Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: December, 2016 (11) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 11

December 1, 2016 at 12:47pm

62nd Airlift Wing commander's call

Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, speaks to Team McChord airmen about mission priorities during a commander’s call Nov. 22 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

McChord Field is about a legacy of excellence, innovation and respect," said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, during his opening remarks at the Nov. 22 62nd AW commander's call conducted at the base theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

Kosinski talked about the 62nd AW missions and priorities, as well as hosted a question and answer session utilizing a phone application that allowed airmen to text in their questions and receive immediate answers there on the spot.

Expanding on those missions and priorities, Kosinski talked about the 62nd AW mission of delivering safe and reliable global airlift.

He shared a story in which both he and Chief Master Sgt. Tico Mazid, 62nd AW command chief, conducted a recent mission to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, to deliver cargo and switch out a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

Not only were they able to conduct the McChord mission firsthand, but during the mission they received an additional tasking of conducting a dignified transfer of a servicemember's remains.

"It was a sobering reminder of the solemn things we do as a profession of arms," said Kosinski.

He went on to talk about each one of the wing's major priorities.

"Our top priority here, which is the top priority for Air Mobility Command, is the nuclear mission. We are the only unit (in the Air Force) that does this prime nuclear airlift force. There is a small (percentage) of McChord that is hands-on with this mission, but it cannot be done without the entire joint-base efforts."

During their mission to Al Udeid, Kosinski and Mazid had several stops along the way at various bases where they were able to see many other McChord Field airmen carrying out the mission.

"Trusted, responsive worldwide airlift is something we are known for at McChord," said Kosinski. "Flying around we saw a lot of (McChord) tails on the ramps. Our reputation for this is pretty significant."

"When (people) see a McChord tail they know that the aircraft will be in great shape, it will have a great crew and that mission is going to get done. That's something the legacy of the airmen before us have built."  

Kosinski acknowledged the importance of the mission and what really gets the mission accomplished.

"All of our missions are important, but they are not accomplished without developing and taking care of our airmen. That's something that is very important to the entire 62nd AW leadership team," said Kosinski.

The wing commander went on to discuss programs and opportunities available to airmen here at JBLM.

Highlighting the fact that due to the unique environment of JBLM, airmen here have many more opportunities afforded to them than they would at other bases.

"Joint-basing is about building partnerships and it's what we do every day, whether you are living next  to soldiers or you're working with them, these partnerships are made and strengthened every day," said Kosinski.  "Our C-17s were made to take soldiers and equipment into combat and working here in a garrison environment gives us a lot of opportunities for great innovation on how we can that done."

To wrap up his discussion about priorities, Kosinski talked about how airmen should treat each other.

"The bottom line of everything we do is treating everyone with dignity and respect. This is a job I love doing, I love coming to work meeting airmen and I love seeing this dignity and respect at every work station I go to," said Kosinski.

"But, I'm not so naive to think we are perfect. I know there are always going to be some folks out there that don't get it and I appreciate the majority of us who are correcting them and do not tolerate it."

"Whether you are a senior ranking member, a junior ranking member or whether you are a peer, make sure you are keeping that culture of dignity and respect."

The 62nd AW has two upcoming inspections in December and January. Kosinski gave some guidance on how airmen should handle the process.

"For those who have been in a while, we can remember the days when we would have a big inspection and we would prepare for the inspectors," said Kosinski. "We would put on a big show, but now this has changed. It is a much different program and I think a much better program. What matters now is what you have been doing these last two years."

The foot print of the inspectors should be small, but the 62nd AW, the 627th Air Base Group and the 446th AW will all have inspections going on at the same time.

"We shouldn't have to do anything different, just do the mission the best we can."

For the second time at a 62nd AW commander's call, a cell phone application allowed airmen in attendance to text in questions that could be immediately answered by the commander. The program also allowed for real-time results for survey questions proposed by the commander.

