Friday, February 27, 2009

Top Story>>Airmen train for the unexpected

By Airman 1st Class Rochelle Clace
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Approximately 225 Airmen participated in an exercise at Little Rock AFB Feb. 19 in which two exercise scenarios – an anti-hijacking and terrorist weapon of mass destruction hospital attack – were created to train servicemembers for possible real world situations.

The large scale exercise was one of four required Emergency Management Exercises. The base is required four times a year to exercise the Airmen’s ability to respond to various attacks and natural disasters, said Maj. Adrienne Williams, 19th Airlift Wing chief of wing exercises and evaluations.

Airmen are able to train, practice their abilities and test themselves to prepare for real world scenarios through the exercises they experience. They are then able to find out in what areas they respond well and what areas they should practice in further.

Before the exercise kicked off, Major Williams explained a bit about the exercise and its importance to the training of the Airmen.

“We want to train the way we’re going to fight. Each exercise is based on a different scenario and we have a list of items that we have to cover. This one focuses on terrorists, weapons of mass destruction and anti-hijacking whereas the next one might be a natural disaster,” said Major Williams.

This exercise was an opportunity for the base to work side-by-side with local fire, medical and law enforcement agencies to help strengthen operational processes. According to Major Williams, during real world situations the base would work with these local agencies, so having the opportunity to train with them allows the base to understand how it can more effectively accomplish missions together as a team.

The Airmen exercised with the FBI Special Weapons and Tactics team during this exercise. The base has not exercised with them since 1996, so this was a terrific opportunity for servicemembers to work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement agencies. There was also terrific support from Jacksonville Fire, Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services and the local hospitals, said Major Williams.

The firefighters were part of the first responder’s team along with Security Forces. Once they arrived they assessed the scene and started putting out fires and securing the area.

To prepare for the exercise, volunteers playing injured patients in the hospital attack assembled at bldg. 430 where they were given patient tags and moulage – mock injuries for the purpose of training – by four exercise evaluation team members.

The patient tags identified the volunteers by their injuries and allowed them to have an alternate identity instead of using their actual ID cards. This was a way to ensure that the patients had the proper symptoms throughout the exercise so the medical personnel could properly treat them.

The EET prepared the volunteers for the exercise and then evaluated the performance of the responders throughout the exercise to make sure they used the proper procedures.
Master Sgt. Shannon Sandoval, 19th Medical Group medical services flight NCO in charge and EET member, explained the role of an EET while she applied moulage to the volunteers.

“We do the moulage and then we evaluate how the medical providers respond to the injuries and see if they are doing the appropriate medical care and have a true sense of urgency. Also, if they triage patients correctly and determine whether they have to be transported out or if they can take care of them in the facility,” she said.

The role of the players in the exercise was to simulate injuries after the attack and wait for medical personnel to treat their injuries. If the players weren’t treated in a timely manner their conditions would worsen and potentially result in death.

As Tech. Sgt. Raymond Riley, 19th Medical Support Squadron resource management NCO in charge, applied an abdomen laceration to the left side of a volunteer he explained why these exercises are conducted.
“[Exercises are used] to make sure the people we’re serving and everyone is ready to respond to these situations, as rare as they are. It gives people the opportunity [to learn from] a hands-on situation, as though they were really dealing with the injury,” said Sergeant Riley.

“There’s a lot more injuries than in a normal exercise. We have a lot of players. [We’ve given moulage] facial lacerations, deep vein injuries, smoke inhalation and some impaled objects, such as bomb fragments,” said Tech. Sgt. Pete Johnson, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineering assistant NCO in charge and EET member.

As Master Sgt. Sherri Dietrich, 19th Medical Group family practice flight chief and EET member, simulated a leg laceration by putting wax on the leg of 2nd Lt. Casey Fallon, a 714th Training Squadron student, she explained that applying the make-up to the players in the exercise helped simulate real world injuries, making the exercise more realistic for everyone involved. Lieutenant Fallon added that it adds a more life-like touch, which in turn creates more motivation for the medical personnel to treat their symptoms.

According to Major Williams, the Airmen were able to show their professionalism and teamwork with the community by their timely and skilled performance during the exercise.

“Little Rock AFB successfully exercised the anti-hijacking scenario and terrorist hospital attack. Initiative and teamwork were prevalent throughout the exercise,” she said. “All received excellent training and community ties were strengthened.”

Top Story>>Airmen teach Iraqi air force members aircraft maintenance

By Staff Sgt. Tim Beckham
US Air Forces Central, Baghdad Media Outreach Team

Airmen from the 321st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron at Sather Air Base, Iraq are teaching Iraqi air force members aircraft structural maintenance as both parties learn each other's language.

