Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: April, 2013 (8) Currently Viewing: 1 - 8 of 8

April 6, 2013 at 6:47am

Voluntary separation programs continue through August

Eligible officers and enlisted members have until Aug. 1 to submit their application for separation under the fiscal 2013 voluntary force management programs, Air Force officials reminded Airmen today.

Announced in February, FY13 force management programs support the Air Force effort to reduce manning to the authorized end-strength by Sept. 30.

Officer programs, available for specific year groups and overage career fields, include 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.

Enlisted voluntary programs, for those 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.

Applications, due Aug. 1, must be submitted via the virtual MPF. Those approved for retirement must retire by Sept. 1. Separations must be completed by Sept. 29.

Airmen who separate or retire must attend the mandatory five-day Transition Assistance Program workshop. TAP helps Airmen prepare for post-military life, offering instruction and guidance on resume development, job hunting and more.

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

April 11, 2013 at 6:15am

New Air Force resources promote fitness culture

To help improve Total Force fitness levels, Air Force Personnel Center officials are fielding new fitness resources accessible online, in person or on DVD.

These resources, including the Operational Fitness Program, Xtreme Wednesday Workouts, the Air Force Fitness DVDs and the Fitness on Request kiosks are available to all Total Force Airmen, retirees and families, through base Fitness and Sports Centers and unit physical training leaders.

The Operational Fitness Program provides detailed exercise plans for individuals of all fitness levels and is easily accessible on www.usafservices.com.

"The goal of the program is to help maintain resilient Airmen and encourage healthy lifestyles for our Air Force communities at large," said Scott Nunnelly, the AFPC fitness program manager. "While the program isn't mandatory, it provides a great baseline for people to maintain their fitness throughout the year."

AFPC officials reached out to installation fitness and sports managers as well as exercise physiologists for their feedback to help develop the workout plans. Currently, the program offers detailed workouts for three levels of fitness:

Level One: Three bi-weekly routines that progressively become more difficult. The workouts build upon endurance, strength and power over the course of six weeks. This level is geared toward Airmen who need help passing their fitness test or those new to fitness.

Level Two: For those who already exercise regularly, this level provides an alternative plan to help maintain or increase their current fitness level. Workouts incorporate both bodyweight and light dumbbell exercises.

Level Three: For individuals at an advanced fitness level; an alternative to the commercial extreme conditioning programs. These rigorous workouts align with established fitness industry standards and guidelines to maintain safety. A challenging workout is provided daily and will be updated monthly to keep the workouts fresh.

AFPC's services team also joined forces with the Pentagon Channel and developed 20 new fitness shows for the "Fit for Duty" television series. Xtreme Wednesday Workouts can be located on the Pentagon Channel website at http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/. Shows began airing on TPC and the American Forces Network Jan. 2.

Airmen can download videos from the TPC website to build a customized workout library. The program features advanced strength and conditioning workouts geared toward Level 3 participants. The shows are also available through some cable providers.

The 20 workouts will also be developed into Air Force Fitness DVDs which will be available at base installations by late spring.

"These fitness programs allow members to follow or build their own program to meet their fitness goals," said Anthony Alcala, a fitness program specialist.

The next phase in this initiative is to deliver the Fitness on Request Kiosks to over 60 installations. This system will supplement existing group exercise programs or installations that can no longer fund their group exercise contract, Alcala said. Loaded with 30 pre-recorded classes, the kiosks will offer fitness centers the flexibility and convenience to offer more individual or group classes than before. Installations will receive kiosks by late summer, with the first deliveries slated for this month.

For more information on these new fitness resources and other quality of life programs, visit www.usafservices.com or www.myairforcelife.com. To set up a class, contact a local installation fitness center or unit physical training leader.

April 12, 2013 at 6:26am

62 APS Airman named AMC SNCO of the Year

Photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez

An Airman from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron here was recently named Air Mobility Command's Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

Senior Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 62nd APS air freight superintendent, was named the command's top SNCO in an announcement made by AMC late last month. The announcement means he will now go on to compete for that title at the Air Force level.

