Thursday, March 21, 2013

COMMENTARY>>Keeping it R.E.A.L. through challenging times

By Master Sgt. Margarita Overton
19th Airlift Wing Command Chief

Many of our news headlines today are littered with words like “challenging,” difficult” and “problematic” indicating that the future will bring tough decisions and tough times. While these words are meant to manage expectations of the future budgetary picture, as Airmen, these same words can deter us from our overall mission and potentially lead us down the road of fear, uncertainty and doubt. This “real talk” from media outlets, politicians and service chiefs reminds us of the very real challenges that could await our Air Force in the very-near future, but even in the face of adversity, I encourage you to keep it R.E.A.L.

Take the first step with “R”— remember our history and where we came from as an Air Force. Throughout our brief but rich history, every generation of Airmen has faced and overcome challenges. History shows sharp fluctuations in personnel and resources through various wars and conflicts. Steep demobilization occurred after World War I, and in the 20 year period between the two world wars, our air branch was stagnated while our leaders faced the task of reorganization, while dealing with inter-service rivalries, but overcame these challenges on the way to establishing the Air Force as a separate branch of service.

During World War II heroic service members of the Army Air Corps showed their grit and determination, dominating the skies over both Germany and Japan. After air power made it possible for the Allies to claim total victory over the Axis powers, massive demobilization occurred again.

This trend of ramp-up/ramp-down has occurred for all of the services throughout our Nation’s history, but how have service members responded in the face of this adversity? They’ve dominated the skies and were resilient, as airpower continued and continues to prevail through the Cold War, Dessert Storm and Dessert Shield, the Global War on Terrorism, to today as we conduct operations in multiple theaters.

Budgetary actions and sequestration can cause uncertainty, but remember, our proud heritage and legacy remains — the USAF, propelled by you, is the most respected and powerful air, space and cyberspace force in the entire world.

Our next step is “E” — encouraging our Airmen and ourselves.

To encourage means to inspire with hope, courage or confidence. We can do this regardless of whether we are in a leadership position or not. Positive attitudes are contagious. Recently I got hooked on the show “the Biggest Loser,” because it’s a show about real people striving to make positive behavioral changes for better health. One of the trainers, Jillian Michaels made a statement that really illustrates the point of attitude. She said, “You can’t change circumstances; you have no control over all the events that occur in life…you can only change yourself and your response to those events or circumstances.” What we tell ourselves truly matters.

Of course encouragement, like everything else, should be R.E.A.L. Hard-truths shouldn’t be honey-coated, and as an Air Force we could be set to face some hard time, but a R.E.A.L. leader, supervisor or Airman (civilian or military) will encourage their peers and friends during hard times. The key is to work together, with camaraderie, empathy and support our force can persevere through anything.

Pointing out the bright spots is a way to spread encouragement to those around us and is also linked to the next step which is “A”—act within our circle of influence.

This means being proactive, and according to author Stephen Covey, is one of seven habits of highly effective people. Too many times people try to focus on things they can’t do anything about. Trying to solve world hunger is out of our control, but participating in the Feed the Homeless project in our community is in our control. Our Nation’s debt problem is definitely out of our control, but, as individuals, we can impact our circle of influence by looking for efficiencies within our work center, by conducting risk analysis on the things we can or cannot support, and by keeping “eyes-on” the people around us to notice any behavior changes and step in if you’re concerned. Looming budgetary actions could have consequences for our people, and it’s important for them to be supported by their fellow service members.

Lastly, we can “L”—lean forward and keep moving, knowing that tough times won’t last forever.

We can choose to remain frozen in the face of challenges or see each challenge as an opportunity to overcome. We do not know what changes the future will bring. We know certain benefits and programs are under scrutiny for long-term sustainment. The recent suspension of 100 percent tuition assistance is a good example. Lean forward by working to apply for the numerous benefits that are out there to help you complete your education. Lean forward by ensuring you’re creating and living by a budget that will support your future goals. Lean forward by being the best Airman you can be.

I am convinced our nation’s leaders have confidence in us as Airmen. They know we are the best in the world that we step up to meet any challenge, that we overcome any obstacle and that we defeat the enemy. Our nation knows we can continue to do so as long as we are given adequate resources. Furthermore, I am confident in you all as Airmen. Without fail you, the men and women of Little Rock AFB, deliver in the daily execution of one of the most important missions our country has. Last week, Colonel Robinson, 19th Airlift Wing commander, expressed his commitment as your commander and fellow Airman, to carrying out our mission while dealing with the chaos and inefficiency of budgetary uncertainty. Be assured, your leadership has your back and we will keep it R.E.A.L. I know we will get through these challenging times together ahead and come out stronger.

top story>>Sequestration impacts on Little Rock AFB

By 1st Lt. Mallory Glass
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Little Rock Air Force Base officials are currently assessing how the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, sequestration actions and the findings of the Intra-Theater Airlift Working Group, released Wednesday, will influence operations, readiness and personnel.

“The 19th Airlift Wing, along with our partners in the 314th Airlift Wing, 189th Airlift Wing and 22nd Air Force Detachment 1, are engaged with higher headquarters to ensure we are managing and articulating the capacity risks we are taking in a fiscally constrained environment,” said Col. Brian Robinson, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Furthermore, we want to make sure that we are effectively and efficiently organizing, training and equipping our Airmen to ensure that they can respond to future global contingency operations.

Near term cost-saving actions

Due to sequestration the base has taken the following actions: curtailing non-readiness or mission essential flying and travel, curtailing or stopping minor purchases such as furniture and information technology refresh, deferring non-emergency facility sustainment, restoration and modernization, implementing a civilian hiring freeze for all non-mission critical positions and releasing non-mission critical temporary and term employees (at the end of their term for term employees). Little Rock AFB will have to cut $2 million out of its base operations budget and in addition the base has been tasked to cut $1.8 million in fiscal year 2013 spending. These cuts include decreases in aircrew temporary duty travel, which corresponds with the 19th Airlift Wing’s 35 percent cut in flying hours, and baseline operations and maintenance funds. The base has been slowing down spending since January to ensure this goal is met.

