Thursday, January 21, 2016

Warfighters convene at Nellis for weapons, tactics conference

By Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis, 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs / Published January 21, 2016

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- Air Force senior leaders, industry executives, joint and coalition warfighters converged for the 2016 Weapons and Tactics Conference, hosted by the Air Combat Command at Nellis Air Force Base Jan. 3-16.

"WEPTAC is where wars are won," said Lt. Col. Kendrick Carroll, the ACC's WEPTAC chairman. "There is no other venue on this planet where you can get the best and brightest subject matter experts throughout all the domains in one location to work on solving today's biggest warfighting challenges."

Weapons officers from across the Air Force capitalized on this year's theme, "Integrating multi-domain effects into next generation's warfighting," alongside their joint and coalition counterparts, Carroll said.

"What that means is we're taking all of our capabilities: air, space, cyber, land, sea, and electromagnetic, and integrating those into a combined effect so that we can continue to be the world's greatest Air Force," he said. "We're taking the world's most complex problems, what we call major combat operations, and we are essentially planning to engage if and when an MCO is required, so that we can bring all those domains to bear."

The conference, divided into two parts, includes a mission area working group portion where hand-selected teams of weapons officers gather to troubleshoot current air, space and cyberspace challenges. During the second week, participants transition into the Tactics Review Board, where tactics, techniques and procedures are improved upon using creative, cost-effective solutions.
For the first time, WEPTAC involved coalition partners this year.

"We are a much smaller fighting force than what we used to be five to 10 years ago," Carroll said. "What the coalition allows us to do is leverage upon their additional capacity in capability because we won't fight another MCO with just the U.S. Air Force. It will be the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and coalition partners. In order for us to levy on joint and coalition capability and capacity we have to integrate them in the planning process, so there is no lag or gap in capability, and that's what we're doing here."

According to Carroll, there have been cases where solutions developed at WEPTAC were implemented into real-world operations in a matter of 30 days or less.

Gen. Frank Gorenc, the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, provided this year's keynote address, where he commended the participant's fiscal and technical innovation, along with their ability to force multiply with partner services and nations.
"I am so excited to be here," said Gorenc, who's served in the Air Force for 37 years." To hear what you all came up with ... I rely on the captains, majors and subject matter experts in this room to inform me.

"Since I have been in, these new capabilities have been incredible; we turned short range into long range, long range into unlimited. We've turned unguided bombs into precision-guided or GPS weapons. We've turned line-of-sight into beyond line-of-sight, we've given legacy equipment modifications and it works side by side with the new," Gorenc continued. "I've seen a lot and know what we're capable of and I'm counting on all of you to keep the world's greatest power strong."

WEPTAC aligns with ACC's priorities, including delivering the greatest amount of combat capability to meet national security objectives and win the nation's wars.

Luke F-16 crashes in Arizona

By 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, / Published January 21, 2016

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base crashed at approximately 8:45 a.m. today north of Luke AFB in the vicinity of Bagdad, Arizona.

Luke AFB officials are working closely with local authorities in a search and rescue operation. Due to the remote location and rugged terrain, the status of the pilot is unknown.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

Brigadier General Scott Pleus, the 56th Fighter Wing commander, has established an interim safety board to begin the preliminary investigation.

Information will be released as it becomes available. For questions, please contact the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office at 623-856-6011.

Youth program teaches more than basketball

by David Bedard
JBER Public Affairs

1/21/2016 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Standing 6 feet 2 inches tall, eighth-grader Abad Senquiz III towers over Clark Middle School classmates like Gandalf over a shire of hobbits. With his stratospheric height came an avid interest in all things sports from a young age.

Dabbling in other forms of competition, Senquiz didn't settle on basketball until sixth grade when his pastime penchant turned into a lifelong passion.
"I suddenly had a love for the game," Senquiz remembered. "I started watching it a lot and realized, wow, I want to be really good at that."

What Senquiz watched was the New York Knicks storming down the offensive lane bound for the hoop. For decades his father and grandfather, both from New York, fired up the television to witness legends like Walter "Clyde" Frazier and Patrick Ewing lead the Knicks to NBA glory.

Today, the younger Senquiz harbors hopes to someday lace up and venture out onto the court at Madison Square Garden. Helping him strive for his goal are the coaches and staff of The Youth Development Program, a non-profit organization that meets at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Elmendorf Fitness Center.

Darryl Sample, TYDP vice president and a retired technical sergeant, said basketball serves as a strong basis for an active and academically driven youth community.

"The Youth Development Program helps guide and mentor youth in the Alaska and Anchorage area," Sample explained. "We try to instill confidence in their capabilities. We try to keep them active using sports as a vehicle."

Sample said athletics is one of three pillars TYDP instills in their youth, with strong academics and responsibility at home rounding out the other two. Though coaches shepherd the effort, Sample said other youths are instrumental in the process.

