Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Helping Those in Need: Reservists Continue to Deliver Aid to Haiti

By Air Force Maj. Wayne Capps 315th Airlift Wing

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 7, 2018 — Air Force reservists from the 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, delivered nearly 100,000 pounds of humanitarian aid to Haiti, Feb. 3-4.

Two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft delivered donated supplies and a well-drilling truck.

According to the Denton Program office, it is estimated that more than 8,400 people from the rural areas in Haiti, including an orphanage and medical clinics, will benefit from the supplies.

“It’s hard to see little kids and families suffering,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Reggie Godbolt, the loadmaster superintendent for the 300th Airlift Squadron and one of the loadmasters on the mission to Haiti. “But as a nation, we give people a hand when they need it. That’s what we are all about.”

The missions can be challenging as well, he said. “We land in austere locations, have to manage different kinds of cargo and must deal with the language barrier,” he explained. “But that’s what we train to do. We move equipment and supplies wherever it’s needed.”

The relief missions are part of ongoing efforts by the 315th Airlift Wing to use flight training hours to provide humanitarian relief to countries in need, while also providing mandated training for C-17 aircrew members.

‘Best Part of What We Do’

Since October, the 315th Airlift Wing has delivered 72.1 tons of humanitarian aid to Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

“Missions like these are the best part of what we do,” said Air Force Maj. Jennifer Phillips, one of the pilots on the mission from the 300th Airlift Squadron. “We don’t think twice about helping people. It’s just what we do. On these missions we delivered a huge well-drilling truck, food and medical supplies; and enough equipment to build a library. That’s not something you get to do every day.”

Missions like these are made possible by the Denton Amendment, a State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development program allowing the delivery of donated humanitarian aid to fly on Air Force assets on a space-available basis.

Kathy Cadden from Operation Ukraine, one of the organizations that donated some of the aid going to Haiti, said many of the donated items would have been thrown away.

Buckets and jugs were saved from going to a landfill and can be used for carrying water, she said, and the donated preschool tables were older tables being replaced by Woodland Hill Church of Christ in Memphis, Tennessee. Now these supplies are headed to the Children’s Lifeline School in Barbancou, Haiti. She also said the many desks, chairs and supplies will go to schools, hospitals, medical clinics and orphanages in the area.
“I am so thankful to the Denton program and the U.S. Air Force for making it possible to get food and humanitarian into Haiti,” Cadden said. “There is a change being made in the area where these supplies are being sent.”

Face of Defense: Combat Medic Looks Forward to First Deployment

By Army Spc. Noelle E. Wiehe, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade

FORT POLK, La., Feb. 7, 2018 — Army Sgt. Randy Kieso, a combat medic with 3rd Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, had not had the opportunity to deploy since enlisting in 2010. When he heard his new unit would be conducting missions in Afghanistan in the spring of 2018, he was ready for the opportunity.

Kieso said he was certain he wanted to serve in the military since he was 6 years old.

“It’s essentially been a lifelong thing I’ve wanted to do; this has always been what I wanted to do,” he said.

When he first entered a recruiter’s office he explored the idea of serving as an infantryman, but decided he would serve as a combat medic instead.

Combat medics are tasked with providing emergency medical treatment on the battlefield, providing basic primary care and health protection and evacuation, according to the Army’s recruiting website.

“I like helping people -- being the one that people look to for assistance,” Kieso said.

He said he looked up to his uncle, Stuart Fabian, who served as a medic during his time as a Navy corpsman. His uncle shared his knowledge and experiences, which motivated Kieso to become a medic in the Army.

Train, Advise, Assist

The Army announced the first deployment of the 1st SFAB in spring of 2018. Stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 1st SFAB has been tasked with training, advising and assisting Afghan forces. SFABS are specialized units whose core mission is to conduct advise-and-assist operations with allied and partner nations.

Kieso said he never deployed with his previous units due to unfortunate timing -- he would arrive when the units were between rotations. He said he joined the 1st SFAB looking for “something new.”

“I’ve never gotten a chance to deploy and this was a for-sure thing, so that was a motivator to join,” he said.

When he began researching the 1st SFAB, Kieso said he was looking for a broadening assignment and could only find small bits of information, which he found intriguing.

Since joining the unit, he said he has enjoyed training alongside different components of the Army -- from field artillery to intelligence soldiers.

