Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: August, 2011 (21) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 21

August 4, 2011 at 4:21pm

Air base group under JBLM conducts command change

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine Colonels Valerie Hasberry and Kenny Weldon listen as Maj. Gen. William Bender speaks during the 627th ABG change of command ceremony at McChord Field.

A historic milestone in the young Joint Base Lewis-McChord's history took place Tuesday when Col. Jerry K. (Kenny) Weldon II relinquished the 627th Air Base Group colors and title of "commander" to Col. Valerie L. Hasberry at Hangar 7 on McChord Field.

It was the first change of command for the unit charged with maintaining the Air Force structure for organizing, training and equipping Airmen to deploy, while providing installation support to more than 4,000 facilities and nearly 120,000 servicemembers, Family members, civilians and retirees connected to JBLM.

The group consists of the 627th Force Support, Civil Engineer, Communications, Logistics Readiness and Security Forces squadrons, and Air Force chaplains, totaling about 1,000 Airmen. The 627th ABG commander is also the deputy commander of JBLM Garrison, overseeing the administrative and logistical functions associated with the joint base.

The change of command ceremony is a centuries-old military event for U.S forces. Presiding over the event was U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Commander Maj. Gen. William J. Bender.

Having a unit that provides combat support to the 62nd Airlift Wing while conductiong garrison support is unique to any military base or organization, Bender said. He characterized Weldon's command leadership of the 627th ABG as "tremendously successful" during what has been a formative time for the joint base.

"The record of performance they have achieved and the goals they have met under his leadership have been nothing short of phenomenal," Bender said. "Standing up a joint base is no small feat, but readiness has been the air base group's rallying call throughout his time as commander."

Weldon took command at the same time the unit's name switched from the 62nd Mission Support Group in September 2010. The name change came because of the unit's reorganization, to conform to the Department of Defense's joint-basing architecture. Lewis-McChord is one of 12 DOD joint bases in the nation.

Prior to Weldon's assuming duties as the commander and deputy commander, he served on the DOD staff managing the effort to create those 12 joint bases.

"I've seen many decisions reached by military services to make sure that joint bases are postured for success, with landmark agreements to define common standards and establish the parameter of transparency," Weldon said. "Joint basing is focused and forced us to challenge our assumptions, to find other ways to sustain military structure and readiness."

Weldon retired Tuesday also, receiving a Legion of Merit award and an American flag folded by Airmen representing each of the ranks Weldon has worn during his 26 years in the Air Force.

Hasberry's military resume sounds tailored for command in a joint environment. She recently graduated from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and has has held several base, major command and Air Force staff level positions, including command of a civil engineer squadron. (See "Biography" sidebar.)

"Her resume ... includes an impressive string of assignments and experiences that I believe make her the perfect choice to follow Col. Weldon into this command," Bender said about Hasberry. "She has extensive experience across the entire spectrum of installation support and operations and has held key leadership and supervisory positions that I know would prove instrumental in the challenges that the joint base continue to face."

Bender noted that Hasberry has "tall" shoes to fill, as Weldon is easily a foot taller than she. But she said she is ready for the challenge of taking the 627th ABG and the joint base to new heights.

"You have my personal commitment that I will lead this group to the best of my abilities and in the fine tradition that started with Col. Weldon in the Air Mobility Command's tradition of excellence," Hasberry said. "I promise you my best efforts every single day to ensure that we ensure that record of excellence."

Weldon, his wife and two children depart for retirement to Stephenville, Texas.

The Col. Valerie L. Hasberry file

Colonel Valerie L. Hasberry graduated from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. in June 2011. Previously she was chief, Capabilities Integration Branch, Joint Requirements Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense for the Joint Staff. She led a team of 21 analysts in coordinating CBRN Defense operations and in executing joint and multi-service training programs throughout DOD.

