Thursday, December 03, 2015

Schriever spreads holiday cheer

by Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart
50th Space Wing Public Affairs

12/2/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Schriever gathered to light the base Christmas tree and ring in the holiday season Dec. 1, outside of Building 210 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

Col. DeAnna M. Burt, 50th Space Wing commander; Lt. Col. Casey Beard, 1st Space Operations Squadron commander; Lucy Paffett, wife of Capt. Tyler Paffett 1 SOPS, and their sons Tyler and Lucas had the honor of lighting the Christmas tree.

"It feels great to be part of the tree lighting ceremony," said Lucy. "We feel really included and it is nice to be part of Schriever and the holiday festivities--we feel really honored."

As the tree was lit, Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray, 50 SW, explained the meaning behind the lights.

"The lights on the Christmas tree represent hope in the world," said Ray. "May the bright lights fill our hearts with warmth this season. The lights on the tree may have different meanings to the diversity of our military, but celebrating today brings us all together to enjoy the spirit of giving, caring and sharing."

The event fostered a sense of community and brought a small piece of home and holiday tradition to each person in attendance.

"The holidays are a great time to be with your family and celebrate the season, but for some of us especially in the military, we don't always get to be with each other for the holidays," said Burt. "Thank you all for your service, I know it can be tough when you're away from your family."

The Chapel staff hopes this event helped Team 5-O see we are all part of a military family.

"We want to make sure we incorporate traditions into our Schriever community so others feel a family presence, especially through the holidays," said Staff Sgt. Jacqulyn Rider, 50 SW chaplain's assistant.

To further enhance the holiday spirit, Ellicott Elementary School choir students, led by James Christian, sang "Jingle Bells," "Feliz Navidad," "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Winter Wonderland."

"The choir sang beautifully," said Burt. "I want to thank our Ellicott family for being out here today with us."

The event also featured visits from Scruff McGruff, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus.

"The ride down from the North Pole was a little rough, but the weather is cooperating," said Santa. "It's a nice day to welcome the holiday season with this tree lighting and say 'Merry Christmas' to all the kids. I'm so glad the Ellicott kids were able to participate."

This was Santa's second visit to Schriever for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

"I came last year and it was a wonderful ceremony," said Santa. "I'm glad I could make it down again to take part in such a great event."

Rider explained the event wouldn't have been possible without the help of the force support squadron, the Schriever AFB Fire Department, the Satellite Dish Dining Facility, the civil engineering squadron's electrical shop, Thea Wasche, Bill Arimborgo, Billy Ray and the Chapel Staff.

"[The tree lighting ceremony committee] are all on the nice list this year," said Santa. "They've been very kind and generous and they've given me a very warm welcome."

Santa offered advice to all the boys and girls on how to stay on the nice list this year.

"Remember to listen to your parents. Christmas isn't here yet, so there is still time to make that naughty list-- although, I hope all the kids end up on the nice list."

U.S., British, French forces partner for inaugural Trilateral Exercise at JBLE

by Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong II
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

12/1/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.  -- U.S. Service members will partner with members of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF) and the French Air Force (FrAF) for the inaugural Trilateral anti-access/area denial exercise scheduled for Dec. 2-18, 2015, at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

The exercise, hosted by the 1st Fighter Wing (FW), will focus on operations in a highly-contested operational environment through a variety of simulated adversary scenarios. According to U.S. Air Force Col. Pete Fesler, the commander of the 1st FW, the intent of the exercise is to gain an understanding of the logistics, support requirements, capabilities, tactics, techniques and procedures associated with the integrated operation of coalition front-line fighters.

"The RAF and FrAF are our vital strategic partners and allies in the current fight against extremism, and will be in any foreseeable future conflict," said Fesler. "The trilateral exercise gives us an opportunity to train together in realistic counter-air and strike scenarios. This training is critical to ensure that we have day-one interoperability for future contingency operations."

According to Fesler, international exercises like the Trilateral Exercise have helped the 1st FW learn to work with coalition partners in the past, such as during the Western Zephyr exercise in 2015, where the 1st FW worked with the RAF to enhance joint capabilities.

More than 500 people will be involved in the exercise, consisting of approximately 225 personnel from the U.S. Air Force, 175 from the RAF and 150 from the FrAF.

According to Fesler, partnering with coalition forces for training is critical to ensuring the 1st FW and its allies are ready to execute their mission when called upon.

The exercise will not only feature the U.S.'s Raptor, but also the RAF's Typhoon and the FrAF's Rafale as primary aircraft. The Trilateral Exercise will be the first time these coalition aircraft have flown together. Adversary aircraft will be replicated by the U.S.'s F-15E Strike Eagles and T-38 Talons. The U.S.'s Airborne Warning and Control System, as well as U.S. and FrAF tankers will also provide support during the exercise.

While there will be more aircraft flying out of Langley, the level of noise in the surrounding area should be no different than normal.

ADAPT helps members achieve a substance-free life

by Senior Airman Areca T. Bell
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/3/2015 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Team Aviano members sometimes turn to drugs and alcohol for a release or escape from everyday life.

