Thursday, December 18, 2008

COMMENTARY>>62nd AS pilot earns bronze star

By Senior Airman Jason Elkins
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Lt. Col. Paul Stephenson, 62nd Airlift Squadron formal training unit instructor pilot, received the Bronze Star Medal at a ceremony Monday.

During the ceremony, Col. Charles Hyde, 314th Airlift Wing commander, expressed his pride.

“It’s not surprising that when we send someone over to mentor another nation in the midst of a war on how to put together their squadron that we chose someone who knew how to take care of their people,” said Colonel Hyde.

The Bronze Star medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States after Dec. 6, 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement.

“Any kind of award like this is not a reflection on you particularly; it’s a reflection on your unit and how well your unit does. I had the great fortune to work with some outstanding people in interesting times – notjust Americans but also Iraqis,” said Colonel Stephenson.

“The Iraqis are good people. The folks that I worked with on a day-to-day basis are heroes in their country, even if their country doesn’t quite recognize it yet,” he added. “Many of them had to come to work in disguise in order to not to be seen by the militia and taken prisoner, but they’re coming to work and building their country and they’re developing a place where their kids can grow and go to school and improve. They’re very happy that we were there.”

Colonel Stephenson performed as Senior Advisor and Commander, 370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group Operating Location-Alpha, Coalition Air Force Training Team, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, from Sept. 25, 2007 to Sept. 24, 2008, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Colonel Stephenson helped rebuild the operational capability of the Iraqi Air Force’s 70th Reconnaissance Squadron. He advised and mentored over 130 Iraqi officers and warrant officers on all aspects of operations, training, maintenance, force protection and logistical support and established a rapport between the Iraqi Air Force and Coalition forces, enabling the 70th RS to expand mission support to coalition operations.

Colonel Stephenson also coordinated air support to Iraqi Army troops in contact with the enemy during Operation Charge of the Knights, the Iraqi Security Force’s effort to wrest control of Basra from outlaw militia elements.

“It’s a real honor and one that reflects more on the folks that I work with and advise than on me,” said Colonel Stephenson.

COMMENTARY>>Mentoring: “I can” versus “I think”

By Master Sgt. Roderick Langley
48th Airlift Squadron operation superintendent

One of the definitions of mentoring is giving wise advice or sage counsel. Mentoring can be visual, one example being an aircraft instructor showing a student how to do the task at hand, let him do the task, and then critiquing him on his action.

Mentoring can also be, and usually is, verbal. The best mentoring I have ever received was from a recently retired master sergeant who let me in on the secret of dealing with any spouse in the world. He told me that whenever your spouse has had a bad day and you come home and are bearing the brunt of it, simply ask them if they want you to “fix it” or just “listen” to them.

You would be amazed at the amount of time saved and serenity gained by this simple action. I immediately enacted this at my house and the success rate of this tidbit of guidance is almost 100 percent.

With the concept of mentoring in mind, I decided to write down what I say to start every feedback session or debrief that I’ve ever performed and pass it on to you, the reader. Just like the master sergeant who told me to ask, “do you want me to fix it or just listen” it’s quite simplistic in nature and easily enacted. I start every feedback by telling my guys that the FCC has their “7 dirty words” that should never be spoken on television but I have only one dirty word that should not be used, the word “think”. Follow me on this... the success of everyone in the Air Force is based on being given a mission or task, being appropriated the necessary tools and training to perform the mission and finally accomplishing the task. Now throw into the mix the airman or subordinate out there who might be lacking confidence in his abilities or has reservations towards his part in the big picture. That type of airman will always use the word “think” in their replies when you ask if they can do something or improve their performance. “I think I can.” I cringe and raise my eyebrows when I hear that answer. Take that one word out of your vocabulary and look at the impact it creates. “I think I can” becomes “I can”, “I think that’s a good idea” becomes “that’s a good idea”, “I think we should” becomes “we should”. You can even apply this to the past tense of “think”, take the word “thought” out of your vocabulary and look at the effect there. Having your subordinate or ratee take that word out of their dictionary and it immediately makes them sound more credible, more appreciative towards how they fit into the big picture and most importantly, builds their self-confidence.

Mentoring can come from anyone and happen anywhere. It’s a directive that has been ordered from our leadership that I believe has made complete sense since its implementation. I’ve been very fortunate to receive good advice and sage counsel in my career. Special thanks to the aforementioned retired Master Sergeant, and hope you give some thought to the “mentoring” that I have presented to you. Take the dirty five letter word “think” out of your vocabulary and watch the results you receive.

COMMENTARY>>Groundbreaking for new BX

By Senior Airman Nathan Allen
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Little Rock Air Force Base broke ground on a new Base Exchange complex funded by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Dec. 11.

The $22.3 million facility features 122,000 square feet and features an assortment of new dining choices and a larger merchandise selection due to the expanded floor space, according to Pam Honor, Little Rock AFB Exchange general manager.

This is approximately 80 percent larger than the combined space of the BX, BXtra and clothing sales stores. Along with retaining the base’s barber shop and beauty shop, new concessions options are expected to include Subway, Taco Bell, Charley’s Steakery, and Starbucks. The new facility is expected to open in 2010.

The new exchange will be a significant quality of life improvement for the Airmen stationed at Little Rock AFB. Due to the age of the building and the inconvenience of being housed in three separate locations, this has been a top priority for base leadership to better serve Airmen and their families, as well as the retiree population.

According to Ms. Honor, the majority of the cost of the new BX will be absorbed by AAFES, and the rest will be funded by the Air Force. Additionally, the AAFES personnel required to adequately staff the new facility is expected to increase 25 to 30 percent.

Baggette Construction Inc. is heading up the construction portion of the project. Alan Thurston, Baggette Construction project manager said they plan to utilize local companies as much as possible for subcontracting.

“We’re pleased with the project and looking forward to working with the base, community and AAFES,” added Thurston.

VIEW FROM TOP>>Our Air Force, a great investment

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing command chief

If you are one who keeps up with the news, you can’t help but notice that our economy is currently in a state a flux. This caused me to reflect on the different type of investment options available. I know you all are wondering where to place your resources for the best return. I personally have dabbled in the market with mixed results. However, the best investment I have made since becoming a man is in my Air Force.

The U.S. Air Force has been a tremendous investment and continues to yield a substantial return. From a financial standpoint we receive pay raises annually. Then there are allowances such as housing and subsistence which are not taxable. Being able to shop on base has consistently been a cost saving privilege for many years. This is just the tip of the iceberg from an investment standpoint.

Having access to Tricare for active duty, retirees and family members is a great return on your Air Force investment. Peace of mind is secured in the knowledge that exceptional health care professionals are at your disposal. Another vital residual of your career is great training and educational benefits.

Typically those who transition from our ranks are better educated due to programs the Air Force offers to pursue educational dreams. This coupled with the hands-on job training received daily make each member of our team well rounded. These efforts typically result in increased job security for our Airmen; and we all know this is not the case in many places in the private sector.

So as I continued to ponder which investment has generated the best return, the answer became clear to me. The Air Force has clearly outperformed any other investment option that I have pursued. The people, experiences and places I have encountered are things that cannot be measured on a spreadsheet, but are awesome nonetheless. So, remember in the investment world you get out of it what you put into it. So, are you fully invested in your Air Force? It is clearly invested in you.

Combat Airlift!

VIEW FROM TOP>>Happy Holidays, get some rest!

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander

Congratulations to Lt. Col. Paul Stephenson who was presented with a Bronze Star Medal on Monday. Colonel Stephenson was the senior advisor and commander of the 370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group in Iraq. While there he mentored over 130 Iraqi officers and warrant officers on all aspects of operations, training, maintenance, force protection and logistical support during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Job well done!

I encourage everyone to enjoy some time off these next few weeks – it is well deserved. We all work hard every day to make sure the mission gets done and done safely here at The Rock and around the world. Throughout the year our nation trusted us to execute one of its most valuable and vital capabilities – Combat Airlift. We did not let her down. We delivered peerless Combat Airlift when and where it was needed whether at home or abroad. Next year holds brand new challenges; so get some rest, get recharged, and get ready to fly, fight and win in the New Year!

If you are traveling over the holidays, please remember to take your time and travel safely. Remember to properly check your vehicle and pack some warm clothes if driving in cold weather. Think about risk management when playing or working to not get hurt. Practice responsible alcohol use always. We want to ensure we start 2009 with all of you safe and sound!

Finally, while we’re resting and enjoying our family and friends over the holidays, let’s remember the 758 deployed members of Team Little Rock and their families. Our deployed members are proudly serving our nation around the world, enabling all of us to enjoy the upcoming holidays and all the freedoms and benefits of democracy here at home. To the families of our deployed Airmen, thank you for your service and sacrifices. To all of Team Little Rock, Kim and I wish you a most joyous holiday season.

Combat Airlift!

TOP STORY > >5-Star Fitness Center Recognition Award

By Airman Rochelle R. Clace
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Services Squadron Fitness and Sports Center earned a Five Star rating for the fourth consecutive year in a row, in recognition of their commitment to excellence, outstanding customer service and superior programs.

The Air Force Services Agency gives out the Five Star Fitness Center Recognition Award to fitness centers that meet strict criteria and obtain points in five categories. These categories are operations, programs, training, facilities and customer service.

After earning the award, members of the fitness center reflect on their accomplishments.

“What this award means to the gym is it highlights the good things that all the staff members have been doing here over the years,” said Master Sgt. Ronald Green, 19 SVS fitness manager. “It gives them a lot of recognition.”

