Thursday, July 31, 2014

TOP STORY>>Base conducted summer Facebook Town Hall

By 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. Patrick Rhatigan, 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander, hosted Little Rock Air Force Base’s third Facebook town hall July 22 from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Dozens of Team Little Rock community members attended the event, addressing issues on the topic of construction and base infrastructure. Questions were answered by the base commander as well as leaders from the civil engineer squadron, security forces and the force support squadron.

The commander opened the event with some remarks regarding recent activities on the installation and the format of the town hall.

“The base is undergoing several construction projects this summer to update our infrastructure and enhance our quality of life,” said Rhatigan. “With this much going on, there will undoubtedly be some delays and short-term inconveniences. But these modernization projects will posture Little Rock AFB for the future and ensure we can continue to answer our Nation’s call.”

A dozen questions were posted, and base leaders answered most, if not all, concerns during the one-hour event. Questions that were not answered were staffed and addressed within three business days. Here are the questions and answers from the event:

Q1: Issue – Base pool closure timeline

A1: I was also upset to learn that the pool was damaged.

We discovered that the lining had multiple tears and that the support piping has multiple leaks that occurred due to the particularly harsh winter and the age of the system. The pool is actually part of the original construction of the base. It was built in 1957, and its foundation has never been upgraded. At this time it is closed because the severity of damage will take some considerable funding to upgrade.

With an uncertain budget environment, we are targeting what funding we do have to complete critical projects and updates. Our construction and infrastructure modernization projects are posturing our base for the mission and the future.

The base pool supported more than 6,000 people last summer, so we understand this impacts many families. However, we have spoken to many community pools that offer comparable pricing and even military discounts. This includes the Jacksonville Community Center, Splash Zone for Kids, Cabot Public Pool and Sherwood Public Pools. Additionally, Outdoor Recreation at (501) 987-3365, even offers a FREE shuttle to Jacksonville. Thank you for your patience as we work to provide the best service and facilities to our Airmen and families.

Stay tuned for other summer activities and trips by checking and the 19th Force Support Squadron Facebook page.

Q2: Issue – Construction impact on water quality

A2: Water quality is important to me and it just so happens that the 19th Medical Group along with the Arkansas Department of Health released the Annual Drinking Water Quality Report earlier this month. It can be found here Bottom line, our base water is safe to drink!

We do not anticipate construction having any effect on the water quality on base. In recent years, we replaced the majority of our drinking water distribution system. According to my Civil Engineer experts, prior to being placed into service, any new/replacement connections are isolated before connecting to the existing water system, charged with chlorinated water, tested for safety and flushed in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations. In addition, our construction contractors comply with local, state, and federal regulations regarding the protection of our storm water which feeds local streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes through permitting, plan implementation, and plan enforcement.

Q3: Issue – Timeline for water and electric upgrades

A3: Water Upgrades - There are no water projects currently in progress, however the government is in negotiations with a local water company for future recapitalization. We have an upgrade project for the main base area forecasted for Fall 2014, but it is still pending funding; no water projects are forecasted for Privatized Housing.

Sewer Upgrades - We do have an ongoing sewer upgrade project in Privatized Housing (Ridgecrest Estates) that replaces the sewer mains; it is currently 60 percent complete. We have a major sewer upgrade project for the main base area forecasted for this fall but it is still pending funding; no additional sewer projects are forecasted for Privatized Housing this year.

Electrical Upgrades - The primary power overhead to underground conversion project is in progress. The project runs east to west along Chief Master Sgt. Williams Drive to the intersection of Arnold Drive and is scheduled to be complete in late 2015. The remaining power lines will be placed underground sometime future years as funds become available.

Q4: Issue – Funding to dorm maintenance

A4: Regarding the dorm lighting, we have some challenges with our hall lighting due to the numerous types of bulbs we must keep in stock; however, we have received the bulbs and are in the process of replacing them. Regarding bathroom lighting, these bulbs are readily available. If you need replacement bulbs, please contact your dormitory manager and he/she will provide them.

Overall, our dormitory maintenance team does a bang up job of maintaining facilities which are 1950s era, especially with the limited funds to maintain them.

Q5: Issue – Redirecting funding for pool repair to other upgrades

A5: We appreciate the question and think you bring a great perspective. As discussed in response to Question 1, we work hard to balance mission needs with the needs of Airmen. Not unexpectedly, the two often intersect. We always strive to seek the right balance and spend our taxpayers’ dollars efficiently.

Additionally, we are also looking for innovative ways to work with local community partners in both the public and private sector for projects to sustain and support our mission as well as maintain the quality of life for our Airmen and families.

We are currently working on many mission essential projects. Have you seen our video on base construction?

Q6: Issue – Runway and airfield construction & impact to mission

A6: That’s a great operational question! As of now, we still don’t have funding for the runway construction. But rest assured, if we do get it, the mission will continue! We simply can’t afford mission degradation due to any construction projects, so we will definitely have enough runway available to meet our mission and training objectives. Stay tuned!

Q7. Issue – A/C unit out in dorms since July 1

A7. Thanks for your detailed question, we appreciate your concerns. Our CE folks were made aware of the broken thermostat July 1. The building HVAC is indeed under warranty and, as a result, the contractor responded to the thermostat call.

They determined the thermostat was not a warranty issue; rather, the damage was determined to be caused by an occupant. The repairs are in progress but we don’t have a completion date. We have surplus dorm rooms available, so when we encounter rooms with issues, we offer occupants alternate accommodations as an interim solution. This was the case with all occupants impacted by this broken thermostat. I hope that helps your son!

Q8. Issue – Renewable energy initiatives

A8. That’s a really forward thinking question; I like it! We are pursuing renewable energy initiatives on Little Rock AFB despite the fact that we are not in an optimal location to harness all renewable sources. For example, wind energy is not a viable solution for Little Rock AFB because wind velocity and space for turbines are insufficient. However, we are currently operating our base giant voice system using solar panels. In addition, we have a project postured for potential funding at the end of the fiscal year that will provide solar panels on our Fitness Center roof to supplement its power requirements. We are in a good location to take advantage of geo-thermal energy and are pursuing an innovative project in the next few years as a means to heat and cool our dormitories. We are always looking for Airman’s ideas. Be sure to bring your initiatives to leadership!

Q9. Issue – Contact & turnaround times for CE requests

A9. Please contact your facility manager. If he or she is unable to assist you, please contact CE Customer Service at (501) 987-6553. Once they know the nature of the issue, our CE Customer Service Desk can provide you with a specific timeline to resolve your issue.

Q10. Issue – Plans to fix intersection of Vandenberg and Thomas Avenue

A10. Our base construction is being prioritized by the worst, high traffic areas first, such as base entrances. We do not currently have a project for this intersection, but we will have our Traffic Safety Working Group investigate further to determine if this is where we need to focus our efforts.