The advisers concluded that the best way to teach the Iraqis the intricate tasks of aircraft structural maintenance was to let their counterparts do the teaching for them.

"When we first arrived, there was a huge language barrier, but over time we have made progress in teaching the Iraqis aircraft maintenance," said Tech. Sgt. Jim Grifasi, a 321st AEAS metals technician adviser deployed from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. "We have also learned a lot about how to teach them. We decided to teach the ones who could speak English, the ones we could communicate with, and then let them teach their own."

The experimental teaching process has been an enormous success, said Tech. Sgt. Bobby McKenzie, a 321st AEAS aircraft structural maintenance adviser deployed from the 19th Maintenance Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

"Not only are the Iraqis learning how to do their job, but they are even using American written technical orders to accomplish tasks," he said, "I came in one day and one of them noticed a part was missing, so he took it upon himself to interpret the T.O., order the part and use the Iraqi supply system to get the part delivered."

Not only are the advisers teaching the Iraqis how to perform their day-to-day jobs, but also they are teaching them the importance of running a successful shop, Sergeant McKenzie said.

"We are trying to make (an Iraqi major) realize that he is the boss and he needs to make decisions that are in the best interest of his shop," said the native of Manchester, Tenn.

"We are also promoting pride in the workplace, and the importance of a clean work space," said Sergeant Grifasi, who is originally from Buffalo, N.Y.

The Iraqi maintainers have come full circle since these advisers arrived more than six months ago, but they said it was their dedication that impressed them the most.

"One of our guys (became the father of ) a baby girl recently, and when we worked it out so he could go and see her for the first time, he said, 'If you can stay here for a year away from your family to teach me, then I can wait a few more days to see my daughter.' That's how dedicated these guys are," Sergeant McKenzie said.

The two advisers said it has been difficult at times, but they feel like they are making a difference.

"It has been a very rewarding experience," Sergeant McKenzie said. "I have just focused every bit of energy on teaching the Iraqis as much as possible and making friends."

"I told my commander that if I don't do something that truly makes a difference in changing their life, then I have wasted the last year of mine," Sergeant Grifasi said.

Commentary>>Global reach: the 314th Airlift Wing's national security impact

By Col. C.K. Hyde
314th Airlift Wing commander

Our National Security Strategy champions human dignity and democracy – traditional American values, and states that we will strengthen alliances and take cooperative action to make the world a safer and better place. In short, we work with others to accomplish our national objectives. The 314th Airlift Wing provides an integral part of our National Security Strategy by training the World’s best C-130 and C-21 Combat Airlifters.

The United States military has a tradition of working with allies and partners in the cause of freedom. Our Revolutionary War was won with the aid of France. In World Wars I and II we fought as part of a global alliance. In Korea we participated as part of a United Nations Command, and in Afghanistan we fight alongside our NATO partners. In numerous humanitarian operations and in the Global War on Terror, we partner with diverse nations to relieve suffering and protect innocent people.

To be successful in the future, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said we need to build partner capacity and strengthen relationships with friends and allies. In these areas the 314th Airlift Wing makes a daily impact and important contribution to our future security. Last year we trained 353 international students. Many of these students return home and deploy alongside United States forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Others, through the training they receive, increase the capacity of their nation to interoperate with coalition forces, defend themselves, and decrease the burden on United States forces.

In addition to increased partner capacity, the relationships we build provide the greatest benefit. Many of our students become senior leaders in their nation’s armed forces. Their experience at Little Rock Air Force Base, the training they receive and the friends they make form a lasting bond that enables future cooperation and mutual respect. Our student immersion programs provide an understanding of American democratic institutions, culture and life in the heartland of our country that strengthen our common bonds. We build the relationships through which Little Rock AFB is known around the world.

As the foundation of Combat Airlift, the 314th Airlift Wing has a global reach which increases our nation’s ability to work with allies and partners in the cause of freedom.

Commentary>>The daily grind matters

By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Palmer
48th Airlift Squadron, Loadmaster Instructor and Evaluator

Everyone is subject to the daily grind. It’s up for work, out the door, same old thing, day in, day out. “Work is only a grind if you allow it to become one”. My grandfather, R.C. Palmer, who passed away in 2007, used to tell me that all the time. R.C. lived through the Great Depression and was a veteran of World War II. He worked over 90 hours a week between his job at a newspaper and the family farm for over 60 years until his retirement. R.C. impressed upon me that a job is only a bad thing if you make it one. “They call it work for a reason, you know” he told me on several occasions.

