Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: April, 2012 (31) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 31

April 23, 2012 at 6:27am

Integrity in uniform

When I put on my uniform every morning, I get particular about each item's accuracy and how identifies myself as an Airman.

Monday, it's my shirt: clean and crisp, my badges correctly aligned and wings straight, shoes polished. Tuesdays: blousing straps even, my uniform clean and sharp. From heal to head, as perfect a representative of the Air Force as possible.

As my commander, Lt. Col. Clinton ZumBrunnen, 10th Airlift Squadron, would say, "Would I pass the town hall test?" Would I pass the American peoples' scrutiny at a town hall meeting as a sharp and professional Airman, worthy of the trust and hefty price tag to train and equip me their "guardian of freedom and justice?" Do I have the integrity to wear my uniform correctly?

None of us are perfect, but we should always strive to be. It's obvious when others wear the uniform incorrectly. They might look sloppy; their hat crumpled, or shoes a mess and all within the first five minutes of showing up for work.

At the end of the day, your uniform speaks to the level of physical exertion required, your exposure to the elements, or the medical precautions that your job entails. All Airmen, regardless of their job location, should ask themselves this question, "Do I look professional in my uniform?" or "Do I even care?"

I would hope that you do care. Webster's Dictionary defines integrity as "In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions." Integrity is the cornerstone of our core values. How can we perform to our utmost abilities if we start our day not caring about our professional image?

We work hard for our country; we should reflect that pride and show America their investment in us is something that should fill them with pride. We should "pass the town hall test" each day.

From wing commander to newest Airman, wear your integrity like your uniform, clean and crisp, from boots-to-beret, from heart-to-headset, always with honesty, accuracy and precision. An Airman can do no less!

April 23, 2012 at 6:33am

Military justice report for McChord

The following are the military justice and administrative discharge actions involving Airmen on Joint Base Lewis-McChord that occurred during March 2012. The punishments are determined based on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.

The following information is a summary of courts-martial:

-A technical sergeant from the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron committed aggravated sexual assault and indecent acts with a child under the age of 16. The technical sergeant received reduction to airman basic, 10 years confinement and a dishonorable discharge.

-An airman from the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron willfully disobeyed a superior commissioned officer by violating a no-contact order, failed to obey a lawful order by driving on-base with revoked privileges and make a false official statement. The airman basic received reduction to airman basic, five days of confinement, 25 days of hard labor without confinement and a reprimand.

The following information is a summary of Article 15s:

- An airman 1st class from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron committed unlawful entry and indecent language. The airman 1st class received reduction to airman, two forfeitures of $835, 30 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- A technical sergeant from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron made and signed a false official statement. The technical sergeant received reduction to staff sergeant, two forfeitures of $1482, 45 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- An airman from the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron committed failure to go by being absent without leave for less than three days. The airman received reduction to airman basic, two forfeitures of $745, 30 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- An airman from the 627th Force Support Squadron committed failure to go by going from place of duty. The senior airman received two forfeitures of $745, 30 days of extra duty, 45 days of rest and a reprimand.

- A senior airman from the 627th Civil Engineer Squadron made a false official statement. The senior airman received reduction to airman 1st class, two forfeitures of $500, 15 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

The following information is a summary of involuntary discharges.

- An airman 1st class from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron received general discharge for minor disciplinary infractions.

April 23, 2012 at 6:35am

Team McChord Reservist wins Citizen-Soldier award

Receiving tributes is the last thing on Staff Sgt. Ralph Godinez's mind when he submerges himself in community service activities. In fact, seeing the results his efforts produce is more than enough appreciation in his eye.

However, fellow Airmen in his Reserve unit felt his efforts needed to be shared with society. So, they nominated him as the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year- the same award he will accept at the Kiwanis Club of Tacoma luncheon, April 24, 2012 at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Tacoma Seattle.

"Sergeant Godinez is an invaluable member of the 728th Airlift Squadron 'Flying Knights' family," said Lt. Col. Richard Poston, 728th AS commander in Godinez's nomination letter. "His dedication to duty and achievements go above and beyond what is expected."