Q11. Issue – Innovative construction initiatives

A11. Thanks for the thought-provoking question. Winston Churchill once said, “Gentlemen, we have run out of money. Now we have to think!” Some ways we are saving money include the energy initiatives I discussed in a previous post as well as integrated energy management control systems to remotely operate our air conditioning and heating systems to maximize energy efficiency. You’re absolutely right in this era of constrained resources; we must be innovative and make every dollar count to support our important mission and the Airmen doing the mission. With those objectives in mind, we have recently established a Cost Efficiency Council to brainstorm creative, cost-saving ideas. One of the initiatives we are exploring is Public-Public/Public-Private (P4) partnerships to provide potential funding avenues to support our community facilities and programs. Conference centers and community pools are two such examples of potential P4 initiatives.

Q12. Issue – Base access issue/question from May 20 town hall

A12. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the requirements for installation access. Your identification card is not a common one at Little Rock AFB. We have reviewed our Air Force Instruction pertaining to base access and have found that your level of authorization does not permit access to DoD Installations unescorted. The DoD Instruction authorizes Exchange privileges for U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. So how can you get to the exchange if you can’t get on base? Easy! Have someone with installation access privilege who can sponsor you onto the installation.

For full questions visit

TOP STORY>>Airmen kept safe from hazards by BEE flight

By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Whether home or downrange, the mission of the BEEs, bioenvironmental engineers, is the same, to keep Airmen safe from a swarm of hazards and enable them to accomplish the mission.

The 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engine-ering flight mission identifies and analyzes chemical, biological, radio-logical, nuclear and physical threats.

“Bioenvironmental engineering’s mission is to provide operational health risk assessment expertise to Little Rock Air Force Base commanders in order to enhance decision making and health service support capabilities,” said Capt. James Reilly, the 19th Medical Group occupational health element chief.

Reilly said the BEF performs its mission through the completion of key capabilities, which include but are not limited to: installation water and toxic chemical vulnerability assessments; identifying, analyzing, and controlling occupational environmental health threats within all industrial work centers for each wing and documenting related OEH exposures as part of each service member’s “life-time” exposure record.

The 14-person team puts in time and effort day-in and day-out to ensure Airmen are mission ready so they can perform duties with limited exposure to the hazards they may encounter.

“Everything we do downrange is very similar to what we do here at home,” said Airman 1st Class Emery Coleman, a 19th AMDS bio-environmental engineering member. “We still do health risk assessments; we still do sampling. Some of the equipment we use may differ, but overall they are very closely related.”

These threats can travel through the air, water or ground. The flight assesses associated risks to human health and recommend courses of action to eliminate or control the hazards The courses of action that are taken can prevent casualties and enhance performance in both deployed and home base environments.

The bioenvironmental engineering flight provides operational health risk assessment expertise to enhance commander decision making and health service support capabilities.

The flight conducts occupational and environmental health reviews for industrial shops on a consistent basis.

“Essentially, we identify hazards, assess risks, analyze controls and make decisions on what controls to recommend,” said Coleman.

All of the preventative measures that the flight practices protect workers from over-exposure to potential hazards in their work area and environment.

There really is no “typical” day in bio said Coleman. One day the team could be doing gas mask or respirator fit testing or water sampling, the next day they could be doing noise, air or ventilation surveys or be called out for an emergency response.

“Every day is a mystery, which is why this job is so amazing,” said Coleman.

Though this team is small in numbers, they are large in mission success.

“We protect military and civilian employee health while enhancing combat and operational capabilities,” said Reilly. “Essentially, we keep the warfighters fit and enable this wing to provide combat airlift on a global scale.”

TOP STORY>>How to NOT skewer your grilling plans

By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

With more Americans lighting up their grills than ever before, it’s important to remember the key to a successful cookout is safety. There are certain measures of precaution that must be taken in order to enjoy a hot summer night around the barbecue.

Accidents happen every year, leaving people severely injured and homes badly damaged because of a lack of attention to detail. Many safety measures must be taken into account before tossing that match into a pile of coals or pushing the ignition to ignite the fumes of propane.

When heating up, a grill will surpass temperatures of 450 degrees. It only takes a split second for something to ignite at those temperatures. With that in mind, grill masters must be aware of children and animals within the vicinity of the open flames.

“When planning the next barbecue, ensure the grill is at least 10 feet away from all structures,” said Rick Myers, 19th Airlift Wing ground safety manager. “You never want to barbecue in a garage or breezeways, overhangs, porches or low hanging trees, especially with the weather being dry the last few years. And also be mindful of any burn bans that are in place.”

Setting up a designated grilling area with a fire extinguisher nearby is also a quick tip for quelling small fires.

Another enemy of the grill master is carbon monoxide, or the “invisible killer”, because it is colorless, odorless and poisonous. According to the Unites States Fire Administration, carbon monoxide takes the lives of more than 150 people every year. All grills that use charcoal as a fuel source produce this toxic gas and could potentially be fatal if the grill is not located in a well-ventilated area.

After giving the grill sufficient time to cool down, the next step is scrubbing the grill racks and emptying the plate after every use. Doing this prevents the chances of starting a grease fire and ensures a safe grilling experience.

One of the most ignored and underused safety procedures is the disposal of coals.

“Little Rock AFB had one serious fire about two years ago that was a result of charcoal being poured into a plastic trash can,” said Myers. “To properly dispose of charcoal, you must let the coals cool down completely and place them in a metal container afterwards.”

For more information about safety, contact the base safety office at (501) 987-3599.

TOP STORY>>Team Little Rock welcomes Col. Dryjanski

By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. James Dryjanski assumed command of the 314th Airlift Wing during a change-of-command ceremony July 31 at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Dryjanski assumed command from Col. Scott Brewer in a ceremony officiated by Maj. Gen. Keltz, the director of Intelligence, Operations and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command.

Major Gen. Keltz talked about the legacy and valor of the 314th AW.

“This is what these ceremonies are all about,” he said.

During his speech Major Gen. Keltz highlighted both Brewer and Dryjanski’s many accomplishments and accolades throughout their careers.

“When we bring you colonels here to Team Little Rock, we don’t bring you “just” a colonel, we bring you the caliber of these two men,” said Major Gen. Keltz.

Colonel Dryjanski received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1992 with military honors. Colonel Dryjanski has deployed and flown more than 150 combat and combat support hours in support of combatant commander objectives in numerous operations, including Operations Allied Forces and Enduring Freedom.

Dryjanksi’s previous assignment was as the commander of the 387th Expeditionary Group in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

As the newest members of TLR, Dryjanski was joined during the ceremony by his wife, Celeste, and their six children: Katherin, Alexis, Zoey, Thomas, Joshua and Adam.

After the official change of command, Dryjanski took a moment to comment on his upcoming role as the new 314th AW commander.

“It is a great day to be back in central Arkansas and to be in the business of producing C-130 combat airlift,” said Dryjanski.

TOP STORY>>Breaking the silence: Freedom after six-year sexual assault

By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

If you know her or have ever been around her for a few moments, you know she is neither silent nor shy. She’s a people person.

She greets everyone with a smile and a loud and confident voice, introducing herself, “Cynde Maddox, Public Affairs specialist.” Her distinctive voice and almost 20 years of PA experience at Little Rock Air Force Base has made her a familiar face to the base and community.