Civilian furloughs

Sequestration has also prompted unpaid civilian furloughs across the federal government. The 650-plus civilian workforce here is scheduled to be furloughed two days per pay period starting in late April. A furlough is placing an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status due to lack of budget funds. Both the Air Force and leadership here are deeply concerned about the negative effects furloughs will have on the morale and effectiveness of the valued civilian workforce. Furthermore, furloughs will increase workloads for the active duty service members and decrease services capabilities.

Defense Department Strategic Guidance required all the military services to determine how to most effectively and efficiently posture forces for the future security environment. Both sequestration and the Budget Control Act means doing so with a drastically reduced budget.

Little Rock aircraft movement

In response to those challenges, the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard leadership collaborated to develop one Total Force Proposal. In this proposal, authorized in the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, Air Force leadership of the 19th AW’s legacy C-130H squadrons was proposed for reduction in fiscal year 2014. At the same time, the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard are scheduled to gain C-130 units, resulting in only a net reduction of 20 C-130s at Little Rock in fiscal year 2014.

Total force mindset

“We are looking at this from a total force perspective” said Robinson. “The Team Little Rock tactical airlift mission is integrated and innovative. We approach installation excellence through a synergistic concept of civilian and active duty, guard and reserve, community and base; this enables Little Rock AFB to remain the nation’s center for ‘cradle-to-grave’ C-130 warfighting capability.”

However, it is also worth noting that the Air Force Total Force Proposal, which was incorporated in the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, included a re-allocation of future deliveries of C-130Js to the 19th and 314th AWs in the fiscal year 2018 timeframe.

Retaining additional airlift capacity

The Air Force announced Wednesday it will retain additional airlift aircraft through fiscal year 2014 in response to a congressional mandate to retain an inventory of 358 intra-theater airlift aircraft. Five of the 25 aircraft retained in fiscal year 2014 will be assigned to Little Rock AFB total force units. The aircraft will facilitate the Air National Guard ANG unit’s transition to meet the required aircrew production goals and provide further resources to 22nd AF Det. 1.

“The Arkansas Air National Guard has been working hand-in-hand with the active duty at Little Rock AFB since 1986,” said Col. Harold S. Eggensperger, 189th Airlift Wing commander. “We look forward to continuing this strong partnership with the active duty wings here and expanding that partnership with the Det. 1 22nd Air Force Reserves.”

In addition to the aircraft allocated to units affected by the President’s 2013 Budget, the Air Force also added aircraft to enhance mission effectiveness. The following aircraft will also beback-up aircraft:

 Two aircraft to 22nd Air Force Detachment 1, Little Rock AFB

 One aircraft to 19th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB

 Two aircraft to 189th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB

Long term impacts

As a result, the slated net effect of the National Defense Authorization Act at Little Rock over the long term (from fiscal years 2013 to 2018) is a reduction of 10 C-130 aircraft and 330 personnel billets.

“Specific fleet management decisions on individual aircraft movements remain to be determined; however, we will remain focused on readiness and supporting all the Airmen, their families and civilians of Team Little Rock,” said Robinson.

“The onset of sequestration has brought significant uncertainty into the lives of our military personnel, families, retirees, civilian workforce, contractors, and defense industry partners, and this uncertainty is expected to continue given the nation’s ongoing budget challenges. We will have to push through and deal with the uncertainty.”

TOP STORY>>Running for the fallen

Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal of 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” rang from procession vehicles on a chilly and early morning, March 16 as the second annual Arkansas Run for the Fallen commenced. Families gathered on the sides of streets with signs and American flags to pay their respects as droning bagpipes passed by. The sound of their song stirred bittersweet emotions that only the families of the fallen heroes know.

“The sacrifices that their brave sons and daughters made will never be forgotten so long as blood courses through my veins,” said Senior Master Sgt. Bubba Beason, 19th Logistic Readiness Squadron First sergeant and creator of the run. “I told the volunteers for this year, (which included bikers, runners, state police, as well as military personnel and civilians), to remember who and what they were running for. I said their pain from running six miles is nothing compared to the pain these families have to endure for the rest of their lives. You are running because these fallen service members no longer can.”

The two-day event began in Ozark, Ark., after a small ceremony and the singing of the national anthem. This year, runners were grouped in four-person teams. One runner carried the American flag, the second, the Arkansas state flag, the third, the Remember the Fallen flag, and the fourth a smaller American flag attached with the biography of the fallen service member.

Every mile, for 131 miles, a member of the running group read the biography, rendered a salute and placed the smaller American flag in the ground at the location of that fallen service member’s designated memorial site. Once the final runners reached the state Capitol, the ending ceremony included a guest speaker, thankful remarks from Beason, the reading of a letter from a mother to a fallen son, the reading of the names of the fallen and a 21-gun salute.

This run gives family members of the fallen a method to heal and a way to celebrate tragic loss. Many times Beason said he has received emails from gold-star mothers expressing how much the run means to their family. Beason explained that a gold-star mother is the mother of a fallen service member, whereas a blue-star mother is the mother of a service member who’s still alive.

“When you get to see a gold-star family for the first time and you put a flag in the ground and see the family break down in tears, you realize while you’re doing something so simple by running a mile and putting a flag down, it’s so much more for the families because in their hearts and their minds they know their loved one is not forgotten,” said Beason.

Beason said he wants the run to continue to grow.

“Two weeks after these people die, the only people who remember are their family, which is an injustice,” he said. “I’ve got passion for this. To me, this is a self-reward to make sure that the families realize that we’re still trying to remember them for what they did. I would hope that there would be someone out there to keep my memory alive.”

As a gold-star mother read her letter aloud to the crowd, she gave everyone there one final thought to take with them. She said, “I hope what I have just done is put a picture in your mind of a solider from Arkansas, one of our boys, because that’s who we honored yesterday and today in those runs. Those are the people that have fought for our country and have fought for our nation and I am blessed to be the mother of one.”

For more information on this story, watch the news video on littlerock.af.mil and the Little Rock AFB Facebook page.

Airman with the right stuff wins award

Staff Sgt. Juan Roman, a 19th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist, led a seven member team to a $10 million end of fiscal year, with 70 percent of his team having less than two years experience. The team went on to win the 19th Mission Support Group Small Team of the 3rd Quarter, with Roman winning the 19th MSG noncommissioned officer in charge of the 3rd quarter, as well due to his leadership.

