Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

July 17, 2015 at 9:52am

Dwell time, PT exemptions for new AF mothers increase to one year

The six-month deferment for female airmen to accomplish their fitness assessments following childbirth will be increased to 12 months to align with recent changes to the deployment deferments, Air Force officials announced July 14.

The deployment deferment policy, as part of the Air Force's 2015 Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, increases the deferment from deployment, short tour or dependent-restricted assignment, and temporary duty to one year, unless waived by the servicemember.

"The goal is to alleviate the strain on some of our talented airmen who choose to leave the Air Force as they struggle to balance deployments and family issues, and this is especially true soon after childbirth," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

The one-year deferment applies to female airmen who gave birth on or after the effective date of March 6, 2015, to provide predictability with minimal disruption to airmen and the deployment process.

As dwell times for deployment, permanent change of station and TDY increase, so too will the exemption from the current fitness assessment for female airmen following pregnancies lasting 20 weeks or more (delivery, miscarriage, etc.) The service does not anticipate significant mission or readiness impacts associated with extending this action.

"Like many other programs announced earlier this year, such as the Career Intermission Program, we recognize the potential retention benefits associated with providing our female airmen options that allow them to serve and support their family without having to choose one over the other," James said.

Air Force Guidance Memorandums will be available detailing the changes to both policies in the coming weeks.

The Air Force continues to research opportunities, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, to extend the maternity and convalescent leave period, similar to the recent changes announced by the Secretary of the Navy.

Airmen currently receive six weeks (42 days) of maternity leave, in line with the Department of Defense policy. By direction of the President, federal agencies can advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave to federal employees with a new child.

"We want to make sure we develop an equitable policy that supports all of our airmen and also maintains the ability to execute our mission," James said. 

July 17, 2015 at 9:49am

446th ASTS train for tactical combat casualty care

More than 50 Air Force Reserve medics from the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at JBLM will practice caring for human and mannequin patients while taking mock fire from .50 caliber rifles and other heavy artillery Monday at 1 p.m. in an exercise dubbed "Care Under Fire."

Training for tactical combat casualty care is a unique addition to this year's annual training requirements for the 446th ASTS airmen and is part of a four-day field training mass casualty exercise. In contrast to a hospital Emergency Department setting where the patient is the mission, on the battlefield, care of casualties sustained is only part of the mission.

Medical personnel must quickly move casualties to safety while being attacked by aggressors and possibly engage in a firefight on the battlefield.

"We take them out of their elements and watch them come together as a team without having a real-world mass casualty. That way, we can perform as a team rather than as individuals," said Col. Sam Barringer, 446th ASTS commander. "What works about this training is the adaptability and resiliency it promotes."

TCCC is designed typically for military medics, corpsmen, and pararescuemen who are preparing to deploy in support of combat operations. Casualty care in the tactical setting will depend on the situation, the injuries sustained, the knowledge and skills of the first responder, and the medical equipment at hand.

This combat training environment tests the skills of highly equipped and capable reserve medics, many of whom also serve as first responders in a civilian capacity.

Filed under: 446th Airlift Wing,

June 25, 2015 at 10:45am

Airman appreciation BBQ

The approximately 7,000 airmen at McChord Field - divided among active, reservists and Air National Guard - are frequently deployed and constantly in demand for various missions that require transporting soldiers to and from different locations.

The nature and frequency of these missions, of course, makes it hard to collect them all in one place to celebrate their accomplishments and service.

From 5-9 p.m. Monday, June 29, at Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, the Air Force Association will present the Airmen Appreciation Night Barbecue Bash that will do just that.

"This is our way of saying, ‘Thank you for your service; we think you are amazing,'" said Amy Tiemeyer, president of the Air Force Association and military liaison at America's Credit Union.

Last year was the event's inaugural, held at Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock St. Tiemeyer said it was a great turnout, with more than 500 airmen and their families, plus dignitaries, in attendance.

This year's event will be much the same, featuring face painting for children; balloon animals; karaoke; and various vendor booths.

Mayors from different Pierce County communities will be in attendance, including Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Commanders from each airmen unit will also have the opportunity to speak and give their thanks.

Catering the evening event is the Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association.

"From the early morning hours on Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway, a dozen or more competition cooks will be stoking the fires to prepare championship pulled pork sliders and luscious baby back ribs as the main course for that evening," said Pat Maddock, vice president of the PNBA. "Our competition chili cooking brethren will join in, too, providing some of their award-winning creation."

Maddock said for years the PNBA has operated a program called Feed the Troops. Organization members throughout the region raise funds for and hold a wide variety of events with the goal to provide competition-quality barbecue to servicemembers and their families, Maddock said.

"This is a great group of people," Tiemeyer said. "They are definitely donating both their time and resources."

Various organizations will bring side dishes and there will be free beer and wine.

The Airmen Appreciation Night Barbecue Bash is free to all active, Reserve and Air National Guard airmen and their families.

Event sponsors are Harborstone Credit Union, America's Credit Union, Lakewood Rotary, USAA, Quinault Beach Resort & Casino, Grand Canyon University and Titus Will.

June 18, 2015 at 11:48am

AFA presents annual golf tournament fundraiser

File photo

The Air Force Association McChord Field Chapter 334 invites the public to register for its upcoming Airman Support Golf Tournament, Friday, July 17, at Eagle's Pride Golf Course, off exit 116.

The four-person scramble format golf tournament comprising two divisions - handicap and non-handicap - begins at 1 p.m., with registration starting at 11 a.m. Individual golfer registration is $90, which includes green fees, cart and a dinner that follows the tournament. Individual golfers will be paired up to form teams. There is a limit of 144 registered golfers. There will be a cash-payout to the top three teams in each division.

Money raised from this year's tournament will go toward the Airmen Support Fund; the Pilot for a Day program benefiting children with life threatening illnesses; Air Force Association scholarships to area youth attending college or enlisting in the Armed Forces; and the Daedalian Foundation's scholarship program, benefiting young men and women aspiring to become military pilots.

The tournament is followed by a dinner and then a raffle drawing. Eagle's Pride is catering the dinner with brats, burgers, salad and beans on the menu. Among the raffle prizes are two round-trip tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlinea flies, gift baskets, restaurant gift certificates and more.

"I really want participants to feel like they're supporting our airmen - that the day is really benefiting so many, right here in our midst," said Amy Tiemeyer, AFA president and military liaison for America's Credit Union. "They will have a lot of fun. A few of our sponsors will be on the course to encourage and support the tournament's good spirits. I really want our businesses to come golf with us. We (the AFA) do a lot to support the airmen here on JBLM; however, we could do a lot more."

Those interested can print off a registration form at

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.

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