“The fitness team here at Little Rock takes pride in taking care of their facilities and patrons. The 5-star award recognizes the team’s commitment to the quality of life here,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Collins, 19 SVS commander.

Sergeant Green explained that the highest priorities of the fitness center staff are offering superior customer service and management of programs.

“The reason I say that is because everything begins with customer service,” he said. “Then I would say programs behind that because we successfully maintained a high level of programs in a time when we had zero funding for some of our areas.”

According to Sergeant Green, the fitness center offers a variety of services to include intramural and extramural sports, aerobic programs, fitness improvement programs, certified personal trainers and incentive and special event programs.

“We are about to start offering a variety of power circuit programs. What this consists of is strength and aerobics combined together, where you have steady movement without stopping,” he said.

“We see some 2,000 people a day from Airmen to retirees to spouses with children. We keep our facility as clean as we can and our staff is as friendly as they can be,” said Colonel Collins. “They want each person to have a great experience at the fitness center during each workout.”

In a letter to Brig. Gen. Schatz, 19th Airlift Wing commander, Col. Lee Wyatt, Headquarters Air Mobility Command director of personnel, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. said that he was extremely proud of Team Little Rock for this towering achievement and delivering the highest quality of service to our Airmen and their families.

He also added that once again, the Little Rock Fitness Center has proven to be best of the best among Air Force Fitness Centers.

“I’m proud of the team and their commitment to excellence,” said Colonel Collins. “They make important contributions to
Combat Airlift every day!”

For more information on the programs offered at the fitness center call 987-7716. Also, visit the fitness center website at for more information.

Friday, December 12, 2008

TOP STORY >> Going back to basic

By Senior Airman Nathan Allen
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

My second trip to Lackland Air Force Base was unquestionably less stressful than my first…
About three weeks ago while I was on leave, my supervisor called me with good news. He told me that I had been selected to go on a TDY to accompany Brig. Gen. Wayne Schatz, 19th Airlift Wing commander, to basic training. General Schatz had been asked to speak to that week’s graduating class, an honor he would tell you he has tried to take advantage of many times in the past. So last Thursday, General Schatz, Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 19th Airlift Wing command chief, our flight crew, myself, and the other 25 or so selectees boarded a C-130J on a chilly Arkansas morning and flew down to Texas to go “back to basic.”
Though I claim no substantial ties to Texan lineage, going back to Lackland did feel – in a twisted way – like a homecoming of sorts. We arrived in Texas just before noon and were greeted with the deceptively warm, dry Texas weather that immediately assaulted my nose with the same discomfort that was responsible for my twice-daily BMT nosebleeds. In fact, my nose bled so much in basic that my training instructor threatened to put a tourniquet on my nose.
After exiting the plane, we loaded up onto the bus and headed over to the 37th Training Wing headquarters building where we were greeted by the wing’s commander, Brig. Gen. Len Patrick, and its Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Juan Lewis. They escorted us into a large conference room, where we were greeted by two familiar looking characters with perfectly groomed blues. “Not again” I thought as I inconspicuously hid within the crowd and found a seat, familiarly striving to avoid detection. I relaxed a bit when General Patrick assured us the technical instructors’ were simply there to brief us about the base.
The TIs briefed us with various interesting facts about the magnitude of the mission that the men and women of Lackland play in our Air Force. They told us about the 79,000 students trained every year by the programs housed at Lackland – a number that exceeds the undergraduate programs at Texas A&M and the University of Texas. They astounded us with their monthly food expense figure that stood at a robust $2.4 million. The topic on all of our minds, and a large part of the reason for our visit, was the changes made to basic training.
According to Master Sgt. Don Butler, a TI from 331st Training Squadron, the additional two weeks that extended basic training from six to eight weeks are meant to enhance war skills training and introduce new expeditionary skills relevant to the current global security environment. Unlike most of us who experienced “warrior week” during our fourth week of training, these modern trainee’s knowledge and training is put to the test during their sixth week of training during what TI’s both menacingly and affectionately refer to as the BEAST. The BEAST stands for Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training, and takes place after the new two weeks of war skills and expeditionary skills training.
Unlike the previous method of training while at warrior week, now the trainees receive all the base defense, reporting procedures, and rules of engagement training before the BEAST, and their time spent at the BEAST site is purely evaluation where they are graded on how well they defend their base with the training they have received, much like an operational readiness inspection. The new BEAST site is nine times larger than the old deployed training site, and each site has a control tower, tents for the trainees to sleep in, and a hard facility in case of dangerous weather.
The following day, we all woke up early, bundled up with whatever sources of warmth we could get our hands on and headed out to the parade field. Once we arrived there, sadly, we realized that no amount of ABUs, BDUs, blues or flight suits could save us from the piercing, bone chilling winds blowing through Lackland that morning. Trying my best to relive the basic training experience despite the conditions, I strolled around a bit to take a few pictures. The planes surrounding the field, the flights lined up next to the bleachers preparing to march onto the field, the parents in the stands and, of course, more TIs in one place than I ever cared to see again.
The proceedings began ceremoniously as the Master of Ceremonies led us through the playing of the national anthem, ruffles and flourishes, and the Air Force song. As everyone sat down, she continued to talk about the Basic Training graduation and its history while the spectators anxiously waited for the next part of the ceremony to begin. Soon, the flight standing in the center of the parade field came to life and a slow, steady drum rhythm both introduced and instigated the incoming of the graduating flights. One by one, they followed each other to their respective spots and performed their ritual facing movements before they finished by facing the crowd at parade rest.
The guidon bearers for the flights that received special recognition hurried to the front of the field to receive their ribbons and scurried back. Finally, each flight turned to the right to prepare for perhaps the most famous moment in the BMT graduation – pass and review. Each flight walked in a square pattern past the adoring crowd, and as they approached the center of the “bomb run,” each flight’s TI gave them the “eyes right” command, as General Schatz and Chief Brinkley proudly saluted. After the last flight received their salute, and each parent cheered for their child’s respective flight, the students marched back to their place on the field, performed a few more facing movements, and finally marched up to the edge of the bomb run.
General Schatz approached the trainees and imparted a few words of thanks to them and their parents. He told them that the Airmen and their families alike were all now a part of Air Force family, and that we, as a family, have a tremendous responsibility to serve our country in this time of war and the importance of their time spent at Lackland. “Your instructors have given you a foundation to go out and have a fantastic career in our United States Air Force. I want to extend a personal thanks to you for raising your hand today and agreeing to serve our great nation. It is a worthy effort, especially in a day like today, when we are a nation that is at war against terrorism around the world.”
Near the end of his remarks, General Schatz asked the trainees if they were ready to join the ranks of the world’s greatest Airmen. The very seat I sat on shook with the enthusiasm of their reply when they all in unison shouted “Warrior Airmen! Fly, fight, win!” In the following moments as General Schatz led the Airmen in their first Oath of Enlistment, the Air Force’s newest Airmen repeated their oath with the same enthused spirit as before all the way until their final, confirming shout of “so help me God.”
The ceremony ended soon thereafter, and those of us from the Rock boarded on to the bus with some haste. As we all tried to de-frost from the unforgiving Texas wind chill, I began to reflect on my experience on returning to Lackland; seeing my old training squadron again, visiting the new BEAST site, being around TIs again, and finally, reliving the graduation experience all over again. I began to hear voices around the bus starting to tell personal memories of BMT. One voice recalled the time he almost got recycled because he accidentally left clothes out overnight. Another recalled the night they stayed up late past curfew to work on marching the night before their honor flight drill with a weaker member of their flight.
Then it occurred to me how correct General Schatz was when he said that the new Airmen and their families were part of OUR Air Force family now. They share in our experiences now. They make the same sacrifices we do. They understand us better than anybody.

COMMENTARY >> Benefits of teamwork

By Master Sgt. Charles Doan
314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron First Sgt.

Canadian Snow Geese possess an innate sense of “team” that illustrates a striking example of just how important our Wingman concept really is. Have you ever wondered why geese fly in that “V” formation and are continually honking? Well, it’s because geese can fly an average of 6 percent farther when flying in a “V” than they can individually. By taking advantage of the wing tip vortex of the bird in front, each bird can save energy by reducing drag. The energy savings in flight can be as much as 50 percent so they literally use half the energy they normally would. Also while in flight, all geese in the formation “honk” encouragement and motivation to each other, and especially to the leader. And when the leader becomes tired, it simply falls to the back and another one moves up front to take its place. The flock continues this pattern and is able to cover distances of nearly 200 miles in a single day. Indeed, the strength and endurance that takes geese south for the winter is impressive, but there’s nothing like good, old-fashioned horsepower.
The giant Belgian draft horse gives us another powerful example of teamwork. These horses weigh an average of 2,200 pounds and can pull about 5,000 pounds, more than twice their weight. And if you hook up two Belgians together they can pull around 12,000 pounds. But wait, it gets better…the true potential of these magnificent animals is unleashed when the same two horses are trained to pull in harmony. When taught to pull as a “team,” two Belgians can move more than 17,000 lbs! Think about that for a minute, 4,400 lbs of horses pulling nearly four times their weight…incredible! As you can see, effective and efficient teamwork goes beyond individual accomplishments. The most effective teamwork is produced when individuals harmonize their contributions and work towards a common goal. When a harmony exists in the workplace and a collective, focused effort is the priority, quality of life improves, morale skyrockets and our mission is completed more efficiently and safely.
So, I’d like you to consider which of these examples resembles you. Are you like the goose, naturally a team player who supports and relies on the team? Or are you like the giant Belgian, strong on your own, but needs to be taught how to be a team player to really reach your full potential? Either way, the good news is that the concepts of teamwork and being a good Wingman are available to you whether it comes naturally or is a learned skill. This means that it’s possible for everyone to be good teammates and become more effective in the process. But, I’d like to leave you with one more interesting trait about geese. When a goose falls out of the formation because of injury or illness, two others follow it to the ground. And these two geese stay with the injured one until it is either able to fly again, or dies. Yes, even geese understand the Wingman concept. So, do you have the sense of a goose?

