Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: December, 2012 (7) Currently Viewing: 1 - 7 of 7

December 2, 2012 at 7:43am

Reserve recruiter brings inspiration to local students

He may be a recruiter, but this Airmen's goal is not necessarily to enlist every person he comes in contact with.

For the past couple of years of working in Washington, Master Sgt. Charles Loftland has recruited about 40 percent of his quota of new enlistees from local high schools. One way he reaches these teenagers is through the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps classes he talks to on a regular basis.

However, he doesn't go into the schools trying to gain new Air Force Reserve members.

"The result is to ultimately help a young person discover their path after high school," said Loftland. "It's not just about gaining new recruits- I think the more satisfying thing is knowing that I may have reached a few of them and helped them put a road map in place, no matter which path they take, because the Air Force Reserve is not going to be for everyone."

Loftland speaks about how to narrow one's focus when it comes to the future and created an exercise to help in the process.

"I really want to give them individualized attention and talk about their personal goals, dreams and aspirations," said Loftland. "I just use the Air Force Reserve as an example of an opportunity where they can go to reach those goals."

"We've had kids that didn't know what they wanted to do and after they interact with the military speakers they decide that they would like to do that job," said retired Senior Master Sgt. Wayne Lott, a JROTC cadre instructor. "A lot of kids just don't have any idea what they want to do."

In November, Loftland made his visit to Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Wash., extra special by bringing along a former Beamer JROTC cadet, Anthony Hogan. Hogan enlisted with the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord in August of 2012 and has been in the Development and Training Flight ever since.

"It's good to have someone from the older generation come back and say hey I was in your shoes at one time," said Hogan. "I was one of the screw-ups in high school. If I can inspire the kids to get somewhere and actually listen to their JROTC cadre, it'll all be good."

Both Loftland and Hogan spoke to the students about Air Force standards and the military way of life.

"I can tell them that there is hope," said Hogan. "I went from having a low grade point average in high school to having a great civilian job and joining the Air Force Reserve."

Loftland enhanced his time with the students by making the presentation a game. He made teams of students and quizzed them on everything from Air Force history to the Constitution.

"What I do is have a lot of fun," said Loftland. "I don't come in here and do a big speech about military benefits. I come in and make it about the students."

Loftland's formula for talking to the cadets brings results, he's had three enlistees from Beamer in the past two years. In addition, he's recruited six new Airmen from Federal Way High School's JROTC program.

PHOTO:Master Sgt. Charles Loftland, a recruiter for the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Field, explains service standards to a class of Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Wash., Nov. 15. Loftland regularly visits high schools around Northwest Washington state to mentor students, talk about life goals and explain the benefits of joining the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Rachael Garneau)

December 4, 2012 at 7:06am

Special Ops tryouts to test mettle for 'battlefield airmen' positions

An Air Force Pararescue Jumper conducts an orientation with applicants. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Since neutralizing Osama Bin Laden, America's special operations forces have remained in the spotlight as high-caliber leaders entrusted with operations vital to national security. As counter-terrorism operations continue throughout the globe, the Pentagon is currently busy defining irregular warfare requirements for future forces. In response to this need, the U.S. Air Force has embarked on a unique talent search to find the next generation of special operations professionals.

On December 6, the 317th Recruiting Squadron, based in Washington D.C., will be conducting tryouts for aspiring special operations professionals at Langley Air Force Base, Va. In a program known as the AF Special Operations Orientation, applicants will have the opportunity "test their mettle" and qualify for a wide range of Battlefield Airmen, or "BA" positions in the U.S. Air Force.

Evaluation teams will be screening applicants for openings on elite pararescue, combat control, tactical air control, and survival instructor teams. At the same time, candidates will get to hear inspiring stories first-hand from special operations warriors, try out their equipment, and learn about the technologies they wield. And yet, amidst all the technology the Pentagon can place at their fingertips, from night vision goggles, space assets and drone technology--special operations warriors repeatedly demonstrate how it takes the "human touch" to get our nation's toughest jobs accomplished.

