Military News

Thursday, February 04, 2016

AMC enables Misawa Airmen to deploy to Cope North

by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


2/4/2016 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan  -- More than 120 Airmen departed Misawa Air Base, Jan. 30, for exercise Cope North 2016 held at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

This annual exercise afforded the installation inspector general and wing inspection team an opportunity to see how efficient the deployment process is and identify areas for improvement. The 35th Fighter Wing held its own exercise in conjunction with the deployment to Cope North, which lasted roughly five days and helped enable the teams to accomplish existing training requirements, implement recommended improvement areas and close out existing deficiencies.

With an existing deployment in place, the opportunity to evaluate how Airmen process through a real world scenario couldn't make things any more realistic, ultimately helping to make efficient use of wing time. Using Cope North, Misawa AB showcased its real world deployment capabilities across the spectrum.

"This exercise is different because in the past it's been a synthetic scenario," said Maj. Michael Wheeler, a 35th Fighter Wing inspector general. "Whereas, this is a pre-planned deployment that we were already supporting so we were able to add in the objectives for the exercise over what we were already doing."

Wheeler went on to describe that typically a personnel deployment function line scenario is created to process Airmen for exercises, but Cope North had an existing PDF. This is a centralized in and out-processing procedure for Airmen who are mass deploying.

Two of the largest areas being observed were the PDF and the cargo deployment function. The CDF is responsible for all actions necessary to receive, in-check, inspect, marshal, load plan, manifest and supervise loading cargo aboard deploying aircraft or vehicles.

Palletizing was the central focus during the CDF, ensuring all 200,000 pounds of military equipment was safely packed and loaded onto pallets correctly.

"A lot of the time the units won't have the necessary materials to palletize properly," said Airman 1st Class Alexander Cummings, a 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron receiving cargo journeyman. "So they'll bring things here [that] may be done incorrectly, so we have a section of people that are able to help them get through the process and get their [gear] ready to go."

"We're still learning," added Senior Airman Nicole Kittel, 35th Maintenance Squadron propulsions journeyman. "Getting used to [the tempo] and trying to figure out our jobs and who needs to be where has probably been the hardest part of this whole [exercise]."

Once pallets are built-up, a manifest is created making sure every piece is tracked and safely loaded onto the aircraft.

"I will process the paperwork in our computer system compiling a manifest and making sure Air Mobility Command has everything on record that they're going to need," Cummings said. "We [then] need to make sure we have the capability to get everything palletized and loaded onto the aircraft safely. We also have to make sure all our units have the necessary equipment they're going to need."

The overall goal during the exercise was to make sure the wing can effectively and efficiently deploy troops anywhere in the world.

"This is important because we are able to test out ability under a normal timeline to be able to send our forces out to any region any time," added Wheeler.

Taking Care of the Hunter Family: Creech Chaplains keep Airmen resilient

by by Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


1/29/2016 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (Jan. 22, 2016)  -- With every airman having a different faith, each has something unique to add to the mission. At Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, each member of the chapel team helps airmen stay resilient. Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants provide ministry and spiritual guidance, serving as a reminder that spiritual wellness is an important part of staying fit to fight.

As one of the wing's main objectives, taking care of the 432 Wing 'Hunters' and their families, the chapel staff has increased to help accommodate the unique 24/7 365 mission and heavy operations tempo.

"Spiritual fitness is a matter of understanding what you believe, what you value and knowing your principles," said Tech. Sgt. Noah, 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain assistant. "It's something within us that gives us direction and purpose."

Some of the duties of the chaplain corps include religious support operations, counseling services, clergy office work and event planning. In addition, the chaplain corps spends 45 percent of each day administering warrior care in the units at Creech, making them more available to airmen who may be seeking help.

"At Creech we focus much of our time on engaging with airmen," said Chaplain (Maj.) Mark, 432nd Wg and 432nd AEW Chaplain. "From our senior leaders to our most junior enlisted, our goal is to be as proactive and responsive as possible to the community's needs. At Creech, we have an industrial model of ministry which basically means engaging in the units, counseling, and providing for the free exercise of religion."