To look at her, you’d never guess that 55 years ago, she became a victim of sexual assault, lasting for six years beginning at the age of 6 – a violent crime committed by her brother-in-law.

“I met him in 1959,” she said. “I was 5 years old, and he was dating my 16-year-old sister. He was 22. A year later, they got married, and everything was normal. He was my brother-in-law. The summer after they married, my sister became home sick, so I was sent out to live with them to keep her company.”

It started off innocent, Maddox said. He would do things like tickle her and sit her on his lap. It gradually increased to him insisting to tuck her in at night, and when he did, he would touch her inappropriately as well as sexually take advantage of her.

“He told me that if I told anyone, he would kill my sister and my family,” said Maddox. “Back then, people didn’t talk about things like that.”

Maddox didn’t talk about it for six years.

When she was 12 years old, her brother-in-law tried again to assault her, but this time, she was older, stronger and no longer afraid.

“I told him, ‘this is over,’” she said. “I told him that if he touched me, I would make sure he was no longer a man. I made the threat this time, and he didn’t touch me.”

Seven years passed, and Maddox had put those dark memories away until she was set to travel with her fiancé to meet his parents.

“I was terrified to tell my husband, but I had to,” she said. “He was angry at first and wanted to confront my brother-in-law, but I convinced him not to. He comforted me, and we agreed that it would be my choice to decide when I was ready to tell anyone else.”

Years later, after Maddox was married with a daughter, she received a call from the sister married to her perpetrator. She was inviting Maddox’s family to her 25th wedding anniversary. She and her husband declined. She later got the news that her brother-in-law asked her sister for a divorce shortly after. Once again those dark memories began to resurface. And though Maddox was still not ready to confess to family about her abusive adolescent years, she was about to receive an unexpected nudge of help.

“My brother-in-law ended up raping the niece of the woman he left my sister for, and she called the police,” said Maddox. “They started doing an investigation on him, and I was subpoenaed to testify in court.”

Maddox said it later came out that her brother-in-law molested not only her those years ago but also a male cousin, his own son and daughter, and he physically abused another sister of Maddox’s. None of whom ever told anyone until his trial.

The perpetrator, who is now 75 years old, has been in and out of jail since that arrest for major and minor crimes. He is registered as a sex offender. The first time he was sent to jail, Maddox said she felt like a new person.

“I felt a whole lot better,” she said. “I finally got help. I went to counselling for 10 years, and I’m at peace.”

Maddox said certain things still trigger a reaction out of her. If she sees a man with little children on his lap, she takes a harder, longer look.

“I’ve realized that I am a defender now,” she said. “I cannot and will not ‘stay in my lane.’ If I see something wrong I will address it.”

Addressing it is the advice Maddox’s gives to anyone going through or knows someone that’s going through any type of abuse.

“My wish for everyone is that you go get help,” she said. “Tell somebody. It brings a freedom in your life knowing that this person doesn’t control you anymore. When you don’t tell, you’re paying the price and not the person who should. You put yourself in a mental prison you don’t deserve to be in. Remove the burden off yourself. Let’s not be silent anymore.”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

TOP STORY >> Living on an Airman’s Dollar

By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

When families have personal financial difficulties or wish to be proactive and develop a family financial plan, the Airman and Family Readiness Center is the place to go. 

The mission of the Personal Financial Readiness Program is to help individuals and families meet their financial needs and goals.

“Good financial management is a critical life skill,” said Richard Tomaskovic, an Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. “The basic concepts of living within our means, maintaining adequate savings for emergencies, planning for future needs, and understanding investing principles help us live a less stressful and more productive life.” 

The A&FRC offers free information, education and personal counseling to help individuals and families maintain financial readiness and stability. 

When leaders discover that members are having financial problems, the A&FRC is their first resource.

“Managing money will also provide an Airman the opportunity to more effectively transition from military to civilian life,” said Tomaskovic.

The Personal Financial Readiness Program can help an Airman establish a personal financial plan and develop individualized spending plans to meet specific needs and goals. It provides information to increase knowledge and understanding on various financial topics. 

Airman 1st Class Zachary Mooneyhan, a 19th Communications Squadron network infrastructure technician attended a financial readiness class to prepare him for moving out of the dorms.

“Attending the financial class helped me realize that having a solid emergency savings plan will help with the transition of moving out of the dorms,” said Mooneyhan. 

Members from the A&FRC can also provide individuals with counseling to discuss and alleviate financial problems and concerns.

“Having a sound financial plan prevents one from having financial crises, accumulating too much debt, and family squabbles over money,” said Tomaskovic.

COMMENTARY >> What awaits in the darkness

By Airman 1st Class Scott Poe
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Screeching tires. Loud screams. Exploding glass. Thoughts of confusion filled my mind. I could not begin to take in what had just happened.

Two days after Christmas, my girlfriend, Brittany, and I were coming back from having dinner with my mom when the unimaginable happened. 

We were on an interstate in Missouri, headed to Brittany’s house. We were having a conversation about our Christmas together. It was dark, and the interstate was nearly empty except for a few big rigs behind me that I was passing. I thought to myself, “It’s kind of eerie out here”. 

Out in the middle of the highway, I saw a shadowy figure. I didn’t even have time to hit my brakes until after the impact. 

The sound of crunching metal, cracking plastic and busting glass filled the car. Brittany screamed. As the car slid into the ditch, I was trying to comprehend what I had hit.

After the car finally stopped, I had images running through my head of the figure, but I didn’t want to believe it. 

We got out of the car because the back end was still partially on the interstate. 

Brittany was shaken up, crying and stuttered “did we just hit someone?” 

I replied back, “yes babe.” I told her to get away from the interstate since traffic was still flying by us.

I flagged down a big rig and told him to call 911.

I had just hit a person. 

When I went to find the pedestrian, he was on the side of the interstate. I will never forget that moment. He was wearing a black jacket and camo pants and was face down beside the road. There were clothes scattered all over the road from bags he was carrying. His legs were bent in shapes that were non-human. 

I knew not to move him because of possible spinal injuries, so I tried to take his pulse. I could smell the alcohol on him, but I was focused on helping him. 

His pulse was very faint. I got frantic because I knew there was nothing I could do. I knew this man was not going to make it. I had just hit him going 70 mph. 

It felt like hours before emergency services showed up, but in reality, it was only minutes. 

After an hour or so of being questioned and getting four breathalyzers, the troopers decided I was not at fault and let me go.

That night and many weeks thereafter, I would replay the accident over and over again. I knew there was nothing I could have done different to prevent it, and I also knew I didn’t do anything wrong. That’s what helped me move on. I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if I would have been speeding, texting or drinking. I would have been devastated.

This was my story and I can’t guarantee that it won’t happen to you, but I hope it never does. 

Be safe when you are on the roads traveling, you never know what is waiting just ahead. 

There are a lot of factors and dangers to be aware of including pedestrians, other motorists, animals, construction areas, weather, etc. 