Air Force pararescue members (known as "PJs") and combat controllers fulfill key special operations roles for the U.S. military. They are responsible for conducting high-priority personnel recovery and forward control missions with their joint partners in the Navy and Army. They also fill critical humanitarian needs in times of crisis, and were responsible for conducting hundreds of rescue operations during Hurricane Katrina. PJs were most recently involved in many life-saving events on the East Coast during Hurricane Sandy.

Each applicant must meet a special blend of physical, mental and character requirements to qualify. Battlefield Airmen must pass a rigorous screening process prior to their departure for Basic Military Training in the Air Force. First and foremost, they must meet high physical standards, well above what is expected for a normal military recruit. They complete a battery of physical tests, including a 500-meter swim, mile and a half run, pull-ups, sit-ups and push-ups. Prior to joining, each applicant must be certified by a special operations recruiting liaison from the Air Force Special Operations Command.

Senior Master Sgt. Ed Edgar, 317th Recruiting Squadron, serves as the chief recruiter in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. "The NFL Combine has nothing on us. Quite frankly, we are looking for America's best--individuals in top physical condition and ready to take their skills to the next level. Our AFSOO program is specifically designed to find talent and prepare them for success in SOF."

Brawn isn't the only quality required for Air Force Battlefield Airmen positions. Many special operations applicants test at the highest mental categories for recruits, or have already completed degrees from top universities.

"We recently qualified a graduate from Virginia Tech," remarked Staff Sgt Donald Hildebrand, the Battlefield Airman monitor who executes the program at Langley AFB. He continued by stating, "The BA recruiting team is looking for the type of passion and fortitude that is characteristic of today's special operations professional. Most athletes can make it through the events if given enough time, but it is the speed and intensity of the qualifying times that makes it a challenge. In the Air Force, speed is life."

Many of the applicants do not pass the test on their first attempt. For those tenacious enough to come back, the Air Force "BA prep team" assists candidates with everything from swimming skills to running technique. Their goal is to ensure success for those applicants with the desire to meet their goal of serving their nation in the elite world of special operations.

Edgar offered a final thought: "Creating a national championship team starts with precise recruiting. That's what we are here to do--recruit special operations forces who are second to none. The United States Air Force needs individuals of strong character, with both the physical and intellectual capacity to handle our nation's toughest assignments. If you are interested, give our BA team a call, and we'll see you at the pool."

Those interested in attending the December 6 Special Operations tryout, or future events, may contact Staff Sgt. Hildebrand, USAF, at (757)499-2688 or via e-mail at:

December 7, 2012 at 6:14am

McChord Airman recognized by DoD

Capt. Ryan McGuire, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot with the 4th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., was one of two service members recognized as Outstanding Department of Defense Service Member with Disabilities for 2012, at the 32nd Annual

The Department of Defense presented awards to two Air Force members during a ceremony here at the Pentagon, Dec. 4.

Capt. Ryan McGuire, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot with the 4th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Christopher Randall, a civilian test director with the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., were recognized as Outstanding Department of Defense Employees and Service Members with Disabilities for 2012.

As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the awards honor the accomplishments and abilities of employees and service members with disabilities who have made significant contributions to their components' missions and best demonstrate the core values of their components.

McGuire, despite having a leg amputated following a boating accident in 2009, completed pilot training and has flown missions world-wide, including missions in support of Operation Endurign Freedom. He has also earned medals competing at various sporting events, to include running the Air Force Marathon in less than five hours.

Randall, having been medically retired from the Air Force following injuries sustained during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, went on to become an Air Force civilian leading a 21-man team that successfully managed the cost, schedule and performance of the remotely-piloted MQ-9 Reaper's $2.9 million operational test program. He also manages a website helping veterans find contacts for services and benefits.

McGuire and Randall were the Air Force representatives of the 17 total recipients DOD-wide.

The Air Force was also recognized as the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Award for Achievements in Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Best Military Department category. Daniel Ginsberg, the Air Force assistant secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, accepted the award on behalf of the Air Force.

"Diversity is essential and has been a key to the success of our armed forces and civilian workforce," Frederick E. Vollrath, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, said. "When we embrace a range of talent and perspective, our ability to defend our nation grows stronger."