At an all call in August 2015, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, retired, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to airmen about quality of life concerns. He also addressed the need for Creech's limited chapel staff to grow, ensuring that counseling would be available to every airman.

As Dempsey predicted, a recent manpower study validated that the Chaplain Corps at Creech was only 50-percent manned.

"With everything that needs to be done, ensuring our team is working according to our priorities as well as taking care of ourselves is so important. A chapel team that is burnt out reduces our ability to provide care," said Mark.

With the push for more help, Creech received an additional chaplain, chaplain's assistant, and will get a second reserve chaplain at the end of January 2016. This will total three new reservists at Creech, which will allow the chapel staff to extend the ministry's hours, making more availability for airmen in need of spiritual advisement.

"Our job is to provide a pillar and a foundation," said Staff Sgt. Sarah, 452nd Air Mobility Wing chaplain assistant "Chaplains advise leaders on spiritual concerns, and we offer care to airmen no matter what they believe."

Additionally, the team is now able to assign a chaplain to every group, including the 799th Air Base Group. This will allow for coverage of all shifts, enabling relationship building within the community.

"We're doubling our manning, helping out the mission by taking care of the Hunter family," said Chaplain (Maj.) Cameron, 47th Flying Training Wing chaplain. "By adding three new members to the team, we will be able to do that even better now."

The reservists will stay at Creech until their positions are filled with active duty personnel permanently assigned to the base. Instead of being available for a normal dayshift schedule, the Airman Ministry Center will be manned from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. to ensure airmen will have the opportunity to connect with the chaplain whenever it is convenient for them.

"I believe our airmen most need a sense of purpose and significance," said Mark. "Through our counseling and conversations, most topics we address come back to those two ideas. Airmen who have a sense of purpose and significance are both more resilient, and more spiritually fit."

Though the AMC s not always manned, Chaplains are available24/7. Airmen can contact the Command Post at Nellis Air Force Base in case of emergencies, and will be connected to a member of the chaplain corps

"We really are a big family at Creech, and the sole reason the Chaplain Corps is here is to take care of the Creech family," said Mark. "When we drive to work each day, our focus is on how we can be a blessing to the community."

Carter Details Proposed 2017 Budget Capability Improvements for Navy



By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, February 4, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter previewed the department’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, highlighting for sailors in San Diego the new lethality the budget proposes for ships, submarines, aviation and munitions.

Carter is meeting this week with troops and defense community members around the country to preview the proposed defense budget.

Yesterday at Naval Base San Diego in California, he toured USS Spruance, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, and spoke with sailors from the Spruance and from USS Princeton, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser equipped for surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and anti-submarine warfare.

Congress makes the final budget decision, Carter told the sailors, “but we try to tell them what in our judgment … is the best use of the taxpayers’ money to defend our country.”

A substantial amount of the budget proposal is for the Navy, he added, “because of the centrality of the Navy to our strategy.”

SM-6 Missile Modification

Beginning with munitions, Carter said the sailors were the first to learn about a powerful new capability, secretly tested just last month, that builds on the existing SM-6 missile.

“You know the SM-6,” Carter said. “You launch it from surface ships. It's a fantastic surface-to-air weapon, highly maneuverable aerodynamically, and can stop incoming ballistic and cruise missiles … in the atmosphere at a very low altitude.”

He said the SM-6, already one of the department’s most modern and capable munitions, will be modified so that in addition to providing missile defense it also can target enemy ships at sea at extended ranges.

“This is a new anti-ship mode … that can shoot down airborne threats, and now [the same missile] can attack and destroy a ship at long range,” Carter said, calling it a potent new surface warfare capability.

Capabilities and Lethality

“You’re in the Navy, you're in the Pacific and you’re aboard two of the most formidable ships in the entire world,” he added, noting that the Spruance and Princeton would be among the ships receiving the lion's share of the new investments proposed in the 2017 budget.

The overall number of Navy ships will build to 308 from about 280 today, Carter said, but numbers alone are less important than the ships’ capabilities and lethality, he added.

The department will buy nine new Virginia-class attack submarines over the next five years, the secretary said, adding an extra Virginia payload module and tripling the vessels’ vertical launch tube strike capacity.

