to travel between two given points and helps mission planners to take into account the effects of various speed combinations while incorporating the impact of group transits and other variables when conducting mission planning.

“Every ship has a fuel burn-rate curve, which shows how much fuel you burn for a given speed,” Blackburn explained. “Think of gears in your car. Would you rather go fifty miles per hour down the freeway in first gear or fifth gear? There is one gear that is the most efficient for a given speed. OTTER helps us to determine which gear that is.”

What OTTER demonstrates is seemingly counterintuitive. On a Littoral Combat Ship, for example, if you were ordered to steam at 17 knots for 24 hours, the average person in open water would likely set the ship’s speed at 17 knots and keep it there until he or she reached their destination. But OTTER reveals that by steaming forward at 15 knots for 90 percent of the time and traveling at 25 knots for ten percent of the time, you would still be able to travel at an average rate of 17 knots over a 24-hour period, but would save more than 400 gallons of fuel per hour.

Blackburn’s work builds upon work done by NPS Professor of Practice Jeffrey Kline, Distinguished Operations Research Professor Gerald Brown, Distinguished OR Professor Alan Washburn, and the late Distinguished OR Professor Richard Rosenthal, which led to a 2007 patent for a ship’s Transit Fuel Planner.

“The Transit Fuel Planner advises a specific ship, based on its own fuel consumption curves, what is the most fuel efficient engineering plant configuration and combinations of speeds to transit a certain distance in a certain time,” Kline said.

Building on Prior Work

“[Blackburn] looked at this prior work and recognized that in order for this insight to be most useful, we need to take into account various operational realities,” Craparo said. “One thing to consider is that ships often travel together in a battle group rather than alone as individuals. For a battle group composed of different types of ships, it’s not so straightforward to determine what speeds the ships should travel in order to achieve a certain average speed.

“If the ships are assigned very different speeds, they may become too widely separated while in transit, even if they all arrive at the destination at the same time,” she continued. “Lieutenant Commander Blackburn is also considering how to incorporate drills into the battle group’s transit plan.”

Kline got the initial idea for The Transit Fuel Planner when he took command of the USS Aquilla after graduating from NPS. Even in its rudimentary state, Kline was able to realize significant fuel savings by utilizing the system. He eventually returned to NPS and collaborated with members of the OR department under an Officer of Naval Research program before securing the Transit Fuel Planner patent.

Blackburn’s OTTER program simplifies the Transit Fuel Planner, and makes it more user-friendly by graphing the results of various algorithms and reproducing them in a simple, easy-to-follow chart.

“I wanted to make the [Transit Fuel Planner] easy to use. I developed an Excel spreadsheet that can be given to someone aboard a destroyer, cruiser or any fuel-burning Navy ship. Sailors won’t need a laptop or anything. It’s literally just a piece of paper,” Blackburn said.

Collaboration Produces Results

Blackburn also worked closely with former NPS intern Brandon Naylor while developing OTTER. Naylor came to NPS as an ONR Naval Research Enterprise Internship intern. While at NPS, he worked at the university’s Energy Academic Group exploring the applicability of various ship-board efficiencies recommended by former NPS student Navy Lt. Dustin Crawford in a thesis titled, “Alternative Practices to Improve Surface Fleet Fuel Efficiency.”

Naylor eventually developed the Fuel Usage Study Extended Demonstration program to test variant combinations of efficiencies in Crawford’s thesis.

“I developed a program that allows me to set up to ten battle groups and factor in schedules for them. You can build up different sets of policies with different constraints and compare how much fuel has been used per group, per hour,” Naylor said.

Naylor also spoke to subject matter experts and sailors throughout the surface Navy to ensure that his algorithms were capable of accurately predicting fuel usage in a variety of different maritime conditions and within operationally imposed restraints, an effort that helped Blackburn to solve some of the underlying problems that make OTTER possible.

Similar developments and collaboration between researchers at NPS and ONR have made programs like OTTER successful in in the past. Blackburn hopes that OTTER will contribute to efforts in the areas of conservation, operational research, and efficiency

ACC command chief visits SJAFB

by Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


11/17/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Chief Master Sgt. Steve McDonald, Air Combat Command command chief, visited the 4th Fighter Wing, Nov. 11-13 at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

McDonald visited several agencies during his stay, including the 4th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control tower, 4th Security Forces Squadron shoot house, and the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron explosives ordnance disposal range.

He also conducted several briefings and a wing-wide all-call where he discussed and answered questions regarding changes affecting the Air Force.