For these Airmen, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program is available to help them regain control of their lives.

"ADAPT's job is to educate, treat and get Airmen back on the right track," said Staff Sgt. Juan Padua, 31st Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician. "We educate members about substance use, the short- and long-term effects, build responsible [use] and abstinence plans, and help members assess their situation."

ADAPT aims to promote readiness, health and wellness through prevention and treatment, to help ensure each member can perform their mission duties.

"Our goal is to minimize the negative consequences of substance misuse and abuse to the member, their family and the Air Force and to restore function and return them to [a healthy lifestyle.]" Padua explained."

The program offers treatment and prevention outreach services to all units and members in need of help.

"We offer counseling for members who don't necessarily meet medical diagnosis, but need education on substance abuse, in order to minimize possible negative consequences," said Padua. "For members who have met a medical diagnosis, we offer individual and group treatment services. We also [host education] activities to advertise safe and responsible drinking."

With these available resources, Airmen should remain alert of risk factors and warning signs exhibited by their wingmen. These can include mood changes, becoming more withdrawn, focusing on activities that revolve around alcohol, personal life challenges and poor work performance.

"Have a conversation with the person and express your concern," said Padua. "This may motivate the person to seek help on their own before they have more problems. If speaking with the member doesn't work and you still have significant concerns, seek guidance from supervision or a first sergeant."

Padua also encourages those who think they may have a problem to seek the help needed.

"The vast majority of people who seek ADAPT treatment have zero career impact," said Padua. "Being proactive and identifying a problem on your own tends to be seen as a sign of strength by leaders. The only time people may have a negative career impact is if they are not compliant with program requirements."

To receive help, members can visit ADAPT in Bldg. 108 on Area 1, or call the office at 632-5321 to make an appointment. The clinic is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"It's difficult to make major life changes without some assistance," said Padua. "ADAPT provides support and teaches skills so substance abuse doesn't become a social or workplace problem."

AF presents Fisher House award to TAPS

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information, / Published December 02, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presented the 2014 Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award to the founder and president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors in a ceremony at the Pentagon Dec. 1.

Bonnie Carroll established TAPS in 1994 as a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides ongoing peer-based emotional support to those grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the armed forces. The organization brings survivors together with others who have experienced a similar loss for comfort, healing and hope. The program offers a 24/7 helpline, a network of volunteers and resources, quarterly publications, children and adult retreats, and more -- all of which are free to the survivor.

“For the past 11 years, TAPS has extended their arms to embrace our survivors, their children, family and friends with support, compassion and love, regardless of where or how their loved one died,” James said. “TAPS’s mission to provide ongoing peer-based emotional support to those grieving the loss of a fallen service member underwrites the sacred trust placed in the Department of Defense and the commitment to take care of our troops and their families.”

The award, established in 1996, was named in honor of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, both of whom contributed extensively to the support and welfare of members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. The award is presented to an organization or individual who has demonstrated exceptional patriotism and humanitarian concern for members of the armed forces or their families.

“Bonnie has comforted the hearts and lifted the lives of thousands of families across the country,” James said. “Her strength and generosity are testament to the enduring human spirit. I am so fortunate, so lucky it was my turn to preside over this ceremony today and present this award to such a deserving organization and to a woman who’s very near and dear to my heart.”

Carroll said she was honored and humbled to be recognized with the award.

“This is the organization none of us wanted to be a part of, that we wish didn’t exist, but it is a family where those loved ones of our nation’s fallen heroes can find hope, comfort, support and care,” Carroll said.

“I accept this honor very humbly on behalf of what is today a magnificent organization,” she continued. “We’re so proud that you as the military have allowed us to be your shipmates, to be your teammates, to be your battle buddies. It is a beautiful partnership; it is a family affair and I am so deeply honored to accept this tremendously prestigious award on behalf of all of our families.”

Measureable maintenance

by Airman Shawna L. Keyes
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/3/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- With thousands of working parts, the F-15E Strike Eagle relies on Airmen from several maintenance squadrons to keep the jet in the air. While some of these Airmen work directly on the flightline, others work quietly behind the scenes to ensure Strike Eagles are ready-to-go.

One of those silent warriors is the 4th Component Maintenance Squadron test, measurement and diagnostic equipment shop, also known as the Precision Measurement Equipment Lab, or PMEL.

The 4th CMS PMEL shop calibrates, troubleshoots and repairs more than 8,500 pieces of equipment on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, Pope Army Airfield, N.C. and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence, out of Wilmington, N.C.

The flight is broken down into three different sections: scheduling, quality assurance and PMEL.

The scheduling section is responsible for the entire inventory from various squadrons on base and at other installations. This includes every piece of equipment that has measurement capabilities.

The PMEL section is responsible for the proper functioning of all equipment in the inventory. Ranging from gauges and maintenance tools for the F-15E, to the drug scales used by the 4th Security Forces Squadron and Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment, these Airmen calibrate and repair everything to specific standards, which are inspected and signed off by the quality assurance section.