Carter said the Pentagon also will invest $600 million over the next five years in a new capability -- variable-size and -payload unmanned undersea vehicles.

New Competitors

Defense Department officials -- and the Navy itself, Carter said -- agreed that 40 littoral combat ships was a sufficient number.

Plans in 2002 called for more than 50, he said, but today the department must balance its shipbuilding investments among higher-end, more capable ships such as the Spruance and the Princeton.

“We face competitors who are challenging us in the open ocean, and we need to balance investment in those capabilities -- advanced capabilities -- in a way that we haven't had to do for quite a while,” he said. Buying 40 littoral combat ships will allow the department over the next 10 years to put about $8 billion more into high-end capabilities, “and that is the right decision for us to make at this strategic turning point,” he added.

Warships and Fighters

On Aegis destroyers, which Carter called the most lethal and capable warships ever built, the Pentagon will buy 10 new warships and modernize combat systems on 12 existing ships. For Navy aviation, the department will increase its purchase of fighters, to “more than we planned by dozens over the next five years,” the secretary said: 13 more F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters and 16 more F-18 Super Hornets than were planned.

“Those buys are all getting much bigger to give the Navy and the Marine Corps enough 4th- and 5th-generation aircraft for today’s fights and also for tomorrow's fights,” the secretary said.

Cutting Edge

With this proposed 2017 budget, the fleet will be larger and much more effective, potent and lethal than it is today, the secretary said.

“It will be equipped with the weapons and advanced capabilities that it will need to deter any aggressor and to make any aggressor who isn’t deterred very much regret their decision to take us on,” Carter said.

“That’s your job for the future, that's the job for the Navy in the future,” he added. “We need to invest in [those capabilities] and you -- right here, right now -- are at the cutting edge of those investments.”

Construction update: Progress being made on Beale's CE structure, DCGS

by Senior Airman Ramon A. Adelan
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


2/2/2016 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California -- Beale's newest facilities, the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron's Administration and Operations Facility and the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group's Distribution Common Ground System, are progressing in their construction since the ground breaking in April 2015.

"Currently, both projects are being constructed with help from about 10 contracting companies," said Keith Raines, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction control representative. "Right now the DCGS site is being excavated and electrical, plumbing and communication lines are being installed with some concrete being poured in areas."

According to Raines, the civil engineer facility has approximately 40 to 50 percent of its concrete walls and floors complete. In the upcoming weeks, structural steel and roofing installation is scheduled to begin.

The civil engineer building is scheduled to be structurally complete by summer 2016 and the DCGS is scheduled for the end of 2016.

"We are building a home for military personnel to expand their efforts," said Robert Caputo, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project engineer. "The civil engineers here are getting back a shop that was destroyed in a fire a few years ago. And the DCGS personnel are getting the additional space needed for the growth of ISR capabilities."

Each facility will provide approximately 200 personnel the space required to efficiently meet mission objectives.

"USACE is delivering facilities and infrastructure worldwide to help our Soldiers and Airmen maintain readiness and achieve Army and Air Force modernization goals," said Randy Gon, USACE Sacramento District public affairs specialist. "Whether it's building new hangars, energy-efficient homes, training facilities or infrastructure repairs, supporting National Security is one of our top priorities."

Face of Defense: Pilot Logs 500th Flight Hour in F-35



By Air Force Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan, 56th Fighter Wing DoD News, Defense Media Activity

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., February 4, 2016 — The 56th Fighter Wing chief of safety -- a pilot attached to the 61st Fighter Squadron -- made history here Feb. 2 as the first “Thunderbolt” to achieve 500 flight hours in an F-35 Lightning II.

Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Hayden achieved the milestone flying his 270th sortie, a routine training mission.

“This is a testament to Luke and all the work we’ve done here to build up our experience and operations,” Hayden said. “This is a reflection of our efforts to set up a high-quality training program for new pilots.”

Hayden is one of the most experienced F-35 pilots in the world, and has flown and instructed new pilots at Luke since the program’s inception.

“The [61st Fighter Squadron] ‘Top Dogs’ are incredibly lucky to have an F-35 instructor pilot who has been with the program since the beginning, flying with us on a daily basis,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Aaron Jelinek, the squadron’s director of operations.

