Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

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January 26, 2011 at 4:45pm

Airmen, civilians honored at quarterly awards luncheon

The following Airmen and civilians were honored at the 62nd Airlift Wing/Team McChord Quarterly Awards Luncheon on Jan. 20.

Civilian Quarter of the Year Category IA: Lori Brisson, 62nd Medical Squadron; Kathleen Wipple, 627th Force Support Squadron. Civilian of the Year Quarter Catergory IIA: Roy Osman, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; Robert Snyder, 627th FSS.

Civilian of the Year Category IIB: Kelly Williams, 62nd Maintenance Squadron.

Airman of the Quarter: Airman 1st Class Courtney Nicholas, 62nd Operations Support Squadron; Senior Airman Just Perran, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Noncommissioned Officer: Staff Sgt. Brandon Hower, 62nd OSS; Staff Sgt. Andrew Cox, 5th ASOS.

Senior Noncommissioned Officer: Senior Master Sgt. Curtis Stanley, 62nd AMXS; Master Sgt. Shane Hobrecht, 5th ASOS.

Junior Company Grade Officer: 1st Lt. Marc Marmino, 62nd Operations Group; 1st Lt. Monica Carter, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron.

Company Grade Officer: Capt. Summer Kolcum, 62nd AMXS; Capt. Patrick Lamie, 5th ASOS.

Honor Guard Member of the Quarter: Senior Airman Michael Robinson, 62nd MXS.

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.

January 20, 2011 at 9:12am

Afghanistan airdrop levels set record in 2010

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Mobility Airmen supporting operations in Afghanistan airdropped 60.4 million pounds of cargo airdropped throughout the country, setting a record.

In all, the 60.4 million pounds is nearly twice the previous record year of 2009, where just over 32.2 million pounds of cargo was airdropped, Air Forces Central statistics show.

Experts attribute the increase to the surge of an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan between December 2009 and August 2010. In those nine months, AFCENT stats confirmed more than 40 million pounds of cargo were airdropped. 

Throughout Afghanistan, the mountainous areas, remote operating locations and limited infrastructure have made the need for airdrops a necessity. That necessity has grown with more troops on the ground. According to a Jan. 12 Department of Defense news report, "numbers of U.S. troops and civilians, allied trainers and combat forces, Afghan army and police trainees all increased" in Afghanistan by more than 100,000 in 2010, compared to previous years. 

Since 2006, the annual amount of airdrops has nearly doubled each year. According to the AFCENT statistics released Jan. 19, the amount of airdrop poundage in Afghanistan over the past five years are 3.5 million in 2006, 8.12 million in 2007, 16.57 million in 2008, 32.26 million in 2009 and 60.4 million in 2010.

"These airdrops are critical to sustaining ground forces at austere locations where other means of re supply aren't feasible," said Col. David Almand, who served as director of the Combined Air and Space Operations Center's Air Mobility Division in 2010. "This continued sustainment of our warfighting forces is key to counter insurgency operations, which require persistent presence and logistics." 

The mobility Airmen assigned to support those airdrops missions have said they are proud to be able to directly support those "boots on the ground" with the supplies they need, no matter where in Afghanistan they are operating.

"It's very humbling to have such an impact on the war effort," said Staff Sgt. T.J. Grover, a C-130J loadmaster deployed with the 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. "Especially when you hear about people on the ground who have close to nothing, and we make their day if we even fly in something that's bare-minimum, but it's still a step above what they had. These guys at forward operating bases aren't getting stuff because they want it; they get it because they need it."    

January 19, 2011 at 4:02pm

Purple Hearts for 2 airmen injured in war zone

This from Air Force Times: A security forces officer and a joint terminal attack controller injured in Afghanistan each received the Purple Heart on Wednesday from the Air Force's top officer.

More than 300 airmen looked on as Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented the honor to Capt. Gil Wyche and Senior Airman Brandon Cullen Towle during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Wyche, a security forces officer assigned to the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron, received shrapnel wounds during an insurgent attack on his base in Jalalabad in mid-November. Fighters using small arms and grenades rushed the perimeter of Forward Operating Base Fenty. Despite the wounds, Wyche and his team repelled the attack.

"We knew where we were going and we knew it was a hotbed," Wyche, deployed from RAF Lakenheath, England, said in a news release. "But, nothing can prepare you until the bullets actually start flying, grenades start getting thrown on top of you, and you start firing back. My guys responded very well."

Towle, a JTAC assigned to the 817th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, was working out at the gym at FOB Connolly in Nangarhar province in early January when an indirect-fire round exploded near him. Shrapnel pierced his upper thigh. He ran to cover in a bunker, where medics treated the wounds.

Towle then began calling in airstrikes that helped end the assault.

"This wasn't the first time these guys attacked us," said Towle, who is in the fifth month of his six-month deployment from Pope Air Force Base, N.C. "I just wanted to eliminate the threat once and for all."

January 18, 2011 at 12:45pm

New AF vice chief of staff takes office

WASHINGTON (AFNS)  -- Gen. Philip M. Breedlove took over as vice chief of staff of the Air Force Jan. 14, succeeding Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler who held the position since August 2009.

General Breedlove most recently served as the Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, a position he held since August 2009.

The vice chief of staff assists the chief of staff with organizing, training, and equipping 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the U.S. and overseas. General Breedlove also presides over the Air Staff and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. 

