Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

April 29, 2016 at 11:23am

Goldfein nominated as 21st CSAF

Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced April 26 that the President has nominated Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein to be the 21st chief of staff of the Air Force, succeeding Gen. Mark A. Welsh, III, who has served in the position since 2012.

"I'm extremely humbled by the nomination to serve as the Air Force's twenty-first chief of staff. If confirmed, I pledge to serve our airmen and their families unwaveringly and honor our remarkable heritage and legacy of integrity, service and excellence," Goldfein said. "I also look forward to joining my fellow service chiefs as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Mark and Betty Welsh continue to be exceptional stewards of our service, and Dawn and I are honored to follow in their footsteps."

Goldfein entered the Air Force in June 1983 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions. He currently serves as the vice chief of staff, where he presides over the Air Staff and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group.

"I am pleased to support the nomination of General David Goldfein as our next chief of staff," said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. "General Goldfein possesses the experience and vision needed to address dynamic global challenges and increasing military demand. He knows how to build and sustain key partnerships, has important warfighting experience, and will exercise the critical judgement required to balance our manpower and resources as we shape tomorrow's Air Force. There is not a better person to lead our airmen into the next century of airpower dominance."

Prior to his current position, Goldfein was the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he assisted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in fulfilling his responsibilities as the principal military adviser to the President and secretary of defense.

"Dave Goldfein is an airman who epitomizes warrior leadership, and that's exactly what our Air Force deserves," Welsh said. "He connects deeply with airmen, he supports their families relentlessly, and he absolutely recognizes the criticality of our service's mission. Most importantly, he and Dawn understand the remarkable privilege they've been afforded in serving the nation."

Goldfein is a command pilot with more than 4,200 flying hours in the T-37 Tweet, T-38 Talon, F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, F-117A Nighthawk, MQ-9 Reaper, and MC-12W. He has flown combat missions in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Allied Force, and Enduring Freedom. Goldfein has received numerous awards for his military service including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor device and oak leaf cluster.

April 29, 2016 at 11:18am

WADS Canadian Detachment celebrates the 92nd anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Lt. Col. Brian Bergren, 225th Air Defense Squadron B-Flight commander, sings “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” to Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Rebstock, 225th Support Squadron superintendent. Photo courtesy Conrad Neumann, II

The 92nd Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) was celebrated by the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) Canadian Detachment's annual RCAF Mess Dinner at the American Lake Conference Center April 15.  The Canadian Detachment has been working side by side with the U.S. in building 852 at McChord Field as part of NORAD since its construction in the mid 1950s.  WADS is a joint, bi-national organization that ensures control over all U.S. airspace, conducts air defense and airborne counter-drug operations.

Mess dinners are common to all military services and are formal occasions filled with pageantry, customs and traditions, according to Warrant Officer Richard Martin, Canadian Unit Warrant Officer. "During a multi-course dinner, toasts are proposed, music played, and speeches, preferably brief, are given."  

The guest speaker, Lt. Gen. Pierre St. Amand, deputy commander for NORAD, upheld the brief speech tradition but did take the time to touch on the long history of the RCAF, and he praised the long standing close relationship the U.S. and Canadian military have shared, specifically in NORAD and at the Western Air Defense Sector.  

One of the long standing traditions of the mess, according to Lt. Col. Matthew Wappler, Canadian Detachment commander, is to "closely guard your seating name card since they are the preferred method of passing notes to the President of the Mess Committee (PMC)."

Unfortunately for Lt. Col. Brian Bergren, 225th Air Defense Squadron B-Flight commander, his name card somehow ended up in the hands of Capt. Stephen Buckley, the PMC.  Buckley announced to the mess that Bergren was requesting to sing a song to Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Rebstock, 225th Support Squadron superintendent.  With great surprise to the mess, Bergren did a great rendition of "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'."

The tables were quickly turned on Buckley when he was unable to keep in his possession the official wooden PMC gavel that gives him the authority to enforce the rules of the mess, within minutes of the mess officially starting.  Col. Kristen Leist, 173rd Medical Group commander, noticed the gavel was not being secured properly, and with the help of other mess attendees - to include her husband, Col. Gregor Leist, WADS commander - she was able to pass the gavel secretively under the table to the Canadian Unit Warrant Officer for safe keeping.  

Instead of using the customary shoe when a PMC loses his official gavel, Buckley was able to use his reserve gavel - a red and blue plastic Fisher Price hammer procured from his children's toy box.   

