Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: June, 2012 (14) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 14

June 2, 2012 at 7:45am

Medical 'C-code' not a deployment disqualifier

Contrary to common belief, a medical assignment limitation code, commonly known as the "C-code," does not disqualify an Airman from deployment, and it does not identify an Airman for medical discharge.

A "C-code" applied to a member's profile for medical reasons is one of the various tools AFPC officials use to put the right person in the right place at the right time, said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Keryl Green,  the Air Force Personnel Center Medical Retention Standards branch chief.

"Our branch belongs to the assignments directorate," she said. "We don't actually make assignments, but we are integral to the success of assignment processes.
 
"We're part of the medical evaluation process, so we work closely with the 76 Air Force medical treatment facilities, the physical evaluation board and AFPC enlisted and officer assignment experts."

Ultimately, the branch's goal is to make sure Airmen are able to support the mission, Green said.

"We do that by first evaluating referred cases and identifying if a member's medical condition is compatible with continued service," Green said. "If it is, we will assign the most appropriate code, if any, to make sure those who can serve, do so in a location where appropriate medical facilities are available."

The process begins when a base medical practitioner refers a case for evaluation. Treatment facilities follow Air Force policy to decide whether to send referrals for medical-evaluation- board processing.

There are three critical components of a referral, Green said.

The first is the narrative, a subjective and objective medical summary submitted by the medical professionals responsible for an Airman's care. It provides medical background and treatment information and is foundational in referral decisions, she explained.

The second is the commander's letter, which describes, from a nonmedical perspective, how the illness or injury has affected an Airman's ability to perform his or her duties or deploy, and how the illness or injury may hinder the unit mission.

The third component is the member's AF form 469, which is commonly known as a "profile." This document gives a clear picture of the official physical restrictions that are related to the medical condition, Green said.

"To improve the referral process, we're implementing a procedure change whereby all medical evaluation board referrals will come through this office. AFPC providers will screen each case and determine whether or not a service member can remain on active duty with his or her medical condition," the doctor explained.

If a medical retirement or separation is warranted, the full medical evaluation board will be accomplished by the medical treatment facility and forwarded to the physical evaluation board.

"If we determine that a member's condition does not interfere with their continued military service, we will make an adjudication that the member can be returned to duty, and, when it is warranted, apply the appropriate C-code to the member's personnel file," Green said.

Airmen identified for an assignment limitation will be coded as a C-1, C-2 or C-3, Green explained, but even the most restrictive code doesn't automatically disqualify you from deployment or permanent change of station.

"For a condition expected to resolve in a short time, there may be no C-code. But a chronic condition, one that won't be resolved quickly, that prevents certain activities or that requires specialized medical care, will be identified with an assignment limitation code," she said. "A situation that warrants consideration for medical retirement or separation is referred to the physical evaluation board."

The C-codes give Airmen an idea of their status and eligibility, but options vary depending on individual conditions.

C-1 is the least restrictive code. C-1 coded Airmen can move to any continental United States assignment, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Hawaii, without a waiver. A C-1 coded Airman may also move to most overseas bases without a waiver, as long as those bases have a fixed medical treatment facility, Green said. A waiver is required for a move to locations with limited care, such as South Korea; Lajes Field, Azores; Eielson AFB, Alaska; Moron Air Base, Spain, and to deployed locations.

C-2 is more restrictive, but permanent change of station and deployment options remain numerous, Green said.

"C-2s can go anywhere in the continental United States, Hawaii and Elmendorf without a waiver, but assignments to Eielson AFB, Alaska, overseas assignments and deployments require a waiver approved by the gaining major command surgeon general," Green said. "Waiver approval for C-2 Airmen is relatively common, though."

C-3 is the most restrictive code, but members with a C-3 can still move to any CONUS base, Hawaii, or Elmendorf without a waiver, she said. To get a waiver to any other location or to deploy, a line general officer, wing commander or civilian equivalent must endorse the request, certifying that the member is essential for mission accomplishment and is the only member qualified and available for the job.

Just more than 3 percent of the active-duty Air Force population has an assignment limitation code, and less than a half of a percent of the 10,000 C-coded Airmen carry a C-3 designation, Green said.