Hasberry entered the Air Force in June 1989 as a graduate of the ROTC at the University of Alabama. She has extensive background in environmental program development and management, and experience in design and construction management. She has held several base, major command and Air Staff level positions: command of a civil engineer squadron, chief of environmental planning, an environmental program manager, a military construction program manager, chief of a technical services division, chief of an operations flight and chief of planning and basing branch.

She has won a number of environmental and civil engineering awards. A Bronze Star, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with silver oak leaf cluster are among the military awards she has earned.

Her bachelor's degree is in electrical engineering and she holds three master's: in management from Webster University, St. Louis. Mo.; in military studies from Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, Va.; and in strategic studies from the Army War College.

She has been assigned at the Pentagon and Falcon, Scott, Hickam and Davis-Monthan Air Force bases in the states, as well as Spangdahlem, Germany, and Anderson AFB, Guam.

Hasberry is married to Marc Hasberry of Birmingham, Ala. They have a daughter, Taylor, and a son, Nikolas.

August 5, 2011 at 5:50am

McChord Airmen pitch in to help Salvation Army

Photo by Master Sgt. Joe Shelton Salvation Army program director Rick Stroller cuts the ribbon on the nonprofit’s new Portland facility, while Master Sgt. Ben Schaub looks on.

Members of the 361st Recruiting Squadron did their part to strengthen community relations recently, donating their time to refurbish a vacant building in preparation for a local chapter of the Salvation Army to relocate a Veteran's Homeless Shelter.

The former location, in a rundown section of Portland, Ore., subjected inhabitants to drugs, crime, and violence.

"This move signifies The Salvation Army's continued commitment to serving and supporting veterans in the community," said Maj. Don Gilger, Portland Metro coordinator for The Salvation Army. "We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Beaverton community and to making an even greater impact on our veterans' lives."

The Salvation Army chapter abandoned the urban setting in favor of a residential neighborhood in Beaverton. The new facility houses not only displaced veterans but also their Families in what used to be a retirement home.

The shelter increased occupancy from 40 beds to 100 and improved the quality of life by adding a full kitchen and dining room as well as common areas for Families. Fifteen members from the 361 RCS painted more than 30 rooms and performed minor repairs on doors, toilets, sinks, showers, tubs, and even drywall.

The efforts of the Airmen saved the Salvation Army over $3,580 in labor costs, a vital service for the nonprofit organization. Portland Metro Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator Rhona Brant expressed her appreciation to the volunteer Air Force recruiters. "Not only have you done an extraordinary job with the shelter but you have worked to incorporate additional support in committing to ongoing volunteer involvement," Brant said.

More than 350 people turned out for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony June 22, including most of the 361 RCS personnel who were instrumental in ensuring the facility was ready for veterans and their Families.

For more information about volunteering with your local Salvation Army, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.

August 5, 2011 at 7:25am

Medal of Honor recipient makes McChord sergeant's re-enlistment memorable

Master Sgt. Brenda Degnan, 62nd Maintenance Squadron, raises her right hand as she recites the Oath of Enlistment administered by retired Col. Joe Jackson, Medal of Honor recipient, July 29, 2011, at Joint Base-Lewis McChord, Wash. Tech. Sgt. Erik Degnan,

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Not many Airmen, especially those who have had several, can look back and say that their re-enlistment was an event they'll remember for the rest of their life.

This is not the case for one master sergeant because for her re-enlistment, retired Col. Joe Jackson, Medal of Honor recipient, administered the Oath of Enlistment.

"I was incredibly honored and grateful to have Colonel Jackson administer the oath," said Master Sgt. Brenda Degnan, who re-enlisted for five years.

Degnan, 62nd Maintenance Squadron home station check section chief, was Jackson's escort when he came to observe events for Air Mobility Rodeo 2011 that took place July 18-22.

"We've been spending a whole week together with Rodeo," Jackson said. "She was my shadow; wherever I go, she went too."

They both don't recall where it happened, but during a conversation, the subject of Degnan's re-enlistment came up. Because she was able to spend time with Jackson, Degnan asked him to be part of the ceremony.

