Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

August 17, 2017 at 11:08am

Staying cool under pressure

Several members assigned to the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord pose for a photo with the Seahawks 12th Man flag, while deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Courtesy photo

Constantly on high alert, and not knowing when or where an attack might occur, serving in a deployed environment can test even the most experienced airmen. For 16 members of the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, a recent deployment to Afghanistan was anything but routine.

Shortly after arriving at Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in mid-October 2016, citizen airmen of the 446th ASTS participated in a mass casualty exercise to help prepare them for what they might encounter during their deployment.

"The mass casualty exercises are good because it keeps us familiarized with our equipment and roles," said Senior Airman Paul Whatley, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 446th ASTS. "It also helps with working with other branches of service in building that trust of working together."

The exercise occurred at the beginning of a new rotation of deployed medics. The purpose of this type of drill is to create a realistic scenario of an incident that may occur during a deployment to prepare each team in handling their roles.

But what they couldn't prepare for was putting those skills to the test less than two weeks later.

"I was heading to a base ‘fun-run' for Veterans Day," said Whatley. "I was running late for the run and when I arrived where the run was supposed to start, all I saw was chaos. As soon as I saw the casualties I ran back to the hospital to get ready to work."

On Nov. 12, 2016, a suicide bomber had penetrated the defenses of Bagram Airfield and blew himself up, killing four people and wounding 17 others.

"You have to be flexible, things always change in a deployed environment," said Capt. Christopher Hamel, a 446th ASTS clinical nurse and serving his fourth deployment. "Most of us in the ASTS are in the medical field outside of the Reserves. We all had to step up and fill in wherever we could."

For some, it was their first deployment and an eye-opening experience.

"It was my first deployment and one of the roles I really wasn't prepared for was providing hospital security," said Staff Sgt. Taleesha Thomas, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 446th ASTS. "I had my rifle and body armor, but there was a lot of uncertainty. We didn't know what was happening with the attack."

After the casualties were treated, the Rainier Wing ASTS members then had to prepare them for aeromedical evacuations out of Bagram.

"After the patients were stable, a lot of the hospital staff left to go rest," said Hamel. "We had to stay behind and step back into our roles as the ASTS. Most of us ended up working more than thirty hours straight."

While no training can simulate the real thing, it works toward enabling a team to work together.

"Any mass casualty incident is hard to prepare for," said Thomas. "There was a lot of chaos at the hospital during the attack, but we were also well organized."

The 446th ASTS is constantly training at home to provide the best care for patients in a deployed environment, moving them between medical facilities on the ground and aeromedical evacuation flights.

"Our mission is to ensure that every patient that comes through our hands is cared for at the highest level -- medically, physically, professionally and mentally," said Tech Sgt. Tamie Zabroski, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 446th ASTS. "Then we assist them in getting evacuated through the aeromedical evacuation system to the next higher level of care. We don't treat just the "wounds" but the whole person. We want to ensure that the patient is returned to duty as quickly as possible so that he or she can continue in their mission."

August 17, 2017 at 11:05am

Sharing knowledge

Capt. Grace De La Alas, 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, stabilizes a simulated patient inside a Brazilian aircraft during the Mobility Guardian exercise on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 10. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel Liddicoet

Mobility Guardian offered international, partner-nation opportunities including exposing aircrews to critical aeromedical evacuation patient stabilization training.

For the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, the opportunity to train with a Brazilian air crew in their Casa 295 to share knowledge about how to stabilize and transport patients using the smaller Brazilian aircraft was one of the highlights of the exercise.

"We've had a lot of international participants for Mobility Guardian," said Capt. Virginia Aguilar 446th AES healthcare administrator, "and Brazil was one we really enjoyed working with."

While the Brazilian air crew had previously performed casualty evacuation using their aircraft, they did not have experience with aeromedical evacuation that involved patient stabilization.

"The goal was to see if their aircraft could be used for future aeromedical evacuation missions based on some of the standards that we use," said Aguilar.

The 446th AES loaded their own equipment onto the aircraft to attempt to simulate an aeromedical evacuation as realistically as possible.