Godinez, who was also recognized by his peers last year by selecting him as the 728th AS Most Valuable Performer Award winner, won the Citizen-Soldier award for going the extra mile in both his Reserve career and personal life.

The Graham, Wash. resident is best known for founding Café dos Ninas, a non-profit coffee stand, in which all proceeds go to support families affected by Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, with biannual funds going to the Evergreen Healthcare Foundation. Since its inception eight years ago, the café has donated more than $20,000.

To add more irons to the fire, Godinez's list of community involvement includes: membership in the Air Force Sergeants' Association, volunteering and coordinating youth events for the Northwest Fellowship Children's ministry, coaching youth soccer, and helping third-grade students with reading.

As an Air Force Reservist, he's responsible for ensuring the readiness of all 120 people in his squadron by making sure documents and equipment are up to date, so they are ready to deploy worldwide, with short notice. He tracks surplus equipment and items, saving the squadron thousands of dollars a year. Godinez also keeps unit members in touch with current events while they work in the civilian force.

This is the second straight year a Reservist with the 446th Airlift Wing has earned the award.

April 24, 2012 at 7:10am

Airman tackles NFL dream

At 6 foot, 6 inches tall and 305 pounds, 2nd Lt. Ben Garland looks more like a football player than a typical Air Force officer. That's because he's a defensive lineman contracted to play for the Denver Broncos and currently attending the team's conditioning and tryout camps which last through mid-June.

While the 23-year-old Air Force Academy graduate waited for official word from the Secretary of the Air Force on being released from active duty through the Palace Chase program, which was recently approved, he spent his time at Scott Air Force Base in a disciplined balancing act to meet both the Air Force and the NFL physical fitness requirements.

"To play defensive lineman you have to be a pretty big guy. I need to be around 300 pounds to stay competitive and that's not really the Air Force body type where you're going to run a mile and a half really fast and you're going to have a small waist," said Garland, who served as the 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs chief of media operations. "Even with the pushups and sit-ups, you're pulling and pushing a lot more weight than the average Air Force member so it makes the testing extremely difficult."

But, Garland's no stranger to achieving tough things, as he aced his most recent fitness assessment with an overall score of 90.4, though he admits that meeting the waist measurement is the toughest part since it does not take into consideration height or body composition. For maximum points, his waist needed to be less than 35 inches, and in order not to fail it had to be no more than 39 inches. He measured 38 inches.

"I know a lot of people who struggle with the waist measurement; it has been difficult trying to maintain standards and be competitive in football," said Garland, a Denver native. "But it's one of those things you have to take and push through. You have to take the Air Force standards and make them your No. 1 priority."

The Air Force has been his No. 1 priority ever since he dreamed about becoming an Air Force officer. He had scholarship offers from several division one schools but instead worked to earn an Academy appointment purely on academics and leadership.

"I wanted to earn it. I did not want to be given a waiver or an exception because I was a football player. I wanted to be evaluated and accepted in every area and get in on my own merit; it meant more to me that way," said Garland.

During his successful career at the Academy where he majored in systems engineering management and became well known for his on field intensity and relentless pursuit of the big hit, several pro teams showed interest in signing him.

A fellow Academy football player, 1st Lt. Tyler Weeks, said, "Ben is a relentless, physical, and dominating football player who gives 100 percent effort on every play with a motor that never stops running. Ben has always been a loyal teammate who motivates others to perform at their highest potential. His example and encouragement lift the play of those around him and make Ben a valued member of any team." Weeks, a former offensive lineman, now serves as the Air Mobility Command Financial Management and Comptroller executive officer.

Though Garland had been preparing to become a pilot, when the opportunity came to play professional football, he made "the tough call."

"I dreamt of flying for the Air Force ... and playing in the NFL for the Broncos ... it was a tough choice but I ultimately decided to play for my home team," said Garland.