"The application of a C-code is a tool we use to ensure members have access to the medical care they need, thus protecting both the member and the mission," Green said. "But first, we need to ensure they are able to continue to contribute to the Air Force mission."

Being C-coded doesn't mean Airmen will remain coded for the rest of their career. Annual follow-up assessments ensure those who can be cleared will be. For more information about assignments and other personnel issues, visit the myPers website.

June 2, 2012 at 7:50am

446th Airlift Wing Salutes for June

Take a moment to say congratulations, hello, and farewell to our Reservists who have been promoted, are new to the wing, or retiring.

Promotions

Senior Master Sergeant
Nathan Wright, 446th CES

Master Sergeant
Michael Larson, 446th CES
Marlon Martin, 446th FSS

Technical Sergeant
Cassey Aniceto, 313th AS
Scott Harrison, 446th CES
David Jensen, 36th APS
Aumbirh Jones, 446th AMXS
Steven Light, 446th AMXS
Rufus Loggins, 446th CES

Staff Sergeant
Christopher Giffin, 36th APS
Ernest Munns, 446th CES
David Strong, 86th APS

Senior Airman
Zachery Morring, 446th AMXS
Michael Ngo, 446th AMXS
Ashley Vidales, 97th AS
Kevin White, 446th LRF

Airman First Class
Devin Abbett, 86th APS
Brendan Brewer, 446th AMXS
Ezekiel Clinard, 446th ASTS
Cyle Coleman, 446th CES
Kyle Wilhelme, 36th APS

Airman
Joshua Francis, 86th APS

Newcomers

Captain
Joshua Bieler, 446th MSG

Master Sergeant
Jeffrey Rivera, 36th APS

Technical Sergeant
Allen Hartman, 446th FSS
Kerri Kuntz, 86th APS

Staff Sergeant
Melissa Aubrey, 446th CES
Sean Dahlsrud, 446th AMXS
Veronica Gobea, 446th AMXS
Johnny Hurtt, 446th AMXS
Alissa Kantnik, 446th FSS
Geoffrey Simon, 446th AMXS
Terry Taber, 446th SFS

Senior Airman
Luke Hinman, 446th AMXS
Barrett Horn, 446th SFS
Steven Kwak, 446th ASTS
Jean Mondesir, 446th AMXS
Wen Sohn, 446th ASTS

Airman First Class
David Clark, 446th CES
Roddel DeLeon, 446th AMXS
Justin Drayer, 446th AMXS
Benjamin Grimmett, 446th AMXS
Cody Hoefs, 446th CES
Ashley Vidales, 97th AS
Hayden Wahlman, 446th AMXS

Airman
Andrew Bice, 446th MXS
Nicholas Wilson, 446th ASTS

Airman Basic
Brendan Brewer, 446th AMXS
Joshua Francis, 86th APS

Retirements

Lieutenant Colonel
Sharon Carlson, 446th AES
Dale French, 446th OG

Major
Delmer Heitzman, 446th ASTS

Senior Master Sergeant
Angela Wetzler, 36th APS

Master Sergeant
Randy Pantle, 86th APS
David Schluttenhofer, 446th AMXS

Technical Sergeant
John Fuertes, 446th SFS
Brent George, 446th MXS
Tre Woodard, 446th MXS

June 6, 2012 at 6:57am

Airmen to have more time to schedule move-related appointments

Following a full review of the permanent change of station orders process, Air Force Personnel Center officials have implemented a new policy that will allow members more time to schedule move-related appointments, said Dave Faris, the AFPC PCS budget/assignment analysis section deputy chief.

Defense funding rules require that permanent change of station obligations be charged against the fiscal year in which the orders are published. To ensure the Air Force met that expectation, orders previously were published no later than 60 days before departure from the current station and no earlier than 90 days before the member's reporting date.

"After a review of numerous requests for exception to policy and requests from transportation authorities for more time to process household goods pickups, we analyzed the process and made some changes," Faris said.

In part, those changes are possible because of AFPC's role in processing and authenticating orders.

"The Total Force Service Center has assumed orders authentication responsibilities, and the centralized process is faster and more efficient," Faris explained. "Now, orders can be prepared 120 days before the member's scheduled departure date."

For members scheduled for lengthy training or leave en route to their new duty station, that change is expected to make all the difference, Faris said.