As a lead contract administrator, he was key to the squadron’s 5th largest output in history, more than $50 million, an increase of 10 percent over 2011.

Roman displayed his expertise in taking care of his customers, by rapidly procuring a first class, more than $200 thousand portable air conditioning system in 10 days versus the four-week average, enhancing the 19th Civil Engineering’s environmental control during the hot summer months. In addition, he issued six other HVAC system contracts valued at more than $200 thousand for various squadrons, replacing and upgrading air conditioning needs with energy efficient models, positioning Little Rock AFB to reduce base-wide energy consumption by 3 percent per year and potentially realizing a $50 thousand first year cost savings. 

Further, he teamed with Security Forces during a more than $80 thousand furniture buy; his solution driven attitude led to the purchase of 14 new workstations and increased work space by 15 percent, enabling a smooth squadron building transition and increased security readiness.

Lastly, during the 19th Medical Group Staff Assistance visit, his Self-Aid Buddy Care program was rated as “Excellent”, and he volunteered time at his local church, feeding 150 homeless weekly, and accumulated 32 hours during the Little Rock AFB July 4th celebration, Air Show and base blood drive.

Courtesy of the 19th Contracting Squadron

Thursday, March 14, 2013

BRIEFS>>4-5-2013

JOB FAIR AT EDUCATION CENTER WILL BE HELD ON APRIL 12

The Airman and Family Readiness Center is hosting a job fair at the Education Center (Building 1490) on April 12 from 9 a.m. – noon. This capstone event will feature 50 employers and agencies from the local community and is open to all military personnel, dependents and veterans.

EXPECT TRAFFIC DELAYS ON APRIL 27

There will be a BV Memorial 5K on April 27. There is the potential for traffic delays that morning from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Expect traffic delays at the Jacksonville Little Rock AFB University Center and on Vandenberg Blvd, Marshall Road, and McArthur Drive, these roads will be down to one lane.

For details, visit www.bvmemorial.com.

AIR FORCE BASE TO PERFORM APRIL 13

The Freedom Winds Air Force Band of Mid-America will be celebrating Arkansas music (William Grant Still) and patriotic music at the Central Arkansas Library System library branch (Esther DeWitt Nixon Library in Jacksonville), from 2 - 3:30 p.m. April 13. This event will be free and open to the public. For more information, contact Public Affairs at 501-987-3601.

RETIREMENT CEREMONIES PLANNED

There will be a retirement ceremony for Master Sgt. Richard L. Worrell on April 12 in the Grad Room of Bldg. 1222 at 2 p.m. There will be a retirement ceremony for Master Sgt. Roger Walker on April 19 at Bldg. 450 in the E-ring at 10 a.m.

KUDOS WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY

KUDOS: Kids Understanding Deployment Operations will be hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center April 6 from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in Hangar 233. KUDOS enables children of military families to understand what parents go through during the deployment process.

BEST OF THE ROCK  2013 UNDER WAY

It is that time of year again to show your appreciation by nominating your favorites for the 2013 Best of the Rock at Little Rock Air Force Base! You have the opportunity to provide feedback and let us know who goes above and beyond to keep you happy. You have a chance to win a $75 gift certificate in our random drawing by providing your contact information. We want to reward all of the activities on base that are doing a great job. Take this survey at bestoftherock.questionpro.com. The survey ends 31 March 2013.

COMMENTARY >>Sequestration’s uncertainty clouds LRAFB

By Col. Brian Robinson
19th Airlift Wing commander

Our base, the Air Force and Department of Defense are currently experiencing the effects of sequestration. There is no doubt that the 9 percent budget cut across all DOD programs will affect our mission and you.

This week I want to talk to you about getting through times of uncertainty. In order to get through these uncertain fiscal times, we must foster a culture of bold leadership and innovative, informed risk taking. We need every Team Little Rock Airman – active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian – to look for smarter, more efficient and more effective ways to conduct our mission and do business. Leaders should empower Airmen to think creatively, find new solutions and make decisions and recommendations. The person closest to the challenge is often the one with the best solution.

Despite the current budget uncertainty, our vision and focus hasn’t changed. Team Little Rock provides “unrivaled tactical airlift, propelled by Airmen, fueled by innovation.” What is a real mission example of this? The 19th Operations Group realized that a five-day fly week was not efficient or as effective as it needed to be in meeting broader requirements and needed improvement. By dedicating one day a week to mentorship and ground and ancillary training, we have increased readiness, promoted a community of innovative risk-takers and have saved taxpayer dollars.

From an installation standpoint, the base has curtailed or stopped minor purchases. The base is also purchasing office supplies on need-only basis. Furthermore, facility sustainment, restoration and modernization for non-emergency facilities will be put on hold.

Following guidance from Air Force leadership on the uncertain budget environment ahead, Little Rock Air Force Base leadership is currently developing plans in order to execute budget measures in the most efficient and appropriate manner. As you know, the triggering of sequestration means our 650-plus civilian workforce will be furloughed one day per week starting in April. A Furlough is placing an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status due to lack of budget funds. We are deeply concerned about the negative effects of furloughs on the morale and effectiveness of our valued civilian workforce.

Within fiscal 2013, the base has taken actions to address the budget austerity and continue good stewardship of taxpayer resources. The 19th Airlift Wing’s C-130 tactical airlift will continue to support contingency operations around the world, pending Overseas Contingency Operations funding and sequestration, which will have a drastic impact on our mission. The 314th and 189th Airlift Wings and 22nd AF Det 1 will continue to provide “cradle-to-grave” C-130 warfighting capabilities.

There will be times that we have to say “no” or recognize limitations and constraints when we do not have the resources to complete a task. To make these choices, we must collect the data and determine what the costs will be. We must be able to make prudent choices to ensure we are able to employ the greatest potential of tactical airlift.

In the near term, both the 19th and 314th Operations Groups will be conducting less off-station training, to include air show support and fly-overs, to save travel costs. This decrease in off-station flying will result in a greater use of air space in the local area and the potential for fewer flying hours for aircrew; but it will cause a need for additional C-130 simulator resources and an increase in aircraft noise, but these are the risks we must assume in this fiscal environment.

The onset of sequestration has brought significant uncertainty into the lives of our military personnel, families, retirees, civilian workforce, contractors, and defense industry partners, and this uncertainty is expected to continue given the nation’s ongoing budget challenges. We will have to push through and deal with the uncertainty.