There are some things while driving you can’t prepare for but that should only make you stay more vigilant and focused on what you and the people around you are doing. 

TOP STORY >> 34th Combat Training Squadron proves the importance of partnership

By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

No battle can be won without combat-ready troops. This is why the mission at the 34th Combat Training Squadron, at Little Rock Air Force Base, is so vital.

The mission of the 34th CTS is to provide tailored joint mobility training to produce combat-ready Airmen and Soldiers. For the squadron to effectively focus on joint training, 34th CTS Airmen venture outside the gates of Little Rock AFB.  

Select Airmen from the 34th CTS actively work alongside Soldiers.

“The 34th CTS air mobility liaison officers must integrate themselves with Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Steve Smith, 34th Combat Training Squadron commander.  “Currently, there are just under 40 total Air Force positions at the 34th CTS. We are made up of mostly Airmen but have Soldiers and civilian personnel as well.”

Little Rock AFB is the home of the 34th CTS. But the squadron has two detachments in order to embed themselves in Army training. One operating location is located at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and the other operating location is at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. 

 “By integrating with Army command and warfighter exercise units, we can facilitate the flow of critical information between the Air Mobility Command and the Army exercise audience,” said Lt. Col. Anita Mack, 34th CTS air mobility liaison officer. 

Air mobility liaison officers provide coaching and training on air mobility capabilities to ensure the effective use of Air Force capabilities in a combat environment. 

“Essentially we are the only USAF mobility liaison at the highest echelon of Army training,” said Mack. “We teach the effective use of the air mobility system to support Army combat operations.” 

The 34th CTS works with the Army’s Mission Command Training Program, which executes mission direction in order to conduct unified land operations. 

“Just some of the exercises we played a part in include Vibrant Response, Lion Focus, Saber Junction and Ulchi-Freedom Guardian,” Mack said. 

Along with promoting the cohesiveness of Army and Air Force operations, the exercises also improve operations with partner country armed forces. 

The exercises can often be multinational and range from a simulated attack, non-combatant evacuations, crisis response, disaster response, or full on large-scale warfare exercises with thousands of personnel and the use of jets, helicopters, battle banks, infantry fighting vehicles and Stryker combat vehicles. 

The 34th CTS plays a very important role in accomplishing the combat airlift mission. By working with the 34th CTS and other Air Force entities, Army Transportation Officers know how to properly implement the air mobility system. 

“Without knowing how to use the air mobility system to request air support, the Army would have no knowledge of airlift and airdrop capabilities,” said Mack. 

The 34th CTS will continue to exercise with sister services such as the Army in realistic, rigorous and robust missions to effectively prepare troops for combat. 

“The partnership between Army units and 34th CTS is vital in order to perform intense, full spectrum exercises,” said Lt. Col. Russell Parramore, 34th CTS detachment operating location alpha commander.

The exercises show immediate and positive effects achieved by airlift and airdrop. 

Through training from the 34th CTS, sister services and partner nations see the significance of combat airlift firsthand. Global air mobility, with the right effects, right place, right time, is a crucial advantage in the ground fighting environment.

The hard work of the 34th CTS and its Army counterparts show the importance of cohesion and will continue to display the benefits of successful partnerships. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014


SNCO Induction Ceremony

The 2014 SNCO Induction ceremony will be held at the Double Tree hotel in Little Rock Aug. 22. Social hour starts at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starts 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be retired Chief Master Sgt. John Spillane.

Munitions Storage Area closure

The Munitions Storage Area will be closed Sept. 1-26 for the semi-annual 100 percent stockpile inventory. During this time, the MSA will only process emergency requests. Please forward all questions to Master Sgt. Dunlap at (501) 987-6031.

Firing range complex off limits

The Combat Arms small arms firing range complex on Little Rock Air Force Base is off limits to all unauthorized personnel. Anyone requiring access to the ranges or surrounding areas during and after duty hours is required to contact the range control in building 1393 or at (501) 987-6861 prior to entry as per posted guidance at the range entrance.

Clarification in dental care

DoD guidance restricts dental care at Little Rock Air Force Base to active-duty members only, except in extreme emergency situations. Space available care for retirees is permitted, however, opportunities are very limited. For more information, call the dental clinic at (501) 987-7304.

Construction underway

Base construction is underway. The Harris Road base entrance is currently being updated and is on schedule to be open in late August. The Arnold Drive base entrance construction will begin when the Harris gate is complete. During construction on the Arnold Drive Gate, the entire gate will be closed to inbound and outbound traffic. During this time, traffic will be directed to the Vandenberg Road Gate and the Harris Road Gate, which will assume 24-hour operations until completion of the work at Arnold Drive. Following the completion of Arnold Drive, work will begin on Vandenberg. During this time traffic will be reduced to one lane inbound and one lane outbound on Vandenberg until completion of the construction work. Updates will be posted on, and

Program application change

The Base Education Service Offices no longer assist active-duty enlisted Airmen who want to apply to the Basic Officer Training Program. Instead, Airmen must apply to BOT through the Air Force Portal page managed by Air Force Recruiting Service. AFRS also announced that they will no longer accept waivers for not achieving the minimum grade point average and Air Force Officer Qualifying Test scores for both civilian and active-duty members. Active-duty members applying for a commission through the BOT Program, please review your eligibility status and if eligible, submit your application through sharepoint. The Education Center will no longer sign-off on AF Form 56; that portion may now be signed by the member’s supervisor, first sergeant, or commander.

TOP STORY>>Serving the Environment

By Airman 1st Class Scott Poe
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

As Airmen, we serve our country, but we also serve our environment. At Little Rock Air Force Base, one of the ways we do that is by recycling.

Recycling has many advantages. One of those advantages is minimizing the amount of waste we keep from filling up landfills.

Another advantage is the money we make through recycling initiatives.

“Last year we made $250,000, which goes back into the funds for the base,” said Wally Garron, the Little Rock AFB Recycling Center warehouse manager. “We get most of the money from recycling metals and paper. We recycled 1,940,120 pounds of material in 2013 from the base.”

There are many recyclable products, including aluminum, paper, cardboard, batteries, metal, plastics and more. It saves the staff at the recycling center time when the items are already sorted including paper. Paper consists of three categories. Newspaper is one category and also the most popular; additionally there is color paper and black and white paper.

Every squadron has recycle bins, but there are also recycle areas that can be used behind the Airman and Family Readiness Center, in front of building 940 (the old BX) and also at the recycling center located at building 1568.

Every Airman should do his or her part in helping the environment by properly disposing of items that can be reused or recycled,” said Garron.

According to Air Force Instruction 32-7080, Pollution Prevention Program, 12 May, 1994, installations are required to recycle multiple materials such as metals, glass, plastic and used oil, lead acid batteries and tires.

The Little Rock AFB Recycling Center is open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you have any questions regarding recycling, call (501) 987-6611.

TOP STORY>>Area Defense Counsel: Airmen defending Airmen

By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

If you found yourself in legal trouble without a lawyer, would you know where to turn?

