Military News

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Predator crashes in southern Turkey



By USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs, / Published February 03, 2016

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- An Air Force MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft crashed in an unpopulated area in southern Turkey at approximately 1:40 a.m. local time, Feb. 3.

The initial assessment is that the aircraft experienced mechanical failure. An investigation is underway to determine the specific cause of the crash.

No military members or civilians were injured. The U.S. military and Turkish officials have positive control of the crash site.

For more information, contact U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs at 049-6371-47-6558 or email at usafepao.pao@us.af.mil.

3-time Super Bowl champ, AF pilot reflects on America’s game



By Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross, Air Force News Service / Published February 03, 2016

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- Super Bowl 50 is just days away and it’s hard not to wonder how one of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s best all-time players fits into that history.

Chad Hennings won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys during the 1990s, and his first appearance was within a year’s time of flying his A-10 Thunderbolt II in a combat sortie in northern Iraq.

Hennings, a 1988 Academy graduate, led the nation with 24 sacks and was awarded the Outland Trophy during the 1987 season -- an award that recognizes the nation’s best interior lineman.

Committed to serve

Following graduation, Hennings -- now a member of the College Football Hall of Fame -- was drafted by the Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1988 draft. Before he could even suit up in the NFL, Hennings had to first fulfill his military commitment, a move that was initially hard to accept.

“I wouldn’t say there were regrets, (but) it was an emotional struggle because I wanted to be able to compete,” Hennings said.

From a character perspective, he knew without a doubt what he needed to do because he made a commitment and he was going to stick to it. The drive to compete, however, made his transition from school to pilot training and then into his active-duty squadron a difficult one. That void would eventually be filled with friendly competition as an A-10 pilot.

“We did compete on the range; we competed for performance,” he said. “There (was) always competition and it was a healthy competition.”

After pilot school, Hennings was stationed in the U.K. and deployed twice to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in 1991 and 1992. While deployed, he flew 45 combat sorties in northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort, an international relief effort after the Gulf War.

After getting settled into the Air Force, Hennings said he contemplated making a career out of it.

“Football was a distant memory and something in the past that I never really thought about until the Air Force went through the reduction in force and they started the waivers in the spring of ‘92,” he said.

Pro player

Hennings separated from active-duty Air Force in April 1992 and transitioned to the Air Force Reserve. He continued to serve in the Reserve individual mobilization augmentee program for almost 10 years.

The next month, Hennings found himself in Dallas working out for the Cowboys.

“It was extremely stressful, initially transitioning in ‘92, because I’m leaving one career for another,” he said. “I’m moving from one continent to another, taking on a whole new different position. There were a lot of just stress factors there, and it wasn’t assured that I would make the team.”

Hennings said it was tough coming into the league and competing at a level of competition that was much higher than he experienced before.

But all the downtime spent in the weight room and working out when he wasn’t flying during his deployments and TDYs paid off. He would go on to secure a spot on the team, and kick off what would eventually be a nine-year career with the Cowboys, playing in 119 games and recording 27.5 sacks.

In his first season, Hennings and the Cowboys would go on to beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl 27.

“It was pretty surreal,” he said. “I essentially flew a combat mission and then played in the Super Bowl all within a year’s time.”

He compared that Super Bowl experience to his first combat mission. He said he knew he had a job to do, and being around a set of guys who were experienced made it easier to navigate and process all of his emotions.

During his next three seasons, Hennings would go onto win two more Super Bowls with the Cowboys.

“You got to a point in our culture of being a Dallas Cowboy, that that’s what was expected. We knew we were the best team out there,”

Hennings said. “I kind of compare that analogy to being a fighter pilot. It’s kind of that confident arrogance, where you know you’re good, you know your abilities; you walk out there, you don’t flaunt it, but you walk with an extreme amount of confidence.”

It wasn’t until the latter part of Hennings’ career that he fully appreciated winning three Super Bowls, he said.

Two decades after he appeared in his last Super Bowl, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 30, Hennings has a sincere admiration for those moments in time and truly appreciates how special those teams really were.

“As a kid growing up, all your heroes, the role models that you looked up to on the gridiron -- you know those guys -- they were able to hold that trophy up,” Hennings said. “I was a Minnesota Vikings fan, so they went there four years and they never won one, and that’s where I realized too how difficult it is, not only to just get to the Super Bowl, but to win one -- how truly special that is.”

Hennings said one of the best memories is from Super Bowl 30, where he recorded two sacks -- a Super Bowl record that he shared with several other players before it was broken the next year.

Humble beginnings

Being a solid performer on the gridiron and in his jet, Hennings has always tried to strive for excellence.

Growing up in Elberon, Iowa, Hennings would sometimes put in 12-plus-hour days helping his father and grandfather on their farm, where they predominately raised corn and a feedlot operation for cattle. He’d help wherever needed, whether feeding the cattle, bailing hay, driving tractors, or performing maintenance.