"Rendon was selected for this award, because of his outstanding performance, attitude, humility, passion and leadership as a senior NCO," said 1st Lt. Jason Loucks, 62nd APS air freight flight commander, and Rendon's supervisor. "He is the most well-rounded senior NCO I know."

One such example of Rendon's leadership was demonstrated when he assisted in averting a family crisis in which the wife of a deployed Airman required immediate medical care. As the Airmen's wife was unconscious and unable to provide consent for doctors to operate, Rendon took immediate action to get the deployed Airman in contact with the hospital in order to approve his wife's procedures. Rendon then helped to coordinate and secure travel arrangements for the Airman to return home to his wife in less than 48 hours.

Another of Rendon's accomplishments was managing the operation to load more than 20 civilian power trucks and support equipment onto C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Since they were not designed for transport on military aircraft, the vehicles and equipment had to be carefully weighed and measured before being loaded onto the C-17s. Rendon and his crew worked from the early morning to the late evening to ensure the vehicles were ready to get where they were needed.

"Since this was the first time these civilian teams were flying on military airplanes, all of their hazardous materials had to be certified by sergeant Rendon's team," said Lt. Col. Robert Farkas, 62nd APS commander. "This was a true cradle to grave operation and he made it look easy."

Rendon said he enjoys knowing that he has an opportunity to make an impact on Airmen's lives and that he tries his hardest to ensure the impact he makes is a positive one.

"I want to be known as a person who cares about my Airmen," said Rendon.

Loucks said he believes it is Rendon's selfless leadership that made him stand out for the award.

"Sergeant Rendon deserves this award because of the countless hours he's invested in taking care of Airmen and their families," Loucks said. "His leadership both motivates and inspires everyone he comes in contact with."

Rendon said he also recognizes the role that his coworkers played in receiving this award.

"I'm flattered, humbled, and thankful to be selected for this award," he said. "As a senior NCO, I know that I can only succeed if my team succeeds, and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of Airmen."

Photo: Senior Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron air freight superintendent, briefs Airmen from the Air Freight Flight, April 12, 2013 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Rendon was named the Air Mobility Command Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year for 2012.

April 16, 2013 at 6:32am

Drone medal dumped; high-tech troops to be honored with device

FROM ARMY TIMES...

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to scrap the controversial Distinguished Warfare Medal that was intended to honor drone pilots and other high-tech troops.

Just two months after its creation, Hagel said the Pentagon will replace the DWM with a device that can be attached to other previously existing medals.

Criticisms of the medal focused on its place in the military's official order of precedence. The DWM ranked above some traditional combat medals, including the Bronze Star with Valor device that is awarded for specific acts of bravery under fire.

SEE THE REST HERE

April 16, 2013 at 6:38am

Former Airman now NBA pro

Dallas Mavericks forward Bernard James warms up before a contest with the Sacramento Kings at the Sleep Train Arena, April 5, 2013.

The court was shining and cameras flashing as a crowd of thousands gathered in the Sleep Train Arena to watch the Dallas Mavericks duel the Sacramento Kings April 5.

Beale Airmen and 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, Col. Phil Stewart gathered to witness the contest and meet former 9th Security Forces Squadron, Staff Sgt.  Bernard James, who is now a forward on the Mavericks.

"Meeting Bernard James was a unique experience. His positive representation of the Air Force in the past and present remain steadfast," Stewart said. "I'd like to thank him for his service and wish him well during his career in the NBA."

An NBA court is a drastically different environment from Bernard's humble beginnings at the Harris Fitness Center here.

"Beale is where I started playing basketball and from there my opportunities opened up," James said. "I really appreciate the support from the Air Force. I wouldn't be where I am now without the Air Force."

His time in the Air Force was not always spent honing his skills within the safe confines of a gymnasium. Bernard has deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. While at Camp Bucca, Iraq, the Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran guarded detainees and survived a mortar attack which claimed the lives of six detainees. The life-threatening experience has not diminished Bernard's outlook on the military.

