Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: July, 2011 (33) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 33

July 19, 2011 at 5:21pm

McChord to host aeromedical evac conference

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- Hundreds of aeromedical evacuation professionals will gather here July 20 to 21 for the first, U.S.-led international symposium on in-flight medical care.

The International Aeromedical Evacuation/En Route Care Conference features speakers from a variety of countries sharing their stories, advice and lessons learned with hundreds of fellow doctors, nurses, paramedics and medical specialists. Officials expect representatives from 28 nations to attend the event.

"Different countries call it different things, so we wanted an all-encompassing get-together for anyone who provides any level of medical care in an aerial transportation role," explained Col. Beverly Johnson, the Air Mobility Command chief of aeromedical evacuation at the command surgeon general's office. "What's most important is that we all have the opportunity to share with each other information about our respective capabilities. If we're all aware of we can each do, it's easier to come together and work quickly, effectively and seamlessly in a contingency situation.

"Really, it's all about how we can work together to save lives," she added.

The colonel played an instrumental role in creating the plan for evacuating Sailors and Marines after the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in October 2000. A conference like this, she said, would have been especially beneficial back then.

"When nations partner together before an emergency, it becomes a great deal easier to operate during an emergency," Johnson said. "It becomes easier to understand each other, easier to execute the mission and builds confidence among allies. And that's what this conference is all about."

Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr., the AMC commander, will be the keynote speaker for the event. In addition, experts from around the Air Force as well as Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Jordan and New Zealand will address the group on a variety of subjects. Retired Airmen and civilians will also speak to the group.

"I'd like to see people find common ground and understanding when it comes to the aeromedical evacuation mission," Johnson said. "We all have similar challenges and resource constraints, so it's important to find ways to collaborate and help each other. This is especially true when it comes to teaching nations how to build their own AE capability, like in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The AE mission, however, isn't just restricted to wartime use, the colonel pointed out.

"That's one of the other things we want to show some of our international partners," she said. "We had a lot of success working with other countries after the volcano eruption in Iceland and in the wake of the earthquakes in Japan. There are a lot of lessons we all can learn from each other."

Several members of the South Korean air force are attending the conference as observers to learn how other countries perform their aeromedical evacuation missions.

"In Korea, we have limited experience with AE," said Maj. Kyungpil Choi, a South Korean air force flight surgeon. "I'm hoping to learn how other countries train and construct their teams and how they manage their transportation systems. We're pretty excited about it all."

The conference coincides with the lead-up to the 2011 Air Mobility Rodeo, a biennial international competition that focuses on mission readiness, featuring airdrops, aerial refueling and other events that showcase the skills of mobility crews from around the world.

July 20, 2011 at 3:53pm

Air Force gets specific on dress code, grooming standards

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - The U.S. Air Force this week published a new instruction manual on dress code and appearance that provides airmen with more specific guidance on acceptable uniform and personal grooming standards, as well as body art, jewelry, cosmetics and "dental ornamentation." Airmen say this is the first time all the regulations have been easily accessible in one document.

Air Force officials say that most of the changes in the 179-page manual involve the addition of more detail and clarification to existing policy, something that airmen working at Kaiserslautern-area bases say was long overdue.

"It was a mess before," said Staff Sgt. Richard Wynn, 28, referring to the disorganization and ambiguity of the previous guidance. "It was so confusing ... it was so outdated. If you were out of regulation, people didn't say anything because ‘you can't prove that.' "

The updated guidance will make it harder for airmen to get away with dress violations, airmen at Vogelweh said Tuesday, but it will also be easier for airmen to understand what the regulations are, and limit room for subjective decisions on what is and is not allowed.

"It's a big relief," Wynn said.

To read the complete story, click here.

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

July 22, 2011 at 10:02am

Reservists undergo SERE training

Staff Sgt. Manuel Lamson (left) demonstrates how to start a fire using a flint knife during a training exercise with aircrew from the 446th Airlift Wing.(Photo by Staff Sgt. Grant Saylor)

You're flying mission-critical supplies to troops in the field behind enemy lines. Suddenly and without warning, your aircraft is rocked by a surface-to-air missile.

The No. 2 engine groans as oil pressure plummets and flames lick the cowling.

