Friday, August 31, 2012

TOP STORY >> Handling food during air show

By Airman 1st Class Rusty Frank
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The air show is coming and that means vendors and booster clubs will be setting up booths and serving food. For those handling food there is a basic food-handling training course the members of the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health provide. The training covers the basics of food handling to include personal hygiene and food safety.

The first part of training covers personal hygiene, including proper hand-washing procedures and glove wearing. The training covered the importance of changing gloves after using the restroom, using tobacco products, touching the face or hair, handling raw meats and handling money.

“Hand washing and glove changing are really important steps to minimize the contamination of food,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wallace, a 19th AMDS non-commissioned officer in charge of community health.

“Generally if you’re going to be handling the food that’s ready to eat, it has to be served with sterilized utensils or with gloves on,” he said.

The training for basic food handling also covered proper food safety, including the prevention of food-borne illnesses. Ensuring foods such as raw meats and chicken are cooked properly and up to temperature, and dairy products and raw meats are kept refrigerated will minimize the spread of food-borne illnesses.  Another part of proper food- safety training is making sure not to use the same utensils and cutting boards when handling raw meat such as pork, beef or chicken. Never have raw meat touch any food that is already cooked.

“We want to make sure when they are cooking chicken, they are getting it to the proper temperature, and any cold foods are chilled appropriately,” said Wallace.

When food is not cooked properly and food is not stored safely food-borne illnesses occur. There are many different types of illnesses,  such as salmonella, e. coli, trichomoniasis, norovirus.

With the air show near, the members of the 19th AMDS provided the basic food-handlers training in order to spread awareness about the importance of food safety and ensure the base is prepared to serve food to approximately 225,000 air show guests.

“The point of this training is to ensure that all the booster clubs that are going to be manning the concessionaire booths at the air show are properly trained, and that we can try prevent some food borne illnesses from happening… it’s a pretty generalized training we are not trying to make food experts out of anybody,” said Wallace.

For more information about when basic food handling training is held you can contact Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wallace at 501-987-7209.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

COMMENTARY>> There must be balance in the force

By Lt. Col. Brian Daniels
19th Maintenance Group deputy commander

I want to use this opportunity to highlight a topic that has certainly been discussed, but I think has been overlooked or ignored by many. The Air Force and military in general tends to attract hard charging or Type-A people who will do everything possible to make the mission happen. This is especially noticeable in the officer corps and those who have stepped up to assume leadership roles throughout the ranks.

This trait is critical when you put the seriousness of our mission in perspective, but it also carries the very real potential of dominating all aspects of our lives. The simple word I will use to fall back on is “BALANCE.” While we are asked to push hard to support the Air Force mission, it is one part of the total package that makes up our lives. As I look at my own life, I break it down to four basic elements: the Service (Air Force), Family and friends (personal relationships), Spiritual and Physical fitness.

I am going to use a well known warrior whose lack of balance resulted in the fall of the Republic.If you haven’t guessed it, I am writing about Anakin Skywalker (Later known as Darth Vader). Anakin was supposed to be the “chosen one” who would defeat the Sith and bring balance to the force. When you take a quick look at Anakin’s life you can see how his lack of personal balance led him to decisions that ultimately brought down an entire Galactic Republic. You may be thinking, what are you talking about; let’s look at Anakin’s life as it relates to the elements above.

First, Anakin was the youngest Jedi to ever serve on the Jedi council but his ambition and pride caused him to be out of balance in his service. His desire to become the best Jedi ever led him closer to the dark side, ultimately letting his peers and everyone in his command down.

Now let’s look at Anakin’s personal relationships: His marriage to Padme was founded in deceit and was filled with distrust, ultimately costing Padme her life. Similarly, his relationship with peers, including Obi-Wan, was one of jealousy and distrust. He never achieved the balance necessary for true loving and supportive relationships.

Finally, his lack of faith caused him to try to take actions in his own hands and pushed him over the edge to the dark side. The fact that Anakin could never achieve balance in his own life directly led to bad decisions resulting in his downfall.

OK, now let’s look at the real world: To reach our full potential as Airmen and people we cannot allow ourselves to be dominated by any one aspect of our lives. This may seem counterintuitive to our hard charging, Type-A personalities, but I truly believe that an Airman cannot function at our peak levels without true balance over the long term. I say long term because there will always be temporary situations that require us to focus on one element of balance over another, however, our goal should be to return to a balanced state. I will try to tie in my point with a quick look at the elements of life.

Service in the Air Force is demanding and leaders expect 100 percent effort all of the time while at work. If we allow work requirements to dominate our lives, our work will ultimately suffer as marital problems, questions of faith and physical problems creep into the work center. With the nature of our business, this could result in fatal mistakes. I have told many of my Airmen that while you are in your work center, I want your max effort, but when you leave, I don’t want you thinking about work until you return. Family life is critical to balance; we owe our loved ones, whether spouse, children, family or friends, the priority they deserve. They too sacrifice when we are called to work long hours or deploy. Making them a priority and building a strong family base will keep you secure as you perform your mission and keep your family secure knowing that you are going to be there for them in the future.

In my opinion, Spiritual health is the most important aspect of achieving balance. (Trusting that God has a plan for each of our lives and knowing that even when things seem dark, God is there and will lift us up gives us the base that we need to succeed in all aspects of our lives.)

Finally, Physical fitness is crucial to balance. Not just because the Air Force has changed the PT requirements, but physical health allows us to maximize our efforts continuously. If we don’t strive for physical fitness, we will not have the energy to seek balance throughout our lives.

I will conclude by stating my belief that there are always negative consequences if we focus on one element of life at the detriment of others, and I would challenge everyone to really take a look at your lives and see what you need to do to achieve balance.

TOP STORY>>Preparing for traffic on air show weekend

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The biannual Little Rock Air Force Base Air Show and Open House on Sept. 8-9 brings a lot of excitement to the base. During this weekend, the omni-present operations on the base flight line will increase significantly, with 200,000 plus expected attendees swarming the runways and other areas on base. Such a large number of people will cause untypical traffic issues for people planning to travel to, or from, base during air show weekend. As such, there are planned gate closures and recommended travel routes for those traveling on or off base.

For the weekend of the Air Show, the Harris Gate will not be open for general base or public traffic.