"My experiences in the Air Force and downrange have made me a better person," James said.
The 28-year-old NBA rookie was a high school dropout and joined the Air Force at 17. His experience was limited until he was advised by his supervisor to begin playing on an intramural squad. From there, he dedicated day after day to improving his skills.

"The Air Force instilled in me discipline, a hard working mentality, and a sense of direction," James said.

That sense of direction led him to the starting lineup for the Florida State Seminoles. As a senior in 2012 he led Florida State to its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in school history and to the NCAA tournament. During his senior campaign, the former Airman averaged a career-high 10.8 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game and 2.3 blocks per game. Later that year his dreams of becoming a NBA pro came true when he was selected 33rd overall in the 2012 draft.

"Being in the NBA is really crazy; my teammates are guys that are hall of famers that I used to watch on TV," James said. I get to step on the court and compete with players like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Lebron James. It's a great feeling, and great motivation to continue to work hard and get better."

April 16, 2013 at 6:39am

'Thunderbirds' announce 2014 officer selections

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Hostage III, has officially selected the officers who will be joining the United States Air Force Thunderbirds for the 2014 demonstration season.

Lt. Col. Matthew Bradley, 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron director of operations from Tyndall AFB, Fla., will become Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron's commander and lead pilot. As the twofold duty title implies, his responsibilities will include commanding a force of more than 100 enlisted service members and 11 commissioned officers assigned to the Thunderbirds, along with leading all demonstration flights. Bradley will replace Lt. Col. Greg Moseley.

Maj. Scott Petz, an F-16 pilot stationed here, will become Thunderbird No. 3, the team's right wing pilot. He will fly as close as 18 inches from the No. 1 jet during flight formations, demonstrating the teamwork and precision of America's Air Force. Petz will replace Maj. Caroline Jensen.

Capt. Ryan Wick, an F-22 pilot currently stationed at Langley AFB, Va., will become Thunderbird No. 6, the team's opposing solo pilot. The solo pilots perform maneuvers that showcase the maximum capabilities of the F-16 aircraft. Capt. Jason Curtis, the current opposing solo pilot, will transition to the lead solo position in 2014, replacing Maj. Blaine Jones.

Capt. Joshua Larsen, an F-16 pilot currently stationed at Shaw AFB, S.C., will become Thunderbird No. 8, the team's advance pilot and narrator. His duties will include advancing to show sites ahead of the team, coordinating logistical details with the local show organizers, and narrating to the crowd during performances. Larsen will replace Maj. Michael Fisher.

The team is still reviewing applications for the position of Thunderbird 9, the team's flight surgeon. An announcement will be made once the selection is finalized.

"All who applied demonstrated outstanding support to our Air Force and our nation," Moseley said. "After an extensive interview and selection process, I'm confident the future of the Thunderbirds is in good hands."

The 12 officer positions on the team are two-year tours of duty. By design, the position openings are staggered, allowing the squadron to maintain continuity of experience and leadership. In odd-numbered years, Thunderbird Nos. 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, and 12 are replaced.

The year 2014 will mark the Thunderbirds' 61st season as the Air Force's premier jet demonstration team. From mid-March till mid-November, the team travels around the country and abroad, showcasing the integrity, selfless service and excellence embodied by American Airmen everywhere.

April 17, 2013 at 6:48am

Air Force officials announce civilian Reduction in Force

 In a continuing effort to meet the Department of Defense funding targets in the FY12 President's Budget and re-balance the civilian workforce, approximately 60 Air Force installations will implement civilian Reduction in Force authorities effective through about Aug. 23, to assist in the placement of employees not assigned against funded positions (termed "surplus employees").

These actions started in FY12 and are not related to the current sequestration actions.

To meet the funding targets in the FY12 President's Budget, the Air Force was required to reduce more than 16,000 civilian positions. The Air Force was able to successfully reduce approximately 15,000 positions minimizing adverse impact to civilian personnel, but now needs to use RIF authorities, which will provide options to help place most of the remaining civilians on unfunded positions.

