Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: April, 2012 (31) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 31

April 2, 2012 at 1:09pm

Wounded warriors continue service through employment program

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force's goal is to retain injured Airmen on active duty. But when this is no longer an option, wounded warriors may explore new opportunities to serve through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Civil Service Employment Program.

The program helps all combat or hostile-related ill, injured and medically separated Airmen transition into Air Force federal civilian employment. It's also one way the Air Force supports wounded warriors throughout the entire reintegration process and journey to a new 'normal.'

"Helping wounded warriors get back on their feet and into the workforce again means a lot to them," said Amelia Ruiz, a human resources specialist at the Air Force Personnel Center here. "Since 2009, more than 150 warriors have requested placement into federal service."

The process of helping a wounded warrior enter federal service is a team effort that involves collaboration between AFPC civilian personnel officials, wounded warrior non-medical care managers, local Airman and family readiness centers and local civilian personnel offices. 

Once AFPC receives notification of a wounded warrior's desire to enter federal service, program managers contact local CPOs to try to match them with current or pending vacancies. Airman and family readiness center officials will help the wounded warrior with his or her resume and provide general guidance on how to transition from the military to a civilian career.

Although officials will try their best to place wounded warriors in a federal career, it's important to note minimum qualifications for a position must still be met, Ruiz said. Additionally, recent changes to the Air Force civilian workforce structure has reduced the number of available vacancies, just as it has for anyone else seeking Air Force employment.

"If a wounded Airmen couldn't be retained on active duty and still wanted to work for the Air Force, we'd do everything we could to make that happen because we owe them for their service," said Nicole Hart, an employment development specialist with the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. "Otherwise, we still help the wounded warrior find employment in the non-profit or private sector."

To read the rest of the story, click here.    

Filed under: Health, U.S. Air Force,

April 2, 2012 at 1:18pm

More than 2,450 Airmen selected for O-4, O-5, O-6

From Air Force Times: The Air Force has selected more than 2,450 officers for promotion to colonel, lieutenant colonel and major.

They were selected during the 2011C Colonel Medical Service Corps and Lieutenant Colonel Nurse Corps and the 2011D Major Line of the Air Force central selection boards, according to a March 29 news release from the Air Force Personnel Center.

In total, 15 out of 92 lieutenant colonels were selected for promotion. Of those selected, 13 selected out of 25 eligible lieutenant colonels in the zone, a promotion rate of 52 percent; one selected out of 16 eligible lieutenant colonels above the zone, a 6.25 percent promotion rate; and one selected out of 51 eligible lieutenant colonels below the zone, a 1.9 percent promotion rate.

Meanwhile, 89 of 427 majors considered for promotion were selected to advance to lieutenant colonel. That breaks down as follows: 78 selected out of a total of 127 eligible majors, a promotion rate of 61.4 percent; three selected out of 83 eligible majors above the zone, a 3.6 promotion rate; and eight selected out of 217 eligible majors below the zone, a 3.7 percent promotion rate.

Filed under: U.S. Air Force,

April 2, 2012 at 3:09pm

446th AW command chief leaves sterling legacy

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Like a fine wine, Gloria Bennett's 33-year career exemplifies a distinct taste of character and expertise, with a full body of experience and leadership. Her palate developed a unique affinity: caring deeply for the well being of her enlisted Airmen.

"She cares very deeply about the Airmen of the 446th," said Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen Buckner, Air Force Reserve Command command chief. "As I got to know Gloria she became a real person to me and not just a wing command chief. She reached out to me, she mentored me, she taught me what not to do, and I'm extremely proud to say that she's a big reason why I'm the AFRC command chief today." 

Bennett, the former 446th Airlift Wing command chief retired, April 1, 2012 and said she had no idea what adventures were ahead when she enlisted in March 1979.

"When sworn in for the first time, I thought I would serve only my six-year enlistment," said Bennett. "I never envisioned being a Reservist for 33 years. I certainly did not think that I, a naïve, unmotivated nineteen-year old, could become the senior enlisted advisor for a wing of over 2,000 high performing Reservists." 