Furthermore, entering or exiting the base between 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. is not recommended due to the heavy volume of expected traffic. For travel that’s unavoidable, it’s best to make plans in advance and compensate for expected delays.

Normal parking areas on base will be severely limited and monitored by security personnel. It’s recommended to use the base shuttles for transportation to the flight line.

Shuttles will pick up at the small base lake, old Base Exchange, Base Clinic and the Golf Course and will drop off at Building 250. Shuttles will begin operating at 7:30 a.m. and run until there are zero passengers remaining.

There will be checkpoints set up on base to check attendees for prohibited items.

TOP STORY>> Labor Day Weekend: Not a time to let down your guard

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy issued the following message to all Air Force personnel:

As our nation pays tribute to American workers during Labor Day weekend, we thank all Airmen for your dedicated service and hard work every day of the year. While many of you enjoy a well-earned break to celebrate the last holiday of the summer season, we urge you to plan your activities with care and to make smart decisions that will keep you, your family and your friends safe.

Safety is a concern for all of us. Sadly, more than 40 Airmen have died in off-duty mishaps this year, including 27 Airmen killed in motor vehicle accidents. Many of these tragic losses may have been preventable, the result of reckless behavior such as excessive speed, irresponsible alcohol use, failure to use proper safety gear or inattention. Equally alarming, our Air Force family has lost 70 Airmen to suicide this year.

Our goal is to eliminate all preventable mishaps, and you can help by setting a standard of zero tolerance for reckless behavior and through awareness of subtle behavioral changes that could indicate heightened levels of stress in yourself or others. Because one lost life is too many, we urge all Airmen to look out for one another and remember that safety requires deliberate forethought.

Your family, friends, and fellow Airmen depend on you. Please take time to consider safety as you enjoy Labor Day weekend, and as always, thank you for all you do for our Air Force and our Nation.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

COMMENTARY>>Help wanted

By Lt. Col. Pat Dabrowski
314th Operations Group Deputy Commander

On April 27, 2011, an Afghan National Army Colonel entered the Afghan Air Force Air Command and Control Center on the grounds of the Kabul International Airport. He drew his Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter pistol, and shot and killed Lt. Col. Frank Bryant, Maj. David Brodeur, Maj. Jeff Ausborn, Maj. Phil Ambard, Maj. Ray Estelle, Maj. Charles Ransom, and James McLaughlin, all Air Advisors assigned to the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing deployed to Afghanistan. Master Sgt. Tara Brown was also shot but survived until she reached the NATO hospital located nearby on KAIA where she eventually succumbed to her injuries. Capt. Nathan Nylander, who ran to the sound of the gunshots and engaged the renegade shooter with his own weapon, made the ultimate sacrifice after being shot. His bravery earned him the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest combat military decoration) for the bravery he displayed in the face of the enemy. The official investigation reported that, in the end, the Afghan colonel took his own life before coalition or Afghan forces could reach him.

The loss of the “NATC-A Nine” (NATO Air Training Command – Afghanistan), as they would come to be called, was devastating to the families back home as well as to their fellow air advisors. Part of the confusion came from the fact that these Afghans were not thought to be the enemy. The advisors were deployed to assist the Afghans in standing up their own Air Force. Unfortunately, in a lesson that has been relearned over and over again in Afghanistan, it was realized too late that the problem does not always come from where you expect it, nor the enemy from outside-the-wire.

In the days that followed, leadership directed significant changes to the rules of engagement the Air Advisors would use with their Afghan counterparts, and extensive help was made available at KAIA to those who had lost roommates, friends and coworkers in the attack. The help that the U.S. military amassed and made available was extensive, well-utilized, and provided initial healing to many who had never experienced such a traumatic event. Despite initial and ongoing care throughout the remainder of many Advisors’ deployments, there was still a need for assistance before their redeployment to home station.

Now, flashback to just over one year earlier. During Corona South in early 2010, senior Air Force leadership, led by former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, proposed a program that would address resiliency issues that “outside-the-wire” Airmen were facing upon redeployment to home station. Gen. Roger Brady, the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, offered up Ramstein Air Base, Germany as the best location based partly on its centralized location between the Central Command area of responsibility and the United States. While Security Forces and Air Force Office of Special Investigations Airmen had previously developed and executed their own internal resiliency programs, this vision was for a program that would aid other career fields, at large, with related experiences, and was initially designed for Security Forces, Air Transporters engaged in convoy operations, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen. The 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein took on the effort with assistance that stretched from Air Mobility Command HQ, through the Pentagon all of the way to the Central Command AOR. Air Force leadership’s vision was eventually realized on July 2, 2010, when 31 EOD redeployers arrived at the Deployment Transition Center for the inaugural four-day program. Since its inception, over 4,000 personnel have attended the DTC which has expanded its services to include Tactical Air Control Party and RED HORSE Airmen, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Navy EOD.

In the wake of the April 2010 attack in Kabul, more than two dozen Air Advisors were added to the number of DTC attendees who, despite all of the assistance provided to them in theater, still required additional help en route back to home station before they could call their deployment complete. Most of these Airmen were first responders, somehow involved in the recovery of the fallen, or closely related to the trauma inflicted by the shooter. In some cases these men and women volunteered to attend the program. In other instances, individuals were directed by their supervisors or leadership to take advantage of the tools that the DTC had to offer. Ongoing assessment of the resiliency program Ramstein offers has been overwhelmingly positive as the USAF attempts to help its own, and it falls alongside a multitude of opportunities for Airmen to seek help that have been in existence for decades.

Back in Kabul, on April 12, 2012, nine flag-draped caskets were carried aboard a waiting C-130H by 72 Airmen, Sailors, and contractors past hundreds of NATO troops that attended the dignified transfer, as the nine fallen started their final trip home.

And, the healing began.

We have all faced a time in our lives when we have been overwhelmed by circumstances surrounding us whether they are financial difficulties, relationship problems, work stress, or some type of trauma. Faced with a choice, we can continue to remain mired in the problem or, if it’s beyond our capability to deal with, we can seek help from a myriad of sources made available to all Airmen.