The pilot radios a distress call and tells you and your fellow Airmen to ready for a possible emergency landing. Thoughts and fears race through your mind as you prepare to tackle the unknown.

"Where are we? How do we avoid capture by enemy combatants on the ground? How will we survive with no food in freezing temperatures if we're stuck here for days, weeks, months?"

Through the chaos comes a moment of clarity as you recall the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape training you learned at home station. Now your thoughts have purpose and hope.

"No matter what happens, my team and I can get through this," you think.

While it is unlikely you'll ever find yourself in this situation, the SERE instructors with the 446th Operations Support Flight make it their mission to prepare fellow Reservists for such a scenario.

"When you train someone who could potentially end up in harm's way, you're there to give them the confidence and ability to survive and return," said Tech Sgt. Ken MacArthur, 446th OSF SERE superintendent.

"Without that training, there would certainly be more apprehension going into situations where you don't know exactly what to do."

Every three years, 446th Airlift Wing aircrew members are required to satisfy three components of SERE: water survival training, emergency parachute training and combat survival training.

MacArthur and his colleague, Staff Sgt. Manuel Lamson, ensure these Reservists retain the skills that could potentially save their lives.

"This isn't complicated stuff," said Lamson, who spent four years on active duty teaching SERE survival skills at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane before joining the 446th AW last year. "But can you remember how to do it when you're injured or out of your comfort zone? That's what we want to get across."

Lamson, an Air Force ROTC student at Washington State University in Pullman, said the SERE training is a two-way street. Not only do Reserve aircrew members gain a better understanding of the latest survival gear and how to use it, but the instructors in turn gain knowledge from the aircrews.

"It helps us learn too, because we get to find out what gear they're using when they deploy to the area of responsibility," Lamson said. "This allows us to better tailor the training to suit their needs."

MacArthur lives and breathes SERE. He was an active-duty instructor at Fairchild AFB for 14 years before a break in service took him to the Middle East, where he worked as a contractor teaching SERE to authorized foreign and U.S. military members and civilians.

In 2006 he rejoined the Reserves and took the lead in developing a Reserve SERE training program for the 446th AW.

July 22, 2011 at 10:16am

Air Force recruiters work tirelessly to mold careers

Staff Sgt. Kevin Krzemieniecki, 361st RCS, measures Cory Stites at the Air Force Recruiting Office Tuesday in Tacoma. (Photo by Ingrid Barrentine)

Six Airmen and a lieutenant might have been shocked when Tech. Sgt. Rey Ornelas walked by them in the commissary or at the gym at McChord Field. They might have thought they had seen a ghost.

It was just their recruiter.

As a former recruiter for three years at the Tacoma Mall recruiting station, Ornelas has helped enlist 125 Airmen and commission four officers.

He met all of his enlistees as civilians looking for a career, unsure of whether the Air Force was right for them. Through a dialogue about what the Air Force offered, they joined and he became their biggest fan, helping them through the mountains of paperwork, transporting them for multiple visits to the Military Entrance Processing Center in Seattle and improving their physical training and military customs and courtesies. But after they left to basic training and technical schools, Ornelas didn't expect to see his recruits again.

His story is typical of the other recruiters with the 361st Recruiting Squadron, which has the mission to provide information and career guidance to those considering joining the U.S. Air Force.

The 361st Sqdn. has nearly 90 recruiters throughout Washington, Oregon and Alaska, across 733,000 square miles.

The headquarters element is in Building 100 at McChord Field.

The squadron is responsible for the largest territory in Air Force Recruiting Services Command, yet has consistently averaged as one of the top units in bringing people into the Air Force, said Master Sgt. Joseph Shelton, the 361st Sqdn. first sergeant. The unit enlists or commissions about 1,000 people a year.

Shelton is tasked with providing the logistic and personnel support for the recruiters working throughout the three states. It's not easy, as some recruiting stations in remote areas have only one recruiter.

Through flight chiefs, the first sergeant stays in contact with his Airmen and gets them what they need, no matter the location.

"It's no different than if they were deployed," Shelton said. "My job is to be the liaison so the recruiters can focus on the mission at hand."

The recruiting squadron is organized differently than most Air Force units.

Squadrons typically have a "triangle of leadership" - a commander, an enlisted superintendent and a first sergeant.

