Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dunford to Attend Pacom Command Change, Meet With Pacific Allies

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford will take advantage of U.S. Pacific Command’s upcoming change of command to meet with Pacific allies in Hawaii.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived here last night and will participate in meetings as well.

Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. will pass command of Pacom to Navy Adm. Philip S. Davidson tomorrow in a ceremony here. Davidson comes to the job from the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia.

Dunford, South Korean air force Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo, and Japanese navy Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano will hold a meeting at Camp Smith. The chairman will also meet separately with the two leaders.

Indo-Pacific Discussions

The men are expected to discuss the situation in the region and continued cooperation. The military leaders meet frequently.

The situation in the Indo-Pacific region is complicated. China is investing heavily in its military and seems intent on undermining the international order that has served the region since the end of World War II.

North Korea is unpredictable and has developed nuclear weapons. However, senior American and North Korean officials are currently working to organize a high-level meeting to discuss the situation.

Threats from violent extremists exist in the region from Indonesia to the Philippines to Bangladesh.

The United States is committed to help maintain peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region and to support treaty allies South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

President Donald J. Trump has nominated Harris to be U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

Ronald Reagan Strike Group Departs for Patrol

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The forward-deployed Ronald Reagan Strike Group departed Yokosuka, Japan, May 29, for a regularly scheduled patrol to operate in the western Pacific Ocean.

Ronald Reagan Strike Group will be conducting training in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

"[Ronald Reagan Strike Group] is very excited to get underway and begin to train and operate together, as well as with our allies and partners," said Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander, Commander Task Force 70. "As we get underway for these operations we will continue to represent the United States as the security partner of choice in the region, to ensure freedom of the seas, drive stability and security and to promote adherence to a rules-based international order."

Reagan successfully completed sea trials, May 17, in preparation for the patrol.

"I'm very proud of the hard work and diligence of all of the incredible Sailors in the strike group," Dalton said. "The Ronald Reagan Strike Group is ready to get underway to perform our mission in all respects and to answer the call of our nation and our allies."

The Ronald Reagan Strike Group also includes the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62).

Air Force Maintainers Play Critical Role in Operation Inherent Resolve

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing

SOUTHWEST ASIA --  With more than 1,000 successful missions in the last six months, the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron, known as ‘The Jokers,’ supports Operation Inherent Resolve’s busiest aerial port here.

As a tenant unit under the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, the 5th EAMS maintains C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, in addition to providing support for aircraft flying in and out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Southwest Asia.

Beyond their mission at the 386th, the ‘Jokers’ also perform maintenance on aircraft at forward-deployed locations.

“Without maintainers, these aircraft would eventually just sit on the runway,” said Air Force Senior Airman Eric Pashnick, a 5th EAMS crew chief deployed here from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. “It is humbling to know that with our support, we are able to accomplish the mission. However, at the same time, it keeps you focused and ensures you pay attention to even the littlest detail -- because one mistake can be catastrophic.”

The attention to detail Pashnick mentioned is critical, as aircraft in the region are often subject to foreign object damage, or FOD. According to Pashnick, it is common for aircraft to arrive here with rocks, sand, animals, or combat damage. The maintainers repair or replace parts affected by the FOD, in addition to performing routine maintenance procedures.

Fast Service

“We are there working the moment the aircraft comes to a full stop,” said Air Force Senior Airman Clayton Cahoon, a 5th EAMS crew chief deployed here from Travis Air Force Base, California. “Time is of the essence, and the longer an aircraft is parked on our runway, the less it is in the air completing its mission. It’s our job to ensure it doesn’t sit on the runway for long.”

When an aircraft arrives the maintainers do a full inspection on it -- from the engines all the way down to the fluids, Cahoon said.

The airmen recently repaired jet engines on a C-17 by removing and replacing turbine blades, he said.

“What makes the airmen of the 5th EAMS the best is their passion for the mission, teamwork and pride in what they accomplish,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Clinton Varty, 5th EAMS commander.

Varty said his airmen’s achievements are the product of their hard work.

“Beyond the airmen of the 5th EAMS, the reason we are successful is due to amazing support we receive from the 386th AEW and the 387th Air Expeditionary Group,” he added. “This is a great place to make the mission happen -- and we all have a part in that.”