For those in the 438 AEW, that day they experienced varying levels of trauma that none expected and very few were fully prepared to cope with. As professional help arrived, and as the Air Advisors turned to each other for consolation and therapy, many realized that tools have been and are available for those times and circumstances when Airmen feel overwhelmed by events occurring to them and around them. These resources are as established as the Medical Group’s Mental Health experts, the Airman & Family Readiness Center’s Military and Family Life Consultants, or the base Chaplains. For some redeployers, help came on their trip home through newer and innovative means like the Deployment Transition Center at Ramstein. For others, they realized that help is even available at home through the Military One Source website ( or 24-hour help line (1-800-342-9647). For those who need it, help can be as close as a coworker or supervisor, a family member or afriend. For many assigned to KAIA on that life-changing day, they were willing to seek help that is readily available to every Airman.

I had the privilege of working and living next to a real hero, Capt. Nate Nylander, the Silver Star recipient from that day. Immediately after his death I was confronted with transporting his body to the NATO hospital on his way to the morgue. In the end, I had the honor of carrying his casket into the cargo compartment of the C-130H aircraft waiting at the Kabul International Airport to fly his final journey home. After this unexpected, overwhelming, and life-changing experience I was willing to ask for and receive the professional care available to all Airmen. It has made a difference. I just had to ask for help.


Primary source – I have first-hand experience with the events discussed above.

I was an Air Advisor at the Kabul International Airport on the day of the shootings (April 27, 2011) reference in the article. I personally transported Capt. Nathan J. Nylander’s body to the NATO hospital and unloaded Master Sgt. Tara Brown before she passed, and later the remaining bodies into the morgue when they arrived. I was one of eight casket bearers for Nylander during the dignified transfer the day after the shootings. I was a witness in the investigation and quoted in the third reference below.

Additionally, along with Chief Master Sgt. John Western (the first DTC/CCC), I led the team at Ramstein that established the Deployment Transition Center and was the first DTC Commander under the 86 AW and 86 MSG.

Air Force Print News Today. 7/1/2010 – Available online at the following link: Accessed Aug. 12, 2012.

Air Force Print News Today. 7/16/2010 – Available online at the following link: Accessed Aug. 12, 2012.

Air Force Office of Special Investigations Report of Investigation (redacted). File No: 2405-C-118-B—15882111171250. 04 September 2011 – Available online at the following link: Accessed Aug. 12, 2012.

DTC Background Paper – Available online on the Air Force Deployment Transition Center webpage: Accessed Aug. 12, 2012.

Military One Source – Available online at the following link: Accessed Aug. 13, 2012.

TOP STORY>>Resilient teamwork helps Airmen capture championship

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Trailing 18-6 in the semifinals of the Cabot Parks and Recreation flag football league playoffs, Staff Sgt. Chris Young, a 314th Airlift Wing client service technician and coach of the team No Mercy, knew his team needed to make changes to win, and knew they needed to make them quickly.

Young and his team could be forgiven if they reacted desperately to the adversity. After all, they were up against a two-time defending champion in the league, a team which hadn’t lost a game all year. Momentum, which begets the confidence and braggadocio so important to competitors, was against them.

Despite the odds, No Mercy rebounded, huddled together as a team, formed a plan and unsheathed on their competition the rest of the game, defeating the previously unbeaten team 25-18. The come-from-behind-victory was a harbinger of the championship game, which No Mercy won 21-12 against a team that not only beat them twice in the regular season, but beat them so badly the games were cut short due to the “mercy rule.”

“They beat us bad the first two games,” said Young. “I think they were a little surprised by the way we played in the championship.”

While crediting an improved defensive game plan for the victories and championship, Young said the team wouldn’t have emerged as champions if he hadn’t listened to the advice of some of his teammates, who helped make a winning game plan.

“I felt we really gelled as a team in the playoffs, specifically in the last two games,” said Young. “I can’t take the credit or say it was one person. We came together as a team and everybody played their part.”

No Mercy is a 13-man team, 11 of whom are active military members at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Young, who played football in high school and flag football for 13 years, the last three in the Cabot league, said this year’s team was unlike any other he’s been on because of the camaraderie.

“The difference between our team and any other team out there is that after every game we huddled together,” he said. “We talked about the bad, and we talked about the good.”

The team used those post-game huddles to air grievances, and to make sure everyone on the team got a chance to speak their mind, while building camaraderie. “We would be out there after the games for 30 minutes sometimes, just talking,” said Young.

Having a strong bond and being open to communication is what allowed the team to resiliently fight back from deficits in the playoffs, particularly in the semifinal and championship game. In sports, pride often erects un-scalable barriers between teammates, and Young is certain the team wouldn’t have persevered if they hadn’t learned to talk, and more importantly, listen to each other.

“One of my teammates, Eric Baugh, is the one who suggested changing the game plan during the semi-final matchup,” said Young. “Because we were so close as a team, he was comfortable pulling me aside and talking to me when we were losing.”

Talking helped the team come together, and coming together as a team after they squeaked into the playoffs with a 6-4 record is what helped them win the championship, said Young.

“There’s nothing better than to see a team gel together. When a team comes together, you realize that there’s nothing you can’t accomplish,” he said.

The championship was dually special for Young, not only because he’d been on the team for three years, but because this year was his final year with No Mercy. Young is moving to Utah, and said he’s going to retire from flag football.

“I loved the team we had, and I wish I would be here to do it again next year,” he said.

“These guys really pulled together. We’ve been playing for three years trying to win the championship, and we did it. It was good to win the championship in my last game.”

The roster of the No Mercy flag football team:

Airman 1st Class Daveon Allen

Staff Sgt. Tony Allen

Staff Sgt. Eric Baugh

Airman 1st Class Charles Bise

Anthony Bizzell

Airman 1st Class Darrius Deener

Senior Airman Atarius Framer

Dale Gray

Senior Airman Fatez Radford

Senior Airman Bryan Wails

Staff Sgt. Evan Walker,

Senior Airman Andre Westmoreland - Asst. Coach

Staff Sgt. Christopher Young - Coach

TOP STORY>>2012 air show: So much to see and do

By Arlo Taylor
19th Airlift Wing public affairs

There will be something for the entire family at the 2012 Heritage and Heroes Open House and Air Show set for the weekend of Sept. 8 - 9.

Admission and parking for the air show is free and gates open at 8:30 a.m. both days of the event. The air show portion of the day takes off at approximately 10 a.m. and continues until the headlining performance of the world famous Blue Angels at approximately 2 p.m.