"We were trying to work with the Brazilians to share with them what resources they would need to transport patients," said 1st Lt. Kyoung Craddock, 446th AES flight nurse.

Working on a different airframe from the C-17 Globemaster III, AES was able to simulate operating on a Brazilian aircraft.

"We brought along our own oxygen and our own electrical equipment to try and see how we would be able to operate within their aircraft," said Capt. Grace De La Alas, 446th AES Flight Nurse.

Once the 446th AES loaded their equipment and simulated patients onto the aircraft, they flew to Fairchild Air Force Base to attempt at Engine-Running On-load (ERO).

"The goal was to be able to off-load and on-load as quickly as possible," said Alas, "to show them what we would do in an emergency situation."

EROs require a lot of oversight, including safety.

"There's much more safety oversight required to perform and ERO," said Craddock. "We do it to simulate what might need to happen in a combat environment if the pilot tells us we need get out of their as quickly as possible."

Although there were no Brazilian medical personnel on the flight, the Brazilian air crew was able to document and record much of what AES was able to share.

"It was a great experience for us," said Aguilar. It was a good brainstorming opportunity for us and we feel like both sides benefited a lot."

The opportunity to train with new equipment and exchange best practices for the purposes of advancing the readiness of U.S. allied partners has been one of the central components of Mobility Guardian.

Mobility Guardian included 54 aircraft from 11 nations and enabled personnel from 25 nations to enhance interoperability.

Crews flew approximately 1,200 hours in eight days, executing nearly 650 sorties during Exercise Mobility Guardian, July 31 to Aug. 12.

During those missions, refueling aircraft offloaded roughly 1.2 million pounds of fuel; aerial port personnel processed 3,676 passengers and 4,911 tons of equipment; and crews airdropped 356 paratroopers, 33 heavy platforms and nearly 300 Container Delivery System bundles.

August 17, 2017 at 11:01am

Exercise comes to an end

A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules performs multiple airdrops at Yakima Training Center during Exercise Mobility Guardian, Aug. 5. Photo credit: Senior Airman Christopher Dyer

Crews flew approximately 1,200 hours in eight days, executing nearly 650 sorties during Exercise Mobility Guardian, July 31 to Aug. 12.

During those missions, refueling aircraft offloaded roughly 1.2 million pounds of fuel; aerial port personnel processed 3,676 passengers and 4,911 tons of equipment; and crews airdropped 356 paratroopers, 33 heavy platforms and nearly 300 Container Delivery System bundles.

"I think (Mobility Guardian) was very beneficial because it was the first exercise in a long time where the sole focus was on the desired learning objectives of the Mobility forces across the spectrum: contingency response, aeromedical evacuation, air mobility liaison officers, air refueling, airlift, airdrop and much more," said U.S. Air Force Col. Johnny Lamontagne, Mobility Guardian combined forces air component commander.

Mobility Guardian included 54 aircraft from 11 nations and enabled personnel from 25 nations to enhance interoperability.

"It was great for them to be able to see how we operate and for us to see how they operate," said Lamontagne. "When the United States goes into combat, we go with our international partners, but we rarely get to train together.

"This was a great opportunity to integrate so when we go into combat, it's not the first time we've worked together; we already have some experience and understand each other's capabilities," he added.

The exercise included more than 3,000 U.S. servicemembers and international partners who worked to measure the effectiveness of the Mobility Air Forces in contingency and humanitarian response operations.

"Mobility Guardian was about learning, discovery and the opportunity to work as a part of a joint and coalition team," said U.S. Air Force Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander. "This exercise was an investment in ensuring our airmen are prepared to succeed in the most challenging environments and deliver desired results across the globe."

August 10, 2017 at 11:12am

Rainier Wing challenges Aeromedical Evacuation

Tech Sgt. Gabriel Itaya, Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team NCOIC, radios flight crew to assist in launching an AE mission during the Mobility Guardian exercise on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel Liddicoet

For the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Mobility Guardian is an opportunity to train and sharpen battlefield skills for medical troops from around the nation and world.