“The work ethic came from watching my father, my grandfather, but a lot of it I can attribute it to my older brother, who really pushed me to workout with him,” he said.

Hennings’ older brother, Todd, was a couple years older and was the quarterback for their high school football team. Hennings said he was a tight end, and he recalled his brother dragging him off to run routes and lift weights.

“When I started to see the success of all the hard work that I put in, then it became more of a self-driving motivation than having somebody externally motivate me,” he said.

That motivation to be a better player and better person carried over when it was time to attend college. Hennings had several scholarships, but said he wanted a “holistic experience.” He yearned to be challenged academically and wanted to have the experiences a typical college graduate wouldn’t have.

Looking back, the leadership skills gained, the experience of flying jets, and the camaraderie within his fighter squadron are things that gave him skills he used on the gridiron and in his everyday life.

“You know, it all worked out great,” Hennings said. “I had an experience flying that I would never trade. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same.”

Where he is now

Today, Hennings lives outside of Dallas, where he’s a partner in a commercial real estate company and does a lot of public speaking, which he said is his way of giving back.

“That’s my passion now in this last half of my life, is to be an evangelist, in essence, for that aspect of a need of character in our community and for us as individuals,” Hennings said.

An author of three books, he’s also married with two children, who are both in college.

MFRC hosts quarterly spouse orientation

by Airman Valerie Monroy
JBER Public Affairs


2/3/2016 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The Military and Family Readiness Centers hosted a quarterly Spouse Orientation at the Army Reserve Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Jan. 28.

The orientation is designed to expose military spouses to the opportunities, benefits, and resources available to them while at JBER.

The six-hour program involved a variety of briefings and activities to assure spouses of their importance to the military and to equip spouses with the tools needed to get accustomed to the new and unique environment that JBER offers, said Jeri Romesha, 673d Force Support Squadron work-life consultant with the MFRC.

During the program spouses learned about finance and how to read Leave and Earnings Statements, along with where to go when adjustments are needed.

Romesha explained the spouses were also informed about deployment readiness, and resiliency to prepare for times when deployments come up.

The orientation is very interactive and is one of best ways to get connected to both the base and other spouses, Romesha said.

In an effort to present advice from past experiences, a panel made up of knowledgeable military spouses answered questions. Both officer and enlisted spouses were a part of the panel, said Lisa Williams, 673d FSS work-life specialist.

"Seasoned military spouses came in and shared experiences and answered questions about coping with changing duty stations, deployments and how to handle social media while remembering operational security," Romesha said.

An information fair, with more than 30 agencies from around the community, followed the panel.

The fair is a way for spouses to learn about all the resources available and get answers directly from the source, said Romesha.

Participants were highly encouraged to visit as many booths as possible during the information fair. There were also questions posed to spouses concerning all of the information presented throughout the day.

Prizes were also given to those who visited the most booths and answered questions about information learned throughout the day.

"A lot of resources offered here have different names at other Air Force and Army installations which might make some spouses feel lost," Romesha said. "This program allows them to understand that even though some organization names might be different, the same resources are available."

JBER has a few unusual qualities; learning how to deal with darker times in the winter and wildlife encounters is vital for newcomers.

"It's Alaska and it's dark," said Airman 1st Class Rex Sharp, with the 176th Maintenance Squadron. "Learning how to cope and getting motivated to do things is great."

Rex attended the orientation with his wife Stephanie Sharp. He explained that he learned about a lot of different opportunities provided for outdoor recreation and it can help him and his family get out and enjoy their time here.

"One of the most important things I've learned from this particular orientation is all the resources," Rex said. "It gave my wife a feel for what to expect."

Rex continued that many people who join the military spend a lot of time on getting themselves ready for their new life but spouses don't always know how to do the same.

"I was prepared and ready to go but I didn't even give a second thought what she needed," Rex said. "It would have been a lot easier if we had done it sooner."

Stephanie explained that once her husband joined the military she felt like she was in a new world and in new, bigger family.

"Were no longer in the civilian life," Stephanie said. "We're part of the military family and we have a new life."

She said the orientation showed her the value of spouses and family throughout the military.

"There is a big emphasis on family and understanding that the foundation for [every service member] starts at home," said Stephanie. "My husband couldn't be the Airman he is today if his life at home was falling apart."

The quarterly spouse orientation is open to spouses from all military services on JBER.

The next orientation is scheduled for April 28. To register or for more information, please call the MFRC at 552-4943 or 384-1517.

New California facility enables Airmen, law enforcement training

by Staff Sgt. Charles Rivezzo
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


2/3/2016 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Solano County law enforcement agencies and Travis Air Force Base, California officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony here Jan. 29 for the newly constructed Emergency Responder Urban Training Site, marking the first tangible Travis project completed as a direct result of the Air Force Community Partnership program.

