Thursday, March 01, 2018

Air Force Weather Forecasters Assist Soldiers at Fort Irwin Exercise

By Air Force Senior Airman Gregory Nash, Moody Air Force Base

FORT IRWIN, Calif., March 1, 2018 — Using their specialized meteorology skills, Air Force weather forecasters from the 93rd Air-Ground Operations Wing from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, partnered with soldiers during predeployment training at the National Training Center here.

As the Army’s sole weather support asset, the Air Force weathermen ramped up their operations from Feb. 19-23 in the Mojave Desert by advising, training and assisting Army units to enhance interoperability and help ensure mission success.

“To fully integrate, we go on exercises and trainings like these to [embed] with the Army,” said weather operator Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Byrne, with the 3rd Air Support Operations Group, Detachment 3.


“It feels like we’re actually in the Army at times, and that helps to integrate with the units that we’ll be potentially deploying with downrange,” Byrne said. “Knowing the pilots and ground troops by name enhances familiarity and trust, which makes a huge difference on the battlefield.”

Having an arsenal of game-changing tactics in battle was paramount during the training rotation with weather playing a significant role every day.

“Weather impacts every individual in a mission,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Kristopher Day-Bottai, 3d ASOG weather forecaster. “Everything is sensitive around weather because [environmental conditions] can enable, limit or cancel a mission. Even if the weather isn’t detrimental to a mission or determines a different outcome, everyone wants to know the temperature and what to expect and we provide that.”

For Day-Bottai, assessing weather details from the ground and high-altitude levels gives the soldiers a huge advantage in maneuvering the landscape and atmosphere. He added that focusing on a myriad of weather aspects have proven to be invaluable from World War II’s “D-Day” up until now.

Impact of Weather

“We’ve seen plenty of times where weather has given aircraft and ground forces trouble and mission planning was altered for safety,” Day-Bottai said. “To keep assets safe, we primarily focus on assessing visibility, sky conditions and wind factors. We also collect temperature, pressure, dew point and lighting location information for, not only ourselves, but other units to help define their forecasts.”

According to Day-Bottai, determining the forecast is often one of the most challenging aspects due to the unpredictable nature of weather.

“We have planned forecasts but if predictions were always right, we wouldn’t need to adjust,” Day-Bottai said. “There’re been instances where before a mission, I had to notify an air traffic control tower and send out a weather update to ground a bunch of aircraft.”

Relying on swift decision-making like this was key for the participating Army units to successfully fight against mock insurgents and frigid temperatures in the desert.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services Releases 2017 Annual ReportDefense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services Releases 2017 Annual Report

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2018 — Today, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services released its 2017 annual report on matters relating to women serving in the armed forces of the United States, according to a DoD news release.

DACOWITS provides the Defense Department with advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to women in the armed forces.

The committee provides these recommendations to the Secretary of Defense via a comprehensive annual report, based on information gathered throughout the year.

For 2017, DACOWITS studied 13 topics. The committee gathered information from multiple sources including briefings and written responses from DoD, service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts; data collected from focus groups and interactions with service members during installation visits; and peer-reviewed literature. DACOWITS collected qualitative data during their visits to multiple installations representing the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.


Based upon the data collected and analyzed, the committee submitted 17 recommendations to the Secretary of Defense on the following topics: accession and marketing, recruiting strategies, propensity to serve, mid-career retention, dual-military co-location policies, gender integration, key opportunities and assignments, gender integrated boxing, physiological gender differences, parent leave policies, childcare resources, family care plan policies, and the impacts of social media and sexual harassment online.

The report is available online and includes detailed reasoning supporting each recommendation addressed by the committee.

Established in 1951, DACOWITS is one of the oldest DOD federal advisory committees. The committee was created following the signing of the 1948 Women's Armed Services Integration Act. The law enabled women to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
Over the years, DACOWITS has been instrumental to the DoD and has made significant contributions on topics including opening career fields, specialties, schooling and training to women; developing gender neutral occupational standards; improving to the health of deployed servicewomen; and increasing marketing, accessions and recruiting.

Face of Defense: Infantry Soldier Earns Recognition at Strongman Competition

By Air Force Senior Airman Curtis Beach, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, March 1, 2018 — All or nothing. It’s pain and stress management. There’s a constant little bird in the back of your mind chirping away that you might not make it. If you don’t make it, you just spent months of training and a bunch of money to watch your dream pass you by.

