Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: July, 2017 (10) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 10

July 6, 2017 at 10:55am

Manpower at McChord

Tech. Sgt. John Major, 62nd Airlift Wing manpower and organization NCOIC, reviews a manpower document June 29, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

Small but mighty, the six-person manpower office, here, has been crunching the numbers and advising leadership on their resources.

The 62nd Airlift Wing manpower and organization office advises Team McChord leadership on issues pertaining to wartime and peacetime manpower resources, organization structure, productivity and performance management.

"Our goal is to ensure units have the proper number of requirements to accomplish the mission," said Tech. Sgt. John Major, 62nd AW manpower and organization NCOIC. "We do that based on the latest policies and directives, while promoting the most cost-effective and efficient use of resources through continuous improvement activities, consultant studies and productivity enhancement."

Major said the manpower office acts as an honest broker between Air Force, major command, and base-levels.

"We don't just advise leadership on the management of their organization, we also try to convey their needs or differences back up the chain," said Major. "When an Air Force manpower standard is published, we translate it and it gets passed down to the base-level, then we convey the needs back up the chain to make sure the base-level differences are translated into the source documents."

All of the Air Force assets on McChord are associated with the 62nd manpower office.

"My office is responsible for all the AMC requirements on the base," said Major. "We can offer information to the tenant units, but we can't make any changes to their positions because each MAJCOM owns their own requirements."

While the manpower office does a great job crunching the numbers and advising leadership on their resources, there are some challenges associated with being assigned to a joint base.

"Not every base is a joint base, so here, besides working normal Air Force rules and regulation, we also have the joint base construct to deal with," said Major. "The fact that the Army is the lead service on this base means that some things we would normally do are different. Certain things that we would expect to be available are not, so we have to help the units ask for things they need. It's a little bit more difficult allocating for positions here than a normal Air Force base."

Another challenge that manpower faces is miscommunication on shared assets.

"Part of our role as an advisor is to mediate an issue," said Major. "When we do a continuous process improvement event, we bring in a lot of agencies and discuss how a process they share could be improved. We lay that out in a process improvement document; we may solidify that in an Air Force instruction, or a local operation instruction, and then take those documents, publish them, and make that their new standard for sharing that resource."

While being a retrained-in-only career field, the manpower career field is a unique one.

"Manpower is not an easy fit for everybody," said Major. "We are very small with about four hundred positions. Our goal is to be that outside voice when leadership is trying to make changes. We have the amazing opportunity to touch every unit on base.  We touch every functional area the Air Force has to offer. That's why I love being a manpower analyst."

July 6, 2017 at 10:59am

Transition program keeps servicemembers employed

Senior Airman Ethan Eastling receives career counseling from Steve Holley, Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program unit outreach team member, June 27, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

The transition from military to civilian life is inevitable for every servicemember, but with help from the Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program, it doesn't have to be done alone.

The SFL TAP on Joint Base Lewis-McChord provides relevant and practical tools and services to help transitioning servicemembers reintegrate into the civilian workforce.  

"This helps prepare them and give them the resources needed for their future career," said Pat Jackson-Holly, SFL TAP unit outreach team member. "I wish there was something like this when I was transitioning from the service."

A Department of Defense-mandated program, SFL TAP ensures that career readiness standards are met for all servicemembers separating or retiring from the military.

"There is no understandable reason why servicemembers wouldn't take advantage of this," said Jackson-Holly. "On the outside you'd be paying a pretty penny for services like this."

Servicemembers within 18 months of separating or 24 months of retiring are required to enroll in SFL TAP.

"I highly recommend that servicemembers take getting involved with TAP very seriously," said Jackson-Holly. "Transition data shows that servicemembers are not starting SFL TAP within the mandated timeline, and that they are having insufficient time to complete training needed to integrate into the workforce."  

Servicemembers starting the program are given a pre-separation briefing and a counseling. They are then taken through a number of briefings and workshops which include a financial briefing, Department of Labor workshop, and a Veterans Affairs brief.