This should significantly reduce policy exception requests for early PCS orders. According to Faris, the policy change will help eliminate challenges, but if it does not meet a member's needs, he or she can still request an exception to policy.

For more information about permanent change of station moves and other personnel issues, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.

June 6, 2012 at 6:58am

Policy change to allow reservists to carry leave balance

Air Force Reserve officials are working to change policy to allow reservists who earn days of leave to carry those days over from year to year.

New laws and Department of Defense instructions permit reservists to carry over the leave days. However, policy and procedures have not caught up with the new authority.

"This is a tremendous benefit to our Airmen, who historically were forced to immediately use, sell or lose their leave," said Rickey Harrington, the deputy chief of the force support division in the Office of Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon. "The new authority provides reservists more flexibility on how they use leave earned during active-duty activations and mobilizations of 30 or more days."

For each month served on active duty, reservists and active-duty service members earn 2.5 days of leave per month, equaling 30 days of leave per year. However, active-duty service members are also allowed to carry up to 60 days on the books as they cross the "use or lose" deadline on Oct. 1 each year. In addition, they can sell up to 60 days of leave during an entire career.

"While the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force have moved out on putting this in the appropriate leave regulations, Air Force Reserve policy makers have yet to implement the authority because there are significant issues that need to be addressed," said Col. Nancy Zbyszinski, the director of personnel in the Office of Air Force Reserve.

One key issue is tracking the leave balance that reservists will carry forward each year. The Defense Finance and Accounting Services, based in Indianapolis, is not set up to account for reservists' leave beyond a single year.

According to financial managers at Headquarters Air Force, the leave software automatically pays out to reservists if the leave is on record one year after the end-of-tour date.

DFAS is working to change the system and to prevent this automatic pay out, according to Lt. Col. C.J. Miller, the deputy chief of the force sustainment and requirements branch in the Office of Air Force Reserve.

"We are working the last of the policy implementation issues, and once DFAS finalizes their system changes, we'll push this out to the field," Zbyszinski said.

June 12, 2012 at 6:28am

FOB Shank C-17 Accident Investigation Board complete

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- Air Mobility Command released the results of its investigation into the Jan. 23, 2012, mishap involving a C-17A Globemaster III that landed at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan.

The Accident Investigation Board, convened by AMC, found that the cause of the mishap was the pilot and co-pilot failed to identify that the landing distance required to safely stop the aircraft exceeded the runway length. Additionally, the AIB president found that the failure to assess runway conditions for fixed wing operations at FOB Shank substantially contributed to the mishap.

The aircraft landed on a runway at FOB Shank, where the C-17A was unable to stop, departed the prepared runway surface, struck an embankment, and came to rest approximately 700 feet from the end of the runway. The aircraft sustained damage to the landing gear, cargo floor, undercarriage, antennas, and main structural components. There were no passengers, fatalities, significant injuries, or damage to civilian or other military property. The estimated cost to repair the C-17A is $69.4 million.

The mishap occurred as the C-17A was landing at FOB Shank during a combat airlift mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Editor's note: The home station of the C-17 was not identified in this story.

June 13, 2012 at 6:19am

AF releases new special duty assignment pay table




Beginning June 15, Airmen in some special duty assignments will receive adjustments in special duty assignment pay, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

Based on recommendations following a routine biennial review of the program, Pentagon officials have modified the program to ensure Air Force application meets legal criteria, said Master Sgt. Robin Childers, the AFPC special programs branch manager.

"Board members analyzed each (special duty assignment pay) rule for recertification to make sure (special duty assignment pay) is paid only to Airmen whose duties are extremely difficult or involve an unusual degree of responsibility," Childers explained. "More than 12,000 enlisted Airmen currently get special duty assignment pay." 

Additions include eligible operations intelligence Airmen serving at Operating Location A, 68th Network Warfare Squadron, Ft. Bragg, N.C., and Air Force Specialty Code 1T0XX -- or survival, evasion, resistance and escape -- Airmen assigned to Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., at the 336th Training Group, the 336th Training Support Squadron or the 22ndTraining Squadron, or a 22nd TRS subordinate unit in Colorado, Alabama or Texas.

Special duty assignment pay will be reduced for military free-fall parachute instructors at Yuma Proving Grounds, and air transportation Airmen performing aerial duty will no longer be authorized special duty assignment pay, said Childers.

