Military News

Thursday, December 17, 2015

AFLCMC product support managers win DOD-level awards

by Gina Marie Giardina
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


12/16/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Two product support managers in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center each won a 2015 Secretary of Defense Product Support Manager Award announced by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall Dec. 9, 2015.

Dale Hertenstein, the product support manager in the Global Hawk division, won in the Major Defense Acquisition Programs category; and, Perry Hill, the PSM in the Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks division, won in the Major Weapon System/Other Weapon Systems category.

Hertenstein and Hill were chosen from a field of 44 nominees across the center, and an even larger number across Air Force Materiel Command and the Department of Defense, said Col. Shawn Harrison, the AFLCMC logistics director.

In the announcement of the winners, Kendall stressed the significance of this award and the ways in which it highlights the PSMs' efforts for warfighters across the services.

"The prestigious award recognizes PSMs as important partners in providing the very best product support for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines," he wrote. "It furthers the Defense Acquisition Workforce vision of 'creating a high-quality, high-performing, agile DAW to achieve technological superiority and protect America's national security'."

Hertenstein and Hill, along with other winners in the DOD, will be recognized at the spring 2016 Office of the Secretary of Defense Product Support Manager/Performance-Based Logistics Workshop as well as at their respective commands.

"This is a testament to the tremendous caliber of life cycle logisticians we have within AFLCMC," said Harrison.

Harrison also commended the supervisors of these PSMs for supporting their efforts and building strong nomination packages.

While AFLCMC is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the center has far-reaching support at Air Force bases and other locations worldwide. The Global Hawk division is located at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio; and the Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks division is located at Hanscom AFB in Bedford, Mass.

D-M strengthens ties with Tucson community

by Senior Airman Camilla Elizeu
355 Fighter Wing Public Affairs


12/16/2015 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- The 355th Fighter Wing and 55th Electronic Combat Group leadership signed four memorandums of agreements with Tucson officials on Dec. 14.

The agreements are intended to increase education, foreign language and communication collaborations between the base and the local community.

The Educational Partnership agreements will establish on-base internship opportunities for students of the University of Arizona and Pima Community College.

"This optimizes resources, it is not only the money integration, it is the intellectual capital," Col James Meger, the 355 Fighter Wing commander said. "When I look at University of Arizona, when I look at Pima Community College, bringing that intellectual capital in and continuing to grow and expand my Airmen and students' pool together, it is perfect."

The 55th Electronic Combat Group and the University of Arizona signed a Foreign Language Skills Partnership that will improve and maintain an existing foreign language skills project and mentor foreign language students with the University of Arizona.

"Pima County and Tucson has, for many years, developed a very sophisticated system of communication," said Mayor Jonathan Rothchild, City of Tucson. "Today we made an agreement to bring Davis-Monthan into that system."

The Emergency Response Communication Interoperability Partnership will increase communication between first responders from D-M and local community in the event of a significant emergency requiring joint response.

"This is really important," Meger said "It is the integration of the partnership between the community and the military."

Puerto Rico, Georgia Airmen make Caribbean Connection

by Tech Sgt. Marizol Ruiz
156th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


12/10/2015 - AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico  -- Airmen from the Georgia Air National Guard and the Puerto Rico Air National Guard teamed up to control aircraft from deployed radar during exercise Caribbean Connection here, Nov. 9 - 20.

The 141st Air Control Squadron, Puerto Rico ANG hosted 99 Airmen from the 117th Air Control Squadron and 12 Airmen from the 283rd Combat Communications Squadron, both with the Georgia ANG, to pull live feeds and provide operational control from three remote sites.

The mobile equipment to be set up in a tactical environment in Puerto Rico was flown in on three separate C-130 Hercules aircraft and one C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane.

The deployed radar was tied into three different sites to create an aggressive communications triad exercise, and an operational exercise to control aircraft off the coast of Georgia. The exercise was based at the 141st Air Control Squadron's Punta Borinquen Radar Site in Ramey, Aguadilla, with remote locations in Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center in Salinas, and Savannah, Georgia.

