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December 23, 2010 at 9:59am

446th AW hosts Employer Orientation Day

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The next 446th Airlift Wing Employer Orientation Day is April 2. Reservists from the 446th AW at McChord Field can nomination their immediate supervisor, their human resources specialists, or an executive or owner of the business they work for, to spend the day with the wing. 

Applications, available here in the related links box, should be completed and submitted electronically. 

Participants will learn about the Air Force Reserve, the 446th Airlift Wing and its missions, and how Reservists serve. 

The April 2 employer orientation day will include demonstrations of the deployment processing line, the equipment used by Reservists to protect themselves from chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear attacks, explosive ordnance disposal techniques, and medical requirements. 

The employers and their sponsoring Reservists will also board a C-17 for a two-hour flight, which will include an airdrop demonstration and a combat offload. 

Applications are taken on a first come, first serve basis. Reservists interested in sponsoring their employer for the April 2 employer orientation day need to submit an application to the 446th AW Public Affairs Office by March 1. The application in a .PDF format can be downloaded from the 446th AW public Web site (see related links box accompanying this article).  After downloading the application, fill it out and use the "Submit" button on the top right corner of the form to return the application to public affairs.  If you have questions, contact the 446th AW Public Affairs Office at (253) 982-9135.    

December 10, 2010 at 10:05am

446th AES partners with Madigan for exercise

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- EXERCISE! EXERCISE! EXERCISE!

Madigan Healthcare System and 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron recently teamed up to work together in a patient reception team exercise held at McChord Field and at Madigan Army Medical Center, Dec. 7.

As part of the exercise, Reservists from the 446th AES and medical Soldiers from Madigan simulated receiving mass patients from overseas that included providing detailed patient care and transportation from McChord Field to Madigan. The focus of the exercise was to establish a patient reception area as part of the Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense Contingency Hospital System for patient evacuation.

The role of the 446th AES was to provide patient care and conduct the patient hand-off from the aircraft to the Madigan medical personnel.

"It's a great opportunity for joint training," said Col. Jan Moore-Harbert, 446th AES commander. "We do these exercises to get a better understanding of the agencies involved and what everybody's roles are, so everyone can communicate properly and focus on giving patients quality care when faced with these types of scenarios."

The squadron has worked with the Army before, but this exercise put them in a different situation with a shorter time element and fewer assets, resulting in having to do more with less.

"We've conducted joint exercises with the Army on many occasions," said Maj. Peter Jorgensen, 446th AES operations officer. "But this one was shorter in duration and we had limited resources. However, it's good to get reacquainted with our Army counterparts and educate each other on our respective missions."

Major Jorgensen played a major function in the exercise.

"My fundamental responsibility as the aeromedical operations officer was to control the aeromedical evacuation activities such as supervising the execution of the AE process and coordinating AE activities to ensure the Air Force part of the mission was safely and effectively accomplished."

His efforts were greatly recognized by one of the main coordinators of the exercise, Lt. Col. Eric Tobiason, Madigan Healthcare System operations officer.

"Major Jorgensen and his team got involved right from the get go," he said. "The Air Force really embraced this (exercise) from the beginning. Major Jorgensen pretty much formed the mission from the aircraft portion to the hangar. We were tremendous in partnering with the execution and realism of the exercise."

Madigan and the 446th AES taught one another how each service operates in an emergency situation such as a mass casualty exercise. 

"We trained new Army personnel on how to load the aircraft, specifics on carrying litters, and the ins and outs of taking care of different patients and loading them on the ambuses," said Master Sgt. Pamela Higgins, 446th ASTS medical technician.

This training gives the services a better understanding of their respective missions. 

"It's really important to be able to do these exercise and work all the specific elements of training," said Colonel Moore-Harbert. "The Air Force has a better idea of what the Army does in a joint environment and it helps break the culture and language barriers between the branches, so we can work together seamlessly."

Overall, Major Jorgensen marks the exercise a success.

"I'm very pleased with the outcome and I feel all of the individuals involved in the exercise had a good experience and got in some great training experience," he said. "Most of all, it gave us the opportunity to learn from one another and develop processes for future events between the Army and the Air Force."

Those future events will happen as early as August 2011. This exercise is a precursor to a much larger exercise that will be taking place sometime in late summer 2011, said Major Jorgensen. It will involve all three medical squadrons from the 446th Airlift Wing and the medical units from the JBLM Lewis Main.