"When you start the process, you'll do a career assessment to find a field of work you might like," said Jackson-Holly. "There is also a class that translates military skills to civilian jobs."

The program provides resumé writing classes and a variety of hiring events and opportunities, as well as programs to learn different trade skills.     

"Sometimes it can be misleading when you are applying for jobs online," said Jackson-Holly. "This program gives servicemembers a leg up and can actually grant interviews with potential employers."

Going beyond job placement, the program helps servicemembers find a career they enjoy doing, said Jackson-Holly.  

"If you don't love what you're doing you have nothing to lose," said Jackson-Holly. "We don't want to just find employment for you, we want to put you in a job you'll love."  

Tailored to work around busy schedules, servicemembers shouldn't let their military jobs or hectic work schedule deter them from attending, said Jackson-Holly.   

"This is a command-mandated program, and servicemembers should not let their busy schedule stop them from participating," said Jackson-Holly. "This program is in everyone's best interest."

To find out more information about SFL TAP, call 253.967.3258.

July 13, 2017 at 3:57pm

A bright future for JBLM and Team McChord

Col. Leonard J. Kosinski, commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord, took his final flight here and received the ceremonial dousing of water and congratulations this week as he prepares to leave command. Photo credit: 62nd PAO

Thank you for all that you do on a daily basis to make Joint Base Lewis-McChord an incredible place to live and work. It is a total force team that makes JBLM the premier installation that it is today. From our community partners, civic leaders, and honorary commanders who have embraced the soldiers and airmen of the joint base with unparalleled support, to our joint partners who enable the 62nd Airlift Wing's mission to "deliver safe and reliable global airlift." As I look back on my tenure here at JBLM, it is obvious how special these Team McChord partnerships have become and how vital they are for our continued success.

Dual-hatted as both the commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing and the Air Force Senior Service Component Commander, it has been a true honor to serve all of Team McChord as your advocate for Air Force equities on JBLM. I would like to thank not only Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky (I Corps commanding general) as our partner mission commander and Col. Dan Morgan as the (JBLM) installation commander for their continuous support of the Air Force mission on McChord Field, but also my fellow commanders in Team McChord. It has been a true pleasure to work alongside each of you.

The advancements we have made together over the last two years to advance joint basing are undeniable. Here are just a few of the highlights: In 2016, JBLM hosted the Joint Airshow and Warrior Expo, a first-of-its-kind event designed to highlight the full spectrum of combat capabilities at JBLM and the first airshow at McChord Field since 2012. The Warrior Expo highlighted how JBLM now embraces the tenants of joint basing and opened the doors to share this success with the local community. We continued this progress through the development of the JBLM Standards Book, a collaboration between the services, designed to educate members on the differences between the services, as well as relay a common vision and purpose for all airmen and soldiers stationed here. Through these efforts, JBLM has become a model for the Department of Defense for the benefits of joint basing and collaboration between the services.

Joint training has also become commonplace at JBLM. From the integration of ground liaison officers and air mobility liaison officers, to weekly mission operational trainers and the evolution of Rainier War from a semi-annual airlift exercise to a truly joint event, we have begun to implement the lessons of our current conflicts and truly "train as we fight." These principles will be on full display later this summer as JBLM prepares to host Exercise Mobility Guardian. As Air Mobility Command's premier exercise, 3,500 participants from 29 nations will descend upon JBLM to take part in and observe the capstone-training event. Although centered on the air mobility mission, this exercise, like the daily operations of the 62nd Airlift Wing, would not be possible without the continuous support of our joint partners.   

Finally, to the airmen of the 62nd Airlift Wing, you are the best at what you do and I am proud to serve with each of you. It has been an honor to be your commander over the last two years and I am continuously impressed by the way that you embody "the McChord way: excellence, innovation, respect." These principles and the way that you exemplify them in every facet of the mission have made the 62nd Airlift Wing and JBLM a true leader in global airlift. Although these remarks are bittersweet, I know that the wing and Team McChord will be in very good hands with the arrival of Col. Rebecca Sonkiss, and I cannot wait to see where she leads Team McChord in the future.

