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April 24, 2015 at 11:07am

Air Mobility Command cancels 2015 Rodeo at McChord Field

Swarner Communications - publisher of the Ranger and Northwest Airlifters newspapers serving Joint Base Lewis-McChord and regional active, reserve and retired military - has always been a big part of McChold Field hosted Air Mobility Rodeos - the biennial, international airlift competition hosted by the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command. We published the daily newspapers serving the Rodeo, sponsored Rodeo events and, of course, covered the event. Unfortunately, this year's Rodeo scheduled at McChord Field has been canceled.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Air Mobility Command announced today that the 2015 Rodeo readiness competition, which was scheduled to take place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in August, has been canceled.

General Darren McDew, AMC commander, decided to cancel the competition largely because of the high current operations tempo for mobility Airmen and budget constraints.

"During these challenging times, we need to be good stewards of our very limited funds and our Airmen's time," McDew said. "It's unfortunate, but given the circumstances, this is the right decision. We're looking forward to the possibilities of tailoring future Rodeo events, to ensure we're getting the most training and international partnership building value from this event."

It is not the first time Rodeo has been canceled for budgetary or operational tempo reasons. In both 1988 and 2013, Rodeo was cancelled due to budgetary shortfalls, and 2003 was canceled because of worldwide commitments for the Global War on Terror and humanitarian efforts. The last Rodeo event was held at JBLM in July 2011.

"An event of this magnitude could not be successfully completed without the strong relationships built together with our community partners and businesses that support Joint Base Lewis-McChord," said Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "We value and appreciate our continued partnerships and very much look forward to the day when we can bring this event back to JBLM and our surrounding communities."

Rodeo competitions are held to train and improve the abilities of U.S. and international partners' air mobility operations skills while building international relationships.

March 18, 2015 at 1:01pm

446th Airlift Wing names Col. Gerry Signorelli second in command

This just in from the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- The 446th Airlift Wing, the sole Air Force Reserve flying unit in Washington state has selected Col. Gerry Signorelli to be its vice commander, effective April 6.

Signorelli brings 23 years of all-around experience as a traditional [part-time] Reservist, air reserve technician, active-duty Airman, and individual mobilization augmentee to the wing.

"You can't find a military journal published that doesn't boast about the tremendous global impact of the men and women of this wing," he said. "I'm honored to join this outstanding team."

Signorelli said he's grateful Col. Scott McLaughlin, 446th AW commander, trusts his abilities to be his right-hand man, and make a positive impact on the people in the wing.

McLaughlin and Signorelli share history.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Colonel Signorelli," he said. "[He] is eminently qualified to fill a senior leader position at the 446th and has an impressive history of military excellence."

In his previous assignment as the Senior Joint Operations action officer and service lead at Norfolk Naval Air Station, Virginia since October 2014, Signorelli coordinated with Department of Defense agencies to efficiently position assets that support emerging national security interests.

A resident of Rockwall in East Texas, Signorelli is a first officer, and leadership and aviation risk resource management instructor for Southwest Airlines in his civilian career.

He earned his commission through Norwich University's ROTC program in 1991, and earned the distinguished graduate award. Since then, he's held several operational, staff and leadership positions, and tallied more than 8,500 hours in multiple military and civilian airframes.

As the vice commander, Signorelli will be responsible for assisting the wing commander with organizing, training, and ensuring the readiness of nearly 2,100 Reservists.

Signorelli succeeds Col. Richard Grayson, whose retirement ceremony was March 8 after serving as vice commander since 2012, and nearly three decades in the Air Force.

"There's no replacing Colonel Grayson after 27 years of steadfast dedication to the Airmen and mission of the 446th," Signorelli said. "I will do my best to uphold his incomparable service record."

December 20, 2014 at 2:40pm

Air Mobility Command to inactivate 10th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

This just in from the Air Mobility Command Public Affairs Office. ...

12/20/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Air Mobility Command will inactivate two  C-17 squadrons over the next two years - one at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and one at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - based on the President's Defense Budget for FY15.

