Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

May 21, 2015 at 9:48am

No land swap

The hope that the city of Lakewood and Joint Base Lewis-McChord could affect a land swap has fallen through.

An effort to relocate businesses in McChord Field's "impact area," the land most adjacent to the runway, to different property that the Joint Base would offer up, won't move forward as hoped.

Development in the impact zone could be considered a demerit against McChord Field during decisions to close military bases because development in that area is considered dangerous.  A military plane crash is most likely to happen in this area of the landing approach.  Base supporters would like to see those businesses moved so McChord remains as viable as possible.  A swap for land made sense to Lakewood city officials.

Last week, JBLM Commander Col. Charles Hodges informed city officials that the installation was not supportive of the land swap in the North Clear Zone (NCZ) to include language stipulating as much in the upcoming Joint Land Use Study, or JLUS.

There are a couple of reasons for JBLM's objection.

First, the base is working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on what portion of the land in question is needed for the possible future expansion of I-5 to include the footprint of a new interchange at North Thorne Lane.

The second reason centers on the potential of relocating JBLM's logistics gate to the land in question as outlined in the base's master facility plan.

Col. Hodges has mentioned that Lakewood should continue to work with JBLM to have the Department of Defense allocate the money necessary to acquire the needed parcels that comprise the North Clear Zone.

"Discussions with JBLM are still open," Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield said.

McChord is not the only base affected by development close to the base.  At Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento, for example, developmental plans to put large wind turbines near the runway threatens that base's long-term usefulness.

Filed under: Joint Base Lewis-McChord,

May 6, 2015 at 7:43am

Former McChord commander to be the vice

Former McChord Field commander and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, was given the nod to be the nation's next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In his Rose Garden announcement of the nomination of Selva and Marine Corps Commandant Joseph Dunford — as chairman of the Joint Chiefs — President Obama highlighted Selva's role earlier in his administration when the Air Force general served as the top military adviser to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In praising Selva, Obama noted his "35 years of military service — as both a pilot and a commander. As leader of Air Mobility Command, he earned a reputation as a force for change and innovation. I understand that when it was time to deliver the final C-17 to the Air Force, Paul went to the cockpit and helped fly it himself."

Currently chief of U.S. Transportation Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Selva "grasps the strategic environment in which our forces operate," Obama said. "He understands our military, as powerful as it is, is one tool that must be used in concert with all of the elements of our national power."

Filed under: 62nd Airlift Wing,

April 28, 2015 at 8:08am

Saigon airlift remembered here

(Washington National Guard) Eight-hundred Vietnamese Americans from around Washington state came to Camp Murray yesterday for the 40th Anniversary of the journey from Vietnam to America after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War.

In the summer of 1975, more than 500 Vietnamese refugees came to Washington through invitation from then Gov. Dan Evans and made a temporary residence at Camp Murray.

Former Sec. of State Ralph Munro, who was honored at the event played an instrumental role in bringing the refugees to Washington state, which is now home to more than 70,000 Vietnamese Americans.

April 28, 2015 at 8:04am

225th to activate Saturday

New names for those units making our skies friendly and clear at the Western Air Defense Sector on McChord Field takes place Saturday.

The 225th Air Defense Group and Support Squadron will stand up, and the 225th Air Defense Squadron redesignates with a ceremony on JBLM-Main at 2 p.m.

Colonel Ronald "Dave" Harmon will assume command of the 225th Air Defense Group, Colonel Paige Abbott will assume command of the 225th Air Defense Squadron, and Colonel William Krueger will assume command of the 225th Support Squadron, according to a release from the Western Air Defense Sector public affairs office.

The three organizations will execute the mission of WADS commanded by Col Gregor Leist.  Leist assumed command last week.

October 15, 2013 at 12:08pm

Carter Lake and Hillside elementary schools celebrated tomorrow

Hillside Elementary offers the latest technology for classes K to 5.