July 20, 2017 at 11:13am

Air Force announces Enlisted Professional Military Education redesign

The three major initiatives of EPME 21. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Air Force officials announced major changes to the Enlisted Professional Military Education program Wednesday via an initiative called Enlisted Professional Military Education for the 21st Century, or "EPME 21."

A major initiative of EPME 21 is that time in service will no longer dictate an airman's EPME enrollment - airmen will only be required to complete distance learning courses as a prerequisite to their resident attendance. This initiative is now in effect.

Also, the Air Force will transition to 100 percent resident EPME, allowing all active-duty, Guard and Reserve airmen an opportunity to attend Airman Leadership School, the NCO and senior NCO academies prior to promotion.

The changes are a result of the 2017 EPME triennial review, said Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass, the Chief of Air Force Enlisted Developmental Education at the Pentagon.

"The committee determined changes were needed to the existing EPME structure in order to align EPME with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's policy requiring rank-based educational opportunities," Bass said. "This also enables all airmen an opportunity to attend resident PME in order to truly leverage the educational experiences gained from instructors and peers."

One of Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright's three priorities is leadership - developing airmen who are ready to lead. One of his objectives in this is to cement EPME changes and infuse agility into Air University processes to improve the ability to provide timely, updated content delivery.

"If this sounds familiar, it should. It was the staple of our EPME for almost forty-three years before a recent change to a time in service model," Wright said. "While this model was effective for some, we quickly found it didn't meet the needs of all our airmen, causing many NCOs to lose the opportunity to attend in residence at all."

Rather than requiring airmen to complete EPME at set times based on how long they've been in the Air Force, the new model transitions to a rank-based continuum of learning.

Removing the TIS determination "just makes sense," Wright said. "We must ensure timely, focused and operationally relevant training and educational solutions at all levels. Providing airmen with the appropriate PME at the right times in their career is a must. If we deliver it too soon, it's not effective for where they are in their careers. If we deliver it too late, it's not effective at all."

Wright notes that the model provides airmen greater flexibility and time, allowing them to focus their energies on the mission.

"Commanders, superintendents, first sergeants and supervisors remain central to inspiring a culture of innovation, agility and excellence, while promoting a continuum of learning that spans an Airman's career," he said.

Airmen will not be notified from the Air Force Personnel Center or Air University on when to enroll themselves into distance learning, but must manually enroll themselves.

"This new EPME structure allows airmen to decide the best timeframe to complete their distance learning," Bass said. "They will have to complete the distance learning prior to being scheduled for the resident portion, but each airman now has more flexibility as to when the right time is for them."

Bass explained that distance learning provides students with basic competency development and the resident courses allow students to apply what they learned.

"It is necessary to complete both the distance learning and the resident courses to achieve development of the required competencies at the appropriate proficiency levels," she said. "We expect staff and master sergeants to complete their respective distance learning so when they become technical and senior master sergeants, they are immediately eligible for resident attendance."

Resident EPME is a promotion requirement - Airman Leadership School, NCO Academy, SNCO Academy and the Chief Leadership Course are required for promotion to E-5, E-7 and E-9, respectively.

Airmen who have previously completed NCO or SNCO distance learning courses under the previous policy and have not attended resident EPME, will still receive EPME credit and will not be required to attend the resident portion. Additionally, those currently enrolled in NCO or SNCO distance learning courses may still complete the course and receive credit upon completion. Or, they may withdraw with no adverse actions and reenroll at a later date, prior to attending resident EPME.

"This change clearly sends a signal that our senior leaders value deliberately developing our enlisted corps," said Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services. "This is a positive move in the right direction, as we continue to develop the force and support our airmen."

Additionally, EPME 21 will institute a new requirement called Professional Development Unit that will capture diverse education, training and life experiences. This will allow the AF to capture those experiences. Each airman will complete 24 PDUs per year with one PDU equaling approximately one hour of learning, which equates to three days of development in the span of a year.