Questions ranged from manning at the McChord Field gates, food options on the flight line, the new hours for the McChord Shoppette and how individuals can help with the upcoming inspections.

Kosinski closed the commander's call by thanking the 62nd AW airmen for what they do.

"Thank you for what you have done, what you are currently doing and what you will continue to do in serving our nation."

December 2, 2016 at 9:21am

USO's number one volunteer for 2016

Don Linegang, USO Northwest executive director, presents Wayne Jackson, USO Northwest Shali Center volunteer, the USO Northwest Volunteer of the Year Award for his volunteer work at the Shali Center. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

The McChord Field USO Northwest Shali Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently recognized a longtime volunteer for outstanding service Nov. 28.

Wayne Jackson, USO Northwest Shali Center volunteer and retired Army staff sergeant, was awarded the USO Northwest Volunteer of the Year Award and a gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for his many hours of volunteer service at the JBLM USO on McChord Field.

Jackson was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year award for completing the most amount of volunteer hours in a year.

He was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing more than 500 hours of volunteer service in a year.

In total, Jackson has completed more than 2,000 volunteer hours this year at the Shali Center and more than 6,500 hours in total in his 10 years volunteering here.

"I think everybody should give back, whether it be to the military or homeless," said Jackson. "My goal is ten thousand volunteer hours. I will do this until I can't do it anymore."

Jackson said he enjoys volunteering at the USO for the opportunity to work with JBLM servicemembers.

"The most rewarding part of this is to see the smiles on their faces," said Jackson. "I love seeing them joking around and relaxing."

Because the food and services provided by the USO are free, Jackson said he thinks the help he provides makes a difference.

"This really benefits the lower enlisted," said Jackson. "Here they can get a free lunch and this provides a place for them to have a short break from work to socialize and eat."

Andrew Oczkewicz, USO Northwest Shali Center director of operations, said Jackson's contributions to the USO have been indispensable

"He is my early morning go-to guy if someone gets sick," said Oczkewicz. "He never says no and he goes above and beyond what we ask of him."

Jackson said volunteering for the USO is more fun than it is work.

"I get to joke with airmen and soldiers and they enjoy interacting with me," said Jackson. "I've had so many people shake my hand and thank me, it's thrilling. The servicemen and women here appreciate what we do." 

December 2, 2016 at 9:59am

Washington Guard in China

As part of the U.S.-China Disaster Management Exchange, Maj. Gen. Gregory Bilton, the deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Pacific, visited the Dianchi Lake Nov. 14 in Kunming, China. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin

KUNMING, China - Servicemembers and civilians from across the U.S. Army Pacific, including here in Washington state, participated alongside members of the Peoples Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China for the 12th annual U.S.-China Disaster Management Exchange Nov. 13-19 at Kunming, China.

The DME allowed the participants the opportunity to share humanitarian aid/disaster response lessons learned from real-world events to further develop the capacity to cooperate in the Pacific region. With both countries susceptible to major natural disasters, the event was a great opportunity to improve the abilities of both militaries to respond cooperatively.

Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, said that he was confident the participants would benefit from the exchange, giving their individual skills and building collective capability.

"This event has evolved through the years to the point where it serves as an inspiration for what we can accomplish if we work together," said Brown. "Since its inception nineteen years ago, this disaster management exchange has made gradual gains that have ultimately helped us get to this point. It remains undeniably clear that when we work side-by-side to solve problems and strengthen our partnership with one another, we assure peace, prosperity and security."

Throughout the exchange, leaders and experts from the PLA, USARPAC, 8th Theater Sustainment Command and 130th Engineer Brigade, visited various agencies involved with disaster management to include the Experimental Base of Seismological Bureau of the Yunnan Province, the Command Center of Civil Affairs Disaster Relief of Yunnan Province, emergency shelters in Baohai Park and the Kunming Reserve Base of Civil Affairs.