As your commander and fellow Airman, I am committed to carrying out our mission while dealing with the chaos and inefficiency of sequestration that will seriously disrupt our ability to serve the nation. I’m confident that with great teamwork LRAFB will see our way through this tough time, take advantage of opportunities and ultimately emerge a better and smarter force.

TOP STORY>>Air Force suspends military tuition assistance

By Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

In the wake of sequestration, the Air Force officially suspended military tuition assistance March 11.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley announced the Air Force has officially suspended military TA for the remainder of fiscal 2013.

The program will continue to be evaluated to determine the way ahead in fiscal 2014.

The Defense Department’s comptroller issued guidance to all of the services to “consider significant reductions in funding new tuition assistance applicants, effective immediately and for the duration of the current fiscal situation,” said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman. The Army and Marine Corps canceled their TA programs March 8.

Effective March 11, Airmen are not permitted to submit new requests for TA. Airmen currently enrolled in, or approved for future courses, are not affected and are allowed to complete those courses.

“The Air Force has reached a turning point after a decade of war and substantial growth in its operations and resources,» Donley said, adding that the Air Force has had to make difficult choices to preserve readiness, to include: deep cuts to flying hour programs, cancellation of Air Force training and education programs and civilian furloughs.

He continued, “This is an additional step the Air Force unfortunately had to take to operate within mandated budget limitations.”

“We know how education strengthens our force,” he said. “We encourage Airmen to continue their pursuit of higher education through the variety of programs that are available.”

Those include the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty, (Chapter 30), Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606), Reserve Education Assistance Program (Chapter 1607), the Post 9/11 GI Bill, federal grants and federal financial aid. National Guard Airmen may also be eligible for their state›s individual TA benefits.

“Believe me, this was a tough decision because our Air Force truly values education,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. “We’re still looking at the impacts for fiscal year 14 and will do our best to have TA reinstated, although we’ll likely need to review the eligibility requirements to ensure sustainability.”

Airmen should contact their local education centers with questions and to get updates.

TOP STORY>>80-year-old Silver Star recipient still serves on the Rock

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

While “old folks,” as he calls them, are known to reminisce, there’s no tongue clicking or sighing when Parnell Fisher tells his stories.

People throughout Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., know him as a fixture at the Auto Hobby Shop on base. However, many of them may not know that they’re having their tires or oil changed by a war hero.

One morning he sits in a folding chair in his office, folded hands resting on top of a folding table, as he reminisces and shares the story of his life. The room, an “office” in title, is little more than a boiler room with a few cabinets, a sink and a coffee pot in the corner. Every 10 minutes a heating unit outside discharges its energy, but the noise doesn’t bother him, and he continues talking in the same steady, reflective manner. Occasionally he stops to collect his thoughts, but the interruptions are brief and he quickly resumes his narrative, recapping a history that spans eight decades. Even though he’s a decorated war veteran, he doesn’t boast about himself like someone with a life full of laudations and accomplishments.

After all, Fisher, a retired Air Force loadmaster, said he only recently started to get attention for the Silver Star he was awarded for gallant actions aboard an AC-47 on Dec. 18, 1966, in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

On that mission Fisher saved his life, the life of the crew and the aircraft he was working on by managing to toss out a prematurely exploded flare from the aircraft.

He was awarded the Silver Star in Japan shortly after the event, but Fisher said it was never noticed at any other base he went to.

“I never said anything after I got this award in Japan,” said Fisher. “I went to all these other bases, and I don’t think anybody ever looked at my records or noticed.”

The lack of attention was just as well for Fisher, who said he prefers not to brag about himself.

“If you come into a squadron and say ‘Look, I’m a Silver Star recipient,’ that won’t go over well,” he said.

It wasn’t until a loadmaster here noticed his name in the Professional Development Guide that Fisher’s story began to get attention on base.

“I was working (at the Auto Hobby Shop), and a loadmaster asked me what my name was… I told him, and he came back the next day, pulled out (the PDG) and asked me ‘Is this you?’” said Fisher. “Pretty soon my story started to filter out.”

Master Sgt. Joseph Stuart, now a C-130H/J evaluator loadmaster for Air Education and Training Command, said he’s probably the loadmaster Fisher is talking about. Stuart remembers thinking the name “Parnell Fisher” sounded familiar and looked him up in the PDG after he met him. Even though Stuart hasn’t been stationed here since October 2012, he still makes time to talk to Fisher every time he stops on base for a mission.

“Parnell is a great guy, and he is very humble,” said Stuart. “I always tell people about his story and take other people in to speak to him and listen to his stories.”

While he is described as humble, Fisher admits that Silver Stars aren’t just doled out like candy on Halloween and said, “There wouldn’t be any story for me to tell today if I didn’t get those lines (on the flare’s parachute) cut.”

Recalling the event, Fisher said it was “Fast and furious… There’s nothing in the book that covers a flare hanging up or getting knocked over inside an aircraft. You know what’ll happen if you don’t do something, and you do it. I credit my training and instinct… and some oversight from the good Lord.”

Visualizing his memories of the event, Fisher said he pictures a small and crowded aircraft, packed with an interpreter, two munitions men, a loadmaster and flight engineer in the back, along with a pilot and co-pilot in the front.

The crew was flying in “blackout” mode because of heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area, the only light on the entire aircraft was from a rotating beacon on a vertical stabilizer.

When the incident occurred, Fisher and the flight engineer were handling the 22-pound flares, set to go off on a timer, and launching them out of the plane.

“When it happened, (the engineer) picked the flare up and it went off,” said Fisher. “The cap came out, and the chute went out with it. It knocked him back and unconscious.”

Nobody else on the plane was aware of what was happening by the time Fisher, in darkness sans the small rotating beacon light, was scrambling on his hands and knees trying to grab the live flare, said Fisher.

“I’m pulling the chute, and I finally get the flare when I go to the doorway and throw the dang thing out,” he said.

Thinking he had averted disaster, Fisher was distressed to see the flare’s chute hanging onto the edge of the plane’s cargo door. Still, his Silver Star citation says he didn’t hesitate, but quickly reacted to the new problem.

“I had to get my knife out and started cutting those lines off,” he said. “All I kept thinking was ‘am I going to be quick enough?’”

