Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: February, 2013 (9) Currently Viewing: 1 - 9 of 9

February 1, 2013 at 2:17pm

8th AS deploys for overseas contingency

Capt. Chad Bridgeford, 8th Airlift Squadron pilot, spends time with his family before leaving for a 60-day deployment to Southwest Asia, Jan. 31, 2013, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The 8th AS, along with members of the 446th Airlift Wing, will be de

The 8th Airlift Squadron deployed Jan. 31 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

More than 60 Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 8th AS departed for a 60-day deployment to Southwest Asia. They will be accompanied by Airmen from the 446th AW at JBLM and others from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Airmen will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

"This will be our third deployment in the last 20 months," said Lt. Col. Harmon Lewis, 8th AS commander, who will also command the 817th EAS. "With the support of other units including our Reserve partners, the 446th AW, we will be supporting forces in Southwest Asia as the principle troop movement and also provide sustainment airdrops to troops in the more austere locations. We'll definitely stay busy, but it will surely make the days go by quickly."

For some Airmen, this will be the first deployment of their career and will put their training to use during the busy time.

"I'm really excited and eager to get out there," said Airman 1st Class Josh Beeler, 8th AS loadmaster from Alva, Okla. "I'm ready to gain more experience and build camaraderie with the rest of the squadron."

The 817th EAS will operate out of two bases, managing and flying missions concentrated in and around Southwest Asia. They are replacing the 10th AS, which is scheduled to return in early February.

The mission of the 817th EAS is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout the assigned areas of responsibility.

"This will be my first time flying in the combat zone and I look forward to it," said 1st Lt. Daniel Richardson, 8th AS pilot from Flint, Mich.

The 62nd AW's four active duty flying squadrons share responsibility for the deployed squadron and rotate operating the 817th EAS continuously. The deployments allow Air Mobility Command to consistently position assets closer to the action.

February 1, 2013 at 2:19pm

The new Air Force inspection program

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- In 2010, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz tasked the Air Force inspector general to give the Air Force inspection program a major overhaul. You may have noticed a few changes as a result, such as the implementation of the Consolidated Unit Inspection. The overall goal of the CUI was to combine and integrate multiple inspections, thereby freeing up 'white space' on the calendar to allow commanders more time to focus on training and readiness.
 
Another significant change was the adoption of the Management Internal Control Toolset. MICT is a program that takes self-assessment to a whole new level. As units complete compliance checklists in MICT, they are required to not only self-identify deficiencies, but they must also develop and upload corrective action plans in order to demonstrate compliance.
 
Just when you were getting used to the idea of CUIs and MICT, the Air Force inspection system is evolving yet again. Air Force leadership is finalizing plans to implement another major change to the inspection system. The new system, called the Commander's Inspection Program (CCIP), is designed to ensure units are mission ready at all times.

Under CCIP, the wing will undergo a continuous evaluation cycle, thereby eliminating the need to ramp up inspection prep every few years. The new philosophy is "mission-ready is inspection-ready." At the local level the wing IG will continually validate and verify data input into MICT through a combination of scheduled, short notice, and no-notice inspections. The major command IG will virtually inspect a sampling of units and programs within MICT, and only visit our wing one week every two years to conduct a hands-on inspection. This inspection, called the Unit Effectiveness Inspection, will replace all compliance and readiness inspections altogether.

So what does this mean to you? Greater emphasis will be placed on commanders and supervisors to ensure units are mission-ready at all times. Simply put, you will no longer take extraordinary efforts to prepare your office for an inspection, because you should assume that your unit is always being looked at!

There is still a lot to be revealed about the new inspection system, and you can expect more information to come in the following months. Ultimately, the focus will be on obtaining more 'white space' on the calendar, eliminating inspection prep, and achieving steady-state mission readiness.

February 5, 2013 at 11:21am

AF implements voluntary FY13 force management programs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force will implement several voluntary officer and enlisted force management programs for fiscal year 2013, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced today.

