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!