Many activities that enlisted airmen already do will count towards the 24 PDUs. Professional Enhancement Seminars, Senior Enlisted Joint PME, college classes and even earning professional certifications accumulate points. Many airmen have already attended programs like Profession of Arms Center of Excellence or other major command courses. Additionally, airmen actively plan and participate in Air Force, Joint and coalition exercises, gaining experience in warfighting activities ranging from aircraft generation, command and control and force protection. And finally, airmen deploy and lead both small and large teams across our Combatant Command Areas of Responsibility. These all count.

For more information, visit myPers. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following the instructions on the Air Force Retirees Services website.

July 27, 2017 at 10:59am

AMC commander meets with Congress on mobility

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi and Gen. Carlton Everhart discuss rapid global mobility during a Mobility Air Forces Caucus breakfast in Washington, D.C., July 12. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett

The Air Mobility Command commander, Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, was invited by Congress to speak to congressional leaders at the Congressional Mobility Air Forces Caucus Breakfast, July 12, in Washington, D.C.

He traveled there to speak with lawmakers regarding worldwide mobility operations.

The CMFAC, co-chaired by U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington, and U.S. Representative John Garamendi, California, provides an opportunity for government leaders and their colleagues to discuss Mobility Air Forces contributions to national defense. It establishes a forum for exchange amongst its members and ensures they have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information about developments in air mobility.  

Rep. McMorris Rodgers highlighted the value and need for Gen. Everhart's perspective to ensure enhanced understanding of the mobility mission set to national defense in order to fulfill its oversight role.

"Mobility airmen and aircraft are vital to our national defense because they give the United States global reach," said McMorris Rodgers. "In today's volatile environment, with new and diverse threats all around us, it's incumbent upon us to advocate and strengthen Air Mobility Command's unique ability and mission in providing for our national defense."

Everhart's speech was tailored around AMC's four mobility focus areas: readiness, growing and developing airmen, modernization and the nuclear mission. He spoke on the capabilities of AMC and enabling joint force operations to take place, anywhere on the planet within hours versus days.

"Mobility Air Forces are the backbone of joint operations," said Garamendi. "Rapid global mobility enables our Armed Forces to project American power around the world, whether for major combat operations or for humanitarian relief."

With the Air Force being the smallest and busiest it has ever been, Everhart thanked the caucus for recognizing AMC's mission impact and highlighted the continued partnership with Guard and Reserve forces to accomplish the command's mission.

Readiness, Growth and Development of Airmen

AMC's readiness is not solely reliant on modern technology to get the mission done, but also having its most valuable resource, well-trained and well-equipped airmen, ready to go at a moment's notice, said Everhart.

The general discussed AMC's role in squadron revitalization and work being done to further demonstrate the value airmen and their families bring to national defense.

"Mobility airmen are committed, selflessly face adversity, and work diligently with fewer resources and funding - the tradeoff has resulted in manning issues such as the national pilot shortage," said Everhart.

The Guard and Reserve are already 315 pilots short today, and over the next four years, there are another 1,600 AMC pilots eligible to leave the service.

Everhart spoke on how the Chief of Staff of the Air Force is committed to improving quality of life and service within the pilot force and across the broader Air Force.  He added how AMC is actively investigating ways that he can enact measures within his span of control to bring about change and improvement as well. He specifically discussed AMC's Aircrew Crisis Task Force and the over 600 responses the team processed in developing courses of action to address the top concerns.  

Everhart thanked the caucus for their efforts in supporting aviator retention initiatives. He highlighted the need to ease the transition of dual-career families into communities and enhance education.

Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander, and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, have a conversation outside the Red Morgan Center recently, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. Everhart was invited by Congress to speak at the Congressional Mobility Air Forces Caucus Breakfast, July 12, in Washington D.C. Photo credit: Senior Airman Sean Campbell
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Modernization

Everhart discussed the command's look at making the mobility aircraft more survivable, aircraft availability, and creating pathways to modernize the fleet. He noted that without a stable defense budget, modernization innovations are difficult to achieve.