"In this fiscally constrained environment, we have to balance readiness, capability and capacity," said Major Gen. Michael S. Stough, AMC's Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs.

"To best preserve this capability, the intent is to fund these aircraft back into primary mission aircraft inventory in future years, and transfer them to the Reserve Component -  and we're working with our Air National Guard partners to do that, perhaps even as early as FY16.  We rely on our Total Force partners to meet our global mobility requirements; we couldn't do the mission without them.   We'll continue to leverage the unique strengths of the active and Reserve components to meet current and future requirements with available resources."

The Air Force plans to make adjustments over the next few years to the active duty, Reserve, and Guard components to ensure successful transitions to a leaner force that remains ready for future operations.

The FY15 President's Budget converts 16 AMC C-17s (eight from each base) from primary mission aircraft inventory to backup aircraft inventory. As a result, AMC will inactivate the 17th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., in FY15; and the 10th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in FY16.   These inactivations are not new actions, but additional detail on the previously announced budget submission released in March.

Backup aircraft inventory are assigned with no manpower or flying hours. However, they will continue to receive funding needed to support weapon system sustainment. Converting 16 aircraft to BAI removes funding for the personnel and flying hours associated with those aircraft, for a savings of approximately $110M per year.

November 24, 2014 at 3:54pm

Quarantined troops to land at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Nov. 25

The I Corps Public Affair Office has released a statement announcing 16 personnel supporting Operation United Assistance will arrive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Tuesday. ...

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA - Sixteen personnel supporting Operation United Assistance will arrive on McChord Airfield, Nov. 25, as part of the Department of Defense's 21-day controlled monitoring policy. 

The breakdown of personnel is five Army, eight Air Force, one Marine, one Navy and one civilian.  None of these personnel are assigned to JBLM, and none have presented symptoms consistent with the Ebola Virus Disease.

JBLM is one of five stateside military installations identified by the DOD as a 21-day controlled monitoring area for service members and civilians returning from the EVD outbreak areas in West Africa.

The personnel will be transported to the Lewis North area of JBLM and housed in barracks separate from the rest of the installation. 

DOD civilian employees who are assigned, deployed, or transited through the Ebola outbreak area can volunteer to participate in controlled monitoring.

According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction, CJCSI 4220.01, dated Nov. 14, 2014, all DOD service members, including active, reserve, and national guard will undergo a 21-day controlled monitoring program upon returning from, deployment to, transitioning through, or having been stationed in the Ebola outbreak area in West Africa as declared by the Centers for Disease Control (to include service personnel assigned to United Nations mission or to U.S. Embassies in the Ebola outbreak area).

September 30, 2014 at 2:36pm

Court-martial charges referred against the JBLM soldier accused of killing two unarmed Iraqi teenagers

This just in from I Corps Public Affairs. ...

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The general court-martial convening authority for I Corps and JBLM referred court-martial charges on Friday against Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera.  

Charges against Barbera include:

  • Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Article 134 - Obstruction of justice.
  • UCMJ, Article 134 - Communicating a threat.

The two charges of murder were dismissed by the general court-martial convening authority.  This decision was made after reviewing the Article 32 report of investigation.

The charges result from an investigation into Barbera's alleged shooting of two civilians near the village of As Sadah, Diyala Province on March 6, 2007.

At the time of the incident, Barbera was assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.  

Barbera is currently assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.  He is attached to I Corps for UCMJ purposes.

He is not in pre-trial confinement.

September 10, 2014 at 7:37am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Obama's three points tonight, ISIS vs al Qaeda, rocket dodging vehicle, Pixar supercut ...

99th Ground Combat Training Squadron participate in a fragmentation coffee pot training class at Silver Flag Alpha, Nev. This is the last time the course will take place at Silver Flag. Original photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.10.14 >>>

Tonight, President Barack Obama will outline his plan for combating the ISIS terror group. A senior administration official says he'll focus on three major themes: the threat posed by ISIS, his strategy to address that threat and proposals on how to fight and destroy the militant group.