When asked why he wanted to do the re-enlistment, Jackson replied, "I did it because she asked me to," he laughed, "and I'm happy to oblige."

The re-enlistment ceremony took place in front of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Memorial at McChord Field, with only Degnan's husband, Tech. Sgt. Erik Degnan, and co-worker, Staff Sgt. Jessica Sliwoski.

"Having just a few people there made it a very quiet and special event," Degnan said. "I'll never forget it."

Besides her intimate ceremony, Degnan says that the time spent with Jackson was something she'll also never forget.

"My week with Colonel Jackson was perhaps the most meaningful and memorable week of my career," she said. "It was awe-inspiring, not only be in the presence of a Medal of Honor recipient, but also to get the opportunity to spend a week with someone so genuine and humble."

Jackson, then-lieutenant colonel, risked his life to land a C-123 Provider aircraft despite hostile fire, and rescued a three-man Air Force Combat Control Team, earning him a Medal of Honor. There is also a street at McChord Field named in his honor and a C-17 Globemaster III called the "Spirit of Col. Joe M. Jackson." Because he lives in the local area, Jackson frequently visits Joint Base Lewis-McChord and participates in many base events.

"Colonel Jackson and I had many interesting conversations," she added. "We talked a lot about his career and all of the amazing things he accomplished, from starting out as a B-25 crew chief and flying U-2s to saving the lives of three men in Vietnam. I wish I could truly express how awesome it was to spend the week with Colonel Jackson but words just won't do it justice."

August 5, 2011 at 7:28am

62 AW announces staff sergeant promotions

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Congratulations to the following senior airmen who were selected for promotion to staff sergeant.

The average staff sergeant selectee score for the 11E5 staff sergeant test cycle was 275.56 points, based on the following:

-- 131.68 Enlisted Performance Reports
-- 63.49 Promotion Fitness Exam
-- 56.66 Specialty Knowledge Test
-- 1.88 Time in Grade
-- 4.44 Time in Service
-- 0.96 Decorations

The following senior airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing were selected for promotion:

Sandra Bishop, 62nd Maintenance Operations Squadron
Richard Borgen, 62nd Operations Support Squadron
David Bouchard, 62nd Maintenance Squadron
Joshua Boylan, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron
Katheryn Campbell, 62nd Medical Squadron
Alexander Carbon, 62nd MXS
Cassia Carrasquillo, 62nd MOS
Gabriel Carter, 62nd APS
Christopher Clark, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Gerald Clark, 62nd APS
Jacob Colley, 62nd AMXS
Branden Conrad, 62nd APS
Stephen Cooper, 62nd APS
Natalie Cox, 62nd AMXS
Andrew Curry, 62nd AMXS
Claude Curry, 62nd AMXS
Eric Dasher, 62nd MXS
Corey Dawson, 62nd MOS
Howard Drake, 62nd MOS
Kristopher Duer, 62nd AMXS
Tyler Ellingboe, 62nd MXS
Jonathan Eriksen, 62nd AMXS
Brandon Ferguson, 62nd AMXS
Lynn Fuhrmeister, 62nd AW
Jose Garfias, 62nd AMXS
John Gayle, 62nd APS
Nicholas Golding, 62nd AMXS
Max Gomez, 62nd AMXS
Christian Gonzalez, 62nd AMXS
Drew Green, 62nd MXS
Jaren Hahn, 62nd MXS
Andre Haroutounian, 62nd APS
Anthony Hempstead, 62nd MXS
Martin Hensen, 62nd MXS
Lindy Hief, 62nd OSS
Eric Hoyt, 8th Airlift Squadron
Jesse Hughes, 62nd Comptroller Squadron
Christopher Irish, 62nd AMXS
Garret Jacobs, 62nd MXS
Anthony Jennings, 62nd OSS
Cindy Jimenez, 62nd MDS
Austin Johnson, 62nd APS
Gary Johnson, 62nd MXS
Andrew Kerner, 62nd AMXS
Bret Konsavage, 62nd OSS
Anthony Leonard, 4th Airlift Squadron
Thomas Levesque, 62nd CPTS
Marcos Martinez, 62nd MXS
Daniel Maysonet, 62nd AMXS
Michael McKee, 62nd AMXS
Aaron McPherson, 62nd MXS
Ross McPherson, 62nd MOS
Zachary Ponto, 62nd APS
Kevin Posinski, 62nd AMXS
Brian Pryor, 62nd APS
Thomas Robinson, 62nd OSS
Maria Roman Rosado, 62nd AW
Eric Ross, 62nd CPTS
Chauvin Rupley, 62nd MXS
Emily Russell, 62nd AMXS
Jeremy Schmid, 62nd APS
Peggy Schnack, 62nd MDS
Eric Scott, 62nd MXS
William Simmons, 4th AS
Zachary Smith, 62nd MXS
Andrew Spaulding, 62nd AMXS
Juanita Terrill, 62nd OSS
Joseph Van Eizenga, 62nd AW
Roberto Vargas, 62nd AW
Kevin Weaver, 62nd AMXS
Dustin Webb, 62nd MXS
Matthew Weber, 62nd MXS
Kenneth Wiedemann, 62nd OSS
Kyleigh Wiedemann, 62nd AW
Jeffrey Wilson, 62nd AMXS
Dustin Wineinger, 62nd MXS
David Wright, 62nd AMXS