"Caribbean Connection is what my unit named it," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Anderson, Branch Chief for the GANG. "We came down from Savannah Georgia and set up deployed radar, where we could reach back to Savannah with live feeds so operators could control live missions from here."

"Our mission has been a huge success since we left home," he said. "All the way from doing the mobility process of loading equipment onto the aircrafts, to bringing it here to P.R. and convoying all our equipment across the mountains to set up camp at the main radar site in Aguadilla."

According to the 117th ACS Commander Lt. Col. Ron Speir, the exercise goals were met.

"We have been able to complete our top objectives because we were able to remote the radars, radios and data links from Savannah to PR," said Speir. "We were controlling aircraft like we would if we were deployed to other areas of the globe."

At the same time with the 117th ACS, the exercise marked the first time in 18 years for the 141st to control live aircraft during an exercise here.

"The team work has been outstanding between the 141st ACS and the 117th ACS," said Speir. "I have been in the ANG for 28 years, and this has probably been the best annual training exercise for our unit."

In conjunction with the 117th ACS, the 141st ACS will have the capability to use their satellite to tie in to the Savannah system and periodically have the opportunity to control live aircraft off the coast of Georgia in future missions.

A sandwich and soda with the general

by Capt. Kathleen
Ice


12/17/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- The Air Mobility Command vice commander hosted a "brown bag" lunch Dec. 3 with 22 Airmen to hear their ideas for improvement and update them on the latest command news.

Maj. Gen. Rowayne Schatz said that when he was a young officer, he remembers wondering why certain tasks or policies were created, but he had no way to get real answers.

As a group commander, he changed that and created routine, informal meetings in which Airmen could ask him "why" and express their thoughts. He found that making time for this -- sharing a meal, being honest, looking Airmen in the eyes as they spoke - reaped invaluable feedback. 

"We're all about making the organization better," Schatz said during the brown bag lunch.  "We want to be able to accomplish our mission, but also be able to improve the command for the future.

"We also want you all to be excited to come to work; to be excited about your leadership and the people you work with and to have a good experience."

Schatz opened the lunch meeting by updating the group, ranging from E-3 to O-5, on the latest news.

He said the AMC commander recently reviewed AMC's strategy and "wouldn't be making any major course corrections," because, due to the hard work of the staff the last few years, the command is on track to meet the requirements set forth by the National Security Strategy.

Addressing more practical matters, he reassured the Airmen that changes were planned for the headquarters building, to include a new heating and cooling system and larger entryways in coming years if all gets approved.

There were complaints in a recent climate survey regarding the time it takes AMC staff members to provide information to the Knowledge Management Office.  Schatz explained the "why" behind KMO's taskers.

"KMO is taking a realistic look at all the meetings in the command and how we share information, because right now we're fairly stove-piped.  ... In the end, it should be less work," Schatz said.

After briefing the Airmen on updates, Schatz said, "Let's eat" and opened the floor for discussion.

The risk of commander-Airmen meetings typically is that the Airmen don't become comfortable enough to let their guard down and say what they really think.

But by the end of this exchange, there was regular laughter, and several Airmen were comfortable telling the general what they thought about Air Force and AMC policies.

The group shared ideas such as how to improve the Mobility Air Force aircraft maintenance en-route strategy, and how to improve information sharing across the staff about the various cyber security efforts taking place in each division.

Schatz smiled with each idea brought to the table.

"This is good discussion.  I've got several things to take back to the commander," he said.

Face of Defense: Former Marine Serves as Air Force Contract Administrator



By Air Force Airman 1st Class James Miller 28th Bomb Wing

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D., December 17, 2015 — From base landscaping to office computers, nearly everything found at Ellsworth flows through the 28th Contracting Squadron.

Among the airmen leading the charge is Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Meyer, a contract administrator with the 28th Contracting Squadron. Meyer provides contracting support and business advice to Ellsworth and combatant commanders, as he deals with base contracts daily.

As a contract administrator, Meyer handles many facets of the contracting process, from the preliminary overview to closing them out once completed.

“We do most of the legwork, which can be a lot,” he said. “However, we are proprietors of the taxpayers’ dollars, so we try to get the best deals in the most expedient manner.”

