Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: March, 2012 (25) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 25

March 2, 2012 at 7:52pm

Air Force Museum offers virtual tour

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Virtual Tour is now fully embedded with audio and video hotspots, and touch-screen devices, offering online visitors the opportunity to experience the entire museum.

Located at, the final two areas to be embedded -- the Cold War Gallery, with over 300 hotspots, and the Missile and Space Gallery, with close to 60 hotspots -- are now interactive with initial materials, allowing users to click on an artifact or exhibit and access factsheets, audio tour podcasts with printable transcripts, videos and interactive touch-screen displays.

Online visitors can see an array of aircraft and exhibits in the Cold War Gallery, which features an SR-71A Blackbird, B-1B Lancer, F-117F Nighthawk, A-10A Thunderbolt II and the world's only permanent public display of a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. Other exhibits include Office of Special Investigations, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Warrior Airmen.

The Apollo 15 Command Module and Mercury and Gemini capsules are located at the entrance to the Missile and Space Gallery. In the gallery are eight different rockets and missiles, ranging from the Minuteman to the Peacekeeper, and exhibits including astronaut food, re-entry vehicles, the Stargazer and Excelsior gondolas, and the 5-star general's insignia belonging to Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold, which flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2011.

The virtual tour features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display at the museum amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Thousands of personal artifacts, photographs and documents further highlight the people and events that comprise the Air Force storyline, from the beginnings of military flight to today's war on terrorism.

Creating and embedding material in the virtual tour took more than a year. Consisting of nearly 75,000 files and more than 1,200 clickable hotspots, the tour will be an ongoing process to update and add new content.

"We still have a lot of work to do on this project," said Bryan Carnes, who developed the tour along with a contractor. "Although we have the initial content available for our online visitors to view, we will be adding more video, audio, interactive and educational materials associated with specific aircraft and artifacts in the museum."

"The museum is always expanding and changing," said retired Lt. Gen. John L. Hudson, the museum director. "With the addition of several important artifacts like the three recently declassified National Reconnaissance Office satellites, acquisition of NASA's Crew Compartment Trainer, renovation of the Southeast Asia War Gallery and plans to construct a fourth building, the virtual tour will continue to evolve as well."

The museum offers online visitors various ways to experience the tour, whether it is downloading podcasts from iTunes or accessing the tour through handheld devices. An application is also in development for download on Android and iPhone devices and is anticipated to be available by the summer.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is located in Dayton, Ohio, and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission and parking are free. For more information about the museum, visit

March 2, 2012 at 7:54pm

Team McChord aircrews to stay sharp with ASEV inspection

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- The Aircrew Standard Evaluation Visit is scheduled from June 18 to July 2. However, examiners from Air Mobility Command began "on-the-spot" evaluations, better known as SPOT EVALs, Feb. 19.

The purpose of an ASEV, in this case, is to evaluate how wing aircrew members from the 446th and 62nd Airlift Wings perform their duties and responsibilities on the ground, in-flight and administratively. The examiners make sure the crews accomplish their jobs safely and according to regulatory and flight-manual guidance.

"Basically, we are prepared all the time," said Lt. Col. Pete Buehn, 446th Operations Group chief of standard evaluation. "We look at it like we are having guests in the house. All we need to do is vacuum out the cracks, polish the silver and we are ready to go."

These ASEVs entail SPOT EVALS, to determine proficiency levels and administrative reviews to make sure the correct procedures are being followed, said Senior Master Sgt. Terry Philon, 313th Airlift Squadron chief of standard evaluation. ASEVs also measure the wing's capability of performing its assigned airlift mission.

ASEVs are important because they also give AMC factual data as to the compliance and performance level of its wing-level units, said Buehn.

Based on past performance, the Puyallup resident ensures confidence in the wing's ability to earn high marks during the visit.

"The 446th AW has always done well, which is a reflection of the quality aircrew and support personnel," he said.

Buehn's assurance isn't a shock to Philon.

"This year, 446th AW aircrews are being extremely professional and very good at what they do," said Philon.

As a veteran who's experienced quite a few ASEVs in his time, Philon stresses how crucial they are in keeping his crews' performances at a high level.

