Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: July, 2013 (17) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 17

July 1, 2013 at 12:19pm

Wingman Toolkit promotes healthy, balanced lifestyle

The Wingman Toolkit is an Air Force Reserve initiative to empower Airmen and their families to sustain healthy, balanced lifestyles using the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Ian Phillips, a journalist with the Defense Media Activity, as the scoop on the Air Force Reserve Wingman Toolkit.

As members of the military family we all deal with stress. Work, relationships, and money are just a few examples of the things that are on our minds every day.

Reservists have the additional responsibility of balancing civilian and military careers. Everyone deals with it differently though. Sometimes people need help dealing with events and don't know where to turn. The Air Force Reserve has created a way to help yourself and others with the Wingman Toolkit.

The Wingman Toolkit is an Air Force Reserve initiative to empower Airmen and their families to sustain healthy, balanced lifestyles using the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.


July 1, 2013 at 4:53pm

Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School graduates

Photo courtesy of 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

The following Airmen graduated from Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School June 27 at McChord Field.

Senior Airman Audry Akelkok, 62nd Medical Squadron
Senior Airman Scott Bean, 627th Civil Engineer Squadron
Senior Airman Zachary Beyer, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron
Senior Airman Taylor Christian, 1st Weather Squadron
Staff Sgt. Devin Davis-Roberson, 627th CES
Senior Airman Byron Fonseca, 62nd AMXS
Staff Sgt. Derek Haupt, 62nd AMXS


July 3, 2013 at 6:22pm

Boeing begins production on its first KC-46

A KC-46 conducts in-flight refueling on a B-2 bomber in this illustration. The first KC-46 is expected to fly in 2015. (Air Force illustration)

Boeing didn't take an extra day off for the Fourth of July. The aircraft manufacturing company officially began assembling its first KC-46 tanker today. Workers loaded the first wing spar for the plane, a small but important first step towards producing a complete KC-46.

Daryl Mayer, a journalist with the 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs office, has some background.

Boeing's announcement this past week that they have begun assembly of the first KC-46 wing spar is a significant event for the Air Force tanker program. It marks the start of assembly of the first KC-46 Engineering and Manufacturing Development aircraft.

"We are excited and pleased that KC-46 fabrication has begun. The Boeing team continues to make significant progress in the development of the Air Force's next tanker," said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, Program Executive Officer for Tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. "The development effort is on track, detailed test planning is making good progress, and initial beddown, training and sustainment planning is underway."

The Air Force is about a third of the way into the KC-46 tanker development program. The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46 Tankers to begin recapitalizing the more than 50-year-old KC-135 fleet. The initial delivery target is for 18 tankers by 2017. Production will then ramp up to deliver all 179 tankers by 2028.

The aircraft being produced at the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash., is a commercial derivative design based on the Boeing 767-200ER passenger aircraft. When the aircraft comes off the Everett production line, it will be a 767-2C Provisioned Freighter that will eventually become a military-configured KC-46 tanker.

The first fully equipped KC-46 is slated to fly in early 2015. 

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

July 8, 2013 at 9:30am

Furlough: Air Force leaders say they're sorry

U.S. Air Force graphic/Robin Meredith

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III send the following furlough message to the Airmen of the United States Air Force:

As you all know, Department of Defense civilian furloughs begin this week. With few exceptions, our civilian Airmen face involuntary furlough one day per week from the pay period starting July 8 through the pay period ending September 21.


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

July 10, 2013 at 1:00pm

62nd AW commander Col. Wyn Elder bids farewell to Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Col. Wyn Elder, commander, 62nd Airlift Wing, takes time to jot a few notes to himself before heading to another meeting in December 2012. /J.M. Simpson

As we noted in May, Col. R Wyn Elder, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, will relinquish command this summer to incoming Col. David J. Kumashiro, who was previously the 436th Operations Support Squadron commander at Dover Air Force Base, as well as worked with the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell - a part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Below is Elder's farewell to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as the 62nd Airlift Wing commander over the past two years. The time has gone by remarkably fast, and I can honestly say this has been the best experience of my Air Force career. As I look back at my time at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, I am left with a profound sense of gratitude toward all of you that made this assignment special.

To our community partners, honorary commanders and civic leaders; thank you very much for the support you constantly and selflessly give to the servicemembers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I was consistently overwhelmed with the generosity you showed by organizing community events, attending unit and base functions and simply being there for our troops and their families. Our jobs often take us far from home, so it is very reassuring to know that our families are surrounded by such a tight-knit community when we are away. There is a reason why this is such a sought after assignment, and it's not just because of the weather. It's because you have made this a very special place for us and our families to live.