August 8, 2011 at 7:12am

Air Force sees no big changes in basic training

The Air Force has spent the past decade emphasizing tougher training to prepare recruits for life in battle zones.

Boot camp is more of a grind than ever these days, but recruits suffering through a brutal summer on Lackland AFB's "obstacle course" or those thinking of joining the Air Force can take a deep breath.


Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/military/article/General-Tougher-Air-Force-training-just-about-1751744.php#ixzz1URkNxJBh

August 8, 2011 at 10:28am

Deployed crew performs 'unmanned' refueling

SOUTHWEST ASIA  -- The deployed environment admittedly is a mostly male world. For a day though, a deployed KC-10 Extender crew made it an all-female day, as all four crew positions were held by females, truly making their mission "unmanned."


"I've been in the Air Force for six years and it's almost impossible to get an all-girl flight," said Staff Sgt. Lindy Campbell, a boom operator and flight air refueler for the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. "I've always wanted to do this. We work in a male-dominated career field, so when we figured it was possible to do it here, I jumped at the opportunity. It was nice to fly with my sisters."

One reason it is almost impossible to have an all-female crew in the KC-10 is the fact that Staff Sgt. Sarah Lockley is the only female KC-10 flight engineer in the Air Force.

"It is a very rare occurrence," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Moss, the 908th EARS commander. "While the number of women in the KC-10 has increased over the years, and every crew position has women represented, there is currently only one active-duty female flight engineer in KC-10, so this crew composition is extremely rare."

The KC-10 mission is solely based out of Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. In the case of the female flight, two Airmen from each base made up the team. Campbell, a Sacremento native, is an Air Force Reservist.

"Today's flight was awesome," Lockley said. "We've never had [Airmen from both] Travis and McGuire, [and] active duty and reservists all combined in one flight. It was great to see how other bases and active duty and reservists work together. It was great crew dynamics."

The aircraft commander noticed the group's chemistry was different than normal as well.

"It went well today," said Capt. Lindsey Bauer, 908th EARS, KC-10 aircraft commander. "Nothing against guys, but we had a relaxing time. Having four girls in the cockpit was nice. We were all on the same level. It was a break from guys. We are around them all the time. It was nice to see how all females worked each of their crew positions. The meshing together of our crew went smoothly. I think the female thing had something to do with that."

For the women, the mission wasn't about doing something that's never been done. It was more about bonding and changing things up for a day.

