Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

May 19, 2017 at 4:27pm

Glimpse history with the "Greatest Generation"

A fully-restored B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed Aluminum Overcast sits on the runway at the Olympic Flight Museum, May 10, in Tumwater. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz

As Aluminum Overcast, a 77-year-old B-17 Flying Fortress, roared to life on the tarmac at the Olympic Flight Museum, the cabin filled with smoke and the passengers, wearing smiles and snapping photos, filled with anticipation.

Anticipation was not a foreign feeling aboard Aluminum Overcast. Decades before in the upheaval of WWII, young men clad with weapons rather than smiles had likely been filled with fear-tinged anticipation for the flight ahead, the enemy who lay in wait, and the gravity of the mission at hand.

Members of the local media were given a larger-than-life history lesson when they flew aboard the fully restored B-17, May 10, in Tumwater, and spoke with WWII veterans who either worked aboard, or piloted the aircraft during its heyday.

Despite the harrowing circumstances, many of these veterans welcome the idea of embarking upon the Flying Fortress once again, as if being reunited with an old friend.

"In combat it was always a blurred line between being excited and being afraid," said 94-year-old Dick Nelms, 447th Bombing Squadron B-17 pilot. "It's just exciting to see this aircraft today, knowing I'm going to fly in it again."

According to the Liberty Foundation, B-17s dropped more than 640,000 tons of bombs on European targets and downed more enemy aircraft per thousand raids than any other aircraft in the United States' arsenal, making it the champion of the American aerial campaign during WWII.

Even so, the cost of victory was high. Of the 12,732 B-17s produced between 1935 and 1945, 4,735 were lost in combat.

"I flew to Berlin (Germany) three times," Nelms said. "I watched B-17s being shot down, many of them carrying my friends. We had to learn to control fear, and I did. That's why I'm able to sit here and talk to you seventy-four years later."

While millions of men like Nelms were serving a grateful nation in Europe, women on the home front were fighting the good fight as well.

"I bucked rivets in '44 while I was in college," said Betty Lausch, who laid eyes on a fully-operational B-17 for the first time May 10. "My husband worked on B-17s during the war, but I haven't seen a completed one until now. It's better than anything I could have imagined and I'm so grateful for the chance to fly in it."

For many, the B-17 is not just an aircraft, but a symbol of the generation who carried the United States through one of its most turbulent eras with unwavering resolve.

"I'm glad it was these guys who were there to answer the call," said Tom Ewing, present-day B-17 pilot. "The more you learn about what they were asked to do and what they did, the more you'll understand why they are called the ‘Greatest Generation'. These are true heroes and it is a very lucky thing that you see these men standing here today."

As the Flying Fortress burst through the cloud bank and the Puget Sound came into full view through the glass bubble traditionally occupied by the bombardier, passengers couldn't help but ask WWII veteran and B-17 crewmember, Fred Parker how one might ever get used to a view like that.

Parker didn't miss a beat.

"You never get used to the view," he said. "You stay scared."

May 19, 2017 at 4:20pm

20/20: the Air Force standard

Staff Sgt. William Behl, 62nd Maintenances Squadron crewchief, looks at different eye glasses May 9, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

Three airmen at the McChord Field Optometry Clinic are responsible for more than 4,000 airmen stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The clinic provides Team McChord airmen with annual eye exams, pre-operation and post-operation eye care, and diagnosing and treating eye infections.

"Our mission is to support the flying community as well as the war fighter," said Maj. Alexandra Tran, 62nd Medical Squadron head optometrist. "We make sure our flyers meet vision standards so they can fly."

The clinic provides routine eye exams which include a prescription check and an eye health check. They also provide exams for airmen applying for corrective eye surgery, to include photorefractive kerectomy surgery and LASIK surgery.

"Part of our job is to educate patients on how to maintain optical health," said Tran. "It's common for people to get a detached retina; the key is to find it early."

Since the Air Force has strict standards for vison, airmen are encouraged to care for their eyes, said Staff Sgt. Marcus Hawkins, 62nd MDS NCOIC of optometry.

"Essentially we are keeping everybody qualified to perform their job," said Hawkins. "Ultimately, airmen can't perform their job safely without good vision."