COMMENTARY >> The Final Five

By Lt. Col. Aaron Maynard
62nd Airlift Squadron Commander

In last week’s edition, you may recall the story of the 62nd Airlift Squadron and its long and distinguished history. Every year during the first week in December, members of the squadron, past and present, come together to celebrate the squadron’s heritage. Last week was no different; over 200 members of the “Yacht Club” gathered for the 37th consecutive time to attend the annual Yacht Club reunion. The week’s capstone event was the Yacht Club Reunion/Squadron Holiday Party, which was held Saturday night, where we paid tribute to the past, celebrated the present and welcomed the future. The celebration was very much like it had been for the last 37 years, with one very notable exception.
Fourteen years ago, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, original members of the 62nd Troop Carrier Squadron traveled to Sainte Mere Eglise, France. During their visit, they came across a wine bottle that was decorated with scenes from the D-Day invasion. The World War II veterans brought the bottle back to the squadron and prominently displayed it among the squadron’s historic memorabilia.
The bottle, along with six wine glasses and the story behind it, has been on display in a beautiful wooden box for more than a decade. The key to that box has passed from commander to commander for fourteen years and has been kept in a secret location known only by its keeper. As described in the case, when during the annual Yacht Club Reunion, only five original members of the squadron are present, the sitting commander will open the bottle and raise a toast to the last crew of the original squadron…the Final Five!
In June of 1944 when 18 of the squadron’s planes flew during D-Day there were 78 commissioned officers and 241 enlisted men in the Squadron. Many shipped out before the war’s end and many more were added to the rolls before it was all over.
To be down to the last five men able to attend the reunion was a remarkable event to witness. The significance of the occasion was not lost on those gathered as the five men came forward to uncork the bottle. Those in attendance rose to watch the ceremony and flashes from the many cameras provided a dazzling light as the cork was popped and the glasses filled. A toast was offered, “To the Yacht Club - to her past and future voyages” then one of the original squadron members stepped forward and offered a toast to all those who had served in the 62nd during World War II – “ remember the ones that we were overseas with who are not able to be here tonight or who we left over there.”
So, on December 6, 2008 – 66 years and one day after the squadron was activated – the bottle was opened and toasts were made in honor of the squadron’s past. It was a great honor to share this moment with these five truly courageous men. Although the airplanes have changed over the years, the mission has remained the same. We only hope to follow their example and remember their courage as we fly our own missions toward the sound of the guns.

COMMENTARY >> Back to Basics

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing command chief

Recently about 30 people from Team Little Rock accompanied General Schatz to Lackland Air Force Base as he presided over the graduation ceremony for over 600 trainees. This proved to be a tremendous event in the lives of the graduates as well as those of us from Little Rock Air Force Base. Our experience caused a bit of reflection that I’d like each of you to ponder.
First, do you recall the feeling of pride and satisfaction you had when you completed your entry program into the USAF. Do you still demonstrate and share the enthusiasm for being the best professional Airman that you can with those around you? Are you maintaining the standards that are required daily to be a key contributor to our Air Force family? If not, then I’d ask you to ponder why this is the case.
Each year our USAF churns out over 33,000 new trainees to continue our proud heritage and legacy of valor. I am convinced that everything we need to be successful in the Air Force we learned in basic training. Things like military bearing, attention to detail, customs and courtesy, sustained physical fitness, safety as well as checklist discipline help develop the professional Airman.
When these new Airmen hit your work center, are you setting them up for success by maintaining these standards or do you tell them that this is the real Air Force and we don’t do those things anymore? I submit to you that our new Airmen represent a time honored tradition of what the real Air Force looks like. Our job is to ensure that they don’t lose the fire that was in their bellies when they marched from civilian status to professional Airman.
Each of us plays a role in leading, developing and preparing our next generation of Airmen to assume their role in the world’s greatest Air Force. The last thing each trainee does before they start their day is to look in the mirror when they leave their barracks. Team Little Rock, we all have mirrors and it’s time to get back to basics daily.
Combat Airlift!

VIEW FROM THE TOP >> Retirees part of our total force

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander

Today, I will have the privilege of speaking to our military retirees at the Retiree Luncheon. Our retirees have served our great nation honorably and many of them continue to serve proudly in a variety of roles. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience that is invaluable to us.
Their service to our country doesn’t end when they leave active duty. In fact, most military retirees transition into second careers, serving in both the private and public sectors. Even after reaching retirement age and completing a second stint of service, many retirees continue serving as volunteers on base and in the community. The nearly 60 volunteers working on the Rock volunteered over 13,500 hours last year. Whether it’s taking calls informing retirees about processes and necessary paperwork needed to get things done at the Consolidated Support Center, providing support at the Medical Group pharmacy or providing assistance through the Survivor Benefit plan, retirees continue to be important Team Little Rock members. Their contributions are invaluable and today’s luncheon is our opportunity to show our appreciation to them for what they do.
It’s very important to care for our retirees, not only because of all they do for us, but because they have made great sacrifices for our nation and established a legacy we are proud to embrace and continue. Mr. John Heffernan, a volunteer, serves as our Retiree Activities director. He does a fantastic job of leading our efforts to care for and appreciate our more than 50,000 retirees across the state. His office, staffed by volunteers, serves as the interface between the active and retired communities--military retirees, surviving spouses of retired and active duty personnel and all military members preparing to retire. The dedication and enthusiasm with which he carries out his duties is indicative of the service all of our retiree volunteers provide. By continuing to serve beside us, they show how much a part of our mission, family and community they remain. They are living testaments that Air Force Core Values are attributes we will carry with us for a lifetime.
When you see our retiree volunteers, please thank them for their service–past and present.
Combat Airlift!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TOP STORY > >Town hall scheduled

A town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Little Rock Air Force Base Conference Center.

The event is open to all base housing residents. Little Rock AFB and Hunt-Pinnacle leadership will be on hand to discuss the way forward for housing privatization. Base agencies will also be on hand to conduct safety and security briefings.

For more information, contact the Housing Referral Office at 987-6429 or HP Communities 983-9044.

TOP STORY > >Air Base demonstrates its environmental conservation

By Senior Airman Jason Elkins
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A single Green Ash tree was planted in the ground adjacent to the child development center, consummating Little Rock Air Force Base’s 15th annual Arbor Day ceremony here Monday.

“Today we’re starting a community of trees here at the development center by planting one Green Ash that, although it’s small today just like the children here at the school, they will be growing up and becoming part of a larger community,” said Pete Rausch, Certified Arborist, Tree Healthcare.

The base has been recognized as a leader in tree conservation for over fifteen years. The base earned its Tree City USA designation in 1993. Since that time, the base has maintained written policy governing the planting and care of urban trees on base.

“We take our environment and conservation seriously at Little Rock Air Force Base,” said Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr., 19th Airlift Wing commander. “We’re very proud of the environmental program we have. We’re also proud of the great relationship we have with the Arkansas State Forestry Commission, helping to manage more than 16,000 acres of pristine land we have out here.”

The idea for Arbor Day originally came from J. Sterling Morton, a pioneer to Nebraska from Detroit who soon after became editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper.

Morton advocated tree planting by individuals in his articles and editorials, but he also encouraged civic organizations and groups of every kind to join in. Next, he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory, which provided another opportunity to stress the value of trees.

On Jan. 4, 1872, Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called Arbor Day at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872.

In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal holiday in Nebraska and April 22, Morton’s birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance. Arbor Day has now spread beyond the United States and is observed in many countries of the world.

Little Rock AFB observes Arbor Day in the fall because it allows the trees more time to stabilize from the transplanting and to grow roots before the heat of summer sets in.

COMMENTARY>>The 62nd Airlift Squadron: Founded in Tradition … Focusing on the Future

By Lt. Col. Aaron Maynard
62nd Airlift Squadron commander

The long and distinguished history of the 62nd Troop Carrier Squadron began 66 years ago today on Dec. 5, 1942, when the unit was activated at Sedalia Army Air Base, Knob Noster, Mo. A short five months later, on May 12, 1943, equipped with a full complement of shiny, new C-47s, the 62nd TCS departed for North Africa to begin combat operations in World War II.

Since World War II, the 62nd Airlift Squadron has proudly borne the nickname and patches of the “Yacht Club.” Rumor is that at a group level meeting, a fellow squadron commander chastised Major Tappan, the then 62 TCS commander, with the comment “You’re running your squadron like a country club. Better still, a Yacht Club!” As news of this conversation made its way around, these words became a source of pride among the troops, and the name stuck.

A glider pilot, Armand Prosperi, designed the original squadron logo during that era. It featured a sailboat superimposed on the center of a playing card symbol, the black club. The squadron motto, “Primus in Toto” (First in Everything) was scribed below the hull of the boat. Carrying the nautical theme a step further, the commander, Major Tappan, was often referred to as “Commodore.”