Hanging halfway out of the plane’s cargo door, with survival vest, parachute on “dressed like the guys who went looking for the predator,” Fisher said he remembers feeling the cool wind swathing his body.

He feverishly cut at the attached cords, fighting to snip the tightly wound strings stubbornly clutching to the cargo door and threatening the lives of him and the crew, he said. He was able to cut the flare’s chute loose just in time, severing the lines and looking on as the flare mercifully exploded outside seconds later, sparing his life.

Afterwards, Fisher said he sat down, with shaking knees, when a crewmate put a cigarette in his mouth.

“I was sitting on a metal seat of the (aircraft), and the engineer brought a cigarette and put it in my mouth,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out how he recovered from the blow he took. I took a long drag off that cigarette, and it was the best drag of cigarette I ever had. I don’t smoke anymore, but I’ve never had another one like it.”

Even more than 46 years after the event, Fisher said he still remember how desperate he felt cutting at the parachute cords with his knife.

“That knife, I knew it was sharp, but it didn’t seem like it was sharp enough then.”

After 22 years of service, Fisher retired as a Master Sergeant in 1977. He first served 1950-1954, and after earning a Bachelor’s degree in the ensuing years, enlisted again in the Air Force from 1959-1977.

Stuart said he values the legacy of loadmasters like Fisher, and he never misses a chance to tell people about it.

“Parnell’s life story is amazing, and I tell as many people as I can,” he said. “Being a Loadmaster as well, I want his legacy and story to be told.”

Fisher himself said he’s sometimes amazed when looking back at his life’s story. He recently turned 80-years-old and just celebrated his 52nd wedding anniversary with his wife, Vermond.

“I’m proud of those 52 years,” he said with a broad smile. “Ain’t that cool? That’s a long time.”

Yet Fisher, who has two living children, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren, said what he is most proud about is having a chance to be a part of civil rights history during his life and Air Force career.

“When I came into the Air Force, President Truman had just integrated all of the forces in 1948,” he said. “Being black in an all white dominated society, it was a real adventure and an awakening for me.”

Growing up in Benton, Ark., Fisher said he experienced the effects of a segregated society first hand for all of his formative years.

“My Jr. High and High School were down in Little Rock, and I was bused there back and forth daily,” he said.

Having faced segregation and social prejudice because of his race his whole life, Fisher said coming into the Air Force was a revelation.

“When we were at the recruiting station, ready to take that trip by train down to Lackland, all of the white guys had their last meal out in the front of the restaurant,” he said. “While all of us black guys had to eat in a place prepared for us in the kitchen.”

Joking that eating in the kitchen had some advantages, like having access to the freshest food, Fisher said he remembers how it all changed once they entered the Air Force.

“When we got to the station down here, they had Pullman cars to take us to Lackland,” he said. “We went in just by alphabetical order then, whether black or white. That was kind of a new thing for everybody. From that point on we were just like one,” he said, noting that integration didn’t always go smoothly.

For instance, at his training school in Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Fisher said his First Sergeant told him explicitly “I don’t like black folks, so don’t do anything stupid while you’re here.” Yet he said he never lost his composure and passed the course with superior grades.

“I kept my cool, went through the class, put my best foot forward and got selected for flight engineer school,” he said. “We’ve gone away from this segregation thing. We now see that these people, all people, have talent just like everybody else, given the training and opportunity.”

“Seeing some of these things, the end of segregation, that’s been the highlight of my career,” he said. “That’s been the highlight of my life.”

While current loadmasters like Stuart encourage people to stop by and hear Fisher’s stories, and Fisher himself said he enjoys chatting about the highlights of his life, he also recommends staying active and adventurous, something he credits his long and healthy life to.

“I’ve always told myself there has to be some better things out there for me,” he said. “I stay active, stay working. My advice is when you retire, don’t’ just sit around on your porch or deck. Stay active, get out there, have a purpose for almost every day.”

After he’s finished, Fisher unfolds his hands and briskly rises from his folding chair. Done reminiscing, he laments there’s not enough time to hear all the stories people have to tell … “How much time do you have left in your enlistment?” he asks. Going back to work he welcomes visitors to come back any time “Stop on over, maybe we’ll have a cup of coffee and talk,” he said.

Friday, March 8, 2013

CLASSIFIEDS>>4-5-2013


ANNOUNCEMENTS

THE COMBAT AIRLIFTER CLASSIFIED DEPARTMENT will take ads by phone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 982-9421, or you may mail your ad to 404 Graham Rd., Jacksonville, Ark. 72078. You may also e-mail them to combatairlifterclassifieds@arkansasleader.com Deadline to advertise in Friday's issue is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

IF YOU saw a man fall at a restaurant in the River Market on Friday, 3/15/13, please call (501) 348-9583 & leave your name & number.


YARD SALES

ESTATE SALE, Saturday, April 6, 8 am until ? 3 Foxhunt Cove in Jacksonville.

Remodeling sale, Fri. & Sat., 4/5 & 6, 8 am-4 pm.  16 Forest Glades Cir., Sherwood.  Furniture, appliances, home d├ęcor, tools, outdoor items, crafts. 580-5184.


HELP WANTED

INSURANCE AGENTS, full or part-time, great companies, unlimited income, work your own hours, great for ex-military. Call (501) 590-7705 for interview.


HORSES

HORSES: LUCKY Acres Boarding Stable, TLC for your horse, box stalls and paddocks, clean pastures, indoor and outdoor arenas, riding instruction and training program. Dressage our specialty. (501) 988-2458.


PETS

LAB, FEMALE, black, 6 yrs. old, house trained & great w/kids, free, PSCing. (501) 681-0207.

PUPPIES, German Shepherd mix, 6 wks. old. Free to good home. (501) 288-2851 or (501) 283-1949.

3 YR. old Golden Lab., great w/kids, house trained, very playful, easygoing & needs a good home. Call/text (501) 960-1294.