"Peer pressure can be either negative or positive, and we try to use positive peer pressure," he said. "When it comes to academics, we really believe that there are certain things you need to do before you come out on the basketball court - that's do your job at home and do your job at school.

"If those two things aren't in sync, then you can't come out here on the basketball court, because it's a privilege," Sample continued. "We really do believe in having your grades in order, and if there's a concern early on, then we encourage the kids to let us know, so that we can work with them to build their confidence up from an academic standpoint."

Sample said TYDP offers tutoring services to young athletes like Senquiz, who said he struggled with algebra. With the help of TYDP tutors, Senquiz said it soon became as easy for him to find "x" as the hoop.

"This program has really helped me academically," Senquiz said. "Now, my grades are improving, and I'm starting to become more focused."

That sense of focus is honed in all TYDP participants through a disciplined focus on the fundamentals, Sample said, fundamentals like ball handling and agility.
"We want them to be able to be functional on a basketball court," he said. "Sometimes, it may cause you to move differently than what you're used to."

During one practice, TYDP youth don't shoot a single hoop, because they were laser focused on dribbling. The young athletes lined up on opposite ends of the court and raced toward small orange cones. Their task? To seamlessly pick up the cones without interrupting their dribbling tempo.

The competition motivated the youths to do it quickly, while coaches watched to ensure they did it right. When one side won, the other was required to complete a lap around the gym.

While the vanquished youth completed their penance lap, the victors would beat their basketballs in exultation. It read like a scene out of Lord of the Flies, but it highlighted the sense of teamwork and accomplishment built into the program's methodologies.

Senquiz said he feels those methodologies work. Many talk about a holistic approach, but TYDP's emphases on athletics, academics and citizenship seem to fold into and reinforce each other.

"It was a lot better than I expected," the young athlete said of his experience with the program. "They don't just focus on basketball, they also focus on you at school and you at home. They want to make sure that the things you have off the court are right, and they want to get you better on the court."

Senquiz said he has suffered difficult circumstances off the court since he joined the program. Coaches came along side the youth during his travails, helping him to understand how the youngster's faith and wisdom acquired through experience can help him successfully navigate life.

"Sometimes, I'm really glad to have had the problem, because now I know better and I'm smarter for it," Senquiz said. "Through the experience, I gain knowledge, so I know what to do."

Whether he's experiencing hardship or his life is smooth as the backboard, Senquiz said he can put it all behind him when he steps onto the court.
"When I play basketball, everything else is out of my mind," he said. "I feel really good about it."

For more information, call Arnold Dade, TYDP president, at 764-3010.

Virginia Guard Prepares for Massive Snowstorm

By Cotton Puryear Virginia National Guard

SANDSTON, Va., January 21, 2016 — The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 500 soldiers, airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on state active duty for possible assistance with the state’s severe winter weather response operations.

The plans come as weather forecasters are predicting a snowstorm of massive proportions to strike the Middle Atlantic region beginning tomorrow.

The Virginia Guard plans to stage personnel at readiness centers along the I-81 corridor between Lexington and Winchester, along the Route 29 corridor from Warrenton to Danville, as well as in the areas near Richmond, Fredericksburg and Gate City in order to be ready to respond if needed. The alert process to notify personnel to report for duty has begun, and they are scheduled to be in place by early evening today.

Take Necessary Precautions

"Keeping Virginians safe in the event of severe weather is our top concern," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said today in his emergency declaration. "All Virginians should take the threat of this storm seriously and take necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for travel disruptions and possible power outages during a cold weather period."

Potential missions for the Virginia Guard and Virginia Defense Force include transportation through heavy snow, downed tree removal, debris reduction and distribution of food, water and other supplies, said Army Col. Thomas L. Morgan III, director of joint operations for the Virginia Guard.

"In order to be able to respond rapidly when needed, we will get our personnel in place at key locations before the severe weather hits," Morgan said.

The Virginia National Guard receives their missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency response organizations and is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public, Morgan said.

"If you need assistance because of the winter storm, please call 911 or your local dispatcher and let them know you need help and do not contact the Virginia National Guard directly," he said. "They will determine what emergency services are best suited to assist you, and they will contact us if it appropriate for us to take action."

History of Service

The Virginia National Guard last went on state active duty for response operations caused by heavy snow, ice and flooding in late February and early March 2015. Over an almost three-week period, more than 330 soldiers staged at locations across the commonwealth to assist local law enforcement and emergency response organizations with delivering food, water, medicine and other supplies, evacuating citizens for safety and medical assistance and removing snow berms limiting road access with engineer equipment.

Virginia National Guard aviators also conducted an aerial resupply mission to deliver supplies to an iced-in Tangier Island.
Since 2001, the Virginia National Guard has called up more than 8,500 personnel for state active duty to support state and local emergency response organizations as part of a coordinated state-wide response, as well as missions in Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, New York and Vermont.