A majority of the AES participation from the 446th Airlift "Rainier" Wing for Mobility Guardian will be as ground members who will support flying crews going up on exercise missions, said Capt. Virginia Aguilar, 446th AES healthcare administrator.

"We will primarily have people running the Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team," said Aguilar. "Their job will be to organize crews to get on missions and then tag those crews for specific flying missions once alerts come down."

As Capt. April Telan, 446th AES flight nurse, continued to explain, the crews will also be charged with maintaining the equipment and medications needed for Aeromedical Evacuation missions to be flown, as AEOT members will also be responsible for coordinating with the Aeromedical Staging Squadron members to coordinate the transportation of patients to the En Route Patient Staging System (ERPS).

"The people running the AEOT in deployed locations are usually kept very busy working in shifts 24 hours a day to prepare for medical alerts that need to be responded to immediately," said Telan.

The members running the AEOT have to ensure the ability for crews to respond around the clock by maintaining crew-rest schedules and ensuring that crews are always prepared and available.

Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Itaya, 446th AES AEOT non-commissioned officer in charge for Mobility Guardian, explained that part of the challenge in addition to the multitude of tasks the AEOT is charged with normally, has been setting up their AEOT capabilities from the ground up.

"When we came out here we had to learn to set up the whole area," said Itaya. "This has entailed unpacking and doing inventory of equipment as well as creating mission boards for use during the exercise."

Of the 12 members running the AEOT for the Mobility Guardian exercise, four of them are from the Rainier Wing.

In addition to the multitude of tasks AEOT members are charged with organizing, they are also present on the flight line to launch and recover every mission that goes out to ensure that the proper equipment is loaded and unloaded from planes.

"It's been a learning process as we've all had to learn to make adjustments on the fly," said Itaya, "Over the course of the exercise so far, we've already gotten a lot smoother in our process."

Mobility Guardian is a new exercise intended to enhance Mobility partnerships and test the full spectrum of capabilities AMC provides the nation. It began July 31 and is scheduled to conclude Aug. 12. The exercise involves participation from more than 3,000 U.S. military personnel from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps in addition to participants from nearly 30 international countries.

August 10, 2017 at 11:08am

Mobility Guardian Phase Two underway

Royal Air Force Senior aircraftsman Tom Raven, provides security for a New Zealand C-130H Super Hercules, during exercise Mobility Guardian at Moses Lake, Aug. 5. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Robert Hicks

The second half of Exercise Mobility Guardian began at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Aug. 6 and will focus on training aircrew on advanced tactical air operations. The exercise ends Saturday.

Following the successful execution of the joint forcible entry, ground forces established control over Moses Lake, which enabled the transition to sustainment operations.

"Mobility Guardian has tested our ability to prepare and deliver the force," said U.S. Air Force Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander. "Now it will test our ability to sustain the force and, after the mission is over, ensure the joint force returns home."

The 62nd Medical Brigade enabled the first step in the sustainment phase, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeremy Wagner, Mobility Guardian director. The brigade executed humanitarian relief operations after the 82nd Airborne Division accomplished a joint forcible entry and seized the airfield at Moses Lake. From there, components of the 7th Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team, took over the airfield and established their power projection.

These movements enabled the 621st Contingency Response Wing to begin air base opening operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Moses Lake and Yakima.

International teams working with ground forces will also provide force protection during the sustainment phase. The Number 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, one of the international teams, will provide airfield security for the 621st CRW.

"They are force multipliers," said Wagner. "They've been very involved and have shown how capable they are as our partners."

International teams will remain integrated during the 500-plus flights that were planned in support of Mobility Guardian, said Wagner. During the sustainment phase, aircraft will continue to deliver materials to support the ground forces' humanitarian efforts, but the air operations are expected to become more difficult.

"We've been airdropping an incredible amount of equipment to some of the displaced humanitarian relief operations," said Wagner. "Now it mostly focuses on getting advanced tactical training for our aircrews. When we're done with that, we can start heading home."

This training includes air drops in difficult locations, opportunities to test practice threat systems that detect ground enemies, and C-130 wet-wing defueling, Wagner added.

For Everhart, this advanced exercise is a testament of the abilities that U.S. and international servicemembers provide the global response force.