"As chief of standardization, along with squadron training, it is my responsibility to reinforce and insure our aircrew knowledge level and crew-duty accomplishments to meet and exceed expectations," said the 34-year Reservist. "It's also my responsibility to insure our administrative processes are in line with regulations. This includes process reviews and self-inspections."

These self-inspections and reinforcements may come in the form of study sessions and study groups with aircrew instructors in a classroom environment or on an aircraft, said Philon, who lives in Graham.

Senior Master Sgt. Derek Bryant, 728th Airlift Squadron chief of standard evaluation, says the ASEV experience has always proven to be a good guideline for the aircrews.

"The 446th has a really good relationship with the ASEV team and mainly because of the communication involved," said the Gig Harbor resident. "Our wing loadmasters get a chance to see firsthand what AMC expects from its enlisted flyers. AMC also gets a good idea of how efficiently we operate and the professionalism of the wing's aircrew members."

Bryant says ASEVs are also a good way of improving aircrew performance.

"Even though we, as a wing, look to ASEVs to help fine tune any discrepancies in our (standard evaluation) shops, we in return have enlightened the ASEV team on our wing's compliance towards flying standards and definitely shared with them our knowledge and management of the SharePoint programs in relations to standardization and evaluations. It has always been a learning experience for both the wing and the ASEV team," he said.

Buehn says in the case of any discrepancies, the examiners may see areas that would need to be bolstered in wing processes or weak areas in the performance realm would be identified.

However, Buehn, who's been with the 446th AW since 1987, reinforces his confidence in the wing's aircrews for the inspection.

"We are expecting nothing less than outstanding results and will continue to polish for such," he said.

PHOTO: Senior Master Sgt. Terry Philon, a Reserve standard evaluation loadmaster with the 313th Airlift Squadron, gives the approach briefing for passangers onboard a C-17 Globemaster III before landing at McChord Field, Wash. As his squadron's chief of standard evaluation, Philon is responsible for ensuring aircrew members are properly prepared the upcoming Aircrew Standard Evaluation Visit from Air Mobility Command in June. The purpose of an ASEV is to evaluate how wing aircrew members perform their duties on the ground, during flight, and administratively. Philon has 34 years of experience with ASEVs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle)

March 4, 2012 at 6:22am

Lessons of a mess dress warrior: two new resolutions for 2012

At the first of every year, Airmen stand in front of the mirror and make resolutions to have a better, more focused year.

Perhaps it is to lose weight, better physical fitness scores, work hard on their master's or bachelor's degrees or study a little harder to earn that next stripe. I too made resolutions for 2012, but on Feb. 22 at our very own "Stars of McChord" Annual Awards dinner, I made two more.

Like many others in our wing, I reached into my closet and pulled out the old mess dress uniform, still in the dry cleaning plastic from when I wore it last year. Unfortunately, the buttons on the shirt and pants seemed to be malfunctioning, fitting a wee bit tighter than they did a year ago. I put on the jacket, snapped on the cuff links and made my way to the club.

As I walked in I began to ask myself, "Why in the world do we go through all of this pomp and circumstance for an annual awards event?"

Limos, red carpet, an interview stand, more than 300 people dressed to the nines-- is all of this worth it? I sat down at my table, looked around the room, and it all became very clear. It is absolutely worth it! In fact, we should do more to recognize our Airmen, they deserve every trophy, every certificate and every "Thank you" we as supervisors can muster.

In that ballroom last Wednesday night, I saw a senior airman award winner walking tall with his bride on his arm hopping out of a limo beaming from ear to ear. I listened to a deployed spouse of a senior master sergeant gloat over how proud she was of her husband's award nomination. I even talked to the father of one of our award winning company grade officers. It was the first time anyone had ever told him how fantastic his son was at his profession.

You tell me, supervisors. From staff sergeant to colonel, did you spend enough time recognizing your people in 2011? Did you spend enough time on those quarterly and annual award packages?

I thought I did, but now I want to do more. After watching the reactions of the winners this year, I can guarantee you I will work harder to make sure our Airmen know how much we appreciate them.

Statistics say that 95 percent of New Year's resolutions will be broken. This year I have two that won't. My mess dress will fit better next year, and I will strive to be the strongest advocate of recognizing our Airmen. I hope you will join me!

