Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: May, 2013 (10) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 10

May 2, 2013 at 6:32am

Hagel to make furlough decision soon, press secretary says

WASHINGTON (AFPS) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will make a decision soon on the scope of civilian furloughs in response to sequestration spending cuts, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

Hagel is reviewing analysis on the budget "and he'll reach a decision in the near future," Little told reporters.

Little acknowledged news reports that some services contend they do not need to use furloughs to make their sequestration goals.

"There are different pockets of money in different places for each of the services," he said. "To be totally straightforward, the math does work for some services to avoid some furloughs, at a minimum. For other services, it is harder."

The general principle so far has been "one team, one fight" inside the department to be consistent, the press secretary said. "That's an understandable position," he added.

Still, he said, Hagel is reviewing the DoD budget and the constraints the department is operating under. "We're in the middle of a $37 billion to $40 billion cut over a six-month period, and we need to look closely at that, but I expect him to make a decision soon," the spokesman said.

The situation "points out the absurdity of sequestration," Little said.

"You don't have a lot of choice, in some cases, over where to save money and where to cut," he added. "The across-the-board cut is forcing some tough decisions. The goal of the furlough so far ... is to ensure, at least on this issue, there is some consistency."

When originally proposed, all DoD civilian personnel were going to be furloughed for 22 days during the remainder of fiscal year 2013, which ends Sept. 30. Officials since have reduced that estimate to 14 days. DoD officials are examining requests for exemptions, Little said.

May 6, 2013 at 1:30pm

USO Northwest Shali Center named best at TellUSO Awards

USO Northwest winners: Bill Baker, Sea-Tac Center manager; Samantha Lingad, Mobile Center manager; Donald Leingang, executive director; Jo Anne Hume, director of development; Malcolm McLellan, board chairman. Courtesy Photo

The USO has many missions these days. As the wars die down, the organization has amped up its support for the wounded and their families. It has provided thousands and thousands of free phone calls for the troops in Afghanistan. It has even issued public service announcements aimed at bridging the gap between the military and civilian communities. That said, arguably the USO's main mission, since its inception in 1941, is to lift the spirits of troops and their families.

Sometimes, the USO lifts its own spirits, as in the case when the organization awarded its own at the inaugural TellUSO Awards ceremony Wednesday, May 1 at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn.

Local Servicemembers looking for a spirit boost need only to drop by the USO Northwest's Shali Center located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Shali Center grabbed the Top Center honor in the Military Installation category at the TellUSO Awards.


May 7, 2013 at 6:47pm

Canadian Detachment helps support U.S. air defense

Canadian military personnel - from left, Master Cpl. Madeleine Voyer, Capt. Todd Guillemette and Capt. Jonathan Lang - work on the operations floor at the Western Air Defense Sector recently. Photo credit: Maj. Trent Brahmam

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - As part of NORAD's commitment to providing aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America, many Canadian military members find themselves assigned to or training with the Western Air Defense Sector at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

According to Canadian Capt. Kevin Long, 51st Aerospace Control and Warning Operational Training Squadron senior director and assistant officer in charge, weapons, the Canadian Armed Forces detachment members serve in a variety of roles within WADS.

"Many work on the operations floor as air weapons officers, air surveillance technicians and mission crew commanders," Long said. "Additionally, several members also work in staff positions including the Canadian Detachment commander, Lt. Col. Mark Roberts. Moreover, with the exception of one member, our chief clerk, all of the members of the Canadian Detachment at JBLM hold operational qualifications within the sector and fully participate in accomplishing the mission."

Tasked with the mission of using radar and communications systems to monitor air traffic from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean and from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, members of the detachment work with members of the Washington Air National Guard.


May 9, 2013 at 1:33pm

F-35 Lightning II's real-time data system is a game changer

An advanced F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighter taxis on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. arriving to the Air Education Training Command F-35 schoolhouse, May 6, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Egebrecht

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) - The Air Force took another step forward with its newest fighter jet when an advanced F-35 Lightning II landed at the service's lead training base, home to the largest fleet of F-35s worldwide.

The new stealth fighter kicks off a major training effort at the F-35 schoolhouse on an aircraft with unmatched capabilities.

The F-35 is the military's newest stealth fighter jet. Students from all military branches who are learning to fly the plane go through the schoolhouse at Eglin, including some from international services.

In addition to a few design improvements, the major difference between the new aircraft and others is sensors and software.


Filed under: U.S. Air Force, Defense News,

May 14, 2013 at 9:37am

Lt. Col. Gary Roberts wins VFW National Citizenship Education award

Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Elmer Clark, VFW commander for Post 91, presents Clover Park High School's Lt. Col. Gary Roberts with the VFW's National Citizenship Education award for grades 9-12 in the state of Washington.