Other air acts include the Team Little Rock C-130 “Day in Afghanistan” capabilities exercise, demos by the Canadian Forces CF-18 team, the U.S. Navy F/A Super Hornet teams, precision parachuting by the Army Special Operations Jump Team Black Daggers and the Canadian Skyhawks; daring aerobatics by Mike Rinker and Pink Floyd; and nostalgic B-25, F-4, P-47 and P-51 heritage flights.

Ground displays include the gigantic C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III, B-52 Stratofortress, FedEx 727, a vast array of C-130s including the AC-130 gunship, T-1 Texan and T-38 Tweet trainers, TC-135 and KC-135 aircraft, and Army UH-60 Blackhawk and UH-72 Lakota helicopters.

With hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend from all areas of Arkansas and surrounding states, hydration, shade, and traffic are the main safety concerns for base officials. To help guests beat the heat, this year’s show includes “Four Acres of Shade” – our air expo center. The center features 500 seats to escape the heat, a Kidz Zone, concerts throughout the day, vendors and informational booths, and military working dog demonstrations.

“This gives the audience a chance to get away from the heat for a little bit but still be involved in the show,” said Lt. Col. Mike Kirby, air show director. “The Air Expo Center is adjacent to the main show, and there will be an announcer constantly informing the audience of the schedule of performances and events.”

Along with a safety message for staying hydrated, officials also advise those attending the show to take care of their skin and to also leave any suspicious personal items they don’t want confiscated at home – basically prepare for entering our air show area as if they were preparing to board a flight at the airport

“We are encouraging everyone to bring a disposable, refillable plastic water bottle,” he said. “Also bring sunscreen, lawn chairs and comfortable walking shoes. Everyone will be screened by magnetrons, and there will be random vehicle searches. Absolutely no weapons will be allowed, even in the vehicles. Not even a pocket knife.”

Reserved seats for the event are still available for those who do not want to carry a lawn chair. Go to for seating reservations.

For the latest open house updates, visit and or follow on Facebook at or

Friday, August 17, 2012

TOP STORY >> Celebrating 2012 youth of the year

By Stephanie Johnson
19th Force Support Squadron

For the second year in a row, Al “Montrice” Nelson was awarded Little Rock Air Force Base’s Youth of the Year.

Youth of the Year is the highest honor a member of Youth Programs can receive at the installation level. The honor is modeled after the National Boys and Girls Club of America Youth of the Year program, which was founded more than 60 years ago. To compete locally, nominees submit personal essays and information packages describing their involvement with home and family, moral character, community, school, service to club and life goals. Installation winners compete in both state and Major Command competitions. Nelson received his award at the Pentagon in June 2012, with 60 other winners from across the country.

Nelson has not slowed down since winning his first Youth of the Year award in 2011. Since the beginning of 2012, this high school senior has logged more than 700 volunteer hours both on base and in the local community while also working part-time. He completed his second term as Keystone Club president, a club where Air Force teens gain valuable leadership and service experience through activities geared toward academic success, career exploration and community service. He is a member of the Boys and Girls Club Teen Ambassador Survey Team for the Southwest District. In early July of this year, Montrice attended the Air Force Teen Leadership Camp at the University of Texas – San Antonio, a camp for high school students interested in leadership, team dynamics and peer mentorship. In addition, he just completed a two-year term as Teen Council Member representative for AMC.

His love for Youth Programs and community service began as a young child in Germany, where his father served in the U.S. Army. Among the youngest Youth Programs members at Darmstadt, he enjoyed participating in the fundraisers and base-wide events while there. Through his involvement in Youth Programs, Nelson has put in countless hours of volunteer service ranging from mentoring young children to assisting with events such as the annual Easter egg hunts, 4th of July Festivals, Family Fest, Halloween Carnival and the American Kid’s Run.

Beyond participating in organized clubs and programs, Nelson even finds ways to volunteer on his own. While taking a stroll around the base lake earlier this year, he noticed how much trash was accumulating in and around the water. He took three hours out of his day to clean it up on his own.

Nelson has an entrepreneurial and giving spirit, he recognizes when help is needed and is willing to give without expecting anything in return. After an EF-2 tornado caused significant damage to homes and facilities at Little Rock Air Force base in April 2011, he volunteered his free time at the Thomas Community Activity Center, helping families affected by the tornado.

“I went out the night of the tornado and handed out towels and batteries, shuttled people and collected and handed out donations,” said Nelson.

Nelson strives to instill his own values into other youths.

 “I have adhered to high moral standards by staying true to the values and moral views implemented by my parents, and through my experiences,” he said. “I was taught as a young man that when meeting new people the first impression is of the upmost importance … people will always remember you from the first time they saw you, the way you spoke, not as much as the material things, such as what brand of clothes you wore, or the way your hair looked.“

What do parents Al and Ute Nelson, both members of the 19th Force Support Squadron, think of their son’s dedication to serving others?

 “I am proud of him. We push him hard. And, everything he strives for, we support him,” said Al.

For more information on Youth Services, please call 987-6355.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

COMMENTARY>>Integrity of Aircraft and of People

By Col. Steven Weld
Commander, 314th Maintenance Group

A wise maintenance operations officer with whom I served many years ago, would often compare her experiences with aircraft to those with people. She sometimes talked about the similarities between the two concerning integrity, with an aircraft’s structural integrity signifying “soundness of condition,” and a person’s or organization’s integrity meaning “soundness of character.”

An aircraft is a complex system with a large number of components assembled together to safely and effectively accomplish a purpose that involves flying. Each component has a particular function that contributes to the objectives of the system, and the components are assembled in a particular fashion for the whole system to work properly.

Picture the many structural members in an aircraft wing. Ribs and skin are attached to a main spar to form the wing, and the spar attaches the wing to the fuselage of the aircraft. The wing is designed to carry flight loads in the air, as well as the weight of engines and fuel on the ground, with design limits for maximum stress and careful consideration for how the different components work together to safely transfer forces through the wing to the fuselage. The wing may act differently than designed if components are fastened together improperly, or corrosion develops between components, or a component has a crack. A defect can cause vibration, or increase stress on other parts of the component or other components, or could over time lead to the component or the wing failing completely, possibly even catastrophically.