"Global reach is not a birthright for America; it requires hard work, preparation, investment and training," said the AMC commander. "Mobility Guardian offers our airmen vital experience to excel in any environment, applying lessons learned from years of war to deliver a realistic and challenging training environment for not only the Air Force but our joint and international partners as well."

August 4, 2017 at 2:03pm

Mobility Guardian 2017

Aerial porters from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron load cargo onto a C-17 Globemaster, July 23, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Harry Brexel

Train like we fight is the focus of the inaugural iteration of the largest scale exercise that Air Mobility Command has ever undertaken.

Mobility Guardian features over 3,000 personnel, including 25 international countries through Aug. 12 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Our ability to move national power to any location is key to the security of the United States," said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart, II, Air Mobility Command commander. "Mobility airmen are often the first to arrive and the last to depart. They provide continuous support to the joint warfighter. Simply put, success requires our Total Force team of mobility airmen to work together with joint and international partners. Exercising our capabilities together is critical, so when we are called upon, we can deliver quickly and precisely."

Exercise Mobility Guardian is designed to enhance the capabilities of mobility airmen by preparing them to succeed in the dynamic threat environments of today and tomorrow.

"We're creating an exercise that will encompass everything AMC does," said Lt. Col. Jeremy Wagner, Mobility Guardian director. "We basically took every skillset from AMC and said, ‘what would the ideal exercise for each of our different mission sets look like?' Then we combined them all into one."

The exercise is about strengthening partnerships, discovery, learning and improving together as an integrated team, according to officials. Mobility Guardian will provide mobility airmen an opportunity to work with joint services, international partners and industry.

This exercise is being conducted with mobility aircraft heavily involved in the war against the Islamic State and employed worldwide to deliver hope to those in need. The Combat Air Forces are supporting the exercises with an array of fighter and bomber capability to include F-35s, F-16s, A-10s, F-15Es, F-15Cs, B-52s and the B-2.

"We're trying to challenge mobility airmen to improve skillsets that they either may have not worked on recently or have experienced at all," said 1st Lt. Michael McCarthy, Mobility Guardian planner. "Any Combat Air Forces involvement is to simulate what we would see real-world but really push these members to the limits within the safe parameters of what they're capable of."

Training in preparation for the exercise has been left to individual units. Unlike AMC Rodeo, a competition, Exercise Mobility Guardian is less about showcasing skills and rather creating a comprehensive, realistic and complex training environment.

This exercise is about developing new skills and spreading knowledge among airmen as they work alongside our international partners, said McCarthy.

Throughout the exercise, teams will make observations and gather metrics that will be passed to AMC leadership to develop an appropriate site picture of the MAF's capabilities. They will also compile lessons learned for areas that need improvement, post-exercise.

Planning and coordination has taken roughly two years and has involved the work of several career fields to include all core functions of AMC.

Interest for the exercise has completely exceeded expectations as registration closed July 11 due to an overwhelming response.

"We've built something really fantastic and I think people are responding to that," said Wagner. "We're getting people calling all of the time saying that they want to be a part of this."

August 4, 2017 at 2:00pm

U.S., multiple nations partner for Mobility Guardian

Over 650 international servicemembers will work alongside more than 3,000 U.S. servicemembers during Mobility Guardian across Washington State from July 31 to Aug. 12. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Jodi Martinez

Nearly 30 partner nations are participating alongside the U.S. during Air Mobility Command's Mobility Guardian, which runs across Washington State through Aug. 12.

The exercise aims to enhance the U.S. military's global response force by integrating in complex, realistic mobility training with partner nations.

Fully-integrated events during the exercise will allow for strategic interoperability in support of real-world operations, said Maj. Thomas Rich, Joint Task Force director of operations for Mobility Guardian.

"We're pushing the tactical edge," said Rich. "We're putting aircraft from different nations close together in a tight air space in a dynamic threat environment. There's a little bit of inherent risk in that, but that's what we want to do here so that everybody is ready when we do it for real."