The Office of the Area Defense Counsel at Little Rock Air Force Base is available to assist. The purpose of that office is to support and defend active-duty Airmen accused of a crime.

“We are here to help Airmen,” said Staff Sgt. Wesley Rogers, Little Rock AFB defense paralegal.

Rogers said that the seriousness or degree of the crime doesn’t matter because the job of the ADC is to defend their clients.

“We zealously advocate for our clients,” said Rogers. “Just because you’re accused of something, that doesn’t make you guilty.”

He also said the majority of their work includes advising Airmen on legal matters, working on Article 15 and Letters of Reprimand responses, or defending an Airman facing court-martial.

And though the ADC sounds identical to the legal office, they are not the same. The legal office represents the government and the ADC represents the accused.

“The legal office does the prosecuting,” said Rogers. “If you are accused of a crime, you need to come to us. We are different, and we do our work separately.”

If someone does get into legal trouble, the ADC is not mandatory. Airmen have a right to represent themselves or to seek counsel from civilian representation at their own expense.

“It’s important for you to get help,” said Rogers. “I know there is a stigma out there about public defenders, but we are here to help. We are confidential, with an off-base chain of command and have an open door policy.”

For more information, the ADC can be reached at (501) 987-3260, or located in building 1255 in room 201.

TOP STORY>>Critical Days: Swimming Safety

By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Summer is here, and you know what that means? It’s time to throw on your swimsuit, then grab a towel, sunblock, and your favorite pair of shades, and hit the pool.

Swimming is a great way to relax, workout or hang out with your friends, but it has safety risks like many other enjoyable outdoor activities. According to the 19th Airlift Wing grounds safety office, nearly every year the Air Force loses someone due to a swimming accident.

“The Air Force has already lost two of its Airmen this fiscal year alone,” said Rick Myers the 19th Airlift Wing ground safety manager.

The American Red Cross recently conducted a survey that had some shocking results. Almost half of the adults surveyed on water safety said that they’ve had an experience where they nearly drowned, and one in four know someone who has drowned.

With many Airmen and families planning to be in, on or near the water this summer, it is important to follow the basics of water safety. This includes maintaining constant supervision of children and receive proper swimming techniques.

Here are additional tips that will help you stay safe this summer:

 Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards

 Always swim with a wingman and never alone

 Ensure that everyone in your group has learned to swim

 Never leave a child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life with another; teach them to always ask permission to go near water

 Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone

For more information about swimming safety, Airmen should call the 19th Airlift Wing ground safety office at 501-987-3290.

TOP STORY>>One man’s trash is another’s intel

By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Dumpster diving is not just for raccoons and opossums. There are real-world “rats” scurrying through trash cans looking for any information they can use to cause trouble and damage our mission.

To combat these unsavory enemy efforts, base operation security experts conduct their own random dumpster dives around base.

“Operation Security is an analytical process to minimize critical information from getting out,” said Master Sgt. Nick Hill, the 19th Airlift Wing OPSEC manager. “Our enemies will do anything to get our critical information. To stop them, sometimes you have to get your hands dirty.”

The OPSEC team’s scrutiny of garbage piles has revealed many items that could cause problems if they fell into the hands of the wrong people.

These impromptu expeditions have yielded a treasure trove of critical and personal information like EPRs, flight plans, travel itineraries, recall rosters and maps.

Hill said to always remain conscience of leaving personally identifiable information out, because whether it was a naïve mistake or an intentional act, doing so brings serious consequences.

“Violating OPSEC can carry different consequences depending on the type of information that gets exposed,” said Hill. “An Airman can receive a demotion, the revoking of their security clearance and UCMJ repercussions, all of which can eliminate Airmen from promotions and special assignments. If the severity of the case calls for it, jail time can be sentenced as well.”

According to Hill, maintaining social media sites and what Airmen or their families post on them is one of the biggest problems AF wide.

“When an Airman deploys, they should remind their family to be careful of what information they post on the web,” said Hill. “One of our biggest pushes here is to have families briefed along with their military member about what can and cannot be posted during a deployment.”

Senior Airman Rachel Hutson, a 19th Medical Support Squadron flight medicine medical records technician, not only had to remain vigilant with her own PII while deployed in 2013, but was also tasked with protecting those around her. This involved literally getting into dumpsters, searching for OPSEC items thrown away by others and discarding them, a term they called “dumpster diving.”

“As a dumpster diver, it was my responsibility to retrieve OPSEC items like base maps, recall rosters, flight plans, mailing labels and computer hard drives out of the trash,” said Hutson. “We drove on routes that had approximately 20 dumpsters filled with waste.”

Hutson, along with her team, would find OPSEC items thrown away almost daily; she stresses the importance of securing any and everything that could get into the wrong hands and be used to invade or harm the military, their families or the country.

“Collecting the OPSEC items were very essential to the Airman I was working with home and abroad,” said Hutson. “OPSEC items could potentially give the bad guys a lead on: where you or members of your family andfriends live, flight take-off and landing times, flight paths, detailed maps of the base, and personnel involved in classified operations. The thought of one of my family members or fellow Airman being hurt or attacked all because of a mailing label really gave me a different perspective on shredding personal information.”

Hill said military members should pay attention to the OPSEC Hot Tip Newsletters published monthly and distributed through their unit OPSEC coordinators. He also said to pay close attention to what you leave out on your desk at work and what information you give out to friends and family. If there is PII or other critical information on papers you no longer need, shred them. When in doubt shred them or contact your unit OPSEC coordinator for more clarification.

“It was one of the dirtiest but most rewarding jobs I have done while serving in the United States Air Force,” said Hutson.

For more information on OPSEC, contact Hill at (501) 987-6585 or your unit OPSEC coordinator.

TOP STORY>>High-octane recognition

By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Fuels Management Flight has been recognized for their high-octane performance by being named the Air Force’s best.

The award, the 2013 American Petroleum Institute Award, evaluated the team’s accomplishments on and off duty, including innovative management and also how the flight supported quality of life programs within the flight, squadron, wing and local community.

Every fuels management flight in the Air Force is eligible to compete for the award. The flight even participated in a question and answer session with judges via a video teleconference.

“Through hard work, dedication, and innovation, the fuels management flight was able to show the judging panel we are the best,” said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Green, 19th LRS fuels management flight fuels manager.

The 19th LRS fuels management flight’s first priority is getting fuel to Air Force planes safely. Their around-the-clock mission enables seven flying squadrons to achieve their mission objectives effectively. After all, without this team of approximately 80 refueling unit operators, Little Rock’s C-130s wouldn’t even be able to leave the ground.

The flight supports several units from different major commands: Air Mobility Command, Air Education and Training Command, as well as the Guard and Reserve.

What makes their job a bit more challenging than other similar sized bases is the fact all aircraft refueling is done by R-11 refueling vehicles.

“Bases with similar fueling missions to Little Rock have active hydrant fueling systems which are less labor intensive. So being limited to just trucks, we have to work harder,” said Green.

