Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Alaska Reservist reaches 1,000 F-22 flight hours

by Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

5/19/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Maj. Chad Newkirk, a Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 477th Fighter Group, is the eleventh pilot in Air Force history and fourth pilot in the 477th FG to reach 1,000 flight hours in the F-22 during a sortie here in April.

"I am thrilled and humbled to have made it to 1,000 hours in the Raptor" said Newkirk. "There is a ton that goes into any pilot reaching this milestone in a relatively young airframe, and I couldn't have done it without all the awesome support from the maintainers and the rest of our ops support folks over the years."

Prior to joining the Air Force Reserve Newkirk spent eight years on active duty flying F-15's and F-22's at Elmendorf AFB Alaska as well as Langley AFB in Virginia . He separated from active duty in 2008 and returned to Alaska to fly with the Air Force Reserve as a member of the 302nd Fighter Squadron.

Newkirk is now the fourth pilot assigned to the 477th Fighter Group to reach the 1,000 hour milestone. Col. David Piffarerio, 477th Fighter Group commander, was the first in the Group and the entire USAF and Maj. Jonathan Gration, 302nd FS F-22 pilot, was the second in the Group and the fourth in the USAF.

"I am excited to further increase the overall level of Raptor experience in the Hellions" said Newkirk "and to continue training and employing with our Active Duty partners."

The 477th FG is integrated in every F-22 mission set with their partners in the active duty 3rd Wing.

No Decision Yet on East Coast Missile Defense Site, Winnefeld Says

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2015 – The Defense Department has not made a decision on the establishment of an East Coast-based missile defense site, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. focused on U.S. missile defense during a discussion on national security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here.

“We want our adversaries to know that not only is there a price for attacking us or our friends,” he said, “but also that the attack may not succeed in the first place, resulting in pain but no gain.”

No Decision Yet

In improving the entire U.S. defense missile system, Winnefeld said a holistic view must be taken to ensure limited resources are “wisely” invested -- not just in ground-based interceptors.

“In this light,” he said, “there has been a lot of talk about installing an East Coast missile field. Our environmental impact statement should be complete in the middle of next year.”

However, Winnefeld said, the only reason to make that investment would be to provide the capability to shoot, assess and then shoot again, which can only be done if the sensors needed to do so are in place.

“We need to put our ability to see targets at the head of the line, and therefore, there’s been no decision yet by the department to move forward with an additional [continental U.S.] interceptor site though we very well could do that,” he said.

“Meanwhile,” Winnefeld added, “our current sites -- Vandenberg [Air Force Base, California] and Fort Greeley in Alaska -- protect the U.S. homeland from the existing and the projected ICBM threat from North Korea and Iran should either of them really emerge.”

The vice chairman noted even though an additional interceptor site in the continental United States would add battle space and interceptor capability and capacity, a decision to construct the new site would come at a “significant material development and service sustainment cost, so we need to be careful.”

He added, “While that site could eventually be necessary, … in the near-term, upgrading the kill vehicle on the [ground-based interceptor], improving our ability to discriminate, and enhancing the homeland defense sensor network are higher priorities for us in improving our protection against limited ICBM attack.”

Prioritizing Capabilities

Winnefeld explained how he and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, prioritize the department’s investment in capabilities.

Any sensible nation has to prioritize its investments in defense along some kind of strategic framework, the admiral said.

“If we don’t do this in a sensible way, we’ll end up with a cacophony of demands in an era of declining means,” Winnefeld said.

This has implications for the nation’s missile defense investments, he said; capabilities are “ways” which can’t be prioritized before “ends.”

Winnefeld said he and the chairman, and increasing numbers of other DoD leaders “believe that our investments have to be prioritized along the lines of what it is we’re being asked to protect.”

Some of these national security interests, he said, are more important than others.

“It stands to reason that we need to ensure that we take care of the highest-ranked interests first,” Winnefeld said.

Preventing Existential Attacks

At the apex of any country’s national security interests, the vice chairman said, is its own survival -- the U.S. is no different.

“At the top of the list of threats to that interest is, of course, a massive nuclear attack from Russia or some other high-end potential adversary like China,” Winnefeld said.

“This is about existential attacks,” he explained, “attacks that are extremely hard to defend against, and because we prefer to use the deterrent of missile defense in situations where it has the highest probability of being most effective, we’ve stated that missile defense against these high-end threats is too hard and too expensive, and too strategically destabilizing to even try.”

Winnefeld said the number of nations trying to achieve that capability is growing rather than shrinking and the department’s principal current concern is North Korea, “because they are closest in terms of capability, followed by Iran.”

He added, “A robust and capable national missile defense is our best bet to defend the United States from such an attack. That’s why the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program, is going to remain our first priority in missile defense.”

In a shrinking defense budget, Winnefeld said, “this system will be accorded the highest priority within the missile defense share of our pie.”

Staying Ahead of the Threats

The vice chairman praised the Missile Defense Agency for a “fantastic” job, and noted that it is DoD’s policy to stay ahead of the threats which underscores the importance of taking “a lot” of time and effort to improve the capability and reliability of the entire U.S. missile defense system.