However, Meyer is not always in the office at his computer; he also participates in contractor evaluations to ensure they are getting the job done correctly and on time.

“We may mostly be seen behind our desks, but the evaluations are important to make sure the job is getting done on pace, so we aren’t wasting taxpayer money,” he said.

Former Infantryman

Although Meyer may spend a lot of time behind the desk now, that wasn’t always the case -- he served five years in the Marines before switching to the Air Force.

“I enlisted for four years as an anti-tank assault team infantryman and took an extra year for a special duty with an antiterrorism security team,” he said. “It was a lot different than my current contracting job, ... [but] while some people may think it is boring, it is exactly what I wanted.”

When Meyer visited the Air Force recruiter, he signed up for a job in the contracting career field, which would allow him to face new challenges.

“I am still helping people and making sure the military’s needs are met,” he explained. “Now my job is a lot less life-threatening, and I can spend more time with my family. That was the biggest reason for the switch. I didn’t want my kids to not know who I was, or worst-case scenario, not know me at all if I didn’t make it back.”

Whether he is at the office supporting the mission, or at home supporting his family, Meyer said, he could not be happier with how he is serving.

Peterson AFB high altitude chamber prepares aircrews for flight


by Senior Airman Rose Gudex
21st Space Wing Public Affairs


12/15/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- Whether a pilot in training or a veteran taking a refresher course, service members from all around the Unites States come to Peterson Air Force Base to experience the high altitude chamber and learn how to recognize the effects lack of oxygen has on their body.

The Aerospace and Operational Physiology Flight offers training for personnel to learn and understand the human challenges inherent to military operations and increase the overall readiness and mission effectiveness.

"We train aircrew about how the human body is affected by flight," said Maj. Nathan Maertens, 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace and operational physiology flight commander. "The reason for the high altitude chamber is because at high altitude there is not a lot of oxygen and there's less pressure. We want them to experience that in a safe training environment."

Any operational aircrew and special operations personnel must go through the training to be able to recognize how their body reacts to low oxygen should their pressurized aircraft become unpressurized at a high altitude, he said. Those needing training must be initially qualified and receive a refresher course every five years.

At the beginning of the course, students have a classroom session going over a variety of topics, depending on what their course is based on, said Airman 1st Class Ben Clark, 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace and operational physiological technician.

"Everyone gets the same initial training," he said. "Everyone is going to run through the chamber the first time and get a rapid decompression. The basic information will be the same across the board, but then we tailor information specifically to each mission."

Topics covered include cognitive performance, situational awareness and shortcomings on decision making, spatial disorientation and how a person's body can lie to them while in flight, Maertens said.

"We also talk about the physical limitations one may have to deal with, whether that be fatigue due to a high ops tempo or (failing) to appropriately prepare for the mission and skipping breakfast," he said. "All those different things can have an effect on how we perform."

To begin, students are fitted with a mask and file into the high altitude chamber, which is essentially a metal box that the air gets pumped out of to simulate the low oxygen and decreased pressure found at high altitudes, said Clark.

Students first get taken up to a simulated 1,000 feet to get the feel of the chamber and brought back to ground level while three AOP technicians watch closely. Then, the technician acting as the crew chief controlling the vacuum and altitude of the chamber takes the students up to 25,000 feet. The instructor speaks over a headset about what each student could be feeling and what to look for as the altitude gets higher and the monitor records visible reactions students have and time spent at the high elevation.

Maertens said students remove their masks and are off oxygen briefly while at 25,000 feet to help students get a feel for how their body reacts to the hypoxic environment.

"They can recognize, 'wow, I'm not feeling quite right. My pressurization system looks like it's working right, but something's not right,'" he said. "They can start cross checking other things and determine the origin of the problem."

A small inverted flask in a beaker filled with red fluid sits next to the window as a visual representation of the pressure changes taking place, Maertens said.

"As we ascend in altitude, the pressure decreases and therefore the additional pressure inside your middle ear wants to correlate with the pressure outside. Then the additional pressure will vent out, like the bubbles we saw," he said. "Conversely, on descent, we have relatively high pressure outside us and low pressure inside. That's what draws the fluid up into the beaker."

