Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rand takes command of AFGSC

by Carla Pampe
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

7/28/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Gen. Robin Rand took command of Air Force Global Strike Command during a ceremony here July 28, becoming the newest leader of the organization responsible for the nation's force of ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers.

A command pilot with more than 5,000 hours, including 470 in combat, Rand previously served as commander of Air Education and Training Command. He succeeds Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson who had served as AFGSC's commander since October 2013.

Presiding at the ceremony, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said, "General Wilson and the Global Strike team have worked tremendously hard to make significant, positive changes for the Airmen who are charged with the deterrence mission. General Rand is the perfect leader to connect with those Airmen and continue to drive improvements for them and their families. They deserve nothing less."

Addressing an at-capacity crowd of Airmen, distinguished visitors, commanders and senior Air Force leaders at Barksdale's historic Hoban Hall, Rand said, "Today is a great day to be an American Airman and it's a great day to be in Air Force Global Strike Command.

"The thousands of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen who are doing job No. 1 for our nation -- these Airmen keep the wolves at bay in locations like Malmstrom, F.E. Warren, Minot, Whiteman, Barksdale, soon to be Kirtland, Dyess and Ellsworth," he continued. "Bad people with bad intentions don't mess with the United States because of these amazing Airmen."

A seasoned leader and airpower tactician, Rand previously served as commandant of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, commander of the 8th Fighter Wing, 56th Fighter Wing and 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing; and commander of 12th Air Force, in addition to commanding AETC. He pledged to keep AFGSC focused on developing and providing combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations.

"My priorities are mission, Airmen and families," he said. "We must deter and assure. In order to do that, the staff and I will laser focus on making sure our wings receive the tools, the equipment and the training necessary to execute our combat mission with great precision and lethality. Likewise, Kim and I will place a high premium on our families and their well-being. Trust me -- military families are personal to me."

The general also reminded Airmen of the importance of maintaining the Air Force core values, and of the rich heritage the command holds.

"Air Force Global Strike will focus on ensuring our Airmen have an unyielding commitment to our core values of integrity, service and excellence. And finally, we will ensure that our Airmen have a keen awareness of our rich heritage and legacy that was forged in blood, sweat and tears by countless Americans and Airmen before us who were assigned to 8th Air Force and 20th Air Force," he said. "While history makes us smarter, our heritage will make us prouder, and we will use that heritage to help inspire our Airmen to great heights."

The Air Force elevated AFGSC to a four-star major command in order to provide its global strike mission with the highest level of leadership oversight similar to the service's other operational core missions.

"The appointment of a four-star sends a powerful message to our Airmen, allies and any would-be enemy," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "It speaks to our commitment and promise to our Airmen and Nation to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and global strike capability with the right level of leadership emphasis.

"In a complex global environment, having a four-star general responsible for the world's most powerful weapons is critically important," James added. "General Rand will continue to give voice to our Airmen and continue to advance progress made in the nuclear enterprise."

Welsh stressed to AFGSC Airmen that the Air Force will continue to support the nuclear enterprise.

"Nuclear deterrence for America and her allies remains our number one mission priority," he said. "A four-star at the helm of Air Force Global Strike Command affirms that commitment."

Wilson led AFGSC through a number of important changes during his tenure, including the Force Improvement Program, which instituted a culture of empowerment of its Airmen.

In his farewell address, Wilson praised the Global Strike Airmen and civilians for their hard work and dedication.

"I'm extremely proud of what you've accomplished over the past few years. You are our nation's deterrent and global strike force. You provide safe, secure and effective deterrence, and should deterrence ever fail, you are America's ability to swiftly and decisively strike anywhere on the globe," he added. "Because of you, we are the greatest Air Force on the planet. You are America's global power, and much like the Chief says about airpower, without global strike, you do lose."

Wilson will become the deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Face of Defense: Army Sergeant Major Pursues Her Dreams

By Whitney Katz
Joint Enabling Capabilities Command

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., July 28, 2015 – Army Sgt. Maj. Kristie Brady said she knew from a young age that she wanted to serve in the military like her father had.

Brady was raised in Ethan, South Dakota, a farming town with a population of 300.

“I wanted to be a part of something larger than myself,” Brady said. “I wanted to travel and gain experiences that would not be possible in my hometown.”

Brady found that life-changing opportunity in 1992, when she entered the Army’s Delayed Entry Program at age 17. Since then, Brady has continued to broaden her horizons and exceed expectations as an information technology specialist and an airborne-qualified jumpmaster.

Her commitment and dedication to service have led to an historical event, as she was recently chosen as the next command sergeant major of the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion (Airborne) based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Brady will be the first female in the elite organization’s history to serve in this position.

“The 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion is an extremely prestigious unit with a great reputation across the Army,” Brady said. “It is an incredible opportunity to serve in the 112th Signal Battalion and to do so as their command sergeant major is an extreme honor.”