"When I was in high school, if someone had told me I'd wind up a teacher, I'd have laughed," joked retired Lt. Col. Gary Roberts, Air Force JROTC instructor at Clover Park High School. "After I'd been in the Air Force working as a pilot, I was asked to be an instructor pilot ... and I assumed that my command saw something in me that I wasn't even aware of yet."

Saturday, May 4, during the CPHS Air Force JROTC annual Awards Banquet and Military Ball, Roberts was again recognized for his teaching gift when he was presented with one of the Veteran of Foreign War's National Citizenship Education awards, for grades 9-12, for the state of Washington. The awards, which were announced in January, are given to a select number of educators across the country every year.

"It was because of the love that he shows for the cadets and the future of our country," said retired Air Force Master Sgt. Elmer Clark, VFW commander for Post 91 and District 3, who was responsible for Roberts' nomination.

"I'm having just as much fun in the classroom as I did in the cockpit," said Roberts, who has been teaching JROTC at Clover Park High School for the last 15 years. "But I can still learn a lot from these kids ... they manage to always ask new questions that make me think."

In addition to the time he spends in the classroom, Roberts also spends hundreds of hours working with the school's drill teams, leading them to four national title championship awards at the VFW Drill Computation last summer.

"I'm not out for recognition, but I appreciate it," Roberts added. "I think that's why I've never missed a day of work, I just love what I do."

Filed under: Veterans, Education,

May 16, 2013 at 10:24am

Air Mobility Rodeo tentatively off for 2014

A U.S. airmen marshals in a KC-135 for the 2011 Air Mobility Rodeo, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 23. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Dayton Mitchell

As you know Air Mobility Command postponed Air Mobility Rodeo 2013, which was to take place at McChord Field in this summer. Rodeo, sponsored by AMC, is the Mobility Air Force's readiness competition. The competitions are held to train and improve the abilities of U.S. and international partners' air mobility operations skills while building international relationships.

Word just came down from AMC that Rodeo 2014 might not happen either.

"Rodeo 2014 is tentatively off," said a spokesperson from the 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office who contacted AMC. "Rodeo happens every two years. It was scheduled to take place this summer at McChord Field. With the budget sequestration, Rodeo was postponed. According to AMC, it's tentatively not scheduled for the summer of 2014, although official word won't be released until sometime next week."

It looks as if Rodeo won't return to McChord Field until 2015.

This is not the first time Air Mobility Rodeo has been cancelled. The two most recent examples are Rodeo 2003, which was called off because of worldwide commitments for the war on terrorism and humanitarian efforts. In 1988, it was canceled because of budget shortfalls.

May 16, 2013 at 11:17am

Photo: Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad on Capitol Hill

Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad, deputy to the chief of staff of Air Force Reserve. Photo credit: Scott M. Ash

Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad, deputy to the chief of staff of Air Force Reserve, testifies during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, on Capitol Hill, May 15. Active and Reserve component leaders testified to the subcommittee about the FY14 President's Budget request and projected construction projects. The proposed budget has $45.6 million to fund new Air Force Reserve projects. This includes a Joint Regional Deployment Processing Center at March Air Reserve base, Calif., a Squadron Operations Facility at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and an Entry Control Complex at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.

Filed under: News To Us, Defense News,

May 16, 2013 at 5:44pm

Air Force Reserve Master Sgt. Robert Shulman enters chef contest

Organizers of Alaska Air Cargo's annual "Copper Chef Cook-off" have announced the contestants in this year's chef competition.

(Record scratch sound)

OK, only one to us. Air Force Reserve Master Sgt. Robert Shulman, a 31-year Airman and chef, will represent Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 446th Airlift Wing during the chef competition at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow at Seatac Airport.

(Record scratch sound)

That's right, 6:30 a.m. It's a yearly tradition for Alaska Airlines to fly in the first Copper River Salmon of the season - Alaska's premier wild salmon - touching down before the sun comes up, then forcing the area's best chefs to cook the fish in a competitive atmosphere.


May 21, 2013 at 4:37pm

Col. David J. Kumashiro to be 62nd AW commander

The 62nd Airlift Wing, headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, McChord Field, has confirmed that Col. R Wyn Elder, 62nd AW commander, will relinquish command this summer to incoming Col. David J. Kumashiro. Kumashiro, who was previously the 436th Operations Support Squadron commander at Dover Air Force Base, is currently working with the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell, which is a part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. As of press time, a date and time for Kumashiro's change of command had yet to be scheduled. 

May 29, 2013 at 10:14am

Air Force libraries launch "Have Book - Will Travel" summer reading program

Summer is just around the corner and it won't be long before the kids get bored. Head them off at the pass with adventures and activities hosted by your local library.

Air Force libraries have launched the summer reading program, "Have Book - Will Travel!" and are planning a host of activities for children, teens and adults designed to encourage the love of reading. Program participants can also win prizes for reaching their reading goals, said Margie Buchanan, the Air Force Personnel Center libraries branch chief.


Filed under: Education, U.S. Air Force,

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