The AOP high altitude chamber is one of only 11 chambers in the Air Force. With a flight of only 14 Airmen to train aircrew on high altitude and the dangers of hypoxia, Clark said roughly 50 service members come through each week to be qualified.

The family-like unit works hard to complete a mission essential to ensuring all service members are fully aware of the effects their bodies experience at high altitudes.

"I get a lot out of this job," Clark said. "This is what I love. It's awesome getting to keep people out of really serious mishaps. That means a lot to me."

Idaho medical Airmen capture national recognition

by Tech. Sgt. Joshua C. Allmaras
124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


12/15/2015 - GOWEN FIELD, Idaho -- The 124th Medical Group and two Airmen from the medical group were presented with national-level awards during a surprise ceremony at the base clinic here Dec. 5, 2015.

Out of the 90 wings across the Air National Guard, the group received the Surgeon General Award for Best Clinic of the Year, Master Sgt. Mindi Anderson received the SNCO Organizational Management Excellence Award, and Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goodman was named the Outstanding Aerospace Medicine NCO of the Year.

"Being recognized as the best for this year is huge," said Col. Brandon Isaacs, 124th Medical Group commander. "Everyone has been working their tail ends off and we are getting recognized for it."

"The medical group does an outstanding job," said Brig. Gen. Michael Nolan, assistant adjutant general, Idaho National Guard. "They are very professional and they have a service focused attitude, which is a huge part of why they are so successful. They take care of the wing very well and that's what they are being recognized for."

The group was selected for many reasons, one of them was for implementing innovative ways of helping Airmen accomplish their annual requirements efficiently.

"The 124th Medical Group developed a physical health assessment festival that allowed them to accomplish more than 900 PHAs and 200 occupational exams in just two days," said Col. Tim Donnellan, the commander of the 124th Fighter Wing. "One of the biggest impacts of this festival was the time savings for the fighter wing. Every hour at drill is critical to maintaining our readiness and the medical group returned more than 975 of these precious training hours back to us with this innovative event."

Increasing efficiency allowed the medical group to maintain the Airmen of the wing's readiness at a high level, which is another reason why they were selected.

"Not only did our medical professionals implement a time saving annual event, but they maintained our individual mobilization rate for the entire 124th Fighter Wing at 91 percent," said Donnellan. "Our IMR rate was only topped by one other wing."

Taking care of Airmen and their medical requirements is one of the core responsibilities of the medical community. However, they still have to maintain their own readiness.

"The 124 Medical Group participated in both Patriot and Operation Pathfinder Minuteman exercises. During Patriot more than 30 members completed their expeditionary medical support systems training and during Pathfinder Minuteman more than 25 medics trained on joint civilian disaster responses processes, supporting our State Mission," said Donnellan.

Anderson, an education and training manager, was the recipient of the SNCO Organizational Management Excellence award. She was nominated and selected for her many accomplishments, but one in particular saved the government a significant amount of money.

"Master Sgt. Anderson exemplifies Excellence in All We Do," said Donnellan. "She eliminated more than $42,000 in outsourcing costs associated with training guardsmen in basic life support, which was a direct savings to our Air National Guard and Air Force. Every effort to stretch our resources during our current budgetary constraints allows us to maintain our war fighting capability."

Goodman, a flight and operational medical technician, received the 2015 Outstanding Aerospace Medicine NCO of the Year Award. Like Anderson, her nomination package was full of many accomplishments, but one in particular stood out from the rest.

"Tech. Sgt. Goodman is an outstanding Airman," said Donnellan. "She volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan and while there, cared for more than 38 patients during a mass casualty response. Her efforts were attributed to saving lives."

All of these accomplishments for the medical group, Anderson, and Goodman are just the tip of the iceberg of why they received national recognition. Their selection brings great pride to those in the wing leadership.

"I am extremely proud of the 124th Medical Group, along with Master Sgt. Anderson and Tech. Sgt. Goodman for their recognition." said Donnellan. "They are leading the pack in the medical community and these awards validate this."

"I'm just privileged to serve as the commander," said Isaacs. "They make my life a lot easier because of the devotion and the desire for success that they have imprinted in their brains and it goes to the very core of their being. To put it plainly, some people say my unit bleeds blue and they love what they do and I am proud to be part of it."