Information Technology Career Field

Brady had the foresight when joining the Army to realize that the information technology career field would be an important specialty both within the Army and in the civilian world.

“At the time I enlisted, computers and information technology were fairly new,” Brady said. “I wanted to do something that would translate into good job prospects while serving and also following my military service.”

Throughout numerous assignments across the globe, Brady honed her skills and steadily moved up the enlisted ranks serving in a number of key leader positions. She served as the first female squadron sergeant major for the 3rd Joint Communications Squadron of the Joint Communications Support Element in Tampa in Florida before becoming the unit’s Brigade Operations Sergeant Major.

“JCSE has been an integral assignment for me as it has provided me broader experiences enabling me to reach this next milestone in my career,” Brady said.

She added, “My experience at JCSE has definitely left me better prepared for the 112th Signal Battalion as their missions are somewhat similar. Both organizations provide rapidly deployable, early entry and scalable communications to the commanders they serve.”

Each unit also provides their service members experience in operating and maintaining an array of unique equipment not normally used by conventional joint service counterparts, Brady said.

In addition, both JCSE and the 112th Signal Battalion are airborne units, bringing a unique and valuable benefit to joint force commanders, she said. There are very few airborne units in the U.S. military that provide communications support to special operations forces, making JCSE Signal Brigade and the 112th Signal Battalion part of an elite group.

Brady attended airborne school in 1997 and serves as a jumpmaster at JCSE which has effectively prepared her for the transition to the 112th Signal Battalion.

“It’s an honor to be able to stay in an airborne unit -- especially one with such a significant history like the 112th Signal Battalion,” she said.

Gender Not a Factor

Brady’s selection as the command sergeant major of the 112th Signal Battalion was conducted through the Army’s centralized selection board, which identifies the most qualified senior noncommissioned officers for forecasted positions in the next fiscal year.

“When I competed on last fall’s Command Select Board, I was excited to see the 112th Signal Battalion as an option,” Brady said. “I very quickly identified the 112th Signal Battalion as my first choice if selected as a primary on the Command Select List.”

Brady was excited to learn just a few months later that she had received her first choice.

“I am extremely honored and privileged to be selected to serve as a command sergeant major but especially fortunate for the opportunity to be the 112th Signal Battalion’s command sergeant major,” Brady said. “I believe that selection for this position, as with others across the Army, was made by determining who best met the needs of the organization based on their training and experience level regardless of race, creed, color or gender.”

US, Singapore Navies Complete Complex Training, Achieve New Milestones During CARAT 2015

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gregory A. Harden II, Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy completed the 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore after 11 days of comprehensive training both at sea and ashore, July 24.

CARAT Singapore featured a series of dynamic training engagements including a five-day sea phase involving ships, submarines and aircraft from both countries.

"Having arrived in Southeast Asia in 2012, this was my third time participating in CARAT Singapore and each year, the exercise gets better and better," said Capt. Fred Kacher, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7 and co-commander of the exercise task group. "The high-end tactical and integrated warfare that was on display this week proved what a valuable training partner Singapore is and how important we view this maritime relationship."

Building on CARAT's emphasis of increasing the complexity of combined scenarios each year, USN and RSN ships, submarines and aircraft operated together during joint torpedo and gunnery exercises, launched unmanned aerial vehicles, performed deck landing qualifications with embarked aircraft, and conducted concurrent simulated underway replenishments with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Pecos (T-AO 197).

The RSN's Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme (73), Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) S-70B Seahawk helicopter and the USN's MH-60R Seahawk helicopter took part in the successful combined torpedo firing exercise July 22. Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, RSN Fleet Commander Rear Adm. Lew Chuen Hong, Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of the USN's Logistics Group Western Pacific, and members of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs (GPC-DFA) were underway on board Supreme to observe the TORPEX.

The highlight of this year's exercise was the inaugural use of unmanned aircraft systems. The MQ-8B Fire Scout, embarked on the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), and the RSN's Scan Eagle UAV operated in the joint environment, demonstrating the value of unmanned platforms in providing an enhanced maritime domain awareness picture for the afloat task group.

"CARAT Singapore has increased in scope and complexity over the years. The successful conduct of the combined torpedo firing and the UAV operations underscores the high level of interoperability and trust both navies have achieved," said Col. Seah Poh Yeen, the RSN's co-commander of the exercise task group, in a Ministry of Defence press release July 22.

Additionally, Fort Worth conducted deck landing qualifications during the sea phase, landing the RSAF's S-70B on its flight deck. The DLQs on Fort Worth marked the first time a RSAF landed on board a LCS, showcasing the versatility of the rotary wing assets.
In another first, a sortie of two RSAF F-15SG Strike Eagle jets overflew the ships, providing an opportunity for the task group to practice integrated air defense measures.