I would also like to thank Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, Col. Charles Hodges, Col. Valerie Hasberry and our joint base partners. Your friendship and commitment to the Airmen of Team McChord has been incredible. Patience, cooperation and communication are critical to the success of any joint base, and that is exactly what you provided. I am honored to have commanded alongside you and I am proud of the challenges we overcame. Together, we have made Joint Base Lewis-McChord the model for joint basing throughout the Department of Defense, and for that, I thank you.

To Col. Bruce Bowers and our Reserve partners in the 446th Airlift Wing, it has been an absolute pleasure working with and learning from you. When we go to combat, we go as a team and there's no one I'd rather go with than the 446th! Nearly half of the missions leaving McChord Field are flown by Reservists, and your professionalism and commitment to the mission has been invaluable. Whether it meant coming together during the 2012 Operational Readiness Inspection, working side-by-side during Operation Deep Freeze, or partnering during historic ops surges and flying hour cuts, I believe we have the best relationship between any active duty and Reserve wing in Air Mobility Command, and it's not by accident. You truly embody the one-team, one-fight mantra, and I humbly thank you for your support.

Finally, to the men and women of the 62nd Airlift Wing, it has been an absolute pleasure to serve as your wing commander. Our nation asks so much of you and you always deliver outstanding results. Some of you may remember that at my change of command ceremony back in 2011, I had a simple message: WHAT YOU DO MATTERS. After serving with you for the past 25 months, I firmly believe that message is even more important today than it was when I first said it. It matters every time you help generate or operate a McChord C-17 that airlifts precious cargo and troops to the frontlines in Afghanistan. It matters when you medevac injured Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen from the battlefield to life-saving care. It matters when you provide all the logistical, medical and operational support required to produce combat airlift. It matters when we come together and succeed in inspection after inspection. It matters that we strengthen the credibility of our nation's strategic nuclear deterrence posture. And it matters when you do the right thing, are a good Wingman and watch out for fellow Airmen. I could not be more proud of all of you, and I know that under Col. David Kumashiro's leadership you will continue to answer the call and deliver Airlift Excellence...Right Here, Right Now! - Col. Wyn Elder, 62nd Airlift Wing commander

LINK: We spent the day with Col. Elder

July 11, 2013 at 6:32pm

Air Mobility Command can save you money

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Analysts here took the spirit of "Every Dollar Counts" seriously - more than 395 million times over.

Improvements to the way intra-theater airlift is done in Afghanistan are saving taxpayers between $300 million and $398 million a year after a team of air transportation professionals found a way to realize gigantic savings, and fast.

The team of analysts from Air Mobility Command, U.S. Transportation Command and U.S. Central Command found stunning efficiencies by developing better predictive models that reduce the need for commercial aircraft to augment U.S. military planes.

Here's what they were dealing with.


July 12, 2013 at 4:39pm

446th Airlift Wing earns Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Let's all head into the weekend with a big smile on our faces. Our Air Force Reserve wing just earned a major award.

Congratulations 446th Airlift Wing!  Outstanding!

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.-  Some of the Citizen Airmen who've been here with the 446th Airlift Wing for a while might not have been too surprised to learn the news that the unit recently earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. After all, it's not like it was the first time the unit had earned one.

So, what did the Air Force expect the unit to do with this one? Probably put it on display in the trophy case as another reminder of the wing's minimum standards- and maybe to get it acquainted with the other five AFOUAs the unit had triumphed in years past.

But before the sum 2,200 Reservists of the 446th AW could give each other pats on the back and return to business as usual, leadership expressed gratitude in a recent email:

"I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your service," said Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander. "It's amazing what you do. You do it in spite of multiple obstacles we place in front of you. You do it without complaining and with a sense of pride and professionalism. I truly stand in awe of each and every one of you. Thank you."

The AFOUA is granted by the secretary of the Air Force to units that showcased exceptional service or achievements, which set the unit above and apart from similar units. The 446th AW earned this one based on its accomplishments from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2012. Some of the feats that propelled the 446th AW to excellence include:


The 446th AW aircrews flew nearly 40 percent of Air Force C-17 Globemaster III missions in tandem with its active-duty partners from the 62nd Airlift Wing here. About 60 Reservists provided airlift support for the president's Banner Express mission. The wing sent the first C-17 to Benghazi to help evacuate U.S. troops during the Libyan Embassy attacks.

