Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: 'U.S. Air Force' (168) Currently Viewing: 91 - 100 of 168

November 23, 2010 at 5:04pm

APS reservists prepare to deploy

From left: Staff Sgt. Luis Rosado, a ramp specialist with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron here, Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgt. Michael Pritchett, 36th APS ramp specialist are preparing to deploy to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

JOINT BASE LEWIS - MCCHORD, Wash. -- With record cargo, passenger and air traffic, the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron at Bagram Airfield is getting some help from three Reservists with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron, here in supplying the fight in Afghanistan. 

Soon to deploy are Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgts. Michael Pritchett and Luis Rosado, 36th APS ramp specialists. In their first deployment to Afghanistan, these Reservists volunteered to support the air mobility effort in the war's cargo hub, with a mission to move enormous amounts of cargo and passenger traffic in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"There's a lot of pride in serving," said Sergeant Rosado, a Lynnwood, Wash. native who is also a crane operator for a local drywall company.  

"I like the front line," said Sergeant Gerren of his impending assignment as liaison and hazardous material inspector for the 455th EAPS. "It's all an adventure to me," he said. Sergeant Gerren  is also a construction maintenance supervisor for the State of Washington Department of Corrections.

All packed and ready to go, the aerial porters have planned their departure by ensuring their training, personal affairs and finances are in order. Equally important, their families and friends are ready for the mission as well.

"I just want to do my part," said Sergeant Pritchett of his upcoming mission.  "Unfortunately, I may miss the traditional black Friday shopping experience, but I made sure my wife had some extra money on hand," he said. 

Not only do Reservists rely on their military units, they also depend on their civilian employers for continued support during deployments. 

"My civilian employer offered to offset my base pay while I am away, which certainly helps," said Sergeant Pritchett, who is a fiber network field technician with an Oregon-based communications company.

The 455th EAPS is part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, which serves U.S. Air Forces Central and provides close air support, combat search rescue, aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and airlift capabilities to U.S. and coalition forces supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.    

November 22, 2010 at 10:25am

Local soldiers, airmen expect to fight until 2014

This from The News Tribune: American forces likely will keep fighting in Afghanistan through the end of 2014 - three years later than the date President Barack Obama announced when he heralded his war plans last year - under a timeline unfurled at a NATO conference in Lisbon, Portugal, this weekend.

The new date sends a message to soldiers and airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that they can expect to continue their role in a dangerous war zone over the next four years.

But while the shift to 2014 has been discussed widely in the media the past few weeks, it doesn't appear to be triggering much talk among local service members yet.

Those stationed at the base have come to expect nearly continuous overseas assignments since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Many don't see that trend changing despite the ongoing drawdown from Iraq and the proposal to scale back in Afghanistan.

"It's always go," said Capt. Dave Braun, 30, of Spanaway. He's a pilot in the Lewis-McChord-based 62nd Airlift Wing who recently returned from a four-month assignment flying into Afghanistan.

To read the entire story, click here.

November 19, 2010 at 9:51am

McChord Fitness Center Annex reopens

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The McChord Field Fitness Center Annex reopened Nov. 16 with several new and improved fitness resources for the JBLM community. 

After 10 months of restorations and refurbishment, some of the biggest differences gym goers will notice include remodeled locker rooms, new exercise equipment and an elevated indoor track. 

"The renovations were made to provide Airmen the opportunity to meet the new fitness standards and maintain their healthy 'fit to fight' lifestyles all year round," said Thomas Ward, McChord Field Fitness Center and Fitness Center Annex Facility Manager. 

According to Mr. Ward, this $1.2 million project was conducted to create a more resourceful environment for people to establish convenient exercising routines during the cold winter months. 

"It will directly contribute to the goals of the newly established Comprehensive Airman Fitness program by providing an indoor facility and lots of space for guests to exercise and implement their own individual routine," said Mr. Ward. 

Some other improvements include the removal of the juice bar, which allows more room for cardiovascular equipment. The sauna has also been extracted, creating space to expand both the male and female locker rooms. 

"The extra equipment and larger locker rooms will be able to facilitate more people at once," said Senior Master Sgt. Cleofas Trejo, 627th Force Support Squadron Sustainment Services Flight Superintendent. "These improvements will help introduce more Airmen to a healthy lifestyle." 

Also, the fitness center offers aerobic exercise classes, which will resume at the newly reopened annex at their regularly scheduled times. Kum Jones, a retired Army spouse and frequenter of the McChord Field Fitness Center, said she enjoys the aerobic classes and is looking forward to utilizing the indoor track.

"I love coming to the gym as often as I can," said Mrs. Jones. "I love running, but I don't like treadmills. I can't wait to use that new track!" 

The new indoor track, with its 12-inch corner banks and state of the art cushion turf, provides servicemembers a resource to train for their physical fitness test. Although, accomplishing 1.5 miles takes 28 laps, the new track gives JBLM community members an alternative when choosing how to stay fit.     