In early 1944, after serving with distinction in the Mediterranean Theater of operations, the 62nd moved with the 314th Troop Carrier Group to Saltby, Lincolnshire, England, where unit members began intensive training in preparation for D-Day. The 62 TCS spearheaded the airborne portion of the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy, as part of the largest invasion force ever assembled in modern warfare.

In February 1945, the squadron relocated yet again – this time to Poix, France, where they valiantly flew in Operation VARSITY.

This was the first combat mission in which the squadron towed CG-4A gliders. The squadron was ordered home to the U.S. in February 1946.

The 62nd was re-equipped with the new airlift workhorse, the Lockheed C-130A “Hercules” on May 19, 1957. Four years later, in September 1961, the C-130B arrived, and the squadron became combat-ready in the new aircraft in fewer than 90 days.

Less than one year later, the Blue Barons tested their combat posture when they deployed to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines to support the U.S. response to the Laotian crisis.

In December 1964, in order to bring all unit personnel up to combat-ready status, the 62 TCS formed an aircrew training flight.

The program was so successful that it was quickly expanded to train all aircrew personnel in the wing. The concept of concentrated, focused training and continuity paved the way for the development of the first Replacement Training Unit to train C-130 aircrew members worldwide.
The ensuing years until the present time has held constant activity and change for the 62nd. The squadron was re-equipped once again, as the newest Hercules in the inventory, the C-130E, arrived in February 1965, just a few short months before the 62nd made its first combat airdrops in support of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam conflict. In 1966, the unit supported Operation RAPID STRIKE, a test and evaluation project which refined old procedures and helped pave the way for the new developments in C-130 operations and training.

In May 1967, the 62nd was redesignated as the 62nd Tactical Airlift Squadron.

Two years later, in March 1970, the unit transferred from Sewart AFB, TN, to Little Rock AFB, AR. In June 1971, Headquarters Tactical Air Command issued orders designating the 62nd as the formal C-130 aircrew RTU.

The 62nd Airlift Squadron annual Yacht Club Reunion began on Thursday and runs through Saturday. This is the 37th consecutive reunion. The tradition began with Lt. Col. (ret) Dave “Commodore” Mondt when he held the first reunion in Kansas City, Mo., in 1971. In 1983, the reunions moved to Little Rock Air Force Base and have been held here ever since.

The point of contact for this year’s event is Maj. Monica D. Landrum, an instructor navigator with the 62nd. There are 6 original “Yacht Clubbers” attending this year – retired Lt. Col. Jack Downhill, retired Lt. Col. Gerald Wikle, retired Lt. Col. Bruce Merryman, retired Lt. Col. Ben Setliff, retired Maj. Bill Hyden and Ted Walters. Overall, 33 Yacht Club members and their families are in town for the reunion, including Ray Bennett, who has joined us from England.

We have a full itinerary planned for our Yacht Club members this year including flying the C-130 simulator, a tour of the Old State House Museum and an ornament exchange and coffee for the spouses. This year’s reunion, as in the past closes with our annual holiday party at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock.

COMMENTARY>>Gates to keep serving as defense secretary

By jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2008 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will remain in the Pentagon’s top post when President-elect Barack Obama’s administration takes office.

Obama, who also announced his other nominees for top national security posts today, cited the necessity of continuity as the United States fights wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as his rationale for asking Gates to stay.

In a statement, Gates said he is “deeply honored” that the president-elect asked him to continue serving.

“Mindful that we are engaged in two wars and face other serious challenges at home and around the world, and with a profound sense of personal responsibility to and for our men and women in uniform and their families, I must do my duty -- as they do theirs,” Gates said in his statement. “How could I do otherwise?”

“Serving in this position for nearly two years -- and especially the opportunity to lead our brave and dedicated soldiers, sailors, Airmen, Marines and defense civilians -- has been the most gratifying experience of my life. I am honored to continue to serve them and our country, and I will be honored to serve President-elect Obama,” Gates said.

Obama also announced his intent to nominate the following people to serve in his administration:

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be secretary of state;

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones Jr. to be national security advisor;

Eric H. Holder to be attorney general;

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to be secretary of homeland security; and

Susan Rice to hold Cabinet rank as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Gates will not have to go through the Senate confirmation process. President George W. Bush nominated Gates as defense secretary in November 2006. The Senate approved the nomination, and he was sworn into office in December 2006 to succeed Donald H. Rumsfeld. Gates will be the first Cabinet officer to continue serving in an administration from a different political party.

Clinton has represented New York since her election in 2000 and has served on the Senate ArmedServices Committee.

She served as the chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in 1993. She has supported military action in Afghanistan, and has opposed recent actions in Iraq. In the Senate, she sponsored legislation to increase the size of the Army and has consistently worked to help military families. If confirmed, she will replace Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Jones retired in 2007 after serving as NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European
Command. Before that assignment, he was the Marine Corps commandant. Jones received his commission through Georgetown University in Washington in 1967 and served in Vietnam. He received the Silver Star for his actions there. As NATO commander, he led the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. As national security advisor, he will help to coordinate all aspects of U.S. power in the war on terror. He is currently chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States. If approved, he would replace Stephen Hadley.

Holder served as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. He also has served as a judge, a prosecutor and as a front-line lawyer in the Justice Department. A native New Yorker, Holder received his law degree from Columbia University. If confirmed, he would succeed Michael Mukasey.

If confirmed, Napolitano would be responsible for the Coast Guard as part of her portfolio as homeland security secretary. A lawyer, she served as Arizona’s attorney general before being elected as governor in 2002. Napolitano would replace Michael B. Chertoff.

Rice served on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration as assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She will replace Zalmay Khalilzad in the U.N. post.

VIEW FROM TOP>>Our flag: A symbol of us

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing command chief

When you look at the American flag can you see yourself in it? As our symbol of freedom and democracy, our flag has each one of us woven into it. The 13 alternating stripes represent people who wanted a better life for them and their families. These people were the ones who set out and established the original colonies whose number was 13.

America is a country that is broad and diverse. The 50 stars capture the diversity our nation has ranging from language, culture and tradition to name a few. Yet at the end of the day we all fall under a unified focus and each of our stars operate together as one great republic.

The red stripes represent the sacrifices made to establish and maintain a free land domestically as well as supporting our allies abroad. Even as you read this, there are thousands of America’s best deployed around the world protecting our flag and way of life.

The white stripes represent our pure intentions when dealing with those within our borders as well as those outside of them.

Our nation is that light shining on a hill because people know that we have established our foundation on sound principles.

The field of blue background on our flag represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. Our military willingly maintains this posture which assures our democratic way of life. Each time supplies make it to their destination or personnel arrive at the right place at the right time, those who stand on freedom’s forefront are equipped to do our nation’s business.

So you see our flag is morally and battle tested, yet it still waves proudly. All of us who enjoy the fruits of what our flag represents should take pause and pay respect to that wonderful piece of fabric that we all should see ourselves in. Combat Airlift!

VIEW FROM TOP>>Remembering Pearl Harbor

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander

What do you think of when you hear the words “Pearl Harbor?” Some might say they think of fighting a battle in a video game.

Others might think of the Hawaiian landscape with the sandy beaches, clear blue skies and emerald coastline. Some may even think of the Hollywood adaptation of the real life events released several years ago. However, we all should simply hear the words and understand the significance of Pearl Harbor’s place in history.

Dec. 7, 1941, was one of the most defining days in history because it brought America into World War II, an entrance that turned the tide and resulted in the ultimate defeat of the Nazi regime and Japanese empire. This Sunday, our nation holds its annual day of remembrance for this monumental event. America paid a high price--2,335 dead servicemen, 1,178 wounded, 640 unaccounted for and 48 civilians killed; 188 aircraft destroyed, 18 ships of different sizes sunk or damaged, and 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. The legacy of Pearl Harbor survives because of the tales World War II veterans have passed down to subsequent generations. Their stories are amazing, humbling, inspiring and educational. The way in which they responded to this tragedy has served as a great example for our generation as we continue to respond to the tragic events of Sept. 11 and the ongoing global war on terrorism. They endured individual and national loss, grieved, and then cemented their resolve to defeat the enemy. Then, in victory they created the national prosperity we were raised in and enjoy today.

We remember Pearl Harbor because of the loss endured and the sacrifices made. But more importantly we remember Pearl Harbor because it reminds us of how a great nation responded to a great tragedy, overcame great challenges, and prospered.

Our generation is under similar circumstances and by remembering Pearl Harbor, we strengthen our own resolve and communicate to our foes their impending defeat.

We have some other key events coming up I’d like to mention. This evening at 5 p.m. at the Base Chapel we will have our holiday tree lighting ceremony. Next Wednesday at 7 p.m. we have a Town Hall meeting scheduled to provide an update on our base family housing project. We have some good news and I encourage everyone to attend. Finally, next Thursday at 11 a.m. we will hold a ceremony to break ground on a new Base Exchange which will really improve our quality of life at Little Rock.

Thanks for your service to our great nation!

Combat Airlift!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TOP STORY > >Paving the way for a new travel reimbursement process

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Air Force finance officials are implementing ways to improve customer service to Airmen with process changes, said the director of the Secretary of the Air Force Financial Management Process Improvement and Integrations Office.

“This has been a rocky road for some Air Force travelers,” said Josephine L. Davis, SAF/FMPI. “Fortunately, process improvement and service delivery initiatives will improve travel reimbursement services.”