During the visits, the personnel held dialogue and exchanged information regarding civil affairs, disaster relief and how they will work together to improve their ability to save lives, protect property and collectively better prepare for the next major disaster in the Asia-Pacific.

"This kind of exchange acts as a bridge to promote relations between the two militaries, and I am sure it will be conducted in an even higher level in the future," said Lt. Gen. Liu Xaiowu, commander of PLA's Southern Theater Command.

The DME consisted of several stages that included an expert academic exchange, a command post exchange and practical field training exchange, all responding to the impacts of a devastating earthquake in a fictitious country.

"Being able to share ideas during the command post exchange and see my soldiers demonstrate some of their skills and equipment capabilities during the practical field exchange were invaluable experiences," said Col. Danielle Ngo, commander of the 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

Each stage was strategically designed to foster communications and the sharing of knowledge and skills between soldiers of the PLA and USARPAC.

Representatives from USARPAC, 8th TSC, 130th Engineer Brigade; the Northern Warfare Training Center, 18th Medical Command; and Pacific Ocean Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, worked daily throughout the DME to develop relationships with their Chinese counterparts. Also attending the DME were soldiers and representatives from the 19th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), 141st Civil Engineer Squadron of the Washington Air National Guard, Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Aid and 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

"If a disaster is large in scope and scale, there is a higher probability that more than one nation's military will be involved," said Ngo. "That is why it is so important to have activities like the DME to strengthen our relationships, improve our ability to save lives and collectively better prepare for the next major disaster in the Asia-Pacific."

Upon completion, the soldiers of both the PLA and USARPAC considered the exchange of skills and information to be a valuable experience in preparation for future natural disasters.

"It has been a very successful exchange of ideas between our two militaries and it will definitely benefit us in the future," said Cpt. Jeremy Reynolds, S4 officer in charge for the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade.

December 2, 2016 at 10:12am

Team McChord hosts Hearts Apart dinner

Senior Master Sgt. Jess Houk (left), 62nd Comptroller Squadron superintendent, serves food to airmen and their families during the Hearts Apart dinner Nov. 17 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

The McChord Field chapel staff, the 62nd Comptroller Squadron and Team McChord Leadership hosted a Hearts Apart dinner Nov. 17 at the McChord Chapel located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The dinner was hosted for airmen and their families who are recently, currently or soon to be deployed or assigned to a temporary duty assignment.

Different from previous deployed spouse's dinners, the Hearts Apart dinner was the first of its kind on McChord.

"Why this was called Hearts Apart instead of deployed family dinner was to open it up to encompass all of the airmen and the families that have gone TDY and on short deployments throughout the year," said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Keenan, 62nd Comptroller Squadron financial analysis flight commander and Hearts Apart dinner coordinator. "We want this to be all inclusive."

The dinner was attended by more than 50 airmen and their families who were provided a catered meal by.

"This was less formal than other events and was really just about enjoying your family," said Keenan. "It was as simple as families not having to worry about cooking dinner and spending some extra time with their loved ones."

The dinner kicked off with participants ordering a meal from leadership, who in return delivered meals to their table.

"I've been here ten years and I've never had the opportunity to come to one of these," said Charlene Ybarra, spouse of Tech. Sgt. Brandon Ybarra, 4th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. "This makes me really feel loved and appreciated."

Tailoring to children of different ages, there were a number of games for children to participate in. Games included spin art and other carnival games. Children were also given free cotton candy and popcorn.

"I thought this was great. The kids had a blast," said Ybarra. "There was a lot of activities for them to do and it was nice that they could do it all together."

In addition to games for children, parents were entered into a raffle for a variety of gift packages.

"People really liked the raffle prizes and everyone really enjoyed themselves," said Keenan. "This is really important to show that we care about family members and we know what a big part they play."   

For more information on McChord Field Chapel sponsored events, contact the chapel at 253.982.5556.