Critical components are inspected at regular intervals through a standard maintenance program. While some defects are easily discovered visually, other may require disassembly of parts, test equipment, or particular inspection procedures. NDI (non-destructive inspection) uses special techniques that help us look through the metal in different ways, and improve our “probability of detection” of a defect early enough for us to manage risk and affect repairs before structural integrity is compromised.

Interestingly, our opinions of defect does not matter to the wing and its performance. The defects exist before we look for them, and are “discovered,” not “created,” by our inspection. Whether we say a crack is “within limits”, or “small,” or overestimate its size, or even fail to detect it altogether, the crack affects the performance of the wing the same way, and the risks the crack creates when operating the aircraft are all the same. That is, none of the words we use change any of the actual characteristics of the crack or the physics of the stress on the aircraft in flight. However, the opinions we hold and the words we use in discussing the crack with others can make huge differences in how we understand the risks it creates, and ultimately how we manage the defect, what restrictions we impose on use of the aircraft, and when we choose to make which type of repairs. Clear language and open, honest dialogue enables effective risk management, and the right actions to maintain or restore structural integrity.

So, we say an aircraft has “structural integrity” when its components are relatively free from defects that prevent them from performing their functions, and it has the ability to hold together all the other elements of its structure to accomplish its purpose.

Personal or organizational integrity, or “soundness of character,” is similar to the structural integrity of an aircraft. The Air Force Core Values pamphlet (our “Little Blue Book”) states “Integrity is the ability to hold together and properly regulate all the other elements of a personality.” We have various elements that fit together for a purpose (though our “elements” may not be as clearly defined as individual aircraft parts). A deficiency in one element of our life, or different elements not fitting together smoothly or well, can cause stress in all the other elements, and may lead to unexpected failures. Defects in our character may exist whether we acknowledge them or not. Some may have a low “probability of detection” without the effort to carefully examine our character, both individually and as an organization, with the right methods, such as what the “Little Blue Book” calls “corrosion analysis.” Even faults we wish to hide, or ignore, or minimize, or call by a different name can detract from our effectiveness or the effectiveness of our team. However, with clear language and open, honest dialogue, we can bring to light our various defects, recognize risks they represent to our purposes, and take appropriate action to maintain or restore our personal or organizational integrity.

TOP STORY>>Fat Albert comes to 2012 Air Show

Hey, hey, hey! Mechanics at the Rock have gotten a chance to tinker with Fat Albert before he performs at the Little Rock Air Force Base Airshow and Open House on Sept. 8-9.

Thankfully for the Airmen of the 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron -21/Dual Rails shop, they didn’t have to treat the obese, slang talking cartoon character from television, but worked on the world-famous C-130 from the Blue Angels.

The -21/Dual Rails shop at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., maintains 24 hour, seven day a week operations on the base flight line. The -21 shop is responsible for maintenance of the 314th Airlift Wing’s C-130 fleet, and handles approximately 10 calls a day for maintenance needs ranging from problems with the bull-dog winches (used to pull cargo or vehicles onto the aircraft,) dual rail locks, airdrop malfunctions or loose equipment, (which consists of more than 600 items.)

The dual rails responsibility in the -21 shop is to remove rails and rollers from the aircraft and disassemble, clean, inspect and rebuild them before reinstalling them. One of the many planes inspected and maintained by the dual rails shop is the renowned Fat Albert, a C-130 known for transporting the Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels maintenance and support crew travel aboard a Marine Corps C-130 Hercules aircraft, affectionately known as “Fat Albert.” This C-130 is a tactical transport aircraft built by Lockheed Martin and is flown by an all-Marine crew consisting of three pilots and five enlisted aircrew.

First integrated into the team in 1970, Fat Albert now flies more than 100,000 miles each season carrying 45 maintenance and support personnel along with the specialized equipment needed to complete a successful air show.

The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly 69 air shows at 35 air show sites in North America during the 2012 season, as the team celebrates its 26th year of flying the F/A-18 Hornet. The Blue Angels will headline the open house and air show at Little Rock Air Force Base scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9.

The mission of the Blue Angels is to enhance Navy recruiting, and credibly represent Navy and Marine Corps aviation to the United States and its armed forces to America and other countries as international ambassadors of good will.

(Courtesy of 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

TOP STORY>>Welsh ‘humbled’ to serve as Air Force chief of staff

By Tech. Sgt. Shawn J. Jones
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) – The Air Force chief of staff flag passed to the service’s 20th chief in a ceremony here Aug. 10.

Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, a 36-year Airman, stepped into the position, taking over for Gen. Norton Schwartz, who also retired from the Air Force during the ceremony.

“Mark is respected throughout the Air Force for his exceptional leadership and ability to connect with Airmen,” Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley said.

Raised in an Air Force family, Welsh said he found a role model in his father, a decorated combat pilot.

“Today, I think he’d be proud of me,” Welsh said. “And any day a kid can make his dad proud is a great day.”

Welsh emphasized the need for Airmen to understand the importance of the other services in joint operations, but also said Airmen shouldn’t underestimate the combat capabilities of their own service inwinning today’s fight.

“No one else can bring what we bring to the fight, and any real warfighter knows that,” he said. “Don’t ever doubt yourself or this service.

Welsh also addressed his stance on issues affecting the well-being of Airmen.

“When it comes to Airman resiliency, suicide prevention, and sexual assault prevention and response, I believe you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem,” he said. “There is no middle ground.”

Welsh also said the Air Force must shape the future and that will require innovative thinking and different approaches to problems, along with modernization.

Welsh was nominated by the president May 10 and confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 2.

In his previous position as the commander of U. S. Air Forces in Europe, he was in charge of Air Force activities in an area of operations covering nearly one-fifth of the globe.

Welsh, a 1976 graduate of the Air Force Academy, has served in numerous operational, command and staff positions, such as commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy, vice commander of Air Education and Training Command and associate director for military affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency.

“When I became a squadron commander, I felt excited. When I became a wing commander, I felt proud. When I became a major command commander, I felt privileged and a little bit old,” he said. “Today when I was sworn in as chief of staff of the Air Force, I felt humbled to be given the honor of leading its incredible Airmen.”

His experience includes nearly 3,300 flying hours, most of which came in the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

As the ceremony ushered in a new chapter in Air Force history, it also served as the final chapter for Schwartz’s four years as the service’s senior uniformed leader and his more than 39 years of military service.