The 361st has a fourth - the production superintendent. This senior master sergeant is the direct-line supervisor for the field-based flight chiefs, and assists the commander with day-to-day operations, keeping track of each recruiter's numbers. Day in, day out, at all hours, the recruiter meets potential recruits at high schools, mall food courts, local concerts or at their houses.

Stress can reach high levels. That's why Shelton tells the flight chiefs to check in often on every recruiter.

"I want them to get close to their guys, know their Families and function as one big Family," the first sergeant said.

Along with the traditional methods for finding potential Airmen, social networking has become a routine part of the process. More leads are coming from Facebook and similar networking sites.

No lead is a bad lead, but not every person is Air Force material, Ornelas said.

"We determine if it's the right decision for the person right now," he said. "If it is and they join, then it's our job to provide them (the tools) to be ready for basic training and prepared for a career in the Air Force.

Motives have changed during Ornelas' six years in the unit. Before the economy took a downturn, recruits joined to help fight nation's wars. Now, it's more about finding a recession-proof career.

"Jobs are sparse and people are looking for opportunities," Ornelas said. "Ideally, economy good, economy bad, we are still finding the same high-caliber people and giving them every opportunity to make the Air Force an awesome career."

Recruiters are not immune from being deployed. It's rare, Ornelas said, but because Air Force recruiters retain their Air Force Specialty Codes (equivalent to the Army's Military Occupational Specialty) for at least three years to be a recruiter, deployment orders are a possibility.

The application process to become recruiters is straightforward. Airmen interested in offering career options to young prospects need to send applications and submit to psychological evaluations and interviews, to be accepted to the seven-week recruiter school at Lackland Air Force Base at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas,. Mall food, late hours and an intense travel schedule are likely parts of a recruiter's life.

Upon graduation, the new recruiter receives a year of on-the-job training to become fully qualified.

Western Washington recruiters have the advantage of proximity to McChord Field, where they often bring prospects to see Airmen working in fields in which they're interested. The 361st also brings local educators by to showcase the community of McChord Field and JBLM.

"Living on (base) is like a little town, with a movie theater, bowling alley, golf course, a gym," Ornelas said.

Successful recruiters get their job satisfaction from knowing the personal contribution they have made to improving another individuals' life, Ornelas said.

"It's a job like no other in the Air Force," he said. "As a weapons loader or aircraft mechanic, you'll know your jet or bomb went on this mission, but you may not see how much impact you had. As a recruiter, when that young man or woman goes to basic training and two years later is an Airman first class or senior Airman, you can see what contribution you made to that individual and the Air Force."

July 22, 2011 at 12:54pm

Rodeo is serious business for 62nd APS team

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- Mobility Airmen provide rapid, flexible and responsive global air mobility every day of the year. During Rodeo, however, their ability to provide these capabilities are pushed even further. Teams train for months, refining their skills in the pursuit of perfection.

According to the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron Rodeo Team, this competition is taken very seriously.

"Participating in Rodeo is a big undertaking for our Airmen," said Master Sgt. Robert Code, 62nd APS Rodeo Team chief. "Our leadership could not be more focused on this competition, and our team could not be more dedicated."

The team consists of a team chief and seven members. The members were selected at the end of April after a series of challenging tryouts which included both physical ability and job knowledge.

"We had them complete a three-mile run, push-ups and sit-ups," said Sergeant Code. "We also tested their job knowledge and put them through a board which required them to explain why they wanted to be a part of the Rodeo team."

After the five primary and two alternate team members were selected, training began right away.

"We definitely wasted no time," said Sergeant Code. "I wanted them to be a great team overall, both physically and mentally."

The team started off by running an average of 20 miles per week, with strength building workouts in between. Since the beginning of May, they have added a spin class twice a week and swimming to their routine.

"We train as hard as we want to win," said Staff Sgt. Jason Caro, 62nd APS Rodeo team captain. "It takes a toll on your body eventually. Sometimes you just want to quit, but it's all worth it once you look back and see how far you've come."

Along with a physically demanding training routine, the team focused on job knowledge as well.

"Training for the 2009 Rodeo was different," said Sergeant Caro, who was also on the 2009 Rodeo team. "I feel like what we lack in experience this year, we make up for in physical ability and strength. We're definitely training to know our job as much as possible."