The final tradition of the night is the "passing of the port."  At the end of a mess dinner, port decanters are passed amongst the attendees so they may pour themselves a small glass for the Loyal Toast (the toast to the reigning monarch), according to Wappler.

The way the port is passed is determined by the military service.  The Canadian Air Force likes to "fly over the table," according to Wappler.

Thus the port passes from hand to hand and the decanter never touches the table until it needs to be refilled or has reached the end of the table.

The Navy drags the decanter across the table like "a ship floating on the sea," commented Martin.

"The passing of the port can definitely become complicated when there are over one hundred attendees representing all branches of the Canadian and U.S. military," added Wappler.

April 28, 2016 at 11:52am

McChord Spouses Club helps JBLM scholars

McChord Spouses Club scholarship award recipients take part in a group photo at the McChord Spouses Club 4th annual Shoot for the Stars scholarship reception April 24. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

The McChord Spouses Club conducted their 4th annual Shoot for the Stars scholarship reception April 24 at the American Lake Conference Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The reception was to honor the 2016 scholarship recipients and also recognize the individuals who had volunteered at the McChord Thrift Shop since June 2015.

Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, presented 20 scholarships to JBLM students and spouses. The scholarships awarded were made possible by funds raised through the McChord Spouses Club Thrift Shop program on McChord Field. More than 100 volunteers from the McChord Thrift Shop were also recognized for volunteering a total of 13,608 hours between June 2015 and April 2016.

The 20 individuals awarded scholarships were awarded a total of $35,000 divided among them. The winners were as follows:

  • The Joan Wasserstrom Student Scholarship was awarded to Blake Toney in the amount of $5,000
  • The Outstanding Merit Student Scholarship was awarded to the following recipients:

Dallen James in the amount of $2,000.

Amanda Code in the amount of $2,000.

Cassondra Werner in the amount of $1,700.

Shannon Brindle in the amount of $1,500.

Hannah LaFrazia in the amount of $1,500.

Eleanor Reed in the amount of $1,500.

Nicholas Brown in the amount of $1,000.

Sarah Park in the amount of $750.

  • The Christine Ann Rodgers Memorial Continuing Student Scholarship was awarded to Hannah Knack in the amount of $3,000.
  • The Outstanding Merit Continuing Student Scholarship was awarded to Janay Davis in the amount of $1,500.
  • The Marilyn Bernd Memorial Spouse Scholarship was awarded to Danielle Bradley in the amount of $2,500.
  • The Outstanding Merit Spouse Scholarships were awarded to the following recipients:

Christina Nalsen in the amount of $1,750.

Elizabeth Maeng in the amount of $1,750.

Melanie Morriss in the amount of $1,750.

Sabina Cunningham in the amount of $1,750.

Trisha Mattson in the amount of $1,550.

Tracie Cardenas in the amount of $1,000.

Athena Mabry in the amount of $750.

Charisse Abellard-Knight in the amount of $750.      

For more information about the McChord Spouses Club scholarship program and upcoming events, visit:

April 28, 2016 at 11:45am

Airmen train Australian maintainers

Airmen from the Royal Australian Air Force reinstall a cover door of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft trainer auxiliary power unit April 19, 2016, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

An airman working inside an aircraft engine asks a wingman to pass him a "torch". A torch is a common Australian term for a flashlight, and the airman asking for the flashlight is one of the Australian airmen attending maintenance training here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Australians are attending an aircraft maintenance class here Feb. 22 through April 25, conducted by the 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 12.

Each year more than 40 Australian airmen come to JBLM to receive training on C-17s. Classes are made up of 10-12 airmen and are usually split into two different groups, which consist of an aircraft avionics group and aircraft maintenance group. Classes usually last between eight to 12 weeks and entails airmen receiving training on 11 different C-17 trainers.   

"This has been a good course and the instructors go above and beyond to accommodate us," said Sgt. Brad Kay, Royal Australian Air Force 36th Squadron aircraft technician. "The hands-on instruction was great. Doing an engine change and being able to perform maintenance on things that don't commonly go wrong on C-17s was really helpful."

The Australian airmen receive instruction and training through formal lecture, written progress checks, and hands-on training on the maintenance training devices. The instructors work to translate and explain information in a variety of ways to reach the students.

"It's been fun working with them and learning about their culture and way of seeing things," said Staff Sgt. Byron Hand, 373rd TRS Det. 12 aerospace propulsions instructor. "Teaching them sometimes challenges us as instructors to teach based on different learning styles and to be able to see things from their perspective."        