December 12, 2016 at 5:31pm

Close Air Support Detachment operated at McChord for 25 years

In this 2015 photo, Close Air Support Detachment flight chief Master Sgt. Dave Knesek stands by a sign that once marked CAS Det 1, which operated at McChord Field from 1990 until 2015. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Paul Rider/Released

For a quarter century, the Close Air Support Detachment at McChord Field hosted aircrews and maintained visiting aircraft from near and far. Its small team welcomed military personnel from the U.S. and abroad to the Pacific Northwest, aided with homeland security and counterdrug operations, and facilitated training for thousands of service men and women. Before the unit was deactivated late in 2015, the detachment consisted of a long-serving trio of Air Guardsmen: flight chief Master Sgt. Dave Knesek, aircraft supervisor Senior Master Sgt. John Kennedy, and ground support equipment supervisor Tech. Sgt. Stephen Werner.

On Jan. 8, 1990, the Air Force approved a Tactical Air Command proposal for a Close Air Support detachment to host Air Force fighter units and Army ground maneuver units. The detachment was to serve the northwestern U.S. "year-round, handling deployments up to three weeks in duration, and providing opportunities for realistic training exercises for the Army," TAC Commander Gen. Robert Russ wrote to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Larry D. Welch. "Aircraft, aircrews, support personnel and spares would be provided by the deploying unit and Active/ARC units from all services would be encouraged to participate."

CAS Detachment 1 was activated July 1, 1990, followed by the formation of the DET 1 Aircraft Generation Flight in February 1991 to provide maintenance services. "We owned every building you see north to south," Knesek said from the former CAS DET facility on the edge of McChord Field. "We were the lead group to get it going." BB Bredeson was the first DET superintendent, followed by Jim Phillips and John Kennedy, according to retired Lt. Col. Henry Bomhoff, who oversaw the CAS team from the Air Guard's Mission Support Group for several years.

DET 1 was responsible over the years for thousands of sorties. For its first five years, it averaged 1,250 sorties per year, according to a 1996 fact sheet.

There were repeated attempts through the early to mid-1990s to establish an A/OA-10 unit at McChord to support training needs for the Army and Army Guard, according to records provided by Knesek. Before that, in the late 1980s, the Washington Air National Guard had expanded its air support capabilities to include the 111th Air Support Operations Center, raising hopes among Guard leaders for a full A-10 unit, wrote Dan Voelpel in a 1988 article in the Tacoma News Tribune. The A-10 plans fell through, but the 111th continues to this day, and the CAS DET lasted until 2015.

Shortly after the launch of the CAS DET in 1991, Mount Pinotubo in the Philippines erupted, shutting down Clark Air Force Base on Luzon Island. Some military personnel and retirees who had been living or stationed in the Philippines made their way back to the U.S. via McChord, along with their pets. "Planes would land with crates of animals. Retirees signed in at the tower. For a few days we worked C-130s out of here with animals on board," said Knesek.

The CAS DET served A/OA-10 crews, as well as F-15 crews from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland and F-16 crews from the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson. "We had to stay current on all the airplanes," said Knesek. At Knesek's retirement Jan. 10, Lt. Col. Johan Deutscher, commander of the 194th Mission Support Group, described Knesek's "huge, huge passion for aviation."

Civilian agencies such as the FBI, Washington State Patrol, and counterdrug agencies also made use of the DET. "We did an amazing amount of counterdrug work," said Knesek.

Politicians and foreign militaries used the DET. "We had Al Gore recover on echo ramp. We had the Filipino Air Force train with us. We had German F4s come out to train," said Knesek.

Following the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001, the CAS DET stood up an alert facility. F-15s from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland were stationed at McChord for nine months, said Knesek.

Without the CAS DET, "we wouldn't have been able to protect the homeland the way we did after 9/11," said Deutscher.

Around 2009, the DET started working with special operations units, hosting the Marine Corps' MV-22 Osprey and the Army's OH-58 Kiowa, said Knesek.