Kareem A. Dale, special assistant to the president for disability policy, was the keynote speaker and expanded upon this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month's theme, "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

DOD's Director of Disability Programs Stephen King also spoke at the ceremony.

"The bottom line is America must employ the talents, skills, and capabilities of incredibly bright and productive citizens -- both in and out of uniform -- who want to serve our country," King said. "People with disabilities often face unique challenges; we need that type of problem-solving ability and skill in the workplace."

December 9, 2012 at 7:05am

Congratulations to ALS Class 13-A

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Congratulations to the following Airmen who graduated Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School Dec. 6 at McChord Field, Wash.

Senior Airman Ryan W Anderson
Senior Airman Ryan M Bader
Senior Airman Kyle J Baldini
Senior Airman Kaelani R Brown
Senior Airman Dustin C Bullock
Senior Airman Brandon T Capley
Senior Airman Matthew A Cosper
Senior Airman Robert A Dominguez
Senior Airman Samantha N Dominguez
Senior Airman John M Drum
Senior Airman Thomas M Eddins
Senior Airman Aaron J Graham
Senior Airman Lauren V Greenwald
Senior Airman Mark A Harris
Senior Airman Stephen B Lanham
Senior Airman David W Luken
Senior Airman Jason C Marshall
Senior Airman Nicholas J Marvel
Senior Airman Amanda J Mattonen
Senior Airman Amanda N Mead
Senior Airman Patricia D Moyle
Senior Airman Matthew J Phillips
Senior Airman Kurt E Ranes
Senior Airman Adam H Seiwell
Senior Airman Steven J Smith
Senior Airman William C Snook
Senior Airman Ashley E Van Steenbergen
Senior Airman Michael A Vidick
Senior Airman Michael J Walden
Senior Airman Tory J Weber

Award Recipients
John L. Levitow Winner: Senior Airman Kurt Ranes
Commandant/Leadership Award Winner: Senior Airman William Snook
Academic Achievement Award Winner: Lauren Greenwald
Distinguished Graduate Award Winner: Lauren Greenwald
Distinguished Graduate Award Winner: Aaron Graham

December 12, 2012 at 6:27am

Commentary: What inspires you?

Inspiration? With all that is going on in the world, what do we have to be inspired about? What inspires you?

Lately, the United States has struggled to answer that question. As military members, you and I confront our nation's challenges head on. Aside from our current global conflicts - the Afghanistan conflict, Iran's nuclear ambitions, global terrorism and let's not forget North Korea - we have had some domestic challenges as well. Recently, Hurricane Isaac and Sandy have tasked us to provide crucial airlift of generators and supplies to those desperately in need.

Some of us were affected more personally as our family members lost their homes or even their lives. So I ask again, what do we have to be inspired about?

I'm inspired by you - those who wear the uniform! I'm inspired by your incredible strength and resiliency! I'm not discounting those dedicated patriots who don't serve militarily, but for the small population of Americans who do, I'm inspired. I'm inspired by those, who at a moment's notice, deploy anywhere in the world, knowing that they might miss their child's first birthday or an anniversary. I'm inspired by those who left at a moment's notice to help the East Coast recover from tragedy when Hurricane Sandy struck and helped people they don't even know.

Moreover it's those great Americans who were called on and gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country who really inspire me.

It's Americans like Sgt. Dennis Weichel, 29, a soldier who died this year while lifting an Afghan girl out of the path of a large military vehicle barreling down a road. He is just one of the many American heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

As the nation's military, we are comprised of individuals with different ideals and beliefs. However, with all of our individuality, we always find a way to come together as a whole with one goal and belief that no matter what our challenges are, we know that we have been, and will remain, the greatest country on earth.

We will endure, we will overcome and we will succeed. That is what inspires me.

What inspires you?