Although fuel operators are allotted 30 minutes to respond to an aircraft, the fuels flight at the 19th LRS averages an impressive 8-minute response time. In 2013, fuel distribution operators on base pumped more than 20 million gallons of jet fuel.

“As the largest C-130 base in the world, Little Rock POL has an enormous responsibility to ensure the fuel requirements for each aircraft and vehicle is satisfied,” said Green.

The team manages all the ground fuel on base that keeps the approximately 550 assigned government vehicles on the road, as well as the deicing fluid that keeps aircraft flying in the cold winter temperatures. The fuels management flight also provides 100 percent of the liquid oxygen the aircrews need to breathe at higher altitudes.

The fuels flight does more than just support the base’s mission; they are also committed to personal time, volunteering on base and around the community, and achieving educational goals.

Green attributes the success of thefuels team to their close-knit camaraderie.

“Supervisors and management constantly seek venues to recognize those who go above and beyond, and off duty functions are organized to enhance morale and build a family environment while inspiring POL pride,” said Green.

Just over the span of a year, the flight volunteered more than 4,000 total hours to squadron, wing and local activities. Additionally, the flight had two distinguished Airman Leadership school graduates, two below-the-zone winners, and 10 Community College of the Air Force degrees were earned.

That team mentality spills over into working relationships with base maintainers, whose mission depends on POL products.

“We have a close relationship with the aircraft maintenance team to ensure fueling needs are prioritized efficiently to enable timely fuel support. The end goal is to get aircraft back in the air doing our Nation’s business,” said Green.

The old POL joke is “without fuel, pilots are pedestrians,” but the Air Force’s best team understands that the mission requires everyone doing their part with excellence.

“Our team knows they directly impact mission success,” Green said. “They understand not just the immediate impact of fueling C-130 sorties, but also the second order effects it has on C-130 intra-theater airlift in the area of responsibility and humanitarian airlift when needed. Our ground troops in dangerous locations count on the supplies our C-130s bring them. We understand it is imperative our aircrews become expert fliers, and are glad to provide them the fuel they need to achieve that goal.”



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Thursday, July 10, 2014

TOP STORY>>Air Force Reserve unit gets new designation

Courtesy of 22nd Air Force Detachment 1

The Air Force Reserve Command has announced the activation of the 913th Airlift Group at Little Rock Air Force Base with an activation ceremony set for July 13, 2014.

Maj. Gen. Mark A. Kyle, commander of 22nd Air Force, will be on hand to activate the 913th at 9:00 a.m. Sunday, and present the unit’s new guidon. The 913th takes the place of 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, which was activated in March 2011, and currently has more than 500 personnel.

“The Air Force Reserve here at Little Rock Air Force Base has been preparing for this transition for a while and we’re proud to have a more visible place in Team Little Rock,” said Col. Archie Frye, the unit’s commander.

The new unit is authorized to grow to approximately 850 Airmen and civilians in fiscal year 2015. Approximately 28 percent of the members work full time as Air Reserve Technicians and Civil Servants, while the remainder perform as Traditional Reservists, training to defend our national interests.

The 913th will be comprised of a headquarters unit, the 327th Airlift Squadron, 913th Operations Support Squadron, the 913th Maintenance Squadron, the 96th Aerial Port Squadron, the 913th Force Support Squadron and the 913th Aerospace Medical Squadron.

The detachment worked alongside of the 314th Airlift Wing and 189th Airlift Wing for nearly three years as part of the formal training unit mission at Little Rock Air Force Base. The unit began transitioning to a combat mission in October of 2013, which includes an Air Force Total Force Integration with the 19th Airlift Wing’s 50th Airlift Squadron and their aircraft maintenance unit.

TOP STORY>>Q&A: Chief Master Sgt. Rhonda Buening

By Airman 1st Class Scott Poe
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: Well, I was born in Illinois. I moved to several different places. At the age of 6, when my mother passed away, I actually was adopted by her parents. So I moved to Osage, Wyoming, and I was raised by my grandparents. Then at the age of 17, I left that household into the big world of banking.

Q: When and why did you join the Air Force?

A: In 1988 I lived in a very small town with no room for upward job mobility, so with a little nudge from a couple relatives that served in the Navy, I joined the Air Force. I signed up to work somewhere in the communications field, but I had to take some additional tests before being assigned to the communications-computer systems operations specialty. Basically, I did system administration on servers that support various projects throughout the Air Force, to include electronic mail.

Q: What are some major challenges you’ve faced during your career, and how did you overcome those challenges?

A: I’ll share a couple challenges that I’ve experienced. Early in my career I became a single parent and had to negotiate child care, while working some unique duty hours. The only way to overcome issues with finding child care from 3:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day was with the support of my close friends. Another challenge I’ve faced in the military is sexual harassment, to include an incident since I’ve put on the rank of chief master sergeant. It is so disappointing to still have offenders in the workplace who are only interested in their self-fulfillment, and are not respectful of others. This is a challenge that I’m still trying to help address.

Q: What drives you every day?

A: The people here at Little Rock AFB and at our units in Mississippi, Colorado and Wyoming drive me to be the best I can in my current role. I am here to serve them and help ensure the goals and objectives of this wing are met. It always gives me pleasure to be of assistance to the Airmen making our C-130 mission happen and to watch people continue to succeed in their personal and professional goals.

Q: What is your favorite part so far about being the 19th Airlift Wing command chief at Little Rock Air Force Base? What are you looking forward to as the 19th Airlift Wing command chief?

A: My favorite part is also being able to continue to serve in the Air Force. You don’t always know when your career will potentially end with the military. Also my favorite part of being the command chief at Little Rock AFB is the people. Each person I have the privilege of meeting is contributing to the C-130 mission, and they are all so proud of what they do. I look forward to learning more about the base and surrounding area, and being able to help propel Airmen forward in their careers.

Q: What are some ways that you handle all of the responsibilities that come with being a command chief?

A: It is fairly easy to handle my responsibilities as the command chief for the 19th Airlift Wing, because my job is well defined by Air Force Instruction and Col. Rhatigan has also shared his expectations. Now, it’s all about communication and empowering Airmen.

I really just like watching people succeed, so if there’s anything that I can do to help move them forward, and propel them forward in their career or their personal lives, that’s really what makes me happy the most about having this position as command chief.

If it wasn’t for having the position and role that I have today, I don’t know what I would spend all my time doing. I love being a command chief. I love making a difference in people’s lives, and I love being able to be part of whatever personal or professional goals that they have.

Q: What are you priorities as 19th Airlift Wing command chief?

A: My priorities are exactly the same as Col. Rhatigan’s: Mission, Airmen, Partners.

Q: What was your favorite/most interesting assignment?
A: One of my favorite assignments was to Edwards Air Force Base, California, for a special duty job. Our team was responsible for recording all of the B-2 bomber testing so the engineers could evaluate various facets of the aircraft, such as fuel consumption, the accuracy of bomb drops, and how well it could avoid radar detection. My favorite part of the assignment was going to Eglin AFB, Florida, to a climatic lab to test a B-2s responsiveness during extreme heat or cold conditions, and I got a chance to sit in the cockpit.