The Broncos gave him a three-year contract and placed him on inactive reserve status so he could complete his Air Force commitment. As an Academy graduate, Garland was committed to serving two years active duty before being eligible to separate. After graduation, he served as a strength and conditioning coach at the Academy until the Air Force sent him to become a public affairs officer with his first duty station here.

He arrived at Scott AFB in July 2011 and it didn't take too long for people to start noticing the big guy on campus.

"I didn't think anyone was aware of my intentions to be a professional football player," said Garland. "No one let on they knew and if they did, I didn't see it at first. But, then I would be training at the gym, and people would ask me questions about football, about Tim Tebow, [former] quarterback for the Denver Broncos, or someone would just ask for fitness tips."

If there is a perception that football players are just "dumb jocks," then getting to know Garland breaks that perception very quickly as it did with his supervisor who said that initial thought had briefly crossed her mind, but soon realized that he was anything but a stereotype.

"We absolutely adore Lt. Garland!" said Karen Petitt, chief of public affairs. "He's this big gentle giant with a great laugh, strength of character, and genuine interest in his team. He's got this amazing gift for details and a memory that keeps us on track with all the taskings that come our way. Everyone just naturally looks to him as a leader, but not because he's the 'office linebacker' like you see on those TV commercials, but because he's got integrity and charisma, and they know they can depend on him."

Weeks agreed and said that Garland is a humble, selfless, easy-going person who understands there is more than fame and glory that go along with playing a sport at its highest level; he constantly gives back to the community and mentors young athletes.

"Ben's athleticism and sheer work ethic stand out the most. Some players rely on athleticism alone to be 'good' players. Ben has become a 'great' player because he dedicates every fiber of himself to becoming a better athlete every day."

Garland said he's not bothered by football stereotypes because he knows what it takes to play at that level where the intricacies of the game are complex and the intellectual knowledge requires due diligence with studying the tactics and techniques of the game.

"Everyone who plays--even at the college level--is continually analyzing and thinking multiple steps ahead of what they're going to do and how it will affect the game. To understand the schemes and understand what goes into the full game, you have to be intelligent even if you're only intelligent in the ways of football," he said.

When he's wasn't leading PA's 27-person shop through mobility exercises, crisis response situations or media events, he traded in his uniform for PT gear to put in another five hours at the gym to keep competitive for the Broncos training camp. Though he's on contract, there's still a vigorous selection process for which he trained, as well as to meet the minimum fitness requirements of his contract.

He kept his workouts consistent no matter what obstacles got in the way. Even when tired or sick, or after a long day, he pushed through to get his workout in.

"Some days I might work a 12 hour shift, go home and eat a full meal until I'm stuffed, and then I go work out as hard as I can because I know there's some other guy out there working as hard as he can to beat me out for that roster spot. I also know there is someone who is training hard to line up across from me, so I need to stay on top of my game for that," said Garland.

Each day he combined stretching and mobility exercises with strength conditioning, weightlifting and speed work. Garland could be seen at the gym adding weight after weight to each machine at times surpassing over a half ton.

"I do a lot of precautionary and pre-injury work and use cold and hot tub contrast to help prevent injuries during training. You don't want to hurt yourself before you even get to go play."

To fuel this extreme activity, he must consume between 6,000 and 8,000 calories a day. A typical day's worth of food consists of different combinations of lean meats, vegetables, protein and good fats such as nuts and avocados. Eating that much food is expensive and his average grocery bill was $200 a week.

"My diet is nowhere near the average Airman's," said Garland. "I have to eat so much food that it can be tough scheduling it around working out and the full time commitments of the Air Force. But, it's all about discipline. You have to balance everything while keeping focused on your end goals."

With what remained of his spare time on the weekends, Garland read books on defense and studied the game--always looking for ways to improve. Those who know him know that there's little doubt that he will reach all of his goals, to which Garland says he gives credit to the Air Force.