For more information about the special duty assignment pay program, or to see the full table of changes that will take place June 15, go to the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil, or contact the local military personnel section or flight.

June 18, 2012 at 6:17am

AF releases colonel, lieutenant colonel promotion list

Fourteen lieutenant colonels and 1,269 majors were selected for promotion to colonel and lieutenant colonel during the 2012A line of the Air Force and LAF-judge advocate central selection boards, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

To see the entire promotion list, go to http://www.afpc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120614-132.pdf.

The boards considered 124 lieutenant colonels and 6,639 majors for promotion. Selection statistics include the following:

To Colonel
- In-the-promotion zone for LAF-J: 13 selected from 23 considered for 56.5 percent select rate
- Below-the-promotion zone for LAF-J: 1 selected from 66 considered for 1.5 percent select rate

To Lieutenant Colonel:
- In-the-promotion zone for LAF: 1,096 selected from 1,453 considered for 75.4 percent select rate
- Above-the-promotion zone for LAF: 17 selected from 1,405 considered for 1.2 percent select rate
- Below-the-promotion zone for LAF: - 123 selected from 3604 considered for 3.4 percent select rate
- In-the-promotion zone for LAF-J: 30 selected from 38 considered for 78.9 percent select rate
- Above-the-promotion zone for LAF-J: 2 selected from 31considered for 6.5 percent select rate
- Above-the-promotion zone for LAF-J: 1 selected from 108 considered for .9 percent select rate

For more information about promotion opportunities and other personnel issues, go to the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.

June 20, 2012 at 7:50am

Officials release TSgt promotion stats

Air Force officials selected 8,518 of 37,402 eligible staff sergeants for promotion to technical sergeant for a selection rate of 22.77 percent.

The average score for those selected was 321.94, with an average time in grade of 5.39 years and time in service of 10.58 years, respectively. Weighted factor averages included the following: 132.69 for enlisted performance reports, 5.59 for decorations, 75.37 for the promotion fitness exam and 55.39 for the specialty knowledge test.

The technical sergeant promotion list will be released publicly June 21 at 8 a.m. Central Daylight Time at www.afpc.af.mil and https://mypers.af.mil. Airmen will be able to access their score notices on the virtual MPF and the AF Portal.

Those selected for technical sergeant will be promoted beginning in August according to their promotion sequence number. As a reminder, the selections are tentative until the data verification process is complete, which is no later than 10 days after the promotion release date. Personnel officials will notify Airmen, via military personnel sections, if their selection is in question.

For more information on promotions or any other personnel related issue, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.

(Air Force Personnel, Service and Manpower Public Affairs)

June 20, 2012 at 7:53am

U.S. Air Force Band to perform around Puget Sound area

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West's 40-member concert band is scheduled to present a free patriotic concert series around the Puget Sound area starting July 1.

Below is the schedule of performances:

July 1: Wings and Wheels Freedom Fair at the Tacoma Narrows Airport in Tacoma, Wash., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

July 2: Go Fourth Festival at Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview, Wash., starting at 7 p.m.

July 3: Performance at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Wash., starting at 7 p.m.

Although the performance at Benaroya Hall concert is free and open to the public, tickets are required. To reserve tickets, contact the ticket office located at 3rd Avenue and Union Street in Seattle. The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. If you are unable to visit the ticket office, you can request tickets by mail. For mail-in requests, send a self-addressed envelope to Seattle Symphony Tickets, P.O. Box 2108, Seattle, Wash., 98111, and denote the number of tickets requested. There is a limit of four tickets per order.

July 4: Kent's 4th of July Splash at Lake Meridian Park in Kent, Wash., starting at 8:30 p.m.

The ensemble will be performing a series of patriotic pieces including, "Yankee Doodle" and "American Salute" by Morton Gould, "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as arranged by Sammy Nestico, and "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

From Travis Air Force Base, Calif., the Band of the Golden West is a select group of professional Airmen-musicians who support the global Air Force mission by providing musical products and services for official military, recruiting, and community relations events, and by fostering America's rich national heritage. The Band of the Golden West Concert Band is the largest ensemble within the organization.

