Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: March, 2011 (31) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 31

March 23, 2011 at 7:12am

446th Reservist aces technical training

Senior Airmen Steven Hooper has graduated from technical training in the 81st Training Group with perfect scores. Airmen Hooper is a Reservist with the 446th Force Support Squadron at McChord Field, Wash. He graduated March 1 from the personnel apprentice

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Reservists train to the same standard as active-duty Airmen.  And some Reservists train to a higher standard.

Senior Airmen Steven Hooper, 446th Force Support Squadron here, has graduated from technical training with perfect scores in the 81st Training Group, Keesler AFB, Miss.
Airmen Hooper, graduated March 1 from the personnel apprentice course in the 335th Training Squadron at Keesler AFB.    

March 24, 2011 at 6:55am

McChord crew helps Columbians

Team McChord assists the Columbian Air Force by refueling an aircraft March 22, 2011, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The aircraft moved more than 190 passengers, mostly Columbian citizens, from Japan's Narita International Airport after an earthquake and tsunami stuck the island March 11. The aircraft transported the passengers back to Columbia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Leah Young)    

March 24, 2011 at 9:26am

UPDATE: Mobility Airmen among 'joint team' helping returning families with Operation Pacific Passage

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Whether it's at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., or Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, these are just some of the areas where mobility Airmen and other people from Air Mobility Command bases are stepping up to help people returning from Japan.

Shortly after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan on March 11, Department of Defense officials approved voluntary departures for DOD personnel and family members to return to the United States. U.S. Northern Command is leading the departure operation -- naming it "Operation Pacific Passage."

According to USNORTHCOM Public Affairs, Travis AFB, Seattle-Tacoma IAP and Denver International Airport, Colo., are the main arrival locations. 

"The arriving families, including their pets, are being met by military representatives from U.S. Army North, who help them with follow-on arrangements such as temporary lodging, food and other support requirements," a NORTHCOM press release states. "Air Forces Northern's national security emergency preparedness directorate has deployed two emergency preparedness liaison officers to the Seattle-Tacoma airport and is ready to support with others if needed, officials said. Joint reception coordination centers have been set up at both locations."

It's at those joint reception centers where mobility Airmen and others have provided, and continue to provide, even more assistance. For example, on March 19, Airmen and other personnel from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., helped welcome home the first group of people. 

Following a 10-hour flight, 233 Department of Defense personnel and family members were welcomed by a host of people. According to a report by 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs, the returning people were met by members of the 62nd AW, "the 627th Air Base Group, Joint-Base Lewis-McChord, the USO and Naval Base Kitsap, who helped them with their luggage and escorted them to the Joint Reception Coordination Center." 

According to U.S. Transportation Command Public Affairs, at Scott AFB, Ill., the civilian aircraft used to bring the returning families home are chartered by USTRANSCOM personnel, and they are part of a "total team" dedicated to this operation.

"The teamwork to bring families in from Japan has been phenomenal," said Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek, deputy commander, U.S. Transportation Command. "From civilian airlines and charters, U.S. Pacific and Northern Commands, the USO as well as community support groups and volunteers, the support for our military family members coming home from Japan is unsurpassed. The families are receiving tremendous service at their points of departure in Japan, and their reception at Seattle-Tacoma International, Travis Air Force Base and Denver International as well as superb support helping them schedule movement to their desired destinations in the United States."

Just like at Seattle-Tacoma IAP, the effort to meet, greet and take care of people returning at Travis AFB, Calif., is also a joint effort. The Joint Reception Coordination Center there welcomed their first batch of more than 500 returnees on March 22. A U.S. Army officer who helped set up the reception area at Travis AFB gave high praise to the people of the Air Mobility Command base in a 60th Air Mobility Wing report.

"Hats off to all the joint efforts of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines," said Lt. Col. U. L. Armstrong, acting defense coordinating officer, Region 9, Oakland, and lead officer for U.S Army North's efforts at Travis AFB. "The wing commander here, Col. James Vechery, and his team provided a good detailed plan as we arrived, enabling us to set up quickly and prepare to assist the families," said Colonel Armstrong.

In a Navy News Service report, a Navy family member who arrived at Travis AFB from Japan was happy with the welcome and support she and her 3-year-old daughter received after their flight.

"Everyone has been real friendly getting us through this situation," said Angelica Hogan. "All the help and the smiles have been wonderful. They've really been catering to the kids." 

In the Joint Base Lewis-McChord report, Col. Kevin Kilb, 62nd AW commander, praised everyone involved in the support of Operation Provide Passage. 

