Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: November, 2010 (13) Currently Viewing: 11 - 13 of 13

November 23, 2010 at 5:04pm

APS reservists prepare to deploy

From left: Staff Sgt. Luis Rosado, a ramp specialist with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron here, Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgt. Michael Pritchett, 36th APS ramp specialist are preparing to deploy to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

JOINT BASE LEWIS - MCCHORD, Wash. -- With record cargo, passenger and air traffic, the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron at Bagram Airfield is getting some help from three Reservists with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron, here in supplying the fight in Afghanistan. 

Soon to deploy are Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgts. Michael Pritchett and Luis Rosado, 36th APS ramp specialists. In their first deployment to Afghanistan, these Reservists volunteered to support the air mobility effort in the war's cargo hub, with a mission to move enormous amounts of cargo and passenger traffic in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"There's a lot of pride in serving," said Sergeant Rosado, a Lynnwood, Wash. native who is also a crane operator for a local drywall company.  

"I like the front line," said Sergeant Gerren of his impending assignment as liaison and hazardous material inspector for the 455th EAPS. "It's all an adventure to me," he said. Sergeant Gerren  is also a construction maintenance supervisor for the State of Washington Department of Corrections.

All packed and ready to go, the aerial porters have planned their departure by ensuring their training, personal affairs and finances are in order. Equally important, their families and friends are ready for the mission as well.

"I just want to do my part," said Sergeant Pritchett of his upcoming mission.  "Unfortunately, I may miss the traditional black Friday shopping experience, but I made sure my wife had some extra money on hand," he said. 

Not only do Reservists rely on their military units, they also depend on their civilian employers for continued support during deployments. 

"My civilian employer offered to offset my base pay while I am away, which certainly helps," said Sergeant Pritchett, who is a fiber network field technician with an Oregon-based communications company.

The 455th EAPS is part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, which serves U.S. Air Forces Central and provides close air support, combat search rescue, aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and airlift capabilities to U.S. and coalition forces supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.    

November 29, 2010 at 1:28pm

Air Force looks to make cuts in chaplain force

This from Air Force Times: The Air Force is pushing dozens of chaplains out the door at the same time it is urging airmen with personal struggles to get counseling, often provided by clergy.

By the end of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the Air Force will have no more than 480 active-duty chaplains - the total stands at 528 today - and the number could dip to 470, according to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains. A PowerPoint slide obtained by Air Force Times puts the number at 465.

The number of Air Force chaplain assistant positions will hold steady at 338, according to Beth Gosselin, a service spokeswoman.

Chaplains of all denominations will be involuntarily separated through a selective early retirement board and reduction-in-force process. Roman Catholic priests, in shortest supply across the military, are eligible to leave only through early retirement.

For more on the story, click here.

Filed under: U.S. Air Force,

November 30, 2010 at 12:56pm

Lesbian nurse expects Air Force reinstatement

SEATTLE -- A lesbian flight nurse who was discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy says she expects to be reinstated to the U.S. Air Force reserve by next month at the latest.

Maj. Margaret Witt and her attorneys held a news conference Tuesday at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington offices, saying that they have heard informally from the Justice Department that it is unlikely the federal government will try to block Witt's reinstatement while government lawyers appeals a federal judge's ruling giving her old job back.

Witt was suspended in 2004 and subsequently discharged after the Air Force learned she had been in a long-term relationship with a civilian woman.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma ruled two months ago that Witt's firing under "don't ask, don't tell" violated her rights, and he ordered that she be given her job back as soon as she met meet qualifications for the position.

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