"It wasn't about doing a 'first', although it's rare," said 1st Lt. Jen Carter, 908th EARS, KC-10 pilot. "We usually have no more than two females on a given day. It was a morale booster for us, and today it was a morale booster for the plane we refueled."

Although the flight was special for the women, getting the job done was their top priority. The crew kept busy performing several air refuelings on the mission.

"Our job is very important," Bauer said. "It keeps the war effort going. If we weren't up there able to give them gas, the receivers would have to go back and refuel costing them hours from doing their job. When we told them they were getting refueled by an 'unmanned' KC-10 they laughed and felt special. People were stoked that an all-female crew was giving them gas."

Moss said he noticed a change in his squadron, too.

"All of the women on the crew were absolutely brimming with excitement over this mission," Moss said. "Their enthusiasm was contagious to the other crews as well. Everyone knew how much it meant to them and fully supported their efforts. Anytime an entire unit can get behind the initiative of a few motivated Airmen, everyone wins."

Moss thinks events like this can serve as an example of just how far women have come in the military as well.

"I think it's great," Moss said. "The role of women in the military has increased greatly over the years, and the presence of women in all [Air Force specialty codes] has expanded to the point that sometimes we forget how far they have had to come. However, my young daughter unintentionally reminds me every day that she needs women to look up to; she needs women to prove that nothing is impossible; she needs female role models. I think an all-female crew shows her that another potential obstacle to her dreams no longer exists."

August 10, 2011 at 3:34pm

Airstrike kills Taliban members who caused U.S. helicopter crash

This from Air Force Times: An airstrike involving American fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft killed the Taliban leader responsible for the ambush that killed 38 U.S. and Afghan forces over the weekend, according to the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The Tuesday airstrike killed Mullah Mohibullah and another insurgent who fired the shot that brought down a CH-47 Chinook on Aug. 6, killing the 30 U.S. troops aboard.

Military officials announced the airstrike Wednesday morning. Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters about the mission during a video conference at the Pentagon.

Air Force F-16s and an AC-130H, as well as Army AH-64 Apache helicopters conducted the operation, a spokesman for NATO troops in Afghanistan told Air Force Times.

The F-16s dropped GBU-38 and GBU-54 bombs, and the Spectre fired its 105mm and 40mm cannons. The Apaches attacked insurgents with 30mm cannons.

To read the complete story, click here.

August 14, 2011 at 8:16am

Comprehensive Airmen Fitness: Staying active during and after pregnancy

Miriam Howard, right, with husband, Jean-Pierre, and son, Jalen, says it’s important to stay active during and after a pregnancy. The Howard family promotes the Air Force’s Comprehensive Airmen Fitness program by creating a more unified, healthy, self-con

 For women, pregnancy can mean packing on extra pounds and cutting out exercise for a few months.

This wasn't the case for Miriam Howard, executive officer for the 62nd Maintenance Group commander, who gave birth to her son, Jalen, 16 months ago and used the qualities of the Comprehensive Airmen Fitness program to stay active during and after her pregnancy.

"I had no experience to babies prior to having my son, so it was hard for me to imagine what it would be like," she said with a smile. "It was nothing like I could imagine, but in a good way."

Howard, formerly on Active Duty, now serves as a captain in the Reserve as the operations officer for the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. She and her Active Duty husband, Jean-Pierre, came to the decision that transitioning to the Reserve would be best for their new family.

"In a nutshell, family planning was the number one reason I chose the Reserve," she said. "My husband is Active Duty and adding a baby to the mix just meant some extra challenges we didn't feel we could successfully meet."

Balancing the roles of a first-time mother, wife, full-time executive officer and traditional Reservist, Howard explained how she made small changes to her workout regimen in order to keep her physical fitness in check during her pregnancy.

"Before I got pregnant, I worked out every day," she said. "So while I was pregnant, I kept that schedule and slightly modified it. I'm a big runner, so as my belly grew, the running got slower and shorter. Towards the end, the running just turned into walking. That was the biggest way I modified my cardio routine."