"Everything we do here is directly related to how the jet is able to function," said Staff Sgt. John Loving, 4th CMS NCO in-charge of PMEL quality assurance program. "While we may not be exactly on the jet itself, everything they're using out there on the flightline to service that jet is calibrated in our lab."

PMEL handles more than 637 pieces of equipment on a monthly basis coming from various squadrons on base. They also support an inventory of more than 1,280 items from outside the installation.

"If PMEL didn't come out and test our diagnostic equipment, which gives us all of our readings and parameters for the engine, we couldn't guarantee it was actually serviceable," said Staff Sgt. Spencer McGraw, 4th CMS aerospace propulsion flight technician. "If we placed (an unserviceable) engine in a jet, it could result in an in-flight emergency or even loss of an aircraft.  It's really important that PMEL comes out and calibrates our equipment or we can't do our job correctly."

According to Loving, there is a constant flow of equipment coming in and out of the shop. Even when jets aren't flying, PMEL still works around the clock to service the equipment needed to keep the flying mission going.

"If we're not here to service that equipment for a day, a week, things are not going back to the customer and all of sudden those weekly checks, monthly checks, before flight checks, they can't get accomplished because they don't have certified equipment to do it," Loving said.

With anywhere from 20 to 60 items coming into the shop on a daily basis, the more than 20 PMEL technicians have to prioritize the work while still getting items back to the customer in a timely manner.

In addition, the flight maintains a rapid assistance calibration lab, or RASCAL, that operates as a mobile PMEL module. This component, manned by eight technicians, can be sent out in support of overseas contingency operations at a moments notice.

"We have one of only two [RASCALs] in the entire Air Force," said Airman 1st Class Alexis Kogel, 4th CMS TMDE technician. "The RASCAL has to be ready 24/7, so that way if there is a need overseas for it, we can have it ready to deploy within 24 to 48 hours."

According to Loving, all the equipment in PMEL is calibrated to an accuracy four times better than the test equipment's minimum standards. These calibrations can take anywhere from a few hours to several days depending on specifications needed.

"We're kind of the unsung hero, where you don't really know we're here until something bad goes down," Loving said. "In that respect, the more that you don't know about us the better we're doing our job."

Gen. Welsh discusses airpower future at Atlantic Council

By Senior Airman Hailey Haux, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information / Published December 02, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III spoke on the future of American airpower during a Dec. 1 event at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.

The event was part of the Commanders Series, a preeminent platform for military and defense leaders to discuss strategic issues with an audience drawn from the community.

“Over the last 68 years, we have basically brought American airpower to all corners of the globe and I don’t anticipate that changing any time soon,” Welsh said. “The demand signal for airpower will continue to go up, it’s been going up for a long time now and it will continue to go up because our people bring great, great capability for the joint force.”

Welsh spoke for the need to modernize aircraft and infrastructure, not just to prepare for the conflict of the next few years, but 25 to 50 years in the future.

“We must modernize. Holding on to everything that made us great will not make us great in the future; it’s just a fact,” Welsh said. “It is important for us to understand before we think about that force of the future, that capability gap we have enjoyed here in the United States for years is closing and it is closing fast.

“If we don’t pay attention to this, airpower will no longer be an asymmetric advantage of the U.S. military. The impact of that could be catastrophic … The U.S. way of war will have to be adjusted.”

Welsh said every day is a good day being the Air Force chief of staff because he gets to stand with people he respects, and represent a force he loves and values while serving a nation he would die for.

“The only thing that personally keeps me awake at night is worrying about letting them down. That would kill me,” Welsh said. “I love the people in my Air Force. I just love them and if I felt I wasn’t working hard enough or I didn’t care enough or I let them down in some way, I wouldn’t sleep at all.”

Moody deploys first HC-130Js

By Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan, 23rd Wing Public Affairs / Published December 03, 2015

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- The 71st Rescue Squadron deployed two HC-130J Combat King II aircraft for the first time Nov. 27.

The HC-130Js, which deployed with more than 60 aircrew, support and maintenance personnel, bring a new set of capabilities to the airspace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. During the deployment, the aircraft will be used for personnel recovery, ensuring U.S. personnel do not become isolated.

"It's the start of another era," said Lt. Col. Gary Symon, the 71st RQS director of operations. "We flew the P-model aircraft here for about 15 to 16 years, throughout multiple deployments, and now it's this new aircraft's turn."

Replacing the HC-130P/N model aircraft, the HC-130J features improved navigation, threat detection and countermeasure systems, among other additions. It has been at Moody since July 2013.

"The previous aircraft were built in the early 1960s," Symon said. "There's been significant technological improvement. They can fly faster, they can fly higher, they can carry more and they burn about 10 percent less fuel, so it's much more efficient. Additionally, this aircraft is capable of air-to-air refueling, provides heavy equipment airdrop and has improved sensors on it for personnel recovery."

Equally as important to the mission as having the best possible aircraft is having the people to support it, Symon said.

"They're trained and ready to go," he said. "Every single one of the individuals here has worked very hard over the last couple of months to get themselves combat-mission ready and prepared to go downrange and prove these capabilities."