The Reservists from the 446th AES are ready for that challenge.

"This was a great training opportunity for all involved and I know the 446th AES looks forward to the next opportunity to work with our Army counterparts."    

December 9, 2010 at 4:14pm

Reservists save Lakewood resident's life

JOINT BASE LEWIS - MCCHORD, Wash. -- Some quick thinking and vital medical training by two Reservists helped save a man suffering from an apparent cardiac arrest on Dec. 3 in Lakewood, Wash. 

While driving near Farwest Drive and Military Road at about 9 a.m., Senior Master Sgt. Bill Robison, a 446th Aerospace Medicine Squadron medical technician here, saw an unconscious man lying on the side of street with several people standing nearby.
 
Sergeant Robison, who is also a nursing student at a local university, abruptly stopped his vehicle and stepped directly into action by performing CPR.

"I was on my way to school to take a test," said Sergeant Robison. "I pulled over and got out of my car and people were just standing there." 

Sergeant Robison said one of the bystanders told him the man "just went down" and another individual called 911.

"I checked his pulse and he had no pulse," said Sergeant Robison. "I rolled him onto his back and put my ear on his chest and I didn't hear anything, so I started chest compressions and rescue breathing."

As Sergeant Robison continued to administer critical CPR for the man, he heard the distant sirens signaling arriving help. 

Answering the call for help was yet another Reservist from the 446th Airlift Wing here. Lt. Col. Dennis Woxen, 446th AW Inspector General, also a firefighter and paramedic for the Lakewood, Wash., Fire Department, Station 22 in his civilian job.

"We got toned out to go out on call for cardiac arrest - man down," said Colonel Woxen. "I was the lead medic on call and when we arrived at the scene there were a couple of folks doing CPR on a middle-aged male patient who had no pulse."

After instructing his team to take over CPR, Colonel Woxen said he recognized Sergeant Robison.

"It was good to see another Reservist there," said Colonel Woxen. "Sergeant Robison's skills in emergent care were evident and the extra hands on scene were a great help."

Colonel Woxen said he and his team of medics continued to administer care for the patient until his pulse and breathing resumed, before transporting him to a local hospital. 

"Bill performed extremely well," said Colonel Woxen. "Most folks in the medical field don't know emergent medicine, but out in the field when things go south and somebody needs help, having that extra set of hands that can assist with CPR correctly clearly made a difference in this individual's outcome."

Training for any job is important, but learning life-saving skills like CPR is critical. 

"When you're in the medical field the training component is so important because if we go to battle, we're trained to use the wingman concept to save our partner," said Maj. Cory Myers, 446th AMDS nurse, who works with Sergeant Robison. "It's nice to know that one our own, in or out of uniform, is doing their job and doing it well."     

December 6, 2010 at 1:26pm

Reserve force support squadron activated

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The 446 Mission Support Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. William Pelster was deactivated and the 446 Services Flight commanded by Lt. Col. Patricia Keenan was redesignated, combining both units to form the new 446 Force Support Squadron here, Dec. 1. 

The 446 Force Support Squadron was formally activated in a ceremony at Hanger 9 on Dec. 5. Following a welcome by Col. Gerald Vowell, 446 Mission Support Group Commander, the former MSS and SVF unit flags were retired and the new 446 FSS flag was unfurled, marking Colonel Pelster's assumption of command for the newly formed Force Support Squadron.

Colonel Vowell said the merger between mission support and services flight was part of an effort by the Air Force to streamline processes, increase efficiencies, maximize customer services, and cut costs associated with maintaining two separate organizations. 

"You put these two functions under one command structure and you can only improve customer services which will be a huge benefit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord community," said Colonel Vowell. 

November 30, 2010 at 12:56pm

Lesbian nurse expects Air Force reinstatement

SEATTLE -- A lesbian flight nurse who was discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy says she expects to be reinstated to the U.S. Air Force reserve by next month at the latest.

Maj. Margaret Witt and her attorneys held a news conference Tuesday at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington offices, saying that they have heard informally from the Justice Department that it is unlikely the federal government will try to block Witt's reinstatement while government lawyers appeals a federal judge's ruling giving her old job back.

Witt was suspended in 2004 and subsequently discharged after the Air Force learned she had been in a long-term relationship with a civilian woman.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma ruled two months ago that Witt's firing under "don't ask, don't tell" violated her rights, and he ordered that she be given her job back as soon as she met meet qualifications for the position.