LOST & FOUND

THE FOLLOWING items were found on Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas: Wallet, brown, empty; wallet, black, empty; camera, Kodak EasyShare; wallet, ACU, empty; wedding ring, silver; USB drive, black; Verizon touch screen cell phone, red; HTC touch screen cell phone, black; Samsung, touch screen cell phone, black, wedding band; set of car & house keys. If you believe you may be the owner of any of the above listed items, please contact 19th Security Forces Squadron Law Enforcement Desk at 987-3221 or visit building 481 Cannon Drive, Little Rock Air Force Base. You can also inquire by sending an e-mail to bryan.graham@us.af.mil


AUTOS/ACCESSORIES

1990 Corvette, teal green, tan leather, black trim, EC, 77,000 orig. miles, rebuilt engine w/5,000 miles, only $6,800. (501) 606-6672, Steve.

YAKIMA ROOF rack w/44" fairing, 2 Raptor bike racks, 1 Copperhead rack, locks w/keys, completely secure, $550 obo. (501) 515-0888.

2005 SCION tC, auto. (5-spd.), maroon, good condition, salvaged title, 60,000 miles, $7,000 obo. (208) 651-5319.

24" CHROME wheels w/tires, off '08 Tundra, good condition, $800 obo. (910) 551-5218.

2007 MERCEDES SLK350 hardtop convertible, blue, V6, auto., 25,442 miles, $23,500. (501) 681-9525.

2012 HONDA Civic LX Sedan, auto., 6,100 miles, excellent condition, tint, P/W, P/L, tilt, cruise, $16,500 firm. (501) 765-1561.


RECREATIONAL VEHICLES

2007 SUZUKI GSX-R600, 2,954 miles, Two Bros. exhaust, power commander, great conditions, $5,600 obo. (315) 529-7643.

2010 HONDA VT1300 motorcycle, black/chrome, 4,500 miles, $7,700. (501) 607-3459, Jax.

2012 HONDA Goldwing, Navi model, 3,000 miles, CB, GPS, Sat. radio, loaded w/extras, $18,500. (501) 977-3433 after 4 pm Mon.-Fri., or anytime Sat. or Sun.


ITEMS FOR SALE

SCHOOL BOOKS, 50 Essays, 3rd edition by Samuel Cohen, $18; Easy Writer, 4th edition by Andrea A. Lunsford, $25. (501) 786-3803.

COLLEGE BOOK: Intermediate Algebra, 11th Ed. Lial, Hornsy, McGinnis for Park MA125, like new, $50. Call/text: (810) 434-7376.

MOVING! EVERYTHING OBO: 3-1 Convertible crib w/drawer & mattress, $150; changing table, $30; jumper activity seat, $20; bouncy seat, $10; car seat/stroller combo, $75; kid's corner desk, black, $20; wheelbarrow, $20; Troybilt gas trimmer, $40; Troybilt gas push mower, $50. Call/text (501) 286-9774 or trainedtocal@yahoo.com for pics.


HOUSES FOR RENT

2 BEDROOM, 1 bath house down private drive, hardwood floors, ceiling fans, central heat & air, small storage building. 5 minute drive to back gate. Pets negotiable, $425 month, $300 deposit. (501) 837-0264.

GRAVEL RIDGE: newly remodeled, 3 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, in good neighborhood. Living room, kitchen/dining room, bonus room, big closets, fenced, large storage shed, garden spot. $850 month, $750 deposit with background check. 3 miles to back gate of base. Close to schools, on bus route. (501) 615-4933 or (501) 400-4727.

3 BEDROOM, 2 bath, living room, den with fireplace, kitchen with stove, refrigerator & dishwasher, laundry area, 2 car garage, fenced backyard, pets considered with non-refundable pet deposit. Close to air base, Stonewall subdivision, on cul-de-sac. $975 plus deposit. Call (501) 529-7767 or (501) 529-7624.

FOR RENT: several nice 3 & 4 bedroom, 2 bath mobile homes with covered porches, close to air base, military discounts, starting at $550. (501) 352-0383.

FOR RENT: 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath, new hardwood floors, 1 mile from LRAFB front gate, fenced-in backyard. Contact (501) 912-0422.

JACKSONVILLE: 1 BR house, carport, storage area, W/D hookups, $400 mo., $400 dep. (501) 833-3781.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

COMMENTARY>>A letter to Airmen

From Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
Chief of Staff of the Air Force

To the Airmen of the United States Air Force:

March is here, and unfortunately, so is sequestration…that means the entire Department of Defense, including our Air Force, will experience about a 9 percent budget cut across all programs – starting now, and with no ability to adjust which accounts those cuts come from.

Some of our flying units will start to cut back on training immediately to protect the readiness of units scheduled to deploy and those with key mission responsibilities. Unless something changes, in about six weeks you’ll notice the civilian Airman you rely on every day forced to accept unpaid leave for one day a week through the end of the Fiscal Year. We’ll also be forced to delay some number of aircraft and engine depot inductions, causing aircraft availability and reliability issues, along with impacts to the small businesses that support our depots. And we’ll have to delay construction projects, from airfield repairs and energy programs to the planned upgrade of your dormitory or housing area. The impacts of sequestration will be noticeable, they’ll likely affect you, and, in some areas, they’ll hurt our mission in a big way. But we’ll hang together and get through this…and hopefully our nation’s leaders can reach agreement and get things back on a more even keel soon. We’ll keep you informed as this moves forward.

CMSAF Cody and I just returned from a seven-base tour of the CENTCOM AOR, where we got to meet a lot of you and watch you thrive in some tough environments. We met Airmen like SrA Alexia Briant, a war reserve med tech, who helps save lives every day by making sure your first aid kits have everything they need. We met SrA Muhamed Mehmedovic, a transportation journeyman inspired to serve by airdrops of aid his family received in Bosnia when he was just six years old. And we met Airmen like Lt Col Kat Lilly, commander of the 802nd Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, who’s helped train a new generation of Afghan pilots and maintainers, including their first fixed-wing male and female pilots in over thirty years.

Amazing stories! Just like yours. I’m blown away every time I hear ‘em. Besides inspiring and motivating me, they also assure me we can get through the turmoil of sequestration. You do the impossible every day; you’ll keep things on track during this tough time. Our job is to continue to provide at least some level of the Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power America expects. The resource shortfall won’t make it easy, but we’ll get it done.

In my last letter, I promised you a CSAF Vector to outline some of the key areas I think we should focus on over the next year. During our CORONA conference last week, the Secretary, MAJCOM Commanders and I refined some of those ideas – I’ll get the Vector out soon.