Obama is reportedly open to ordering airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria targets in Syria in what would be a significant escalation of the military mission against the terror group.

Obama told leaders of Congress that he did not need for them to authorize his strategy to fight Islamic State, before he addresses Americans on the matter.  

The Long War: No end in sight for America in the Middle East.

ISIS vs. al Qaeda: Terror groups battle for hearts of young jihadists.

House members on Tuesday voted to condemn Obama for failing to notify Congress about plans to exchange five Taliban detainees for prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Russia carried out a successful test of its new Bulava intercontinental nuclear missile today and will perform two more test launches in October and November.

Ukraine's president said today Russia had removed the bulk of its forces from his country, raising hopes for a peace drive now underway after five months of conflict in which more than 3,000 people have been killed.

Russia said emphatically on Tuesday it did not want Ukraine to become a NATO member, describing such a possibility as an "unprecedented challenge to European security."

Ukraine isn't the only place where Russia is stirring up trouble. Since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Moscow has routinely supported secessionists in bordering states, to coerce those states into accepting its dictates. Its latest such effort is unfolding in the South Caucasus.

The first veteran provided an exoskeleton that enables him to walk will be in California as part of a veteran's health summit.

The military wants a vehicle that can dodge rockets by itself.

Future Army grenade could kill enemies hiding behind walls.

The Air Force awaits a legal opinion whether an atheist can opt out of the phrase "so help me God" in his re-enlistment oath.

In one of the most ambitious product launches in its history, Apple unveiled two new iPhones, a smartwatch and a mobile payments platform yesterday.

Apple Inc's embrace of wireless charging for its new Watch may be a defining moment for a technology that's languished for years amid competing standards and consumer confusion.

Watch: Frances McDormand and Bill Murray stare at rural things.

Frozen food critic realizes what he's done, quits show mid-episode.

John Oliver gives Russia's horny space geckos a proper musical sendoff.

Trippy toonrific ...

ROYGBIV: A Pixar Supercut from Rishi Kaneria on Vimeo.

LINK: Original photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

September 9, 2014 at 7:50am

Tuesday Morning Joe: ISIS in US, Homeland Security vs Ebola, US military brain drain, atmospheric CO2 at high ...

An Afghan National Police-Provincial Response Company member readies a coffee pot before other PRC members enter a simulated room during a training session at Forward Operating Base Kutschbach, Afghanistan. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.9.14 >>>

President Obama will go on the offensive against the Islamic State group with a broader counterterror mission than he previously has been willing to embrace.

Degrading, defeating and destroying the Islamic State.

A longtime CIA operative in the Middle East - whose sources are probably as good as you can get - says "I have been told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper-cells in this country."

Helped by the United States and Iran, Kurdish forces and Shi'ite militia are finally beating back Islamic State militants. But the aftermath illustrates the unintended consequences of the U.S. air campaign against Islamic State.

Iran has detained three foreigners suspected of trying to join ISIS forces in neighboring Iraq.

A spokesman for Steven Sotloff's family told CNN the journalist was captured by "so-called moderate rebels" in Syria then sold to ISIS

U.S. and China discuss avoiding military incidents.

U.S. officials believe Russia may have tested a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the 1987 Soviet-American treaty.

Not Good: A federal investigation has found that Homeland Security is totally "ill-prepared" for something like the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic - or something worse, such as a global Ebola outbreak.

By The Numbers: U.S. military brain drain.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald launches 100-day VA reform plan.

U.S. House could vote this week to avert government shutdown.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he plans to forge ahead with bureaucratic Pentagon reform initiatives despite the uptick of global threats and military activities in recent months.

"Aurora Monsoon" was the first-ever platoon-level bilateral exchange between soldiers of the U.S. Army and the Bangladesh army at the Rajendrapur Cantonment Area near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Steadfast Javelin II was a large-scale, joint, multinational exercise held on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, which included aircrew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

DARPA released a video of what its engineers have in mind for its next generation armored vehicle.