Announced in the January release of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2013, the authorized active duty Air Force end-strength is 329,460; a reduction of 3,340 authorized personnel from fiscal 2012. In order to meet congressionally-mandated end-strength by Sept. 30, the Air Force will continue executing its multi-year force management strategy, said Lt. Col. Letitia Marsh, Headquarters Air Force Separation and Retirement Policy Branch chief.

For officers, voluntary measures will be offered in certain year groups and overage career fields to allow for time in grade waivers for eligible lieutenant colonels, limited active duty service commitment waivers, Palace Chase transfers to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve, and the 10 to 8 Commissioned Years of Service Waiver program.

For enlisted members, voluntary programs open to Airmen who are not in critical specialties include limited active-duty service commitment and time-in-grade waivers, waivers to enlistment contracts, and Palace Chase transfers to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve.

All applications must be submitted, via the virtual MPF, by Aug. 1, 2013. Approved separations must be complete by Sept. 29 and those approved to retire must do so by Sept. 1, 2013.

Voluntary force management program applicants may be required to repay the Air Force for monetary value of an active duty service commitment incurring event, depending on the program.

"For example, Airmen approved for Palace Chase transfers to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve will not have to repay the service for such benefits as tuition assistance or transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits under most circumstances," said Maj. Michael Meek, Air Force Personnel Center Retirements and Separations Branch chief. "But Airmen need to carefully read the information on each program to ensure they understand which active duty service commitment waivers require repayment."

Although all Airmen may apply, some active-duty service commitment waivers will not be approved, including those incurred for undergraduate and advanced pilot training, Meek said.

Force management programs enable the Air Force to reduce overmanned fields in order to better utilize Air Force resources.

"As we execute this year's voluntary force management strategy, the Air Force will continue to assess the need for additional voluntary and involuntary force management measures in order to meet authorized end strength levels in current and future fiscal years," Marsh said.

Airmen who transition through a force management program are eligible for, and highly-encouraged to attend, the new five-day Transition Assistance Program workshop, Marsh said. The program offers significant assistance to help people prepare for post-military life. In addition to resume development, job-hunting tips, education counseling and networking support, the new program offers one-on-one counseling to help Airmen develop comprehensive individual transition plans.

Full eligibility requirements and application procedures for officer and enlisted programs are available on the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil. Enter PSDM 13-09 in the search window for officer FM programs and PSDM 13-10 for enlisted programs.

February 5, 2013 at 2:26pm

McChord Reservist helps out in France

Air Force Airmen load a C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 23, 2013 in Istres, France, with French soldiers and cargo in support of France's efforts to increase their presence in Mali where their fighting Islamic extremists who have taken control of much of northe

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- A simple phone call can change everything.

Less than eight hours after receiving the call to manage U.S. airlift operations in support of French efforts against extremist forces in Mali, Lt. Col. Ben Morley was on the road.

On Jan. 20, mere hours after the call, he landed in Istres, France, where he began a whirlwind series of up to 20-hour days managing the complicated logistics of transporting French troops and equipment to the war-torn African nation.

"As an operations mission commander, my team and I routinely work complex logistics issues," said Morley, an Air Reserve technician with the 446th Airlift Wing and assistant operations manager for the 313th Airlift Squadron here. "That includes hotels, transportation, communication, meals; all the things aircrews need when they get to a location."

Setting up for the operation wasn't easy and Morley's small team had its work cut out for it. Early on, many people on the team had to take on multiple roles to get the job done. One challenge in particular illustrates the importance of teamwork in accomplishing the mission.

"We had to divert a crew to an alternate airfield when they came back from their mission due to high winds," said Morley, who has been a member of the 446th AW since 2000. "During their crew rest at the alternate location our team prepped a jet here with cargo and fuel. We coordinated crew paperwork, meals, et cetera. so when they finally returned they simply transferred over to the new jet and completed the mission."

Morley, a 23-year veteran with more than 4,000 flying hours said that for him, the most challenging aspect of the mission was the short-notice tasks driven by real-world necessity.

"As operations mission commander, I take the best strategic level planning from Air Force and joint headquarters, then execute the plan," Morley said. "We match up the aircrews and jets that are on station and we press the button."