"The Air Force has influenced me on the football field in every aspect from work ethic to teaching me how to work as a team to just being disciplined," said Garland. "In the Air Force it's 'Excellence In All We Do,' and on the football field you put that same excellence into every play. If your job is to hold this gap then I'm going to do everything in my power to be in that gap."

Now that he is approved for separation as of May 26, he plans to finish using his leave status to keep attending the camp while working with base leadership on the separation details. He plans to finish his service commitment in the Guard, but details are still being worked. Until then, his office--who claim No. 1 fan status besides his mom of course--and indeed all of Scott AFB are staying tuned in to the Broncos website to catch glimpses of Garland at camp and to cheer him on throughout the tryouts.

"I work hard and served the best that I could," said Garland. "I dedicated myself to serving my country ... and now it's time to play some football!"

April 25, 2012 at 6:34am

McChord's quarterly award winners

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- Congratulations to the following members of the 62nd Airlift Wing and Team McChord who earned a quarterly award for the months of January through March 2012.

Civilian Category IA

62nd AW: Anthony Depersio, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron
Team McChord: Randy Sortino, 361st Recruiting Squadron

Civilian Category IIA

62nd AW: April Habel, 62nd AW Command Post
Team McChord: Audrey Dubay, 627th Communications Squadron

Civilian Category IIB

62nd AW: Blaine Barnett, 62nd Operations Support Squadron
Team McChord: James Haniuk, 1st Air Support Operations Group

Airman of the Quarter

62nd AW: Airman 1st Class Shaun McAnish, 8th Airlift Squadron
Team McChord: Airman 1st Class Jerome Washington, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter

62nd AW: Staff Sgt. Jason Yeargin, 62nd Operations Group
Team McChord: Tech. Sgt. Enrique Lara, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron

Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter

62nd AW: Senior Master Sgt. Gary Willis, 62nd Maintenance Squadron
Team McChord: Master Sgt. Jonathan Skipper, 5th ASOS

Junior Company Grade Officer of the Quarter

62nd AW: 1st Lt. Ian Mazerski, 62nd MXS
Team McChord: 1st Lt. Brian Mitchell, 627th LRS

Company Grade Officer of the Quarter

62nd AW: Capt. Benjamin Chapman, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Team McChord: Capt. Joshua Tate, 627th Force Support Squadron

Honor Guard Member of the Quarter

Senior Airman Logan McElroy, 62nd AMXS

April 26, 2012 at 6:07am

Some lieutenant colonels can apply for TIG retirement waiver

Lieutenant colonels with at least two years time in grade may be able to retire at their current grade through the Time in Grade Waiver Program, said Lt. Col. Tara White, Air Force Personnel Center retirements and separations chief.

Air Force officials announced last December that the TIG Waiver Program and other voluntary force management initiatives would be implemented to help meet authorized end strength levels, White said. Eligible officers who are interested may still be thinking about the option, but waiver applications are due to AFPC by June 1, she reminded.

"Retention is higher than we've seen in 17 years, which is beneficial in some ways. We have a strong, dedicated force, but we also have a congressional ceiling of 332,800 active duty members. Our challenge is to bring numbers down to that mandated level without damaging our ability to meet mission needs," White explained.

Voluntary force management programs, like the time in grade waiver, enable the Air Force to surgically trim numbers in overmanned fields by approving applications case-by-case, depending on career field manning and Air Force requirements. In addition, eligible officers who are constrained by an active duty service commitment may be eligible to apply for a waiver through the Limited Active Duty Service Commitment Program.

"Applying for a TIG or Limited ADSC waiver does not guarantee you will be approved," White said. "But all who meet eligibility criteria and are interested should certainly apply."

Eligible officers assigned overseas, short or long tour, and officers who are deployed or on temporary duty assignment away from their home station may apply for the program, but guidelines vary for each situation, so applicants should review requirements before applying, the colonel advised.

The waiver program is open to line of the Air Force, LAF Judge Advocate General, chaplain, biomedical sciences corps and medical services corps lieutenant colonels.

