Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: January, 2011 (20) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 20

January 3, 2011 at 10:58am

Family, friends welcome 4th Airlift Squadron home

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 120 Airmen from McChord Field's 4th Airlift Squadron will be greeted by family and friends here Wednesday, Jan. 5, after a 120-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to an overseas contingency location in the Middle East.

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 2,204 sorties, equaling more than 12,900 hours, moving more than 48,000passengers and delivering more than 91.4 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

With the help of the 816th EAS, the C-17 Globemaster III celebrated its two-millionth flight hour this month. Although Air Mobility Command officials estimate the international C-17 fleet passed the milestone on Dec. 14, the achievement was commemorated on a Dec. 10 airdrop mission out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

"Our deployment was a success as a result of the hard work, professionalism and safety-focus of many, including that of our sister squadrons," said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 816th EAS commander. "We were fortunate to be a part of wide variety of missions including the delivery of M1A1 Abrams tanks into Afghanistan, life-saving aeromedical evacuations, transporting several distinguished visitors including the Secretary of Defense, airdropping more than 16 million pounds of CDS (container delivery system) bundles to remote forward operating bases and flying media and Boeing representatives on the C-17 Globemaster III's two-millionth flight hour. The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job.  I'm really proud of this group of Airmen."

January 3, 2011 at 11:17am

Air Force doubles manpower for Afghan attacks

This from USA Today: WASHINGTON - The Air Force has more than doubled the number of airmen in Afghanistan who call in airstrikes, as the use of bombs, missiles and strafing runs has spiked to its highest level since the war began.

The Air Force has increased the number of joint terminal attack controllers - the airmen who work with soldiers to coordinate airstrikes - to 134 last year in Afghanistan, up from 53 in 2009, said Maj. Ike Williams, an operations officer at Air Combat Command in Langley, Va.

The increasing reliance on airstrikes and the troops who direct them comes as the U.S. military has raised its troop level in Afghanistan to 100,000, including 30,000 deployed last year.

To read the entire story, click here.

January 4, 2011 at 8:53am

Airman finds help for disabled Afghan boy

This from Air Force Times: OLYMPIA, Wash. - The father's request was simple, yet desperate.

Could Sean Roehrs, a captain in the Air Force stationed in Afghanistan, help the man's 8-year-old son who had a mental disability fly from war-torn Afghanistan to the United States for medical treatment?

"I said, 'Let me see what I can do,'" Roehrs said.

So began the unlikely journey that brought Khaled a shy, lovable Afghan boy who speaks only a few words, has seizures and needs constant care to Olympia.

"Where there's a will, there's a way," said Roehrs, who grew up in Olympia.

But before Khaled would attend a kindergarten class at Pioneer Elementary School, before he'd receive medical exams that determined that his disability was genetic and couldn't be corrected by surgery, Roehrs contacted people for months about Khaled coming to the United States. Solace for Children, a relief agency based in North Carolina, was a major player in opening the door for Khaled coming here.

To read the complete story, click here.

January 5, 2011 at 9:39am

7th Airlift Squadron departs on 120-day deployment

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- More than 100 Airmen assigned to the 7th Airlift Squadron departed McChord Field Dec. 28 for a 120-day deployment in support of the Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. 

"We are a unique squadron deploying at a unique time." said Lt. Col. Eric Carney, 7th AS commander. "We have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders and look forward to executing our mission with the same excellence as our predecessors. This is a great time to be part of the airlift mission and I know our team is ready to excel."

The unit will operate out of a single intra theater base as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, with a mission focused on providing global strategic airlift, combat airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout their assigned areas of responsibility. 

The 62nd Airlift Wing has four flying squadrons, and each squadron deploys about every 16 months. Constant readiness is a key factor to ensuring a successful deployment with such high operations tempo. 

"We're looking forward to it," said Lt. Col. James Sparrow, 7th AS operations officer. "We've spent many months preparing for this. We're excited and ready to get started. Today is the culmination of all of the preparation."

According to Colonel Sparrow, after the deployment preparations, the squadron will have some down time with their families. Constantly deploying and being away from families can be stressful. However, being able to rely on squadron support and bond with coworkers is an experience in itself.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know my squadron mates and continuing to do our real world mission" said Master Sgt. Chad Neubarth, 7th AS operations superintendant. "My family is prepared, but deployment is never easy. My wife is plugged in with the rest of the spouses from our squadron so she's ready as she can be."

Being able to rely on each other is an important part of a deployment. Especially for those Airmen who have never been through an overseas contingency operation. 

"I'm a little bit nervous-kind of excited to see a new country," said Airman First Class Ryan Karcher, 62nd Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment apprentice. "My family had an early Christmas celebration for me. They gave me a video camera to document my experiences."

The 7th AS is replacing the 4th AS, which is scheduled to return the first week of January. 

"It's our turn, that's the bottom line," said Capt. Christopher Stephens, 7th AS mission planning cell chief.    

January 6, 2011 at 3:55pm

4th Airlift Squadron returns home

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 120 Airmen from the 4th Airlift Squadron returned Thursday after a 120-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to an overseas contingency location in the Middle East.

"Our deployment was a success as a result of the hard work, professionalism and safety-focus of many, including that of our sister squadrons," said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 816th EAS commander. "We were fortunate to be a part of wide variety of missions including the delivery of M1A1 Abrams tanks into Afghanistan, life-saving aeromedical evacuations, transporting several distinguished visitors including the Secretary of Defense, airdropping more than 16 million pounds of CDS (container delivery system) bundles to remote forward operating bases and flying media and Boeing representatives on the C-17 Globemaster III's two-millionth flight hour. The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job. I'm really proud of this group of Airmen."

