Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: 'Defense News' (12) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 12

October 7, 2013 at 9:40am

Most Air Force civilians to return to work Oct. 7

WASHINGTON (AFNS) - In accordance with a memo Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released Oct. 5, the Air Force will recall most of the nearly 104,000 Air Force civilian Airmen placed on emergency furlough due to government shutdown. However, a significant number will not yet be able to return.

In his memo, Hagel stated that immediately after President Barack Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, he directed DOD's Acting General Counsel to determine whether he could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown.

After consulting with attorneys from the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, the secretary said the Pay our Military Act does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.

However, he said, DOD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the DOD to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.

Read the full report of the Air Force Reserve Command's website.

October 1, 2013 at 4:13pm

List of Joint Base Lewis-McChord changes due to government shutdown

Ed. note: Joint Base Lewis-McChord PAO has release a much bigger, more comprehensive list of openings, closures and cancellations here.

The 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs has just release a list of changes at Joint Base Lewis-McChord caused by the government shutdown:

  • All Exchange services will be opened and operating under normal hours.
  • All emergency services will be operating as normal.
  • The Child Development Centers will operate as normal.
  • Youth Services Teen Zone, SKIES, School aged services, Teen Centers will continue with normal operations.
  • Youth Sports Program will continue as planned.
  • The Dining Facilities will remain open and operational.
  • The gyms will be open and operating under normal hours.
  • On-Base housing support through Equity will not be impacted.
  • Alcohol Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) will be operating normally.
  • On and Off-post Elementary, Middle and High Schools are not impacted.
  • Central Issue Facility (CIF) is open and operating under normal times.
  • Most MWR activities will continue under normal hours. These include the Warrior Zone, the American Lake Convention Center, the Cascade Community Center, the Bowling Center as an example.
  • SHARP, Victim Advocates, New Parent Support and Military Family Life Counselors will continue with normal operations.
  • Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) respite care for current enrollees will continue with normal operations.
  • Force Support Squadron functions in building 100 will remain under normal operations except vehicle pass and weapons registration functions.
  • Official Mail will be closed.
  • Off-base housing services are closed.
  • McChord Field Dorm Room assignments and maintenance will be delayed.
  • Education centers will be open for college courses, however no academic counseling will be available.
  • Installation museums are closed.
  • Visual Information Services are closed.
  • Libraries will operate on limited hours. Grandstaff Library's new hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the McChord Library's hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Joint Personal Property Shipping Office (JPPSO) will be open normal operating hours, however delays should be expected.

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER

  • All inpatient and wounded warrior care activities will continue as normal.
  • Patients will still be able to schedule medical appointments for most outpatient services, and none of the scheduled appointments will be canceled.
  • The appointment line (1-800-404-4506) will remain open for beneficiaries to inquire about their appointments and for those in need of urgent "non-emergency" care.
  • Pharmacy services will also remain open at all locations.
  • Non-emergent elective medical and dental surgeries will be curtailed during the government shutdown. Impacted patients will be notified personally of any changes.

See Also

Pres. Obama thanks DoD workforce, encourages budget resolution

Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

July 3, 2013 at 6:22pm

Boeing begins production on its first KC-46

A KC-46 conducts in-flight refueling on a B-2 bomber in this illustration. The first KC-46 is expected to fly in 2015. (Air Force illustration)

Boeing didn't take an extra day off for the Fourth of July. The aircraft manufacturing company officially began assembling its first KC-46 tanker today. Workers loaded the first wing spar for the plane, a small but important first step towards producing a complete KC-46.

Daryl Mayer, a journalist with the 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs office, has some background.

Boeing's announcement this past week that they have begun assembly of the first KC-46 wing spar is a significant event for the Air Force tanker program. It marks the start of assembly of the first KC-46 Engineering and Manufacturing Development aircraft.