Schwartz’s career began in1973 after graduating from the Air Force Academy. He has logged more than 4,400 flying hours and participated in military operations in Vietnam, Iraq and Cambodia.

“Anyone looking for an example of Air Force core values need look no further than Gen. Norty Schwartz,” Donley said. “Thank you for your lasting contribution to our Air Force and the character and quality of your service.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta presented Schwartz with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, which is awarded to service members who perform exceptionally meritorious service in a position of great responsibility.

The award citation highlighted his success in restoring excellence in the Air Force nuclear mission, his efforts to partner with joint and coalition teammates in support of operations worldwide, modernizing the Air Force’s air and space inventories, and care for Airmen and families. Schwartz’s wife Suzie was also recognized for her devotion to Airmen and family support programs.

“The Air Force has afforded us an honorable and rewarding journey for the entirety of our adult lives,” Schwartz said.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

COMMENTARY>>Helping you help yourself

By Col. Daniel Lockert
19th Maintenance Group Commander

Being a good wingman is more than preventing someone from doing something foolish. It is about developing a mindset of selflessness and responsibility, not only for ourselves but also for those around us. We need to not only apply it to all facets of our lives but also foster this mentality in all our Airmen.

In order to be a wingman, you first have to help yourself because if you do not then you are unable to help your fellow wingman to the best of your ability. You might be asking yourself, “How do I do that?” It’s simple--most of you have already started down the path to helping yourself. That’s right, most of you already attended the base’s Wingman Day session, or Resiliency Training as it is sometimes called.

Many of you have already participated in the Wingman Day program and more than likely went into the session with preconceived notions that this is another suicide prevention or safety initiative. Some of you may even think this is a stand-alone program. It is neither of these; rather, it is an opportunity to learn, and implement, different approaches that will help you to “bounce back” from life’s “ups and downs.” Each approach is a pillar—physical, mental, spiritual and community—providing tips on how to look at the situation from a different perspective or in a different light.

Resiliency is the buzzword not only here at “The Rock” but also throughout the Department of Defense. Scientifically, resiliency is the ability for an object to quickly return to its original shape after being twisted, bent or contorted. For our purposes, resiliency is the ability to bounce back mentally, physically, socially and spiritually from the “ups and downs” life throws our way. In short, it is a return to normal.

A big part of resiliency is knowing how to handle, or manage, the stress in our lives. Life—be it personal or professional—is stressful, no doubt about it. We all handle stress differently; some swallow it, internalizing it until it erupts like Mt. Vesuvius. Unfortunately, that eruption can come in many different forms such as increased blood pressure, a decreased immune system, and poor sleep patterns. Studies have shown that increased amounts of undue stress increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. In some instances, internalizing stress leads to a vicious outbreak filled with anger and violence. Others handle stress by learning to avoid it all together or by simply saying “no” to certain stressors by setting limits or by finding ways to unwind from the stress. Unwinding can be in the form of exercise, meditation, or even something as simple as taking a stroll.

During Wingman Day, you discovered, or were re-introduced to, your strengths and weaknesses—I know I was. If you identified an area you want to improve, I challenge you to do so. We need our troops—you—to be fit, physically, mentally, socially and spiritually to tackle not only the mission but also whatever life throws at you. Resilient workers are able to take care of themselves so that they can better take care of others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on at one point in his or her life. Your fellow Airmen—your Wingmen—count on you day in and day out.

TOP STORY>>The ABC’s of back to school safety

By Airman 1st Class Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

August marks the start of the end of summer for school-aged children. Parents and those who drive past Arnold Drive Elementary and Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School Flightline Upper Academy are to be mindful that once school begins, Aug. 13 for the Flightline Upper Academy and Aug. 20 for Arnold Drive, road rules for child safety will be strongly enforced.

Cefus Benner, 19th Security Forces Squadron police services, said that most of the road rules will be the same for both schools.

School zone safety lights will begin flashing promptly the first day of school near Arnold Drive Elementary from 7:25 to 8:15 a.m., and it will start again 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. for school dismissal, Benner said.

“Only traffic coming westbound on Arnold Drive can turn directly into Arnold Drive Elementary school parking lot for picking up or droppingoff students,” he said. There are signs posted to inform drivers that no left turns between school hours are allowed.

There is a 15-mph speed zone near the school, and there is no tolerance in that area for speeding, Benner said. SFS Airmen will be there to strictly enforce it, and they will stop those exceeding the speed limit, even by one mile per hour, he said. To help deter speeding, a speeding cart will be placed near the school for drivers to monitor their own speed. Once the flashing lights turn off, the speed limit is back to 35 mph.

For the Flightline Upper Academy, school runs from 7:15 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. Dr. Phillis Nichols-Anderson, Vice President, southern region, said.

“Parents dropping off students in the morning may turn off of Cannon Drive into the one-way drive which begins at the school marquee, passes under the front awning of the school, and continues past the school directly in front of the Razorback Inn. Parents are asked to follow the outside right lane of the one-way drive in order to allow non-school traffic destined for the Razorback Inn to pass freely while adhering to the inner left lane of the one-way drive. All students will exit their vehicles under the front awning of the school.

Nichols-Anderson said fifth and sixth grade dismissal pick-up will follow the same identical route as the morning drop off.

“These students will be escorted to the front awning area with their homeroom teachers, and will board their transportation as the vehicles pass under the awning,” she said. “The pick-up will begin to flow at 3:45 pm. Parents/Guardians who arrive prior to 3:45 p.m. are asked to park their vehicle in the front parking lot, and students will be escorted to their vehicle as a group by a designated teacher.

Vehicles awaiting pick-up are not allowed to form a car line as they wait for student dismissal. Seventh and eighth grade dismissal pick-up will enter the school property from Cannon Drive through the one-way entry, and will follow the one-way through street running between Flightline and the Distinguished Visitor Lodging. These vehicles will then circle around to the rear parking slots on the street behind the school and wait for their children to be dismissed to the vehicles by their homeroom teachers. Once the students are picked up, the traffic will then flow back to Arnold Drive for the final exit near the Shopette.”