The Clover Park School District will host a grand opening celebration for the new Carter Lake and Hillside elementary schools Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. The grand opening, which celebrates the construction and completion of both schools, takes place at Carter Lake Elementary School at McChord Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord

The event will include a ribbon cutting ceremony and self-guided tours of Carter Lake Elementary School. Because it's a school night, the event will end at 7 p.m.

Special guests include former U.S. Representative, the honorable Norm Dicks; Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general I Corps; JBLM commander Col. Charles Hodges, Jr. and Col. David Kumashiro, commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing. Light refreshments will be served.

In 2006, CPSD began a partnership with JBLM to evaluate and quantify the conditions and capacity of the six elementary schools on the base. For more information on the new schools, click here.

See Also

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new schools

October 7, 2013 at 9:40am

Most Air Force civilians to return to work Oct. 7

WASHINGTON (AFNS) - In accordance with a memo Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released Oct. 5, the Air Force will recall most of the nearly 104,000 Air Force civilian Airmen placed on emergency furlough due to government shutdown. However, a significant number will not yet be able to return.

In his memo, Hagel stated that immediately after President Barack Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, he directed DOD's Acting General Counsel to determine whether he could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown.

After consulting with attorneys from the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, the secretary said the Pay our Military Act does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.

However, he said, DOD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the DOD to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.

Read the full report of the Air Force Reserve Command's website.

October 1, 2013 at 4:13pm

List of Joint Base Lewis-McChord changes due to government shutdown

Ed. note: Joint Base Lewis-McChord PAO has release a much bigger, more comprehensive list of openings, closures and cancellations here.

The 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs has just release a list of changes at Joint Base Lewis-McChord caused by the government shutdown:

  • All Exchange services will be opened and operating under normal hours.
  • All emergency services will be operating as normal.
  • The Child Development Centers will operate as normal.
  • Youth Services Teen Zone, SKIES, School aged services, Teen Centers will continue with normal operations.
  • Youth Sports Program will continue as planned.
  • The Dining Facilities will remain open and operational.
  • The gyms will be open and operating under normal hours.
  • On-Base housing support through Equity will not be impacted.
  • Alcohol Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) will be operating normally.
  • On and Off-post Elementary, Middle and High Schools are not impacted.
  • Central Issue Facility (CIF) is open and operating under normal times.
  • Most MWR activities will continue under normal hours. These include the Warrior Zone, the American Lake Convention Center, the Cascade Community Center, the Bowling Center as an example.
  • SHARP, Victim Advocates, New Parent Support and Military Family Life Counselors will continue with normal operations.
  • Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) respite care for current enrollees will continue with normal operations.
  • Force Support Squadron functions in building 100 will remain under normal operations except vehicle pass and weapons registration functions.
  • Official Mail will be closed.
  • Off-base housing services are closed.
  • McChord Field Dorm Room assignments and maintenance will be delayed.
  • Education centers will be open for college courses, however no academic counseling will be available.
  • Installation museums are closed.
  • Visual Information Services are closed.
  • Libraries will operate on limited hours. Grandstaff Library's new hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the McChord Library's hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Joint Personal Property Shipping Office (JPPSO) will be open normal operating hours, however delays should be expected.

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER

  • All inpatient and wounded warrior care activities will continue as normal.
  • Patients will still be able to schedule medical appointments for most outpatient services, and none of the scheduled appointments will be canceled.
  • The appointment line (1-800-404-4506) will remain open for beneficiaries to inquire about their appointments and for those in need of urgent "non-emergency" care.
  • Pharmacy services will also remain open at all locations.
  • Non-emergent elective medical and dental surgeries will be curtailed during the government shutdown. Impacted patients will be notified personally of any changes.

