Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: October, 2011 (11) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 11

October 3, 2011 at 6:59am

Roy IDs 7 teams that make up new force structure

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy visits with Airmen from the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing at the Afghan air force compound in Kabul, Afghanistan.

FROM AIR FORCE TIMES...

A new deployment system that the Air Force plans to phase in beginning next year will group all airmen - active-duty, Guard and Reserve - into seven teams based on mission area.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy laid out details of what the service is calling AEF Next in a Sept. 21 speech to the Air Force Association's fall convention.

Today, under the Air Expeditionary Force structure, airmen get orders as individuals or as part of a small element; AEF Next will tap entire units. The change will allow airmen to go downrange with their commander and co-workers, much like other services do.

The seven teams, according to Roy, are:

  • Strike
  • Mobility
  • Space
  • Cyberspace
  • Command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C2ISR)
  • Special operations; and
  • Mission support.
  • SEE THE REST HERE

October 3, 2011 at 7:02am

Airmen sound off on dumb Air Force rules

An Air Force Instruction released in July says airmen may not drink or eat while walking in uniform.

FROM AIR FORCE TIMES...

Staff Sgt. Joshua Campbell doesn't have a degree in thermodynamics, but he doesn't need one to know leaving a coffee pot on a burner overnight is a fire waiting to happen.

Duh. Yet, the Air Force has made it a rule. Check out the Air Force Occupational Safety and Health Standard 91-501. It's right there on Page 40.

What really bugs Lt. Brian Jensen is tucking in his PT shirt, but it's the rule. And the reflective belt that airmen downrange have to wear practically everywhere. Enough said.

Dumb rules are the bane of airmen's existence. OK, slightly melodramatic, but they are aggravating. And it's safe to say every airman has at least one rule he loves to hate.

Over the years, uniform wear rules, probably more than anything else, have made airmen fume. So when the Air Force updated its dress and personal appearance guidelines, Air Force Times decided it was time to ask airmen what they think qualifies as the Air Force's dumbest rule.

SEE THE REST HERE

October 6, 2011 at 1:44pm

New Air Force uniforms include new rules

Photo by 2nd Lt. Denise Hauser Reservists with the 446th Security Forces Squadron, McChord Field, Wash., take one last picture in their woodland battle dress uniforms. Sept. 10. As of Nov. 1, all Airmen must wear the Airman Battle Uniform for their utili

Out with the old, in with the new; new dress and appearance rules, new uniform items, and new clarity on some old rules.

Nov. 1 brings with it the end of the tan boot, the woodland battle dress uniform, and the Desert Camouflage Uniform. As of that date, all Airmen should be wearing the Airman Battle Uniform.

Reservists in the 446th Airlift Wing should all have the ABU. If you don't, according to Chief Master Sgt. Janice Kallinen, you need to stop by and visit your clothing monitor to get the paperwork to get the uniforms.

"This (the requirement to wear the ABU) has been advertised for two years now," said Kallinen, 446th Force Support Squadron superintendent.

Guidance on wear of the ABU, green fleece, and physical fitness uniforms is included in the latest edition of Air Force Instruction 36-2903, which was released July 18. All updates to the instruction were incorporated into the new AFI and many guidelines were refined to eliminate questions or confusion as much as possible.

"The changes are a result of Airmen in the field requesting clarification, leadership approving more specific policy, and the need to integrate information from the 98th virtual uniform board and other wear policy approved since

2006," said Ruth Ewalt, Air Force Uniform Programs and Policies chief at the Air Staff, Washington D.C. In case you're wondering, if it's not listed in the AFI as authorized, then it is deemed unauthorized, as stated on page one of the AFI.

Some of the more common items that Airmen tend to misunderstand standards on are backpacks, gym bags, watches, bracelets, and sunglasses.

Backpacks, when carried while in your blue or physical training uniforms, must be black. Gym bags may be black or dark blue. When carried while wearing the ABU, gym bags and backpacks may also be ABU-patterned, olive drab, or Air Force sage green.

Watches must be conservative, so if you're wearing a Mickey Mouse watch you're violating standards. Watches may not be diamond-covered, neon or bright in color, a novelty watch, and the bands cannot exceed one inch in width.