The operation, which began Jan. 21, is part of a U.S. Africa Command effort to help France and other partner nations resolve the security situation in Mali. U.S. aircraft are airlifting French army personnel into Mali at the request of the French government. To date, those efforts have so far resulted in nearly 50 missions transporting more than 1,100 tons of cargo and more than 900 passengers.

February 6, 2013 at 2:25pm

McChord Airmen win media awards

Air Mobility Command named its top PAO awardees today in a news report including Airmen from McChord on the winner's stand.  The following are how local Airmen finished.


Feature Article 
1st: A1C Samuel Taylor, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover AFB, Delaware
2nd: TSgt (then SSgt) Sean Tobin, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
3rd: A1C Madelyn Brown, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, California

Graphics Illustration 
1st: Ms. Adamarie Lewis-Page, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
2nd: SrA Luis Loza Gutierrez, 319th Air Base Wing, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota
3rd: SSgt Angela Ruiz, 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill AFB, Florida

Graphics Layout and Design 
 1st: A1C Thomas Brading, 628th Air Base Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina
 2nd: SSgt John Ayre, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, California
 3rd: Ms. Adamarie Lewis-Page, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
 
Documentation Photograph
1st: SrA Tristin English, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott AFB, Illinois
2nd: TSgt (then SSgt) Sean Tobin, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
3rd: TSgt Parker Gyokeres, 621st Contingency Response Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
 
Sports Photograph 
1st: TSgt Parker Gyokeres, 621st Contingency Response Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
2nd: TSgt (then SSgt) Sean Tobin, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
3rd: SSgt Ryan Crane, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott AFB, Illinois

February 7, 2013 at 2:31pm

McChord Airmen participate in Mali airlift operations

BAMAKO, Mali -- French soldiers leave a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in Bamako, Mali, Jan. 23, 2013. The C-17 is assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Richardson)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Since Jan. 21, when the U.S. began operations to support French efforts against extremist forces in Mali, U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft have flown nearly 60 missions, transporting more than 1,200 tons of cargo and more than 950 passengers into the region.

More than 30 of those missions have been completed by Airmen and aircraft from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings here.

"This has truly been a great opportunity to support our allies," said Maj. Joshua Pieper, 62nd Airlift Wing Plans and Programs chief of exercises and evaluations, currently working as the stage manager and chief of stage tactics in Istres, France. "The French Air Force has been extremely flexible and motivated partners in supporting of our C-17 missions."

Pieper, along with other aircrew members, maintainers and support personnel, departed McChord Field within eight hours of being notified. Upon their arrival to Istres, they quickly got to work setting up a base of operations. This required the team to overcome some obstacles first, since Istres is not a typical staging location for McChord aircraft.

"When we first arrived, we had no DSN or network capabilities," he said. "We relied on local cell phones and the French military's equipment to help manage our assets and contact our command and control."

Eventually, members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. and Travis AFB, Calif. were able to install equipment which enhanced communications.

Soon after, the team went to work, transporting French soldiers and military equipment from Istres to Bamako, Mali.

"The best part of this mission is being able to take part in something important and being able to say, 'I was there. I helped make that happen,'" said Airman 1st Class Evan Rosenboom, 62nd Operations Support Squadron aviation resource management journeymen.

Since the start of the airlift missions, the U.S. and French teams have worked closely together to prepare and load equipment onto the C-17s.

"It's a good thing for us to work together on things like this, because we want to be an asset to the operation, not a hindrance," said French air force Maj. Eric Chabaud, who is the chief of aircraft services in Istres. "We have a very good relationship with the Americans here right now and we help them any time we can."

Though the team does not know how long they'll be in Istres, they remain ready to do whatever it takes to carry out the mission.

"We will continue to work closely with and support France and other partner nations to resolve the security situation in Mali," said Pieper.

February 22, 2013 at 1:45pm

Reservist helps save life of baby in cardiac arrest

Photo by Airman 1st Class Madelyn McCullough Airman 1st Class Barrett Rayan, 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, is nearly half-way through his medical technician training and recently helped save his first life by performing CPR on a baby when it w

A 446th Airlift Wing Reservist saved his first life when a baby went into cardiac arrest the morning of Feb. 12 at the Madigan Army Medical Center emergency room.