Bennett, a Tumwater, Wash. resident, said thanks to the wonderful, caring supervisors, commanders and co-workers she was fortunate to work with and the size 12 steel-toed boot mentoring applied by a number of her supervisors, she grew to feel she was a valued member of the 446th AW family. 

With more than three decades of duty as a traditional Reservist, Bennett said she's learned a lot.

"During my career, I came to realize a number of truths," she said. "Be passionate about what you do because with that passion you'll be successful and you'll make those around you successful. It really is okay to fail, no one that's succeeded has done everything right the first time and if you fail try it again and learn from your mistakes. Be involved in the wing, the more involved you are the more you'll love it and you'll want to be a part of this great organization." 

While serving in the command chief capacity, Bennett served as the enlisted Reservist's spokesperson to the wing commander. Her role as liaison included addressing enlisted issues, morale and effective utilization of Reservists, as well as serving as the commander's representative on councils, boards and local military and civilian community events.

Bennett's years with the Air Force touched many Reservists, including, Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th Airlift Wing commander. 

"There are few words I can offer that do justice to the years of service, dedication, and commitment Chief Master Sgt. Gloria Bennett has given to this wing, AFRC, the Air Force and this nation," said Bowers. "She epitomizes all we hold dear as a nation and as a profession of arms. While she will be missed as a key leader in the 446th AW, her legacy is something we cherish and will honor as a standard."     

April 2, 2012 at 4:47pm

Family pins new Reserve vice commander

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. - Newly promoted Col. Rick Grayson gets pinned on by his family March 30 at McChord Field. Grayson is the new vice commander for the 446th Airlift Wing. In his civilian life, Grayson is a 737 first officer for Alaska Airlines, and lives in Gig Harbor with his wife and two children.

(U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Denise Hauser)    

April 3, 2012 at 2:32pm

Phishing scam targets troops' fiancees

From Air Force Times: One of the latest phishing scams targets fiancées of service members in an attempt to lure them into "registering" in the Defense Finance and Accounting Service "system" to be entitled to receive benefits if their service member dies - for a $350 fee.

It's not from DFAS. Rather, it's a typical scam used by phishers when trying to extract personal information and, in this case, money, from any victim who takes the bait.

As DFAS officials note on their legitimate website: "We will not send you unsolicited email messages with attachments (especially as poorly written as this!) or letters asking you to send money to pay for some benefit that sounds too good to be true."

If an email looks even remotely suspicious, do not click on any links or open any attachments.

Filed under: Dependent, News To Us,

April 4, 2012 at 10:38am

Fairchild Airman missing after canoeing trip

From Air Force Times: SPOKANE, Wash. - Search teams are looking for a 26-year-old airman from Fairchild Air Force Base who's believed missing after taking his canoe out on the Spokane River.

Friends of James Ramse-Lassiter located his truck on Monday, parked at Riverside State Park at the Bowl and Pitcher area of the river. His canoe has not been found.

The Spokane County sheriff's office says Lassiter went out in his canoe sometime Saturday. Preliminary reports indicate he did not have a helmet, life jacket or exposure suit when he went on that outing.

Sheriff's deputies searched the area by jet boat and jet skis on Monday. Fairchild and the Border Patrol both provided helicopters to aid in the search.

Deputy Craig Chamberlin says searchers have heard from two people who say they saw a canoe Saturday while walking on a trail along the river. That may help focus the search.

April 4, 2012 at 1:00pm

Mentoring program discusses leadership techniques

Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Goodnight, 627th Force Support Squadron, discusses leadership techniques during a speed mentoring session March 23, 2012, at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. During monthly speed training sessions, senior noncommissioned officers provide advice concerning topics ranging from enlisted performance reports to fitness evaluations.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Leah Young)    

April 4, 2012 at 4:50pm

McChord Field introduces new mass notification system

Wouldn't it be nice if you could instantly know of any emergency situation on base? What if you and your family could receive a text message to your personal mobile phones any time there is a threat? With the new emergency mass notification system being fielded at McChord Field this spring, this will become a reality. 

McChord Field's new AtHoc Alerts system can notify Airmen, civilian employees and their dependents within minutes of an emergency event. These notifications range from force protection condition changes and anti-terror warnings to driving conditions, reporting instructions and base disaster responses. 