The Air National Guard uses their medical award program to identify and recognize outstanding performers in 36 different categories. Those nominated and selected at the ANG level have the potential of being submitted to compete at the Air Force level.

But the hat was fun, too

by Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
21st Space Wing Public Affairs


12/15/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- Every Airman experiences the anxiety of getting off the bus at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas for basic military training followed by eight intense weeks with military training instructors.

When someone mentions BMT, the memories of folding shirts, spacing in lockers, and of course getting "put on your face" or push-ups come to mind. But what would it be like to wear the MTI's shoes and the campaign hat for once? To be the one who gets to yell and scream and be responsible for putting trained and disciplined Airmen into the Air Force?

Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lawson, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, spent four years as an MTI from February 2007 to 2011.

"At the time I didn't have a (career job reservation) so the Air Force gave me a choice to go from blue to green, retrain, or get out," said Lawson. "I didn't like any of those options so I started looking into the special duties; I can wear blues all day and talk to high-schoolers or I could yell and scream and have fun and wear the cool hat, so I did that and loved it."

Lawson described his experience fun but very intense and stressful. Training in 2007 consisted of seven weeks of classroom training and seven weeks with a trainer MTI leading a flight.

"(My peers) told me before I went down there 'you can't do it, you laugh too much, you smile too much, you joke too much, you goof off too much, you can't do it,'" said Lawson. "Then when I left there after the four years we had a going away party and (the other MTIs) stood up and said, 'you know Sgt. Lawson, out of 56 instructors here, you were the loudest, meanest, most intimidating instructor.' And I thought 'I made it.'"

Lawson was at the 323rd Training Squadron for his four-year duty and the fun and anxiety continued, but he learned many lessons during his time.

"I got my very first flight after training and they kind of just threw me to the wolves," Lawson said. "I fell on my face because I wasn't mean enough."

After his first flight, he stopped worrying about the trainees' feelings and being too mean to them. He found the balance needed to be a successful MTI.

"You're screaming at them because they made a mistake or they didn't do a drill movement right or the socks they rolled sucked, then afterwards you show them how they can fix it and that's how you mentor them," said Lawson. "Just like being a (noncommissioned officer) or any kind of leader in any career field, you're going to have an Airman that screws up or falls on their face so you're going to have to discipline them, but then what you do after the discipline is you show them what they did wrong and how to fix it and then follow up with them. It's just a little more intense in Lackland."

Lawson recounted a story about a trainee in the third or fourth week of training. Lawson questioned him on the chain of command memory sheet and the trainee didn't know any of the names, not even his dorm chief. Angry at the trainee, Lawson took him to the section supervisor and the section supervisor also questioned him, but gave him 24 hours to completely memorize the chain of command. The next day the trainee was back in front of the section supervisor and this time recited the entire chain of command from memory.

When Lawson questioned the trainee on how he was able to do that, the trainee responded that someone taught him a different way to remember it.

"That's when I realized you can get to every single trainee. You just have figure out how to get to them," Lawson said. "With memory work, I had some trainees read it out loud or write it down or (ask each other) questions. There are so many different ways to teach people and that's what I didn't realize until that moment."

After working long hours, often from 3:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., the most rewarding part for Lawson was meeting the family members during the open house after graduation.

"That was probably one of the coolest feelings because (the parents) always want to come up to you and shake your hand to say 'hey, thanks for turning my son into a man and he's changed so much,'" said Lawson. "I've seen kids come to BMT who were living in a box on the streets, others got everything they wanted from their parents. Some even showed me bullet wounds. To know that you truly made a huge difference in somebody's life, those times were probably the most rewarding experiences that I had there. But the hat was fun, too."

"It's a cool experience. It will open your eyes to the Air Force - the discipline, the standards and regulations," Lawson said. "You can look back at yourself prior to MTI duty and think 'I was a screw up, big time.'"

175th Fighter Squadron participates in Large Force Exercise

by Senior Master Sgt. Nancy Ausland
114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


12/8/2015 - SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- F-16 aircraft from the 175th Fighter Squadron of the South Dakota Air National Guard participated in a Large Force Exercise (LFE) conducted Dec. 2-3, 2015 in the newly expanded Powder River Training Complex, here.