Daily training included driving forklifts and K-loaders, cargo build-up, in-transit visibility and joint inspections. During Rodeo, the team will compete in events such as engine running on and offload, challenge course, 10k forklift driving and pallet buildup competitions.

"During our training, my team has definitely become more proficient," said Sergeant Code. "You can't prepare for every single scenario. Who knows what might pop up, but we've done everything possible to be successful in these events."

In 2005, the 62nd APS won Best Aerial Port Squadron. In 2009, they came back with a few individual awards. According to this year's team, they are aiming to win.

"We've come very far and worked very hard to prepare ourselves," said Sergeant Caro. "We're ready to win."

July 25, 2011 at 1:34pm

International participants add spice to Rodeo competition

The Belgium air force team waves its flag in support of fellow teammates at the Air Mobility Rodeo 2011 "Fit to Fight" competition, July 24 at McChord Field. (Photo by Senior Airman Brianna Veesart)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- At the opening ceremonies for Air Mobility Rodeo here July 24, among the nearly 3,000 mobility personnel in formation around the McChord Field flightline were service members from more than 25 nations.

Those international partners each carried their country's flag to their formations creating what one person announced as a "sea of flavorful colors." That may also describe what the international partners bring to Rodeo 2011 environment -- flavor.

There are seven countries participating in events at Rodeo - Belgium, Netherlands, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Sweden. Additionally, there are more than 20 countries observing competition.

Countries observing Rodeo competition include Argentina, Australia and Canada, as well as India, Israel, Poland, Singapore and New Zealand. For the first time, the African nations of Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa are observers for Rodeo. They also attended the International Airdrop Symposium that was a lead-in event to Rodeo 2011.

Lt. Col. David Mackenzie, deputy director for U.S. Air Forces Africa's Plans and Requirements Directorate at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is working with the African observers at Rodeo. He said their participation at the symposium and observing Rodeo is critical to partnership building not only internationally, but also for the African Union.

"For the attendees from Africa, they are looking to build or improve upon an airdrop capability for their air forces," Mackenzie said during the symposium that also took place here July 19-21. "By attending...these five countries gain insight to procedures and methods of airdrop.

"More specifically, their attendance also helps them understand more about humanitarian airdrops in support to the African Union," Mackenzie said. "In the long term, it's about Africans helping Africans from the knowledge they gain here."

Lt. Col. Pine Pineaar from the South Africa air force, who as an observer will not only learn from the airdrop symposium but also from observing Rodeo airdrop events, noted the importance of airdrops for humanitarian purposes.

"The value of airdrops in humanitarian missions cannot be underestimated," Pieneaar said. "Although the cost (of airdrops) may be high, the value of human life is higher."

Though some like Pieneaar are at Rodeo 2011 for the first time, others are making repeat appearances. For Adjutant Joris Retty, a C-130 loadmaster from the Belgium air force, this year marks his third Rodeo. He was previously here in 2005 and 2009. When one of his teammates fell ill, he jumped at the chance to come back and help coach the rest of his team.

"Nothing motivates me more than the spirit of competition," the E-7 said. "It's great to meet people from other nations and socialize. I actually went to loadmaster school at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, so it's nice to be back in America. I can't wait to get started."

Besides the opening ceremonies for Rodeo, the first event that included the international competitors was the "Fit to Fight" competition. This event has five-person teams who complete push-ups, sit-ups and a mile-and-a-half run.

During that first event, one observer stated "spectators cheered, waved banners and even dressed in costumes," and, "chants in several languages also echoed all around."

It's that "flavor" that was reflected in Col. R. Wyn Elder's welcome to the teams in the opening ceremonies.

"To all teams and our international participants, we are honored by your presence today at our competition," said Elder, who is the 62nd Airlift Wing command at McChord Field. "Let camaraderie define victory."

(Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski and Senior Airman Abigail Klein also contributed to this story.)

July 26, 2011 at 5:48pm

Culinary excellence on display at Rodeo

Tech. Sgt. Danielle Sloan, a flight attendant from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., squeezes honey on peaches during the culinary skills competition July 25 at Air Mobility Rodeo at McChord Field. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christine Jones)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WASH. -- For the first time in the history of the Air Mobility Rodeo, Air Force flight attendants competed against each other in a culinary arts competition July 25-27.

