Military News

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

AFSPC commander returned to discuss expectations

by Jennifer Thibault
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


12/15/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command's leader returned to his former wing stomping grounds to share his expectations and vision.

General John Hyten, former 50th Space Wing commander, engaged a wide ranging group of current wing members to discuss the way forward on critical game changing initiatives being executed by Team Five-O, leading with the Space Mission Force construct.

The Space Mission Force program will develop space experts like their air counterparts enabling them to stay in the "cockpit" or operational side of the house for as long as possible.
"The ultimate goal of any weapon system is to fight through the threat and deliver on the other side," said Hyten.

The expertise to be able to deliver on this goal is limited by the current construct that transitions seasoned space professionals to day staff positions rather than "staying in the fight" and influencing daily operations with their acquired knowledge and experience.

Though big pieces will roll out this spring, the general cautioned the audience about his expectations.

"It's not going to be perfect.  We're not going to be able to do everything on the first day, it's going to be an iterative approach," he said.

At the wing where space and cyber intersect, the general followed his SMF lead with a discussion on the cyber squadrons of the future.

Currently the majority of the command's cyber budget is spent on network operations, read communications systems that support administrative functions such as email.

"As an Air Force our mission is to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyber," the general reminded the crowd.  "Email is not in our mission statement."

He explained that as a command we need to do more to protect and defend in the cyber domain like we do the other two domains.

"The wing here will lead the command in figuring it out; and again, I'm not expecting perfection but I am expecting your best efforts all along the way," he said.

Following this discussion the general opened the floor to questions.

First Lt. Nathaniel Lee, 50th Operations Support Squadron, led the way wondering how to meet the general's expectations in the current resource-constrained environment.
The first way is by clearly identifying what is a military unique mission that must be accomplished by an Airman.

"Flying a satellite doesn't need to be an Airman; or a person for that matter," Hyten said.  "However defending and taking the fight to the enemy, delivering effects on the ground anytime, anyplace is."

Generally, he said we are getting resources and we have to be smart about how we apply them to mature technologies.

"The main [limiting factor] is people.  The Air Force is half the size it was when I came in, but we'll never get all that we need.  So we have to figure out how to do it; and identifying military unique missions and positions will help."

Subsequent questions also touched on the manpower piece.

"There will be no new manpower, we must repurpose our Airmen -- for me this includes active duty, reserve, guard and civilians," he said.

The 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Zack Owen, followed with a question about offense.

"If the wing could harvest bodies, do you see an opportunity for an offensive space control squadron in the 50th Space Wing?" he asked.

The general explained that squadrons will continue to be designed around weapons systems as they are now.  He added we need to get away from being special because "we're space or cyber."

"We are Airmen who do missions in space and cyber," he said.  "And we need to posture our offense and defense to have them available and executable just as they are in other domains."

Looking to the future, the general explained the audience's participation.

"I didn't hold an [operations group] call, this was open to the wing and that's because everyone in the wing is part of mission success.  We're putting more pressure across the board and it will take the whole wing to be successful with these initiatives," he said.

He encouraged the audience to keep sharing its feedback, to route issues through the chain.

"I can fix a lot of things, but I need people to tell me what's broken," he said.

Face of Defense: Colorblind Airman Overcomes Hurdles to Succeed as Artist



By Air Force Senior Airman Kristin High, 51st Fighter Wing

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea, December 15, 2015 — Ludwig van Beethoven said, "Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the divine." In other words, he might've said limitations shouldn't impede success.

That's something one airman here understands. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Juan Hernandez, 731st Air Mobility Squadron air terminal operations center senior information controller, is colorblind. He's also self-taught visual artist.

Hernandez said he's been drawing "literally as long as I can remember. I specifically remember when I was four, I painted a wolf sitting on a log, looking at a cabin with three pigs poking their heads out," he said. “My mom left it on the bathroom wall and we had it there the entire time we lived in the house."

Numbers for Colors

Hernandez said he learned very early that he wasn’t like most children and never would be.

“I remember being in school; the teacher was showing us a red and a green light, but I wasn’t interpreting anything correctly,” he said. “We conducted a test and quickly learned that I was indeed colorblind -- not completely but enough to make everything challenging growing up.

He said he still created art regularly, but it took time to learn the colors. “I would have to ask people, if I was drawing a comic book character, what colors to use for each area,” he said.

Hernandez said he learned to read colors by the labels or numbers embedded on each pencil and marker, and over time, he eventually memorized them and saw his accuracy improve.

“It doesn’t affect my job, but it does make being an artist difficult,” he said. “I feel like everyone else has an advantage over me because they can make their work look more realistic and create gradients that I have such a hard time putting together. People never notice, but I always feel like I can do better.”

Colorful Self Expression

To cope with his own difficulties, Hernandez said he found other outlets to show his vibrant personality.

“I randomly dress up as [a superhero] and visit children’s hospitals,” he said. “It gives me a great sense of purpose to see the children’s faces when I walk into the room, in-turn, filling a void I think I’ve been missing all these years."