Airman 1st Class Barrett Rayan, aeromedical evacuation technician with the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and in training at MAMC, was near the end of his 12-hour night shift when a baby was rushed in with low oxygen levels.

"The baby was having what are called retractions, which looks like their skin is being sucked under their ribs because they are trying aggressively to breathe," Rayan said.

In the ER, a team of two resident doctors, an attending physician, three nurses and Rayan, the only medic, began pumping oxygen into the infant's lungs to try and raise his oxygen level back to normal.

Multiple efforts were made to insert tubes and create an airway for him but nothing was working. They had to insert a paralytic so that the baby's muscles relaxed enough to accept the tubing. When doing so, the doctor knew the baby's oxygen level would plummet, but he was not expecting cardiac arrest.

"The baby turned blue," Rayan said. "I saw his O-2 (oxygen) stats hit zero; zero oxygen."

It's a rare occurrence, he said. One nurse, who'd been working in the ER for five years, had never before seen a pediatric cardiac arrest.

To keep the child's heart beating, they had to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, which is different than doing CPR on an adult. On an infant, CPR requires wrapping hands around the baby's body and place thumbs on the chest.

Rayan, who has never done CPR on a live person before, took the second turn.

"They told me I was up next and I went in," he said. "Your training kind of takes over when you're in a situation like that."

After continuous compressions at 100 beats per minute for nearly 15 minutes, the baby's body finally accepted the tubes. He could breathe normally again and his oxygen levels shot back up to the healthy level.

Aside from the shaky start, the effort was a success and the team handled it the best way an emergency situation can be handled, Rayan said. Everyone stayed calm, on point, and did what they needed to do.

"The fact that they can do their job and yet still keep such a lighthearted mood in such a serious situation is a really important thing because if the kid had not made it, it's hard on a lot of people," he said.

Rayan has been at Madigan nearly three weeks out of the three-month training period he is assigned. So far he has completed five-and-a-half months of medical technical training and six weeks of training at a hospital. He still has seven months of training left.

"It's a good feeling knowing everything I learned really can make a difference," he said. "We have a lot of info we have to learn during tech school; it's very fast-paced. When the time comes you either know or you don't, and I knew."

February 22, 2013 at 1:46pm

Carey Theater films to go digital

For the last three years moviegoers at JBLM's Carey Theater have enjoyed state-of-the-art sound.

Starting March 9 an upgrade to the movie's picture will match the $150,000 sound system. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is upgrading the 62-year-old theater on Lewis Main with digital cinema to offer a larger, sharper picture and 3-D capabilities.

"Even though the picture was good, it wasn't digital," said Patrick McGhee, JBLM Exchange general manager. "We have the picture to match the sound."

The $120,000 conversion will start March 6 and will not affect the movie schedule. The upgraded feature will debut March 9 with a to-be-determined film.

Carey Theater has used 35mm film reels the last 50-plus years to show movies. When movie reels arrived at the theater it took nearly four hours to manually load the film onto house movie reels and organize them for show time. Depending on the length of a film, some movies can use up to six reels. A theater employee has to manually switch the reels seamlessly while the film is playing.

The old equipment will be replaced with what McGhee calls a "very expensive DVD player." Once a movie is requested it will be downloaded to the theater's system and programed to start up to two weeks in advance, said Paul Claxton, Lewis Main Mini Mall Food Court manager who oversees 17 JBLM facilities in 11 different buildings, including Carey Theater.

The new system will eliminate the cost of shipping to return movies, as well as maintenance and upgrades to the 35mm machines.

A larger silver screen will also be installed to show 3-D films.

After the digital upgrade movie prices will increase 25 cents. The new prices will be $3 per adult and $1.50 per child for regular films and $5 per adult and $3.50 per child for 3-D films. The Exchange offers movies every weekend that are typically two weeks after a movie's release date. About once a month Carey Theater offers a studio appreciation free movie before it is released to off-base theaters. The theater's concessions are 20 percent less than off-base theaters.