Air Force finance officials recently completed two separate Air Force Smart Operations 21 reviews to improve the travel and permanent change-of-station voucher processes. Senior Air Force and Reserve command financial management leaders attended a travel voucher process AFSO 21 event at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., to conduct an end-to-end review of the travel voucher process.

“The active-duty, Guard and Reserve team identified and validated problems in the current processes and agreed on a future state process,” Ms. Davis said. Some short-term solutions are now in place via a recent Defense Travel System software upgrade that improves government charge card usage. This same upgrade implemented a pilot program with the Navy, results from which will be applied to improve travel voucher services to the Air Force Reserve and Guard communities.

Ms. Davis said the Robins AFSO 21 review also looked into improving the submission of PCS travel vouchers, services for deployed members, and ensuring Airmen aren’t over or underpaid. A subsequent AFSO 21 review took place in September at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., to review and improve these processes. Solutions in this area are also under way and will be implemented with DTS software upgrades scheduled to occur in 15-18 months.

Some Airmen may remember that in the past an Airman would visit the base accounting and finance office and work with a travel pay clerk to reconcile a travel voucher, according to Ms. Davis. The Airman would leave the office with a cash reimbursement and a copy of his or her filed travel voucher.

“The process was functional and effective from a traveler’s perspective, but it was costly and labor intensive for the Air Force,” Ms. Davis said. “The cost and manpower requirements for such a process were not an issue in the past. However, times have changed due to federally mandated manpower reductions.”

In light of this changing fiscal landscape, two additional process improvement initiatives are currently underway to enhance financial service delivery to Airmen: the Financial Service Delivery Model and Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (

“The primary objective of FSDM is to improve service delivery to Airmen through enhanced utilization of Web-based self service applications,” Ms. Davis said. “Click, Call, Walk” isthe FSDM slogan.

With FSDM, Airmen will have:
· 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to Web-based service for financial transactions;
· a toll-free number to a contact center when additional assistance is needed; and
· the ability to deal face-to-face with a base financial service technicians for those unusual financial transactions.
“Ultimately, FSDM will result in enhanced customer service and substantial return on investment for the Air Force,” Ms. Davis said.

Another initiative is DIMHRS, a Department of Defense program currently under development. It provides the Armed Forces with an integrated, multi-component, personnel and pay system that improve delivery of military personnel and pay services, according to Ms. Davis. This system provides each service member with a single, comprehensive record that features self-service capabilities to empower them to update portions of their personal information, and initiate personnel and pay actions.

Finance officials listen to customer comments, Ms. Davis said. They heard such comments as “I had to use my savings to pay my government travel card” or, “I had to wait months for payment due to the huge backlogs.”

“These types of comments reflect a detrimental impact on our mission,” Ms. Davis said. “Air Force leadership takes them seriously, and continues to take steps to resolve members’ concerns.”

COMMENTARY>>Integrity first - always

By Master Sgt. James Albini
714th Training Squadron First Sergeant

Each week I have the privilege of spending time with the Air Force’s newest enlisted aviators. I like to discuss the core values and apply those three ideas to real world experiences. Unfortunately, an aspect of my job is to interview Airmen who have taken the wrong path and made poor choices. These experiences have caused me to redefine my definition of our first core value, integrity.

If I ask Airmen to tell me what they think integrity means the preponderance would respond, “Doing the right thing when nobody is watching.” This is the textbook definition. I have come to realize most Airmen do not have a problem doing the right thing when alone; the harder action is doing the right thing while in a group.

All too often when things go wrong, it wasn’t because one person, by himself or herself, decided to make a poor choice.

Instead a bad decision was made while with a group of friends. Despite the many opportunities to prevent a Wingman from going down the wrong path, many remain silent. Some consider it not cool to speak up in front of others and challenge the group. Others don’t want to be labeled a rat or killjoy. This thought is what caused me to reinterpret integrity.

We must have the courage to stand by our convictions and speak up in the presence of others. Although the reference I used is associated with discipline, it can be applied to the work center. Doing the right thing when everyone is watching is extremely tough. Failure to have courage and stand up has resulted in countless DUIs, underage drinking, assaults and work related accidents. I leave you with this simple challenge … think of our first core value in two ways; doing the right thing when no one is watching and doing the right thing when everyone is watching.

COMMENTARY>>Alice, balanced scorecard and Wonderland

By Col. Charles Hyde
314th Airlift Wing commander

I love military history and reading about the exploits of the warriors and units that left us with a rich legacy of character, service and heroic defense of our republic. A storied history, however valuable for learning and development of the warrior ethos, does not predict success on future battlefields. Future success depends on a well-understood objective and requires progress toward its attainment.

In previous articles, the 314th Airlift Wing’s mission, vision, and goals were presented. The mission is the purpose of our wing – to train the world’s best C-130 and C-21 crew members to fly, fight, and win. The vision sets an enduring context for our mission: what we are, what we want to be, and our legacy in the future – the foundation of combat airlift. Goals help us accomplish our mission and realize our vision. In short, our mission, vision, and goals are our objective as a wing.

Our objective, that point toward which we strive, is the first step on the road to success. In the book “Alice In Wonderland,” Alice asks the Cheshire cat which path she should take. The cat replied by asking where Alice wanted to go. Alice, unfortunately and similarly to many businesses and organizations, didn’t know. The Cheshire cat then replied that it didn’t matter which way she went. If we don’t know what we are trying to accomplish, then we cease to be an effective and successful team. Having an objective is the first step toward success.

The next requirement for achieving success as an organization is to continuously progress towards its objective. If we don’t have a common mission, vision, and goals, we will fail. Likewise, we can have an objective, but fail to move toward it.

Continuous improvement is the lifeblood of a military organization. Our success and the success of our students depend on it, but it is not enough. The improvement must lead us on a path which reaches our objective. That path is defined by metrics.

Metrics are the key to measuring where we are going and how we are progressing.

The 314th AW leadership met last week to work on our metrics. The balanced scorecard is the AETC tool we use to document our objectives and measure our progress toward attainment.

We refined our mission, vision, and goals and started to define the metrics we will use to chart our path as a wing. I have challenged each of our commanders to build good metrics and implement them in each flight and section. The reason is simple. In order to be successful, we must work together with a common objective and strive for continuous improvement.

Hopefully when you hear someone talk about the balanced scorecard and metrics, it won’t be a mystery. It’s simply a tool to keep us out of Wonderland and focused on training the world’s best C-130 and C-21 students to fly, fight, and win.

COMMENTARY>>Alice, balanced scorecard and Wonderland

By Col. Charles Hyde
314th Airlift Wing commander

I love military history and reading about the exploits of the warriors and units that left us with a rich legacy of character, service and heroic defense of our republic. A storied history, however valuable for learning and development of the warrior ethos, does not predict success on future battlefields. Future success depends on a well-understood objective and requires progress toward its attainment.

In previous articles, the 314th Airlift Wing’s mission, vision, and goals were presented. The mission is the purpose of our wing – to train the world’s best C-130 and C-21 crew members to fly, fight, and win. The vision sets an enduring context for our mission: what we are, what we want to be, and our legacy in the future – the foundation of combat airlift. Goals help us accomplish our mission and realize our vision. In short, our mission, vision, and goals are our objective as a wing.

Our objective, that point toward which we strive, is the first step on the road to success. In the book “Alice In Wonderland,” Alice asks the Cheshire cat which path she should take. The cat replied by asking where Alice wanted to go. Alice, unfortunately and similarly to many businesses and organizations, didn’t know. The Cheshire cat then replied that it didn’t matter which way she went. If we don’t know what we are trying to accomplish, then we cease to be an effective and successful team. Having an objective is the first step toward success.

The next requirement for achieving success as an organization is to continuously progress towards its objective. If we don’t have a common mission, vision, and goals, we will fail. Likewise, we can have an objective, but fail to move toward it.

Continuous improvement is the lifeblood of a military organization. Our success and the success of our students depend on it, but it is not enough. The improvement must lead us on a path which reaches our objective. That path is defined by metrics.

Metrics are the key to measuring where we are going and how we are progressing.

The 314th AW leadership met last week to work on our metrics. The balanced scorecard is the AETC tool we use to document our objectives and measure our progress toward attainment.

We refined our mission, vision, and goals and started to define the metrics we will use to chart our path as a wing. I have challenged each of our commanders to build good metrics and implement them in each flight and section. The reason is simple. In order to be successful, we must work together with a common objective and strive for continuous improvement.

Hopefully when you hear someone talk about the balanced scorecard and metrics, it won’t be a mystery. It’s simply a tool to keep us out of Wonderland and focused on training the world’s best C-130 and C-21 students to fly, fight, and win.

COMMENTARY>>Not only our President, our Commander in Chief

By Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Qualls
19th Mission Support Group Superintendent

Now that the Presidential election is over, the dust has settled and the American people have spoken and soon we will have a new President. Regardless of your personal feelings concerning the outcome of this recent election, as military members we have a duty to the President that eclipses our civilian counterparts.

Why, you ask?

Assuming we took advantage of our right, responsibility and privilege to vote, we cast our ballot. We exercised our choice and our voice was heard. We did this as good and responsible Americans, but more importantly; we did this as private citizens.
As military members, officially we are to remain politically neutral. Partisan politics will not or at least should not effect or determine our willingness or ability to perform our mission.

