Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: May, 2017 (12) Currently Viewing: 11 - 12 of 12

May 25, 2017 at 1:41pm

62nd OSS officer selected for Mansfield Fellowship Program

Maj. Rodger Welding (far left), 62nd Operation Support Squadron C-17 pilot, and assistant director of operations, poses for a group photo with nine other fellows selected for the Mansfield Fellowship Program May 16. Courtesy photo

C-17 Globemaster III pilot with the 62nd Operation Support Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will soon be on his way to Japan after being accepted for one of the world's most prestigious international fellowship programs.

Maj. Rodger Welding, 62nd OSS C-17 pilot and assistant director of operations, was recently selected to be part of the Mansfield Fellowship Program.

The Mansfield Fellowship Program, named after Mike Mansfield, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, U.S. Senate majority leader, and U.S. congressman from Montana, is a first-of-its-kind professional development and international exchange program for federal employees.

The one-year program gives Fellows unparalleled access to the Japanese government and allows them to experience the culture and language in order to become true experts on the country.  Through intensive language studies and professional placements within Japanese government ministries, participants in the program gain an insider's view of this close friend and ally of the United States.

"I felt incredibly lucky when I found out I was selected," said Welding. "The 62nd Airlift Wing (commander) has to approve me before I can apply and part of that approval process is the Air Force Personnel Center saying ‘yes' you can leave for a year."

Welding said that right now there is a pilot shortage, so he knew his chances of getting approved were slim.

"Once I got the approval from AFPC, I submitted my application," said Welding. "There are some very good people out there. I was competing against the best, and to be chosen for something like this to help fortify that US Japan relationship, is an honor."

The Mansfield Fellowship Program includes a seven-week homestay and intensive Japanese language program in Ishikawa Prefecture and ten months of professional placements in Tokyo.

During the year in Japan, Fellows will develop an understanding of the Government of Japan and its policymaking process. Fellows also establish relationships with their counterparts in GOJ and the business, professional and academic communities.  

"I grew up in Japan, lived there for 20 years," said Welding. "So, to me, Japan is my second home."

Welding said he found out about the program from a friend.

"I was stationed at Yokota from 2009-2012, and one of my friends did it and suggested it to me," said Welding. "At that time, I had a choice to do the fellowship first or do pilot training first then the fellowship later. So I choose to do pilot training first followed by fellowship, so that I can have my wings and be a regional affairs strategist to carry me through the rest of my career."

Welding stated that the country of Japan has a special place in his heart.

"My mother is Japanese, so being raised there, the US-Japanese bilateral relationship is important to me," said Welding. "I was able to give back to the U.S. by wearing this uniform and unfortunately in 2011 when the tsunami hit Japan, I was given the opportunity to give back to Japan by flying humanitarian missions. This program gives me the opportunity to give back to both countries.

"I am really looking forward to the professional and personal relationships that will come from this program.

"I don't think there is a word in the English dictionary that can describe how excited I am," said Welding. "This fellowship opens up doors that you can't get elsewhere. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I'm just extremely fortunate I am afforded the chance to experience it."

May 25, 2017 at 1:44pm

Prepping for Mobility Guardian 2017

A Stryker vehicle is nearly loaded onto a Royal Air Force A-400M aircraft by the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team soldiers on the McChord Field flightline May 18 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon

For the first time ever at McChord Field, an A-400M Royal Air Force Aircraft was parked on the McChord flightline for international operations. Soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team along with 62nd Airlift Wing members worked with members from the RAF to load a Stryker combat vehicle onto the aircraft.

The training was held to create technical orders for loading the aircraft in preparation for the upcoming Mobility Guardian exercise this summer.

"This allowed our soldiers to practice getting the Stryker's on and off the aircraft," said 2nd Lt. Cameron Nardini, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT operations officer. "I think it was good to learn how the RAF does things and makes us better prepared for when we work with each other in Mobility Guardian."

Because the A-400M is an aircraft that soldiers here have not trained with before, there were numerous aspects of the aircraft they had to learn about.

"The main concern is that this is loaded correctly into the aircraft," said RAF Flight Sgt. Andrew Richardson, A-400M loadmaster. "There are many safety factors we want to cover."

The Stryker vehicle loaded weighed more than 26 tons and there was minimal room for error.   

"I can't speak for our whole unit, but personally I think this was a good learning experience going into Mobility Guardian," said Cameron. "It is going to be a really good logistical exercise to see how fast we can load onto the aircraft and deploy."

Besides technical challenges, soldiers and RAF members worked to become familiar with each other's procedures and jargon.

"This was good to foster our relationship and to get past the nuances of our culture," said Richardson. "We were able to learn what each other expected and what needs to be accomplished."

A rare sight to McChord, the loading of the Stryker onto the A-400M was observed by Team McChord leadership and distinguished visitors including Army Gen. (retired) Peter Chiarelli, former vice chief of staff of the Army.

"I will say this was a great experience to work with the British and work with our Air Force counterparts," said Nardini. "Being able to work with military members from another country and to learn how they operate as an Air Force was really beneficial."

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