Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: December, 2010 (15) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 15

December 2, 2010 at 3:06pm

Airmen airlift $30 million in aid to Afghanistan

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airmen here recently built 16 pallets of donated goods to be airlifted to Afghanistan.

"The shipment will allow the refurbishing and rebuilding of 25 hospitals and clinics in the region and will help transition more than 3,000 farmers from the Taliban-directed heroin trade," said Jan Mazotti, the business development director for commercial carrier CAP Worldwide. "And for that, we are proud."

Airmen here said were proud they could assist in sending winter coats, shoes and even irrigation systems to the region as well.

"Here at Buckley (AFB) this is a rarity," said Tech Sgt. Eric Pylka, of the 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "It's nice to get hands on again. (It's nice to) have that good feeling that we are doing something for somebody downrange."

"It's a very important effort," said Lt. Col. Stephen Wier, the 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. "The Afghan people don't have a lot of medical supplies or toys for their children. Something like this can make a big difference. It makes me proud to be part of something like this."

The shipment included 10,000 winter coats, 8,000 shoes, 5,000 toys, 23 irrigation systems and seeds for 3,000 farmers as well as medical supplies.     

December 3, 2010 at 10:37am

Woodbrook Gate at McChord closes for construction

MCCHORD FIELD - Joint Base Lewis-McChord will begin a major construction project at the Woodbrook Gate on McChord Field on Monday, December 6.  This construction project will result in a complete closure of the gate until mid-February, 2011.

The Woodbrook Gate is adjacent to Interstate 5 exit 124 and provides access from Gravelly Lake Drive to JBLM McChord Field through the Woodbrook Housing Area. This gate is normally open from 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. Monday - Friday.

To mitigate the impact on traffic that this gate closure will cause, the base will increase manning at the McChord Field Main Gate to increase the numbers of vehicles processing through the gate. Additionally, the base will open the McChord Field North Gate located at the north end of McChord Field to allow for an alternate entry and exit point to the base.  The North Gate will be open from 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.

The Woodbrook Gate construction will include the installation of a raised island with a guard booth for security personnel, and the installation of an overhead roof to provide protection from the weather for security personnel as well as customers while checking IDs. The construction will also include improved lighting at the gate.

JBLM officials are working to maintain the same level of service for drivers entering and exiting the base and will provide construction status updates as work progresses. 

Filed under: Lakewood,

December 6, 2010 at 1:26pm

Reserve force support squadron activated

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The 446 Mission Support Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. William Pelster was deactivated and the 446 Services Flight commanded by Lt. Col. Patricia Keenan was redesignated, combining both units to form the new 446 Force Support Squadron here, Dec. 1. 

The 446 Force Support Squadron was formally activated in a ceremony at Hanger 9 on Dec. 5. Following a welcome by Col. Gerald Vowell, 446 Mission Support Group Commander, the former MSS and SVF unit flags were retired and the new 446 FSS flag was unfurled, marking Colonel Pelster's assumption of command for the newly formed Force Support Squadron.

Colonel Vowell said the merger between mission support and services flight was part of an effort by the Air Force to streamline processes, increase efficiencies, maximize customer services, and cut costs associated with maintaining two separate organizations. 

"You put these two functions under one command structure and you can only improve customer services which will be a huge benefit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord community," said Colonel Vowell. 

December 7, 2010 at 10:53am

President extends stop loss claims deadline

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Airmen, veterans and their beneficiaries now have until Dec. 18 to apply for retroactive stop loss special pay.

The new deadline is the second extension to the original Oct. 21 cutoff and comes as a result of a continuing resolution signed by the president Dec. 4.

Airmen eligible for the benefit include active, retired and former members as well as Reserve and Guard component members who served on active duty while their enlistment or period of obligated service was involuntarily extended, or whose eligibility for separation or retirement was suspended as a result of stop loss. Legally designated beneficiaries for Airmen affected may also apply.

To file a claim, eligible individuals may download a stop-loss claim application at Applicants who were serving in the Reserve or Guard at the time of stop loss may apply by visiting the Air Reserve Personnel Center website at

Those found to be eligible are entitled to receive $500 in retroactive special pay for each month they were affected by stop loss. Those who accepted a selective re-enlistment bonus subsequent to being affected by stop loss are not eligible for the special pay.

Air Force officials used stop loss for Operation Enduring Freedom from Oct. 2, 2001, through Jan. 31, 2003, and Operation Iraqi Freedom from May 2 through Dec. 31, 2003. 