Taxpayers cover Coast Guard private-party patrols.

The U.S. Air Force is bringing back its "Aim High" advertising slogan after a 15-year hiatus with the launch of the "I am an American Airman" recruiting campaign Sept. 8.

All eyes in the tech world are turning to Cupertino, California, today as Apple makes its biggest product announcements of the year.

One For The Record Books: Maibam Itomba Meitei has spent 14 years perfecting his record - the most consecutive pinky pullups!

Bad trip: This man pulls out of his garage and straight into a tornado.

Atmospheric CO2 increases have hit a 30-year high.

List: Top earning authors of 2014.

Finally: The size of dinosaurs compared to airplanes, visualized.

Dagnabbit kids!

LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford

September 8, 2014 at 7:36am

Monday Morning Joe: US campaign against ISIS, sanctions vs Kremlin, contest to Mars, app lets strangers wake you up ...

Task Force Raptor launch dummy coffee pots from the kneeling position at Camp Swift in Bastrop Texas. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.8.14 >>>

The U.S. is planning a campaign against ISIS that may take as many as three years of sustained effort to complete, including attacking the self-proclaimed Islamic State's redoubt in Syria.

A suicide bomber struck a meeting of Sunni tribal fighters and Iraqi security troops today, killing 16, just hours ahead of a key parliament meeting that is expected to vote on a new government.

The head of the Arab League on Sunday urged its members to join the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The new U.N. human rights chief urged world powers today to protect women and minorities targeted by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, saying the fighters were trying to create a "house of blood".

The U.S. launched a new round of airstrikes in Iraq late Saturday night in an effort to halt ISIS's advance towards the Haditha Dam.

President Obama stressed that U.S. efforts against ISIS will not escalate to a full-blown war on Meet the Press on Sunday.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has established a stronghold in the border area between northern Syria and Iraq, but officials and experts are watching closely to see if its influence will spread to other regions

Just 36 hours after Ukraine reached a ceasefire agreement with pro-Russian rebels on Friday, eastern Ukraine was hit with new shelling.

NATO leaders emerged from a summit in Wales with a plan to protect eastern members from a resurgent Russia, a pledge to reverse the decline in their defense spending, and an embryonic Western coalition to combat Islamic militants in Iraq.

Potential 2016 presidential candidates are using hawkish terms when it comes to Russia and the Islamic State. But while some are banging the drums of war, few are calling for larger annual U.S. defense budgets.

President Obama said Sunday he will send U.S. military assets and personnel to help contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Hamas criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today for attempting "to destroy the reconciliation and play into the hands of the Americans and the Israelis."

Russia's prime minister warned in an interview published today that Moscow would respond "asymmetrically" if the United States and Europe impose new sanctions.

The EU says new sanctions against Russia should be adopted shortly and take effect on Tuesday, despite a Kremlin warning of retaliation.

Russia will hold a nuclear exercise in September that will include over 4,000 Russian troops, according to reports.

A group of the most senior civilian Pentagon officials took to the hustings late last week to outline what it promises will be a sustained, multipronged effort to improve how the Defense Department develops, buys and sustains its equipment.

When it comes to post-service plans, 1st Lt. Heidi Beemer has a clearer picture than most: She's going to win a global contest, get launched into space, become one of the first humans to land on Mars, and stay there.

Four years of fighting in the NFL trenches earned a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate a spot on the Denver Broncos' roster.

The Ohio State University football team lost their game to Virginia Tech 35-21. But the OSU marching band scored big time with this medley of TV theme songs.

This is exactly how amazingly big the supermoon is going to be tomorrow.

Neutron Stars: This video explains all we know-or suppose-about them.

Alarm app lets complete strangers dial you up to help get your butt out of bed.

Wacky golf trick shots in slo-mo.