“The Missile Defense Agency, led by [Navy Vice Adm.] Jim Syring, has done a terrific job of this,” Winnefeld said. “It’s not easy to hit-to-kill at the kinds of closure speeds we’re talking about, but we’ve done it.

“It’s hard to make advancements in such a program,” he continued, “when it’s so expensive to test the things you change in response to the things you might find wrong.”

Winnefeld credited the MDA for understanding that concept, and understanding “when you find a problem, you don’t stop at the first thing you see; you wring out the whole system.”

He added, “You don’t stop at the first possible fix to what you find wrong, and MDA has done exactly that. They’ve taken their time, and they’ve done it right.”

2nd Annual 'Aloha Moani 5K' Memorial Run Concludes NHB Navy Nurse Corps Week

By Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The Navy Nurse Corps Week recognizing their 107th anniversary wrapped up with the 2nd Annual 'Aloha Moani 5K' Memorial Run honoring one of their own.

The 'Aloha Moani' run on May 16, 2015, was dedicated to honor the memory Lt. Rebekah Moani Daniel, NHB staff member who passed away in March, 2014, due to a rare complication of childbirth.

More than 120 runners participated in the run which included many friends and family who traveled from California and Hawai'i to attend, which turned out to be more than just a 3.1 mile run and walk for many. It also provided local family, friends, co-workers, supporters, and community members the opportunity to keep the legacy of Lt. Daniel and her enthusiasm for fitness alive and going.

"Lt. Rebekah Moani Daniel was very tenacious. She would have embraced the hills and happiness this run brings. We have the ability to do just that," said Lt. Shawn Redmon, NHB Chaplain. "She also appreciates and loved herself, family, and friends in being part of a run like this. The spirit of Moani lives on."

Runners received upon completion a traditional Hawaiian lei and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in the three age-categories received commemorative Hawai'ian shell necklaces. There were also prizes - chew toys - for the top three canine finishers.

The overall top three finishers were Andy Peters with a time of 18:15 for a 5:53 pace per mile; followed by Dan Hollingsworth with 19:57 and a 6:26 pace; and John Spannuth at 20:04, with a 6:28 pace.

It was on May 13, 1908, that then-President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Naval Appropriations Bill that authorized the establishment of the Nurse Corps as a unique staff corps of the Navy.

"What differentiates us in the Navy from everyone else in health care is our Nurse Corps and their hard work and dedication," said Capt. Christopher Quarles, NHB Commanding Officer.

The Navy Nurse Corps birthday stretched throughout the entire week at NHB, as the NHB Nurse Corps members sponsored a speed mentoring course to explain the various nursing career specialties available to prospective Sailors, and held their official birthday celebration on May 13. The Navy Nurse Corps is also the exact same time as National Nurses Week that is annually recognized and celebrated May 6 to May 12, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing.

There are approximately 146 active duty and civilian nurses assigned to NHB - 68 active duty personnel - along with six American Red Cross nurse volunteers, out of the Navy's active and Reserve Nurse Corps approximately 4,300 members, a sizable increase from the Navy Nurse Corps initial group of 20 in 1908 - known as the "Sacred Twenty."

As was the case 107 years ago, NHB's Nurse Corps continues to provide care and support, especially in remembrance for those gone but never forgotten.

Carter, Polish Defense Minister Discuss Security Issues

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2015 – Critical security issues, including Russia-Ukraine, U.S. and NATO activities in Poland, and U.S.-Polish defense cooperation, were among the topics of discussion during a meeting between Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Polish Minister of Defense Tomasz Siemoniak at the Pentagon today, according to a DoD news release.

The two leaders discussed the importance of cooperation, bilaterally and as part of NATO, to reassure allies and strengthen NATO deterrence, the release said.

The release said Carter encouraged continued Polish leadership, regionally and within NATO, and asked Siemoniak for Poland's continued contributions internationally, such as in Afghanistan, counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant efforts, and with assistance to Ukraine.

Carter welcomed Poland's decision to purchase the Patriot missile defense system and thanked Siemoniak for Poland's pledge to increase its defense spending to two percent GDP and its commitment to defense modernization, according to the release.

Solidarity and Partnership Program

The two leaders also discussed the Solidarity and Partnership Program, which serves as a roadmap for bilateral defense cooperation between the two nations, the release said.

Both leaders expressed their pleasure that the Aegis Ashore missile defense site in Redzikowo, Poland, is moving forward on schedule, the release said.

Carter discussed how European Reassurance Initiative funds are being used to increase training and exercises, including with Special Operation Forces, and to improve infrastructure, and may eventually be used to temporarily preposition training equipment in Europe, according to the release.

In addition to continuing U.S. Air Force rotations at Lask Air Base in Poland and other exercises and training activities under U.S. European Command's Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. presence at Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin also was discussed, the release said.

Both leaders stated that they look forward to working together at the NATO Ministerial next month, according to the release.