Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: July, 2010 (10) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 10

July 1, 2010 at 4:06pm

McChord Honor Guard wins AMC award

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- The McChord Honor Guard Team has been named the 2009 Air Mobility Command Honor Guard Team of the Year. 

The Honor Guard Team has conducted 624 total funeral honors, to include final escort of 417 war veterans. In addition, they have performed flag folding at 225 retirement ceremonies and have executed 47 Joint Color Guards and parades.

"An average working week for our team includes 30 funerals and more than six color guard events," said Tech. Sgt. Bonnie Longie, 62d Airlift Wing Honor Guard NCOIC. 

Sergeant Longie has been the McChord Honor Guard NCOIC for two years, and she says she has seen vast improvements in the Honor Guard members.

"This team is very impressive," said Sergeant Longie. "They carry a level of pride unlike anything I've ever seen."

The Honor Guard requires a certain number of Airmen from each squadron to fulfill its quota. At any given time, there are 72 members, broken up into three teams of 24. Those teams rotate throughout the year, switching back and forth from stand-by to active status each month. 

"The volunteer rate has significantly increased," said Sergeant Longie. "Last year, we had a 65% volunteer rate. This year, that number is up to about 95%."

This year's AMC Honor Guard Team has not only completed an outstanding number of ceremonies and events, but they've also created a brand new training program that has been benchmarked AMC wide.

"The training program used to be a month long, but we've actually been able to cut that down to two weeks," said Capt. Tammy Ortung, 62d Airlift Wing Honor Guard Commander.

The revolutionized training program still includes the same vital training for funeral procedures, rifle practice, color guard and discipline. The new program has been recognized and adopted by other AMC Honor Guard teams. 

"We are representing the Air Force," said Captain Ortung. "We need to ensure our team is trained and prepared to show the proper respect and honor to these fallen servicemembers."

The men and women serving in the McChord Honor Guard Team continue their highly dedicated and determined attitude towards giving their fellow servicemembers the proper respect they deserve.

"There is a certain pride and professionalism that comes along with being a part of the Honor Guard," said Sergeant Longie. "These Airmen understand what it means to honor fallen servicemembers."     

July 6, 2010 at 12:46pm

Soldier charged with leaking video of airstrike

Pvt. 1st Class Bradley Manning, 22, of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, was charged Monday in a case involving a video obtained by Wikileaks.org, a website that posts leaked documents, according to the news release.

Read more from the Los Angeles Times here.   

Filed under: Iraq,

July 9, 2010 at 10:45am

Scholarships for children of fallen servicemembers

WASHINGTON -- The children of military personnel who died in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001 can apply for an educational scholarship similar to the new Post-9/11 GI Bill. Benefits are retroactive to Aug. 1, 2009.

The scholarship, which is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs,  is named after Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry, 28, a Texas native who died in Iraq in 2006 while disarming an explosive. He was survived by three young children.

"The Fry scholarship represents this nation's solemn commitment to care for children whose mothers and fathers paid the ultimate price for our country," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.

VA is now accepting applications for the Fry scholarship. For more information or assistance applying, call toll-free 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551), or visit the VA GI Bill Website at www.gibill.va.gov

VA estimates nearly 1,500 children will receive benefits under the Fry scholarship  program in 2010. Recipients generally have 15 years to use their benefits, beginning on their 18th birthdays. 

Eligible children attending institutions of higher learning may receive payments to cover their tuition and fees up to the highest amounts charged to public, in-state students at undergraduate institutions in each state. A monthly housing allowance and stipend for books and supplies are also paid under this program. 

VA will begin paying benefits under the Fry scholarships on Aug. 1, 2010. Eligible participants may receive benefits retroactively to August 1, 2009, the same day the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect. 

Eligible children may be married. Recipients are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100-percent level. 

When family members also serve in the military  or are veterans in their own right, eligible for education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill for active duty, the Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserves or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, then they would relinquish their eligibility under those programs to receive benefits under a Fry scholarship.

(Department of Veterans Affairs release)

Filed under: Dependent, Veterans,

July 13, 2010 at 9:58am

Russian plane idles in Michigan

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about an abandon Ilyushin IL-78 Russian transport plane that's been sitting at a small airport in Michigan for nearly one year.

Read the story here.     

Filed under: News To Us,

July 15, 2010 at 3:48pm

250 Air Force recruits to be sworn in at Air Expo 2010

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - What an exciting way for about 250 men and women to start their Air Force career and for Joint Base Lewis-McChord to start Air Expo 2010. 

About 250 new Air Force recruits will be sworn-in at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning during a record-breaking ceremony at the JBLM Air Expo.