Although the primary role of flight attendants is to facilitate the safe evacuation of passengers in case of an emergency on board the aircraft, the Airmen are also responsible for providing meals. The competition gave them the chance to show off their skills at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., as part of Rodeo 2011.

Five teams from around the Air Force cooked a beef lunch or dinner with a dessert for the panel of judges, who rated the meals based on taste, creativity and presentation. In addition, Chief Master Sgt. Seina Enwright and Staff Sgt. Cat Wilkerson, both flight attendants themselves, observed the cooks to ensure all food items were prepared safely.

"As career enlisted aviators, we have a role in the mobility mission, so it only made sense to have our folks compete at Rodeo," said Enwright, who is also the functional manager for flight attendants at Air Mobility Command headquarters, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. "Having this opportunity also gives our Airmen the chance to learn from each other. There are a few training courses available for flight attendants, but none of them teach how to cook on board an airplane, so most of what we do is on-the-job training or collaborating and learning from one another."

The teams competing were:
- 54th and 73rd Airlift Squadrons, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
- 1st AS, Joint Base Andrews
- 99th AS, JB Andrews
- 76th AS, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
- 310th AS, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

The competitors had $400 to shop for all their ingredients the day before they cooked. They were allowed to bring some specialty equipment, but for the most part had to use what was available to them. When it was their turn, each two-person team had three hours to prepare and serve a meal to the judges and several members of the fire department, who donated use of their kitchen for the event.

Tech. Sgt. Dani Sloan and Staff Sgt. Amy Gillilan, an active-duty Airman, represented the only Total Force team in the event. Sloan, a Reservist, and Gillilan had practiced cooking their chosen meal for people at Scott AFB several times beforehand, charging people a modest fee to cover costs. Because they'd figured out exactly how much of each ingredient they needed, their team only spent half of their allotted budget to produce a tri-tip steak, ranch-style beans, roasted corn and for dessert a grilled peach with vanilla bean and mascarpone topped with honey.

"We were inspired by Rodeo and wanted our dish to reflect that, so we grilled a lot," Sloan said. "But we were also inspired by our backgrounds. I'm from Northern California, so we went with tri-tip, a very West Coast cut of beef; Amy's from Georgia, so we had a Georgia peach for dessert."

"We put a lot of thought into what we were making," Gillilan added. "We were way outside our comfort zone cooking here, so our hope is that all the thought and effort we put into the planning and execution will pay off."

The event was part of Air Mobility Rodeo 2011, a biennial international competition that focuses on mission readiness, featuring airdrops, aerial refueling and other events that showcase the skills of mobility crews from around the world.

The winners of each competition will be announced in the closing ceremonies July 29.

July 27, 2011 at 3:24pm

AF leaders questioned on number of general officers

(Air Force Times)-- A key senator wants to know why the Air Force has proportionally far more general officers than the other services.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee's military personnel panel, said he will hold a hearing later this year to find out why the Air Force appears to have a top-heavy force structure.

Webb pointed to Defense Department data showing that the Air Force has one general officer for every 1,058 airmen in the force.

He compared that to the Navy, which has one admiral for every 1,279 sailors; the Army, with one general for every 1,808 soldiers; and the Marine Corps, with one general for every 2,350 Marines.

Webb also noted that the Air Force has more four-star generals than the Army, despite being a significantly smaller service.

That may be in part because the Air Force has uniformed generals performing some jobs for which the other services hire civilians, said Lt. Gen. Richard Harding, the Air Force Judge Advocate General, when Webb asked him about the disparity at a recent hearing.

To read the complete story, click here.

Filed under: U.S. Air Force,

July 27, 2011 at 11:29pm

62nd APS facility works overtime to facilitate Rodeo

Jay Boison, Romereo Scruggs and Allan Lebleu, parachute riggers at the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron aerial delivery facility, prepare a parachute for an airdrop bundle during operations at the facility July 21 at McChord Field.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- Throughout the Air Force, there are only a few aerial delivery facilities supporting airdrop training for Airmen. One of them is located at McChord Field here and is supporting the airdrop events for Air Mobility Rodeo 2011.

The 62nd Aerial Port Squadron aerial delivery facility is an eight-person shop providing the Container Deliver System bundles used by U.S. and international teams participating in Rodeo 2011.