TOP STORY>>Critical Days: Bike safety

By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Whether it’s to stay in shape, save money at the pump or simply enjoy a nice ride, a significant number of Team Little Rock’s Airmen ride bicycles. Whatever the reason, base Airmen and families need to have safety on their mind.

According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center in 2012, approximately 725 people lost their lives to bicycle incidents that involved a motor vehicle, just fewer than two people every day of the year in the U.S. This number represents an increase from the 682 bicyclist fatalities reported in 2011.

“When off base, bike riders have to abide by the same rules of the road as motor vehicles, because cyclists also share the same road with vehicles weighing thousands of pounds more than they do,” said Rick Myers, 19th Airlift Wing ground safety manager.

Following these simple steps will help you stay safe when out for a ride:

– Wear a properly fitting helmet

– Be visible

– Know and obey traffic rules

– Be predictable

“As a cyclist you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times and ride defensively,” said Myers.

Drivers should also be aware of their important responsibility in sharing the road. By exercising caution and extending common courtesy, future tragedies could be avoided. Following these tips could save a life:

Be careful when passing stopped vehicles

Allow several feet when passing pedestrians or cyclists

Obey the posted speed limit

Yield to pedestrians and cyclists at crosswalks

For more information about traffic safety, Airmen should refer to Air Force Instruction 91-207, The U.S. Air Force Traffic Safety Program.

Reference AFI 91-207, paragraph 3.5 Installation Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Little Rock Air Force Base Installation 31-218 Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision for more information.

TOP STORY>>The evolution of the change of command

By Airman 1st Class Mercedes Muro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Military ceremonies have com-ponents that differentiate themselves from each other. Change of command ceremonies have specific, ritualistic components that show how authority is passed from one hand to another.

The customs within change of command ceremonies have roots that have been modernized into the formal ceremonies that take place today.

“In the past, military units had colors that designated their respective unit and located their leaders,” said Bob Oldham, 19th Airlift Wing chief of protocol. “Soldiers could look in front of them and see the flag and know where their leaders were leading them. If something bad happened to their leader, the soldiers would know because the flag would be given to a new leader. Even though the ceremony wasn’t formal, soldiers knew who was in charge and who to report to.”

However, there were times in the field where soldiers didn’t know who was their commander. Formal command ceremonies were held to establish the new chain of command.

“In modern formal ceremonies, the enlisted guidon bearer hands the guidon to the outgoing commander,” said Oldham. “The outgoing commander grasps the guidon with each hand above each of the guidon bearer’s hands. The outgoing commander then hands the guidon to the presiding official, formally relinquishing command. The presiding official hands the guidon to the incoming commander, with the new commander grabbing the guidon with their hands below those of the presiding official. The new commander then hands the guidon to the enlisted guidon bearer.”

The outgoing commander says he/she relinquishes command before taking the guidon from the guidon bearer, and the incoming commander says he/she assumes command after handing the guidon to the guidon bearer.

Once the guidon is passed to the new commander, the change of command is complete and the new commander accepts all responsibilities of the unit and its Airmen. Even though the key players in a change of command ceremony are officers, the ceremony is for the Airmen. A ceremony of color and pageantry is symbolically portrayed for Airmen to witness a transfer of total responsibility, authority and accountability.

TOP STORY>>How the HAWC helps

By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Being an Airmen means more than being an expert at your job. All Airmen have the responsibility to be fit to fight, physically and mentally.

Whether you need a physical boost to help pass your next PT test, are looking for nutritional guidance, or simply need to clear your mind, the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Health and Wellness Center can help.

The HAWC at Little Rock Air Force Base has a mission which involves improving lives.

“We build strong, healthy communities with education and action,” said Jeff Vaughn, 19th AMDS HAWC flight chief/health educator.

The HAWC is comprised of four DOD civilians. The mission of the team involves four main objectives.

“Our first objective is to use fitness programming to improve the physical health nutritional health, and mental health of Airmen, family members, DOD civilians and retirees,” said Vaughn.

As the HAWC’s second objective, the team provides classes and tips which promote healthy eating and nutrition education.

The third objective is to decrease musculoskeletal injuries and pain through mobility training and improving movement patterns.

Lastly, the fourth objective of the HAWC is to decrease tobacco use through tobacco cessation programming and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

The HAWC receives numerous testimonials for their work.

One such testimonial from Master Sgt. Raymond DeGarmo, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron safety/security information assurance officer, shows how hard the team worked to assist with one main objective.

“I used to smoke for a very large part of my life,” said DeGarmo. “I’d always talked about quitting; however previous attempts were half-hearted, and eventually I fell back into the same habits.”

After the health of DeGarmo’s wife started to deteriorate, he thought about how his habits would keep her from getting better.

“I chose to quit smoking for the health of our family,” said DeGarmo.

DeGarmo then went to the HAWC for help.

“It was the best thing I could have done,” said DeGarmo. “Quitting on my own beforehand only worked for the short term, but after getting help from the HAWC, I was able to do more than I could on my own.”

To help him quit, DeGarmo was put on medication and took the things out of his life that influenced him to smoke.

“I have been free from cigarettes since April of 2012,” DeGarmo said.

DeGarmo said the journey wasn’t easy; his biggest obstacle was having a true desire to end the habit.

“It was hard, but anything of value takes time and hard work,” said DeGarmo. “I can’t say that I miss smoking. The biggest problem for me was ‘wanting’ to quit. I was hooked on nicotine and was in denial of my addiction.”

DeGarmo now encourages others to quit smoking and break the cycle.

“Give it 45 days, and see if you can break your habit,” said DeGarmo. “Our kids follow our examples, and now I can be a positive example of how you can overcome the largest obstacles when you put your mind to something and keep focused.”

DeGarmo’s story is one of many. The HAWC has success stories for each one of their life improvement mission objectives.

Team Little Rock’s HAWC team was recognized for their achievements in 2012, winning the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Exercise Team Award. Recently, the team won the 2014 Federal Executive Association of Arkansas Team Award.

The HAWC is located at the fitness center and can be reached at (501) 987-7398. Call to find out more about the number of unique classes offered.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TOP STORY>>Independence Day – Bold and Innovative Leadership

By Gen. Darren W. McDew
Commander, Air Mobility Command

As we take a moment to spend time with family and friends over the long holiday weekend, let us not forget what Independence Day truly represents-the birth of our great nation, as bold leaders stood up and declared our independence.

Our nation fought for and declared its independence 238 years ago, paving the way for the freedoms we still enjoy today. As Airmen in the world’s finest Air Force, we are committed to ensuring our nation’s security, and gratefully take responsibility for defending the freedom and democracy we celebrate. Like our forefathers, it is the character of our Airmen to stand up for the freedom we hold so dear.

The founding fathers were bold leaders. They inspired a generation of people to take a stand for our basic rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It took bold leaders to achieve independence. It was not easy and it did not come without cost.