Col. Kevin Kilb, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, will enlist approximately 250 new recruits into the U.S. Air Force Delayed Entry Program.  This enlistment breaks the previous record of 178 DEP recruits swearing-in at the same time.  All of the men and women enlisting have come together through recruiting efforts throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The enlistment will take place on the Air Expo flightline in front of a large military aircraft static display, just before the aerial acts take to the sky at 11 a.m. 

July 16, 2010 at 2:42pm

McChord reservists continue to help Haiti rebuild

As the U.S. military's mission in Haiti gradually shifts from providing relief aid to supporting the Haitian's efforts to return to managing routine operations in their country, airmen from the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Field continue to be involved in the process.

Reservists from the wing's aerial port squadron are experiencing this at the ground level.

Read more about it here.

July 20, 2010 at 10:03am

Restructured Military Spouse Career Program resumes

The DoD sent out this press release today:

The Department of Defense announced today the resumption of a restructured military spouse career advancement account program - MyCAA, following a comprehensive review.  The program will be available to spouses of service members in the pay grades of E1-E5, W1-W2 and O1-O2 beginning October 25 at 8 a.m. EDT.

"The changes announced today reflect a return to the original intent of the program which is to help military spouses, with the greatest need, successfully enter, navigate and advance in portable careers," said Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.  "We fully support the program and are committed to ensuring the program's sustainability.  To that end, we are making several critical operational changes."

Amongst these changes, eligible spouses will receive a total of $4,000 in DoD-funded financial aid, with an annual cap of $2,000 per fiscal year; funding must be used within a three-year time period from the start date of the first class; and must be used to obtain an associates' degree, licensure or certification.  A waiver may be granted when fees for licensure or certification require an up-front fee greater than $2,000 and up to the total maximum assistance of $4,000.

"The MyCAA program popularity grew beyond our expectations and became too expensive to continue.  Therefore, we are returning to the original intent of the program in a way that is attainable and fiscally responsible for the Defense Department," said Stanley. "As we look to the future, we envision a program that is much broader than DoD's financial assistance component.  Military spouses will be guided along a more holistic approach to career planning."

Under the long-term program guidelines, career counselors will continue to work with all military spouses to help develop career and education goals and plans, and assist them in identifying and accessing available federal education benefits toward these goals.

"Families play a crucial role in supporting our men and women on the battlefield.  When service members are confident that their families at home have access to resources and support, they are better able to focus on their mission," said Stanley.  "The Defense Department is committed to investing in military families.  When we invest in the well-being of the family, we invest in the well-being of the force."

More information can be found on the MyCAA Web site: https://www.militaryonesource.com/MOS/FindInformation/Category/MilitarySpouseCareerAdvancementAccounts.aspx.

July 22, 2010 at 10:31am

Air Expo 2010 numbers are in

The Air Expo 2010 attendance numbers are in, and the results aren't quite as impressive as 2008, but expo officials are pleased nevertheless.

The News Tribune has the story here.

July 29, 2010 at 9:45am

Alaska C-17 crash kills four airmen

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFNS) -- Four airmen were killed when a C-17 Globemaster III crashed here July 28. Three were members of the Alaska Air National Guard and the other was an active duty servicemember here.
 
"Our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of those Airmen killed in this crash. Yesterday, we lost four members of our Arctic Warrior family, and it's a loss felt across our entire joint installation," said Col. John McMullen, the 3rd Wing commander. "Right now, our immediate focus is on providing all possible support to the loved ones of our fallen aviators. We are also engaged in a deliberate investigative process." 

The names of the airmen are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

A board of officers will investigate the accident.

More information will be released as it becomes available.    

July 30, 2010 at 3:39pm

Military identifies C-17 crew killed in crash

This from the Anchorage Daily News: The military today released the names of the crew members killed Wednesday evening in the crash of a Boeing C-17 cargo jet at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

The crew was:

  • Maj. Michael Freyholtz, a pilot assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard's 249th Airlift Squadron.
  • Maj. Aaron Malone, also a pilot assigned to the 249th Airlift Squadron.
  • Capt. Jeffrey Hill, a pilot assigned to Elmendorf's 517th Airlift Squadron.
  • Master Sgt. Thomas Cicardo, 249th Airlift Squadron loadmaster.

"We come to work with immense sorrow after four of our fellow airmen lost their lives in the C-17 crash at Elmendorf AFB Wednesday," said Brig. Gen. Charles E. "Chuck" Foster, 176th Wing commander, Alaska Air National Guard.

"They were more than valued Airmen: They were our teammates, friends, family members and fellow Alaskans. We mourn their loss and share the deep sadness of their families."

A board of officers is investigating the accident.

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