The full funding for 15 KC-46 aircraft that happened in December helped prevent the MAF from potentially breaking its contract with Boeing, Everhart said. The Armed Services Committee has requested 17 KC-46s in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

He shared the importance of continually enhancing aircraft refueling capabilities and creating predictable budgetary pathways to modernize the mobility fleet.

Nuclear Mission

Everhart noted the tanker fleet's role in the nuclear mission, and how modernization and survivability of the platform ensures the nation's ability to assure allies and deter potential adversaries. The mission set requires the ability to execute global reach quickly and over vast distances.

"The tanker underwrites our nation's ability to project power rapidly," said Everhart. "It enables the ‘global' aspect in global vigilance, global reach and global power."

He noted AMC's support of nuclear-capable B-2s on their way to eliminate terrorist training camps in Libya. In a 30-hour nonstop flying mission, 15 Total Force tankers from five different bases were able to make that possible.

The general concluded by informing the caucus about the inaugural Mobility Guardian exercise.  The exercise is designed to test the four core mobility capabilities - aerial refueling, airlift, aeromedical evacuation and enroute support. The exercise will improve the readiness of mobility, joint and international partners to meet increasing demands of worldwide operations. He explained how this is no longer a mere skills competition, but a cutting-edge exercise that will afford Airmen the opportunity for learning and discovery in a challenging operational environment.

With the exercise consisting of more than 3,000 personnel and more than 30 partner nations, it represents the full spectrum of mobility air forces.

"Those in attendance gained firsthand knowledge of General Everhart's leadership and commitment to Air Mobility Command, and all of our servicemen and women," said McMorris Rodgers. "General Everhart emphasized the need for a strong and ready force, the need for modernization of aircraft and equipment, and the need to honor the service and sacrifice of those who put their lives on the line every day for this country ... Air Mobility Command plays an integral role in keeping our nation safe."

Rep. Garamendi remarked on how important it was for the AMC commander to take the time to assist Congress in fully understanding the role and importance of Mobility Air Forces to national defense.

"General Everhart made it clear he is thinking about how Mobility Air Forces will evolve in response to 21st century challenges and threats," said Garamendi. "As the United States continues to operate around the world, the Total Force of mobility airmen will need the support and the platforms necessary to (counter) fights from insurgents like ISIL and near-peer competitors."

July 27, 2017 at 11:04am

Is Mobility Guardian Rodeo 2.0?

Air Rodeo was part competition and part community celebration. Mobility Guardian focuses more on training and international interoperabilities. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Mobility Guardian is not Air Rodeo 2.0, according to Air Force officials.  Rodeo, which was hosted at McChord for nearly two decades, was a competition - Mobility Guardian is an exercise.  This Q&A from Air Mobility Command provides the explanations.

How will Mobility Guardian be different from AMC's Rodeo in previous years?

Mobility Guardian is a time for discovery and learning. It is a completely new exercise meant to enhance mobility partnerships and test the full spectrum of capabilities Air Mobility Command provides the nation. AMC Rodeo was primarily a friendly competition between various joint and coalition partners, while Mobility Guardian will put mobility airmen, and their partners, to the test in real-world scenarios that aircrews face in today's contingency operations as well as those they expect to see in the future. This forum will allow participants to share tactics, techniques and procedures essential to maintaining readiness and sustainment in coalition campaigns around the world.

What inspired the change?

Exercise Mobility Guardian is crucial, because no matter how the world acts, one constant remains - the need to reach any point on the globe quickly and with ready military forces. In the face of high operations tempos and limited resources, AMC owes it to their airmen and the American people to maximize efficiency and produce ready forces always. AMC Rodeo's evolution to Exercise Mobility Guardian is a crucial opportunity to maintain readiness and improve interoperability with joint and coalition partners. To be prepared for tomorrow's challenges, airmen must train like they fight. Exercise Mobility Guardian gives them the chance to do just that, working with their mobility partners to tackle highly complex scenarios which will increase their ability to employ forces in the tough situations they find themselves in around the world.