Bracelets must also be conservative, but the width may not exceed one-half inch. They must be gold or silver in color, and cannot support a cause, person, philosophy or group, with some exception. Exceptions include medical alert bracelets and the traditional metal POW/MIA/KIA bracelets.

You know how convenient it is to hang your glasses (sun or otherwise) on your collar? Well, that's the wrong place for your glasses, as is the top or back of your head, around your neck, or hanging from your uniform pocket. Sunglasses need to be black or brown if they're plastic, or gold or silver if they're wire frames. Leave the mirrored lenses and brightly embellished sunglasses at home. However, sunglasses with a logo are fine as long as the logo is small and the same color as the frame.

For more dress and appearance information, go to the dress and appearance Web page on the Air Force Personnel Center's website at http://www.afpc.af.mil/dress/index.asp

October 6, 2011 at 4:16pm

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Airmen are exceeding Air Mobility Command and Air Force fitness averages

Air Force personnel perform exercises before participating in the Friday run September 30, 2011 on JBLM's McChord Field.

According to a July report, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Airmen are exceeding Air Mobility Command and Air Force averages on the year-old Air Force Fitness Test. Coming in just higher than AMC and as much as 3 percent higher than the Air Force overall in the "excellent" category, Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing lead the way with a 91 percent pass rate (9 percent higher than Air Force average) and more than half of all Airmen scored "excellent," which is more than 10 percent higher than the Air Force overall.

JBLM's 627th Air Base Group closely followed the 62nd AW with an approximately 90 percent pass rate. Patrick Conway, the exercise physiologist and fitness program manager for the 62nd AW's Health and Wellness Center, said success on the PT track has been due to three universal factors.

"First key is ‘top down' leadership offering support and availability to participate in fitness," Conway said. "When leadership provides the means and policy stating ‘all members will participate in PT' the message is clear and taken seriously. Second is unit support and direction because a unit is only as strong as its weakest member.

Taking on fitness as a unit involves everyone and ensures no one falls behind or is overlooked. Third is individual commitment and excellence. Each individual has to take responsibility for their actions and step up to the challenge of exceeding the minimums established by the Air Force, just as they do for any other Air Force duty."

The 62nd AW's HAWC has certified hundreds of Physical Training Leaders across the installation, a process that starts with a squadron commander's selection of an individual who exceeds Air Force PT standards. He then requires CPR and AED response certification and must be inititally and annually trained by HAWC's health education program manager to maintain his PTL standing.

Conway said McChord is also reaching new fitness heights thanks to programs such as what's offered at the HAWC or under HAWC personnel's professional guidance.

"When the number of people not passing the fitness test began to increase, McChord took action and developed a ‘fitness boot camp,'" he said and added that McChord Field was recognized as the only Air Force locale in the region that started the program with HAWC-level education and training support. "Boot Camp" continues for either those who have fallen short of Air Force PT standards, or anyone who wants to increase their performance in the new, semiannual service evaluation. Those scoring above 90 only take the test annually.

Danielle Knutson, HAWC's health education program manager, credits McChord Field leadership for allowing PT to be fun for the Airmen as they work to maintain physical readiness. It's that "outside the box" approach that they continually promote through HAWC programs, which not only focus on exercise-based fitness, but also proper nutrition and relaxation for a more "whole person" approach to continuing health.

"When it's fun and stimulating, it keeps people's attention at a high level," she said, "and when you have that high level, the things people can accomplish are so great."

Conway said he wasn't surprised that local Airmen exceed Air Force fitness standards because there may be only one thing that may get them out to PT in greater Seattle's less-than-ideal weather most of the year - dedication.

"Does McChord take fitness seriously?" he rhetorically asked. "I would have to say yes for it sure is not the nine months of rain which drives people out to do PT."

To learn more

For more on the HAWC programs and services offered to essentially all DOD ID card holders, call 982-6948. You can also connect with them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ mcchord.hawc.

October 12, 2011 at 9:27am

Tradition meets technology in AF libraries

SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- Air Force libraries continue to adapt to emerging technologies and changes in the way Airmen and families want information.

Whether a customer wants to check out a printed publication, download the latest bestseller novel for their e-reader or find a quiet place to study, Air Force libraries continue to meet the literary needs of customers in an evolving digital world.

"All of us, including our customers, are on the move these days," said Melinda Mosley, the Air Force Services Agency administrative librarian. "We're using mobile devices like tablets, netbooks and smart phones more than ever; we're interested in providing service to our customers anywhere, anytime, in addition to providing face-to-face services at our libraries."