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 2,204 sorties, equaling more than 12,900 hours, moving more than 48,000 passengers and delivering more than 91.4 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

More on this story in the Jan. 13 edition of The Northwest Airlifter.

January 7, 2011 at 11:43am

Gates outlines cuts in Air Force operations

This from Air Force Times: The Air Force plans to consolidate several units, reduce fuel consumption and implement an array of other cost-cutting measures over the next five years to save $34 billion, money that would be poured back into acquisitions - including a long-range bomber.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the proposals Jan. 6 as part of a sweeping package of reforms that he wants all in place by fiscal 2016. The Air Force refused to add to the comments made by Gates until after he officially rolls out the military's budget next month.

"Our nation and this department are facing fiscal challenges and growing operating expenses for fuel, maintenance, health care, salaries and training," Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in a joint statement released after Gates made his announcement.

For more on the story, click here.

Filed under: News To Us, U.S. Air Force,

January 10, 2011 at 12:35pm

McChord among bases continuing to test alternative jet fuel

This from Air Force Times: An Air Force test to see how military cargo planes perform using commercial jet fuel is going so well, the test has been extended into a second year and will expand to fighters.

The Air Force wants to learn what happens when planes use commercial "Jet A" fuel instead of the Air Force's specialized fuel, "JP-8." If the Air Force switches worldwide to Jet A, the service hopes it will save about $40 million annually.

As of December, the Air Force had pumped 140 million gallons of Jet A - about 6 percent of the service's annual fuel consumption - into planes flying out of four bases: Dover Air Force Base, Del.; Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and Minneapolis-St. Paul Air National Guard Station, Minn.

Air and ground crews reported no problems from Jet A, said Andre Kok, a spokesman for the Air Staff's mission support directorate at the Pentagon.

The test continues into 2011, with the goal of adding six bases by the summer and including fighters on the list of planes using Jet A. The bases have not been selected, Kok said.

January 11, 2011 at 11:42am

446th CES reservist wins AF level award

We profiled Master Sgt. Glen Tuttle when he won this award at the command level. He recently went on to win the award at the Air Force level as well. Read on. 

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- If the gifts of this recent holiday season were measured by the number of awards decorating the mantle of the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, then Master Sgt. Glen Tuttle might be confused with Santa Claus. 

In November, the 446th CES EOD Flight NCO in charge was named the Air Mobility Command Outstanding Civil Engineer Air Reserve Component NCO manager of the year.

In December, Tuttle competed for the award at the Air Force level. And won.

"Glen is one of those individuals who does a few things extremely well and most things really well," said Lt. Col. David Walter, 446th CES commander. "He is an exceptional individual, and this award is just further recognition of that."    

January 12, 2011 at 4:56pm

446th AES reservists go Hollywood

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. — Did you know we have movie stars in the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron?

During the summer of 2010 our fellow Reservists were deployed to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. where they were met by an IMAX film crew. As it turns out, the Reservists from McChord Field and the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. contributed to the production of a movie being shot in IMAX 3D format all the while conducting their everyday mission. 

The Reservists spent a day with the film crew getting shots of what the AES does best, preparing patients for transport. They also provided sound bites to the film crew as they read off checklist items into the microphone. 

"It was kind of exciting seeing how a film is shot and seeing how art could imitate life." said Maj. Lorenza O'Daniel, 446th AES flight nurse.

This unique opportunity to open the doors to the public will provide a look as to how patients are stabilized and relocated. This exposure is one that provided the flight nurses with an opportunity to share an aspect of the Air Force story that the public very rarely get out. 

"I tell friends that I'm a flight medic and they don't understand." said Senior Airman Caleb Heder, 446th AES. "They had no idea there is medical care between the battle field and getting home." He continues "They don't make the connection between the two, and it will be very cool to show them this production." 

The movie titled "Rescue" revolves around disaster relief both on the ground and by air. "Rescue" captures the dynamics and drama of disaster response, giving the audience an insider's view of a truly remarkable force for good in a world that is increasingly in need of it.

"Rescue" is currently in production and has a tentative release date of May 2011. It will be available in both 2D and 3D IMAX large film format.    

January 13, 2011 at 12:15pm

Reserve SF Airmen depart for training tour

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Reservists from the 446th Security Forces Squadron are headed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to conduct their annual training tour Jan 10. Two squads deployed to support the 647th Security Forces Squadron in Hawaii.

The teams are integrating into flightline security, base police operations and support for the alert aircraft area, as well as providing training in combat arms, said Master Sgt. Lenny Deboma, 446th SFS operations manager. 

"Their 15-day annual tour provides our team with an opportunity to not only perform day-to-day security operations, but also allows the relief necessary for members of the 647th SFS to gain additional time for training," said Sergeant Deboma. 

Many of their past annual training tours have supported air shows, rodeos, and other missions within the continental United States, said Sergeant Deboma. 

"This is the first time our unit has been off shore for an annual training tour in more than seven years," said Sergeant Deboma.

Working with the 647th SFS also provides an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Navy at the joint base. 

"These folks have worked with many different branches of service and they are very adaptable and have a lot of knowledge, especially with their experience deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq," said Master Sgt. Carlos Duell, 446th SFS flight chief. "Most of our unit is coming back off two rotations in Iraq and this is a good time to work together again," he said. "We are fired up and ready for the mission."    

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