Touring the western states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada, the Concert Band performs a wide variety of music from standard concert band literature and military marches to jazz and pop arrangements, Broadway standards and patriotic music complete with instrumental soloists and featured vocalists.

The Air Force Band of the Golden West has performed for thousands of listeners in live concert appearances and for millions worldwide via its numerous recordings and television and radio broadcasts. Throughout its history, the concert band has collaborated with some of America's leading band conductors.

For more information on these performances, call (707) 424-2263 or visit www.bandofthegoldenwest.af.mil.

June 29, 2012 at 6:44am

McChord Airmen help deliver combat readiness

446th AW reservists practice decontamination procedures while wearing protective gear during a recent readiness exercise. Tech. Sgt. Elizbeth Moody

Tucked away in a small, easily overlooked office space in the wing headquarters building, is a team of reservists who have only four primary responsibilities - responsibilities that in the end tell the president this wing is ready when called.

The 446th Airlift Wing Combat Readiness Office, headed by Lt. Col. David Jeske, is a new function to the wing, as it is for all wings in Air Force Reserve Command.

Authorized in November 2011, combat readiness offices across the command are designed to plan, prepare, execute and assess the wing's readiness program.

"Our new combat readiness (office) has added tremendous resources to this wing," Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander, said. "Since we lost our plans section years ago, functions supporting readiness devolved to various functional areas without a single contact point.

"While much of the work was still being accomplished," Bowers said, "those tasks competed with workloads already being levied. This office now allows us to focus on wing readiness from a unit perspective."

As an air reserve technician, Jeske is the only full-time staff in the office, with three traditional reservists assigned.

According to Jeske, the office's primary responsibilities can be broken down into four areas - preparing the wing for inspections, preparing and coordinating all exercises, managing the exercise evaluation team, and serving as advisors to the wing commander on the state of the wing's readiness.

"Whether it's the ORI (operational readiness inspection), HSI (health services inspection), or a MARE (major accident response exercise), we play a role in all of those", Jeske said. "Our office will be responsible for coordinating the wings participation in all those exercises."

And with the ORI just around the corner, Jeske has his hands full right from the get go. "So I was either really, really good with my timing, or I have the worst timing in the world," he said.

In order to understand the wing's readiness and what exercises are needed to prepare the 446th AW Reservists for executing the mission, a team of evaluators are needed.

"I will be the chief of the EET, the wing's exercise evaluation team," Jeske said. "All of the other members of the office will be very strong members of the EET; each representing a very necessary and important facet of the EET."

Not only will the combat readiness office house records of the training for EET members, its personnel must accomplish their own training.

"Our office members have to complete all that training as well, and then some," Jeske said. "We looked the other day and there are 13 training courses required just for members of the combat readiness office. That's why it's very important who we select to be in the combat readiness office. Training from Air Force, AFRC, AMC (Air Mobility Command), Homeland Defense, and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). It has to do with everything from how to run an exercise, to emergency management, to how an EOC (emergency operations center) is set up. It really covers the gamut of everything you need to know to lead an EET in an exercise evaluation."

All the combat readiness office does rolls into their fourth responsibility, serving as advisors to the wing commander.

"That's probably the most complicated of the four," Jeske said. "Because everyone has a different idea of what readiness means. And there doesn't seem to be a single, specific definition of readiness. If (Colonel Bowers) gets a phone call tomorrow saying ‘We need 1,000 people to deploy to base X somewhere, is the 446th ready to go?' he'll be able to answer that immediately. To me that is readiness. My challenge is to give Col. Bowers the tools to give an answer that is ‘Yes, the 446th is ready to go right now.'"

Jeske was a key proponent for establishing combat readiness offices. As the executive officer for Brig. Gen. Mark Kyle, 4th Air Force commander, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Jeske primarily focused on readiness for more than five years.

"Having Lt. Col. David Jeske join our 446th AW team is a coup," Bowers said. He brings a wealth of experience and background that will not only make the 446 AW better, but it will improve team Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Jeske may have been influenced to come here from California because his daughter attends the University of Oregon. But it was the wing's reputation that sealed the deal.

"In some ways, I kind of feel like the folks of the 446th don't know how good they have it," Jeske said. "Having come from a different perspective, particularly from the (Numbered Air Force) where I saw all the wings, I kind of knew how well the folks in the 446th have it."

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