Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: 'Health' (13) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 13

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...

April 6, 2012 at 1:14pm

Air Force tries to deal with suicide rate

From military.com: Air Force leaders at all levels must fight the problem of suicides within the service by developing a culture of healthy airmen across the board, said the service's top enlisted man Thursday.

"We've got to talk about" the problem of airman suicides openly, look at suicide rates, discuss lessons learned from suicides and even acknowledge "saves," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, James Roy, during an April 5 luncheon on Capitol Hill.

"Some have said, don't talk about it, I just throw that aside," said Roy. "When somebody commits suicide, some people would say that I shouldn't be sharing the [suicide] numbers the way I share them. Why not? How do I tell what happened last April or last March if I don't show you where we are today? How do I compare the two?"

The Air Force lost 99 airmen in 2010 to suicides, 90 in 2011 and 35 so far in 2012, making suicide the service's leading cause of death, according to slides presented by Roy during his presentation.

The Air Force must avoid turning its efforts to develop a culture of healthy, resilient airmen into a "check in the box" training program, said Roy.

To read the rest of the story, click here

Filed under: Health, U.S. Air Force,

April 2, 2012 at 1:09pm

Wounded warriors continue service through employment program

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force's goal is to retain injured Airmen on active duty. But when this is no longer an option, wounded warriors may explore new opportunities to serve through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Civil Service Employment Program.

The program helps all combat or hostile-related ill, injured and medically separated Airmen transition into Air Force federal civilian employment. It's also one way the Air Force supports wounded warriors throughout the entire reintegration process and journey to a new 'normal.'

"Helping wounded warriors get back on their feet and into the workforce again means a lot to them," said Amelia Ruiz, a human resources specialist at the Air Force Personnel Center here. "Since 2009, more than 150 warriors have requested placement into federal service."

The process of helping a wounded warrior enter federal service is a team effort that involves collaboration between AFPC civilian personnel officials, wounded warrior non-medical care managers, local Airman and family readiness centers and local civilian personnel offices. 

Once AFPC receives notification of a wounded warrior's desire to enter federal service, program managers contact local CPOs to try to match them with current or pending vacancies. Airman and family readiness center officials will help the wounded warrior with his or her resume and provide general guidance on how to transition from the military to a civilian career.

Although officials will try their best to place wounded warriors in a federal career, it's important to note minimum qualifications for a position must still be met, Ruiz said. Additionally, recent changes to the Air Force civilian workforce structure has reduced the number of available vacancies, just as it has for anyone else seeking Air Force employment.

"If a wounded Airmen couldn't be retained on active duty and still wanted to work for the Air Force, we'd do everything we could to make that happen because we owe them for their service," said Nicole Hart, an employment development specialist with the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. "Otherwise, we still help the wounded warrior find employment in the non-profit or private sector."

To read the rest of the story, click here.    

Filed under: Health, U.S. Air Force,

July 28, 2011 at 9:30am

Pit bull prevents AF vet from committing suicide

(NY Daily News)-- Air Force veteran Dave Sharpe survived two near-death experiences serving in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - but it was his six-month-old pit bull puppy that saved his life.

His dog, Cheyenne, licked his ear and brought a suicidal Sharpe back from the brink when he had put his service pistol in his mouth, CBS reported.

"She came up behind me and she licked my ear," Sharpe told the network of the low point he hit after returning. "And she gave me this look of, 'What are you doing man, who's going to let me sleep in your bed? Listen, if you take care of me, I'll take care of you'," Sharpe said.


Cheyenne's divine intervention inspired Sharpe to reach out to other veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through the P2V (Pets to Vets) organization.

The non-profit matches vets with shelter dogs and cats in an effort to provide companionship.

Sharpe's turnaround serves as the group's prime example of the power of man's best friend.

"Before I met her, I was a wreck," he said of Cheyenne. "I was out of control, I would start fights for no reason."

To see a picture of Cheyenne, click here.

June 17, 2011 at 1:53pm

Air Force: Don't use liposuction as PT shortcut

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Liposuction, a popular shortcut to a leaner body, might be a shortcut to a leaner paycheck, loss of rank or a career-ending ticket to civilian life for Airmen.