The Australian airmen are very appreciative of the training they receive and the time and effort the instructors put forth in instructing them, said Craig Kelshaw, 62nd Operations Squadron foreign military personnel training coordinator.

"The instructors know how to relate to us ninety percent of the time," said Aircraftsman Jarron Russo, Australian Air Force 36th Squadron aircraft technician. "It was good to get a feel on how Americans operate. This should benefit any future deployments we have together."

Because of McChord's advanced state-of-the-art aircraft training facilities, the Royal Australian Air Force is one of many foreign militaries that are trained on McChord Field on the C-17.

"Congress mandates we train foreign military to foster goodwill globally," said Kelshaw.

"We are partners and allies on the global war on terror. We support them and they support us."

Australian airmen have been receiving training here since 2006 and are part of more than 1,100 foreign students from more than 30 countries that have received training here.   

"It's a great benefit and cost advantage for them to come here," said Kelshaw. "They are receiving the same training that our pipeline airmen receive."

The training benefits not only the Australians but also the instructors, said Hand.

"It gives us a different perspective," said Hand. "We are not just one team but a joint team providing airlift power to impact the world globally. The Australian airmen are also fun to hang around and it's good to learn their slang."

April 22, 2016 at 11:05am

Airmen honored for rescuing 3 after helo crash

Tech. Sgt. Dean Criswell, right, the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron NCO in charge of rescue operations, receives the Airman’s Medal during a ceremony April 8, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sean Campbell

Two airmen were given the Airman's Medal during a ceremony at Fairchild Air Force Base on April 8 for rescuing three airmen injured in a 2013 helicopter crash.

Maj. Matthew Arnold, the 336th Training Group chief of standards and evaluations, and Tech. Sgt. Dean Criswell, the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron NCO in charge of rescue operations, were participating in a routine training exercise in Okinawa, Japan, when an HH-60G Pave Hawk went down.

Both descended from the helicopter they were in to the flaming crash site. The fire had spread quickly, causing live rounds of ammunition to shoot off in all directions. The two managed to navigate the harsh surroundings to find their fellow airmen.

"Everyone's skills came together when it really mattered, including the pilot and the flight engineers; we all worked seamlessly together," Arnold said.

When they arrived on scene, Criswell performed a perimeter search for members of the crew. After the first member was found, Arnold recovered him and began to treat the crew member's wounds. Criswell continued to search for the other crew members and found two pilots who were both injured; one was unable to walk, requiring Criswell's assistance to move. Criswell escorted both men to a hovering helicopter. Once in the helicopter, Criswell administered medical aid.

"We happened to be the ones put on the ground closest to the danger," Criswell said, "but there are many unsung heroes to include many of the agencies we work with: the firefighters, the pilots, maintainers; anything we needed for the rescue was there."

Arnold returned to the area twice, helping the two pilots and filling the overhead command and control role while looking for the final crew member, Tech. Sgt. Mark Smith, who did not survive the crash.

"Mark Smith was a good friend whose loss was greatly felt. Every time we look at this medal we will think of him," Arnold said. "It is bittersweet because we saved three but lost one."

The Airman's Medal is the highest award that an airman can receive for heroic acts in a non-combat situation.

April 21, 2016 at 11:59am

WA kid tops in U.S.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, vice chief, National Guard Bureau, with John Trip Landon, National Guard Military Child of the Year 2016 - Arlington, Virginia, April 14. Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill

Trip Landon, 17, of Ellensburg, Washington, was recognized as the National Guard's 2016 "Military Child of the Year," during an April 14 ceremony, here.

Trip's father, Capt. John L. Landon, II, serves as a field artillery captain with the 66th Theater Aviation Command, part of the Washington National Guard. As a civilian, he is the assistant transportation director for the Ellensburg School District.

As the son of a soldier, Trip has seen his dad deploy twice as a guardsman: once to the Mexican border and once to Iraq - for a whole year. During that time, Trip said, he was the man of the house.

Trip was there to help his mother and a younger brother. His older brother, 22, is already in college.

"I think it has helped me appreciate exactly how much of a sacrifice (soldiers make)," he said.

Military children are strong, resilient and equipped to adapt to changes such as deployments, an Army spokesman said.

A homeschooler, Trip carries a 3.9 grade point average, and is a member of the National Honor Society and hopes to go into prosthetic engineering when he finishes his high school education.