Knesek, Kennedy and Werner took pride in serving whoever showed up at McChord, said Knesek. "Our motto since day one was whether you were a one-striper or a four-star, you'll be treated the same way," said Knesek. "I even bought lunch for a kid just out of basic training who was coming through."

"What really made Dave stand out was his care for the many troops who came into McChord," said Brig. Gen. John Tuohy, assistant adjutant general for the Washington Air National Guard, at Knesek's retirement Jan. 10.

Operating on a small budget, the CAS DET found ways to save money and maximize hospitality. "We saved the government millions of dollars," said Knesek. "Everything we had we found. We asked the marines coming in for toilet paper and they asked for printer toner," said Knesek. "We used to charge optional ‘landing fees' for end of deployment functions, like food. The F-16 guys from Texas made awesome tacos. We held barbeques in the alert bays."

The CAS DET team was flexible and took on unusual tasks. They turned a bread truck and trailer into a communications vehicle equipped with ultra-high frequency and very high frequency radios to communicate with fighter planes during the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle. When an F-16 blew a tire at Naval Air Station Whidbey, they went to make the repair.

"We had our one job with fifteen to twenty additional duties on top of it," said Knesek. "We did it with three people."

December 15, 2016 at 12:16pm

2016 Team McChord Operation Cookie Drop

Team McChord volunteers fill boxes with cookies during Operation Cookie Drop, Dec. 8, at McChord Field. More than 500 boxes were delivered to dorm airmen while the rest were distributed throughout the units. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

To a lot of people, the holidays mean more time to spend with family, but for airmen living in the dorms, spending time with family isn't always an option.

Team McChord volunteers and supporters collected and packaged cookies Dec. 8-9 at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center for first sergeants to deliver to airmen in the dorms.

Homemade cookies of all types and sizes were boxed Dec. 8 by volunteers and delivered to airmen Dec. 9 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

For more than a decade, the annual Operation Cookie Drop has continued to grow. This year, more than 10,000 cookies were collected from members of Team McChord and the surrounding communities.

"The holidays is a hard time of year for the airmen," said Chika Kosinski, wife of Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "It's difficult not being with family for the holidays, and for a lot of the airmen it could be their first Christmas away from their families. We just want this little gift to cheer them up during this holiday season."

This was the second year that the Operation Cookie Drop has been a big base wide event and it showed in the more than 10,000 cookies collected.

With the magnitude of cookies the Operation Cookie Drop received, Operation Cookie Drop has spread not only to Airmen in the dorms, but to the squadron and groups as well.

"We started with the Airmen in the dorms," said Master Sgt. Jason Torres, 627th Logistic Readiness Squadron first sergeant. "But, because of the great support from the local community, we were able to   deliver cookies to other units around base."

Chika said the aim of Operation Cookie Drop is not only to make being away from home on the holidays easier, but to say thank you to the Airmen.

"This is just a small token of our appreciation," said Chika. "This event is so much more than cookies, it is about keeping a beloved holiday tradition going that strengthens the bond between service members and the community."

December 15, 2016 at 1:03pm

Exercise on McChord puts crisis readiness to the test

The 446th Security Forces Squadron trains to enter a building during an Active Shooter exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dec. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel Liddicoet

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - The 446th Security Forces Squadron collaborated to plan and execute a comprehensive active shooter exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sunday.

The exercise was intended to both ensure the readiness of first responders directly involved and to heighten safety and awareness around the wing.

The exercise called upon participation and resources from several key squadrons, such as the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron that provided medics to respond to simulated injuries received during the active shooter scenario.

The exercise was primarily planned by 446th Airlift Wing Inspector General Inspections in conjunction with the 446th SFS. Together, planners sought to achieve several key training objectives.

Among the most vital purposes of the exercise was to validate the efficacy of the shoot-move-communicate training to include the use of reasonable force. During the exercise, quick response forces reacted and had to make split-second decisions about the level of force that was necessary to engage.