The cosmetic procedure is not an acceptable solution to trimming inches or weight to meet physical requirements, said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Dave Simon, chief of the medical staff for the 6th Air Mobility Wing. In short, trying to make tape via liposuction is not something the Wing will ever sign off on, and "sneaking" off to have the procedure done could not only lead to a ding on one's Air Force career, it could hamper readiness, jeopardize health or otherwise interfere with the duties of Airmen and jeopardize the mission, Col. Simon noted.

"I can't foresee any situation in which it would be approved," said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Terry Haag, chief of aerospace Mmdicine at MacDill AFB. "It's cosmetic and elective, and not something you have to have done."

The primary concern is that with physical fitness requirements becoming more stringent and the emphasis on being "fit to fight," Airmen worried about that little extra around the middle will be tempted by the promises of liposuction.

The bottom line, however, is liposuction is a surgical procedure, which has risks, requires a recovery period and potentially renders an Airman-patient unable to perform at peak level, perhaps even interfering with duty or deployment.

"Infection," said Colonel Haag is the number one risk of liposuction. "There can be other complications, but that is the biggest concern."

Liposuction also doesn't make a person more fit, he said.

"It isn't real," Colonel Haag said.

In addition, unless a lifestyle change is made, such as adjusting the diet or exercising more or more effectively, the weight removed with liposuction is bound to return in short order.

"There are no shortcuts to physical fitness and better health," Colonel Haag said. "It's something that requires work and discipline."

From an Air Force and 6th AMW standpoint, a ready force able to deploy in short order is a priority, which is why any elective surgery has to be approved by a unit commander and medical staff. It also is why there can be severe consequences for Airmen who have elective surgery done without prior clearance.

Disciplinary action for Airmen who have surgery done without command or medical approval can lead to anything from a letter of reprimand to an Article 15 or even a courts martial under Article 92, dereliction of duty, said Capt. Joey Smith, chief of military justice in the 6th Air Mobility Wing Judge Advocate office.

The action taken depends on the Airman's history, as well as the commander's discretion, said Captain Smith. Among the options could be loss of pay, loss of rank and even discharge.    

Filed under: Health, News To Us, U.S. Air Force,

February 3, 2011 at 10:24am

Reservist helps spouse battle cancer while serving in Iraq

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.- When Air Force Reservists prepare for deployments, common items they double-check might be, updating wills and powers of attorney, making sure their finances are in order, medical clearances, making sure they have the proper equipment and supplies, and ensuring the well being of their families before the Reservist departs.

But one Air Force Reserve family was thrown for a loop when a special cargo handler with the 446th Airlift Wing from Wilsonville, Ore., found out his wife of 11 years was diagnosed with breast cancer the week before he deployed to Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, in August 2010.

"It scared me and I cried for hours," said Candice Currier, mother of four. "But I knew how strong I was and the support I had from my family and best friend gave me all the strength I needed to get through. Plus, I knew that being able to communicate with my husband through e-mail and Skype would help me feel like he wasn't as far away."

In order for her husband, Tech. Sgt. Chris Currier, 86th Aerial Port Squadron, to proceed with the deployment, he, his family and his squadron leadership had many conversations.

"We knew that their sister-in-law and family friend would give her the support she needed like watching their children while he was gone," said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Dietz, 86th APS air transportation manager.

Over the course of Candice's seven chemotherapy treatments, Chris felt her pain during the harder moments, but also her relief when she was doing well.

"Hearing her on her down week was the hardest part," said the Intel contractor. "Knowing how defenseless she was was hard. But when I found out she was pulling through, it was a great relief. Knowing that the people I deployed with were there for support was also a relief."

Chief Dietz showed his support by taking a trip to Oregon to check on the family and make sure Candice was doing okay.

"I went down there on Candice's birthday, Oct. 25, to drop off some truffles and check on her," said the Olympia, Wash. resident. "The commander (Lt. Col. Tim May) and the first sergeant (Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Mack) also called her a few times. We were relieved to find out she was going to be okay, not only for her sake, but for her family." 

Throughout the entire process, the couple never doubted her strength in getting through her illness. In fact, it made their relationship grow stronger.