"I'm proud of the team and their great work and pleased we have the opportunity to welcome and take care of these family members," Colonel Kilb said. 

Army Col. Wayne Shanks, also from U.S. Army North supporting the effort at Seattle-Tacoma IAP, may have said it best in another DOD news report.

"The underlying thing is that we're here to help the people coming out of Japan," Shanks said. "We're doing whatever we possibly can to assist them."

(Tech. Sgt. Renni Thornton and Airman 1st Class Michael Battles, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs, Melinda L. Larson, Naval Air Station Lemoore Public Affairs, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden, American Forces Press Service, contributed to this report.)

March 24, 2011 at 2:12pm

Newly renovated, McChord Theater open again

Going to the movies nowadays can be expensive. A family of four can spend on average at the movie theaters about $70 for tickets, popcorn and soda, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Joint Base Lewis-McChord families not wanting to shell out a ton of money to have an enjoyable movie-watching experience need look no further than the newly renovated and open McChord Theater on McChord Field.

The theater has a distinct advantage going for it - all movies are free. Operated by the McChord Community Center staff, the McChord Theater shows free movies at 4 and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Popcorn, candy and soda are available for purchase, and popcorn is the most expensive item on the list - $1.50.

"Our movies are free, and that's unheard of," said Erika Scott-Small, a recreational aide and theater manager with the Community Center.

Building 742 houses the one screen, 300-plus seating capacity theater. Closed until earlier this month for renovations, the cinema house now boasts new paint, new blue paneling and trim and new carpeting in the foyer. Not many people attended the weekend showings prior to the renovation, but since it's reopened, word is getting out, Scott-Small said.

Two weeks ago, about 60 people showed up for the premiere of "Tron: Legacy" during a Saturday evening show, and 50 servicemembers and their families came to McChord last Saturday to see "Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." Saturdays have PG through R rated movies, she said, and Sunday is family day, so children can come to G or PG movies.

Concessions pay for themselves, as the profits from M&Ms, Oreo cookies or Airhead candies purchased at the theater go back into the fund to buy more candies.

"People just can't believe the deal they get at our theater," Scott-Small said.

The movies are sent out from AAFES across the Air Force. The Saturday movies are a little older than what can be found at Carey Theater on JBLM Lewis-Main, and that's because Carey charges a bargain $1 admission and McChord does not, Scott-Small said.

Sunday movies are typically more current because Scott-Small picks the children's movies directly from her own library. She only chooses films that she deems appropriate for her 3-year-old son, Brandon. For example, Child, Youth and School Services are seeing "MegaMind" in the theater Sunday; both for their movie-watching enjoyment and to be exposed to the small film house.

"With the weather the way it has been, it's nice to be indoors, doing something free, where you can bring the whole family," she said.

For more information on movie show times, visit the McChord Theater website at or call 982-0718.

Visit the base theater on Jackson Blvd., across from the Chapel Support Center.

March 25, 2011 at 9:24am

Guard's 116th Air Support Operations Squadron set to deploy

CAMP MURRAY - The Washington National Guard will bid farewell to the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron in a ceremony on Saturday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m. in Building #92 on Camp Murray.

The unit will serve in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and will be
based in Afghanistan.  Approximately 20 Washington Air National Guard
members will comprise the deploying force of the 116th.

"We are extremely proud of the 116th.  They are well trained, experienced
and ready to accomplish any mission they are given," said Major General
Timothy J. Lowenberg, the Adjutant General and commander of the Washington
National Guard.

The 116th is headquartered at Camp Murray and is part of the Washington Air
National Guard's 194th Regional Support Wing.  The citizen-airmen of the
116th are Tactical Air Control Party members; often considered the furthest
extension of Air Force influence on the Army's battlefield.  TACP airmen
deploy into combat with Special Operations teams and serve as close air
support experts, advising ground commanders on the use of Air Force assets
in combat.  They serve as forward air controllers, winning battles by
guiding weapons onto target.

Pre-deployment training for the 116th began last fall and included events at
Fort Irwin, California and Fort Stewart, Georgia.  The deployment is
scheduled to last approximately four months.  Although individual members of
the unit have deployed previously, this is the first deployment in the
squadron's history of this size.     

March 25, 2011 at 3:34pm

14 year old is Pilot for a Day at McChord

Josh Loux, 14, laughs with friends and family after detonating an explosive device during a demonstration provided by the 627th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal unit as part of the ‘Pilot for a Day’ program March 18, 2011, at Joint Ba

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- When the newest member of Team McChord was asked what was the best part of his Pilot for a Day experience, his response was "the explosion."