See Also

Pres. Obama thanks DoD workforce, encourages budget resolution

Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

July 25, 2013 at 2:08pm

Next 446th Airlift Wing's Employer Orientation Day is set

Civilian employers of 446th Airlift Wing Reservists watch as a team from the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron loads a patient onto a C-17 Globemaster III May 4, 2013 at Hangar 12. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Madelyn McCullough

Civilian employers of Reservists are more likely to be supportive and have a good employer and employee relationship when they have a clear understanding of the Reservists' mission and obligations. One of the best avenues for providing this understanding is through the 446th Airlift Wing's Employer Orientation Day.

The next employer orientation day is Oct. 5.

Read more...

July 25, 2013 at 12:52pm

JBLM helps transform Ascension Island into Pres. Obama Island

KC-10 Extenders and C-17 Globemaster IIIs sit on the Ascension Auxiliary Airfield Ramp at Ascension Island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, June 28, 2013. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Sean Baber

More than 170 mobility Airmen from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., descended on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic aboard four U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, June 14.

This first wave was followed by 92 more C-17 and KC-10 Extender aircraft performing an aggressive 24/7 stage operation over the next 24 days. The normally tranquil island transformed into a major military aircraft hub during the month-long operation moving equipment and passengers to and from Africa in preparation for President Barack Obama's official state visit to the African continent.

During the six-day visit, the president and first lady traveled through Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, meeting with government and business leaders to promote democracy and reinforce the United States' commitment to expanding economic growth, investment and trade in the African continent.

In addition to the deployed Airmen, the operation was supported by a small but capable team of permanent party military from the 45th Operations Group, Detachment 2. Additionally, a detachment from the Royal Air Force's 1st Air Mobility Wing as well as contractor personnel provided round-the-clock support to ensure mission success. The island's small civilian population was also supportive of the operation, graciously welcoming the influx of deployed troops.

"Ascension Island usually receives three aircraft per week," said Maj. Michael Campbell, Detachment 2 commander. "It took the combined efforts of every agency on Ascension, as well as the deployed Airmen to support the heightened operations tempo and make this mission a success."

A contingency response element consisting of 33 Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing at Travis augmented Ascension's existing airfield infrastructure, providing command and control, communications and aerial port services for the massive operation.

"This has been an incredible opportunity for the CRW to showcase its capability as Air Mobility Command's rapid response force," said Maj. Robert Arnett, mission vice commander.

"In addition, the 24 hour flow of aircraft could not have been sustained had it not been for the dedication of 45 maintainers from JBMDL and JBLM," Arnett said. "These hard working maintainers took fewer than four hours per aircraft to fuel, repair and launch for its next flight. The hard work of this world-class maintenance team set a remarkable on-time departure rate of over 90 percent."

Despite the long hours, deployed Airmen found time to host a tour for the local community, hosting more than 60 children and 30 adults from two elementary schools, a youth group, and Scout troop to for a tour of both a C-17 and a KC-10. Still other Airmen assisted the Ascension Island Conservation Society by maintaining hiking trails on the Green Mountain National Park Zone and helping protect endangered plants and animals.

Overall, this operation set several milestones with more than 4.4 million pounds of cargo, 1,600 passengers and 103 aircraft transiting the island. On average, one military aircraft arrived or departed Ascension's airfield every 3.5 hours for 24 straight days, making the operation the largest movement of military equipment and personnel through Ascension Island since the Falklands War in 1982. At the peak of the operation, the influx of deployed troops increased the island's population by over 25 percent.

"Despite many challenges, we achieved overwhelming success," said Lt. Col. Thad Middleton, mission commander. "I could not be more proud of how well this diverse group came together, completing this high-profile mission safely, swiftly, and with precision."

This report was filed by by Capt. David Bredesen of the 621st Contingency Response Wing.

July 24, 2013 at 4:12pm

10th Airlift Squadron to deploy for overseas contingency

This just in from the 62nd AW Public Affairs Office:

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The 10th Airlift Squadron is scheduled to deploy July 28 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

More than 70 Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 10th AS will depart for a 60-day deployment to the Middle East. They will be accompanied by Airmen from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Airmen will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

Read more...

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