It is not open to officers who are under investigation, pending disciplinary action or involuntary discharge, under appellate review, or pending disability evaluation system action, White said.

In addition, officers in certain specialties are not eligible to apply, including medical, dental and nurse corps, Catholic chaplains, 11X (pilots) and 12X (navigators), and those whose core specialties are one of the following:

13B - Air Battle Manager
13D - Control and Recovery
13L - Air Liaison Officer
13M - Airfield Operations
14N - Intelligence
32E - Civil Engineering
35P - Public Affairs
64P - Contracting

For application details and information about other voluntary force management programs, visit the Air Force Personnel Services website at https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil, select the "All Components" search option and enter PSDM 11-105 in the search box.

April 27, 2012 at 7:18am

Enlisted early retirement applications due Monday

Airmen eligible for the Temporary Early Retirement Authority have until Monday to complete and submit their applications, Air Force Personnel Center officials said today.

TERA is one of several programs the Air Force is using to size and shape the force to meet current and future mission requirements.

"We expect to approve approximately 250 TERA applications this fiscal year. Airmen who are approved must retire not later than Sept. 1," said Lt. Col. Tara White, AFPC retirements and separations chief. "Approval will be based on overmanned specialties, time in service of 15 to 19 years, and grade."

In the event it becomes necessary, additional selection criteria may include active duty service commitment, time in grade, and commander recommendation, White said.

For more information about TERA, including the list of eligible career fields, and other personnel issues, visit the Air Force Personnel Services website at https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil.

April 28, 2012 at 7:42am

18th AF commander, command chief visit JBLM

Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay, 18th Air Force commander, accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Williams, 18th AF command chief, visited McChord Field April 26 to meet with leadership and speak with Airmen.

During his first day of a two-day visit, the general hosted an all call briefing where he emphasized the importance of the 62nd Airlift Wing mission and its Airmen.

General Ramsay shared his thoughts about achieving success in today's challenging operational environment and effectively dealing with challenges and opportunities in today's Air Force. He reminded Airmen of their importance and his appreciation for their hard work.

"You have faced countless challenges over these past months and you should be proud of the impact you've made," he said. "Whether through humanitarian response, like those following the earthquake, tsunami and reactor crisis in Japan, or leading the charge during Operation Pacific Passage, you and your fellow Airmen answered the call that fueled the fight, saved lives and ensured mission success every single time."

The 2013 budget proposal, released in February, outlines Department of Defense plans to reduce its budget by $487 billion in the next 10 years. Along with this proposal, the Air Force has identified 286 aircraft to be eliminated - 123 fighters and 133 mobility aircraft. In addition, plans also call for the force to be reduced by 9,900 - 3,900 active duty, 5,100 Air National Guardsmen and 900 Air Force Reservists.

In light of the proposed reductions, Ramsay reminded Airmen that every dollar counts.

"Fuel efficiency has to be a factor in every decision we make," he said. "It can mean 'make or break' for our missions by impacting our ability to provide the resources we need to be successful."

As one of the many all call attendees, Airman 1st Class Chad Justice, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, discussed his personal favorite topic covered by Ramsay.

"Taking advantage of resources was the part that stuck out to me," said Justice. "He spoke about the great benefits we have and it directly related to me. I'm planning on using my tuition assistance money this year while working on my degree."

After speaking of 62nd AW successes, future budget cuts and JBLM resources, General Ramsay closed with an emphasis on the Wingmanship and working together as a team.

"Build your networks and learn how to really take care of each other," he said. "Home is where the Air Force sends me. That's just a physical location. It's all about relationships; it's always about the people."

April 29, 2012 at 6:47am

Fight for meaningful feedback

Like any institution, there are things we do well in the Air Force. And there are others that, at times, leave something to be desired. Ask any of your peers about the formal feedback they've received throughout their career and you're sure to hear horror stories.

I remember as a young lieutenant going to my supervisor seeking feedback. I'd been in the organization for about five months and I'd already received my initial feedback. But, as a new flight commander, I was looking for some feedback on my performance. I simply wanted to know how I was doing.