Individuals who were deployed during either operation may be eligible beyond the inclusive dates, depending on their Air Force specialty and deployment return date.    

December 8, 2010 at 6:47pm

C-17s deliver tanks to Afghanistan

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- An Air Mobility Command C-17 Globemaster III and its crew delivered the first of 17 M1A1 Abrams tanks to military forces in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day, marking the first time U.S.-owned tanks have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The tanks were requested by Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of Afghanistan's Regional Command-Southwest, according to a Department of Defense release. The RC--Southwest region lends itself to armored operations with wide open areas and none of the mountainous terrain that characterizes Regional Command-East and the northern portions of Regional Command-South.

Officials emphasized that the movement of the M1A1s to Afghanistan does not represent an escalation of the conflict there.

"We're conducting full-spectrum combat operations today, we'll be doing it tomorrow, we'll be doing it next month," said Marine Col. Dave Lapan, a Department of Defense spokesperson. "Until the Afghan security forces are ready to take over lead for security ... we will continue to do combat operations to defeat the enemy."

"Whether we use tanks, or infantry on the ground," Colonel Lapan continued, "these are all tactics we use to defeat the enemy."

The term Abrams applies to a family of armored tanks used by U.S. Army and Marine Corps personnel for ground operations. The M1A1 variant includes a 120 mm main gun, carries a crew of four, and weighs approximately 68 tons, according to an Army fact sheet. 

Deploying the tanks is accomplished by a combination of sealift and airlift assets. The tanks and associated equipment are taken by ship for the majority of the trip around the world, and airlifted the last portion of their journey into land-locked Afghanistan by Air Force C-17s.

All of the airlift missions for the deployment are planned, tasked and command-and-controlled by the 618th Air and Space Operations Center's Theater Direct Delivery division at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. As Eighteenth Air Force's hub for global operations, the 618th AOC plans, schedules and directs a fleet of nearly 1,300 mobility aircraft in support of strategic airlift, air refueling, and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world.

The 618th AOC has been the lead for centralized control of AMC airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations worldwide since its activation April 1, 1992. That coordination in recent years has included hundreds of thousands of point-to-point flights, called sorties, in support of overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.    

December 9, 2010 at 4:14pm

Reservists save Lakewood resident's life

JOINT BASE LEWIS - MCCHORD, Wash. -- Some quick thinking and vital medical training by two Reservists helped save a man suffering from an apparent cardiac arrest on Dec. 3 in Lakewood, Wash. 

While driving near Farwest Drive and Military Road at about 9 a.m., Senior Master Sgt. Bill Robison, a 446th Aerospace Medicine Squadron medical technician here, saw an unconscious man lying on the side of street with several people standing nearby.
Sergeant Robison, who is also a nursing student at a local university, abruptly stopped his vehicle and stepped directly into action by performing CPR.

"I was on my way to school to take a test," said Sergeant Robison. "I pulled over and got out of my car and people were just standing there." 

Sergeant Robison said one of the bystanders told him the man "just went down" and another individual called 911.

"I checked his pulse and he had no pulse," said Sergeant Robison. "I rolled him onto his back and put my ear on his chest and I didn't hear anything, so I started chest compressions and rescue breathing."

As Sergeant Robison continued to administer critical CPR for the man, he heard the distant sirens signaling arriving help. 

Answering the call for help was yet another Reservist from the 446th Airlift Wing here. Lt. Col. Dennis Woxen, 446th AW Inspector General, also a firefighter and paramedic for the Lakewood, Wash., Fire Department, Station 22 in his civilian job.

"We got toned out to go out on call for cardiac arrest - man down," said Colonel Woxen. "I was the lead medic on call and when we arrived at the scene there were a couple of folks doing CPR on a middle-aged male patient who had no pulse."

After instructing his team to take over CPR, Colonel Woxen said he recognized Sergeant Robison.

"It was good to see another Reservist there," said Colonel Woxen. "Sergeant Robison's skills in emergent care were evident and the extra hands on scene were a great help."

Colonel Woxen said he and his team of medics continued to administer care for the patient until his pulse and breathing resumed, before transporting him to a local hospital. 

"Bill performed extremely well," said Colonel Woxen. "Most folks in the medical field don't know emergent medicine, but out in the field when things go south and somebody needs help, having that extra set of hands that can assist with CPR correctly clearly made a difference in this individual's outcome."

Training for any job is important, but learning life-saving skills like CPR is critical. 