"This is one of the premier facilities in the Air Force for airdrop support," said Kevin Gagnon, the 62nd APS quality assurance program coordinator for the facility. "We build CDS loads for conventional airdrops as well as 'heavies,' which are airdrop loads that simulate a heavier airdrop."

When Rodeo isn't in town, the aerial delivery facility is responsible for providing the airdrop loads used for training 62nd Airlift Wing and 446th Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III crews for airdrops.

"Training aircrews is why we're here," Gagnon said. "Also, we've been here for every Rodeo that's happened and we bring our abilities from that training support to support the competitors."

Wayne Fangman, project manager for aerial delivery, said they are happy to support the U.S. and international competitors for Rodeo. He said their shop supports joint service partners as well.

"We've had crews from the U.S. Marine Corps, Australia and Canada come here and train with us," Fangman said. "We've also trained with crews from the 15th Wing from (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam) Hawaii."

For Rodeo, the airdrop events include personnel and cargo airdrops that include heavy equipment and CDS bundles. Aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules and the C-17 will be using airdrop loads built by the aerial delivery facility for those events. Fangman said they are happy to support the training - whether it's during Rodeo or any other time.

"For us we know there is an important impact to what we do," Fangman said. "We know we're helping keep crews trained so when they get to Afghanistan they are ready to complete their job conducting airdrops and helping those troops on the ground."

Container Delivery System bundles are the most commonly used method for the airdrop of supplies for contingency and humanitarian operations, AMC officials said. CDS bundles are used as a means of delivering equipment and supplies that are too heavy for an individual parachutist to carry, and are often used to supply ground units in forward operating areas like Afghanistan.

In its configuration, as an example, CDS bundle consists of a skid board built with plywood and energy-removing material such as "honeycombed" cardboard, an A22 container to rig equipment no taller than 83 inches, one cargo parachute, one pilot parachute, and various expendable supplies. In the aerial delivery facility, every training bundle is recovered and reused for future practice drops.

"On average, we'll build upwards of 20 to 30 CDS bundles every month as well as 20 to 30 heavy airdrop loads," Fangman said. "For a CDS bundle to be assembled, it takes two of our staff members about 30 to 40 minutes to completely put it together."

When they're not building airdrop loads, they are recovering them. The facility is equipped to repair parachutes as well as repair and prepare recovered equipment for future use.

During the 2011 International Airdrop Symposium, the facility's personnel provided briefings and demonstrations for the symposium's 200-plus attendees that included people from more than 20 countries. Many of those international attendees are learning more about airdrops so they can develop the capability for humanitarian and other operations in their own countries.

South African air force officer Lt. Col. Pine Pineaar said during one of the visits to the facility about learning about airdrops -- "It's a lot (of information) to take in."

The facility's personnel are also trained and capable of building airdrop bundles for the newest forms of airdrop platforms such as the Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System, for JPADS, bundle.

"The JPADS load takes a little more time to build, but a load like that is a big deal," Fangman said. "Technology advances and airdrops are more of what we will see in the future."

For Air Mobility Rodeo 2011, the 62nd APS aerial delivery facility is maintaining a busy pace supporting the competition. Gagnon said they will be there and are "happy to support."

July 28, 2011 at 9:30am

Pit bull prevents AF vet from committing suicide

(NY Daily News)-- Air Force veteran Dave Sharpe survived two near-death experiences serving in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - but it was his six-month-old pit bull puppy that saved his life.

His dog, Cheyenne, licked his ear and brought a suicidal Sharpe back from the brink when he had put his service pistol in his mouth, CBS reported.

"She came up behind me and she licked my ear," Sharpe told the network of the low point he hit after returning. "And she gave me this look of, 'What are you doing man, who's going to let me sleep in your bed? Listen, if you take care of me, I'll take care of you'," Sharpe said.


Cheyenne's divine intervention inspired Sharpe to reach out to other veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through the P2V (Pets to Vets) organization.

The non-profit matches vets with shelter dogs and cats in an effort to provide companionship.

Sharpe's turnaround serves as the group's prime example of the power of man's best friend.

"Before I met her, I was a wreck," he said of Cheyenne. "I was out of control, I would start fights for no reason."

To see a picture of Cheyenne, click here.

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