Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: February, 2012 (24) Currently Viewing: 21 - 24 of 24

February 25, 2012 at 7:03am

MCCHORD'S 10th AS deploys for overseas contingency operations

The 10th Airlift Squadron deployed Thursday in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

More than 90 Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 10th AS departed for a 75-day deployment to the Middle East. They are accompanied by Airmen from the 446th AW and others from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Airmen will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

The unit will operate out of two bases, managing and flying missions concentrated in and around Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. They are replacing the 7th Airlift Squadron which is scheduled to return in early March.

As the 817th EAS, their mission is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout the assigned areas of responsibility.

"It is an incredible honor to command a deployed flying squadron in a time of war," said Lt. Col. Clint ZumBrunnen, 817th EAS commander. "We are taking a total force team to the combat zone. Airmen from Pacific Air Forces, Air Force Reserve Command and each of the other squadrons in the 62nd Operations Group will work side-by-side to accomplish the mission for 75 days."

"In such a dynamic environment, a wide range of perspectives and experience levels enhances the unit's effectiveness," said ZumBrunnen. "I am fortunate to have so many contributors from outside the 10th AS on my team."

The 62nd AW's four active duty flying squadrons share responsibility for the deployed squadron and rotate operating the 817th EAS continuously. The deployments allow Air Mobility Command to consistently position assets closer to the action.

February 25, 2012 at 7:07am

Congratulations to McChord's 2011 Annual Award recipients

Photo by Jordan Haines

Congratulations to the following members of Team McChord were named the "best of the best" at the 2011 Annual Awards Banquet Feb. 22. The awards were presented by Lt. Gen. Paul J. Selva, Pacific Air Forces vice commander.

Key Spouse
Emily Culbert, 10th Airlift Squadron

Civilian Category IA
62nd Airlift Wing: Rene Emondt, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron
Team McChord: Kathleen Whipple, 627th Force Support Squadron

Civilian Category IIA
62nd AW: Cary Hatzinger, 62nd Maintenance Operations Squadron
Team McChord: James Ihlan, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron

Civilian Category IIB
62nd AW: Roberta Peterson, 62nd AW
Team McChord: Charles Hawthorne, 627th Communications Squadron

Civilian Category III
62nd AW: Mark Logan, 62nd AW

62nd AW: Senior Airman Kali Ackles, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Team McChord: Senior Airman John Hansard, 22nd STS

Noncommissioned Officer
62nd AW: Master Sgt. Ray Smittle, 62nd AW
Team McChord: Tech. Sgt. Sean Kurdziolek, 5th Air Support Operation Squadron

Senior Noncommissioned Officer
62nd AW: Master Sgt. Matthew Mueller, 8th AS
Team McChord: Master Sgt. Jonathon Skipper, 5th ASOS

First Sergeant
62nd AW: Senior Master Sgt. Angela Fernandez, 62nd APS
Team McChord: Master Sgt. Jeremy Carney, 627th FSS

Junior Company Grade Officer
62nd AW: 1st Lt. Gregory Stewart, 62nd Comptroller Squadron
Team McChord: 1st Lt. John Wylie, 22nd STS

Company Grade Officer
62nd AW: Capt. Jonathan Dedic, 62nd Operations Support Squadron
Team McChord: Capt. Mica Myers, 627th CS

February 28, 2012 at 6:40am

AMC commander visits McChord Field, delivers new C-17

Gen. Raymond E. Johns, Jr., Air Mobility Command commander, visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord Feb. 24 to deliver McChord Field's newest C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

During his short visit, Johns also took the opportunity to thank and inspire Airmen during a commander's call.

"First of all, I want to thank you for what you do," he said. "We deliver hope, fuel the fight and saves lives. You do that right here through airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation. You do these missions, and you are the best at it. All of us couldn't be prouder of you."

The general mentioned the missions that McChord Field Airmen have supported up until now including relief efforts in both Haiti and Japan.

"Every time our nation calls, you never hesitate," he said. "You have always said, 'yes' and answered the call."

In addition, he mentioned the Operation Deep Freeze aircrew from the 446th and 62nd Airlift Wings who flew a mission that conducted the first mid-winter medical evacuation, saving a woman's life.

"That's the kind of impact you have around the world," Johns said. "You touch thousands of people because you do whatever we ask."

Johns is no stranger to JBLM and the Puget Sound area. He was previously assigned to then McChord Air Force Base as the 62nd AW commander, from 1998 to 2000.

Because the 62nd AW is so close to his heart, Johns did something new at the commander's call. After his speech, he opened up the floor for Airmen to ask him questions.

Some of the questions asked included topics such as the Air Force inspection system, joint basing, force reductions and budget cuts.