RIF procedures allow greater flexibilities for employees to be placed at their installations and still retain their grade or pay. In addition, the use of RIF procedures allows for eligible employees who cannot immediately be placed in local vacancies to be registered in the Priority Placement Program (PPP).

"Voluntary efforts to balance the civilian workforce in FY12 have gotten us significantly closer to funded levels, but we still have a way to go in placing the number of surplus employees to funded vacancies, and RIF authorities will enable us to achieve that goal," said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, the director of force management policy for the Air Force. "The Air Force recognizes and strives to balance the invaluable contributions of our civilian workforce with the fiscal realities under which the Department of Defense and the government as a whole are operating. We continue to focus on minimizing the impact on our current civilian workforce and their families."

As the Air Force continues to shape the work force, starting the RIF procedures will provide installations greater flexibilities to further realign and rebalance the civilian force.

"Usually a reduction in force has negative perception, but the use of RIF procedures will allow many employees to be retained and continue employment with the Air Force," Grosso said. "We want to assure everyone involved with this process that we remain committed to minimizing the impacts during these times of transition."

The processes available use reduction in force procedures to determine employee placement rights into vacancies as well as provide the flexibility to waive qualifications to create more placement options.

RIF implementation is separate from current sequestration actions.

For information about civilian employment, reduction in force and other personnel issues, visit the Air Force Personnel Service website at https://mypers.af.mil.

April 19, 2013 at 6:00am

Airman earns award for community service

Scott Hansen/JBLM PAO Airman 1st Class William Behl receives the 2012 United Way South Sound Hero Award for his CFC service from Col. Charles H. Hodges Jr.

As a boy, Airman 1st Class William Behl attended leadership training at summer camp in his home state of Wisconsin and learned four core values ­­­- respect, caring, honesty and responsibility.

In 2012 as a recent Air Force recruit, the 27 year old brought those values with him to Joint Base Lewis-McChord where he began to volunteer in the community after duty and on the weekends.

That community service and Behl's involvement with the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign of South Puget Sound earned him the 2012 South Sound Hero Award, presented April 9 by JBLM Commander Col. Charles H. Hodges Jr. at the annual United Way of Pierce County Community Celebration in downtown Tacoma.

"It feels so great," said a beaming Behl.

His involvement with CFC began last year when he gathered a team for a charity golf event at the American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Lakewood. He and his friends collected pledges to donate to a local nonprofit organization through CFC. Behl then coordinated a team and secured pledges for a charity bowling event and also raised $300 in one day for a 5K run to benefit the CFC.

Melanie Manista-Rushforth, director of CFC of South Puget Sound, began to take notice.

"(Behl) was a go-getter, he really was," she said. "He stood out as someone who made a big difference."

The CFC is the most successful annual workplace giving campaign thanks to the generosity of federal civilian employees and military service members. Pledges support eligible nonprofit organizations that provide basic needs and supportive services to communities locally, nationally and internationally.

Behl felt so strongly about the campaign that after being appointed the CFC flight representative for his squadron, he made sure to contact each of the 150 service members in his unit face-to-face to encourage them to give.

"I gave briefings before work and after work," he said. "I even talked to people that I didn't work with. I'd see people at the DFAC and tell them about the cause."

His enthusiasm and energy paid off, and in a span of six weeks Behl helped raise almost $5,000 for CFC. His hard work resulted in three different individuals nominating him for the 2012 South Sound Hero Award, something that Manista-Rushforth said has never happened before.

Behl continues his community service through Adopt-A-Highway cleanups with his squadron, working with Airmen Against Drunk Driving, reading to children at Carter Lake Elementary and serving as the secretary for McChord Field's Rising 4 Airmen's Council, a private organization fostering professional development and community involvement for all Airmen E-4 and below.

"I just want to help those in need," Behl said. "It's so fulfilling."

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