March 4, 2012 at 6:25am

Meet McChord's 446th Airlift Wing's newest chiefs

Chief Master Sgt.'s Anthony Mack, Richard Lutz, Gloria Bennett, Shanna Gerard, and Dave Sanchez beam with pride at the Chief's Recognition Ceremony at the McChord Club March 2. Mack, Lutz, Gerard and Sanchez were inducted as the newest Chief Master Sergeants of the 446th Airlift Wing. Mack will be replacing Bennet as the new Command Chief. Bennet will retire April 1 after 33 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Denise Hauser)

March 6, 2012 at 5:29am

Meet the 446th's new command chief, Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Mack

A South Sound resident himself, Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Mack knows how diverse the area is when it comes to supporting Servicemembers in the different military branches.
He believes a significant portion of people who show their support for military members don't know specifically about Reservists in the 446th Airlift Wing and what their mission entails.
As the Reserve wing's new command chief, Mack wants to change that.
"I'm very interested in the local civic (interaction) piece to the position," said Mack, a Lacey resident.
Mack, currently the 86th Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant, will begin his new duties April 1. He's most looking forward to venturing out into the community with Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander, and talking about the wing's mission and its hard-working Airmen.
"We'd like to further define the Reserve force's involvement in the bigger picture," he said. "It's a challenge, and I look forward to spreading that word."
He's also looking forward to building bonds with many of his Reservists' employers and stressing to them what an important role they play in everything.
"When their employees are serving and working with the Reserves, they learn valuable job skills that they take back to their civilian jobs," Mack said. "(Their service) has a great benefit to employers."
While Mack will miss working directly with Airmen as a first sergeant, he's excited to move into his new position serving as Bowers' main connection to the enlisted force.
"It's a healthy leap," said the 46-year-old Mack. "You're out of the trenches and into management."
But it is a leap he feels he's well prepared for.
"I'm good at taking different viewpoints from individuals from all different backgrounds and forming them into cohesive voice," he said.
Mack has been at McChord his entire 22-year career. The Lacey resident enlisted in the Reserve in 1986 and was assigned to the 446th MAW as a heavy airlift aircraft technician, working on C-141 Starlifters. His first sergeant experience started in the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron after spending 11 years in the aircraft maintenance field. He has been with the 86th APS since 2008.
"Developing Airmen is the core purpose of the enlisted force," Mack said. "Colonel Bowers has entrusted me to collaborate with wing leadership to lead some of the finest Airmen in the world. This new position will also allow me to continue the tradition of honor and excellence in the 446th AW. The ‘weekend warrior' stigma is gone and it's my job to help train citizen Airmen to execute the global airlift mission on a daily basis."

March 6, 2012 at 6:46am

AF selects 1,700 for senior master sergeant

More than 1,700 master sergeants were selected for promotion to senior master sergeant, Air Force Personnel Center officials said today.

Selectees will be notified this week and the selection list will be released March 8 at 8 a.m. Central Standard Time.

The list will also be posted on the AFPC public news page, the Air Force Personnel Services website and the Air Force Portal. Selectees will also be able to access their scores in the virtual MPF via the secure applications page.

Those selected represent 13.78 percent of the 12,351 eligible, with an average score of 670.44, 4.12 years average time in grade and 19.27 years time in service. The average score was based on the following point averages: 134.99 for enlisted performance reports, 20.66 for decorations, 70.62 for the Air Force supervisory exam and 392.56 board score.

Promotions will begin in April, depending on selectee promotion sequence numbers.

"Selections are tentative until the data verification process is complete, which is no later than 10 days after the promotion release date," said Staff Sgt. Christy I. Aguigui, of the Air Force senior noncommissioned officer promotions section. "Personnel officials will notify Airmen, via military personnel sections, if their selection is in question."

March 7, 2012 at 7:39am

AF officials announce manpower force structure changes

Air Force officials released force structure changes and resulting manpower impacts from the new DoD strategic guidance and fiscal 2013 President's Budget Mar. 6.

The fiscal 2013 President's Budget adjusts Air Force military end strength to 501,000, with net reductions of 3,900 Active Duty, 5,100 Air National Guard and 900 Air Force Reserve billets.