In our Oath of Enlistment we swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States and obey the orders of the President.” In article II, section two of the Constitution, the President is appointed as our Commander in Chief. As Commander in Chief, the President is the Commander of our nation’s military forces.

This also works in accordance with our Constitution in ensuring civilian control of our military. In addition, as a result of a formal agreement between the DOD and United States Secret Service, individuals affiliated with the Armed Services have a special obligation to report information to the Secret Service pertaining to the protection of the President of the United States.

Ours is a great nation. We’re great because of our diversity. As loyal Americans and committed military members, we not only owe it to the American people, but again; we took an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

While we progress with the Global War on Terrorism and numerous other issues facing us as a nation; our oath has never been more important than now.

VIEW FROM TOP>>This is not a dry run

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing command chief

As we endeavor daily to ensure that we sustain unrivaled Combat Airlift for America … always, it dawned on me that we never have a second chance to get our mission done right. We have one chance at life and what life holds for us. So my challenge to you, as well as myself, is not to function as though this is a dry run.

Those waiting for our support around the world are counting on us taking our mission seriously. We must apply our training, focus and resources to ensure that when called, we respond with pinpoint precision.

This is not a dry run. In your lives, do you apply this mindset or do you function as though you will be able to go back and start over again?

Beyond our vital mission, are you living your life as though this is your only opportunity to maximize your potential? I sometimes reflect on people who become frustrated because they wake up and realize they have not utilized time and opportunity to the fullest extent. Each one of us have gifts and talents, that if maximized, can benefit our workplace, families and communities. This is not a dry run.

One of our core values, excellence in all we do, demands that we attack each day as a chance to grow and improve. Are we exhibiting excellence in all we do? The first place to check is in the mirror in the morning. Consider how physically, mentally and spiritually fit you are. To live your life in an exceptional way requires you not to take a single day for granted.

To continue to be the best air force in the world, our military, civilians and families must understand that this is not a dry run.

Combat Airlift!

VIEW FROM TOP>>Thanks to our Wingmen

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander

Today, Wingman Day, we are gathering together in small groups to talk about how to cope with all the different stresses we face every day. These stresses, unresolved, can degrade both our mission focus and quality of life. Wingman Day offers us the opportunity to address and resolve these stressors and talk about how we can best support each other.

Team Little Rock’s embrace of the Wingman concept and culture is a key component to the delivery of a peerless Combat Airlift capability. Great military powers throughout history have employed the Wingman concept to fight the greatest battles in history. The Romans, for example, used battle lines arranged with infantry in the center and cavalry on the wings. The infantry lined up face to face with the opponent while the cavalry protected the center from being outflanked by their enemies. Neither the cavalry nor the infantry stood a strong chance of defeating their enemy separately, but together, protecting each other, they were a formidable force. Likewise, Team Little Rock is a formidable force when we employ the Wingman concept in the delivery of Combat Airlift for our nation.

As Airmen, we are part of a larger team and the combined effect of each of our efforts makes us the greatest team in the world, capable of taking on any task or foe. We rely on our Wingman to know when we need help, and to be there to pitch in to fill the gap and make the mission successful. There is a great Wingman line in the latest “Iron Man” movie where Air Force Lt. Col. James Rhodes tells Tony Stark that when he puts on the uniform and he looks in the mirror, he recognizes that every person who wears the same uniform has his back. That is a great feeling, that is the Wingman culture.

Tomorrow our country celebrates a holiday proclaimed by President Lincoln, as a national day of prayer and thanks for our country’s prosperity. From the founding of our country to today, one constant thread throughout is the commitments and sacrifices great Americans like you have made to win and defend freedom here and around the world. You and your families will celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow with firsthand knowledge of the sacrifices required to protect the things we are most thankful for. Thank you for your service.

Kim and I wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Combat Airlift!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Wednesday’s Wingman Day has been set aside for leadership and Airmen to stand down from the Team Little Rock’s mission to discuss important issues, give constructive feedback to leadership, develop the Wingman mentality and make Team Little Rock a great place to work. The theme for Wingman Day is “small course corrections make a big difference.” Our goal is to engage each Airman in an operational experience emphasizing responsible choices, team building and stress management to revitalize our culture of Airmen taking care of Airmen.

The feedback from previous Wingman days has shown where people are feeling stress and ideas for how to battle the signs of stress. Based on feedback like this, these campaign plans have been developed to address the problems our Airmen and families are facing due to being an Air Force at war.

The goal of the Building and Supporting Healthy Families campaign plan is to increase Air Force personnel awareness of the indicators and dynamics of family maltreatment including the emotional and financial costs resulting from family maltreatment and the negative impact family maltreatment has on the overall strategic mission of the Air Force. For more information, contact the Family Advocacy Officer at 987-7377.

The goal of the Education campaign plan is to build a partnership with parents, school administrators, private organizations and base leadership to champion world-class facilities, a safe learning environment and quality school performance for our dependent children. Through partnership, ensure public schools in our surrounding communities with Little Rock AFB dependent children enrolled rank in the top 25% of schools in the State of Arkansas as measured by standardized test scores.

As an end state, parents assigned to Little Rock AFB should be excited to live here due to the exceptional Central Arkansas public school opportunities available for their children. For more information, contact the Little Rock AFB School Liaison Officer at 987-6938.

The goal of the Fitness, Sports and Wellness campaign plan is to achieve 100 percent unit involvement in the Fitness, Sports and Wellness Advisory Council. Achieve and maintain 95 percent fitness assessment currency with increases in overall fitness levels. Maintain or exceed AFSVA 5-Star and Golden Eagle Standards for fitness and sports. Incorporate fitness, sports and wellness initiatives that involve Airmen and their families. For more information, contact the Fitness Center Director at 987-7716.

The goal of the Key Spouse campaign plan is to increase personal preparation for military members and their families before deployments, offer support to families during deployments, and assist in the identification of post-deployment stressors and provide avenues of release. Provide support to families of non-deployed members and serve as a valuable communication medium between squadron and wing leadership and family members on Quality of Life issues. For more information, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Flight chief at 987-6801.

The goal of the Personal Financial Management campaign plan is to increase Financial Readiness of Air Force members, Reservists, Guard, DoD civilians, and family members by providing personal financial management skills, on and off base resources, and alternatives to acquiring quick-fix high-interest loans to resolve money problems. For more information, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Flight chief at 987-6801.

The goal of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response campaign plan is to ensure that all victims of sexual assault receive the care and support they require and to use education and intervention as primary means of achieving an environment free of sexual assault. For more information, contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at 987-2697.

The goal of the Deployment Preparation, Support and Return campaign plan is to increase personal preparation for military members and their families before deployments, offer support to families during deployments, and assist in the identification of post-deployment stress. For more information, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Flight chief at 987-6801.

The goal of the Family Housing campaign plan is to ensure that our families have the best possible housing while we’re deployed around the world supporting operations in the Global War on Terrorism. For more information, contact the 19th Civil Engineering Squadron Capital Asset Management Element Chief at 987-2358.

The goal of the Healthy Dormitory Life Quality of Life campaign plan is to provide the highest quality of life possible to the Little Rock AFB unaccompanied housing residents through professional leadership, teamwork and pride. Provide an environment that promotes pride and ownership at the group and unit levels. For more information, contact the 19th Civil Engineering Squadron Capital Asset Management Element Chief at 987-2358.

The goal of the “Operationalizing” Safety campaign plan is to maintain safety awareness and effective risk management principles embedded in all that we do – on-duty and off-duty. For more information, contact the 19th Airlift Wing Safety Office ground safety officer at 987-3290

The goal of the Suicide Prevention campaign plan is to prevent suicidal behaviors through a community-based approach that emphasizes a culture of Airmen caring for Airmen. For more information, contact the 19th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Flight at 987-7338.

The goal of the Responsible Alcohol Use campaign plan is to reduce alcohol related incidents, to include DUIs, through a broad strategy which embraces education, awareness, teamwork, supervisory involvement, and the Wingman philosophy. For more information, contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at 987-2697.

(Courtesy of the Community Action Information Board and the 19th Medical Operation Squadron Mental Health Flight.)

COMMENTARY>>Diversity matters in the Air Force

By Chief Master Sgt. Richard Turcotte
314th Airlift Wing command chief

Hopefully everyone has had a chance to take a look at this week’s “Roll Call” on diversity. The Air Force has played a significant role in diversity and has championed many initiatives ensuring fair and equitable treatment throughout our history as a service. For most of us, we view diversity in general terms as age, race, ethnicity and gender. The Air Force, however, categorizes diversity into four dimensions to facilitate understanding.

The first dimension is demographic diversity – one most are familiar with – for example, what religious faith one belongs to or whether married or not. Conceptually, the Air Force is a dichotomy or slide of good old-fashioned America. This is, in my opinion, what makes us such a great service and a great nation – our ability to capitalize on individual strengths, different cultural backgrounds and personal experiences and values to form one cohesive body that fosters character of heart and mind while internalizing our Air Force Core Values of Integrity, Service and Excellence in completion of the mission.

The second dimension and the one least talked about is that of cognitive diversity. How one goes about a certain task or how one’s thought process differs depending on learned ability. You have all heard the sayings “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” or “that’s the way we have always done things.” Nothing can stifle innovation and creativity faster than the status quo or being satisfied with just doing your job. In today’s Air Force, we can ill afford to be just “OK.” We must continuously strive for improvement through this cognitive approach to diversity by exploiting all forms of thought, training technologies and diverse approaches to problem solving. There is no such thing as a bad idea; we just have to find a place to make it useful.

