Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

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January 6, 2011 at 3:55pm

4th Airlift Squadron returns home

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 120 Airmen from the 4th Airlift Squadron returned Thursday after a 120-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to an overseas contingency location in the Middle East.

"Our deployment was a success as a result of the hard work, professionalism and safety-focus of many, including that of our sister squadrons," said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 816th EAS commander. "We were fortunate to be a part of wide variety of missions including the delivery of M1A1 Abrams tanks into Afghanistan, life-saving aeromedical evacuations, transporting several distinguished visitors including the Secretary of Defense, airdropping more than 16 million pounds of CDS (container delivery system) bundles to remote forward operating bases and flying media and Boeing representatives on the C-17 Globemaster III's two-millionth flight hour. The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job. I'm really proud of this group of Airmen."

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 2,204 sorties, equaling more than 12,900 hours, moving more than 48,000 passengers and delivering more than 91.4 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

More on this story in the Jan. 13 edition of The Northwest Airlifter.

January 5, 2011 at 9:39am

7th Airlift Squadron departs on 120-day deployment

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- More than 100 Airmen assigned to the 7th Airlift Squadron departed McChord Field Dec. 28 for a 120-day deployment in support of the Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. 

"We are a unique squadron deploying at a unique time." said Lt. Col. Eric Carney, 7th AS commander. "We have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders and look forward to executing our mission with the same excellence as our predecessors. This is a great time to be part of the airlift mission and I know our team is ready to excel."

The unit will operate out of a single intra theater base as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, with a mission focused on providing global strategic airlift, combat airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout their assigned areas of responsibility. 

The 62nd Airlift Wing has four flying squadrons, and each squadron deploys about every 16 months. Constant readiness is a key factor to ensuring a successful deployment with such high operations tempo. 

"We're looking forward to it," said Lt. Col. James Sparrow, 7th AS operations officer. "We've spent many months preparing for this. We're excited and ready to get started. Today is the culmination of all of the preparation."

According to Colonel Sparrow, after the deployment preparations, the squadron will have some down time with their families. Constantly deploying and being away from families can be stressful. However, being able to rely on squadron support and bond with coworkers is an experience in itself.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know my squadron mates and continuing to do our real world mission" said Master Sgt. Chad Neubarth, 7th AS operations superintendant. "My family is prepared, but deployment is never easy. My wife is plugged in with the rest of the spouses from our squadron so she's ready as she can be."

Being able to rely on each other is an important part of a deployment. Especially for those Airmen who have never been through an overseas contingency operation. 

"I'm a little bit nervous-kind of excited to see a new country," said Airman First Class Ryan Karcher, 62nd Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment apprentice. "My family had an early Christmas celebration for me. They gave me a video camera to document my experiences."

The 7th AS is replacing the 4th AS, which is scheduled to return the first week of January. 

"It's our turn, that's the bottom line," said Capt. Christopher Stephens, 7th AS mission planning cell chief.    

January 4, 2011 at 8:53am

Airman finds help for disabled Afghan boy

This from Air Force Times: OLYMPIA, Wash. - The father's request was simple, yet desperate.

Could Sean Roehrs, a captain in the Air Force stationed in Afghanistan, help the man's 8-year-old son who had a mental disability fly from war-torn Afghanistan to the United States for medical treatment?

"I said, 'Let me see what I can do,'" Roehrs said.

So began the unlikely journey that brought Khaled a shy, lovable Afghan boy who speaks only a few words, has seizures and needs constant care to Olympia.

"Where there's a will, there's a way," said Roehrs, who grew up in Olympia.

But before Khaled would attend a kindergarten class at Pioneer Elementary School, before he'd receive medical exams that determined that his disability was genetic and couldn't be corrected by surgery, Roehrs contacted people for months about Khaled coming to the United States. Solace for Children, a relief agency based in North Carolina, was a major player in opening the door for Khaled coming here.

To read the complete story, click here.

January 3, 2011 at 11:17am

Air Force doubles manpower for Afghan attacks

This from USA Today: WASHINGTON - The Air Force has more than doubled the number of airmen in Afghanistan who call in airstrikes, as the use of bombs, missiles and strafing runs has spiked to its highest level since the war began.

The Air Force has increased the number of joint terminal attack controllers - the airmen who work with soldiers to coordinate airstrikes - to 134 last year in Afghanistan, up from 53 in 2009, said Maj. Ike Williams, an operations officer at Air Combat Command in Langley, Va.

The increasing reliance on airstrikes and the troops who direct them comes as the U.S. military has raised its troop level in Afghanistan to 100,000, including 30,000 deployed last year.

To read the entire story, click here.

January 3, 2011 at 10:58am

Family, friends welcome 4th Airlift Squadron home

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 120 Airmen from McChord Field's 4th Airlift Squadron will be greeted by family and friends here Wednesday, Jan. 5, after a 120-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to an overseas contingency location in the Middle East.

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 2,204 sorties, equaling more than 12,900 hours, moving more than 48,000passengers and delivering more than 91.4 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

With the help of the 816th EAS, the C-17 Globemaster III celebrated its two-millionth flight hour this month. Although Air Mobility Command officials estimate the international C-17 fleet passed the milestone on Dec. 14, the achievement was commemorated on a Dec. 10 airdrop mission out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

"Our deployment was a success as a result of the hard work, professionalism and safety-focus of many, including that of our sister squadrons," said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 816th EAS commander. "We were fortunate to be a part of wide variety of missions including the delivery of M1A1 Abrams tanks into Afghanistan, life-saving aeromedical evacuations, transporting several distinguished visitors including the Secretary of Defense, airdropping more than 16 million pounds of CDS (container delivery system) bundles to remote forward operating bases and flying media and Boeing representatives on the C-17 Globemaster III's two-millionth flight hour. The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job.  I'm really proud of this group of Airmen."