The overarching goal of the site is to enable emergency responders from Travis as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies to train together and integrate operations.

This goal came to fruition as members from Vacaville Special Weapons and Tactics team and the 60th Security Forces Squadron showcased their joint partnership by demonstrating a breach and clearing scenario for onlookers during the ceremony.

"This site gives us the capability to conduct full-scale scenarios, away from the main base, that can incorporate nearly any training scenario you can imagine," said Capt. Matthew McGinnis, 60th SFS operations officer. "With fully breachable doors, our emergency responders will be able to train in the most realistic environments possible to prepare against threats of active shooters, hostage situation, mass casualty response, and bomb and drug detection."

The buildings - made out of fabricated shipping containers - are intended to have a wide variety of layouts that emergency personnel might encounter, said James Frazier, 60th SFS training instructor. The one- and two-story buildings have windows, balconies, staircases and even a roof hatch.

Squadron officials stated that the site is a force enabler that will foster a synergy of continuity among the emergency response community from both military and civilian agencies. They also added that the site is not limited to law enforcement personnel and can be effectively utilized by individuals within the fire, medical and explosive ordnance disposal communities.

To secure funding for the joint-use facility, Travis officials leveraged the prospects afforded to military installations via the AFCP program, which aims to offer opportunities to level resources and capabilities of installations, state and local communities to achieve mutual value and benefits. The process taps into the intellectual capital and entrepreneurial spirit of base and community leaders to accomplish the Air Force mission and address the needs of the Airmen.

"Partnering starts with committed Air Force and community leaders, the Air Force process can be a challenge and requires hard work, the greatest results are achieved when installation and community leaders identify initiatives with the potential for achieving mutual benefits," said Lt. Col. Christopher Lambert, 60th Air Mobility Wing director of staff. "The security forces training facility is a visible example of the commitment Travis shares with our local community."

For the ERUTS project in particular, the Air Force provided the $175,000 necessary to build the urban training site, while any maintenance or repair for the compound will be paid for by the local community, which is estimated to save at least $10,000 a year in associated costs.

Since October 2012, the program has generated more than 1,000 initiatives across the Air Force. These partnerships identify new and innovative ways of supporting Airmen and their families. Current initiatives include medical, emergency response, grounds maintenance, shared use firing ranges, joint fire/police training and operations of installation services.

Presently, the Travis AFCP Leadership Committee, which identifies and implements mutually beneficial partnerships between Travis and the local community, has several initiatives it plans to pursue to include a reclaimed water initiative, shared use of base and local swimming pools and golf facilities as well as a teen program partnership.

Non-lethal weapons technology demonstrated on MacDill

by Senior Airman Danielle Quilla
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


2/3/2016 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- The Department of Defense (DoD) Non-Lethal Weapons Program has developed technology capable of supporting the operational needs of the U.S. Armed Forces without harming non-combatants and limiting collateral damage.

A two-day demonstration of the Active Denial System (ADS) was held on Jan. 27 - 28 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to educate members of Team MacDill about the technology and give volunteers a firsthand experience.

"We do these demonstrations all the time to educate and demonstrate the capability of the non-lethal technology," said Brian Long, a DoD active-denial technology program manager. "It represents a leap forward in non-lethal capability, in that; it provides a longer range versus the current items in inventory."

Having a longer range and reversible effects are key features of the ADS, which gives U.S. Service members an alternative to using deadly force. The technology is intended to be used during crowd control, checkpoint and perimeter security and as protection during convoys and patrols.

Before the demonstration, the ADS was positioned 500 meters away from where the volunteers would be standing; however, its range can reach up to 1,000 meters.

Once ready, each volunteer stood in a designated area marked with cones and held two thumbs up. Within seconds, an intolerable heating sensation of about 120 degrees covered the individual's body, making them instinctively close their eyes and move away from the area.

As soon as the volunteers moved out of the beam their skin instantly returned to a normal temperature.

Since the ADS projects a beam of millimeter waves at a frequency of 95 gigahertz, it only penetrates the skin at a depth of about 1/64th of an inch, which is equivalent to three sheets of paper.

More than 15 years of research and more than 13,000 exposures from volunteers participating in static demonstrations and realistic operational assessments have proven the effectiveness of the non-lethal weapon and its minimal risk of injury.

In addition, detailed testing has determined that the beam does not cause cancer.

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jose Grimaldo is a non-lethal team member of the Capabilities and Requirements Division with the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. This demonstration was his first time experiencing the heating sensation since being assigned to the unit in 2015, and he compared the sensation to the feeling of heat coming from an oven.

"I can see this as something going into the future," Grimaldo said. "It would be very beneficial if the technology could be condensed to be used out there in the U.S. Armed Forces."

The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program is continuing to invest in advancing active-denial technology for users who are interested in a smaller and more mobile configuration for urban environments.