More than 650 international military personnel and 3,000 U.S. military servicemembers will focus on AMC's four core competencies during the exercise, which include airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and air mobility support, said Col. Clinton Zumbrunnen, the international observer mission commander for Mobility Guardian.

Zumbrunnen hopes Mobility Guardian, which is planned to be held biennially, will attract additional allies to attend and will encourage observers to return as participants in the future.

Col. Jose Antonio Morales, Brazilian air force's 5th Wing training commander, mirrors this hope for his own country.

"We are trying to arrange a lot of new exercises and interchanges between our countries," said Morales. "We are all so proud to represent our country and our air force and participate in this very important exercise."

Some of the scheduled events include formations between the U.S., Brazil and Colombia, and a joint forcible entry from an intelligence alliance comprised of the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.

Capt. Patrick Rodrigue, Canadian Forces Aeromedical Evacuation Unit flight nurse, offered his take on the upcoming exercise upon arrival at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"It's very important for us to get out there and actually practice our mission and get to practice our capacity as well as joint interoperability," said Rodrique.

Those nations observing also play a vital role by strengthening partnerships with the U.S. and becoming familiarized with U.S. training, tactics and procedures. Zumbrunnen said observers will be paired with U.S. crew members to see as much of the air mobility process as safely and securely as possible.

It's a test of how we operate with interoperability and also gives us the opportunity to build relationships, he said.

Mobility Guardian will focus on training both junior and senior Air Force airmen to operate alongside international servicemembers. To Rich, this maximizes the efficiency of the entire Air Force and its interoperability during real-world contingencies.

For Zumbrunnen the effort to enhance unrivaled power projection capabilities is not possible without the help of U.S. allies.

"I have not deployed anywhere or gone anywhere in my duty as an airlift pilot where there was not an international presence," said Zumbrunnen.

Zumbrunnen believes the ability for the U.S. to gain and fight alongside its allies is an unrivaled asset.

Mobility Guardian offers an avenue for testing the full spectrum of AMC capabilities. It also incorporates opportunities to exchange mobility expertise with international counterparts to create world-wide impact.

The U.S. does not go to war without allies, said Rich, so it's important that Mobility Guardian develops our ability to power project when and where needed.

July 27, 2017 at 3:07pm

Civil Air Patrol volunteers from across Washington work Skyfest 2017

A KC-135R Stratotanker from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Squadron. File photo

Over 50 members of Civil Air Patrol from squadrons across Washington state are signed up to assist United States Air Force personnel with operations at the Fairchild AFB open house and air show known as Skyfest 2017, where the USAF Thunderbirds will headline the event. From Friday to Sunday, both cadet and senior members will be assisting airshow personnel with various operations duties. Local CAP units will also have aircraft on display, aerospace education materials for the public and staff a recruiting booth for those interested in learning more about Civil Air Patrol, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, Skyfest will feature several military and civilian acts. Attractions will include aerial demonstrations, concessions and static aircraft displays.

"Our team is working hard to put together an amazing experience for the community," said Maj. Richard Hennies, Skyfest 2017 director. "We are excited to open Fairchild to the public again to showcase some of the great capabilities the Air Force has to offer."

CAP Washington wing commander Col. James P. Furlong added, "It's quite an honor to be able to support the U.S. Air Force each year at this event, and it's an absolute treat to watch the Thunderbirds!"

Firearms, weapons, fireworks, and drones will not be permitted into the event. Additionally, drugs of any kind, including marijuana, are not allowed on federal property.

"Everyone is encouraged to bring cameras to capture their experience and earplugs for watching the show," said Maj. Emily Kubusek, Skyfest 2017 air boss. "We are also encouraging participants to be prepared for the July heat by bringing water and sunscreen."

To ensure the safety of all in attendance, air show guests must consent to security searches and all backpacks and bags will be checked upon entry. Air show attendees are permitted to bring in coolers with food and nonalcoholic beverages.

"Attendees are encouraged to carpool due to limited parking." said Hennies. "We want to be able to facilitate as many people as possible to enjoy Skyfest 2017."

The last air show at Fairchild was in 2014 and had more than 200,000 guests in attendance.