Besides providing airmen with prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses, the clinic also provides military-issue spectacles and gas mask inserts. Active-duty military are also authorized a free frame of their choice in eye glasses.

"I want airmen to have the best baseline possible for their vision when in positions of high stress," said Tran. "When they're required to where a gas mask, we want them to be able to see in life or death situations and not jeopardize their safety or those around them."

Because regular eye health checks are performed by the clinic, these can often identify health problems or risk factors outside of optical health, said Tran.

"There are certain things we can see in the back of the eyes that are blood or cholesterol related," said Tran. "There have been times where we have caught things way before symptoms started to show."

Patients with perfect 20/20 vision or corrected, are all encouraged to have annual or biannual eye examinations, said Tran.

"You only have two eyes and there is very little we can do to help once there is a major problem with a patient's sight," said Tran. "Sometimes medical conditions can go unnoticed till it's too late."

Although not all airmen are required to have annual exams, airmen are encouraged to take care of their eye health and have up-to-date prescriptions.

"In the military we tend to be detailed-oriented, but it's hard to be detailed oriented if everything is a blur," said Hawkins. "We are the means by which airmen can maintain clarity and optimal sight to perform at the highest and safest caliber possible."

To schedule an appointment or to find out more information about the optometry clinic, call 253.982.2032.

May 18, 2017 at 3:22pm

Chef's journey to success

Derek Torrence, McChord Club executive chef, prepares a sandwich during lunch at McChord Grill, May 10, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

What do Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray all have in common with Derek Torrence? Like Torrence, they are all professional chefs. Torrence may not have the million-dollar television contract, but he does cook delicious and healthy food for members of the Armed Forces.

Derek Torrence, McChord Club executive chef, has been serving up great food at the McChord Club since May 2015.

"Since I've been here, we've been trying to increase the quality of food the club provides, trying to make less pre-made and more handmade food," Torrence said.

Torrence was afforded the chance to make his dream of becoming a chef real when he went to Culinary Arts School and graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2008.

"My mom was a good cook, so I cooked with her a lot growing up," said Torrence. "I used to watch a lot of cooking shows; I just liked the idea of making good food and seeing how it was presented."

After college, Torrence moved back with his parents, where he was offered a job with the U. S. Army.

"I grew up a military brat," said Torrence. "My dad retired from the army after 23 years, so after I graduated college, I was granted the opportunity for work on Carlisle Barracks at the Army War College for a couple years."

While continuing his path to become a chef, Torrence received another great opportunity to help him progress in his career.

"While working at the War College, the corporate chef from Morale, Welfare and Recreation came to help us with a graduation," said Torrence. "While working with him, he said he liked the way worked, and got me into the Army's developmental chef program, which sent me to Hawaii for three months at the Hale Koa."

From there, Torrence was sent to the Dragon Hill Lodge in Korea, then to Fort Knox, Kentucky for three years, then landed a job here at McChord.

"I am a jack of all trades," said Torrence. "I can cook, grill, broil, fry, flambé. I can do it all."

Here at McChord, the club provides services for Airman Leadership School graduations, weddings, retirements, promotions, farewells and during lunch at the McChord Grill.

"I like doing what I do for the military because, growing up military, I got to go to a couple bases and the food wasn't too good," said Torrence. "So I decided to go to school to get the skills to provide better food for the servicemembers. It's my way of serving and giving back to the military."

Torrence said since becoming a chef, his motto has always been to prep it, cook it, and serve it.

"My goal is to provide fine dining to our servicemembers," said Torrence. "Servicemembers should be offered great food without having to go to a fancy restaurant, and I want to continue to provide a great service to the military and their families."

May 12, 2017 at 9:56am

Accelerating hypersonics development

The Air Force has always been about speed. Less than one month after the Air Force became its own service 70 years ago in September 1947, Capt. Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound - a barrier once considered impenetrable - in the Bell Aircraft X-1.

On May 3, Air Force senior leaders met to consider options to accelerate hypersonics research and development to break even more speed barriers and ensure continued technological superiority.