Benner said there is a crosswalk near Arnold Drive Elementary, and there will be a crossing guard there dressed in a reflective vest and holding a stop sign to control the flow of traffic. Drivers need to adhere to the crossing guard and slow down as well as be extra observant of their surroundings while in the school zones because children may disregard the cross walks and run into the street.

“Children are our future, and nothing affects a community worse than to lose a child. You can not be in that big of a hurry to where slowing down to 15 mph for 200 yards is going to kill you. If you are in that much of a hurry, then you need to leave earlier. The biggest issue of course, is the child’s safety,” said Benner.

Arnold Drive Elementary and JCLS Flightline Upper Academy are both public schools. Arnold Drive Elementary teaches students from kinder-garten to fifth grade. JCLS Flightline Upper Academy educates fifth to eighth graders.

To volunteer to be a crossing guard, call the school or contact the retiree office on base at 987-6095.

TOP STORY>>EOD smokes new experimental PT test

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Most Airmen are used to the 1.5 mile run for a PT test, but how many would do it with 50 pounds strapped to their back?

Nine Airmen from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight at the Rock did just that… twice!

While Air Force leadership has placed an emphasis on physical fitness in the Air Force, most Airmen couldn’t be blamed for balking at a test that included running 3 miles, toting large weights and scaling a 6 foot wall, all with a 50 pound pack.

Airmen from the EOD career field know they may be expected to perform physically challenging tasks, but the Air Force is considering implementing a new, more dexterous PT test for them.

The new test, developed by Air Force Special Operations Command, could become a standard in the EOD career field, although nothing is certain. Right now AFSOC’s plan is to try and establish a realistic and repeatable test to measure the fitness of EOD Airmen.

Each Airman is required to complete the experimental test in 75 minutes, and the 9 base EOD Airmen exceeded expectations, with the fastest performing the test in 39:13, and the last coming in at 55:10, nearly 20 minutes ahead of the standard.

Staff Sgt. Warren Long, an EOD technician, finished first and credited the unit’s ability to complete the test so handily on such short notice to their high standard of training.

“We only found out about this test two weeks ago,” he said. “We were told that we were going to do it at the last minute, but our regular PT is intense enough to keep us prepared and everybody finished way above the standard.”

Long, given a joking ice-container coronation by his peers after finishing, said the experimental test was vastly different and more challenging than a traditional Air Force PT test.

“This, or something like it, needs to be the standard PT test for our career field,” he said.

The components, designed to test the Airmen’s strength and endurance, include: a 1.5 mile ruck, a wall climb, a 100 meter “jerry carry” where the Airmen must transport two giant water jugs, a 50 pound simulated robot lift, where the tester must move a 50 pound box to and from the ground four times, a 6 foot wall climb and a final 1.5 mile ruck, all with the 50 pound backpack on (although testers are given the option to remove their 50 pound backpack and throw it over the wall instead of scaling the wall with it on.)

While AFSOC could use this experimental test for EOD Airmen, it’s not intended, nor capable, of replicating a real-life EOD operation. The test is simply meant to provide a more realistic standard of physical fitness for Airmen in special operations career fields. If the test were to become a standard, it could undergo some tweaking based on the early test results. For example, if every EOD Airman is able to handily finish the test before the 75-minute time limit, as all of the testers at Little Rock did, then the test could be altered.

For now, the Rock’s EOD Airmen view it as just another test.

“I feel like going to sleep,” joked Long after completing the test. “But seriously, this is really just another day for us. We always have and always will go above the standard with PT. After this we’re going to get cleaned up, get some breakfast and get back to work.”

Thursday, August 2, 2012

COMMENTARY>>“Choose wisely”

By Chief Master Sgt. Chris Herreid
19th Operations Group superintendent

If there were one person in history I could go back in time and meet, it would be Alexander the Great. Having never lost a single battle, Alexander is widely regarded as perhaps the greatest commander and military genius of all time. What he accomplished in his short 33 years on earth is so amazing it nears the realm of unbelievable. As a leader, Alexander treated his men well, and in everything he did, he led by example. His men, in turn, were inspired by this and followed him to what was then the end of the known earth. Like all successful leaders throughout history, he had a mentor. In fact, his mentor, Aristotle, is perhaps the most famous mentor and teacher of all time.

It’s interesting to note that Mentor is an actual person from Greek mythology. King Odysseus is said to have placed his most trusted advisor, Mentor, in charge of his son and palace when he left to fight the Trojan War. During ancient times, the student/mentor relationship lasted for most of the student’s life. It’s well documented that Alexander consulted with Aristotle throughout the entire course of his life, just as Aristotle did with his mentor, Socrates, and he with Plato. It has been argued by many historians that Alexander would not have been nearly as successful as he was if not for the mentorship and tutelage of Aristotle.

In the Air Force, a mentor is defined as an entrusted advisor, guide or counselor. We often times approach mentoring from a situational perspective or as an individual project or as circumstances dictate. We additionally tend to put the responsibility of establishing a mentoring relationship upon the senior and more experienced member. Keep yourself open to the possibility of initiating a mentoring relationship as a junior member. In doing so, take the time to choose your mentors well. For me personally, it has always been the people that see the world differently than I do whom I have learned from the most. Regardless of who initiates the relationship, the experience pays huge dividends for all involved.

Mentorship is not unique to military life. In today’s corporate world, approximately 70% of the Fortune 500 Companies have some form of a formal mentoring program. In the majority of these, it’s the subordinate or junior member who initiates the mentoring relationship. If accepted, the “protégé” and mentor enter into a professional relationship, often contractually defined, that can last for years. As is true with us in the military, both parties become the wiser and reap the benefits of this interaction.

As leaders, our strength comes in knowing how to make the best use of ours and our Airmen’s experiences, good judgment, and understanding. It is through the mentoring process we gain understanding, the benefit and insight of other’s experiences, and ultimately, wisdom. Wisdom serves us best when we repeatedly take time to develop it, and in turn, share it with our Airmen. The tendency for most of us is we get so busy in the “hustle and bustle” of our daily lives, that we don’t take the time for this discussion and introspection. Dr. Stephen Covey, one of the world’s foremost leadership authorities, refers to this process as, “sharpening the saw”. It’s a critical piece of our development, and this reflection also ensures that our “lessons learned” won’t become merely “lessons observed”.