I nervously knocked on my squadron commander's door and he eagerly invited me in. I asked for a few minutes of his time and told him I was looking for some feedback on my job performance.

He looked at me sheepishly and said, "You're doing great, but you should smile a little more."

He asked if I had any more questions, then dismissed me.

Really, that's it? Smile a little more? Obviously, I left his office disappointed. And, sure enough, when I got my next officer performance report, I was disappointed as well. I didn't think it accurately reflected my performance. Or, maybe it accurately reflected my performance, but my performance didn't meet his expectations. How would I know if I was meeting expectations? I didn't know, because I'd never received meaningful feedback.

In hindsight, I share the blame. In hindsight, I should've fought for it. I should've asked more questions and dug in, until I got the meaningful feedback I needed. It was his job to give me feedback, but the fact that I didn't make more of an effort to get meaningful feedback makes it my fault as well.

True enough- supervisors should always make time to give meaningful feedback to their Airmen. But, as a subordinate, if you're not getting the feedback you feel you need to meet your boss's expectations to become a better Airman, don't wait for your supervisor to react.

Be proactive. Go get the feedback you need. Fight for it. Fight for feedback. Fight for meaningful feedback. Your supervisors owe it to you, and you owe it to yourself.

April 29, 2012 at 6:49am

446th Reservist earns AFA award for pursuing higher education

When Jen White worked with the active-duty Air Force, she eventually wanted to pursue a career in business. But when the staff sergeant from the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron here came across diet technician opening with the Reserve, her long-term dream didn't change direction, it just took a slight detour.

After falling in love with her new Reserve career and developing a passion of healthcare White, who also works as a diet technician at Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, decided to hybridize her dreams of business and healthcare into one career

In order to do that, she would need help in finishing her bachelor's degree in human resource management, which she had already started while on active duty. Last week, this support came in the form of the Pitsenbarger Award, was presented to her, April 24 at the Education Center here, by a representative of the Air Force Association.

"She certainly deserves this award," said Col. Rob Richardson, 446th ASTS commander. "She's committed almost to a fault. She's a huge benefit for our Reservists to have that kind of involvement, not just to our squadron, but to the wing."

The Pitsenbarger Award is for Community College of the Air Force graduates, who are pursuing a bachelor's degree as well. The award also comes with a $400 check as an incentive to continue education.

White plans on using her award to prompt newer Airmen to follow in her footsteps.

"I am pretty dang proud to receive this award, mostly because not a lot of people know about it and now I can help out my new troops and give them another reason to obtain their CCAF," said the University Place resident.

White lays out her long-term strategy.

"I am pretty close to finishing my degree," said White, who entered the Air Force in 2005. "I plan to finish my bachelor's degree in human resource management and obtain a commission and go back on active duty. I'm also considering getting my master's in Healthcare Administration."

While education is at the forefront of her personal plan, Richardson explains why she's an asset to her unit.

"Jen single handedly took over our fitness program when she didn't have to, and ensured we'd have continuity with our fitness," he said. "She taught the nutrition class to wing Reservists, so they would have the tools to stay within the Air Force fitness standard."

Even with the tough responsibilities, White volunteers for her in squadron, she doesn't hesitate to acknowledge her fellow teammates in supporting her goals.

"I'd like to add a token of thanks to my unit and fantastic (air reserve technician) staff," White said. "They have been very supportive and it's a great environment to grow in."

Richardson gives White his stamp of approval by reciprocating.

"She's the poster child for 'service before self'," he said. "She's a dedicated warrior in all aspects!"

Photo: Staff Sgt. Jen White, a diet technician with the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, McChord Field, Wash., accepts her Pitsenbarger Award from Mr. Bill Striegel, from the Air Force Association, at the Education Center here, April 24, 2012. The Pitsenbarger is awarded to recent Community College of the Air Force graduates, who are pursuing bachelor's degrees White was the only Reservist at McChord Field who earned the award this cycle. (Courtesy photo)

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