Keeping in line with valued partnerships, many of the actors used during the exercise were young recruits of the 446th Development and Training Flight, providing them with an opportunity to see firsthand how citizen airmen train and fight.

"Never underestimate the value of this kind of training," said Master Sgt. Anthony Ebio, 446th AW IGI planner. "It was great to see that our airmen applied this training without the need for guidance. Anything that can prepare you for real-world situations is so valuable."

Another important objective of the exercise was to validate medical first response within a mass casualty situation. The 446th ASTS arrived during the scenario to provide triage and use their skills to assess what kinds of care was most appropriate for each victim.

The exercise also provided an opportunity to partner with the 446th AW public affairs shop to train their understanding of the combatant command release authority of deployed forces.

The public affairs team trained on crisis communication and practical real-world questions enabling them to determine how best to respond during an active shooter scenario.

"Forty minutes of real exercise training like this is worth 40 hours in a classroom," said Senior MSgt. Joel Eyster, 433rd Airlift Wing IG, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. "There's so much you don't get in the classroom setting that you can learn so quickly out here from firsthand experience."

December 16, 2016 at 10:10am

Airmen gain valuable experience at Rainier War

Staff Sgt. Brock Wranik, 62nd Operations Support Squadron loadmaster, looks on as a formation of six C-17 Globmaster IIIs prepare an airdrop over Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake during the Rainier War exercise Dec. 7. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD - The states of Washington and Arizona played the parts of hostile nations Dec. 7, during the latest iteration of Rainier War, the semi-annual large-formation exercise hosted by the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  To complete the exercise, 62nd AW airmen were joined by members of the 446th AW, the Reserve wing at JBLM; as well as members from the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; the 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard.

What made this version of Rainier War unique is that Air Force members teamed up with soldiers from JBLM's 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion and the 7th Infantry Division to carry out the exercise.

Teaming up with the Army in this exercise provided added time restraints that aircrews needed to plan for, said Capt. Wade Hetrick, 62nd Operations Support Squadron director of wing tactics.

"It also meant we had to get many other base agencies involved, which made this a total base exercise, instead of just an Operations Group exercise," added Hetrick, who was the lead Air Force planner and the instructor of record for the exercise.

The exercise was a parallel operation, with three C-17 Globemaster IIIs transporting the 51st ESB to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, as well as a six-ship formation of C-17s, which re-supplied 7th ID soldiers at Rainier Drop Zone and the airfield at Moses Lake, both "hostile" areas in Washington.

In addition to Washington and Arizona's roles as hostile nations, the exercise scenario had the state of Idaho stand in as a friendly nation - a nation that was quickly being overrun by ISIL-type forces.

Immediately after airdropping supplies to troops at Rainier Drop Zone, then delivering equipment to Moses Lake via air-land operations, the focus turned to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.  In the scenario, Mountain Home was an abandoned airfield in friendly territory which had to be taken over and reinforced before the quickly-encroaching enemy insurgents could get to it.

"It was very challenging to lead a large formation," said Capt. Ashley Deming, 7th Airlift Squadron chief executive officer, who was acting as the student mission commander for the six-ship airdrop formation. "Being in charge of the timeline execution and having to deconflict issues as they came up was very challenging."

Some of those issues Deming had to deal with were enemy surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft sites along the route.  Those threats meant that the formation had to execute high-speed, low-altitude ingress tactics in order to avoid enemy radar detection.

"Flying that fast and low and maintaining formation integrity, avoiding popup threats, and safely guiding the formation away from those threats can be really challenging," Deming said.

After the exercise was complete, Deming reflected on what she was able to take away from the exercise.

"I have a better understanding of how to manage a dynamic mission and how to plan for dealing with contingencies when things don't go as planned."

According to Hetrick, Deming's experiences gained from the exercise have a tremendous value, since the exercise was planned to closely mimic current real-world events that the aircrews could encounter on future missions.