Our third dimension is defined as structural diversity which refers to organizational characteristics. As we continue to become more joint in our force make-up, we must capitalize on this area in terms of force multipliers and our ability to utilize training and services that were traditionally stovepiped in one particular service. We have seen great examples of this throughout our Joint Sourcing Solutions tasking to assist sister services and the combatant commanders in the Global War on Terrorism.

Traditional roles are now crossing into all service components – strengthening our ability to exploit the battle space.

The fourth and final dimension deals with global diversity. The world is a much smaller place, and as we continue to strengthen our world position, we must be ever vigilant in our relationship building with friendly nations. As the world’s only remaining superpower, we are charged with the protection, security and economies of the free world. We must rely on our allies and take an active role in understanding different cultural belief systems. We must expand how we view the world and strengthen how the world views us.

As you can see, diversity has many forms and all contribute to the total strength of our Air Force. I would challenge each of us to look within our workcenters, communities, cultures, professional organizations and cross-functional areas to champion those differences that enable us. I would also like to encourage all of us to step outside of our comfort zones from time to time to try and increase awareness and understanding of those things that we are unfamiliar with. It’s been said that we are either “green and growing or ripe and rotting.” Which one are you?

COMMENTARY>>We can never say ‘thank you’ enough

By Maj. James Culpepper
19th Comptroller Squadron

One recent Sunday afternoon, I happened upon an inspirational scene as I arrived early to send off one of our deploying warriors at the Little Rock National Airport. I watched as another group of family and friends welcomed home their soldier from his tour of duty. I continued to watch as his two young boys handed their dad welcome home cards they had made. The pride on their faces as they looked up at their dad and the joy they displayed as they reached to take hold of his hand moved me.

Their dad had given the best years of his life for serving his country and his family had sacrificed much. As they walked past, all I could muster was a simple ‘thank you.’

Two words but two important words; during the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill famously said that “never was so much owed by so many to so few.” The same words could be used for today’s Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Coast Guardsmen because we are an all-volunteer force that selflessly stands in the gap for more than 300 million Americans and billions of freedom-loving people.

I have the privilege of sending Airmen from my squadron on deployment taskings. I always end by thanking them for their sacrifice and letting them know how proud I am of their service to their country. As we begin this holiday season, please remember the many families who have a loved one deployed. My prayer is that saying thank you never gets old as we can never say thank-you enough.

VIEW FROM TOP>>What are you thankful for?

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing command chief

As we turn the page on another month and look forward, Thanksgiving is staring us right in the face. Can you believe it’s November already? It appears that time truly is flying. Typically, we look and reflect upon what we are thankful for during this period. Yet, I submit to you that each day gives us the opportunity to think about those things that give us comfort or relief.
Even as our wing finishes up an exercise that captures how well we perform, while highlighting things we can improve upon, I’m thankful for our wing commander. General Schatz is a leader who takes our vision for “unrivaled combat airlift for America…always” very seriously. He understands the significance of Team Little Rock’s readiness for national and international stability.

In an economy where people are having to tighten their belts, I’m thankful for a wing that takes care of its own. Over the past weekend our wing has raised enough food to sustain our food bank for several months. Also, the Little Rock First Sergeant council demonstrated great initiative in revamping operations at the Airman’s Attic. This facility provides vital items to our Airmen and their families across the base.

I am thankful to have the best medical benefits in the land. A recent survey that looked at the military and business industry stated that Tricare is the nation’s best medical program.

I am also thankful to be in an organization that promotes based on your merit and not popularity or favoritism. We have much to be thankful for, and these are things that don’t affect us on a periodic basis but are daily in impact. Each day our wing is trying to improve on how we work, live, rest and play, and for that I am thankful.

Combat Airlift!

VIEW FROM TOP>>ROCKEX lessons learned

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander

This past week we completed our first ROCKEX under Air Mobility Command. Overall, it was a valuable learning experience for us all, and every Airman involved showed a tremendous ability to adapt and overcome challenges. In times of war, things don’t always go as expected. That is why we practice and test our processes and procedures with these exercises to streamline and create habitual responses to conditions we may face. However, when things go wrong, it is equally important to be able to analyze the problem, adapt our response to it, and overcome the problem through our critical and creative thinking. The exercise evaluation team members tested us and we did well, but we still have a ways to go. Remember, America is depending on us to deliver a Combat Airlift capability that is second to none; therefore, we must strive to continually improve.

One of the lessons we can learn from the ROCKEX is the importance of owning our processes. Each of us is the subject matter expert in our respective career fields. Every day, we do a specific job that no one else can do better. That means we take pride in our tasks when they are completed successfully, and we take ownership of our shortfalls when things don’t go as planned.

When these exercises or other inspections come, it’s important that we use these opportunities as a chance to grow, and we can only do that if we honestly and humbly accept our shortfalls as lessons learned. Here at the Rock, no one is expected to be perfect, but everyone is expected to be teachable.

Another lesson we can learn is how beneficial it can be to blend individuals of varying levels of experience. Supervisors - you carry the torch passed to you by your predecessors when they took the time to sit with you, turn a wrench with you, and provide valuable one-on-one training to help mold you into the experts you are. The torch will inevitably be passed to the young Airmen who need you to show them the way. The only way to accomplish this is to integrate both experienced and non-experienced personnel. Our teamwork is not only the backbone of our present success, but is the key to safeguarding the future of our Air Force and America.

Thank you for all your hard work during the ROCKEX, for your willingness to face and overcome challenges, and your demonstration of teamwork.

Combat Airlift!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

TOP STORY > >Hercules Dining Facility ribbon cutting ceremony, grand opening

By Airman Rochelle R. Clace
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Services Squadron held a ribbon cutting ceremony outside of the new Hercules Dining Facility Nov. 7 in honor of the grand opening of the building.

The Hercules Dining Facility had been built to serve Little Rock personnel who support Combat Airlift. The facility is more than 1,900 square feet and was designed to meet the current and future needs of Little Rock. Many organizations helped with the design and construction of this facility. It has an enhanced serving area with a larger salad bar, improvements to the grab and go program and expanded seating by 60 percent.

The 19th SVS is proud to offer an outdoor dining area for its customers and coming soon, wireless internet. With its open ceiling and spacious layout the facility provides a true dining pleasure to the Airmen.

“We’re here to celebrate what is really improving the quality of life for our Airmen and we’re doing that through the opening of this Hercules Dining Facility,” said Col. James Johnson, 19th Airlift Wing vice commander.

“I think it’s important to keep in perspective that we’re leaving a facility that’s over 50 years old and all the challenges you have with maintaining a facility that’s [that old],” said Colonel Johnson.

“It’s like putting on a new addition to your house and then inviting your friends and family over to celebrate it,” said Colonel Johnson. “So let’s continue celebrating this beautiful facility.”

The Hercules Dining Facility is one more reason Airmen are proud to live and serve on Little Rock Air Force Base.

“I congratulate you for this facility and I want you to know, once again, how much we all value the service and contribution of you and your families,” said Congressman Snyder.

COMMENTARY>>The value of the 314 AW brand

By Col. Mark Vlahos
314th Airlift Wing Vice commander

For more than four decades now, the 314th Airlift Wing and Little Rock Air Force Base have been home to the world’s premier C-130 Flying Training Unit. When people around the world talk or think about the mission of Little Rock AFB, they mention the world-class classroom, simulator, flying and maintenance training that goes on every day — this is the value of the 314th Airlift Wing brand. Recently, a contingent from the United Arab Emirates visited the base; why? To see how we train our C-130 force. Their final comment was simple: “we want to build a Little Rock AFB — meaning training center of excellence— in our country.” We routinely hear these comments from our allied partners, and they validate the value of the 314 AW brand.

The 314 AW plays a key role in the Air Education and Training Command continuum of training. We are the final stop in the flight training continuum for all students before they check into their operational C-130 units. The 314 AW provides graduate-level flight training for all crew positions, in both the C-130E and C-130J. When the 314 AW graduates a student, with that graduation comes a brand or seal that the crewmember is certified as combat ready. I like to think of it as a stamp on the forehead of every graduate, the C-130 FTU seal of approval — our brand. For any crewmember, the very next flight after graduating from the FTU could very well be on a deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. The 314 AW is a true force multiplier for every combatant commander; we provide combat-ready crewmembers to sustain the force. Every C-130 mission supporting the global war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan saves American lives by taking convoys off the road.

Every C-130 mission flown in the world can trace its roots to the 314 AW and Little Rock AFB.

As Gen. Lorenz stated, the mission and importance of Little Rock AFB is bigger than the mission of its component wings. Even though base ownership has changed, the mission of Team Rock and the 314th Airlift Wing has not. As a separate wing, the 314th AW can focus on our critical mission of training the world’s best Combat Airlifters to fly, fight and win. With the support of the host wing and our Air National Guard partners in the 189th Airlift Wing, our importance is essential and growing. The 314 AW brand or FTU seal of approval that we provide for all services and 34 nations reverberates around the world. Our stock has never been higher — training is essential to winning the GWOT and future conflicts. Like I said in paragraph one, when people talk or think about Little Rock AFB they think about the C-130 Training Center of Excellence, not just in our Air Force, but in air forces around the globe. That’s the value of the 314 AW brand.