What are the similarities between Mobility Guardian and past Rodeos?

Exercise Mobility Guardian grew out of a need to sharpen the skills of mobility crews to meet current and future demands of combatant commanders. Air Mobility Rodeo focused on specialized crews in competition, whereas Mobility Guardian is driven by readiness, which is what is required in today's volatile environment.

What are the training goals for the exercise? What types of scenarios will participants see?

Exercises like these offer an opportunity to learn and evolve as a force. With mission readiness as the ultimate training objective, the exercise is being designed to sharpen airmen's skills in support of combatant commander requirements. The exercise training scenario will feature joint forcible entry and airfield seizure, a joint mission between Air Force airdrop crews and Army Airborne units which will take place at locations across Washington state. It will also incorporate contingency response and humanitarian relief operations to include aeromedical evacuation efforts.

July 27, 2017 at 11:25am

Mobility airmen in the fight

A U.S. Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment Interim Armored Vehicle Stryker drives out of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Plovidv Airport, Bulgaria, July 14. Photo credit: Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh

Air Mobility Command serves as the world's unmatched and premier Mobility Air Force, enabling Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power for America. In peacetime and in war, our airmen are engaged 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. Our airmen produce mission critical effects while operating in a volatile, complex global environment against the backdrop of fiscal uncertainty.

Airlift

Rapid Global Mobility supports intergovernmental agencies, partner nations, military training teams and humanitarian efforts. We routinely go where others can't, e.g. transport scientists to Antarctica or airdrop food, water and supplies to counter ISIS or provide relief across the globe.

Airlift provides the critical means of moving supplies, equipment and personnel anywhere in the world within a matter of hours and helps to sustain them during conflict.

AMC moved nearly 725 billion pounds of cargo last year - enough to airlift the St. Louis Gateway Arch more than eight times. AMC's ability to provide Rapid Global Mobility is unmatched by any other air force.

Aerial Refueling

On average, Mobility airmen refuel one aircraft every five minutes in the CENTCOM AOR alone. Last year, that totaled 110,000 refuels, powering the fight against ISIS. Since the outset of OIR, AMC has flown more than 33,000 tanker sorties in support of the operation.

Air refueling forces are the lifeblood of the joint fighter and bomber communities and provide force extension for coalition partners' fleets.

AMC and coalition tankers have made it possible to extend the range and persistence of our air operations, enabling aircraft to maintain an operational presence 24/7.

Aeromedical Evacuation

During Vietnam, it took an average of 45 days to bring an injured servicemember to the U.S.

Today, it takes three days. AE forces operate anywhere air operations occur in support of military operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Our AE capability is unparalleled.

U.S. Air Force Reserve 2nd Lt. Reily Finnelly, 97th Airlift Squadron pilot, flies a C-17 Globemaster III to transport U.S. Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment Interim Armored Vehicle Strykers to Plovdiv Airport, Bulgaria, July 14. The U.S. Air Force’s capability for rapid mobility allows U.S. and allied power to be projected quickly to anywhere on the globe. Photo credit: Senior Airman Tryphenia Mayhugh
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All AMC airlift aircraft can be fitted with universally qualified medical equipment, allowing crews to quickly address any medical emergency and rapidly and efficiently meet our injured warfighter's needs.

High-tech medicine, robust en route care and rapid medical evacuation has ensured our wounded warriors get the care they deserve and has enabled a 97 percent survival rate.

Mobility Support

Following Hurricane Matthew, 128 Contingency Response airmen from the 621st CRW deployed to Haiti and teamed with three other agencies to open the airport in Port Au Prince, allowing Joint Task Force Matthew to deliver 400 tons of food and medical supplies in two weeks.

Contingency Response airmen allow us to prepare flightlines in Iraq, supporting anti-ISIS efforts.