Thanks again for all you do. Do me a favor and pat yourself on the back…you ROCK! As always, it’s an honor to stand beside you.

AIRPOWER…BOOYAH!

COMMENTARY>>Education bill for military children passes

By 2nd Lt Amanda Porter
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A new education bill passed March 5 after an official ceremony in Little Rock, easing transitions for military children who frequently move because of their families’ service.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe signed the bill Tuesday, marking Arkansas as the 44th state to adopt the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

The compact’s purpose is to remove barriers to educational progress for military children because of frequent moves and deployments of their parents.

State Sen. Eddie Jo Williams, the bill’s sponsor, Larry Biernacki, Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council president, and Col. Brian Robinson, Little Rock AFB commander, attended the ceremony at the governor’s mansion in support of the bill.

“The adoption of this education compact further signifies the outstanding relationship between Little Rock Air Force and the community,” said Robinson. “Addressing the needs of Airman and their families remains of utmost concern to our leaders. The compact will help overcome obstacles that military parents have been facing and ensure their children get the continuation and quality education they deserve.”

Transitions from state to state are a fact of life for military families and their children. According to a study by the Council of State Governments, the average military student faces transition challenges more than twice during high school, and most military children will have six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The study further demonstrated, among many specific impacts with regards to transitions between school systems, students have suffered incorrect placement due to transfer of records, redundant or missed entrance/exit testing and even delayed graduation.

To minimize additional struggles in children’s educational development, the compact in a comprehensive policy approach leverages consistency, allowing continuous and uninterrupted educations process, as well as equal or better quality education programs.

Military families face four key issues with interstate transitions – eligibility, enrollment, placement and graduation. The newly adopted compact provides the following solutions:

1. The compact requires schools to share student records in a timely manner in order to expedite the proper enrollment and placement of students. Moreover, students shall continue their enrollment at the grade level in the receiving state commensurate with their grade level from the sending state, barring a new enrollment in Kindergarten.

2. In accordance with the new compact, local education agencies shall be prohibited from charging local tuition to a child placed in the care of a non-custodial parent (deployments), as well as facilitate an equal opportunity for military children’s inclusion in extracurricular activities to the extent they are otherwise qualified.

3. When a student transfers before or during a school year, the compact require the receiving state initially honor placement of the student in available courses based on the student’s enrollment in the sending state school and/or educational assessments conducted at the sending state school.

4. The compact mandates that local education agency administrative officials shall waive specific courses required for graduation if similar course work has been satisfactorily completed in another local education agency or shall provide reasonable justification for denial.

Children of active-duty members of all the uniformed services, National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders and members or veterans, who are medically discharged or retired for one year, are eligible for assistance under the compact.

TOP STORY>>Rock Aerial Porters honor fallen comrade

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

With synchronized and precise movements, the columns in the flight pivoted around the street corner. After the last column cleared the corner, the flight was stepping in unison, left and right feet gracing the pavement one after the other. With the guide-on held high and the pack of port dogs from the 19th Logistic Readiness Squadron formed together, the flight commander gives the command “DOUBLE TIME, MARCH!” and they began to run – together.

This pack of port dogs from Little Rock Air Force Base was paying tribute to one of their fallen with a fully uniformed three-kilometer, formation memorial run Feb. 28, 2013.

The run was in memory of Tech. Sgt. Curtis Eccleston, who was murdered in 2011 while serving at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Staff Sgt. Felicia Smith, a 19th LRS air terminal operations center supervisor, organized the memorial run, one of many held by aerial porters across the world. Smith said she hopes the organized memorial run shows the unity aerial porters and Airmen around the world have in honoring their fallen.

“We’re here to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Tech. Sgt. Curtis Ecceleston,” she said. “He had a reputation as a model NCO. There are memorial runs around the world in honor of his service, and having one here gives us a chance to honor the service of a fallen aerial porter.”

Smith said the port dogs wanted to pay tribute to Eccleston by performing the memorial in unity, which she thinks honors his legacy.

More than 30 aerial porters from across the base came out to honor Eccleston, many of them whom didn’t know Eccleston personally, but for others the memorial was a way to personally honor the loss of a close friend and mentor.

“I’m out here to remember Curtis,” said Staff Sgt. Patrick Chavez, a 19th LRS aerial delivery supervisor. “I remember the type of person he was: really friendly, really approachable. The run is only a small way to remember him … he was a great person, and it’s sad that we lost him. He meant a lot of things to a lot of people, and I learned a lot from him. He taught me a lot about myself, about being an NCO, being a leader; I really appreciate the things he did for me.”

Although he lost his friend two years ago, Chavez said he appreciates the chance to continue to pay tribute to a friend, even if the remembrance of lost loved ones is hard.

“I’m proud to still pay tribute to him,” he said. “I wish there was more I could have done or could do to remember him. I just hope that he’s resting in peace right now.”

Another friend who worked with Eccleston at Kadena remembers him as a “brother-in-arms.”

“Paying tribute to Eccleston means a lot,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Alessandrini, 19th LRS VCNCO, who worked with Eccleston at Kadena. “He was a good guy in our career field. He was a hard worker; he was always a friendly guy in the squadron. Everybody loved him. He was a brother-in-arms; he was the spitting image of a brother-in-arms. It means a lot to come out here and do this for him.”

Alessandrini said he’s glad about the run because it reminds him of the accomplishments and good things about his friend.

“Even though this happened two years ago, it’s good to come together for people that made differences,” he said. “Curtis was one of those people that did that, and I’m glad that I can come out here and pay tribute to him.”

TOP STOR>>The legacy of a fighter, caregiver

By Cheri Dragos-Pritchard
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

(Editor’s Note: Senior Airman Regina Agoha, 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, wrote a story about Mrs. Gayles in October 2012, highlighting breast cancer awareness and celebrating Gayles being a survivor for 11 years).

She cared for countless children over a 25 year span, she celebrated life with her husband and children for 52 years, and she survived cancer for more than a decade. It’s the latter of these that inspired her husband to preserve a part of what she cared so much about.

Laura Jean Gayles, a Child Development Center child program assistant, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, and every year after she participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and other awareness events. She told her husband, Dave Gayles, that someday she wanted to make a blanket out of all of the T-shirts she collected from these events.

