Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: May, 2012 (13) Currently Viewing: 11 - 13 of 13

May 23, 2012 at 7:00am

New, lighter ABU available in June

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The new, Rip-stop Airman Battle Uniform (RABU), featuring a lighter nylon-cotton blend, will be available to Airmen at 16 U.S. bases and through AAFES online starting in June.

The wear policy for the light-weight RABUs will be exactly the same as for the ABUs. The only difference between the ABU and the RABU is the material.

The new material may be familiar to Airmen who remember the old summer-weight battle dress uniform or are familiar with the Army's combat uniforms, said Senior Master Sgt. Kecia Uyeno, Air Force Uniform Programs and Policies superintendent. That's because it is the same material.

The change to the new material will make the RABU lighter and cooler, but it's also treated with a wrinkle-resistant finish, she said.

The RABU will completely replace the old, heavier ABU.

"All industrial resources are now producing only the light-weight ABUs with no plans to go back and produce the heavy weight ABUs," said Uyeno.

The shift in production and distribution plans will enable Airmen to purchase the uniforms more quickly than in the past.

Instead of stockpiling them until there was enough stock to line shelves world-wide before they were shipped, "The inventory will be available to Airmen next month through AAFES on-line sales at www.shopmyexchange.com/ and at various state-side locations," according to Uyeno.

"As a result, Airmen will be able to order and receive them during the summer months when they need them the most," said Uyeno.

In-store priority was given to state-side bases based on their climates, mission and number of Airmen by the Uniform Executive Working Group, according to Uyeno. The group is made up of representatives from various agencies and receives input from the chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

The clothing sales locations to receive the uniforms first are:
Cannon AFB, N.M.
Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
Eglin AFB, Fla.
Goodfellow AFB, Texas
Holloman AFB, N.M.
Joint Base Andrews, Md.
Joint Base Charleston, S.C.
Keesler AFB, Miss.
Kirtland AFB, N.M.
Luke AFB, Ariz.
MacDill AFB, Fla.
Maxwell AFB, Ala.
Moody AFB, Ga.
Nellis, AFB, Nev.
Patrick AFB, Fla.
Tinker AFB, Okla.

May 24, 2012 at 6:36am

Jon Huertas credits Air Force for successful acting career

Master Sgt. Brandon Hannasch, flight chief, Basic Officer Course, guides actor Jon Huertas as he lays down a burst of suppressive fire from an M249 machine gun during a simulated assault May 4 at Camp Bullis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alan Boedeker)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- A former pararescueman credits the Air Force for helping him make a successful jump from the military to a television and film career.

Jon Huertas, born Jon William Hofstedt, served eight years in the Air Force as a pararescue jumper and nuclear weapons technician. He took advantage of the Air Force educational opportunities to pursue his first love - acting.

"I wanted to be an actor since I was a small child," said Huertas. "The success I've been able to accomplish in the entertainment industry I always correlate to my time in the Air Force."

Huertas was on base last week as part of a Hollywood entertainment industry group visit to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and Camp Bullis. Huertas, president and CEO of Soldier Stories Entertainment, currently portrays homicide detective Javier Esposito on the television show "Castle," now in its fourth season.

The two-day visit served multiple purposes for the 36 entertainment industry executives, producers, directors and writers. The purposes of the visit were to: educate and inform the group about the people, mission and equipment of the Air Force and the 37th Training Wing; generate ideas for future portrayals of the Air Force in television and film; and equip entertainment industry professionals to more accurately and realistically depict the Air Force people, mission and equipment in existing projects.
"It definitely is going to help and inspire me," Huertas said about the visit. "One lady in the group is developing a script on (another service branch), but after seeing a basic training graduation, said she would switch it to the Air Force. She had tears in her eyes; it definitely affected her.

"A lot of these writers and producers are looking for ways on, 'how do I tell a new story about the Air Force?' "How do I incorporate it into a story the general public would want to see," said Huertas, who is also working on a project about the Air Force. "I can already see people gaining interest from this trip. They will take away a lot of knowledge, and I think it's going to benefit their projects and the Air Force."

Huertas graduated high school at 17, spent a year in college, and then joined the Air Force in 1987. His decision to serve in the military simply followed a family pattern.

"A lot of men in my family went into the military, and I decided that as kind of a rite of passage I would go into the Air Force," he said. "It was also a place to take advantage of a great (educational) system.

"I was in for eight years, but my desire was to always be an actor. The Air Force helped me achieve that by allowing me to get an education, to study as much theater as I could, and eventually earn a degree in theater. The support I got from the people I worked with was just amazing."

Huertas has parlayed his military background into numerous roles in film and television. He played a sergeant in the HBO miniseries "Generation Kill," about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and a lieutenant in the film "Stealth Fighter."

He does get calls to be a technical advisor because of his Air Force service, particularly on "Castle."

"(Castle's) executive producer allowed me to create the back story of my character," Huertas said. "I wanted my character to be a veteran, an Army Special Forces guy. He let me work that in.

"They always ask me to help with tactical things, weapons, and scripts that come down about the military."

Huertas credits what he learned and experienced in the Air Force as a driving force in his acting career.

"(The graduation parade we attended) showed me that team building is still very important, and I think that's what I got from the Air Force," he said. "The team support allowed me to keep reaching for my goal.

"Without the structure, discipline and initiative I learned in the Air Force, I don't think I would have lasted because of the ups and downs in this business," Huertas added. "The 'never quit' warrior mentality carried me through. The character building also helped me, and I don't think I would be a working actor today without the Air Force."

May 26, 2012 at 7:01am

Opinion: It's ok to ‘drunk dial’

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Each of us serving in the military today is a volunteer. We took an oath and hopefully, understood that if called upon, we could be put in a position where our life is at risk especially when we deploy to a war zone.

Conversely, a lot of Airmen are at risk everyday at home station due to the nature of their job, whether it is flying an airplane or operating heavy machinery. Bottom line, your duty in the Air Force is inherently dangerous.

However, we are all provided ample safety training with our job which includes the wearing of personal protective equipment if required. There are technical orders, manuals, checklists, safety reports and plenty of computer-based training modules to complete.

We are bombarded with all aspects of how to perform the job safe as long as we follow the correct procedures.

Knowing that you could ultimately give up your life defending this great nation of ours, why then take the unnecessary risk of getting behind the wheel after drinking?

There are more deaths in one year in the United States from driving under the influence than the total amount of American servicemembers killed from the Iraq war and current operations in Afghanistan.

If we assume the risk and take all the necessary precautions at our duty, why ignore safety and other precautions when off duty?

As a commander, I am fully aware of the consequences drinking and driving have on a career and the impact it can have on a unit.

Recently, we have experienced a spike in DUIs and thankfully, no one has been seriously injured or worse yet, killed. Every DUI that I am familiar with involved the driver not taking the precautionary steps of having a plan or if the plan failed, using a backup such as calling a fellow Airman, supervisor or even their commander for a ride.

We can never totally eliminate the dangers associated with being in the military, whether it is being close in proximity to the fight or flying in the air, but we can, and we must, eliminate the dangers with drinking and driving.

Store your wingman, your supervisor, your First Sergeant or even your commander's number in your cell phone. Along with those numbers, include the number to McChord Field's very own Airmen Against Drunk Driving, 982-AADD or 982-2233. The next time your plan falls through...go ahead, make the call and get home safe. Save a life...save a career!

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