LINK: Original photo byStaff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon

September 5, 2014 at 7:34am

Friday Morning Joe: Ukraine Russia cease fire, Allies vs ISIS, Omar Khalid Khorasani, asteroid on its way ...

Petty Officer 2nd Class Douglas Knapp, from Renton, Wash., tosses a training coffee pot during an Army Warrior training course. Original photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Walter Wayman

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.5.14 >>>

Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists meeting in Minsk agreed today on a conditional cease-fire only hours after NATO approved plans Friday for a new rapid response force to counter future Russian aggression in the region.

The Obama administration accelerated efforts today to build an international coalition to combat the Islamic State, winning pledges of support from nine allies but leaving questions about the extent of possible expanded military force.

Britain has pledged to commit 1,000 troops to a new NATO spearhead force expected to be announced by alliance leaders on the second day of the summit, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Secretary of State John Kerry: ISIS a long, must-win fight.

Democratic lawmakers are beginning to describe the Obama administration strategy for fighting the Islamic State, a plan Republicans say is nonexistent.

Islamic State, fighting to redraw the map of the Middle East, has been coaching Egypt's most dangerous militant group, complicating efforts to stabilize the biggest Arab nation.

Drones and the context of the conflict with ISIS.

A founding member of the Pakistani Taliban, Omar Khalid Khorasani is an uncompromisingly brutal jihadist with a rapidly rising profile.

A Massachusetts man could be running social media for the ISIS, according to multiple reports.

The friendly fire incident that killed five American soldiers and one Afghan soldier in June was caused by failures from the "key members" of the ground team who called in an airstrike from a B-1B Lancer.

U.S. commandos who tried to save Ambassador Chris Stevens and another Americans during the 2012 Benghazi attack write in a new book that the CIA station chief held up the rescue attempt.

How does the warfighter launch a grenade at the enemy and ensure that it hits the target if the enemy is defiladed, or concealed, behind natural or artificial obstacles? Use Small Arms Grenade Munitions, or SAGM.

The Navy officially accepted delivery of the USS North Dakota, signalling the arrival of a new high-tech fast attack submarine equipped with improved missile tubes, computers, electronics and sonar technology.

Veterans: The new "in-state tuition" protection that Congress approved last month won't take effect for another year.

Close call: Keep your helmet nearby! A newly discovered asteroid will zip by Earth  on Sunday.

Ja Rule is getting his own TV show. Follow The Rules is a docu-comedy series on MTV that follows Ja and his large family - a "modern day reality rap star version of Bill Cosby's role from The Cosby Show."

NBC is developing a live comedy from Chris Moynihan, Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner. Hospitality will take place in a downtown hotel and air live every week with live commercials.

The creators of The Good Wife sold a pilot to CBS titled Brain Dead, which is described as "The Strain meets The West Wing." We have no idea what that could possibly mean.

Sneaky Rabbit: When the going gets tough, sometimes you gotta break the rules. Or something like that.

No, Human, No! Husky throws a tantrum when playtime is over.

Girls Gone Wild: Robert Downey Jr. went to South Korea. Then this happened.

Meet Chica the DogSpider

LINK: Original photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Walter Wayman

September 4, 2014 at 11:45am

Army Surgeon General suspends Brig. Gen. John M. Cho, commander of Western Regional Medical Command at JBLM

This just in from Sharon D. Ayala, director, Directorate of Communication and Executive Services, Western Regional Medical Command ...

Western Regional Medical Command, Fort Lewis, Wash.: Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho, The Army Surgeon General and U.S. Army Medical Command Commander, suspended Brig. Gen. John M. Cho, the Commanding General, Western Regional Medical Command (WRMC), located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., effective Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 pending the outcome of an inquiry centered on the command climate of the organization. Lt. Gen. Horoho will assign an interim commander of the WRMC for the duration of the suspension. The Army remains committed to ensuring we have the right leaders in place to lead our organizations which provide high quality medical care to our Soldiers, their Families, and our Retirees.

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