The 4th Airlift Squadron hosted Pilot for a Day, 14-year-old, Josh Loux, March 18.

"These types of events are fun," said Capt. Raegan McDowell, 4th AS pilot and Pilot for a Day coordinator. "We strive to make this a special day for Josh and his family, and look forward to showing him 'Airlift Excellence' first hand."

Pilot for a Day is an Air Force program that enables challenged youth a chance to visit an Air Force squadron, becoming part of the team in the process. The participants are usually selected through a partnership with a community hospital or foster program.

Josh was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and young adults. 

Joined by his mother, father, brother, sister and two friends, the group started the day with an explosive ordnance disposal demonstration. 

"You want me to yell loud? Really loud? Really, really loud?" said Josh. "Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole!"

The group also got a chance to tour the fire station, sit in the pilot seat of a C-17 Globemaster III and "fly" in an aircraft simulator. 

The Gig Harbor, Wash., teen is home schooled and his family is part of the Harper Christian Home School Co-op. 

"We are very grateful to the kids and families of the Co-op," said Mrs. Deedee Loux, Josh's mother. "Everyone has treated him like any other kid."

Josh's friends, Mac and Cole, also had a good time touring McChord Field, playing foosball in the 4th AS Heritage room and laughing together. 

"Josh was very appreciative, he had lots of fun," said Captain McDowell.    

March 26, 2011 at 7:20am

Teen summer camps for Air Force kids

SAN ANTONIO  -- Air Force Services Agency officials here recently announced the call for three Air Force teen camps for 2011.

The annual camps are designed to help Air Force youth build leadership skills and/or aspire to careers in space or aviation.

The Teen Aviation Camp will be held June 4-9 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and is designed to give youth an experience that will help them decide if aviation or the academy is a career choice. Participants will get to fly inside a Cessna 145 among other aviation activities. Applications for this camp are due by April 1.

The Teen Leadership Camp will be held July 11-15 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. This camp will give youth a glimpse of what university life is like while developing their leadership skills. Activities include team building, rope courses, conflict resolution and public speaking. Applications for this camp are due by April 15.

The Air Force Services Space Camp 
will be held July 24-29 at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. The camp allows youth to experience, imagine and interact through space shuttle mission simulations, tours of the space center and the chance to witness everyday challenges faced by astronauts. Applications for this camp are due by April 15.

All applicants must be a dependent of an active, Guard, Reserve or retired Air Force member or an Air Force civilian. Applicants must be entering their Sophomore or Junior year this fall to apply for the aviation camp, while the leadership camp is open to students who completed their Freshmen year. The space camp is open to youth ages 12-18. 

Teens interested in applying must complete a nomination registration form and submit the form to their installation youth program. Selected participants will be notified approximately three to four weeks after the application deadline.

Attendees will only be responsible for transportation costs; all lodging, meals and program costs will be at no charge to participants. 

For more information about each camp or on Air Force youth programs, visit    

March 27, 2011 at 6:29am

Climate in 446 AW is "good"

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Total force Airmen and Department of Defense civilians had an opportunity to voice their concerns to Air Force leaders during the 2010 Air Force Climate Survey. Reservists and civilian employees in the 446th Airlift Wing were included in the opportunity to participate in the survey, with local results delivered to Col. William Flanigan, 446th AW commander.

The purpose of the survey was to assess the opinions and perceptions of Air Force Reserve and civilian personnel on a wide range of issues, including overall job satisfaction, resources and unit performance. 

The results of the last survey conducted in the fall of 2008 revealed that more than 90 percent of the nearly 250,000 respondents indicated they were happy with their Air Force jobs and the performance of their organizations. They also indicated they generally had trust in their unit's leadership.

"We would like to thank everyone who participated in the recently completed Climate Assessment Survey," said Capt. Barbara McMullen, 446th AW/MEO.

Captain McMullen was responsible for the execution of the survey here at McChord Field for the 446th AW.

In a brief summary of the survey, Captain McMullen reports that 46.8 percent of the wing member representing an accurate demographic of our population participated in the survey.

Volunteers in the survey group answered 40 questions spread across six categories: 

Cohesion and Pride; 
Motivation and Morale; 
Supervisory Support;
Perceived Discrimination; 
Overt Discriminatory Behaviors; 
Command EO/EEO Policy

"Our wing as a whole scored higher than the Air Force as a whole in all six categories," said Captain McMullen. "Our strongest category was Command EO/EEO Policy--receiving only 2.0 percent unfavorable markings."