In addition to a cardio routine, Howard's personal fitness level prior to her pregnancy allowed her to continue strength training.

"I also weight lift, and I modified that by just lowering the amount of weight. I still lifted; I just didn't do it as aggressively as I normally do. And then again, as the belly got bigger and my whole body changed, I took out a lot of high-impact stuff like bike riding."

Even though she made small changes to her exercise routine, motivation didn't come so easily every day.

"For the first three months you usually feel sick and tired," she explained. "On those days, it was hard to get motivated. Towards the end of the pregnancy, you're just ready for the baby to come. Those are the only two points during my pregnancy I felt unmotivated. Other than that, I was still able to work out."

Howard felt it was important to work out during her pregnancy because fitness is a large part of her life and Air Force culture.

"For me, personally, I genuinely believe in the benefits of exercise in all aspects of your life," she said. "As far as mood, physical health, physiological health, that was a big reason. Also, I knew when the baby was born that I would want to get back into the routine of working out and I didn't want to be so far behind that it would be impossible to catch back up."

Post-baby, falling right back into a seven day-a-week fitness routine wasn't the easiest thing to do, Howard said.

"After he was born, there were a lot of factors that proved a seven day workout routine to be a challenge," she explained. "As a new parent, your life and your schedule is one hundred percent revolved around his schedule, and as an infant he doesn't have a schedule. There's no longer day and night, your life is kind of happening in three-hour increments between feedings. So it wasn't easy to fall back into the habit, but you do the best you can."

Along with physical fitness, mental health is another key factor of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness. According to Howard, the goal of exercising during a pregnancy is to feel good about yourself while staying healthy and happy.

"Counting calories and losing weight is not the point [of exercise] while you're pregnant," she said. "I think the point is to keep you in the rhythm of having that in your daily schedule. It's also a huge boost to your self-esteem. A lot of pregnant women go through the challenge of their body changing and hormones going crazy. Exercising while you're pregnant makes you feel good and at the end of the day, you know that you've done something productive for both you and your baby's health."

Comprehensive Airmen Fitness not only focuses on physical health, but mental social and spiritual fitness as well. Focusing on positive behaviors, like staying active before and after a pregnancy, the Howard family is able to build resiliency and conquer challenges of every day Air Force life.

August 14, 2011 at 8:18am

Congratulations to McChord's ALS Class 11-F

Congratulations to the following Airmen who graduated Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School Aug. 12 at McChord Field, Wash.

Senior Airman Oryan Ballard
Senior Airman Thomas Braziel
Senior Airman Natalie Cox
Senior Airman Theresa Crouse
Senior Airman Sarah Draper
Senior Airman Kristopher Duer
Senior Airman Jonathan Flores
Staff Sgt. Darek Gorring
Senior Airman Thomas Gregory
Senior Airman Jeffery Holton
Senior Airman Michael Malisheske
Senior Airman Justin Martinez
Senior Airman Alexander Paccia
Senior Airman Joshua Rhives
Senior Airman Lawrence Shisler
Senior Airman Rika Smith
Staff Sgt. Jimmy Sweat II
Senior Airman Eric Walker

August 17, 2011 at 6:13am

AF cutting 6,000 temporary, civilian workers

FROM AIR FORCE TIMES...

An uncertain budget outlook is driving the Air Force to cut about 4,000 civilian positions shortly after the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Another 2,000 summer hires will go off the books Sept. 30.

Personnel officials expect to trim the workforce by laying off 2,000 temporary workers and offering retirement and buyout packages to 2,000 full-time staff employees. All the cuts will come from less critical mission areas. The Air Force expects to begin the separations and retirements by Oct. 31.

An across-the-board hiring freeze is in place for 90 days as well, according to the Air Force, which put the measures in place Aug. 9. Anyone already offered a civilian job will be hired, officials said.

SEE THE REST HERE

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