Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

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July 1, 2010 at 4:06pm

McChord Honor Guard wins AMC award

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- The McChord Honor Guard Team has been named the 2009 Air Mobility Command Honor Guard Team of the Year. 

The Honor Guard Team has conducted 624 total funeral honors, to include final escort of 417 war veterans. In addition, they have performed flag folding at 225 retirement ceremonies and have executed 47 Joint Color Guards and parades.

"An average working week for our team includes 30 funerals and more than six color guard events," said Tech. Sgt. Bonnie Longie, 62d Airlift Wing Honor Guard NCOIC. 

Sergeant Longie has been the McChord Honor Guard NCOIC for two years, and she says she has seen vast improvements in the Honor Guard members.

"This team is very impressive," said Sergeant Longie. "They carry a level of pride unlike anything I've ever seen."

The Honor Guard requires a certain number of Airmen from each squadron to fulfill its quota. At any given time, there are 72 members, broken up into three teams of 24. Those teams rotate throughout the year, switching back and forth from stand-by to active status each month. 

"The volunteer rate has significantly increased," said Sergeant Longie. "Last year, we had a 65% volunteer rate. This year, that number is up to about 95%."

This year's AMC Honor Guard Team has not only completed an outstanding number of ceremonies and events, but they've also created a brand new training program that has been benchmarked AMC wide.

"The training program used to be a month long, but we've actually been able to cut that down to two weeks," said Capt. Tammy Ortung, 62d Airlift Wing Honor Guard Commander.

The revolutionized training program still includes the same vital training for funeral procedures, rifle practice, color guard and discipline. The new program has been recognized and adopted by other AMC Honor Guard teams. 

"We are representing the Air Force," said Captain Ortung. "We need to ensure our team is trained and prepared to show the proper respect and honor to these fallen servicemembers."

The men and women serving in the McChord Honor Guard Team continue their highly dedicated and determined attitude towards giving their fellow servicemembers the proper respect they deserve.

"There is a certain pride and professionalism that comes along with being a part of the Honor Guard," said Sergeant Longie. "These Airmen understand what it means to honor fallen servicemembers."     

June 25, 2010 at 6:06pm

Seahawks to visit McChord Field Monday

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Two high-powered defensive powers, the United States Air Force and the Seattle Seahawks, team up to take to the sky Monday around 12:15 p.m. - sort of. Two defensive specialists for the Seattle Seahawks will fly with the two Air Force C-17 demonstration pilots in the C-17 simulator at McChord Field in preparation for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo 2010 July 17-18.

After they are done flying in the full-motion, state-of-the-art simulator, corner back Josh Wilson and safety Jamar Adams will also visit a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and meet with the airmen responsible for flying and maintaining the Air Force's premier cargo aircraft. Finally, the Seahawk defenders will sign autographs and have their photos taken with the soldiers, airmen and family members of Joint Base Lewis-McChord at the McChord Field Base Exchange.

In the state-of-the-art, motion simulator, the Air Force C-17 demonstration pilots will fly their planned air show profile where they throw the massive cargo plane in tight turns and steep climbs exactly as they plan to fly at the Air Expo just three weeks away. After showing their Seahawks co-pilots how to fly, it will be the Seahawks turn to take the controls. 

May 24, 2010 at 2:36pm

8th Airlift Squadron airmen settle in

Airmen from the 8th Airlift Squadron, which left for a 120-day deployment April 22, are getting settled into their mission. Here is a report on their progress, written by a public affairs airman deployed from JBLM.

May 12, 2010 at 10:35am

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a formation!

If you see a handful of C-17 Globemaster IIIs filling the sky today, don't worry, it's all part of a special mission at McChord Field.

A large formation of C-17s took off this morning to train for their strategic airdrop mission. Seven C-17s will began taking off at about 10 a.m. and will fly throughout the local area.

Along with active-duty and reserve airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings, airmen from the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron and soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord are participating in the training exercise, according to McChord Field public affairs.

At different points in the training exercise, aircrews will air drop heavy equipment and personnel. C-17 Globemaster III transporters must be able to meet the Army's goal of airdropping a brigade's worth of troops and equipment within 30 minutes.   The strategic brigade airdrop capability resides only in the C-17 community, according to PA.