According to the Air Force Chief of Staff, the Air Force's strategy is to apply resources to the people, programs, and systems that will best contribute to the new DoD strategic guidance.

"Working with our Guard and Reserve leaders, we used a balanced approach to adjust our Total Force end strength while maintaining the ability to execute strategic guidance," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said. "Our Total Force programmed reductions follow detailed assessments of future conflict scenarios and rotational requirements consistent with the new strategic guidance."

The Air Force is also announcing manpower changes on unit manpower documents resulting from the previously announced force structure reduction of 227 aircraft as well as additional adjustments not tied to aircraft. These changes primarily include the inactivation of a combat communications group and several air control squadrons, as well as right-sizing Air Force bands.

"We made a deliberate decision to avoid a 'hollow force' by prioritizing readiness over force structure," Schwartz said. "A smaller, ready force is preferable to a larger force that is ill-prepared because it lacks adequate resources."

Achieving the right Active and Reserve Component manpower balance became a priority under the new strategic guidelines for the Air Force's future. Since then, the governors have been given an opportunity to provide input to the plan as Reserve Component force structure reductions directly or indirectly impact all 54 states and territories.

"Our collaborative process with the Guard and Reserve yields a force with the most effective posture for surge capability and steady-state operational employment," Schwartz said. "Achieving the right active and reserve forces mix is critical for meeting our forward presence, rapid response, and high rotational demands with a smaller force."

"The Air National Guard will also internally realign its remaining manpower at units across the United States to properly source emerging force structure requirements and bolster readiness," explained Brig. Gen. Brian Neal, Air National Guard Readiness Center commander. "We will also repurpose manpower positions at Combat Readiness Training Centers, command and control units and flying squadrons."

"The realignment of military positions will improve our combat capability and ensure we are able to maintain our rapid response requirements as defined in Titles 10 and 32," Neal said. "Although we will retain fewer units available to deploy, we will maintain overall capacity and sustain command and control structure."

"To prepare for the FY13 end strength reductions, the Air Force is evaluating the entire suite of currently authorized force management programs to determine which ones will best size and shape the force to support force structure changes," explained William Booth, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Force Management Integration. "We plan to announce additional FY12 programs for the active component in the coming weeks, but neither the Air National Guard nor Air Force Reserve currently has force management programs scheduled for FY12 implementation."

Booth said all components are exploring force management options for fiscal 2013.

"As the Air Force takes steps to reduce our end strength, we will offer support programs to help separating Airmen translate their military skills into the private sector and facilitate the transition in a way that capitalizes on the tremendous experience in technical fields and leadership that they develop while serving," Booth said.

Schwartz emphasized the tough decisions required in the fiscal 2013 President's Budget request.

"In this economy we had to make difficult choices to align with the new strategic guidance and with the cuts required by the Budget Control Act over the next 10 years," Schwartz said.

"Finding the proper balance between force structure, readiness, activity levels and modernization was essential."

The Air Force determined the best course of action is to trade force size for quality.

"We will become smaller in order to preserve a high-quality and ready force, one that will continue to modernize and grow more capable in the future," Schwartz said.

March 7, 2012 at 8:58pm

Air Force invests in robust Spice testing

The Air Force is currently conducting urinalysis testing for Spice chemicals through a civilian laboratory and will field an in-house urinalysis testing capability for Spice in mid-March.

Spice is a name brand and also a generic term for a large family of chemically unrelated "synthetic cannabinoids" functionally and biologically similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

These chemicals are typically found in powder form or are dissolved in appropriate solvents, such as acetone, before being sprayed on plant material often contained in packages labeled as "herbal incense" and smoked by users.

The use of designer synthetic chemicals, such as Spice, and other intoxicating substances, other than alcohol and tobacco, are strictly prohibited for Airmen according to Air Force Instruction 44-120, Military Drug Demand Reduction Program, and AFI 44-121, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program, but the Air Force and the rest of the Department of Defense hasn't had a robust way to test for these synthetic chemicals, said Maj. Seth Deam, an Office of the Judge Advocate General special counsel.