Hypersonics refers to flying at five times the speed of sound, also known as "Mach 5," or higher. From an Air Force perspective, it is a game-changing capability which can amplify many of the enduring attributes of airpower including speed, range, flexibility and precision.

"We must push the boundaries of technology in every area," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. "Our adversaries aren't standing still. They are looking for every advantage they can get."

A recent Air Force Studies Board report identified that the U.S. is not alone in its quest for this increased speed. For example, China and Russia are already flight testing hypersonic weapons, and several other countries have shown interest in pursuing many of the underlying technologies for hypersonic flight.

"We have a real sense of urgency," said Dr. Greg Zacharias, the Air Force chief scientist. "The acting secretary directed this discussion as a call to arms to maintain our heritage of excellence in this area."

The discussions this week formulated a common understanding of the potential for hypersonics as a future operational game changer for both the U.S. and its potential adversaries.

"We're accelerating our research in this area," said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Lisa S. Disbrow. "The benefits of this technology for our nation's defense are wide ranging, from offensive capabilities to defensive systems. This is a high priority for the USAF."

"We also laid the groundwork for a longer term coordinated effort in policy, operational concepts, science and technology efforts, acquisition, and test and evaluation," Zacharias said.

Foundational work for reaching an operational hypersonic capability has been long in the works. Over the years, the Air Force and other partners have researched a number of concepts to reach hypersonic speeds. One involved a "boost-glide" concept. This concept involves a ballistic launch to high speed with a subsequent unpowered glide flight path to the target. Another concept is an air-launch enabled vehicle propelled by its own rocket, ramjet, or scramjet.

In the late 1950s and into the mid-1960s, the joint X-15 hypersonic research program's three rocket-powered vehicles flew a total of 199 times investigating all aspects of piloted hypersonic flight. On Oct. 3, 1967, the X-15 piloted by Air Force Maj. Pete Knight reached Mach 6.7, setting the world's unofficial speed record.

According to NASA documents, more important than breaking speed records were the X-15's "probing of hypersonic aerodynamic performance and heating rates, research into structural behavior during high heating and high flight loads, study of hypersonic stability and control during exit from and reentry of the atmosphere, and examination of pilot performance and physiology."

Decades later, the X-51A program, a collaborative effort of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, represented one of the Air Force's most significant reinvestments in hypersonic flight since the X-15 flights nearly 50 years earlier.

Launched from a B-52 Stratofortress bomber for the first time in May 2010, the experimental X-51A "Waverider" was an unmanned, autonomous supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight test demonstrator.

After extensive data analysis and lessons learned from three previous flights, the final flight of the X-51A on May 1, 2013, was the most successful in terms of meeting all the experiment objectives. The cruiser traveled more than 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes reaching a peak speed of Mach 5.1.

The AFRL also has extensive efforts underway in foundational hypersonic technology maturation, including work in ordnance, tactical boosters, airframe and structures, guidance, navigation, and control, and materials and manufacturing.

"We simply can't get where we need to go without continued science and technology investment to bring these supporting technologies to a readiness level that can meet our timelines for an operational capability," said Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

The Air Force continues to partner with DARPA on flight demonstration programs for high speed strike weapon technologies which address challenge areas such as air vehicle feasibility, effectiveness and affordability.

We are advancing development of critical technologies of an effective and affordable hypersonic cruise missile. This demonstration will build on the X-51 success and will include a tactically compliant engine start capability and launch from a relevant altitude. Additional programs aim to develop and demonstrate technologies to enable future air-launched, tactical-range hypersonic boost glide systems.

"We've had great long-term relationships with industry on these efforts," Bunch said. "The technology and concepts from these demonstrations will provide options for an operational weapon system for rapidly and effectively prosecuting the type of targets we know we'll need to reach in highly contested environments."

May 11, 2017 at 11:23am

Military pro bono legal services signed into law

Governor Inslee signs Substitute House Bill No. 1055, May 4. Primary Sponsor: Christine Kilduff (Pictured, right of Governor Inslee) Photo credit: Washington State LSS

Under a new law sponsored by State Rep. Christine Kilduff (D-University Place), the Attorney General's Office will connect veterans and military servicemembers with free legal services.