November 23, 2010 at 5:04pm

APS reservists prepare to deploy

From left: Staff Sgt. Luis Rosado, a ramp specialist with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron here, Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgt. Michael Pritchett, 36th APS ramp specialist are preparing to deploy to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

JOINT BASE LEWIS - MCCHORD, Wash. -- With record cargo, passenger and air traffic, the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron at Bagram Airfield is getting some help from three Reservists with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron, here in supplying the fight in Afghanistan. 

Soon to deploy are Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgts. Michael Pritchett and Luis Rosado, 36th APS ramp specialists. In their first deployment to Afghanistan, these Reservists volunteered to support the air mobility effort in the war's cargo hub, with a mission to move enormous amounts of cargo and passenger traffic in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"There's a lot of pride in serving," said Sergeant Rosado, a Lynnwood, Wash. native who is also a crane operator for a local drywall company.  

"I like the front line," said Sergeant Gerren of his impending assignment as liaison and hazardous material inspector for the 455th EAPS. "It's all an adventure to me," he said. Sergeant Gerren  is also a construction maintenance supervisor for the State of Washington Department of Corrections.

All packed and ready to go, the aerial porters have planned their departure by ensuring their training, personal affairs and finances are in order. Equally important, their families and friends are ready for the mission as well.

"I just want to do my part," said Sergeant Pritchett of his upcoming mission.  "Unfortunately, I may miss the traditional black Friday shopping experience, but I made sure my wife had some extra money on hand," he said. 

Not only do Reservists rely on their military units, they also depend on their civilian employers for continued support during deployments. 

"My civilian employer offered to offset my base pay while I am away, which certainly helps," said Sergeant Pritchett, who is a fiber network field technician with an Oregon-based communications company.

The 455th EAPS is part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, which serves U.S. Air Forces Central and provides close air support, combat search rescue, aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and airlift capabilities to U.S. and coalition forces supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.    

November 8, 2010 at 10:14am

Reserve airman wins AF-level award

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- He's flown more than 4,000 hours of civilian and military flying time, including 230 combat dispatches and 873 hours of combat time. He helped in the rapid response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti this year, delivering 97,000 pounds of emergency rations. He's a C-17A Globemaster III instructor aircraft commander with the 728th Airlift Squadron here and one of only two squadron pilots who maintain every C-17 special qualification.

...And he's only 30 years old. 

These are just some of the accomplishments that made Capt. Daniel Gasper stand out from the pack to win the Lance P. Sijan Award, an honor bestowed upon Air Force personnel who represent the highest professional and personal leadership standards. He won the award at the Air Force Command Level in September.

"When I heard I won, I was surprised and deeply honored," said Caption Gasper, a Tacoma native. "I was in great company with good nominees. I'm happy I made it to the AFRC level."

Maj. Tim Davis, Captain Gasper's supervisor, said he couldn't think of anyone more deserving of this award. 

"Dan's a 'go-getter,'" said the 728th AS flight commander. "He's very intelligent, volunteers his time without question, is very enthusiastic about his job and is totally committed to 446th Airlift Wing mission." 

Captain Gasper's commitment dates back to 2001 when he was one of the first 728th AS volunteers after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The captain is currently on orders for his fifth year, gaining more experience in his new role as assistant flight commander. 

"Any time there's a mobility exercise, he's always first to volunteer," said Major Davis. "I've never heard the word "no" come out of his mouth. Captain Gasper volunteers because he wants to and not out of obligation." 

Striving for excellence comes naturally for Captain Gasper. The nine-year Reservist was recently lauded by Air Mobility Command and U.S. Transportation Command officials for his first-class leadership skills and professionalism. The captain was also nominated for the 4th Air Force Airlift Tanker Association Young Leadership Award and the Reserve Officer Association Junior Officer of the Year Award. 

"I've been blessed to have had many opportunities to further my training with the Reserve right off the bat, with the wing's activation," said the captain. "Being activated set me up for high ops tempo situations and gave me a thirst for more training." 

Captain Gasper said his wife, Jess, has been very supportive of his military duties and time away on temporary duty assignments. He said she was proud and excited when she heard he received the award. 