"We are excited and pleased that KC-46 fabrication has begun. The Boeing team continues to make significant progress in the development of the Air Force's next tanker," said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, Program Executive Officer for Tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. "The development effort is on track, detailed test planning is making good progress, and initial beddown, training and sustainment planning is underway."

The Air Force is about a third of the way into the KC-46 tanker development program. The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46 Tankers to begin recapitalizing the more than 50-year-old KC-135 fleet. The initial delivery target is for 18 tankers by 2017. Production will then ramp up to deliver all 179 tankers by 2028.

The aircraft being produced at the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., is a commercial derivative design based on the Boeing 767-200ER passenger aircraft. When the aircraft comes off the Everett production line, it will be a 767-2C Provisioned Freighter that will eventually become a military-configured KC-46 tanker.

The first fully equipped KC-46 is slated to fly in early 2015. 

Filed under: Defense News, U.S. Air Force,

June 4, 2013 at 3:33pm

Sexual assault is a "cancer," Gen. Mark A. Welsh III says

It was a busy morning for the heads of the U.S. armed forces. Staff Sgt. David Salanitri, a journalist with the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, files the report below.

WASHINGTON (AFNS) - The Air Force chief of staff testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and service chiefs from the Army, Navy Marine Corps and Coast Guard on pending legislation regarding sexual assaults in the military June 4.

Gen. Mark A. Welsh III re-emphasized to the committee the Air Force's commitment to combating sexual assault within its ranks and improving care for victims when it does occur.

Sexual assault "undermines the mission effectiveness of our great force," he said. "Nothing saddens me more than to know this cancer exists in our ranks."

According to Welsh, preventing sexual assault is every Airman's responsibility.

Read more...

May 16, 2013 at 11:17am

Photo: Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad on Capitol Hill

Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad, deputy to the chief of staff of Air Force Reserve. Photo credit: Scott M. Ash

Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad, deputy to the chief of staff of Air Force Reserve, testifies during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, on Capitol Hill, May 15. Active and Reserve component leaders testified to the subcommittee about the FY14 President's Budget request and projected construction projects. The proposed budget has $45.6 million to fund new Air Force Reserve projects. This includes a Joint Regional Deployment Processing Center at March Air Reserve base, Calif., a Squadron Operations Facility at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and an Entry Control Complex at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.

Filed under: News To Us, Defense News,

May 9, 2013 at 1:33pm

F-35 Lightning II's real-time data system is a game changer

An advanced F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter taxis on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. arriving to the Air Education Training Command F-35 schoolhouse, May 6, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Egebrecht

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) - The Air Force took another step forward with its newest fighter jet when an advanced F-35 Lightning II landed at the service's lead training base, home to the largest fleet of F-35s worldwide.

The new stealth fighter kicks off a major training effort at the F-35 schoolhouse on an aircraft with unmatched capabilities.

The F-35 is the military's newest stealth fighter jet. Students from all military branches who are learning to fly the plane go through the schoolhouse at Eglin, including some from international services.

In addition to a few design improvements, the major difference between the new aircraft and others is sensors and software.

Read more...

Filed under: U.S. Air Force, Defense News,

April 18, 2011 at 6:53am

No more social security numbers on ID cards

 Beginning June 1, Social Security numbers on military identification cards will begin to disappear, said Air Force Maj. Monica M. Matoush, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The effort is part of a larger plan to protect service members and other DOD identification card holders from identity theft, officials said.

Criminals use Social Security numbers to steal identities, allowing them to pillage resources, establish credit or to hijack credit cards, bank accounts or debit cards.

Currently, the Social Security number is printed on the back of common access cards, and on the front of cards issued to dependents and retirees. Beginning in June, when current cards expire, they will be replaced with new cards having a DOD identification number replacing the Social Security number, officials said. The DOD identification number is a unique 10-digit number that is assigned to every person with a direct relationship with the department. The new number also will be the service member's Geneva Convention identification number.

An 11-digit DOD benefits number also will appear on the cards of those people eligible for DOD benefits. The first nine digits are common to a sponsor, the official said, and the last two digits will identify a specific person within the sponsor's family.