The explosion of the Internet as an information medium serves librarians as both a flexible resource and a useful tool, said Rodolfo Rodela, the supervising librarian at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.

"Through the Web, we make the library available at the point-of-need and nearly free of the restrictions of time and space," Rodela said. "It's a common event nowadays: an Airman lives and works in Cairo, yet can still 'visit' and do research at an Air Force library in Texas through our Web-based journals and books."

While Airmen and families can "visit" online libraries at their convenience, the value of installation librarians has not diminished, Rodela said.

"Librarians build bridges and remove barriers to information," Rodela said. "Nothing improves your searching prowess like expert guidance from an experienced librarian. Search engines return too many questionable sources for efficient research. We'll show you how to use the library's e-journals to find only relevant and vetted sources."

Air Force librarians have also embraced social media as a way to reach out to Airmen and families. Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are used to inform customers about new Department of Defense programs, events and local happenings, said Dorothee Bennett, a library technician in charge of outreach, programs and marketing for the library at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

"We see more and more Air Force libraries using social media," she said. "Many of them have Facebook pages, YouTube accounts and some write their own blogs. With more acceptances of these mediums by the Air Force, base libraries have been able to capitalize on what we do best -- connect our customers and the information they want with the information we have."

Connecting customers to what they want doesn't stop at social media posts. Air Force libraries also use an online library called OverDrive  that allows Airmen and families to 'check out' e-books, audio books, music and movies. Customers keep the items from three to 14 days and may have five items checked out at any one time, Mosley said.

"Since we started the program in 2007, there have been more than 56,000 checkouts," she said. "We've been adding titles each year. In the last 12 months, there have been more than 25,300 checkouts, so our use has increased greatly in the last year due to additional titles, more publicity and the popularity of digital devices."

To keep pace with the latest digital devices, some Air Force libraries also host technology fairs to teach Airmen and families about the latest mobile applications, devices and resources they can use to meet their reading needs. The Eglin AFB library hosts a semiannual "Technology Petting Zoo."

"We highlight e-book readers, tablets and smart phones and answer questions about the devices as well as e-books available for check out on OverDrive," Bennett said. "We also post new developments on e-book technology on our Facebook page. For example, we post updates on new e-readers that are now compatible with OverDrive."

While Air Force libraries continue to reshape their programs around evolving technology, the main mission of a librarian will continue to be the same, Rodela said.

"We collect and organize information; we advocate free speech and open access to information; we foster literacy in young and old, and we support every individual's desire for self-development and education," Rodela said.

Visit a local Air Force library to sign up for an OverDrive account. For more information about Air Force quality of life programs visit www.MyAirForceLife.com.

October 15, 2011 at 7:17am

Air Force Mulls Change to Deployments

FROM STARS & STRIPES...

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- The Air Force is considering sending Airmen downrange with members of their home-based unit as part of a new deployment system that could be phased in starting October 2012.

If approved by Air Force leaders, "AEF Next," would be a sea change to the decade-old air expeditionary force system.

Rather than Airmen deploying as individuals or in small groups from many locations across the Air Force, troops would deploy with their unit commanders as part of an "air power team." In theory, the team would be about the size of a wing, composed of units from several different bases, said Col. John Long, the Air Force's chief of war planning and policy.

Airmen would be assigned to air power team based on their career field and assignment location.

SEE THE REST HERE

October 18, 2011 at 9:40pm

Patient movement from McMurdo Station, Antarctica

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Airmen and a C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord participated in a routine mission, which included patient movement, from McMurdo Station, Antarctica to Christchurch, New Zealand October 17.

Active-duty and Reserve Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings are currently deployed to Christchurch in support of Operation Deep Freeze. Operation Deep Freeze, which runs from mid-October to mid-February, supports the National Science Foundation in Antarctica.

The support Operation Deep Freeze provides to the United States Antarctic Program is unlike any other U.S. military operation. It is possibly the military's most difficult peacetime mission due to the harsh Antarctic environment.

October 19, 2011 at 8:39pm

McChord team escorts Clinton on unannounced trip to Libya

FROM THE TNT...

Here's a nice shot of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Force crew delivering Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Tripoli this week.