For servicemembers facing a legal dispute but deployed overseas, or a veteran seeking benefits at home, the need to hire a lawyer is often a challenge. The frequency of deployments and change of station orders uprooting our military families can result in legal actions that require representation. Servicemembers are focused on protecting and defending our freedoms and cannot just drop their work and leave, so access to legal representation in these matters is imperative.

"Thanks to this new law, soldiers, veterans, and their families will no longer have to fight courtroom battles alone. Whether deploying at a moment's notice or pursuing benefits you've earned, Washington state will help you get the legal representation you need to resolve disputes," said Kilduff after the bill signing by Governor Inslee.

May 11, 2017 at 11:20am

Senate confirms Wilson as Air Force secretary

Heather Wilson was confirmed as the new Secretary of the Air Force by the Senate May 8. Photo credit: Scott M. Ash

Heather Wilson will be the next secretary of the Air Force, following her confirmation by the Senate May 8.

Wilson, who is stepping down from her position as the president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology to take the post, is expected to be sworn in within a week.

"We live in a remarkable country, protected by innovators and intrepid airmen who take great risks on our behalf," said Wilson. "I look forward to getting to work, focusing on readiness, modernization, development of leaders and research for the future."

Wilson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in the third class to include women. After graduating from USAFA in 1982, she earned masters and doctoral degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England. She served as an Air Force officer in Europe during the Cold War and on the National Security Council Staff under President George H.W. Bush during the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. She has also worked as an advisor to several large defense and scientific organizations both before and after serving for a decade in the U.S. Congress.

The daughter and granddaughter of aviators, Wilson is an instrument rated private pilot.

Wilson becomes the second confirmed appointee in the Defense Department and will be responsible for organizing, training and equipping the U.S. Air Force of 660,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian airmen, as well as managing its $132 billion budget.

Wilson replaces Lisa Disbrow, who has been Acting Secretary of the Air Force since Jan. 20.

May 4, 2017 at 2:14pm

New fast cash process

The 446th Airlift Wing Financial Management has started using eFinance in order to pay travel vouchers for longer temporary duty assignments. The program is now permanent after testing. Photo credit: David L. Yost

The Rainier Wing Financial Management Office successfully tested managing vouchers at the wing level, and now members can receive their travel voucher faster when using eFinance.

A now permanent program used by the Financial Management Office, eFinance local voucher processing was tested throughout 2016 before the wing received permanent authorization to process vouchers in-house.

Previously, the vouchers were processed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, San Diego, and the 446th Airlift Wing FM Office was one of five organizations chosen to test it in the Air Force Reserve.

While the workload for financial management specialists decreases, eFinance users may not consider the website to be user-friendly. An update is scheduled to be completed April 28, but it remains to be seen if this update will change the overall user experience.

"It walks the member through step by step," said Tech. Sgt. Jesse Hughes, a 446th AW travel pay technician. "It just takes a long time."

The extra time spent using the program allows travel voucher payments to be received more quickly in a process that is secure and paperless.

About 250 vouchers are processed through eFinance a month, with another large number also processed through DTS. Eventually the two systems in use now could be merged into one. According to the Financial Management Office, they don't receive lots of positive feedback. The thinking is that citizen airmen like options as much as they like receiving payments quickly.

"Instead of having three parties involved, we just kind of do it in-house," said Patricia Gaura, a 446th AW financial management specialist. "Instead of twelve people doing it, only about a graveyard of four is doing it, and we were able to pay them out within a week."

Currently, a dual system is employed for processing travel vouchers. The Defense Travel System (DTS) for temporary duty lasting longer than 44 days, and eFinance is for shorter periods. Travel vouchers previously were sent through DTS from the 446th AW to the 62nd Airlift Wing and then to Ellsworth AFB. Any necessary changes or adjustments would send the voucher back to the member.

Guarda gives an example of why the voucher process would take longer due to needed adjustments.

"Let's say the member decides to be one penny off on DTS. We have to spit it back," said Gaura. "That's their regulations; there's no supplemental. You can amend it later, but still we won't pay you; we'll say you need to change that one penny. And then that costs more time for routing."