The ADS is just one non-lethal weapon developed by the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program designed to save lives, protect the innocent, and limit collateral damage while effectively repelling adversaries.

Engineers improvise, build new hanger ventilation structure

by Senior Airman Zachary Cacicia
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


2/3/2016 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Anyone who has ever worked inside an Air Force aircraft maintenance hangar knows the hard truth that they are not the greatest at staying warm inside. This is especially true when the hangar's massive doors are opened to allow aircraft to move in or out. During the right conditions, temperatures inside these facilities can plummet to subzero digits within minutes of the doors opening. When this air rushes in, it can cause exposed piping to freeze and even burst.

To solve the problem of a freezing fire suppression system's piping inside Hangar 715, the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron's structures and utilities shops came up with a solution that will save the Air Force thousands of dollars in potential future pipe bursts.

"When they open these doors to allow these massive planes to come in, all that wind that blows in, hits these fire suppression systems and freezes them," said Staff Sgt. Casey Reed, 436th CES water and fuels systems maintenance. So when it's five degrees outside and you have a wind-chill coming in, it's going to get cold quick."

When these pipes freeze, they run the risk of bursting causing the system to release its fire suppression foam throughout the entire hangar. Also, if they freeze, and if there is an actual fire emergency, the system may not trip properly putting the facility, the aircraft and the personnel in greater danger. Replacing these fire suppression units cost the Air Force thousands of dollars. So there was a need for an effective fix.

Furthermore, the foam used in the fire suppression systems is environmentally hazardous. This means, that if it were to be discharged in the hangar, a special clean-up crew would have to be called in to resolve the mess, costing the Air Force money.

A combined effort between the CE structures shop and the utilities shop came up with a fix.

"The half inch pipes, the smaller pipes on the fire suppression systems would get cold enough to explode," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Hylton, 436th CES structural craftsman. "They couldn't put pipe insulation around the piping, so we were given the task to build an enclosure of some sort that would insulate the pipes."

Hylton and four structures Airmen built five custom enclosures around the fire suppression systems in the hangar.

"It was a completely custom job because each one of the piping suppression units was a totally different dimension," Hylton said.

Material wise, Hylton repurposed left over materials from finished jobs to include all of the plywood sheets used.

"The only thing that we had to buy was the actual insulation itself," said Hylton. "In all it cost about $700."

This $700 is a small price compared to the potential thousands of dollars of damage that could be caused by a burst pipe.

The insulation structures act to trap warm air when the hangar doors open. They completely enclose the systems to prevent cold air from reaching the pipes.

"The structure creates about a 10 to 12 degree temperature difference," said Hylton. "And those few degrees matter."

The structures are also equipped with thermometers that monitor the temperature both inside the structure and outside.

"Whenever the doors open, the facility manager will monitor the temperature gauge," said Reed. "If the temperature gets too low, they'll call us to come shut down the systems to prevent damage."

Greek, US air forces continue bilateral training in Souda Bay

by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


2/2/2016 - SOUDA BAY, Greece -- The Hellenic air force and the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron continue bilateral training at Souda Bay, Greece.

Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, commenced training Jan. 22, 2016 with the Hellenic air force 115th Combat Wing to evaluate aircraft and personnel capabilities.

"We should all care about this training because we are all part of NATO," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Murphy, 480th EFS commander. "Anytime we can come together as partners to work on various mission sets prepares us for any mission that NATO may task to Spangdahlem. One of the biggest things we want to do is work with the Joint terminal attack controllers on the ground."

The scenarios involve notional events as well as combined flying operations between the countries to help identify and negate coordination concerns that may arise during real-world events. The U.S. demonstrates its shared commitment to a safe and secure Europe through engagements such as these by strengthening its relationships with allied partners.

This training is made possible through the efforts of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, the command which governs all U.S. air assets in Europe with the duty to train, equip and deploy combat-ready Airmen. Their posture is to continuously hone skills during peacetime, poise to address any security threats, and ensure regional peace and stability.

"I think everything that we have done represents the Forward-Ready-Now mentality," said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brian Parsons, 480th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. "It's a case of readiness being the key, we needed to come out here to get our team ready-to-go and keep them ready."

Souda Bay is located on the island of Crete southeast of Athens. One of the station's primary functions is to support airborne operations in this strategically critical area of the world. Throughout the next two weeks, the Hellenic air force's 115th Combat Wing pilots will train with their U.S. counterparts here to enhance their capabilities with different flying roles: air-to-air combat, suppression of enemy air defense, air interdiction, counter-air and close air support.

"There is a lot that went into making this [deployment] possible," Murphy said. "Anytime you are moving 300 people over a thousand miles away from their home station, it's a huge effort from a lot of different organizations. Our team and the Hellenic air force making all this happen is just phenomenal."