Social Security numbers embedded in the bar codes on the back of identification cards will remain there for the time being, and will be phased out beginning in 2012.

The department will replace identification cards as they expire.
"Because cards will be replaced upon expiration, it will be approximately four years until all cards are replaced with the DOD ID number," Matoush said.

The identity protection program began in 2008, when DOD started removing Social Security numbers from family member identification cards.

Filed under: Defense News,

April 4, 2011 at 1:55pm

Govt shutdown update: Troops shouldn't worry

This from Air Force Times: The House Armed Services Committee chairman sought Monday to reassure service members who are worried about not being paid if the government shuts down because he believes a fiscal crisis will be averted.

Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said he doesn't think a government shutdown will happen at the end of the week because he believes lawmakers will agree on a budget.

If there is a shutdown, he doesn't see it lasting more than a few days, which would not affect the April 15 military payday. And, if the military cannot make the April 15 payroll because of a shutdown, service members will not lose any money because they will be fully paid once funding is restored, McKeon said in a meeting with reporters.

"I think we are mature enough to get this fixed," McKeon said of the standoff on the 2011 budget that was supposed to have been approved by the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Filed under: Defense News, News To Us,

January 31, 2011 at 8:30am

Cadet who lost leg keeps piloting dream alive

This from Air Force Times: SAN ANTONIO - Cadet Matt Pirrello would jump out of an airplane again in a heartbeat. And he hopes to get that chance someday.

Seven months after a parachute accident that severed his right leg and broke his left one, Pirrello is going forward with his life - learning to walk again here at the Center for the Intrepid and Brooke Army Medical Center, determined to get back to college and earn his Air Force commission.

"Becoming an officer is a goal I've had, and I don't see why this should stop me," said Pirrello, 20. "Plus, I'm pretty competitive. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and doing what I have to do."

Last summer, after wrapping up his first year at Ohio University, Pirrello went to the Air Force Academy for the basic parachute training course.

On June 25, Pirrello had five jumps to make. The first one went well and Pirrello climbed back into the UV-18B Twin Otter with nine others for Jump No. 2.

As the plane flew over the drop zone, Pirrello stepped out and flew the parachute canopy within allowable limits until setting up for his final approach to the landing point, according to a report by Air Force investigators.

But Pirrello was so focused on where he was supposed to land that he forgot to monitor the windsocks, which would have shown crosswinds from the west. Not monitoring the windsocks, according to the report, led to "under-control of the canopy and failure to correct for winds to the west, which is a procedural error that was a major factor in the mishap."

To read the complete story, click here.

January 27, 2011 at 3:31pm

Murray is first woman in Senate history to lead VA committee

This from Air Force Times: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the new Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee chairwoman, uses the word "needs" rather than "wants" to describe the things that must be done to help the nation's veterans.

The 60-year-old daughter of a disabled World War II veteran, Murray has been an active committee member since 1995 and a fierce critic of the bureaucracy that faces veterans and their families when they try to get benefits, use veterans hospitals or get other aid from the Veterans Affairs Department.

Murray, who succeeds World War II veteran Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, is the first woman in Senate history to lead the committee. She has worked on issues involving female veterans and believes there is much more to do to help women, but her goals go far beyond that.

"I have never turned down a job because it is too hard," said Murray, a member of the Senate leadership who was elected to a fourth term in November. "I know we have World War II veterans who have needs today, Vietnam veterans who are aging, and we have a new population of veterans coming home who need disability checks, need employment and need VA services that work better. I intend to really have the committee be a place where veterans have a voice and an advocate."

VA has made strides toward becoming more veteran-friendly, she said, but the department still doesn't always work for veterans.

"I think the people at VA have the right intentions," she said, but budgets, bureaucracy and employee attitudes all contribute to a feeling among some veterans that they are poorly served.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Defense News, Veterans,

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