Our mobility enterprise faces many challenges, and it will take bold and innovative leaders to solve them. I’ve seen firsthand how our military is successful because of talented, innovative, and bold men and women who are unafraid to tackle the toughest challenges. America’s freedom and future success depends on men and women, like you, who are ready to lead into the uncertainties of tomorrow.

We still fight today to protect those freedoms that previous generations have fought for. All of those who have served and currently serving this country play a role every day. We work hard at home and abroad to protect the freedoms we enjoy and we cannot take them for granted. We must continue to stand up for what we treasure most and safeguard what we swore an oath to protect.

So, as you celebrate with family and friends and enjoy the fireworks and parades that mark this special day, I urge you to take time to remember what Independence Day is all about.

Thank you for your service and for the amazing things you do every day. Your selfless efforts allow us to enjoy celebrations like this one. Let us be truly thankful for the amazing gift of liberty.

TOP STORY>>Fighting depression with sweat and community

By Jeff Vaughn
19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

What if I told you a very effective treatment for depressive symptoms in many people might be a pair of running shoes, some dumbbells, and a group of friends? You would probably say you’re just one of those happy fitness people with no problems who thinks a good run, weight training and a party solves everything. Surprisingly, recently published, peer-reviewed research supports aerobic and resistance training as well as community involvement as an effective treatment for depression in many patients.

The Boston University School of Medicine reviewed multiple studies in which aerobic exercises were used as an effective method to improve depression symptoms. The scientists utilized walking, running and biking in their research. They experimented with different frequencies ranging from three to five days per week as well as durations ranging from 20-40 minutes per session. All protocols demonstrated favorable and significant results.

While most research has concentrated on aerobic exercise, strength training was also found to reduce depression symptom scores. Resistance training three to five days per week seemed to be just as effective as aerobic training, and it may be the exercise of choice for people who do not enjoy aerobic activity.

Adopting exercise habits for life is important for alleviating depression symptoms long term.

A study out of the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that individuals who exercised regularly for 10 or more months had significantly lower rates of depression than those who were prescribed anti-depressants and those who utilized exercise and anti-depressants.

The British Journal of Psychiatry reported that poor cardiovascular fitness scores at age 18 were positively correlated with depression as an adult. Not only does fitness treat depression symptoms, but it also may prevent these symptoms as well.

In addition to fitness, the Comprehensive Airman Fitness social domain principles also aid in depression recovery and decrease depression symptoms.

Researchers from the Uni-versity of Michigan’s Department of Epidemiology found that a lack of social connection could be a greater detriment to health than obesity and smoking.

People who had a poor social connection are at increased risk for anxiety, depression and suicide. Researchers from the University of Queensland found that depressed patients who joined groups and found a personal identification with that group recovered from depression.

While mental health pro-fessionals from the 19th Medical Group and TRICARE Network may be required to treat depression in some cases, a significant amount of scientific literature supports the role of fitness activities and social interactions in alleviating depression symptoms. The Health and Wellness Center provides Vital 90, a popular fitness venue, which delivers a daily dose of exercise and a place to belong. It’s a win/win for individuals fighting depression and those recovering from depression. And, as a bonus, participants improve their overall fitness and health!

If you’re interested in giving it a try, contact the HAWC at (501) 987-7288 for class times and locations.

TOP STORY>>Critical days of summer: water/boat safety

By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen and families at Little Rock Air Force Base are looking for ways to stay cool this summer. One of the most popular ways to beat the heat without remaining indoors is water activities.

Whether picnicking at a pool, rafting down a river, lounging by a lake or sailing on the sea, risk management is a must.

Knowing how to swim is important but should not be one’s only tool for safety while enjoying the pleasures of water play.

During the Critical Days of Summer’s Boating and Personal Water Craft week, remember there is power in numbers. Carry extra safety gear, like life vests, and always designate a friend to remain sober.

An Airman from Little Rock Air Force Base lost his stepfather in a boating accident that could have been avoided if these tips were practiced.

“It was August 2008 and my stepdad and mom took their boat down the intercostal waterway in Palm Beach, Florida, to go fishing,” said the Airman. “After fishing, they stopped at a bar to have a few drinks. My mom decided to have someone drive her home.”

By the time the Airman’s stepfather headed back home on their center console fishing boat, the daylight was gone.

“My stepdad headed up the marina intoxicated, alone and accompanied by the dark night and choppy ocean,” said the Airman. “Three hours after he left the bar, the Coast Guard called our house and informed me and my mom that they found our boat spinning in circles with no passengers.”

Police, rescue helicopters and boats searched for the Airman’s stepdad. Three and a half hours later, the Airman’s stepfather was found washed ashore, deceased.

According to the report, the Airman’s stepfather fell off the boat. Because it was no longer being steered, it began to spin, hitting him in the head. He was knocked unconscious and drowned at 58 years old.

“Water activities and alcohol don’t mix, especially if you’re alone,” said the Airman. “If you’re boating at high speeds over an ocean or river, wear a life jacket even if you know how to swim.”

Even if someone is partying with a large group of people, at least one person should be the designated driver whether on land or on a boat.

“A lot of accidents can be prevented by having a safety plan,” said the Airman. “My stepdad may still be here if he made different decisions.”

No one ever expects to have an unfortunate incident. Taking a few extra minutes to make sure there’s a safety plan before you head out on a trip should be a vital part of trip planning. Doing so could be the difference between life and death.

TOP STORY>>Step in and intervene

By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t do something you should have and felt the regret, guilt and hope for a second chance afterward? Maybe you’ve been in a setting where you thought about cutting your friend off from those last few drinks. Maybe you could have stepped in when they were crossing the line of respect, but instead you did nothing.

Being an active bystander takes courage and confidence. It means stepping in and taking care of your wingman, ensuring no one is making a potential life changing-mistake.

Active bystanders take the initiative to help someone who may be targeted for sexual assault. A good wingman also takes the first step to help friends who aren’t thinking clearly from becoming perpetrators of crime.

Intervention doesn’t mean that you only stop a mistake in progress but work to be a preventative wingman.

Airmen should not be comfortable with sexual harrassment, inappropriate behavior, or someone causing harm to someone else or him or her self; but should be comfortable with intervening to stand up for their wingman. All Airmen have the responsibility to create a comfortable, respectful environment and leaders have the influence to promote it.

Promoting a healthy work environment enhances the opportunity for Airmen to feel empowered to integrate values, attitudes and behaviors related to sexual assault prevention.

When intervening in any situation whether it is sexual assault or drinking and driving, assess whether the situation requires calling authorities.

“There is naturally some risk in any type of intervention, but life is full of risk,” said Capt. Jessica Pavoni, interim Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “If you’re not comfortable personally intervening, find someone who is, or bring a wingman with you. Calling for help from security forces, the Command Post, etc. is always an option as well.”

If you are going out to an unfamiliar bar or even to a place you have been to many times before, be mindful of your surroundings and use your situational awareness.

“There may come a time when you are in a situation that is confusing, awkward, uncomfortable, or you don’t know how to react,” said Pavoni. “These are the times we hope for a bystander. Do not be afraid to intervene in a situation where you recognize that someone may need your help.”