Carey Theater houses 933 seats as well as wheelchair seating. The theater underwent a $3.7 million renovation in 2008 to upgrade the seating, install LED aisle seating strips and undergo structural improvements.

The theater includes a stage and is also used for other purposes besides movies. It is named in memory of Staff Sgt. Alvin P. Carey who was killed in action Aug. 23, 1944.

February 26, 2013 at 1:47pm

Potential furloughs could hit Reserve wing workforce

If sequestration is triggered this week, unpaid furloughs for civilian Defense Department employees will start in late April, Pentagon officials said here today.
Those furloughs would include potentially 246 employees in the 446th Airlift Wing, most who are air reserve technicians.

Sequestration is a provision in budget law that will trigger major across-the-board spending cuts March 1 unless Congress agrees on an alternative.

DOD Comptroller Robert F. Hale told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that if sequestration happens, the department will cut virtually every program and investment, and that almost all civilian employees will feel the pain.

Jessica L. Wright, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said that sequestration and the continuing resolution -- a temporary funding measure for the federal government that's set to expire March 27 -- also will have a devastating on military personnel.

"But on our civilians, it will be catastrophic," she added.

"If the full 22 day furlough is implemented," said Caron Hardy, 446th AW budget officer, "that would have a $32.4 thousand impact on our people per month."

The expected furlough would be four days a month (two days per pay period) starting in late April through at least the end of the fiscal year.

"Everything is going to be affected, should sequestration go in effect," Wright said. "That's a guarantee. I think that everybody will be impacted by this action. And I think its incumbent upon us to try to ease that where we can."

The department already has taken actions to alleviate some of the pressures. DOD has slowed spending, instituted a hiring freeze, ordered layoffs for temporary and term employees and cut back base operations and maintenance.

If sequestration hits, this pain will seem minor by comparison. Operations and maintenance funding is the only way to provide the $47 billion in required cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Within a year, two-thirds of the Army combat brigade teams will be at unacceptable levels of readiness, Hale said. Most Air Force units not deployed will be at an unsatisfactory readiness level by the end of the year. Navy and Marine Corps readiness also suffer, Hale said.

The process of furloughing civilians began today, with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta sending notification to Congress. "That starts a 45-day clock ticking, and until that clock has run out, we cannot proceed with furloughs," Hale explained.
If sequester happens, each employee will be notified. "That starts a 30-day clock -- waiting period -- before we can take any action," the comptroller said. "The bottom line is furloughs would not actually start for DOD employees until late April, and we certainly hope that ... in the interim, Congress will act to de-trigger sequestration."

The vast majority of DOD's almost 800,000 civilian employees will be furloughed, Wright said. DOD civilians in a war zone and political appointees who are confirmed by the Senate will not be furloughed. Nonappropriated fund employees and local national employees will not be affected.

Limited exceptions will be made for the purposes of safety of life and health, Wright said, such as firefighters and police. And if a military hospital has only one neonatal nurse, for example, that person could be exempted, she added.

While military personnel accounts are exempt from sequestration, there will be second- and third-order effects, Wright said. For example, hours at exchanges and commissaries could be affected, and family programs could be reduced or cut. It is unclear at this point how DOD Education Activity schools will be affected.

The spending cuts will affect military health care, as some 40 percent of the personnel working in the system are civilians. Elective surgeries could be delayed or eliminated, and costs cannot be shifted to the TRICARE military health plan, because that program also will be hit by cuts.

Affected employees would be furloughed for 22 discontinuous days -- 176 hours -- between implementation and the end of fiscal 2013, with no more than 16 furlough hours per pay period.

Fiscal 2013 is just the beginning of a decade of budgetary problems, Hale said.
"The Budget Control Act actually requires that the caps on discretionary funding beyond fiscal '13 be lowered for defense by $50 billion to $55 billion a year," he said. "If those come to pass, then we will have to look at a new defense strategy. That would be the first thing that we'd do."

The new strategy would accept more risk and also be based on having a smaller military.

For now, officials "devoutly would wish for some budget stability right now," Hale said. "And I think it would benefit the department and the nation."

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