December 28, 2010 at 11:28pm

McChord to receive new C-17 integrated training center

According to Air Force Magazine Online, the Air Force has awarded Boeing a $44 million contract to supply C-17 integrated training centers to three Globemaster bases, the company announced.  
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, will receive the first ITC in the first quarter of 2012. McChord Field, which has 54 C-17s, will receive the second system in the third quarter of 2012, and an undisclosed third location will receive the third in early 2013.
"We are proud to add to the Air Force's training capability and support warfighter readiness with these new devices," said Mark McGraw, who oversees Boeing's training systems.
The ITCs consist of a weapon systems trainer, pilot and co-pilot station, loadmaster station, and related courseware and support equipment. The contract could be worth up to $72 million if two options are exercised.   

December 27, 2010 at 10:30am

Local AF veteran restores F-4 Phantom

This from The News Tribune: U.S. Air Force Capt. Howard Stroupe III gave up his status as a fighter pilot in 1978, settling into a long career as an airline pilot with a penchant for collecting.

Space memorabilia, movie posters, fossils - you name it, Stroupe has boxes of it at his Federal Way home.

After decades of amassing such items, he last month added the crowning glory to his massive collection.

It's his old flying partner - an F-4 Phantom II jet, one of the most versatile fighters ever built.

"I never dreamed you could own anything like this," said Stroupe, 62. "I like sitting and looking at it. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling."

To read the complete story, click here.

Filed under: History, U.S. Air Force, Tacoma,

December 27, 2010 at 9:48am

McChord crew active in Operation Deep Freeze

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zeland (AFNS) -- An Air Force Reserve C-17 Globemaster III from the 728th Airlift Squadron out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., is supporting Operation Deep Freeze by serving as a bridge for cargo and personnel moving between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica. 

The C-17 and its aircrew perform three to four round trips per week between the two locations. During each flight, the crew must navigate through difficult weather before landing on an ice runway at McMurdo. 

"This is probably the most dangerous peace time mission that we do" said Maj. Casey Guerrero, a C-17 pilot who has flown to Antarctica eleven times, "It's just that the weather changes so rapidly in Antarctica."

The ice cold and unpredictable weather is the biggest concern during the flights to Antarctica. The crew takes a number of precautions to ensure the aircraft is serviceable in the austere conditions. They turn on the hydraulic pumps early to make sure the fluid is at a proper temperature, and they cycle the flight controls while the aircraft is on the ground to ensure they stay above forty-five degrees. 

Another major concern is the lack of places to land on the route to McMurdo.
 
"There is nothing between Christchurch and Antarctica" Major Guerrero said, "so we have to watch our cold weather procedures, and if we have any kind of emergency we have to fuel-plan correctly so we can make it back to Christchurch." 

The crew has a predetermined point of safe return during each flight. At this point they check the weather and determine whether to press forward or turn back and return to Christchurch. Although the weather in Antarctica might be good for landing when the C-17 takes off from Christchurch, the rapidly changing weather has forced the crew to turn back a number of times. 

"It all depends on the weather," Major Guerrero said. "It's luck, nothing we can control."

The flights are a part of Operation Deep Freeze, an annual operation that supports the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation's research at sites throughout the Antarctic continent. The Joint Task Force - Support Forces Antarctica operation is led by 13th Air Force and includes strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical deep-field support, aeromedical-evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements.    

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 20, 2010 at 1:41pm

9-year-old joins airlift squadron

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- After bouncing around from foster home to foster home, Mark Moore Jr. is relieved to be with a loving family during the holiday season. 

The 9-year-old Tacoma, Wash., native was selected by members of the 4th Airlift Squadron to participate in their "Pilot for a Day" program Dec. 17.

Pilot for a Day is an Air Force program that enables challenged youth a chance to visit an Air Force base, becoming part of the team in the process. The participants are usually selected through a partnership with a community hospital or foster program.

"There are so many different agencies and people working to make this day special for one child," said Capt. Chris Kojak, 4th Airlift Squadron Operations flight commander. "We all know how much it means to them. We try as hard as we can to make today perfect."

As a new member of Team McChord, Mark, along with his foster mother, brother and grandfather, took a ride in a fire truck at the McChord fire station. They tested out the emergency evacuation hanging hardness and climbed to the top of the command tower. They also got the chance to visit the 62nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog unit and tour the inside of a C-17 Globemaster III. 

"My favorite part was visiting the military dogs," said Mark. "I want to buy one when I get older. Not a mean one, but a nice one."

Moore's foster mother, Colleen Remaly, expressed his long awaited anticipation and excitement for the day's events. Her son, Jaden, is two years older than Mark, and she says they get along perfectly. 

"Instead of counting down the days until Christmas, they've been counting down for this," said Remaly. "They have not stopped talking about how awesome today is going to be."

After a long day of tours and demonstrations, Mark explained how the Air Force sounds like an appealing career choice. 

"I'm going to be in the Air Force when I grow up," said Mark. "I don't know what I'm going to do. But I really like this uniform. I want to wear it for a long time."    

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