Mrs. Gayles passed away Dec. 12, 2012, after a bout with pneumonia. She never did fulfill her dream of making that blanket.

“This was so unexpected,” said Dave Gayles. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. But I wanted to give our children something to remind them of just how strong their mother was. These blankets are perfect reminders. She beat cancer, and most will remember her for her courageous and successful fight against breast cancer. She was a fighter and a care giver. She loved children.”

Dave Gayles, an Air Force retiree, has worked at the Jacksonville Community Center for several years, and four years ago that’s where he met Pat Evans, a retired school teacher, and her husband.

“My husband and I are retired and we go to the community center to get our exercise,” Evans said. “Dave was there to unlock the door for us every morning. We’ve developed a friendship over the years.”

Evans said she was surprised when she received a call from Dave asking her if she could make a blanket for him.

“I quilt as a hobby,” Evans said. “I’ve never taken T-shirts apart and made a blanket before. However, I was honored to do it. Once he brought them to me that was what I spent all of my time focused on. I managed to get them done in two days.”

Evans went on to say her daughter has survived cancer for the past nine years, so she understood the importance of his request.

Jean Gayles worked with the 3- to 5-year-old children at the Little Rock Air Force Base CDC for more than 25 years.

“I knew and worked with Jean for 25 years,” said Joyce Russell, a CDC child program assistant. “Jean was always a team player. She was known for giving a helping hand where ever it was needed. I knew making the blanket with her shirts was very important to her. She had planned to do it in the near future.”

Another co-worker, Janet Foster, is also a cancer survivor. She said Jean was there for her “every step of the way” when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her diagnosis she began taking part in the walk-a-thons and Jean “was like a mother to me,” Foster said.

Dave Galyles said he felt fortunate they took an extended vacation last summer. They were able to visit each state that held significant memories for the two of them. The state they met in, married in, conceived their children in and many other memories.

“The other trip Jean had planned was to go see our granddaughter compete in a cheerleading competition in Florida,” Dave tearfully explained. “She was sick when she left, but she was determined not to miss that event. It was so important to her. Sadly, she passed away four days after she returned from that trip. I just wasn’t prepared for the outcome. So, getting the blankets made was very important to me.”

Dave Gayles is saddened by, but satisfied with the blankets. “Knowing she’s not here to see the blankets, makes me very sad, but in the end I was able to help Jean achieve one more goal,” Dave said.

He went on to say the blankets are Jean’s legacy. They are remnants of her memory, and display her passion for life.

“This tragedy, Jean’s death, is a testimony,” Evans said. “We never know when our last day is, and we should always live our life like each day is our last.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

SPORTS >> Soldiers square off in intramural basketball

By 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


The soldiers in the grey jerseys took out the ones in the black jerseys Tuesday, winning an intramural basketball game between the two squads, 77-67.

The game featured a lot of co-worker versus co-worker competition, with both team featuring a number of players who are based with the Army National Guard at Camp Robinson.

In the matchup the Black team took an early lead, controlling the perimeter of the court with an aggressive offensive game plan.

Their aggressive style of play paid off, as they stay ahead of their rivals for most of the first half.

Undeterred by the pressure put on them however, the Grey team entrenched themselves and welcomed the competition. They were able to overtake the Black team near the end of the first half.

After halftime, the Grey team dominated the game and was able to secure the victory handily 77-67.

TOP STORY >> This is PA

By 2nd Lt. Amanda Porter
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


“Is this TMO?”

Daily visitors to building 1255, the consolidated support center, often pop into room 138, the former home of the Traffic Management Office looking for Wingate Travel or help with household goods shipments. While this question has become a running joke within the Public Affairs office at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., it would slowly build into a larger project.
“This is PA.”

Before you scoff and think this article is a shameless plug for PA, let us reassure you of our intentions. We recently conducted a survey to learn how to better serve the Team Little Rock community. The survey was designed to find out the effectiveness, awareness and usefulness of our products. The PA team wanted to engage in a conversation with our audience and establish what you want and enjoy.

After analyzing the survey responses, it was clear that our presence and purpose on base is a bit trivial.

We’d like to reestablish our mission, address some concerns from the survey and invite you to participate in our services.

Public Affairs provides accurate, timely information on Team Little Rock issues, programs and base events to the people in this community and members of the news media. What does that mean? Our office tells the Team Little Rock story to the American public. Through targeted communication, we reach out to our internal audience on base, the local public and military and civic leaders. 

Public Affairs is about building and maintaining relationships, whether this be with the on- or off-base community. As part of this, we’d like to address items within the survey.

Many responses indicated that our readers wanted more stories of particular interest (e.g., Airmen in their off-duty life). PA is here for you. Our photojournalists are consistently hunting for story ideas. New projects like the Little Rock Snapshot highlight our Airmen and what they’re doing off the flight line or out of the office. We rely on Team Little Rock members to nominate a candidate. Give the office a call; share your ideas. We want you to have a stake in PA products, because they are about and for TLR.

Survey participants expressed a need to know more about events and activities on base, what services helping agencies provide and how to get help or assistance when you need it. The PA team is now actively and diligently working to revamp www.littlerock.af.mil, making it user-friendly and applicable to your daily requests. A community calendar is posted on the homepage, sharing classes offered by helping agencies like Airman and Family Readiness Center, upcoming events from the Force Support Squadron and official events, such as promotion ceremonies.

We have a toolbox full of traditional news reporting, feature stories and commentaries, video reports, graphic campaigns, television, print media and interviews and social media.
Most commonly, our tools are the www.littlerock.af.mil website, Facebook, the base marquees and the newspaper. We do not operate “the giant voice,” the HERK line nor the ad hoc system. But, we are communicators; when information on these systems needs to be pushed to our audience, we use the tools we have to provide prompt and accurate information.

We know that Team Little Rock members also rely on Public Affairs to answer their queries and direct them to support when they need help.  Overall, Public Affairs specialists are problem solvers. Let us know how we can help you.

Our support services are extensive and cover the realm of photojournalism, videography, graphics, media relations and community relations. To find out more about services and how to request support, visit the base website at www.littlerock.af.mil/public affairs.

The office is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. but closed for training on Thursdays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. To reach a PA specialist, call 501-987-3601 or email 19AW.PAAll@us.af.mil.

After hours a PA rep can always be reached via the command post at 987-1900.