Saturday, December 05, 2015

Dunford Launches 2015 USO Holiday Troop Tour

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md., December 5, 2015 — Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. launched the 2015 USO Holiday Tour from here today with stops planned on three continents.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is bringing the USO troupe to entertain service members in Europe, Africa and Asia.

“The chairman, along with members of the 2015 USO Entertainment Troupe, will be visiting service members and their families to express the country's gratitude for their service while deployed during the holidays in defense our nation,” said Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, the chairman’s spokesman.

Singer/songwriters Kyle Jacobs, Chris Daughtry, Billy Montana and Brett James will bring a bit of home to service members on the seven-day tour.

Rounding out the traveling group of celebrities are actor/director Elizabeth Banks of “Pitch Perfect” and “Hunger Games” fame, writer/director/actor David Wain of “Wet Hot American Summer,” comedian Sydney Castillo, and Boston Red Sox relief pitchers Heath Hembree and Steven Wright.

USO President J.D. Couch is also accompanying the tour.

Dunford is continuing a tradition started by Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who brought USO troupes to Iraq and Afghanistan during his tenure as chairman.

Face of Defense: F-15 Pilot Passes 2,000-Hour Milestone

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis 18th Wing

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan, December 4, 2015 — A maintenance airman stands in front of a fighter jet, arms stretched out as he marshals the jet into place. The engine’s roar begins to fade and its canopy opens, projecting a robotic sound reminiscent of a 1980s science-fiction flick. As the pilot climbs down, friends and family congratulate him in the traditional manner -- by spraying him with a stream of ice-cold water.

This is what happens when an F-15 Eagle pilot reaches the milestone of 2,000 flying hours.

Air Force Lt. Col Alexander Haddad, 44th Fighter Squadron pilot, reached this milestone Nov. 19, after a routine training mission in his F-15.

Members of the crowd congratulated him one by one, including Lt. Col. Kevin Jamieson, 44th FS commander, who presented Haddad with the 2,000-hour patch.

Rare Air

Reaching that many hours doesn’t happen often in the fighter jet world. Unlike cargo and tanker aircraft, which fly for hours on end, F-15 flights are much shorter in duration.

“It’s difficult to achieve that milestone,” Jamieson said. “Typically on a training [flight] you average anywhere from 44 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes."

Accumulating 2,000 in-flight hours can take an entire career to achieve, if it happens at all. For Haddad it took a little over 19 years, and he's the first Kadena F-15 pilot to accomplish the feat since 2009.

“In today’s Air Force, we’re fairly limited on flight time and resources," Haddad said. "So we’re trying to do more with less, and we’re trying to make every single flight hour count.”

As recently as a decade ago, Haddad explained, it was more common for fighter pilots to reach 2,000 hours. In recent years, though, the focus has been "on making sure they’re doing the right thing with the few precious hours we do get."

Unforeseen Achievement

Haddad graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1996, to become a pilot. He finally took off on his first F-15 flight in April 1998.

He said he didn’t think he would ever make it to this moment. Jamieson said he thinks it’s a big deal because it shows that the pilot has been able to do his job well over a long period of time.
“I had always aspired to get to 2,000 hours, and four or five years ago I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it,” Haddad said. “It feels pretty amazing; I’m very privileged that I got the chance to do that here with the 44th and the 18th Wing.”

Carter Opens All Military Occupations, Positions to Women

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, December 3, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced today that beginning in January 2016, all military occupations and positions will be open to women, without exception.

For the first time in U.S. military history, as long as they qualify and meet specific standards, the secretary said women will be able to contribute to the Defense Department mission with no barriers at all in their way.

“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat," Carter added. "They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men."

Harnessing Women’s Skills, Perspectives

Even more importantly, he said, the military services will be better able to harness the skills and perspectives that talented women have to offer.

Though more than 111,000 positions had opened to women in uniform since 2013 until today's announcement, Carter said, about 10 percent of military positions -- nearly 220,000 -- had remained closed to women. These included infantry, armor, reconnaissance, and some special operations units, the secretary said.

Over the past three years, he added, senior civilian and military leaders across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command have studied the integration of women into these positions.

“Last month I received their recommendations [and] the data, studies and surveys on which they were based regarding whether any of those remaining positions warrant a continued exemption from being opened to women,” Carter said, noting that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Socom said none of the positions warranted exemptions.

The Marine Corps asked for a partial exemption in areas that included infantry, machine gunner, fire support reconnaissance and others, he added, “[but] we are a joint force and I have decided to make a decision which applies to the entire force.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. was the Marine Corps commandant at the time, and Carter said that he and Dunford have discussed the issue many times.

“I just met with him and the other chiefs and service secretaries today, and he will be a full part of implementation," Carter added, noting that he believes the issues raised by the Marine Corps can and will be addressed in implementation.

Departmental Memorandum

In a memorandum to the secretaries of all military departments and others, Carter directed the military services to open all military occupational specialties to women 30 days from today -- a waiting period required by law -- and by that date to provide updated implementation plans for integrating women into the positions now open to them.

Carter said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva will oversee the decision’s short-term implementation, ensure there are no unintended consequences to the joint force, and periodically update Carter and Dunford.

Women will be fully integrated into combat roles deliberately and methodically, the secretary said, using seven guidelines.

Seven Guidelines

1. Implementation will be pursued with the objective of improved force effectiveness.

2. Leaders must assign tasks and jobs throughout the force based on ability, not gender.

3. Equal opportunity likely will not mean equal participation by men and women in all specialties, and there will be no quotas.

4. Studies conducted by the services and Socom indicate that on average there are physical and other differences between men and women, and implementation will take this into account.

5. The department will address the fact that some surveys suggest that some service members, men and women, will perceive that integration could damage combat effectiveness.

6. Particularly in the specialties that are newly open to women, survey data and the judgment of service leaders indicate that the performance of small teams is important.

7. The United States and some of its closest friends and allies are committed to having militaries that include men and women, but not all nations share this perspective.

Integrating Women in all Military Jobs

Implementation won't happen overnight, Carter said.

“Fully integrating women into all military positions will make the U.S. armed forces better and stronger but there will be problems to fix and challenges to overcome,” he said. “We shouldn't diminish that.”

The military has long prided itself on being a meritocracy, where those who serve are judged only on what they have to offer to help defend the country, Carter said.

“That’s why we have the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” he added, “and it’s one other way we will strive to ensure that the force of the future remains so, long into the future.”