Col. William Flanigan, 446th AW commander, is pleased with the overall result indicating a "vast majority o four Airmen are pleased with their work as members of the 446th Airlift Wing."

However, he also recognizes that increased involvement by commanders and supervisors is important in order to identify and address issues affecting morale.

The two weakest categories, according to the captain, were Motivation and Morale, and Supervisory Support--receiving 11.9 percent and 11.7 percent unfavorable markings respectively 

"Improvement starts with you," said Captain McMullen. "Airlift is a vital function in the global picture for the U.S. armed forces. We have a lot of work that needs to get done in a condensed amount of time each UTA. If you find yourself lacking in motivation remember to consider the bright side of things. If nothing else, we can always remember that our duties--no matter how big or small they may be--directly contribute to the sustaining of our American way of life; that is something to be proud of and motivated by."

Captain McMullen also encourages people to seek supervisory support if they feel their needs aren't being met. 

"If you are a supervisor, remember that the future of our Air Force depends on the rising forces, so take some time to mentor and coach each of them in an individual and personal manner," she said.

"Although we are doing well, there are still ways we can improve to achieve our maximum potential," said Colonel Flanigan. "There are a few areas where we can make valuable improvements and I challenge each and every supervisor to identify and act on those areas where we can do better."

March 28, 2011 at 11:41am

Congratulations to ALS School Class 11-C

Airmen from Class 11-C at Airman Leadership School pose for a class photo at McChord Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The class graduated March 24, allowing them to become Non Commissioned Officers and leaders in their various career fields. (U.S. A

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- Congratulations to the following Airmen who graduated Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School March 24 at McChord Field, Wash.

Staff Sgt. Lauren M Badger, 627th Security Forces Squadron
Senior Airman Nichole B Blanchett, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron
Staff Sgt. Jorae P Borja, 62nd Maintenance Group
Senior Airman Daniel M Carroll, 627th Security Forces Squadron
Senior Airman Justin P Chafin, 627th Communications Squadron
Senior Airman Jeffrey M Cook, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Senior Airman Mathew B Crawford, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Senior Airman Aaron J Dieringer, 627th SFS
Senior Airman Joshua R Fisher, 627th SFS
Senior Airman Anthony G Friday, 627th SFS
Senior Airman Tony A Green, 627th SFS
Staff Sgt. Trinidad Gutierrez, Jr., 8th Airlift Squadron
Senior Airman Jackson R Hartel, 62nd MXS
Senior Airman Brad A Johannes Jr., 627th Civil Engineer Squadron
Senior Airman Ana C Leal Morales, 627th Force Support Squadron
Senior Airman Robert J Leibley, 62d AMXS 
Senior Airman Jason L Livingston, 4th AS
Senior Airman Troy F Miller, 627th SFS
Senior Airman Peter H Nodland, 62d Operations Support Squadron
Senior Airman Mallory A Paul, 627 FSS
Senior Airman Luke A Richardson, 62d AMXS
Senior Airman Michael J Senn Jr., 62nd APS
Senior Airman Joseph J Snyder, 62nd MXS
Senior Airman Crystal R Stubbs, 62nd AMXS
Staff Sgt. Savanna R Wadtke, 627th FSS
Senior Airman Isaiah M Ward, 627th CS
Senior Airman Brad A Watson, 10th AS
Senior Airman Romone D Willis, 627th LRS 
Senior Airman Ryan J Young, 627th LRS

Award Recipients
John L. Levitow Winner: Senior Airman Crystal Stubbs
Commandants Award Winner: Senior Airman Daniel Carroll
Academic Achievement Award Winner: Senior Airman Robert Leibley
Distinguished Graduate Award Winner: Senior Airman Robert Leibley
Distinguished Graduate Award Winner: Senior Airman Nichole Blanchett

March 30, 2011 at 6:52am

McChord C-17 lands at Aviano for Odyssey Dawn mission

A C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., lands at Aviano Air Base, Italy, in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn on March 20, 2011. Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to support the larger int

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- A C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., landed at Aviano Air Base on a mission in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn on March 20, 2011. 

Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to support the larger international response to the unrest in Libya. A broad coalition of nations are partnering to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973, which authorizes all necessary means to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces. 

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is home to the active duty 62nd Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 446th Airlift Wing. Both wings operate the C-17 Globemaster III.    

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