For two days, the unit launched and recovered 16 aircraft from Joe Foss Field, South Dakota, to the newly-designated Military Operations Area (MOA) which covers 28,000 square miles and encompasses parts of four different states. They were not alone. This LFE included various types of aircraft to include F-16s, B-1s, and KC-135s from across the country. Air National Guard and active Air Force units participating included the 120th FS, Colorado Air National Guard, 185th ARW, Iowa Air National Guard, the 28th BW, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, the 7th BW, Dyess AFB, Texas, the 22nd ARW, McConnell AFB, Kansas, the 141st ARW, Washington Air National Guard, and an E-3 AWACS from Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

The composite force exercise included training in air refueling, air-to-air threats, ground-to-air threats, and F-16's support of B-1 strikes.

"This provides our pilots a close-to-home opportunity for integrated warfighting training over an expansive MOA that we haven't had in the past," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Morrell, 114th Operations Support Squadron commander.

Morrell, who has been flying the F-16 for over 14 years, went on to add that this expanded Powder River Training Complex will be outstanding for the many components of the military who will train at it.

"This area is over 200 miles across and affords us the opportunity to train in a space much closer to home that is a size similar to what we might encounter when we're not training," said  Morrell.

While the Powder River Training Complex has existed for many years it has just recently been expanded. The expansion allows for some lower flights, longer runs, faster training flights, and more coordinated training sequences that will feel more like actual missions. Cost savings will also be a benefit of this expansion since the unit will not have to travel as far to train on a MOA of this size.

"This exercise highlights the total force concept," said Col. Quenten Esser, 175th Fighter Squadron commander. "The ability to have both Active Duty and Reserve Component forces utilizing the expanded Powder River Complex allows our pilots to truly 'train like we fight.' Our pilots were able to work and train with multiple strike aircraft. These assets provide the real world, dynamic and complex training scenarios we need to meet our future taskings."

Norwegian F-35 flies for first time under Norwegian command



By Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published December 16, 2015

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- Maj. Morten Hanche, a Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35 Lightning II student pilot training with the 62nd Fighter Squadron, flew the first Norwegian F-35 sortie here Dec. 14.

Hanche has been training at Luke Air Force Base under the instruction of American pilots for the past several months in order to become Norway's first F-35 pilot and instructor, part of a wider effort to foster international cooperation of global F-35 fleet development, which include the air forces of partner nations Australia and Italy.

"The flight was smooth and it was a good sortie," Hanche said. "We worked a close air support scenario with ground controllers and practiced integration with ground forces. The aircraft was very well-behaved."

This event, which marked the first flight of a Norwegian-bound F-35 at the hands of a Norwegian pilot, was attended and observed by Maj. Gen. Per-Egil Rygg, the Royal Norwegian Air Force chief of staff.

"The way Luke Air Force Base and the 56th Fighter Wing have handled this flight and the overall training of our pilots is extraordinary," Rygg said. "This partnership is very important to Norway, and I'm very proud today to have seen the first time a Norwegian F-35 has been flown by a Norwegian pilot."

The F-35, produced at the Lockheed Martin Corp. facility in Texas, is one of the first two Norwegian F-35s produced; both of which are currently stationed at Luke AFB for development and training.

Lt. Col. Gregory Frana, the 62nd FS commander, flew alongside Hanche and guided him through the sortie. Frana commands the training efforts of the international pilots assigned to the 62nd FS.

"This was a momentous occasion for Norway, for Luke and for the United States Air Force," Frana said. "We've been standing up all of our operations here with our international partnerships in mind, and these relationships will continue to develop as we receive more F-35s from all of our eight partner nations."

Two other Norwegian pilots are now undergoing the initial academic phase of their training here, with more slated to arrive in March. The pilots will eventually join Hanche in flying the F-35. Norwegian maintainers are also at Luke AFB, learning to repair and maintain the F-35s that will one day be on their home flightlines in Norway. Eventually, all of the airmen will return home to help develop the training program for their own air force.