"I was very impressed with the general's speech," said Capt. Dayle Hartung, 62nd AW assistant staff judge advocate. "It is always wonderful to hear the decision-making thought process from senior leaders and his acknowledgement of our Airman and mission's continued excellence. Taking the time to ask us what was on our minds was as genuine as it was informative."

AMC's primary mission out of the three Air Force mission areas of global vigilance, global reach and global power, is global reach. McChord Field's C-17 Globemaster III aircraft provide critical airlift and airdrop with speed and accuracy, able to reach anyone and any place in the world within 18 hours. McChord Field Airmen are simultaneously engaged in supporting operations in Afghanistan and Antarctica.

"You maintain and employ a machine that keeps Soldiers and Marines on the ground in the villages of Afghanistan safe," Johns said. "The speed and accuracy of our precision airdrop mission gets food, water and ammunition to them so they can continue their mission."

Johns departed McChord Field Saturday, continuing his official travels.

PHOTO: Gen. Raymond E. Johns, Jr., Air Mobility Command commander, presents a key to Master Sgt. Eric Burr, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, after delivering McChord Field's newest C-17 Globemaster III aircraft Feb. 24, 2012, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Frances Kriss)

February 28, 2012 at 6:42am

MCCHORD'S 446TH Reservists to take a moment to stress Wingman Day 2012

"You can be my wingman anytime."

Most moviegoers know this cliché line uttered by Val Kilmer to Tom Cruise at the end of the 1986 film "Top Gun" by heart. But these classic words sum the Air Force's Wingman Day concept.

Wingman Day is mandatory for all Airmen every year. Air Force Reserve Command units will host their 2012 Wingman Day activities by mid-March.

"We must take care of each other," said Col Bruce Bowers, 446th Airlift Wing commander. "Our units are our family. Family members take care of each other. I constantly see this sense of family anytime there is a crisis. The recent power outage and snow event is evident of this desire to help our fellow Airmen."

What used to take more of a safety emphasis, the Wingman concept has evolved into a focus on life balance.

"The suicide rate at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Army as a whole, has been going through the roof," said Lt. Col. Kevin Welin, 446th AW chief of safety. "That has become the new buzz term, "wingman." What can you do? What can I do for the Reservists in our office? Can you see different personality changes? AFRC wants to make sure every (Reservist) refreshes their brains. What can we do to help somebody out who's in need of something, spiritually, mentally, physically and socially?"

These needs Welin mentioned are the four pillars of comprehensive fitness, which the new Wingman concept is based on.

"If you don't have the four solid pillars, you are not ready for a deployment," said Welin, who's been in the military for nearly 30 years. "If we don't have personnel ready for a deployment within 72 hours, we're not ready. You have to make sure those four pillars are always balanced to the best of your ability."

Wingman Day briefly halts normal UTA activities to revisit unit morale and wellness, said Welin. Small group discussions will provide strategies related to the four pillars, mission effectiveness and unit solidity. Basically, it's about team building, looking out for each other and maintaining the individual's physical and mental health.

The reason for the hands-on approach isn't just to get Reservists involved, but it's to make sure concept is effectively reinforced.

"If I gave a standard Power Point briefing, I basically turn everybody off in 10 minutes," explained Welin. "What good is it to give four hours of briefs when I've lost them in the first 10? Make it quick, snappy or however each squadron commander wants to tailor it."

According to Welin, these activities are vital because they stress awareness and attention to detail.

"If you have somebody who is contemplating suicide, you are not necessarily going to have any indicator," he said. "It's not going to be that the person left a note on my desk, saying they're alone and feeling very depressed. You are not going to get them saying, 'oh I went through the checklist and I have seven out of however many indicators.' You won't know. Forget the logic. That's the problem, the person is not in the right frame of mind," he added.

Welin provides easy informal solutions that can make the difference when it comes to awareness in the unit.

"Know your people," he said. "Go out to lunch with them once in a while. Build more trust and they'll open up to you. That's way the military is going. We need more morale building. We're so overloaded with our daily taskings, with our military and civilian careers and juggling family life, school, etc. that you have to keep bringing the wingman concept to the forefront. You have to make it a number-one priority," he added.

In addition to the colonel's advice, there also resources, which are also part of the Wingman Day briefings, that Reservists can make good use of wherever they are.

· Military One Source - - for military from all components and their families which provides local counseling, free books and resources on topics ranging from family to finances.
· Wingman Toolkit - - to learn how to intervene and save a life 365 days a year.
· National Resource Directory - - provides access to information on employment support, family support, education, benefits and compensation.

Welin brings home the point, that proper enforcement of the four pillars not only benefits the individual and unit cohesion, but it also helps accomplish the Reserve mission.

"As Reservists, we have to be ready to support any world-wide event. That's our job," said Welin. "If we're not ready, we're letting down the United States and our family."

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