Shore-based training included visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills, military law enforcement expert exchanges, medical culinary and aviation exchanges, and a community service project. Sailors from the USN and RSN coastal riverine teams also conducted advanced small-boat training and boarding drills.

More than personnel from both countries participated in CARAT Singapore 2015. In addition to Fort Worth, U.S. assets included the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 15, the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713), USNS Pecos (T-AO 197), U.S. Marine Corps military police, and a Navy Riverine Squadron. RSN assets included the Supreme, Victory-class missile corvettes RSS Vigour (92) and RSS Valour (89), Fearless-class patrol vessel RSS Fearless (94), and Archer-class submarine RSS Archer.

The Republic of Singapore has been part of the CARAT exercise series since it began in 1995. After more than two decades of annual training events between the armed forces, CARAT Singapore remains a model for cooperation that has evolved in complexity and enables both navies to refine operations and tactics in response to both traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges.

Following CARAT Singapore, additional bilateral phases of CARAT will occur from July through November 2015 with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

Commander, Task Force 73 and DESRON 7 staff conduct advanced planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multi-lateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

US 3rd Fleet Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class K. Cecelia Engrums, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Nora Tyson relieved Vice Adm. Kenny Floyd as commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet during a change of command and retirement ceremony held on Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) while pierside at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego July 24.

During the ceremony, Floyd retired from active duty after 35 years of honorable naval service. He assumed command of U.S. 3rd Fleet in May 2013.

Under Floyd's strategic vision, 3rd Fleet expanded its influence and contributions across all maritime lines of operations, theater security cooperation, experimentation, disaster relief, and joint operations.

At sea, Floyd served in several F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft squadrons, including tours with the Jolly Rogers of VF-84, the Grim Reapers of VF-101 as an instructor, and the Red Rippers of VF-11. He participated in Operation Desert Storm while serving as a department head with the Starfighters of VF-33. He served as the executive officer and subsequently the commanding officer of the VF-32 Swordsmen. Other sea tours include executive officer of USS Constellation (CV 64) and deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing 7 where he participated in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Ashore, Floyd served on the staff of Naval Space Command, as aide to the commander and subsequently as flag lieutenant, Commander, Carrier Group 8. He served as chief staff officer on the Fighter Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet staff and completed a tour on the staff of the U.S. military representative to the NATO Military Committee. He was the deputy operations officer on the staff of Joint Task Force Southwest Asia; chief of staff to Commander, Naval Air Forces; director, Aviation and Aircraft Carrier Plans and Requirements (OPNAV N880); deputy director, Air Warfare Division (OPNAV N88B); commander, Strike Force Training Pacific; director Air Warfare Division (OPNAV N88); director, Warfare Integration (OPNAV N88F); and as assistant deputy chief of naval operations, Warfare Systems (OPNAV N9B).

Floyd reflected on his career while thanking his peers and the men and women of the U.S. Navy.

"Without a doubt, it has been the greatest privilege of my life to lead the men and women who have volunteered to defend this country," said Floyd. "Debbie (Floyd's wife) and I continue to be humbled by the magnitude of the responsibility that you carry and strengthened by the willingness with which you carry it out."

Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander U.S. Pacific Fleet, served as the guest speaker.

"Floyd, in summary, you did it right," said Swift. "Sailors of both today's and tomorrow's Navy are better prepared by your contributions, example and leadership throughout your career than they have ever been. On their behalf, and on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your leadership and service."

Swift presented Floyd with his second Distinguished Service Medal as an end of career award, recognizing him for his exceptional meritorious service to the United States Navy.

"As Pink departs the pattern, there is no better officer to take the lead here at 3rd Fleet than Nora Tyson," said Swift. "When I travel around the theater, everywhere I go, I hear about the great work she has done leading operations and building partnerships in the Pacific Fleet AOR (area of responsibility)."

Tyson's most recent assignment was as deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, where she reported in July 2013.

"I have to admit, it is a little intimidating relieving a legend and a rock star," said Tyson. "It is truly an honor to follow in your footsteps and I know those are big footsteps to fill."

Tyson's commands include commander, Task Force 73/commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific based in Singapore and, most recently, commander, Carrier Strike Group 2, where she led the USS George H.W. Bush Strike Group on its maiden deployment. She also commanded amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), leading the Navy's contributions to disaster relief efforts on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She also deployed twice to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her shore tours include director of staff for Commander, Naval Forces Europe/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and as executive assistant for the chief of naval operations.

"We are challenged to apply our very best efforts to ensure that we maximize the value of the resources that the American people give us," said Tyson. "Third Fleet will continue to be leaders in the innovative application of naval power."

U.S. 3rd Fleet was formed during World War II on March 15, 1943 under the command of Fleet Adm. William F. "Bull" Halsey. It leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the International Date Line.