AMC plays a critical role in the DoD's humanitarian missions. The U.S. delivers relief and assistance to partner nations around the world, enabling "Gray Tail Diplomacy."

U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. Chris Clinton, a 731st Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules pilot out of Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado, prepares for landing at Papa Air Base, Hungary, as part of exercise Swift Response 17, July 15. Swift Response is linked to exercise Saber Guardian 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise that spans across Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania with more than 25,000 servicemembers from 22 allied and partner nations. Photo credit: Maj. Jolene Bottor-Ortiona
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AMC/Mobility Air Force Fast Facts

–– Personnel: 124,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve & civilian airmen

–– Total aircraft: 1,100 over 11 airframes

Largest aircraft totals:

1. KC-135 - 396
2. C-130 - 324
3. C-17 - 222

–– One AMC aircraft takes off every 2.8 minutes, 365 days a year

–– AMC refuels an aircraft every five minutes in the CENTCOM AOR alone

–– Mobility airmen are currently deployed to 77 locations in 23 countries


AMC is Global

–– Operation Inherent Resolve

–– Operation Freedom's Sentinel

––Operation Atlantic Resolve

–– Approximately 40 exercises annually


Operational Fast Facts
–– Airlift (CY16 operational data):
1. Missions: 14,601
2. Sorties: 39,023
3. Passengers: 871,205
4. Flying hours: 169,822
***Approximate totals

–– Aerial Refueling: (AF assets worldwide)
1. Sorties: 30,700
2. Fuel: just under 1.172 billion pounds
3. Aircraft fueled: 123,794

–– Aeromedical evacuations:
1. Missions: 753
2. Sorties: 1,025
3. Patients: 4,339

–– Contingency Response: (Hurricane Matthew & GTMO evacuations):
1. Missions: 28
2. Sorties: 73
3. Passengers: 1,985

July 27, 2017 at 3:01pm

New Air Force club portal

The Air Force Services Activity is hoping retirees will switch to new portal before they are disconnected. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

For many Air Force retirees, a club membership is one way to stay connected to the service they love. Air Force Services Activity officials are encouraging retirees to activate their new Air Force Club Member Portal accounts before losing that connection.

"Our retiree population is a special part of our Air Force family. Their contributions to shaping the Air Force of today are invaluable and we want to keep them connected to our airmen and our installations," said Col. Donna Turner, the AFSVA commander.

The Air Force began transitioning away from a club credit card to the Air Force Club Member Portal at six pilot installations in May: Osan Air Base, South Korea; Thule AB, Greenland; Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri; Eglin AFB, Florida; Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, and JB Charleston, South Carolina.

Current member information was automatically loaded on the club portal, but members need to log in and update payment information to maintain their membership. The free MemberPlanet app is available in the App Store or Google Play. The web- and app-based system allows members to choose their payment methods and receive real-time event information directly on their smart devices or computers through the portal.

"Members can now use their credit or debit card of choice," said Jonathan Boyd, the AFSVA chief of nonappropriated fund food and beverage operations. "It's an easy process ... you simply update your profile using your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer."

Members without easy access to smart devices or computers can also stop by their local club for assistance.

"Through the club portal, club members will have easy access to a wide variety of information such as events and special programs scheduled, meal specials and other notifications in near real time," Boyd said.

The portal will be rolled out across the Air Force Aug. 1, 2017. Members can either show their digital membership card through the MemberPlanet App on their smart devices or print a card from the app. The card features the member's name, preferred club, and an expiration date.

"Air Force Club membership is a tradition," Turner said. "It's where our airmen experience, learn and share our Air Force culture. Our clubs provide resiliency to our airmen and their families. This new approach to membership will make it easier for our airmen to stay connected with our Air Force tradition and build on the culture and esprit de corps established by those who have previously served."

For more info, contact your local club or visit myairforcelife.com/clubs/cmp.aspx.