July 27, 2017 at 3:04pm

New Mental Health Assessment

New annual Mental Health Assessment requirement begins July 31. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Starting July 31, airmen undergoing their annual Periodic Health Assessment may notice something new. A Mental Health Assessment will now be part of every annual PHA, to help ensure that airmen suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues are referred to the necessary care.

Mental health issues are a serious problem for U.S. Armed Forces and for the Air Force. These illnesses are often not visible to others, making them difficult to diagnose and leading to unnecessary suffering. By implementing yearly screening, more airmen in the early stages of mental illness will be identified and referred for treatment, helping them heal and improving overall medical readiness.

"This assessment gives airmen an annual opportunity to review their mental health with a medical provider and discuss any concerns they may have," said Col. Steven Pflanz, Air Force Director of Psychological Health. "Making the process routine for everyone reduces stigma and makes it easier for airmen suffering from mental health problems to obtain care."

The annual MHA fulfills a requirement of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, and uses established Department of Defense questions for early detection of mental health issues. The questions included in the MHA are the same that airmen see on their pre- and post-deployment health screenings. Completing the annual MHA can even substitute for specific post-deployment screenings.

Airmen will continue to fill out the DD form 3024 online for their annual PHA, which already includes the mental health questions. Airmen will speak with a trained healthcare provider or licensed mental health professional to complete the person-to-person component. Most flight personnel will meet face-to-face, and most non-flight personnel will complete this section over the phone.

Members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve will begin the annual MHA later in August. For airmen stationed at bases with MTFs belonging to other services, efforts are underway to ensure transfer of PHA questionnaires between the services. Until this process is complete, the Air Force will utilize existing Base Operational Medical Clinic protocols to accomplish these PHAs.

Airmen who underwent a PHA in 2017 prior to July 31, do not have an additional requirement to retake it this year. Their 2018 PHA will include the MHA interview with a medical provider.

Airmen can monitor their individual medical readiness using their MyIMR page at https://imr.afms.mil/imr/MyIMR.aspx. This page also contains location specific information, instruction, office hours and phone numbers to help airmen meet their IMR requirements.

July 27, 2017 at 3:01pm

New Air Force club portal

The Air Force Services Activity is hoping retirees will switch to new portal before they are disconnected. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

For many Air Force retirees, a club membership is one way to stay connected to the service they love. Air Force Services Activity officials are encouraging retirees to activate their new Air Force Club Member Portal accounts before losing that connection.

"Our retiree population is a special part of our Air Force family. Their contributions to shaping the Air Force of today are invaluable and we want to keep them connected to our airmen and our installations," said Col. Donna Turner, the AFSVA commander.

The Air Force began transitioning away from a club credit card to the Air Force Club Member Portal at six pilot installations in May: Osan Air Base, South Korea; Thule AB, Greenland; Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri; Eglin AFB, Florida; Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, and JB Charleston, South Carolina.

Current member information was automatically loaded on the club portal, but members need to log in and update payment information to maintain their membership. The free MemberPlanet app is available in the App Store or Google Play. The web- and app-based system allows members to choose their payment methods and receive real-time event information directly on their smart devices or computers through the portal.

"Members can now use their credit or debit card of choice," said Jonathan Boyd, the AFSVA chief of nonappropriated fund food and beverage operations. "It's an easy process ... you simply update your profile using your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer."

Members without easy access to smart devices or computers can also stop by their local club for assistance.

"Through the club portal, club members will have easy access to a wide variety of information such as events and special programs scheduled, meal specials and other notifications in near real time," Boyd said.

The portal will be rolled out across the Air Force Aug. 1, 2017. Members can either show their digital membership card through the MemberPlanet App on their smart devices or print a card from the app. The card features the member's name, preferred club, and an expiration date.

"Air Force Club membership is a tradition," Turner said. "It's where our airmen experience, learn and share our Air Force culture. Our clubs provide resiliency to our airmen and their families. This new approach to membership will make it easier for our airmen to stay connected with our Air Force tradition and build on the culture and esprit de corps established by those who have previously served."

For more info, contact your local club or visit myairforcelife.com/clubs/cmp.aspx.

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