Between his studies, he manages to squeeze in a dizzying array of activities. He's a golfer, for instance, where he's earned Academic Athlete honors and was voted "Most Inspirational Player."

As a member of the Ellensburg High School Orchestra, Trip plays both violin and piano. "It's something I started at a late age, compared to some other musically-talented kids," he said. "But I've grown to really like the music I've learned and that I can play."

He has an active interest in theatrical productions and film-making as well, along with extensive involvement in scouting.

Trip achieved the level of Eagle Scout at an early age, before he turned 15 years old. As part of that effort, he led both adults and other teens in the planning and construction of an archery range backstop. Earlier, he served in leadership roles within the Cub Scouts, and as a leader at scouting day camps and overnight camps, as well.

Trip said he's learned a lot about leadership - but what it really boils down to is selflessness, he said.

"I think the best traits of a leader are work ethic, self-awareness: you know what your weaknesses and strengths are; and also loyalty to your subordinates: you'll be with them all the way," he said. "You always admit when you're wrong and work hard all the way through."

What's he's learned as a leader in scouting, as well as in other areas of his life, he said, will serve him as an adult.

"I think being a leader early on in my life has helped me, so that when I am in a leadership role that is big, I will be ready and prepared and not caught off guard about what to do," he said.

How does a 17-year-old manage to do so much and still keep his GPA so high?

"Organization," Trip said. "You have to know how to be organized, how to prioritize your schedule. A lot of times my mom has been the backbone of that. She's taught me so much about scheduling and organizing - she's helped me a lot there."

While most of Trip's time is occupied with his education, scouting, sports and the arts, he finds time always to take care of the one thing he says he prioritizes above everything he does in his life:  the faith he shares with his family.

"I believe that faith is my center priority for all the activities I do, and I believe that's what drives me on to do those other activities," he said. "It's the center and power that gives me the energy."

It's his parents, he said, that drive him toward that faith. "I go with them to church every week - willingly," he said.

"They are role models in so many ways," Trip said about his parents. " ... They've taught me to help others and to share the gospel with everyone I meet."

Trip and his family arrived early in Washington, D.C., in advance of the Military Child of the Year awards. "I'm very humbled and excited at the same time," he said of the award.

While in town, he said, he's already visited the Iwo Jima Memorial and wants also to see the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Lincoln Memorial - the one he seems the most excited about. "I've heard so much about it, and seen it on TV. So I really would like to see that." 

April 21, 2016 at 11:54am

A healthier menu

Members from the 627th Force Support Squadron pose for a photo April 14 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Divine Cox

More than 600 servicemembers are served daily at the McChord Field Olympic Dining Facility, thanks to the hardworking staff here.

Behind the scenes, more than twenty 627th Force Support Squadron personnel help keep airmen and soldiers fueled to fight.

One of the dietary programs the Olympic DFAC offers is the "Go for Green" nutrition service. Individual food items on the serving line are labeled by color representing their nutritional value. Green is healthy, yellow is moderately healthy, and red is the least healthy.

"As a military, we are starting to get fit to fight," said Tech Sgt. Jocelyn Ferber, 627th FSS DFAC manager. "So we have a lot of salads and offer a lot more healthy items for the ‘Go for Green' program."

According to Maj. Carrie Wentzel, 627th FSS commander, the Olympic DFAC recently implemented a significant improvement to its menu variety and quality of food called the "Chef-Net System."

"Not only did we add fifty percent more meal choices," said Wentzel. "We also have more flexibility to drop unpopular items from the menu."

Ferber said the new "Chef-Net System" increases the menu cycle from the old 14-day menu to the new 21-day menu.

"It took us (McChord Field) a long time to get this system installed," said Ferber. "We've been waiting on this system since 2014, so we are extremely excited that it is finally here."

Providing food service to servicemembers at the DFAC is a combined effort that includes civilian employees.

"We have a great working relationship with our civilians," said Ferber. "As we work side-by-side all day, we constantly strive for excellence when it comes to our customer."

The DFAC's hard-working staff pride themselves providing the best quality of food for its customers.

"I am very excited about the quality and healthier food choices we offer," said Senior Airman Jabari Superville, 627th FSS food service apprentice. "It's nice to see a lot more variety, as well as knowing we are providing food to help every airman stay physically fit."