Those vouchers are now processed by the 446th AW, and can be partially paid without resubmitting the entire voucher. The remaining balance owed can be paid after submitting a supplemental voucher. This helps decrease payment wait time and delinquent government travel card accounts.

May 4, 2017 at 1:43pm

Team McChord airmen honor WWII veterans

Senior Airman Nino Vaccaro, 62nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsions specialist, entertains a local World War II veteran taking part in the Puget Sound Honor Flight, April 24, at SeaTac Airport. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

More than 60 servicemembers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the local area honored veterans participating in the Puget Sound Honor Flight, April 24, at SeaTac Airport.

The veterans were welcomed home after returning from their trip to Washington, D.C. to see monuments built in their honor, such as the World War II Memorial.

The event is one of four done annually by the Puget Sound Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization founded to serve U.S. veterans. They pay all costs for the veterans to travel to Washington, D.C. and visit monuments while celebrating their service along the way.

"From previous flights I've done, what I hear from veterans is that in past wars they were not received very well, and this is them getting the recognition now they didn't get then," said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Aguilar, active-duty liaison. "When some of these men and women come off the jetway, they stand up from their wheelchairs and you can see the pride in their faces."

Arriving at SeaTac Airport from Washington, D.C., the veterans were greeted by servicemembers with a salute and individually escorted through the airport.

"I think this is one of those events that junior military members get to connect what they are doing to a bigger picture of history," said Aguilar. "This is great for them to volunteer and get that connection to history. It's very significant."  

The 20 Puget Sound airmen that volunteered for the event spent more than an hour with veterans sharing their experiences serving.

"I'm very thankful to be here to honor them and show respect for what they did for our country," said Airman 1st Class Sara Vande Wetering, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron passenger service specialist. "I talk to a lot of veterans on a daily basis, and a lot of them say they don't feel recognized. I think this means a lot to them."

From the terminal, veterans were escorted to the airport atrium. As they went through the airport, applause could be heard from airport patrons and passengers. Many people stood in respect or shook their hands to thank them for their service.

"The veteran I escorted was very appreciative that we were able to welcome him home one last time," said Staff Sgt. Zachary Ely, 62nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsions specialist. "He was blown away by the welcome he received throughout the airport."

Arriving at the airport atrium, veterans were greeted again by hundreds of people applauding them, waving flags, and the sounds of bagpipes being played.

"I think the fact that the veterans could see current military members here honoring them meant a lot to them," said Ely. "It was great to show our tradition of remembering and honoring those who have served and come before us."

The next Puget Sound Honor Flight will take place May 22. To volunteer or find out more info, go to pugetsoundhonorflight.org.

May 4, 2017 at 1:08pm

New 62nd OG commander

Col. Leonard Kosinski (left), passes a guidon to Col. Mark Fuhrmann as Chief Master Sgt. Scott Mills (center) stands at attention May 1 during a change-of-command ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

Airmen of the 62nd Operations Group said farewell to their commander and saluted their new commander for the first time at a change-of-command ceremony May 1 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. During the ceremony, Col. Mark Fuhrmann took command from outgoing commander Lt. Col. Brian Smith.

"We are celebrating the change of command for an outstanding unit full of outstanding airmen," said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "As you take command of the 62nd Operations Group, I look forward to where your capable leadership will take us in this critical time in our nation's history."

New to the command, Fuhrmann is not new to McChord Field. He used to be assigned to the 7th Airlift Squadron flying the C-141B Starlifter and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in the early 2000s.

"It is my privilege to welcome you back to McChord," said Kosinski. "The transition to joint basing has not always been easy, but as you will learn during your time here, Team McChord and the 62nd Airlift Wing are better off with the shared resources and training opportunities provided by the joint environment."       

Having worked with Fuhrmann in 2003 at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Kosinski said he is confident in his ability to command the 62nd OG and lead the airmen assigned to the group.

"I have no doubt that the 62nd Operations Group will continue to meet and exceed expectations under his tenure," said Kosinski. "He has incredible qualifications and experience. I can personally attest he is ready to command."

With more than 23 years of services, Fuhrmann has served in a variety of capacities in the Air Force, to include being a communications officer, mobility pilot, joint staff actions officer and having commanded the 437th Operations Support Squadron at Joint Base Charleston.