General Breedlove holds two master's degrees, one from Arizona State University and one from the National War College, and a bachelor's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Among his many assignments, General Breedlove served as the 3rd Air Force commander at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The general is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters.    

Filed under: U.S. Air Force,

January 13, 2011 at 12:15pm

Reserve SF Airmen depart for training tour

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Reservists from the 446th Security Forces Squadron are headed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to conduct their annual training tour Jan 10. Two squads deployed to support the 647th Security Forces Squadron in Hawaii.

The teams are integrating into flightline security, base police operations and support for the alert aircraft area, as well as providing training in combat arms, said Master Sgt. Lenny Deboma, 446th SFS operations manager. 

"Their 15-day annual tour provides our team with an opportunity to not only perform day-to-day security operations, but also allows the relief necessary for members of the 647th SFS to gain additional time for training," said Sergeant Deboma. 

Many of their past annual training tours have supported air shows, rodeos, and other missions within the continental United States, said Sergeant Deboma. 

"This is the first time our unit has been off shore for an annual training tour in more than seven years," said Sergeant Deboma.

Working with the 647th SFS also provides an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Navy at the joint base. 

"These folks have worked with many different branches of service and they are very adaptable and have a lot of knowledge, especially with their experience deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq," said Master Sgt. Carlos Duell, 446th SFS flight chief. "Most of our unit is coming back off two rotations in Iraq and this is a good time to work together again," he said. "We are fired up and ready for the mission."    

January 12, 2011 at 4:56pm

446th AES reservists go Hollywood

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. — Did you know we have movie stars in the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron?

During the summer of 2010 our fellow Reservists were deployed to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. where they were met by an IMAX film crew. As it turns out, the Reservists from McChord Field and the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. contributed to the production of a movie being shot in IMAX 3D format all the while conducting their everyday mission. 

The Reservists spent a day with the film crew getting shots of what the AES does best, preparing patients for transport. They also provided sound bites to the film crew as they read off checklist items into the microphone. 

"It was kind of exciting seeing how a film is shot and seeing how art could imitate life." said Maj. Lorenza O'Daniel, 446th AES flight nurse.

This unique opportunity to open the doors to the public will provide a look as to how patients are stabilized and relocated. This exposure is one that provided the flight nurses with an opportunity to share an aspect of the Air Force story that the public very rarely get out. 

"I tell friends that I'm a flight medic and they don't understand." said Senior Airman Caleb Heder, 446th AES. "They had no idea there is medical care between the battle field and getting home." He continues "They don't make the connection between the two, and it will be very cool to show them this production." 

The movie titled "Rescue" revolves around disaster relief both on the ground and by air. "Rescue" captures the dynamics and drama of disaster response, giving the audience an insider's view of a truly remarkable force for good in a world that is increasingly in need of it.

"Rescue" is currently in production and has a tentative release date of May 2011. It will be available in both 2D and 3D IMAX large film format.    

January 11, 2011 at 11:42am

446th CES reservist wins AF level award

We profiled Master Sgt. Glen Tuttle when he won this award at the command level. He recently went on to win the award at the Air Force level as well. Read on. 

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- If the gifts of this recent holiday season were measured by the number of awards decorating the mantle of the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, then Master Sgt. Glen Tuttle might be confused with Santa Claus. 

In November, the 446th CES EOD Flight NCO in charge was named the Air Mobility Command Outstanding Civil Engineer Air Reserve Component NCO manager of the year.

In December, Tuttle competed for the award at the Air Force level. And won.

"Glen is one of those individuals who does a few things extremely well and most things really well," said Lt. Col. David Walter, 446th CES commander. "He is an exceptional individual, and this award is just further recognition of that."    

January 10, 2011 at 12:35pm

McChord among bases continuing to test alternative jet fuel

This from Air Force Times: An Air Force test to see how military cargo planes perform using commercial jet fuel is going so well, the test has been extended into a second year and will expand to fighters.

The Air Force wants to learn what happens when planes use commercial "Jet A" fuel instead of the Air Force's specialized fuel, "JP-8." If the Air Force switches worldwide to Jet A, the service hopes it will save about $40 million annually.

As of December, the Air Force had pumped 140 million gallons of Jet A - about 6 percent of the service's annual fuel consumption - into planes flying out of four bases: Dover Air Force Base, Del.; Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and Minneapolis-St. Paul Air National Guard Station, Minn.

Air and ground crews reported no problems from Jet A, said Andre Kok, a spokesman for the Air Staff's mission support directorate at the Pentagon.

The test continues into 2011, with the goal of adding six bases by the summer and including fighters on the list of planes using Jet A. The bases have not been selected, Kok said.

January 7, 2011 at 11:43am

Gates outlines cuts in Air Force operations

This from Air Force Times: The Air Force plans to consolidate several units, reduce fuel consumption and implement an array of other cost-cutting measures over the next five years to save $34 billion, money that would be poured back into acquisitions - including a long-range bomber.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the proposals Jan. 6 as part of a sweeping package of reforms that he wants all in place by fiscal 2016. The Air Force refused to add to the comments made by Gates until after he officially rolls out the military's budget next month.

"Our nation and this department are facing fiscal challenges and growing operating expenses for fuel, maintenance, health care, salaries and training," Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in a joint statement released after Gates made his announcement.

For more on the story, click here.

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

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