Those alternate expressions, he said, also inspire his art. "I put a lot of passion and emotion into my art, and if you pay attention to the details, you can see various elements of intelligence, formulas, different languages and cultural symbols," he said. "It’s all very abstract.”
His added that his favorite piece is a self-portrait in his superhero costume. “I love the portrait because it reminds me of why I started wearing the costume,” Hernandez said. “I feel like I have to. It’s my way of giving back.”

2,500th C-130 lands at Moody



By Senior Airman Ceaira Tinsley, 23rd Wing Public Affairs / Published December 14, 2015

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- Fifty-nine years after the first C-130 Hercules was delivered to the Air Force, the 2,500th Lockheed Martin Corp. manufactured C-130 joined the 71st Rescue Squadron's fleet and legacy here Dec. 11.

The Air Force is the world's largest Hercules operator and Moody Air Force Base is home to its newest HC-130J Combat King II.

"This milestone delivery is a source of pride for our team and the global C-130 community," said George Shultz, the C-130 programs vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin. "The Hercules is a global asset and versatile workhorse that is truly without equal. This delivery represents the C-130's strength in numbers and its ongoing relevancy to operators around the world."

Moody's Airmen and the rescue community echoed the feelings of having such an integral piece of Hercules history.

"This is such a historic flight because it's the 2,500th Hercules aircraft and Moody gets to be a part of making Air Force history," said Capt. Andrew Kim, a 71st RQS pilot who flew the aircraft from Marietta, Georgia, to Moody AFB. "The C-130 is a part of a long legacy of really great aircraft that have contributed to some huge feats for the Air Force as a whole and the entire rescue community. It feels really good to be a part of it and to be able to bring the plane and some history back to its new home at Moody's 71st."

Globally, the Hercules fleet performs various missions, but while assigned under the 347th Rescue Group's umbrella, it is the aircraft used to perform the rescue aspect of Moody's infamous motto to: attack, rescue and prevail.

"The C-130 is such a tried and true platform," Kim said. "With them we can do anything from low-levels to airdrops straight out of the schoolhouse and operate in austere environments that some of the other planes might not be able to handle.

"Bringing a J model back, especially a new one, increases our reliability rates," Kim added. "We can go out and execute the mission without having to worry about maintenance problems or breaking down so we can be much more dependable when we're out at our deployed locations."

Also on board for the aircraft's arrival was Col. Thomas Kunkel, the 23rd Wing commander, who is quite proud to welcome the new aircraft to Moody.

"We're a low-density, high-demand fleet down here, so every single aircraft adds a tremendous improvement to combat capability to the Air Force and to our warfighters all across the globe," he said.

CSAF, CMSAF bring message of thanks to deployed Airmen



By Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs / Published December 14, 2015

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody visited Airmen in Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar from Dec 8-11.

“Our Airmen are laser focused, and they understand the importance of what they’re doing,” Cody said.  “The day-to-day impact they are having in this theater is amazing.”

The Air Force’s top officer and enlisted leader made the trip to meet with deployed Airmen and thank them for all they do to defend America.

“Our Airmen are really good at their jobs, really good at understanding how they fit into the bigger scheme of things and they’re inventing new and better ways to do every job from maintenance to delivering strikes on the enemy,” Welsh said. “They continue to prove they are better than Airmen have ever been; that’s one of the things that make this Air Force great.”

While Welsh remained proud of America’s Airmen, he also stressed the Air Force faces many challenges in the future such as modernization and continuing to build partnership capacity.

“Air forces that fall behind the technology curve fail,” he said. “We must modernize the Air Force and we must give our Airmen the tools to do the job five, 10 and 50 years from now.”

Another challenge facing the Air Force, Welsh said, is ensuring America’s Airmen never forget how valuable they are to the mission.

“I think the greatest challenge is making sure every Airman knows they are valued, they are critically important to the team, and their opinions are respected and sought after,” Welsh said. “I think if we can keep our Airmen proud of who they are and who they stand beside, our Air Force will solve every other problem. It’s all about Airmen loving being Airmen. If we do that, we’re fine.”

Welsh and Cody also emphasized how important it is for supervisors and commanders to know their Airmen. 

“They have to know you care about them and you have to get to know them,” Cody said. “We have great Airmen and they bring great capabilities, but first and foremost they are people. They have to feel valued for who they are and you have to know their stories to do that.”

Without knowing the background of Airmen, knowing what motivates them and what they care about, it’s impossible to lead them,” Welsh said. “Their stories are unique. Some are uplifting. Some are sad, but each one is unique to that Airman and if you don’t know that story it’s hard to lead that Airman as well as you could otherwise.”

“People like to feel valued, they like to know people care about them, about their future, their job, their opportunities and their family,” Welsh continued. “If you don’t know their stories, it’s hard to lead Airmen. It’s all about making the Air Force more effective and that starts by making every Airman more effective.”

Before departing the region, Welsh and Cody had one final message of gratitude for America’s Airmen.

“We appreciate everything you do every day,” Cody said. “We’re also grateful for the continued support of our families back home.”

“Thank you for everything you do,” Welsh said. “Thank you for who you are, for what you do, how well you do it, thanks for what you represent, thanks for standing by each other, thank you for serving.”