July 27, 2017 at 3:04pm

New Mental Health Assessment

New annual Mental Health Assessment requirement begins July 31. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Starting July 31, airmen undergoing their annual Periodic Health Assessment may notice something new. A Mental Health Assessment will now be part of every annual PHA, to help ensure that airmen suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues are referred to the necessary care.

Mental health issues are a serious problem for U.S. Armed Forces and for the Air Force. These illnesses are often not visible to others, making them difficult to diagnose and leading to unnecessary suffering. By implementing yearly screening, more airmen in the early stages of mental illness will be identified and referred for treatment, helping them heal and improving overall medical readiness.

"This assessment gives airmen an annual opportunity to review their mental health with a medical provider and discuss any concerns they may have," said Col. Steven Pflanz, Air Force Director of Psychological Health. "Making the process routine for everyone reduces stigma and makes it easier for airmen suffering from mental health problems to obtain care."

The annual MHA fulfills a requirement of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, and uses established Department of Defense questions for early detection of mental health issues. The questions included in the MHA are the same that airmen see on their pre- and post-deployment health screenings. Completing the annual MHA can even substitute for specific post-deployment screenings.

Airmen will continue to fill out the DD form 3024 online for their annual PHA, which already includes the mental health questions. Airmen will speak with a trained healthcare provider or licensed mental health professional to complete the person-to-person component. Most flight personnel will meet face-to-face, and most non-flight personnel will complete this section over the phone.

Members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve will begin the annual MHA later in August. For airmen stationed at bases with MTFs belonging to other services, efforts are underway to ensure transfer of PHA questionnaires between the services. Until this process is complete, the Air Force will utilize existing Base Operational Medical Clinic protocols to accomplish these PHAs.

Airmen who underwent a PHA in 2017 prior to July 31, do not have an additional requirement to retake it this year. Their 2018 PHA will include the MHA interview with a medical provider.

Airmen can monitor their individual medical readiness using their MyIMR page at https://imr.afms.mil/imr/MyIMR.aspx. This page also contains location specific information, instruction, office hours and phone numbers to help airmen meet their IMR requirements.

July 27, 2017 at 3:07pm

Civil Air Patrol volunteers from across Washington work Skyfest 2017

A KC-135R Stratotanker from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Squadron. File photo

Over 50 members of Civil Air Patrol from squadrons across Washington state are signed up to assist United States Air Force personnel with operations at the Fairchild AFB open house and air show known as Skyfest 2017, where the USAF Thunderbirds will headline the event. From Friday to Sunday, both cadet and senior members will be assisting airshow personnel with various operations duties. Local CAP units will also have aircraft on display, aerospace education materials for the public and staff a recruiting booth for those interested in learning more about Civil Air Patrol, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, Skyfest will feature several military and civilian acts. Attractions will include aerial demonstrations, concessions and static aircraft displays.

"Our team is working hard to put together an amazing experience for the community," said Maj. Richard Hennies, Skyfest 2017 director. "We are excited to open Fairchild to the public again to showcase some of the great capabilities the Air Force has to offer."

CAP Washington wing commander Col. James P. Furlong added, "It's quite an honor to be able to support the U.S. Air Force each year at this event, and it's an absolute treat to watch the Thunderbirds!"

Firearms, weapons, fireworks, and drones will not be permitted into the event. Additionally, drugs of any kind, including marijuana, are not allowed on federal property.

"Everyone is encouraged to bring cameras to capture their experience and earplugs for watching the show," said Maj. Emily Kubusek, Skyfest 2017 air boss. "We are also encouraging participants to be prepared for the July heat by bringing water and sunscreen."

To ensure the safety of all in attendance, air show guests must consent to security searches and all backpacks and bags will be checked upon entry. Air show attendees are permitted to bring in coolers with food and nonalcoholic beverages.

"Attendees are encouraged to carpool due to limited parking." said Hennies. "We want to be able to facilitate as many people as possible to enjoy Skyfest 2017."

The last air show at Fairchild was in 2014 and had more than 200,000 guests in attendance.

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