Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: February, 2013 (11) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 11

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 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 5, 2013 at 3:02pm

Pierce County ready to train aerospace workers

BOEING, and the rest of the aerospace cluster, will need many thousands of new workers in the Puget Sound region over the next few years. Not only will the manufacture of the 737 MAX and other aircraft require more than 20,000 workers, but the aerospace giant also will have to replace about half of its existing workforce who will become eligible for retirement in the next five to seven years. In turn, Boeing's increased production will generate a demand for workers from aerospace suppliers in the Puget Sound region.

To help provide these next-generation workers, Tacoma-Pierce County leaders are working with educators from high schools, community colleges and state universities to build a highly trained workforce.

Doing so, they believe, will ensure the aerospace industry in the Pacific Northwest continues to grow."Pierce County business and education leaders are champions of an educated workforce," says EDB President Bruce Kendall. "In aerospace and other cutting-edge industries education is our greatest competitive advantage. Actions are backing up these words as great strides are being made to ensure that market-focused training programs are in place and accessible to large and small aerospace companies and individuals seeking career opportunities."

Tacoma-Pierce County officials say local colleges are working hard to train qualified workers in composites, aerospace engineering, manufacturing and line/machinist work to meet this demand. Indeed, they add, enrollment has been steadily increasing and graduates are moving quickly into the workforce.

Here's a look at what some local schools offer:

* Pierce County Skills Centeroffers college training and certification for aviation maintenance technicians and aerospace composite technicians.

* Clover Park Technical College offers college training and certification for aviation maintenance technicians and airframe maintenance technicians.

* Bates Technical College offers college-level training and certification in machining, welding and composites.

* The Manufacturing Academy offers a nine-week, 35-credit program that is approved, taught and designed by local manufacturers and industry professionals.

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 13, 2013 at 3:42pm

New medal for drone pilots outranks Bronze Star


The Pentagon is creating a new high-level military medal that will recognize drone pilots and, in a controversial twist, giving it added clout by placing it above some traditional combat valor medals in the military's "order of precedence."

The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to pilots of unmanned aircraft, offensive cyber war experts or others who are directly involved in combat operations but who are not physically in theater and facing the physical risks that warfare historically entails.


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.

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