April 22, 2010 at 11:12am

McChord's 8th Airlift Squadron prepares to deploy

(62nd AW PA)- More than 100 airmen from the 8th Airlift Squadron will soon deploy to the Middle East in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. For approximately 120 days, the unit will operate out of a single base, managing and flying missions concentrated in and around Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. 

The McChord Field airmen will take over the operations of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. The mission of the 816th EAS is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout their assigned areas of responsibility.

For more on the upcoming deployment, click here.

February 24, 2010 at 3:02pm

Deployed families dinner

The JBLM-McChord Field Chapel Support Center and the USO is teaming up to host a dinner for deployed families from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday (March 1) at the chapel.

The dinner is open to McChord Field families with a spouse on a deployment or temporary duty assignment. 

The dinner will have a "March Madness" basketball and sports theme.

For more information, call the chapel at (253)982-5556.

February 16, 2010 at 2:18pm

Biodiesel coming to McChord Field?

Last month, Fairchild Air Force Base opened an E85 fuel pump, making it the sixth Air Mobility Command base to offer both biodiesel (B20) and ethanol (E85)-based fuel options for its general purpose sedans and vans that have converted tanks. 

Ethanol is an alternative fuel made primarily of corn, and it releases less carbon dioxide in the environment than traditional gasoline.

This story illustrates part of the effort the Air Force is making as part of its goal of reducing dependence on petroleum-based gas and increasing the use of alternative fuels.

Of the six AMC bases that don't have E85 tanks, four have funded projects slated for this fiscal year, AMC officials said. Travis AFB, Calif. plans to convert an excess tank during FY11, and Pope AFB, N.C. has submitted an E85 project jointly with the Army, slated for FY12.

Could JBLM be next? No word yet from base officials.    

February 10, 2010 at 3:06pm

New concept for AF Assistance Fund

This week Air Force officials released details of a plan that would reward bases with a cash prize for earning the top spot within each group based on point values in several categories: percent over goal; donation amount equal to or greater than the previous year's amount; and active duty participation rate. You can read more about the plan here.

I find this plan a weird considering that the representatives that I've talked to each year in the past are hesitant to talk in specifics about monetary goals for how much the base wants to raise. The theme has been 100 percent contact, basically making sure everyone knows about it and how to get involved.

If you read the story on the Air Force's Web site, there are already a few negative comments about the idea. Your thoughts?  

February 1, 2010 at 3:10pm

Black History Month event at Museum of Flight

A panel of five African-American professional pilots — including two Team McChord airmen — will share their experiences from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 6) in the William M. Allen Theater at the Museum of Flight in Seattle (9404 East Marginal Way S.).

The panel discussion, which is part of the museum's Black History Month commemoration, is free with museum admission.

Tuskegee Airman Bill Holloman will serve as moderator and Lt. Col. Rod Lewis, 4th Airlift Squadron commander; and Lt. Col. Kimberly Scott, an Alaska Airlines pilot and 446th Airlift Wing reservist with the 728th Airlift Squadron, will sit on the panel.  

Books about African American pilots and astronauts, as well as other memorabilia, will be available for purchase in the museum's store.

January 29, 2010 at 10:30am

AMC commander brings good news, praise

Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., Air Mobility Command commander, visited McChord this week on his first official visit as the new AMC commander. 

Johns was previously assigned to McChord as the 62nd Airlift Wing commander from 1998 to 2000. 

Among meeting with various units on base and flying with an aircrew, Johns also announced during a commander's call that AMC has provided McChord with $675,000 to upgrade the fitness center annex with an indoor running track, larger locker rooms and electric system upgrades. The construction is projected to be completed near Labor Day. 

Johns also recognized retiring long-time federal employee, William "Pappa J" Johnson, 62nd Force Support Squadron athletic director. The Fitness Center upgrade was the last in a long series of Johnson's efforts to improve McChord health and wellness programs and facilities. 

Johns also recognized Cheryl Vollmer, director of the Airman and Family Readiness Center, who retires this week after 22 years at McChord and 32 years of federal service. Vollmer is responsible for growing the Airman and Family Readiness Center from two employees in 1988 to 11 in 2010, initializing the Escape Zone, a family resiliency center for parents and children and building a job placement program for spouses of military members and veterans. 

(Information courtesy 62nd AW PA)  

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