“Lieutenant Colonel Hayden's depth of knowledge when it comes to both F-35 systems and tactics adds incredible value to squadron operations each and every day. This is an impressive milestone for Lieutenant Colonel Hayden as he continues leading the way when it comes to experience flying the F-35.”

Significant Leap in Program’s Progress

As Luke transitions from its mission of training F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots, maintainers and support specialists to training airmen in equivalent operation of the new F-35 platform, Hayden’s 500th hour in the air marks a significant leap of progress in the development of Luke’s F-35 program, Jelinek said.

“When our most experienced instructor pilot only has 500 hours in the plane, it goes to show the F-35 program is still young,” he added. “However, it also shows that we are reaching a point where operations are normalizing, and we are able to transition our syllabus from training initial cadre to training less-experienced fighter pilots.”

Luke airmen are among the first in a global generation of pilots to fly the F-35, and will continue to reach milestones such as this for the duration of the aircraft’s development.

“The fabulous thing about this is that there are a lot of guys who are right behind me, who are really close to getting the same kind of milestone in their flying experience,” Hayden said.

As today’s pilots become more experienced with the F-35 platform, they position themselves to become the instructors and mentors of future generations of pilots flying more advanced versions of the fighter jet as they are developed and produced, he noted.
“As we build our cadre of instructors here, they’ll be able to look back at their experience flying the airplane and have credibility and a solid background that they can use to teach their students,” Hayden said.

Maintaining success through Total Force Integration at Red Flag 16-1

by Senior Airman Alex Fox Echols III
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


2/3/2016 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- It's a given that no aircraft leaves the ground unless it is working properly.  But that challenge is multiplied during the three-week Red Flag 16-1 exercise. Hundreds of aircraft maintainers assigned to flying squadrons from around the world work long hours to ensure all training sorties are executed safely and efficiently.

Maintainers are the lifeblood of the flightline and with almost 80 planes taking off twice daily during Red Flag, they have their work cut out for them. It is their primary duty to keep everything running safely and ensure every mission essential aircraft leaves the ground and returns safely.

"Anytime we take aircraft on the road we face challenges because we're away from our facilities and our normal lanes for parts and supplies," said Capt. Matthew Goldey, 95th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. "This exercise is pretty accurate to what you would see downrange. This is about as real as it gets and this is how we fight."

Red Flag 16-1's training is centered on readiness through completing realistic combat missions in a contested, degraded, operationally-limited environment. Despite these challenges, the participating maintainers come together as a team to take care of daily maintenance operations and each other.

"There is no one out here saying, 'that's not my job.' Instead it's, 'What do you need? Okay, let's get it done. This is broke? Okay, let's fix it.'" said Master Sgt. Marc Neubert, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant from Tyndall. "That is one of the coolest things that I have seen so far."

Red Flag brings diverse units and countries together from all over the world and across the services. One thing they all have in common is the need for experienced maintainers to take care of their fleets.

"It's a satisfying feeling to know that I'm part of a bigger picture and that I am making a difference," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Christian Gonzalez, VAQ-138 plane captain, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. "I'm really enjoying learning the way the different branches do their maintenance and it's very interesting to see the different aircraft."

Total Force Integration is a key component of training during Red Flag 16-1. Capt. Goldey is a U.S. Air Force reserve officer from the 44th Fighter Group, Tyndall Air Force Base, but during the exercise, he is embedded in the 95th AMU as the officer in charge.

"We are one unit, and we are totally integrated," Goldey said. "There is no 'us and them' anymore. We're all one team. We all wear the same uniform and we're all out here to accomplish the same mission."

There is a loss of knowledge and continuity when active-duty airmen rotate from a base and new ones come in. The U.S. Air Force alleviates that problem through Total Force Integration with the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

"A TFI unit brings continuity to the active duty force," Goldey said. "Being in the Reserve, you have the opportunity to hang around in a particular location longer than most active-duty members so we bring some continuity and experience to the fight."

While most maintainers are not working directly with the other units outside their organization, the augmentee airmen fueling the aircraft for the exercise are the exception. They work with most of the units on the flightline.