April 21, 2016 at 11:49am

Team McChord honors their Key Spouses

Members of the Team McChord Key Spouses pose for a photo during the Key Spouse Luncheon April 13, 2016 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

More than 50 U.S. Air Force spouses received special recognition for their contributions to the Team McChord Key Spouse Program during the 2016 Key Spouse Appreciation Luncheon at the McChord Club, April 13 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Today, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone on a military installation who hasn't felt the warmth of the Key Spouse Program.  As a Key Spouse, you are entrusted with taking care of not only your own family, but also of those from your units," said Tech. Sgt. James Lee, McChord Field Airman Leadership School instructor and emcee for the event.  "You enhance the mission by providing a two-way avenue between unit leadership and families."

"Simply put, you are the force multiplier when it comes to connecting families with services. And you have demonstrated success in strengthening units while building a sense of belonging and community. Our airmen are really good at what they do, and we need to be really good at taking care of their families. Our Key Spouses are the cornerstone that builds a strong family and maintains a resilient force."

The event, which included a free lunch and childcare for the spouses in attendance, was an opportunity for McChord commanders and first sergeants to show appreciation for everything key spouses do to support the airmen and the mission.

During the event, several guest speakers were given an opportunity to talk about the Key Spouse program.

Mrs. Diana Burr, McChord Field Key Spouse coordinator, was one of those guest speakers.

"I've been working with the Key Spouse program for about eight years," said Burr. "During this time, I've heard some pretty amazing stories regarding the work that our Key Spouses do every day. For this, I am extremely happy you are being honored today for your many, many contributions to our Team McChord families."

Burr spoke about the "time" Key Spouse volunteers put into this program and how grateful she was for that "time" they donate.

"When I think about the time you as a Key Spouse donate to our Air Force family, it truly humbles me," said Burr. "You go through trainings, attend meetings, commanders calls, spouse calls, deployment fairs, you take on phone calls, make meals for sick spouses or meals for families of a deployed military member, and you spend time sitting at hospitals when families need that comfort and support."

"You do all of this and yet you all have your own families to tend to; you have your own spouses; you have jobs; you go to school; you have your own kids events to attend. Still, time after time, year after year, you continue to volunteer your time supporting our community, making it stronger; making our Air Force stronger."

"So today, I'm here to say thank you. Thank you for graciously giving us and our families your time. You must know that you are an extremely valuable member of our team and of our Air Force family, and I truly appreciate and thank you for your time."

Another guest speaker for the event was Mrs. Stephanie McNeal, 62nd Operations Group Key Spouse and 2015 Team McChord Key Spouse of the Year.

McNeal spoke of how she was first approached about being a Key Spouse and how although she was introvert, she decided she would take on this role and how it has benefited her so much now.

"I have a servants heart, so when I was approached about becoming a Key Spouse, my automatic response was ‘absolutely, I will work where I am needed,'" said McNeal. "But then it started to sink in that I will have to approach strangers and introduce myself. I may even be a person's first impression of the squadron."

She spoke of overcoming those obstacles and for the past three years has been an active Key Spouse of McChord Field.

"I have sat for eight hours in hospitals, stayed overnight, provided meals, witnessed the birth of a baby, ran errands for sick spouse and babysat. Not because I am a Key Spouse but because I have developed a genuine and lasting friendship with many of the ladies in my local spouse group."

"Somewhere along the way I began to realize that introducing myself to incoming spouses and helping others, I was in turn helping myself more than anyone else.

"Because of the Key Spouse program, I have grown in confidence, have developed lasting friendships, and have been given some amazing opportunities that I had never even dreamed of wanting, like standing in front of you right now as the 2015 Team McChord Key Spouse of the year."

McNeal closed her comments with some words of wisdom for new Key Spouses.

"If I could leave you with just one piece of advice in all of this," said McNeal. "It would be make sure that you let your fellow spouses know how special they are to you and how honored they are serving right alongside you."

After the guest speakers talked, each Key Spouse in attendance was called onto stage where they were presented a certificate of appreciation by Team McChord leadership.

To close out the event, Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, provided his remarks.

"It is extremely tough to be a military spouse and even harder to be a Key Spouse," said Kosinski. "This event was the right thing to do to honor you, and hopefully we have set a tradition with this event.

"The Key Spouse program is a very important piece in taking care of our airmen and their families and directly ties back to overall mission success.

"Thank you for everything you do to support Team McChord and our Air Force family."