It is also very important that we choose our friends and associates well. They often have as big of an impact upon us as do our mentors. Surely this is the case with our younger Airmen. There’s a term in sociology known as “Social Proof”. It states that when people are uncertain about what to do, they look to those around them, and to their friends, to decide what they will do next. The theory assumes this takes place both on a conscious and subconscious level. It is basically like a large flock of birds migrating in the fall. Taking their cues from each other, they all seamlessly work and move in unison. So too are we with our friends and the influences they have upon us. The old adage, “guilt by association” certainly stems from this phenomenon.

So in short, choose your friends and mentors well, for as they are, you shall become. Clearly, both have a direct and lasting impact upon the level of our success and the manner in which we live our lives. Alexander the Great was fond of saying, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well”. Live well. After all, we only get one shot at it.

“Choose your friends and mentors well, for as they are, you shall become….”

TOP STORY>>Honoring Honorary Commanders at the Rock

By Airman 1st Class Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The military community and the civilian community are a lot alike. There’s a chain of command where everyone knows their position and roles. In the military, at the top of the chain, there is a commander; in the civilian world, there is a mayor. But when coexisting, how are the two combined? Honorary commanders are there for that exact reason, and Tuesday, Little Rock Air Force Base inducted eight new honorary commanders during an Honorary Commanders’ Induction Ceremony.

The ceremony welcomed the new honorary commanders, thanked the present ones and explained how crucial and important having honorary commanders are to link the civilian community with the military community.

The Honorary Commanders Program is a community outreach effort to continue building relationships between local civic leaders and Team Little Rock. This program gives community representatives awareness of the base’s mission while offering military commanders and their unit members the opportunity to learn more about the communities they live in. It is also a community relations tool. Local civic and community leaders gain insight and experience about the Air Force and Little Rock Air Force Base operations and programs by working with Air Force commanders and personnel. Likewise, Air Force commanders and personnel benefit through increased association with the community and its key leaders.

The success of the program requires dual responsibility between military commanders and their honorary commanders. Their efforts to build beneficial partnerships through this program not only helps those who are currently working and living on the base and out in the communities but future generations who will call this area home.

During the ceremony, Col. Brian Robinson, 19th Airlift Wing commander, spoke to the current and new honorary commanders, as well as the unit commanders on base, encouraging them to continue to build on their relationships and thanking them for all they do.

“The Honorary Commanders Program is a program that exists to educate the community and the Air Force in terms of what it is we do for each other and the relationship that exists,” he said. “It allows us to demonstrate, educate and exhibit the ‘rock and roll’ that goes on here at Little Rock. It demonstrates that plan. It’s very important that we understand what role we play. It creates a public awareness and an understanding about what the military does – what the Air Force does, but specifically, what we bring to the table in the defense of our country. It creates an understanding on our part on what the community does for our Airmen and their families.

“Seventy percent of our Airmen and their families live in your community,” Robinson said to the honorary commanders. “So we count on your support and the support of your community, your law enforcement and your fire department. We appreciate your support. I will say that the success in any relationship is a two-way street. Each person’s got to give 100 percent. It’s not 100 percent all the time, but keep the lines of communication open. To the squadron commanders and the honorary commanders, invite each other to functions to create and enhance and enable those relationships to build that understanding. The key to the partnership is allowing this base and our Airmen and the community to thrive and succeed in what it isthat we do. We appreciate you.”

Lt. Col. Veronica Anteola, 19th Force Support Squadron commander, said she was very excited to be having an honorary commander for the first time.

“I think this is good because it will bridge the gap between the military and the community,” she said. “We have a personal insider that will help us understand our civilian counterpart leaders. I’m looking forward to learning more about the civilian side. Having a leader in the community will be an eye opener for me. Sometimes we get stuck in our military roles, but there’s so much more out there. I’m excited to have her on board as a part of the family. I have the best honorary commander.”

Kelly Ivey, general store manager of Southwest Home Depot and honorary commander to Anteola, said she was honored to be chosen with such an elite group of people.

“It’s an honor to be chosen looking around the room and seeing all the distinguished people here,” she said. “I’m speechless to be able to partner with someone of her stature on the base and take the information I learn out into the community and introduce it to the people and things that I know, but also to be able to interact with her Airmen and impact their lives. It’s going to be awesome.”

Ivey said having honorary commanders really helps the Airmen transition to new areas, and helping them and their families is one of her missions.

“Having us is important because like Robinson said, 70 percent of the Airmen are living here in the community,” she said. “Most of the time they are not originally from here, so everything is foreign. They are temporary residents; they’re only here for two to three years and then they move on, so it’s up to us to make that transition easier.”

Honorary commanders are volunteers. They complete an application that’s reviewed and chosen by a board, which pairs that applicant with a commander whose views and missions match closest with that applicant. Honorary commanders are inducted every three years.For these next three years, both Anteola and Ivy said they are looking forward to developing and maintaining a great friendship and working together to increase the morale of the Airmen and their families.

Lt. Col. Mike Honma, 48th Airlift Squadron commander, has had his honorary commander, Ann Gilliam, Cabot city council member, for over a year now, and he said it’s been incredibly awesome. Honma showered his honorary commander with praises about how pleased he is to have such a commander as her.

“I think it helps to have someone who understands and appreciates what our folks do day in and day out,” said Honma. “Having a good working relationship with our community is so important. A lot of what we do, the community is the key to making our lives so much more enjoyable.”

Gilliam said she enjoys what she does. She said she supports events that the 48th AS have, and then she goes back to the city and reports what the base has done and what her guys are doing.

“I think this is important because it gives the city that I live in insight on what goes on out here to some of the people who don’t know,” she said.

Honma said that honorary commanders are the people who are there to experience what the military does both on and off duty.

“They are the representatives that can truly say they understand and know how you sacrifice what you do,” he said. “The little things that are done are appreciated. Its people like Ms. Gilliam that take that interest and help spread that information. This is more about being a community, than it is about coming to work and wearing a uniform. I have never had this kind of working relationship. There are communities that say we support our military, but I think here, in the areas around Little Rock Air Force Base, people live that. You can see it. You can see it every time when we get together, there’s as many people like the honorary commanders participating as there are military. That’s a huge symbol. I think that from the youngest airman to the senior officers, they see that and appreciate that. We should take pride in our honorary commanders and celebrate them every chance we get.”