Several Air Mobility Command bases have already successfully installed AtHoc Alerts. In fact, Joint Base Lewis-McChord's own I Corps 24/7 Watch Office is already using AtHoc Alerts right next door. 

Eventually, all AMC bases and the AMC Command Center will implement this system. The 62nd Airlift Wing Command Post is the McChord Field operator of the system and will send base-wide notifications or alerts and provide reports to the commander as needed. 

For McChord Field, the 62nd AW commander also has the authority to approve any other organization's important alerts on a case-by-case basis through the Command Post. A small "purple globe" icon will appear in the desktop icon tray to let you know the program is available on your computer. In fact, the AtHoc system has already been installed on most of McChord Field's computers. 

In order to begin receiving alerts, all Airmen and those civilians designated as "key" and "Level A and/or B" must update their contact information by using the AtHoc Alerts Self Service module at their work desktop. Just right-click on the purple globe, select "access self service" and update accordingly. 

All Airmen and those civilians designated as "key" and "Level A and/or B" will provide at a minimum: name, organization, duty phone, duty e-mail and an after-hours contact phone number. You can provide additional contact information such as an off-duty email address as well. 

Providing emergency notification information in AtHoc is not mandatory for all other civilian personnel. However, all civilian personnel are encouraged to provide personal contact data in order to receive vital safety and emergency information for themselves and their families in the event of a base incident or a natural disaster. 

During an actual event or a test of the AtHoc system, the alert will include a specific set of instructions. Ensure you read the entire alert and/or listen to the entire message. Then respond accordingly, usually by selecting a numeric response provided in the message.  

(Courtesy Maj. Aaron Torczynski, 62nd Airlift Wing Command Post chief) 

April 5, 2012 at 10:18am

Air Force putting new emphasis on firearms training

From the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph: ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Air Force's force doesn't just come from the air anymore.

Recognizing the increasing role airmen play in ground operations, and facing an enemy that can appear anywhere at any time, the Air Force has started a new firearms training course aimed to simulate real combat conditions. Previously the training consisted basically of pointing a gun at a target and firing. Now elements are added that include moving before shooting, firing at the right target while avoiding the wrong one, and getting accustomed to commands airmen may hear in the field in the event of a firefight.

Also every airman must qualify each time they deploy, no matter what their job may be.

The new course also at least doubles the amount of rounds fired in training. For airmen who use weapons as a regular part of their duties, it more than doubles it.

Robins Air Force Base started the training Dec. 1. The five firearms instructors in the 78th Security Forces Squadron teach the two-day classes with 24 students at a time. The previous training only took one day.

"It's a big upgrade because (the students) used to never move," said Tech Sgt. Chainey Moates, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the training. "They just sat still and stayed in positions. Now they are actually going real time doing what they would be doing down range. It's actually getting their heart rate up and gets their adrenaline pumping, and that's what they would be having to deal with down range."

See the rest of the story here.   

Filed under: Training,

April 6, 2012 at 1:14pm

Air Force tries to deal with suicide rate

From military.com: Air Force leaders at all levels must fight the problem of suicides within the service by developing a culture of healthy airmen across the board, said the service's top enlisted man Thursday.

"We've got to talk about" the problem of airman suicides openly, look at suicide rates, discuss lessons learned from suicides and even acknowledge "saves," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, James Roy, during an April 5 luncheon on Capitol Hill.

"Some have said, don't talk about it, I just throw that aside," said Roy. "When somebody commits suicide, some people would say that I shouldn't be sharing the [suicide] numbers the way I share them. Why not? How do I tell what happened last April or last March if I don't show you where we are today? How do I compare the two?"

The Air Force lost 99 airmen in 2010 to suicides, 90 in 2011 and 35 so far in 2012, making suicide the service's leading cause of death, according to slides presented by Roy during his presentation.

The Air Force must avoid turning its efforts to develop a culture of healthy, resilient airmen into a "check in the box" training program, said Roy.

To read the rest of the story, click here

Filed under: Health, U.S. Air Force,

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