“It’s nice being able to have people with all sorts of different MOSs, all sorts of experiences right next to each other,” he said. “Drawing from that has been an awesome experience. When I leave, I’ll have a better understanding of how other systems in the Army work, as well. If I understand how other jobs in the Army work, it can help me hone in on what exactly it is that I need to do and what I bring to the fight as a medic.”

Not a Standard Mission

Though this will be his first deployment, Kieso said he feels confident in his team, especially following the events and training they went through during the month-long Joint Readiness Training Exercise here.

“JRTC has definitely brought our team into being a team,” he said.

Kieso said he has found value in teaching other people to be able to perform combat medic tasks -- specifically teaching the simulated Afghan National Army during the rotation -- and working to improve their combat effectiveness.

“I’ve loved it; it’s been awesome,” he said. “It is not your standard [duties].”

Staff Sgt. Cody Standridge, a section leader with 1st SFAB, said everybody in the team has multiple hats to wear -- between staff functions in the U.S. force and their foreign partner force, the 1st SFAB operates the way a battalion staff would while at a tactical level -- each soldier has their job to perform.

During his time with the 1st SFAB at JRTC, Standridge said Kieso has worn several hats as he’s performed tasks outside his normal job to help his team.

“He steps outside of his role here at the 1st SFAB,” he said. “Personnel functions [are] not something that a [medic] typically does. On our team, though, it’s been critical to have him have that staff power, along with [running] the entire medical training portion for both our partner courses and the team.”

For their upcoming deployment, Kieso said his team will work fairly autonomously, so cohesion and camaraderie within the unit is conducive to the mission.
“Our team, if we’re not doing some big training exercise, we’re always doing some internal training to make us better -- building teamwork; building individual team tactics, techniques, and procedures internal to us,” he said. “That has brought us a lot closer.”

U.S.-Thai Leaders Reaffirm Military-to-Military Relationship

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

BANGKOK, Feb. 7, 2018 — U.S. and Thai military leaders reaffirmed the strong military-to-military relationship between the two countries in a series of meetings here.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with his Thai counterpart, Army Gen. Tarnchaiyan Srisuwan, as well as Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

He said the meetings were constructive and the leaders are planning for decades of cooperation between the two nations.

Dunford is the first chairman to visit the kingdom since 2012. A military coup in 2014 canceled any high-level contacts between the two militaries. The Thai regime has promised a return to civilian control after elections later this year.

The visit is proof of the chairman’s commitment to the military-to-military relationship between U.S. and Thailand. Dunford noted that the contacts between the two countries is far broader than a simple security relationship. “Our relationship … is about security, but it is also about our economic interests. It’s about our cultural linkages, our social linkages, our educational linkages, our commitment to health in the region, so we have a very rich relationship with Thailand and I am looking forward to, in some small way, advancing that relationship,” he said in a short press conference following his meeting with the Thai defense minister.

Forging Personal Relationships

He also wanted to meet with the Thai defense leaders. “I came to forge a personal relationship with my counterpart and also with the minister of defense,” Dunford said. “We’ve had good discussions about how we will move the relationship forward and what opportunities exist for us to deepen our military-to-military relationship.”

Thailand and the United States first forged contacts in 1818, and the Southeast Asian nation is a treaty ally of the United States -- one of five in the Indo-Pacific region. Thailand is a prime example of the benefits of the rules-based international order in place since the end of World War II. Thailand was the first nation in the region to develop and maintain a middle class.

The peace and stability maintained by the rules-based international system allowed Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the other nations in the region to develop. “In my view, the most important thing about our relationship has been that together, we have contributed to a rules-based international order for more than 70 years,” Dunford said. “So when I think about our relationship, I don’t think about it in two-year, or three-year, or five-year increments, I think about our relationship in terms of decades.”

Future Plans

The chairman said his discussions with Thai leaders centered on ways the alliance can contribute to that rules-based international order in the future.

The military relationship has changed and will continue to change, if only because conditions change. “We want to make sure we have a 21st century relationship,” the chairman said. “We want to make sure that our training, our professional military education, our equipping is all going to allow us to be relevant in face of the challenges we will face tomorrow.”

The chairman spoke of “deepening” exercises and expanding educational opportunities in the future. Thailand’s annual Cobra Gold exercise will begin next week and U.S. embassy officials said around 6,800 American service members will take part.

The general also said he was “very encouraged by the Thai leadership's commitment to return to a democratic government.”

This, he added, “would allow us to deepen our relationship in the years ahead."