COMMENTARY>>Simple techniques to have a happy and safe holiday

Simple techniques to have a happy and safe holiday
By Col. David Stanczyk
19th Medical Group commander

It’s Nov. 14. Halloween’s past. The election’s past. The World Series has passed. Now, all eyes are looking forward to the holidays. It’s a wonderful, traditional time to get together with family and friends. However, it’s also a time where injuries increase, usually due to a lack of situational awareness and not applying risk management practices to the home life.

Since 2000, the average annual number of fatalities on the road over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is 573. Half of these victims were not wearing seatbelts. Nationwide, seatbelt usage is about 80 percent. It doesn’t take a genius to take the last two sentences together and realize that you are far more likely to survive an automobile crash if you wear your seatbelt.

Plenty of accidents can also happen in the home. To avoid burns in the kitchen, do not wear tops with long, baggy sleeves.

Also, always use potholders and treat every dish as if scalding hot. If you do suffer a burn injury, immediately run cool tap water over the affected area and then cover it with a sterile dressing or dry cloth. This will both reduce the discomfort and help prevent infection. If the burn is more severe and blistering occurs, seek immediate medical attention. Fires can also happen, so do not leave cooking food, fires or candles unattended.

Choking is another important hazard for both children and adults. Some main causes are inadequate chewing and also talking or laughing while eating. Remember your mother scolding you as a child for talking with your mouth full? This is why. So take your time, chew thoroughly and of course supervise your children. One other point is that alcohol inhibits the nerves that assist swallowing, making choking more likely if inebriated, so drink responsibly and not at all if driving.

Using such simple techniques to mitigate risk can help ensure everyone has a happy and safe holiday. Enjoy!

VIEW FROM TOP>>Can you hear me now?

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing command chief

I believe that many of our challenges and opportunities are tied to one important component, and that is our ability to effectively communicate. I attempt to go to a different part of the base everyday to better understand how our leadership can better support our people and their families. Yet, it amazes me how many things come to my attention that I believe could be worked at lower levels.

I don’t say this as a complaint, because I’m happy that people feel like they can bring concerns to me. Although I do recognize that this is not the best way to get concerns addressed. There are many layers between the wing and those at the execution level of our operation who have opportunities to respond to issues affecting those around them. So what I’m asking everyone to do is to take a look at how they can connect and communicate better with those around them.

People typically are more concerned about getting their point across and often sacrifice their ability to listen. Some listen just to determine when they can jump in to offer a rebuttal versus trying to understand why the other person has the articulated point of view.

Battles have been lost, marriages compromised, business deals faltered, and friendships broken due to poor communication. Someone once said we were given two ears and one mouth as a sign that we should listen twice as much as we speak. Good listening skills let the other party know that you value them and what they have to say. It does not have to mean you agree with everything they say; but it shows you are at least trying to understand them.

As we continue to be the best for our nation, family, and community take the time to listen to better understand one another.

Combat Airlift!

VIEW FROM TOP>>Revving up for the ROCKEX

By Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz, Jr.
19th Airlift Wing commander

It’s another great week for Team Little Rock. On Wednesday, we received word that six senior master sergeants on base will be promoted to the highest enlisted rank. To Chief Master Sgt. Select Fred Graves, 314th Operations Group; Greg Kollbaum, 53rd Airlift Squadron; Valeria Richardson, 19th Medical Operations Squadron; John Spillane, 29th Weapons Squadron; Timothy Standish, 19th Security Forces Squadron; and Michael Edwards, 19th Mission Support Squadron, congratulations! This is a direct testament to your hard work throughout your career. This promotion means you are being recognized for your unique talents and the personal characteristics required to lead Air Force people and programs.

When Congress established the rank of chief master sergeant in 1958, they set a ceiling of 1 percent for promotion. There are currently less than 3,000 chief master sergeants serving in the Air Force. This year, only 520 eligible E-8s were selected for promotion. I encourage all of you to congratulate the six selectees on base for their success in this great accomplishment.

I will be calling on these newest promotees and all members of the 19th Airlift Wing to buckle down in the week ahead. We are heading into our first ever ROCKEX as members of Air Mobility Command. How we exercise our capabilities has changed, but how we conduct business has not. This ROCKEX is an opportunity for us to showcase once again what I know you’re all capable of – fly, fight and win Combat Airlift-style.

A lot of hard work and planning has already gone into making this ROCKEX a success. I ask that you do the job you were trained to do in the safe, efficient way you were trained to do it. Now is not the time to “make it pretty” to impress evaluators. This is an opportunity for us to get it right. This exercise comes on the heels of an operational readiness inspection in which we excelled. We should take the lessons learned from that exercise and apply them now.

Your senior leaders and I have asked a lot of you in 2008 – the ORI, the host base transfer, 4-star visits, real world deployments and this ROCKEX – and you have demonstrated time and again that we have what it takes to succeed. Every time we exercise, we’re developing ways to take Combat Airlift to the next level. The warfighters on the ground in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and the newly-formed Africa Command count on us to provide them with the most professional and proficient Combat Airlift on the planet. Getting it right here allows us to get it right out there.

Thank you again for your dedication and enthusiasm. I am motivated by your service and proud to serve with you every day.

Combat Airlift!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

TOP STORY > >Freedom Isn’t Free

By Lt. Col. Nathan Allerheiligen
62nd Airlift Squadron Director of Operations

In his book “End of the Spear”, missionary Steve Saint describes his life with an Amazonian tribe in which every person was completely free to do as they wished and completely equal in every aspect. Although that sounds like a great society to be in, free and equal, in truth that tribe was documented as the most violent society known to man. There wasn’t a single person in the tribe who hadn’t been affected by the rampant killings and vendettas. That tribe was killing itself into extinction in spite of their freedom and equality.

The foundations of liberty, freedom, equality and justice, that are the underpinnings of our great nation, have grown from centuries of thought, trial and the great leadership of men who could see that the fundamental purpose of the government is not to hand out a free lunch. Instead, the ultimate role of the government is to provide the foundational definitions of accepted behavior, the appropriate repercussions and consequences for violating those rules and to execute the punishments justly, fairly, equitably and quickly. In short, the freedoms of all are limited in order to maximize liberty, promote peaceful living and enhance the prosperity of everyone.

As Steve Saint wrote, “On some level, every society has to be willing to kill in order to exist. During my lifetime, there have been five international conflicts in which American soldiers havebeen required to kill and die under the assumption that they were doing it so the rest of us could live. The perpetuation of a society requires that some have to be willing to give up all their liberty so that others can go on living and be free and happy.”

The United States has also extended that protection of the liberty of all through the defense of all. The U.S. military services stand as the nation’s guardian from those who would wish to exercise their freedoms, and try to harm our great country. We have declared war on terrorism in order to carry out two fundamental tasks: protect our liberty from those who seek to destroy it and to extend the protection of our liberties to other people who have the same unalienable rights that we feel that every man, woman and child are granted.

This long war is so much more than a regional conflict. Rather, it is a test of the fundamental fabric of society. To ignore the issue is to give up your liberty. The sacrifice of the men and women who serve in the world’s greatest Air Force is far more than an occupational hazard. Our dedicated service is truly a calling to the transcendental cause of liberty. We gladly give of our time, talents, treasure and our lives in order that those we love and adore are protected. Our hearts also extend to the camaraderie of our fellow warriors and the ideals of our great nation.

To those who have answered that great and difficult calling, the defense of liberty, we give the highest honor and respect. Yet, it is we who wear the uniform and march, sail and fly into battle who are the ones who are blessed, for we see that the cost is small compared to the prize: It is our privilege, our honor and our reward to serve.

COMMENTARY>>Wingman: Protection against unseen danger

I am an American Airman. Wingman, Leader and Warrior

By Col. Charles Hyde
314th Airlift Wing commander

Fixed wing aircraft entered combat in World War I, but first encounters between rival Airmen brought chivalrous waves rather than direct hostilities. As the impact of airpower’s potential was felt on the battlefield, combatants realized the enormous advantage that control of the air provided, and chivalry turned into a life-or-death struggle in the skies. Single aircraft in combat quickly learned they had blind spots in their six o’clock position and that an unseen enemy was deadly. Wingmen developed out of a necessity to protect against unseen danger.

The role of a wingman is the same today. A good wingman helps us avoid unseen dangers by watching our six. For example, a wingman protects his fellow Airman when their judgment is impaired by alcohol and makes sure they don’t drink and drive.

We are all familiar with this description of being a good wingman, but I would like to offer two other types of unseen danger that a wingman must combat—complacency and “being liked.”

The first unseen danger is complacency and stagnation—the enemies of continuous improvement. As you’ve heard me say before, we face a thinking and adaptive enemy, and we must continually improve to be successful in future battles that we and our students will fight. We are either “green and growing, or ripe and rotting”; the difference is often a wingman that sees our blind spots and challenges us to improve by getting us out of our comfort zone.

The second unseen and insidious danger is the false assumption that “being liked” is equivalent to leadership. Many supervisors fail to correct substandard performance because they believe the individual won’t think as highly of them. In fact, the opposite is true; leaders who care about their troops will insist on high standards and adherence to technical order procedures and directives. In our profession, the standards we set will be measured in mission success during future operations and contingencies. There is a high price for low standards. Good wingmen and professional Airmen show leadership by setting high standards and are usually rewarded by watching their Airmen exceed all expectations. Similarly, units with high standards—uniform, facilities, behavior, professionalism—generate high morale and superior mission performance.

Be a good wingman and don’t let a fellow Airman fall to the unseen enemies of complacency and “being liked.”