Clinton visited the country to offer assistance from the Obama administration and to encourage its new leaders to commit to democracy.

The C-17 Globemaster III behind her shows it belongs to McChord Air Field's 62nd Airlift Wing.

Capt. Allison Kojack, a spokeswoman for the 62nd, confirmed that the crew included airmen from her unit and McChord's 446th Reserve Airlift Wing.

SEE THE REST HERE

October 24, 2011 at 7:21am

AF Officials release new selective re-enlistment bonus list

Enlisted Airmen will now have 78 Air Force specialties from which they can receive a selective reenlistment bonus.

Fiscal 2012's program continues emphasis on retaining Airmen with 17 months to six years of service as well as those from six to 10 years of service, Air Force officials said. While adjustments to the 10-14 years of service zones were also made, there were no adjustments in the 18-20 years of service zone.

"Our Airmen's commitment and dedication to duty is nothing short of amazing," said Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Parker, the chief of the Air Force skills management branch at the Air Force Personnel Center here. "In order to attract and retain these extraordinary men and women, the Air Force utilizes the SRB program."

"The SRB program is a premier retention tool that is vital to achieving Air Force retention goals," Parker said.

Three Air Force specialty codes were added to the list and 11 AFSCs increased in at least one zone, Parker said. Ten AFSCs had a zone eliminated or decreased and two AFSCs were removed from the program.

All increases and additions became effective Oct. 14, and all decreases and deletions will go into effect Nov. 14. Any re-enlistments or extensions of any length that have been completed prior to the official message release will remain valid. Airmen who are eligible for re-enlistment and are affected by decreases or removals should reenlist before Nov. 13 to receive the previously approved bonus.

These bonuses do not apply to Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard Airmen.

To determine eligibility for reenlistment with an SRB entitlement, members should contact the career development element at their local military personnel section.

The complete SRB listing can be found here.

October 24, 2011 at 7:30am

McChord Reserve flying squadron commander takes on unique mission in Turkey

The mission of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout U.S. Central Command.

One might imagine the many leadership and organizational qualities it would take to lead a unit with such an essential mission.

One might also imagine those qualities are of great concern to Lt. Col. Tony Angello, 313th Airlift Squadron commander, who is preparing to take on command of the squadron at the end of October.

"With Angello, we expect nothing but excellence," said Lt. Col. James Dignan, 446th Operations Group commander. "He's proved he's one of the best with his active-duty experience, search and rescue missions, his familiarity of the C-17, and his combat experience. It's his skills, experience, and volunteerism that landed him as the (313th AS) commander."

As the 817th EAS commander, Angello will be responsible for commanding C-17 Globemaster III flight operations in U.S. CENTCOM, overseeing about 100 Reserve and active-duty Airmen, deployed to Incirlik AB and the squadron detachment in Manas, Kyrgyzstan for the next two months.

This mission is unique, said Dignan. It is tasked directly to Team McChord.

Angello says this is the perfect opportunity to strengthen the bond for Team McChord overseas.

"We'll be providing C-17 operational excellence in Afghanistan," said the Seattle resident. "We'll also enhance and expand the great associate relationship between the 446th and 62nd AW here at McChord Field."

According to Angello, being deployed as commander is the best way to help foster that bond.

"I am the first 446th AW squadron commander from McChord to command an active-duty C-17, deployed squadron," said the veteran with a combined 21 years of active-duty and Reserve experience.

Dignan says with the 446th supporting 10 percent of the steady-state requirement for the 817th EAS mission, Angello getting deployed as the commander makes a big impact for the 446th AW.

"The (446th AW) crews make up only 10 percent of the mission in Turkey," said Dignan. "But that 10 percent makes a big difference in the contribution to the mission over there and the active duty truly appreciates it."

Of course, when any Reserve Airmen deploys overseas for a significant amount of time, their civilian employer makes a sacrifice. Fortunately for Angello, his employer doesn't make it harder for him to leave.

"Alaska Airlines is very supportive of its Reserve military employees and wishes me luck on my deployment," said the Boeing 737 first officer.

Dignan also acknowledges Angello's willingness to deploy.

"He put his name in the hat, not knowing whether he'd get selected for the mission or how long he would be away from home," said Dignan. "He knew he would have to make those sacrifices. His volunteerism and will to get the job done make him perfect for this assignment."

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