Operation Deep Freeze

In 2012, 446th AW aircrews, and their 62nd AW teammates, helped deliver about 5,200 passengers and more than 6 million pounds of cargo in 74 ODF missions. ODF Season 2012 to 2013 was the fourth year in a row they exceeded previous years' records.

Team McChord aircrews also performed an emergency mid-winter aeroevac, which displayed their night-vision-goggle skills and capabilities. Soon after the patient rescue, the 446th AW aircrews walked away with the 4th Air Force Aircrew Excellence and Aviation Week's Laureate Award for Heroism honors.

Aeromedical Evacuation

The 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron deployed close to 110 medical specialists to Southwest Asia, moving more than 1,200 sick and wounded patients from hostile airfields. These highlights, among others, led the 446th AES in taking home the Air Force Reserve Command Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the Year Award.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal

The 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight received the Stryzak Award as the Best EOD Flight in AFRC due to the heroism displayed by their members.


The wing Safety Office received both the AFRC Safety Office of the Year and the Air Force Flight Safety Award. Having zero reported Class A mishaps in the last five years, not to mention only enduring two in the last 50 years, might have had something to do with that.

Summing up some of the many accolades the Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW accumulated in that timeframe alone, proves "outstanding" is business as usual.

The 446th AW maintains that award time isn't the only time they shine. Day in and day out, year in and year out, they continue to raise the bar in supporting the global airlift mission. 

By the way, it might be appropriate to mention that the 446th AW earned the Airlift/Tanker Association's Sherrard Award in 2011 for the best Mobility Air Force Wing in AFRC.

July 15, 2013 at 12:05pm

Swear-in at a fly-in to become a C-17 pilot

Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Steven Bass, left, Robert T. Meunier, and Master Sgt. Yvette Larson, July 12, 2013. Photo credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen

Air shows aren't just about cheering aircraft and eating hot dogs. Sometimes Air Force Reserve candidates take oaths during all the hoopla, as was the case for Robert T. Meunier, 26, when he became an officer candidate during the Arlington Fly-in Friday, July 12. Meunier, a native of Issaquah, Wash., will attend Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., before beginning training to become a C-17 Globemaster III pilot. He will be assigned to the 728th Airlift Squadron, 446th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.


July 15, 2013 at 3:16pm

446th Airlift Wing participates in Talisman Saber 2013

A Navy H-60 Seahawk is loaded onto a McChord C-17 July 5 at McChord Field to be airlifted to Australia to be used as part of a U.S. and Australian training exercise called Talisman Saber 2013. Photo credit: Lt. Col. Jon Bowser

Nine Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing flew south of the equator July 5 to Australia to aid in a multinational training exercise called Talisman Saber 2013. The 446th team supported the exercise by airlifting a Navy H-60 Seahawk helicopter and 24 sailors to the event.

According to the Australian Government Department of Defense, the biannual event provides the opportunity for U.S. and Australian forces to train in planning and conducting Combined Task Force operations.


July 16, 2013 at 2:03pm

On the ground with the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron

Airman First Class William Cole, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron keeps eyes on a target while an Apache helicopter hovers to provide fire support. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

As I stood up and shook out my arms, I noted that Staff Sgt. Kris Harpoon, Airman 1st Class Micah Hancock, Airman 1st Class James Tran, Airman 1st Class William Cole, Airman 1st Class Jacob Stevens, 2nd Lt. Matthew Kinahan and Kreal were doing the same.

These 5th Air Support Operations Squadron airmen had been working hard for the past 80 hours with little food and less sleep. 

From running an obstacle course and sharpening their first aid skills to perfecting vehicle rollover practices and utilizing their land navigation abilities, the eight airmen I joined up with last Friday morning had every right to be tired.

The 5th ASOS is an Air Force asset that is vital to Army operations. Its primary mission is to provide tactical command and control of air power assets during combat operations.

Read my full story in Thursday's Northwest Airlifter. Below are a few photos I snapped Friday morning.

>>> Airmen assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron protect an injured Airman while an Apache hovers nearby during a training exercise. 

>>> Two High Value Targets, or HVTs, are detained while other members of the 5th ASOS prepare to egress from the objective.

>>> Airman First Class Jacob Stevens adopts a defensive position during a simulated attack.

LINK: 5th ASOS sergeant earns Bronze Star


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