Sunday, December 06, 2015

125th Fighter Wing Airmen sing for Salute to Service

by Master Sgt. Jaclyn Lyons
125th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/1/2015 - JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --
On a sunny, breezy afternoon this past Sunday, Senior Airmen Asia Bryant and Kaleigh Kozdras, and Staff Sgt. Carlynne Devine from the 125th Fighter Wing gathered in a tight semi-circle in front of the microphone and began to sing the Star Spangled Banner.

The crowd of 60,000 rose for the presentation of the National Anthem by the 125th FW trio and the unfurling of the American flag by military members across Everbank Field stadium. As the Airmen hit the last note, three jets flew overhead and the crowd erupted in thunderous applause as the Jacksonville Jaguars took the field to kick off their Military Salute to Service game.

Each of the airmen is known at the 125th Fighter Wing for their great voice and has sang many times for ceremonies around base themselves, they all have a background in singing ranging from school and church choirs, karaoke, to even cutting a record in Nashville.

A commander on base asked if they had ever thought about singing together and the three Airmen decided to practice and try it out. Their three-part harmony has now been heard around the 125th Fighter Wing at special ceremonies and family events.

When the Jaguars contacted the Florida National Guard to inquire if the if there was anyone that could sing in the Salute to Service, 1st Lt. Justin Phillips, deputy communications director, Florida Department of Military Affairs, immediately thought of the trio.

"For us to provide singers at the Jags game, in a town where there are more than 20,000 Navy personnel, is a strong testament for our relationship with this great city," Phillips said.

The women were all flattered and excited about the opportunity to represent the Air Force in the place they call home.

"Singing for a Jags game was actually on my bucket list," said Staff Sgt. Carlynne Devine. "But I never dreamed I'd get to do it in uniform, representing the 125th for the NFL team in my own back yard. It doesn't get much better than that!"

When the time came, the song went just as practiced and left the three Airmen with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Senior Airman Asia Bryant explained,

"Standing there on the field with my fellow airmen in uniform I was filled with pride and excitement, it's truly an honor to represent our unit, the Air National Guard, and the Air Force as a whole."

WRANGB participate in first Air National Guard distance simulation demonstration

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

12/4/2015 - WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- Airmen from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron here, remotely took part in the world's largest modeling, simulation and training conference Dec. 1-3, which was hosted more than 1,000 miles away in Orlando, Florida.

For the first time Airmen and retired service members from Oklahoma, Iowa and Florida, remotely demonstrated the use of the Air National Guard Advanced Joint Tactical Air Control Training Simulator as part of the Distributed Training Operations Center's participation in the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.

"This is the first time that an Air National Guard unit has shown the ability to do distributive training," said Master Sgt. Chris Johnson, the contracted operator and maintainer for the simulator.

The squadron's participation with the DTOC is just the beginning of a national trend, said Johnson. Joint Tactical Air Control units around the nation are getting these simulators and will have the opportunity to connect with other simulators for collaborative and interactive training.

The simulator and DTOC allow members - from different locations, military branches and subject matters from around the world - to coordinate operations in a single simulated location while never leaving their respective bases and at the fraction of the cost of organizing a national exercise.

"It gives local units the ability to bring outside players in to create a more robust and realistic training," said Johnson, who, without the DTOC, is tasked with creating scenarios and acting as the remote parties that interact with Joint Tactical Air Controllers. "You're bringing in a greater depth of knowledge and people's real life experiences versus just one guy."

For Airmen, the demonstration of the simulator provided a look into the real-life cooperation and organization behind operations abroad.

"It's really important to do this because we get different perspectives," said one of two Tactical Air Control Party students who participated over the three days. "We're actually talking to a pilot who's flying a simulated A-10 [aircraft]. We're actually doing our job controlling and being an air liaison to the Army. Everyone's doing their part."

As JTACs, the Airmen are responsible for calling in fire and artillery, battle tracking to orient commanders to progressing situations, and coordinating aircrews and ground teams to carry out operations. During the demonstration, the students communicated with A-10 pilots in Iowa and a ground commander in Florida, among others.

Though the simulator is different from real battle, it helps to overcome space and time restrictions that could otherwise limit the experience Airmen take with them overseas.

"It's putting you in the best place you can be, without actually being there," said the other participating TACP student.