December 15, 2012 at 7:50am

New AMC Commander visits with Team McChord Airmen

Gen. Paul Selva, Air Mobility Command commander, addresses Airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., during a visit to McChord Field, Dec. 11, 2012, as part of his visit to AMC bases. This was the second stop for the general as he started his tour of A

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- "I am thrilled to be back here at McChord, it is a little like coming home," said Gen. Paul Selva, recently-appointed Air Mobility Command commander and former McChord Air Force Base wing commander. "Most of the commanders and chiefs I see here now were majors and technical sergeants before."

Selva stopped at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Dec. 11, as part of his initial AMC base visit tour which included stops at Travis AFB in California, McChord Field and Fairchild AFB, Wash., that spanned a two-day period.

While at McChord, the General, stopped at one of the hangars for a Team McChord "All Call" in which he discussed his top three priorities and took questions from service members in the crowd.

"To make you successful is my job as your commander," said Selva. "To do so I want to convey my top three priorities to you."

He went on to say that his top priority was the mission and stressed how it was extremely important to who we are.

"We have to be good at our mission," said Selva. "Being good means being the best leaders, best trained and best Airmen this Air Force has ever seen.

"The mission does not happen without all of you but we have to take care of each other to make our mission successful.

Taking care of each other was a perfect transition into the general's next priority and that was caring and respect for each other, both in normal day-to-day activities and also in the workplace.

Selva shared some important facts to include that 20 percent of all active duty women report having been assaulted at one point or another in their career and that more than 5,000 active duty male Airmen in 2009 and 2010 [combined] reported being assaulted by their peers.

"One assault is too many," said Selva. "There are Airmen in our midst who are engaging in some type of inappropriate activity and we cannot let that happen.

"All of you have the right to get respect from your peers and you must 'speak up,' if you know this is going on."

"I am glad you are all getting the mission done," he added. "I understand there is a lot of weight on your leaders and on your shoulders to get it done, but we cannot do so, if we create environments that others find offensive or disrespectful.

"I want all of you to provide feedback to your supervisors, leaders and commanders on this issue. If you are not comfortable starting at your local chain of command, then I am available at any time to assist."

The third and final priority that Selva discussed while visiting with the Team McChord Airmen was training.

"I want to know how well we are training you to do the multitude of jobs you do," said Selva. "I want to ensure you have the tools to train you to be the best Airmen this world has even seen."

He went on to state again that the only way he and other leaders will know if we are getting those tools is if we are providing feedback.

Feedback was the resounding theme throughout each of the general's messages.

"To make your leaders successful and to make you equally successful, we need feedback," stated Selva. "You need to let us know if we are helping you or holding you back and by providing us this feedback will ensure I can keep you ready.

"If we can succeed at these three priorities - mission, caring and respect for each other and training, than I know I have helped you be successful."

Staff Sgt. Gary Woo, 4th Airlift Squadron load master and one of the members in the audience commented on the generals' visit.

"I think it is very important for our general officers to speak directly to the members of their command 'face-to-face,'" said Woo. "It provides a better relay of the strategic vision of the command and how what we do on a daily basis fits in to the greater goal of the Air Force.

"Being stationed at McChord and hearing his perspective on how the mission set may change in the next few years from a focus on Southwest Asia the Pacific was of particular interest to me."

Selva assumed command of AMC Nov. 30. Prior to his selection as the AMC commander, he was Pacific Air Forces vice commander at Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

December 17, 2012 at 6:45am

Department of Defense releases 2013 BAH Rates

The Department of Defense released today the 2013 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates, which take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Overall rates will increase an average of 3.8 percent this year.

For members with dependents, average increases in BAH are approximately $60 per month. A typical E-6 with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $60 per month higher than last year, while an O-3 with dependents will receive about $55 more than last year.

In areas where rates will decrease, the decrease will only apply to members newly reporting to those locations. Members are protected by individual rate protection which ensures that those already assigned to a given location will not see their BAH rate decrease, however, they will receive the increase if the rate goes up. This assures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease.

Three components are included in the BAH computation: median current market rent; average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) and average renter's insurance.

Total housing costs are calculated for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. Basic Allowance for Housing rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents. An estimated $20 billion will be paid to more than 1 million service members in 2013.

For more information on BAH, visit


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