At the conclusion of the exercise, Col. Stephen Snelson, 62nd AW vice commander, addressed the aircrews, telling them to share what they learned with their fellow airmen.

"Take these lessons you learned today and pass them on to your peers and onto future assignments," said Snelson. "Do not let this experience die with you."

December 22, 2016 at 11:15am

Honor guard graduates recognized

Airmen from the McChord Field Honor Guard hold rifles while standing at attention during a change of responsibility ceremony Dec. 13 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

Members of the McChord Field Honor Guard were recognized by McChord leadership for their service during a change of responsibility ceremony Dec. 13 at the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

The ceremony was held to recognize the airmen who have completed their service in the McChord Field Honor Guard and their replacements as they were initiated.    

Unlike previous graduation ceremonies, this ceremony was the first that allowed McChord leadership to honor both incoming and outgoing airmen.

"We were trying to do something for the airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Justin Nolan, McChord Field Honor Guard NCOIC. "This reinforces to new trainees the importance of this mission."

The change of responsibility ceremony allowed the new honor guard graduates to showcase their newly acquired skills to leadership. During the ceremony, the incoming flight performed facing movements with outgoing flight members and received rifles from them that symbolized the transfer of responsibility.

"This change of responsibility is very symbolic and significant, said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "To the outgoing flight: Thank you for your service and a job very well done."

McChord Field Honor Guard members are trained for weeks in movements and procedures before becoming ceremonial guardsmen.   

"To the incoming flight: I want to thank you for what you are about to do," said Kosinski. "I know you are trained well and ready for the challenge."

The McChord Field Honor Guard serves at ceremonies such as performing military honors as well as presenting the colors across the Pacific Northwest for active-duty, retirees and veterans.

"This was nice to get recognized by leadership," said Senior Airman McArther Posey, McChord Field Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman. "It's nice to know they care enough to do this for us." 

December 22, 2016 at 11:19am

Commander mentors new flight commanders

Col. Leonard Kosinski (right), 62nd Airlift Wing commander, talks to Team McChord flight commanders during a flight commanders course, Dec. 16, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Team McChord's newest flight commanders recently attended a leadership course hosted by McChord leadership. The course was held Dec. 16 to help prepare new flight commanders for their new leadership positions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

The quarterly course provides briefings from a variety of base agencies and open discussions from squadron commanders and McChord leadership to include the 62nd Airlift Wing commander.

"This is a great opportunity to impart any experience I have to offer to officers at the flight commander level," said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "I want to take questions and ask about any concerns they may have."

Kosinski spoke to the airmen on their second day of the two-day course and shared his history in the Air Force and personal experiences as a commander. He discussed his time at the Air Force Academy, his flying experience, his challenges while deployed and the different aspects of command he experienced as he progressed in rank.

"You have to be able to see your folks from the bottom up as well as the top down," said Kosinski. "It's not about everything being perfect, but recognizing when your people have challenges and ensuring they have the resources needed to overcome them."

The flight commanders attending the course also got to voice their concerns and questions to Kosinski.

"Talking to the commander was great. It was open and honest feedback," said Capt. Matthew McPhail, 7th Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot. "He has been a commander from the flight to the wing level so it's great to get his perspective and experience."

Kosinski was asked about how he handles making hard decisions as a commander.

"When making tough decisions you want to get a consensus and get a relevant perspective," said Kosinski. "Empathy is a skill set that we have to develop to understand others perspectives."

Kosinski also shared the importance of leaders knowing their airmen.

"The best command is where you're closest with your folks," said Kosinski. "The most important thing is taking care of your airmen and knowing your people."

Flight commanders attending the course agreed that the course was useful and talking with Kosinski was beneficial.    

"I think that this provided me with a better idea how I can help airmen of different career fields," said Capt. Ryan Crossman, 62nd Medical Squadron, aerospace physiology. "Regardless what our job is, we all work with people and we are all responsible to take care of the airmen under us."

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