"When you're in the medical field the training component is so important because if we go to battle, we're trained to use the wingman concept to save our partner," said Maj. Cory Myers, 446th AMDS nurse, who works with Sergeant Robison. "It's nice to know that one our own, in or out of uniform, is doing their job and doing it well."     

December 10, 2010 at 10:05am

446th AES partners with Madigan for exercise


Madigan Healthcare System and 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron recently teamed up to work together in a patient reception team exercise held at McChord Field and at Madigan Army Medical Center, Dec. 7.

As part of the exercise, Reservists from the 446th AES and medical Soldiers from Madigan simulated receiving mass patients from overseas that included providing detailed patient care and transportation from McChord Field to Madigan. The focus of the exercise was to establish a patient reception area as part of the Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense Contingency Hospital System for patient evacuation.

The role of the 446th AES was to provide patient care and conduct the patient hand-off from the aircraft to the Madigan medical personnel.

"It's a great opportunity for joint training," said Col. Jan Moore-Harbert, 446th AES commander. "We do these exercises to get a better understanding of the agencies involved and what everybody's roles are, so everyone can communicate properly and focus on giving patients quality care when faced with these types of scenarios."

The squadron has worked with the Army before, but this exercise put them in a different situation with a shorter time element and fewer assets, resulting in having to do more with less.

"We've conducted joint exercises with the Army on many occasions," said Maj. Peter Jorgensen, 446th AES operations officer. "But this one was shorter in duration and we had limited resources. However, it's good to get reacquainted with our Army counterparts and educate each other on our respective missions."

Major Jorgensen played a major function in the exercise.

"My fundamental responsibility as the aeromedical operations officer was to control the aeromedical evacuation activities such as supervising the execution of the AE process and coordinating AE activities to ensure the Air Force part of the mission was safely and effectively accomplished."

His efforts were greatly recognized by one of the main coordinators of the exercise, Lt. Col. Eric Tobiason, Madigan Healthcare System operations officer.

"Major Jorgensen and his team got involved right from the get go," he said. "The Air Force really embraced this (exercise) from the beginning. Major Jorgensen pretty much formed the mission from the aircraft portion to the hangar. We were tremendous in partnering with the execution and realism of the exercise."

Madigan and the 446th AES taught one another how each service operates in an emergency situation such as a mass casualty exercise. 

"We trained new Army personnel on how to load the aircraft, specifics on carrying litters, and the ins and outs of taking care of different patients and loading them on the ambuses," said Master Sgt. Pamela Higgins, 446th ASTS medical technician.

This training gives the services a better understanding of their respective missions. 

"It's really important to be able to do these exercise and work all the specific elements of training," said Colonel Moore-Harbert. "The Air Force has a better idea of what the Army does in a joint environment and it helps break the culture and language barriers between the branches, so we can work together seamlessly."

Overall, Major Jorgensen marks the exercise a success.

"I'm very pleased with the outcome and I feel all of the individuals involved in the exercise had a good experience and got in some great training experience," he said. "Most of all, it gave us the opportunity to learn from one another and develop processes for future events between the Army and the Air Force."

Those future events will happen as early as August 2011. This exercise is a precursor to a much larger exercise that will be taking place sometime in late summer 2011, said Major Jorgensen. It will involve all three medical squadrons from the 446th Airlift Wing and the medical units from the JBLM Lewis Main.

The Reservists from the 446th AES are ready for that challenge.

"This was a great training opportunity for all involved and I know the 446th AES looks forward to the next opportunity to work with our Army counterparts."    

December 13, 2010 at 9:51am

AF officials release findings on Alaska C-17 fatal mishap

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Officials at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces released the results of their investigation Dec. 10 into a fatal C-17 Globemaster III aircraft mishap July 28 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Gen. Gary North, Pacific Air Forces commander, directed an investigation into the incident which resulted in the deaths of the four crewmembers aboard, the destruction of the $184 million aircraft and damage to part of the Alaska Railroad.

The accident investigation board found clear and convincing evidence the cause of the mishap was pilot error. The investigation revealed the pilot placed the aircraft outside established flight parameters and capabilities. During the mishap sortie, the pilot aggressively flew the aircraft in a manner inconsistent with established flight procedures, resulting in a stall. The pilot failed to take required stall recovery actions. 

Furthermore, the board concluded the co-pilot and safety observer failed to recognize or address the developing dangerous situation. As a result, the C-17 stalled at an attitude and altitude from which recovery to controlled flight was impossible.

Brig. Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, served as the Accident Investigation Board president. General Everhart is vice commander of the 618th Air and Space Operations Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The general is a command pilot with more than 4,400 flight hours in a variety of aircraft, including the C-17.