"I knew from the start she was going to pull through," said Sergeant Currier, the veteran who's been through four deployments, to include Operation Desert Storm. "She will not take ‘no' for an answer. Without a doubt, this has made me a better husband, a better (noncommissioned officer), and has made us stronger."

Candice sums up their relationship through the troubled time.

"Most certainly it has made our relationship stronger," she said. "I had to let Chris see the raw side of me by letting my guard down and trusting that his love would still stand. He showed me his true feelings every time we talked and no matter what my insecurities about my looks or feelings were, he didn't waiver his love and desire for me as his wife."

Although a biopsy confirmed the absence of cancer, Candice will begin radiation treatment at the end of February.

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 21, 2011 at 2:27pm

Nutrition class gives Reservists food for thought

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- It may be easy to associate words like potassium citrate, sodium hexameta phosphate, monosodium glutamate and titanium dioxide with a chemistry experiment. But it may come as a surprise to know they are just some of the more common ingredients found in a typical diet today. The names of these ingredients may sound like a mouthful, but having an idea of what they are and how they help the body reach peak performance could be a slice of heaven to Reservists in the 446th Airlift Wing. 

That's where Tech. Sgt. Casey Muilenburg and Senior Airman Jennifer White, diet technicians with the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, come in.  They run an hour and a half nutrition and weight management class every other Reserve weekend to help Airmen understand proper nutrition and weight management techniques. 

"We want to give Reservists resources to help them make better eating choices," said Sergeant Muilenburg, nutritional medicine NCO in charge. "We show them how to choose healthy foods, read food labels, understand the percentage rates the Air Force use as standards, and set realistic goals. Our parents and grandparents gave us the tools, and this class is a refresher to help Reservists remember healthy food is out there," said the Redmond, Wash., native.     

For more on the story, click here.

November 19, 2010 at 9:51am

McChord Fitness Center Annex reopens

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The McChord Field Fitness Center Annex reopened Nov. 16 with several new and improved fitness resources for the JBLM community. 

After 10 months of restorations and refurbishment, some of the biggest differences gym goers will notice include remodeled locker rooms, new exercise equipment and an elevated indoor track. 

"The renovations were made to provide Airmen the opportunity to meet the new fitness standards and maintain their healthy 'fit to fight' lifestyles all year round," said Thomas Ward, McChord Field Fitness Center and Fitness Center Annex Facility Manager. 

According to Mr. Ward, this $1.2 million project was conducted to create a more resourceful environment for people to establish convenient exercising routines during the cold winter months. 

"It will directly contribute to the goals of the newly established Comprehensive Airman Fitness program by providing an indoor facility and lots of space for guests to exercise and implement their own individual routine," said Mr. Ward. 

Some other improvements include the removal of the juice bar, which allows more room for cardiovascular equipment. The sauna has also been extracted, creating space to expand both the male and female locker rooms. 

"The extra equipment and larger locker rooms will be able to facilitate more people at once," said Senior Master Sgt. Cleofas Trejo, 627th Force Support Squadron Sustainment Services Flight Superintendent. "These improvements will help introduce more Airmen to a healthy lifestyle." 

Also, the fitness center offers aerobic exercise classes, which will resume at the newly reopened annex at their regularly scheduled times. Kum Jones, a retired Army spouse and frequenter of the McChord Field Fitness Center, said she enjoys the aerobic classes and is looking forward to utilizing the indoor track.

"I love coming to the gym as often as I can," said Mrs. Jones. "I love running, but I don't like treadmills. I can't wait to use that new track!" 

The new indoor track, with its 12-inch corner banks and state of the art cushion turf, provides servicemembers a resource to train for their physical fitness test. Although, accomplishing 1.5 miles takes 28 laps, the new track gives JBLM community members an alternative when choosing how to stay fit.     

April 16, 2010 at 10:25am

Free makeovers at McChord BX

The Carol's Daughter beauty products counter inside the McChord Field BX is offering free makeovers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (April 17).

Spots are limited and those interested are encouraged to call (253) 582-3110 to make an appointment.

Filed under: News To Us, Health,

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