Army 1st Lt. Max Pippa’s mind was racing as he pushed his body to its limits during the final stages of preparation in an arduous journey for greatness.

Heavyweight Strongman Competition

Pippa, an infantry officer with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, battled against 29 of the toughest warriors from around the globe in the 90-kilogram weight class (198.4 pounds) at the 2017 World’s Strongest Man competition in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dec. 16-17.

The competition’s first day of events included a log clean and press, an 800-pound yoke carry for 50 feet, a deadlift of a Jeep Wrangler, and a timed-carrying medley. The medley consisted of carrying a 650-pound metal frame, a 325-pound metal tombstone and a 265-pound sand bag carry, each for 50 feet.

“This was the event that tests endurance and speed,” said Pippa, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri. “My forte is conditioning-based events, so I knew I could make a push in the standings in that one. It’s pretty high up on my list.”

One of the keys to success in this style of competition is recovery and knowing how to manage energy and adrenaline between events, he said.

“It’s a long day of getting yourself amped up, then coming back down, and then repeating that cycle,” Pippa said. “Most people don’t work out that way -- they warm up, exercise for a couple hours and then cool down. Knowing how to ‘redline’ repeatedly throughout the day and recover effectively is everything.”


Between events Pippa would sit down and eat a cup of white rice, a few ounces of beef jerky and drink some rehydration solution. Then, he would listen to non-aggressive music to relax and conserve energy.

“As soon as an event’s over, bring yourself down and get right back into rest and relax mode,” Pippa said. “That’s what I did for each event I competed in, and after each event I would get better.”

After nearly eight hours of rigorous competition, the bottom 20 athletes in the standings were eliminated, while Pippa, currently in third, and the other top 10 advanced to the second day to determine the champ.

“That night was nothing but restless sleep,” he said. “At 3 a.m., I decided to just stay awake and focus on getting in the right mindset for the coming events.”

The last day of competition included two events; the first was a timed pulling of a Ford F-350 truck with an attached trailer holding four more vehicles across a 50-foot course.

Secondly, competitors would race to lift a series of six concrete stones, increasing in weight from 250 to 375 pounds, onto successive platforms.

Mentally Focused

“Day 2 was my jam,” said the infantry officer. “I had been awake for most the night, visualizing those two events and watching silent videos of past competitions. I was mentally focused.”

To help him stay focused, he thought about his 10-month-old son, Cassius, and his wife, Corinna, and all their support throughout his preparation for the competition, which often included three to five hours of training three days per week.

Often training at JBER’s fitness centers, Pippa said he owes much of his success to John Limon, Buckner Physical Fitness Center director, who supports JBER’s many athletes by procuring necessary training equipment, such as concrete stones, not often found at typical gyms.

“People like Pippa get me excited. He’s set a heck of an example around here,” Limon said. “Lots of military guys and gals come to the fitness center with aspirations to achieve great things within their military lives and outside the gates. Pippa shows people around here what’s possible when you’re disciplined and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals.”

Pippa has a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, so fitness, diet and health have always been a passion for him. He developed an interest in Strongman in 2006 with some friends in St. Louis.


“I feel fortunate and blessed to have been able to perform well in something I’m passionate about,” Pippa said. “To know what makes me happy, gets my blood pumping and to be lucky enough to be recognized as one of the top in the world is super humbling.”

Competing with purpose, Pippa won both of the second day’s events. Combined with the points he had accumulated the first day, the 27-year-old fitness enthusiast brought home a second-place overall finish in the prolific competition.

At the end of the contest, Pippa found himself standing on the podium with a silver trophy in one hand and baby Cassius in the other.

“I’m a pretty lucky guy,” he said. “I just feel blessed that all the variables lined up the way they did, especially my wife who has been extremely supportive, taking on a lot to enable me to pursue this.”

Now Pippa plans to spend time with his family, pursue a career as a firefighter and continue to compete and to inspire others to pursue their passions.
“Regardless of what it is that drives you, I hope other people find what they’re ambitious about. Find something that fires you up and pursue it, and see where it goes. I feel so happy, humbled and grateful for this experience, and I hope other people can enjoy this same feeling.”