"While the Spice chemicals may mimic the effects of marijuana and have been termed a 'legal' high, a number of these chemicals have been banned by countries around the world, by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and by at least 40 states here in the U.S.," Deam said.

Not only is the use of these synthetic-cannabinoids illegal for Airmen, it can also be extremely dangerous, said Dr. Aaron Jacobs, the program manager of Air Force Drug Testing.

Studies have shown that the concentration of the chemicals varies, even within the same brand. The chemicals are typically much more potent than THC, and the number and type of chemicals and their concentration varies considerably in these unregulated products, Jacobs said.

And, according to Jacobs, the side effects, including hallucinations, rapid heart rate, paranoia, agitation and vomiting, may have long-term health consequences.

That's why Air Force officials have focused efforts on deterring and enforcing the policies against using Spice chemicals.

"Prior to us being able conduct urinalysis testing to detect Spice use, we relied on ordinary investigation methods such as interviews and searches," Deam said. "These methods led to a significant number of prosecutions, nonjudicial punishments (Articles 15) and adverse administrative actions -- including administrative separation."

When the ability to detect Spice use through urinalysis first became available, the Air Force relied on the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System at Dover Air Force Base, Del., to do the tests, Jacobs said.

"They could test up to 30 specimens per month for each of the services based on consent or probable cause arising from a law enforcement investigation," he said.

"It was a limited test, but at the time, they were the only Department of Defense laboratory with the special equipment to conduct urinalysis testing for Spice," Jacobs said. "In order to increase both its capacity and the scope of urinalysis testing for Spice, the Air Force contracted with a civilian laboratory to conduct Spice testing."

Testing for Spice at the civilian laboratory was initially reserved for only commander-directed cases, but by the end of fiscal 2011, it had expanded to include inspection testing, including unit, dorm and gate sweeps. Air Force installation commanders are now ordering Spice testing of Airmen.

According to numbers released by the Air Force Legal Operations Agency, Military Justice Division, both Spice prosecutions and non-judicial punishment actions increased last year. The Air Force had 108 Spice courts-martial cases in 2011, more than twice as many than in 2010, according to the agency's report. Also, nearly one third of all Air Force drug courts-martial in 2011 included an offense involving Spice.

The agency also said the Air Force administered 448 Articles 15 in 2011 that included the use of Spice. That is more than half of all Air Force Articles 15 given out for all types of drug abuse in 2011, and a 37 percent increase over 2010 figures.

"To detect and deter the apparent rise in Spice use among Airmen, Air Force officials provided funds to stand-up an organic Spice testing capability," said Lt. Col. Michelle Ewy, the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory commander.

To get this capability, the Air Force spent approximately $480,000 to purchase two specialized instruments capable of detecting the unique metabolites in urine indicative of Spice ingestion. The Air Force has contracted for two forensic toxicologists and is in the process of contracting for five laboratory technicians all dedicated to the detection of the drug, according to Ewy.

"Bottom line is this: Every Airman knows that the use and possession of intoxicating substances, other than alcohol and tobacco, is prohibited in the Air Force," said Col. Don Christensen, the Air Force's chief prosecutor. "This added capability will provide an important tool to deter use of these dangerous drugs and to identify those who put themselves and others at risk by abusing them. Every Airman is now potentially subject to urinalysis testing for Spice."

March 7, 2012 at 9:03pm

McChord's February monthly military justice update

The following information is a summary of non-judicial punishments given by commanders under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice during February 2012. The punishments are determined based on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.

- A staff sergeant from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron committed failure to go and signed a false official statement. The staff sergeant received reduction to senior airman, two forfeitures of $1,181, 14 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- A senior airman from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron failed to obey a lawful order and used an intoxicating substance in the form of bath salts. The senior airman received reduction to airman 1st class, 10 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- An airman 1st class from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron committed failure to go. The airman 1st class received reduction to airman, 14 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- An airman from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron committed failure to go and willful dereliction of duty by improperly wearing a service dress uniform. The airman received reduction to airman basic, 28 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- An airman 1st class from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron failed to obey a lawful order and used an intoxicating substance in the form of spice. The airman 1st class received reduction to airman, 45 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- A senior airman from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron committed failure to go and signed a false official document. The senior airman received reduction to airman 1st class, two forfeitures of $990, 30 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- An airman 1st class from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron drove while intoxicated. The airman 1st class received reduction to airman, a forfeiture of $835, 15 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- An airman 1st class from the 62nd Maintenance Squadron committed failure to go. The airman 1st class received reduction to airman, 10 days of extra duty and a reprimand.