November 17, 2010 at 5:42pm

Military says jet wreckage found near Denali

This from the AP: JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Search and rescue aircraft discovered what military officials believed to be the wreckage of a missing Air Force F-22 jet on Wednesday south of Denali National Park in Alaska.

The wreckage was spotted at 10:15 a.m. about 100 miles north of Anchorage, but a helicopter crew could not land, according to Air Force officials. A rescue team was still looking for the pilot, said Col. Jack McMullen, 3rd Wing Commander at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

"We're still doing an active search for the pilot," McMullen said. "Perhaps he ejected."

The jet had been in the air about an hour and 20 minutes and was nearing the end of a training run at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday when ground radar lost track of it and another pilot on the mission lost communications, McMullen said.

The pilot, whose name has not been released, had split off from the other jet and was about to do a "rejoin" before they returned to Anchorage as a unit flying about two miles apart, McMullen said.

The other pilot refueled in the air and began searching for the missing aircraft.

The Alaska Air National Guard aircraft joined the search and continued until about 5 a.m. Wednesday. New crews picked up the search.

McMullen said he had no details on the terrain where the crash was spotted.

A helicopter was nearing the crash site as he spoke, McMullen said, and likely will confirm whether the pilot was with the jet.

"We have not confirmed that he is with the plane, so we're going to continue looking for him until we have confirmation of where the pilot is," McMullen said.

If he ejected, he would be prepared for subzero weather.

"They have survival gear," McMullen said. "He's Arctic trained to survive in that environment. He's got the gear on. He's got stuff in his survival kit, so that he could hunker himself down and fight the extreme cold."

The twin-engine F-22 Raptor entered service in the mid-2000s and arrived at Elmendorf in August 2007. It's far more maneuverable and stealthy than earlier jets and can cruise at more than 1 1/2 times the speed of sound without using its afterburner. Its top speed is confidential.

Congress last year stopped production of the plane, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., by eliminating $1.75 billion that would have added seven F-22s to the Air Force's fleet.

An F-22 crashed in March 2009 near Edwards Air Force Base in California, killing the pilot. In July, a C-17 cargo jet from the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf crashed during a training demonstration for an air show, killing all four crewmen aboard.

Filed under: News To Us, U.S. Air Force,

November 17, 2010 at 5:32pm

AF officials select preferred alternative base for C-17

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced their preferred basing decision for eight C-17 Globemaster IIIs Nov. 16. 

The preferred base, approved by the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force, is Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y. Along with the C-17 basing action, 12 C-5 Galaxies assigned to Stewart ANGB will be retired.

"The Air Force has completed its initial analysis of a full range of alternatives and determined that basing the C-17 at Stewart is the preferred alternative," said Kathleen Ferguson, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations. "This is not a final basing decision; it is the alternative we believe will fulfill our mission responsibilities while considering economic, environmental, and technical factors." 

Once the environmental impact analysis process is complete, a final decision will be made.     

November 15, 2010 at 10:04am

AF Times: 4 in 5 airmen passing PT test

This from Air Force Times: Three facts you should know about the new PT test: Officers score better than enlisted airmen, men do better than women and almost half of all airmen score 90 or above - good enough to earn a pass on taking the test every six months.

Through September, more than 150,000 airmen - active-duty, Guard and Reserve - have taken the test, and 82.6 percent of them have passed, a far higher rate than leaders predicted. A passing score is 75 points, with minimums for each component: a 1.5-mile run, push-ups, sit-ups and waist measurement.

After several requests from Air Force Times, the Air Force released the results for the total force as well as by age, gender, officer/enlisted and test components. The service would not give the pass rates by major command.

For more on this story, click here.

Filed under: U.S. Air Force,

November 8, 2010 at 10:14am

Reserve airman wins AF-level award

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- He's flown more than 4,000 hours of civilian and military flying time, including 230 combat dispatches and 873 hours of combat time. He helped in the rapid response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti this year, delivering 97,000 pounds of emergency rations. He's a C-17A Globemaster III instructor aircraft commander with the 728th Airlift Squadron here and one of only two squadron pilots who maintain every C-17 special qualification.

...And he's only 30 years old. 

These are just some of the accomplishments that made Capt. Daniel Gasper stand out from the pack to win the Lance P. Sijan Award, an honor bestowed upon Air Force personnel who represent the highest professional and personal leadership standards. He won the award at the Air Force Command Level in September.

"When I heard I won, I was surprised and deeply honored," said Caption Gasper, a Tacoma native. "I was in great company with good nominees. I'm happy I made it to the AFRC level."

Maj. Tim Davis, Captain Gasper's supervisor, said he couldn't think of anyone more deserving of this award. 

"Dan's a 'go-getter,'" said the 728th AS flight commander. "He's very intelligent, volunteers his time without question, is very enthusiastic about his job and is totally committed to 446th Airlift Wing mission." 