A rated command pilot, Fuhrmann holds more than 3,200 flight hours in the T-37, T1-A, C-141B and C-17 aircraft. He has earned numerous awards and decorations, to include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

"What a privilege it is to be here today with such an extraordinary group of airmen and civilians," said Fuhrmann. "I firmly believe that the strength of our squadron not only comes from the airmen and civilians here today but from the strength of the families that supports each them. I look forward to serving each of you and your families."

May 4, 2017 at 12:51pm

McChord member retires after 50 years of service

Carl Barnes (middle) conducts an inspection on a carton of ammunition while Tech. Sgt. Christopher Groessler (left) and Senior Airman Forrest Fender looks on at the munitions facility on McChord Field. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

For more than 50 years, Mr. Carl Barnes has been a member of the U.S. Air Force, serving 30 years and 28 days in the active-duty and then another 20 years and three months as a civil service employee, and on April 30, he will hang up his hat and retire as an employee of the service.

Barnes is from Lufkin, Texas, and joined the Air Force in 1965, 30 years later, he retired as a chief master sergeant, and within nine months of that he entered back into the Air Force as a civil service employee.

Working in munitions his entire career, with his last position as the 62nd Maintenance Squadron munitions flight chief, Barnes has dedicated this time in service to his country and his fellow airmen.

"Mr. Barnes has served his country in the same career field since December 1965. Since his enlistment during the Vietnam War, he ascended to the top of the enlisted ranks and achieved the rank of chief master sergeant," said Chief Master Sgt. Rodney Neiss, 62nd MXS maintenance superintendent. "After his retirement from active-duty he elected to continue his service with the munitions community as a civil servant. After 50 years of service, Mr. Barnes has chosen to hand off the baton and finish his race."

As Barnes reflected on his 50 years, he mentioned how so much has changed since he first entered the military.

"The utilization of the computer has been the biggest change I have seen since entering the Air Force," said Barnes. "When I first came in, we used pencil and paper to document everything to include the EPR form.

"We would hand write our EPRs, turn them over to an administrative clerk who would type them up, hand them back to us, and then we would proceed with getting the signatures.

"Even as I was leaving my active-duty career, we were just starting with word processors and it took me a while to get used to this new technology."

As much as technology has changed since he first entered the Air Force, the mantra of taking care of his people and those he works with has never changed.

"People are the most important asset you have. I have always lived by the fact that you need to take care of your people and to let them know you care about them," said Barnes. "This is not always giving them a pat on the back and sometimes requires a kick in the pants to motivate them, but at the end of the day, it is about having their backs."

"For more than fifty years Mr. Barnes continued to serve from his love for the munitions mission and the men and women that followed that career path," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Groessler, 62nd MXS NCOIC stockpile management. "This is not a dedication and drive found very often in many, especially with the knowledge and expertise he possesses. The leadership style he has dedicated himself to cannot be measured and will undoubtedly leave behind an immense void to be filled."

Speaking to this fact of taking care of your people, Barnes commented on one of his most proudest moments in the Air Force.

"Back during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, while assigned to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, I led 240 airmen into a deployed location and we supported seventy-two F-16 aircraft as our primary mission," said Barnes. "I led 240 airmen into that conflict, we were successful in completing the mission, and we returned home with all 240 airmen, and this was one of my proudest moments."

According to Maj. Dave Thompson, 62nd MXS squadron commander, Barnes is leaving big shoes to fill and will be deeply missed.

"We will be ‘hanging up' his Air Force number permanently. This number was an index used to track personnel that stopped sometime around the Vietnam War and very few government employees can claim they still have one," said Thompson. "His placard will be memorialized very close to his seat in the maintenance conference room where he represented the men and women of AMMO for two decades here at McChord in his second AF career."

"As a true trailblazer, Mr. Barnes has watched our Air Force transform and he was very much a part of the process," said Neiss.  "Not only is the AMMO community privileged with talking to Mr. Barnes, but all airmen are fortunate to share in hearing his Air Force story.

"The message is simple.  The Air Force will be seventy years old this September and Mr. Barnes proudly served his country and fellow airmen for over fifty years of its existence.  What greater message could be shared?"

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