"Thank you for the opportunity to come out here," McDonald said. "On behalf of Gen. [Hawk] Carlisle [ACC commander] and myself, I just want to say thank you for what you do. You don't hear it enough, and we don't say it enough. Thank you for serving in the United States Air Force, the world's greatest air force."

During his visit, McDonald responded to questions regarding changes to the promotions, enlisted evaluations and proposed changes to military retirement plans. He again addressed these concerns at the all-call, basing his message around the three points Carlisle stated when he assumed command of ACC: winning today's fight, resiliency and responsibility.

"I hope you understand your role in winning today's fight," McDonald said. "The capability you provide helps us do what we need to do to win today's fight. It's pretty simple; every person that is in this wing, regardless of what you do - comptrollers, contractors, maintenance, operations, medical - it doesn't matter, you have a significant role in that mission. You all have an important mission to do. If it wasn't important, we wouldn't pay you to do it."

He went on to say winning today's fight relies directly on the health of individual Airmen as well as the force as a whole.

ACC's approach to instilling Airmen resilience is following the Comprehensive Airman Fitness program, which teaches the importance of mental, physical, spiritual and social resilience. The program encourages balance among all four areas to enhance well-rounded, stable Airmen.

Regarding resilience, McDonald discussed the alarming trend in military suicide rates, asking the audience why so much effort and training regarding resilience isn't having a more visible impact.

"Is there a magic answer?" McDonald asked. "No, I don't think there is, but is there a magic question? I think that question is: 'What is it that will get you through the worst possible day you could ever face in life?' I think that's a question we should all ask ourselves."

He asked the audience how they would respond to terrible news, injury or losing a loved one.

"These things happen," McDonald continued. "That's just part of life, and it happens all the time. What is it that, when the day turns really dark, will tell me it's worth waking up tomorrow? I've got my answer, not necessarily your answer, but I think we've got to come up with something. You've got to have an answer before you need it."

With that said, McDonald transitioned to the third point: responsibility.

He said he views responsibility on the same page as respect and if people have respect for the people around them, they will act responsibly. The two go hand-in-hand.

McDonald said that after 30 years of service, generational gaps in communication processing sometimes create difficulties between Airmen and supervisors. He urged everyone to bridge this gap to improve cohesiveness and promote respect to win today's fight.

"The last time any American [service member] was killed by an enemy air attack was back in the 50's, because we have owned the skies since then," McDonald said. "We own the skies because of you and because of what you do on a daily basis. I hope every one of you understands your importance to the mission of the United States Air Force. I think it's pretty easy to understand how important that mission is to national security of the United States."

Helpful Airmen aid homeless vets

by Master Sgt. Carl Clegg
108th Wing Public Affairs


11/15/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Members of the 108th Medical Group, New Jersey Air National Guard, provided blood pressure checks to homeless veterans during the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Stand Down Day at the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center in Newark, New Jersey, Oct. 10.

The event allows the veterans to get much needed care and services from a wide array of state agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Members of the 108th Medical Group have been providing care at stand down days for more than 10 years and provided the blood pressure checks as a means to talk with the veterans about their overall health and wellness.

1st Lt. Sara Kucharski, a registered nurse with the 108th MG, has participated in the Stand Down for the past three years.

"We service [the veterans] doing blood pressure checks and we ask them about their health history," said Kucharski. "We are more of a counselor than a provider of medical services."

This year's participation may have been life saving for one veteran Kuharski encountered. The veteran had not seen a medical provider in a few years and his blood pressure was extremely high. He was transported to the emergency room at the nearby Veterans Administration hospital for monitoring and continued care, and promised Kuharski that he would use the incident as a wakeup call and see a doctor more frequently.

Kuharski noted the amount of care being provided to the veterans and, in turn, the veterans' appreciation.

"I'm homeless right now," said Blaise Jones, a U.S. Navy veteran from Newark. "I'm here to see what kind of help they can offer."


Airmen took the opportunity to educate many veterans like Jones about the risks of high blood pressure, including stroke and heart attack, and how to combat those risks with diet and exercise.

The day also included a hot lunch provided to the hundreds of veteran attendees by soldiers from the New Jersey National Guard's 2nd of the 113th Infantry.

Stand down is a military term referring to exhausted combat units that were removed from the battlefront to a place of security and safety for rest and recovery. Today, stand downs are grass roots, community-based intervention program to help veterans' battle life on the streets.