April 14, 2016 at 11:36am

OSS airman selected for USAFA Prep School

Congressman Denny Heck, Representative for the Washington’s 10th Congressional District, and Senior Airman Jonathan McGregor, 62nd OSS aircrew flight equipment technician, pose for a photo, April 1, at JBLM. Photo credit: Tech Sgt. Tim Chacon

Senior Airman Jonathan McGregor, 62nd Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, was selected to become an officer as part of the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program and notified by Congressman Denny Heck, Representative for the Washington's 10th Congressional District, April 1.

LEAD is a program that was initiated in 1995 to encourage commanders to send their best and brightest to the United States Air Force Academy to earn a commission, after candidates are offered a year at the AFA Prep School to prepare for the Academy.

The Air Force Academy Prep School is a 10-month educational program for young airmen to take core curriculum courses at the USAFA Preparatory School prior to coming to the Air Force Academy. Upon successful completion of the Prep School, those being appointed to the AF Academy will be sworn in as cadets.

"I first heard about the Air Force Academy when I was a senior in high school," said McGregor. "But at that time, it was far too late for me to submit an application. I knew that it was one of my long-term goals and something I wanted to do."

The Air Force Academy selects airmen who have good test scores and who have been recognized as a leader of character all the way up to the squadron level of command. Attending the Prep School gives them a chance to get used to the differences between the operational Air Force and realize what will be expected at the Academy.

"Education has always been very important to me," said McGregor. "Both of my parents are educators and I attended two years of college before making the decision to go active-duty and have the Air Force pay for my college full-time once I was done training for my job."

Senior Airman McGregor said that he is interested in the medical field and is thinking about pursing a Major in biology.

"Being a Biology Major is my plan right now," said McGregor. "I have until my junior year to decide what I want to do, but that is my goal right now."

At the end of May, McGregor will have the opportunity to go and visit the Air Force Academy for the first time and talk with current cadets and personally witness the many opportunities and challenges the Academy has to offer.

"I know he is going to go there and do great things for our Air Force," said Lt. Col. Jaron Roux, 62nd OSS commander. "Every time I get a chance to talk with him, he just impresses me more and more, so I know he is going to do well at the Academy."

"I am very relieved that the selection process is over and I got accepted," said McGregor. "When I found out, I was very excited, appreciative and thankful that how ultimately something that I really wanted to do came true. I had a lot of help from a lot of different people along the way, and I didn't want to disappoint them. I want to just make everyone proud. I want to make my family proud."

April 14, 2016 at 11:27am

446th airmen go north

Frigid temperatures, freezing rain and strong winds can turn a simple repair job exponentially challenging. But two McChord reservists have taken up the challenge.

Staff Sgt. Dustin Buel and Staff Sgt. Ryan Seibold, both assigned to the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron, left McChord Field March 26 to set up camp in Kodiak, Alaska, in support of Arctic Care 2016.

Arctic Care is an annual two-week operation in remote areas of Alaska. It provides free medical, dental, vision and veterinary care, and is the largest recurring joint military medical and logistics training exercise today.

This year, U.S. and Canadian military members will be providing services to the several communities on Kodiak Island, where resources are limited and spare parts can be difficult to come by.

"We have the opportunity to provide generators, electrical distribution, lighting and heating to sustain the deployed personnel," said Lt. Col. Andrew Lafrazia, 446th CES commander.

One of the key missions of civil engineers is to provide support and sustainment anywhere in the world, and real-world exercises provide an invaluable training environment.

"When we first arrived, we had to set up numerous tents, environmental control units and generators," said Buel, a water and fuel systems technician. "After everything was set up and connected, one of the generators wouldn't work."

Buel discovered water had seeped into one of the cables causing a short, which prevented power from being supplied to the tents and ECUs. Since the inclement weather was impeding efforts, the repair job on the generator took about eight hours, said Buel. He didn't have a replacement cable so he had to repair the damaged one.

The repair job allowed tents to be living quarters for those who will be providing medical services to the local communities.

"Participation in Arctic Care is an outstanding opportunity for civil engineer personnel to ply their craft in a real-world environment," said Lafrazia. "While we can provide outstanding training at our tech schools and home station, the actual execution of operations will provide many challenges and experiences that build a base of incredible experience for our airmen."

Arctic Care resembles the type of cooperative effort necessary in an international crisis and prepares hundreds of servicemembers for future humanitarian or disaster relief missions.

"It's been a great experience working with military members of other services," said Seibold, an electrician. "I am also looking forward to getting out and assisting those in the remote villages."

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