- A staff sergeant from the 8th Airlift Squadron made a false official statement and committed willful dereliction of duty by departing on leave without proper authorization.

The staff sergeant received reduction to senior airman, two forfeitures of $750 and a reprimand.

- A senior airman from the 627th Communications Squadron committed failure to go. The senior airman received reduction to airman 1st class and a reprimand.
The following information is a summary of involuntary discharges.

- A senior airman from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron received an honorable discharge for unsatisfactory performance during a fitness assessment.

- A senior airman from the 627th Civil Engineer Squadron received an honorable discharge for unsatisfactory performance by failing to progress in on-the-job training.

- An airman from the 627th Force Support Squadron received a general discharge for minor disciplinary infractions.

- A senior airman from the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron received an honorable discharge for unsatisfactory performance during a fitness assessment.

March 9, 2012 at 8:05pm

History: 62nd AW conducts first C-17 JPADS training

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing recently completed the first continental C-17 Globemaster III airdrop using a piece of technology designed to deliver cargo with pinpoint accuracy in even the most hostile environments.

The 62nd AW dropped two bundles equaling 2,900 pounds at Yakima Training Center, Wash., using the Joint Precision Airdrop System.

JPADS is an airdrop system that uses Global Positioning Satellite, steerable parachutes and an onboard computer to steer loads to a designated point of impact on a drop zone.

"Our goal is to develop new tactics and techniques for this system," said Col. Wyn Elder, 62nd AW commander. "We're eventually looking to perform individual precision airdrop within a meter of its target."

The two bundles were dropped at approximately 5,700 feet above the ground, which is more than one mile in the air. The first landed within 20 yards of its designated target. The second landed within seven yards.

Traditional airdrops by Air Force airlifters, such as the C-130 Hercules and C-17, are at altitudes of anywhere between 400 and 1,000 feet. With JPADS, those same airlift aircraft have the potential to guide air drop bundles from as high as 25,000 feet.

"This is significant because we can drop anything from large equipment to food supplies with this system," said Staff Sgt. Todd Tichawa, 62nd Operations Support Squadron loadmaster. "This allows us to deliver supplies to troops all over the world in a faster, safer and more efficient way."

The JPADS offers several benefits, including an increase in the number of available drop zones and the ability to resupply troops accurately in the face of difficult ground terrain like mountains and steep valleys.

Employing the system also reduces the need for truck convoys that are vulnerable to enemy fire.

"The possibilities for this system will only expand from here," said Tichawa. "It's a very flexible tool. We are able to accomplish so many different types of missions with this capability."

Along with a large amount of capabilities for the JPADS, there are also specific requirements.

"JPADS training comes with a restricted area requirement," said Capt. Josh Long, 62nd OSS. "We worked closely with the experts at Yakima Training Center to develop a brand new drop zone specifically for this type of mission."

In addition to working with Yakima, 62nd AW Airmen also teamed up with neighboring Army units from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, making the training a complete joint effort.

"Army riggers came over and augmented our teams by packing these specific types of parachutes," said Long. "Until our Airmen and contractors are more experienced and fully qualified, the Soldiers will continue to come over help out. Without the assistance of Yakima and the Army riggers, this mission would not have happened."

While JPADS have been used in theater since 2006, the majority of aircrews haven't had the opportunity to fine-tune their skills prior to executing this method during actual combat missions.

As the system develops, aircrews say they plan to continually improve and break new barriers.

"Future plans for the JPADS include increasing the altitude at which we drop and the number of bundles dropped at one time," said Long. "Testing the capabilities of the system will be important for future operations."

The 62nd AW plans to conduct weekly JPADS training in order to provide loadmasters and pilots with more experience.

"We will continue to work toward smarter, more precise airdrop procedures," said Elder. "We are perfecting precision airdrop, and this is the beginning."


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