The mishap occurred as the C-17 -- tail number 00-0173 and call sign Sitka 43 -- practiced for the Arctic Thunder Air Show scheduled for the weekend of July 31 at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson.

For a copy of the Accident Investigation Board report, visit: Video footage of the mishap flight is also available at that website. The footage has been edited to cut off just prior to the aircraft's impact out of consideration and respect for the families of the deceased.    

December 14, 2010 at 10:32am

Nurse commissioning program seeks enlisted applicants

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force officials are seeking active-duty enlisted Airmen to apply for the fall 2011 Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program.

The program offers enlisted members an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in a high-need academic major. 

Air Force Personnel Center officials will conduct the annual NECP board May 9 to 13 and select up to 50 enlisted members.

NECP students will complete their degree at a college or university with an Air Force ROTC detachment or a college or university with a cross-town agreement. 

Students will commission after passing the National Council Licensure Examination and then attend commissioned officer training and the nurse transition program. Students will attend school year-round for up to 24 consecutive calendar months, including summer sessions.

A cross-town agreement is an agreement between a host school and an ROTC detachment and another school in the local area that contains a clause allowing students to attend a school while tuition and fees are paid by the ROTC detachment.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Be active duty, E-4 and above 
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be commissioned by age 42 
  • Be worldwide qualified 
  • Meet all of the requirements for commissioning 
  • Meet all prerequisites to complete an academic review 

Applicants should have completed 59 semester hours of graded college coursework from a regionally accredited college or university and completed general psychology, nutrition, statistics, anatomy and physiology I and II with labs, microbiology with lab and chemistry I and II with labs.

Interested Airmen must notify AFPC officials of intent to apply no later than Feb. 28. Transcripts for an academic evaluation should be sent no later than March 28, with a final application submitted by April 25.

For more details on application procedures, visit a local base education office.     

December 20, 2010 at 11:44am

C-17 surpasses 2 million flight hours

LONG BEACH, Calif., — The worldwide fleet of C-17 Globemaster III airlifters built by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] surpassed 2 million flying hours during an airdrop mission over Afghanistan on Dec. 10. Reaching 2 million flight hours equates to 1.13 billion nautical miles - the equivalent of a C-17 flying to the moon and back 2,360 times.

The representative mission, flown by a U.S. Air Force C-17, airdropped 74,000 pounds of jet fuel in support of U.S. and coalition troops just south of Kabul.

The C-17 has a mission readiness rate of more than 85 percent. It is the world's only strategic airlifter with tactical capabilities that allow it to fly between continents, land on short, austere runways, and airdrop supplies precisely where they are needed.

"There's tremendous satisfaction in knowing that in those 2 million hours, the C-17 fleet has saved countless lives around the world," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing C-17 program manager. "Boeing congratulates the U.S. Air Force and our international C-17 customers on reaching this milestone. We're very proud that the C-17 continues to exceed expectations for performance and reliability."

The C-17 fleet, now in its 17th year of service, has supported humanitarian and disaster-relief missions worldwide. With 226 airlifters in service around the world, the C-17 fleet continues to operate at an accelerated rate due to the recent troop surge in Afghanistan, reaching the 2 million flight-hours milestone less than five years after reaching 1 million flight hours in March 2006, when 152 C-17s were in service. This year, lifesaving aeromedical evacuations of wounded troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, along with relief missions for natural disasters such as earthquakes in Pakistan, Chile and Haiti, have intensified the C-17's normal workload.

Boeing helps keep the C-17 flying through a worldwide support and sustainment program. "Boeing has had the honor of supporting the entire C-17 fleet since the delivery of the first aircraft to Charleston Air Force Base in 1993," said Gus Urzua, program manager for the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership. "Through innovative Performance-Based Logistics contracting and partnering with the Air Force, we have maintained the highest level of aircraft readiness while continuously reducing the cost of ownership."

While providing relief to Haiti in January and February, C-17s delivered nearly 14,000 short tons of cargo and transported some 25,000 passengers and 280 patients. C-17s also played a key role in a record year for airdrops in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. As of Oct. 31, C-17s and other airlifters have airdropped more than 45 million pounds of cargo to troops in remote locations.

Boeing has delivered 20 C-17s to international customers. The U.S. Air Force -- including active duty, National Guard, and Air Force Reserve units -- has taken delivery of 206. Other customers include the U.K. Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Arab Emirates Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India is expected to be the next C-17 customer.

(Courtesy Boeing)


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