Captain Gasper's commitment dates back to 2001 when he was one of the first 728th AS volunteers after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The captain is currently on orders for his fifth year, gaining more experience in his new role as assistant flight commander. 

"Any time there's a mobility exercise, he's always first to volunteer," said Major Davis. "I've never heard the word "no" come out of his mouth. Captain Gasper volunteers because he wants to and not out of obligation." 

Striving for excellence comes naturally for Captain Gasper. The nine-year Reservist was recently lauded by Air Mobility Command and U.S. Transportation Command officials for his first-class leadership skills and professionalism. The captain was also nominated for the 4th Air Force Airlift Tanker Association Young Leadership Award and the Reserve Officer Association Junior Officer of the Year Award. 

"I've been blessed to have had many opportunities to further my training with the Reserve right off the bat, with the wing's activation," said the captain. "Being activated set me up for high ops tempo situations and gave me a thirst for more training." 

Captain Gasper said his wife, Jess, has been very supportive of his military duties and time away on temporary duty assignments. He said she was proud and excited when she heard he received the award. 

A Boeing 737 first officer for Alaska Airlines, Captain Gasper attained his Federal Aviation Administration certification as an airline transport pilot and Boeing 737 type ratings. He advanced his flight proficiency by attaining his FAA certified flight instructor certificate. In his military career, the captain recently added his qualifications to teach the Instrument Refresher Course and perform airdrop maneuvers with the C-17. 

Major Davis praised Captain Gasper's enthusiasm to always be one crew qualification ahead of where he needed to be and natural ability to motivate peers and supervisors alike. 

"You can't help but feel motivated when you fly with Dan," said Major Davis. "He sets the tone for the flight. He's always up-beat and it's contagious." 

When he's not flying, the captain can be found volunteering at Harverd Elementary School, Parkland, Wash., where his wife teaches. 

Captain Gasper will be adding a new accomplishment to his collection: that of father. He and Jess will be welcoming their first child any day now.     

October 28, 2010 at 2:23pm

446th aeromedical airmen train cadets

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii -- While cadets with the Air Force Academy's Cadet Squadron 04 completed their Cadet Service Learning project, they picked up a learning opportunity through the 446th Airlift Wing.

The cadet's learning project was completed by serving as security guards during the Ironman World Championship triathlon Oct 9. Thirty-six cadets made the trip along with three of the squadron's leaders to complete the unit's project for the semester. 

Part of that trip was on a C-17 flown by the 446th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The cadets flew to Hawaii on a C-17 Globemaster III and a KC-135 Stratotanker. The C-17 crew from the 446th AW included a group of aeromedical evacuation airmen completing their qualification check rides. While en route, the cadets got an up-close-and-personal look at some jobs that may be in some of their futures.

"We have one EMT in the squadron and two med school hopefuls," said Maj. Matthew Anderson, air officer commanding for CS 04, the "Fightin' Fourth. "It really motivates them to see what they may actually be doing after they graduate. And it also shows the hard work it takes to get to that point. And what's more important, they got to see the type of people they will lead after graduation and get a firsthand experience of what they go through on a day-to-day basis."  

For more on the story, click here

October 27, 2010 at 5:13pm

McChord airman performs at AMC competition

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Senior Airman Rachel Kleist, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., participated in the Air Mobility Command Icon competition at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Oct. 21.

Kleist was the base-level winner at Joint Base L-M and was among 11 competitors who sang to earn the title of "AMC Icon." 

Based loosely on the television show "American Idol," AMC Icon is an AMC commander's initiative to showcase the vocal talents of AMC Airmen. Each AMC base holds Icon contests in July and August to determine their representatives for the command final which took place Oct. 21.

AMC personnel assigned to Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, en route and tenant units geographically separated from an AMC base compete under the "affiliate" category. However, personnel stationed on or near an AMC base enter the contest via the base-level talent competition.

"AMC has some exceptional performers and Icon is their opportunity to shine," said Sam Parker, command program manager for AMC Icon.
Staff Sgt. Aisha Smith from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., won the competition. Senior Airman Naomi Scott of Dover Air Force Base, Del., earned second place while Senior Master Sgt. James Warrick of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., earned third place.

October 18, 2010 at 2:02pm

AF flying accidents down for 2nd straight year

This from Air Force Times: The Air Force recorded its fewest number of flying accidents for the second year in a row.

Twenty-two major accidents occurred in fiscal 2010, compared with 30 in fiscal 2009. Seven airmen died in crashes, four more than the year before. The most accidents recorded were 2,274 in 1952. The deadliest year was also 1952, when 1,214 crew members and passengers died.

An accident is considered major when a life is lost or the repair bill is at least $2 million.

Of the 22 mishaps, 14 involved manned planes and eight involved remotely piloted aircraft. The 2009 breakdown: 17 manned plane accidents and 13 RPA.

For more on the story, click here.

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