A Boeing 737 first officer for Alaska Airlines, Captain Gasper attained his Federal Aviation Administration certification as an airline transport pilot and Boeing 737 type ratings. He advanced his flight proficiency by attaining his FAA certified flight instructor certificate. In his military career, the captain recently added his qualifications to teach the Instrument Refresher Course and perform airdrop maneuvers with the C-17. 

Major Davis praised Captain Gasper's enthusiasm to always be one crew qualification ahead of where he needed to be and natural ability to motivate peers and supervisors alike. 

"You can't help but feel motivated when you fly with Dan," said Major Davis. "He sets the tone for the flight. He's always up-beat and it's contagious." 

When he's not flying, the captain can be found volunteering at Harverd Elementary School, Parkland, Wash., where his wife teaches. 

Captain Gasper will be adding a new accomplishment to his collection: that of father. He and Jess will be welcoming their first child any day now.     

November 4, 2010 at 2:49pm

McChord airmen chronicle Deep Freeze experience

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Active-duty and Reserve Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., spent a few days supporting Operation Deep Freeze at McMurdo Station in Antarctica and related their experiences to the Defense Department's "Armed with Science" blog recently.

Among the officers who traveled to McMurdo Station were Capt. Jon Waller, a C-17 Globemaster III instructor pilot with the 62nd AW, and Capt. Chris Stephens, a C-17 weapons officer.

"(We spend) the majority of the year flying into the (Southwest Asia)," said Captain Waller, who is on his second season flying for Operation Deep Freeze. "Flying into combat is pretty cool, and landing on dirt runways is pretty cool, but landing out here on the ice definitely takes the cake."

Captain Waller described the night missions as "amazing." 

"It really opens up our capabilities to fly year-round and fly 24 hours a day," he said. "And operations on the ice with (night vision goggles) are not all that much different from what we're used to." 

The key difference might be in the length of the day since it stays sunny 24 hours a day during Antarctica's summer and disappears for months at a time during the Antarctic winter. 

Two other officers, Maj. Bruce Cohn and Capt. Chris Stephens, have also flown support missions.

"Usually, C-17 pilots never get to leave the airfield (at McMurdo Station)," wrote Major Cohn, another C-17 instructor pilot for the 62nd AW. "We fly down from Christchurch, New Zealand, land on the ice runway, offload cargo and depart." 

However, a two-day visit to the station allowed the major to learn more about the base, which is principally operated by the National Science Foundation.

"What appears ... as individual station functions is actually an eccentric mix of people working together to make science happen," he wrote. "The research that's done here spans the gambit from marine biology to climate research and volcanology. After two days of near-perpetual sunlight, breathtaking views and a crash course on McMurdo (Station), I've barely scratched the surface of what happens in Antarctica, but it's 48 hours I will never forget."    

October 28, 2010 at 2:23pm

446th aeromedical airmen train cadets

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii -- While cadets with the Air Force Academy's Cadet Squadron 04 completed their Cadet Service Learning project, they picked up a learning opportunity through the 446th Airlift Wing.

The cadet's learning project was completed by serving as security guards during the Ironman World Championship triathlon Oct 9. Thirty-six cadets made the trip along with three of the squadron's leaders to complete the unit's project for the semester. 

Part of that trip was on a C-17 flown by the 446th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The cadets flew to Hawaii on a C-17 Globemaster III and a KC-135 Stratotanker. The C-17 crew from the 446th AW included a group of aeromedical evacuation airmen completing their qualification check rides. While en route, the cadets got an up-close-and-personal look at some jobs that may be in some of their futures.

"We have one EMT in the squadron and two med school hopefuls," said Maj. Matthew Anderson, air officer commanding for CS 04, the "Fightin' Fourth. "It really motivates them to see what they may actually be doing after they graduate. And it also shows the hard work it takes to get to that point. And what's more important, they got to see the type of people they will lead after graduation and get a firsthand experience of what they go through on a day-to-day basis."  

For more on the story, click here

October 25, 2010 at 10:32am

Reserve aerial port airmen depart for competition

A six-member aerial port team will be the first to represent the 446th Airlift Wing at Port Dawg Challenge, a new competition taking place at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Marietta, Ga., Oct. 25-29. 

The Port Dawg Challenge is carded to become the Air Force Reserve Command's version of a readiness competition, testing aerial porter knowledge and technical skills as they complete maneuvers like a pallet build-up or C-130 Hercules engine-running offload. The 446th AW team from the 36th APS will be one of more than 22 Reserve units taking part in this novel event.  

For more on the story, click here.

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