"We have really good comradery with everyone," said Airman 1st Class Alexis Aragon, 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels specialist, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. "Fuels is the lifeline of every aircraft, and without fuel these aircraft can't go anywhere. I love it because I know we're helping get the mission done, and I'm glad we augmentees could come out here from different bases to help do that."

During exercises like Red Flag, the maintainers are able to shed any weight they may carry during normal operations at their home base, like special duties and office work, and just concentrate on their main objectives.

"Our Airmen are killing it right now," Goldey said. "Out here on the flightline it's total mission focus. Out here it's just about putting planes in the air. Anytime you get an opportunity to do that, it is great."

With the collaboration between military branches and multiple units from around the world along with the Total Force Integration, the maintainers of Red Flag 16-1 know they have an entire flightline backing them up.

"I have learned here that you have to support one another," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Brown, 44th Fighter Group weapons loader form Tyndall. "You have to consistently do what you can to make sure everyone gets what they need to accomplish the mission."

ANG's 90th wing activated in California

by Maj. Bryan Williams
195th Wing executive officer


2/4/2016 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- On November 7, 2015, history was made for the California Air National Guard, as the 195th Wing was officially activated.

The activations activation bring the total number of wings in the Air National Guard to 90, and the fifth in California, making it one of only two states in the nation with five ANG Wings.

The activation is the result of eight years of hard work by leaders and past unit members to gain federal recognition as the 195th Wing, formerly the 162nd Combat Communications Group.

"The question has been asked for years, as to if we are going to become a wing...and the answer is YES!" said Maj. Gen. Jon Kelk, California ANG commander, during the activation ceremony.

The 195th Wing's mission is to serve as a hub for all non-flying, non-kinetic global effects operations in the California ANG, and lead the way in cyber, intelligence and space mission areas. It provides expeditionary communications and network warfare services in both a Federal and State capacity. This organization is the only wing in the Air Force that is completely composed of geographically separated units, (GSU) which receive limited support from sister ANG wings. It embraces the Air Force's Total Force Integration initiative as partners with regular and reserve component units on daily operations from space to intelligence missions.

With evolving missions and the downsizing of organizations, past leadership of the group sought new ways to keep its missions and remain relevant to meet current and future Air Force needs.  The 195th Wing is a culmination of that vision.

"The 195th Wing is a one-of-a-kind organization," said Col. Rick Hern, 195th Wing commander. "This wing is a template for how to consolidate other Air Force units and GSUs under a wing structure. Our multiple mission sets make this organization an incredible asset to many emerging missions and requirements the Air Force may have. It is an honor to serve and lead this organization into the future."

The 195th Wing is the first non-kinetic flying wing in the California ANG. It comprises the Wing Headquarters and seven GSUs spread over 500 miles throughout California. The wing headquarters for the 195th Wing is located at Beale AFB with two recently activated groups: the 195th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG) at Beale AFB and the 195th Operations Group at Van Nuys ANG Station in Southern California.

The 195 ISRG is comprised of the 222nd Intelligence Support Squadron and the 234th Intelligence Squadron stationed at Beale AFB. They provide intelligence capability and support to the regular Air Force at Distributed Ground Station-2 and the 548th ISRG, both here.

The 195th Operations Group consists of four units located across the state. The 148th Space Operations Squadron and the 216th Space Control Squadron are co-located on Vandenberg AFB and with our regular Air Force partners, operate the MILSTAR satellite constellation and provides space control capabilities at Vandenberg AFB. The 147th Combat Communications Squadron is located in San Diego, and provides combat communications and unclassified satellite imagery from its sophisticated Eagle Vision III system. Finally, the 261st Cyber Operations Squadrons is located in Van Nuys providing network defense.

"The 195th Wing is the right mission at the right time for the Air Force," said Hern. "This organization is nearly complete with its transition from combat communications into missions that are emulating the emergence of technology and intelligence. This is only the beginning for the 195th Wing. As the 162nd Combat Communications Group redefined combat communications in the modern era, the 195th Wing will definitely redefine how we are able to contribute to the overall mission of the Air Force to 'Fly, Fight and Win in Air, Space and Cyberspace!'"