The lessons I learned from him were simple. Hard work is a good thing and personal initiative determines whether that work makes a difference. In this time of economic crisis our country is currently in, hard work should not be seen as a grind, but a privilege. As Airmen we have the benefit of our hard work producing not just results, but results that preserve democracy and our great nation’s safety.

No matter what capacity you serve here at Little Rock Air Force Base, your task is essential to the mission being conducted. I am an instructor loadmaster in the 48th Airlift Squadron. My job would be very hard to accomplish on a daily basis without the efforts and hard work of a great many people. Without Air Terminal Operations Center, we would have no loads to airdrop, without the security police we would not have a secure flightline. Finance keeps me paid and allows me to focus on my task of teaching and not worrying whether or not my paycheck will show up. Life Support gives me the equipment to deal with just about any emergency possible. Gold Aircraft Maintenance Unit keeps the planes in the air and their efforts give me an aircraft that brings me home to my wife and sons after every mission.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your hard work and the personal initiative that helps me get my job done every day. Every time you see a Herk overhead, take a moment and watch. That aircraft and the crew on it getting the mission done, are the fruits of all our labor. Enjoy it. It humbles me to have such a large group of people supporting what I do. I intend to continue giving my best each day to honor your commitment to our mission. Anything less than that would be to forget the advice of my grandfather and you can bet I’m not letting him down.

View from the Top>>First Sergeants: people are their business

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

Little Rock Air Force Base is truly blessed to have the group of first sergeants that currently support all of us. They have the unique function of primarily focusing on taking care of our people and their families. The level of energy and dedication that I have witnessed from our first sergeants has been tremendous.

Each time we stand up our deployment processing line, you will always find first sergeants giving out food, comfort and good advice for those hitting the road. During our numerous exercises, you’ll see them all over our base ensuring that people are adequately prepared to handle the elements and training they encounter. Typically if there is a significant event for a military member, such as a birth or even the death of a loved one, the first sergeant is there to help our people through these emotional times.

I consider them unsung heroes of our organization. They are usually behind the scenes ensuring that our Airmen keep their heads in the game by being that counselor during good times as well as tough times. One of their greatest assets is that they are connected to many helping agencies that support our Airmen and their families and do a fine job in connecting our people with the appropriate resources.

There is no greater thing than to help develop our next line of Air Force leaders and our first sergeants fully embrace this concept through their many professional development initiatives. Our first sergeants have my total respect and Col. Otey and I value their input into how this wing is run. So if you happen to run into your first sergeant, do me a favor and give them a pat on the back, because they embody the mindset of service before self.
Combat Airlift!

View from the Top>>What was your New Year's resolution?

By Lt. Col. William Otter
61st Airlift Squadron commander

February is just about over and one of the traditions at the beginning of each year is establishing a New Year’s resolution. Many of us made them, but few of us will actually succeed in achieving these resolutions because we didn’t have a good plan. Whether you made a resolution or not, it’s never too late to set some goals and establish a timeline to achieve them. However, it is important to recognize there are significant obstacles to achieving those resolutions and goals. Two of these obstacles are the scope of the goal and the lack of a measureable timeline to gauge progress toward that goal. An example can illustrate these obstacles and offer suggestions for improved success.

Let’s assume you haven’t earned any college credits, but established a goal of earning your bachelor’s degree by the end of 2010. The goal of earning a bachelor’s degree is good; however, the expectation that you will achieve that goal in just two years may be unrealistic. This is an example of how having realistic scope has a big impact on success. Once the requirements reveal nearly 40 courses are required, it is more realistic to adjust the goal toward earning an associate degree, with typically half the requirements, or lengthen the time to complete the goal. Without the adjustment, frustration and the excuse to give up on the goal is too easy.

Another challenge to completing resolutions and goals is a lack of a measureable timeline. Without a measureable timeline; milestones can slip by and can keep us from achieving that goal. The college degree goal is again a good example. You need to know the courses required for achieving your goal, but that is just the beginning of the information required for a useful timeline. Registration dates, a date to visit the education office to choose a degree program and College Level Examination Program test dates or whatever the requirements or milestones are for your goal should be on a written schedule to help you achieve that goal. Don’t forget to include the rest of your responsibilities in that timeline, like your job and family. The timeline provides an opportunity to track the progress and keep the scope realistic. Additionally, because it’s written down, it is harder to ignore and procrastinate.

There are other factors that can prevent success of resolutions and goals. However, keeping these two in mind will provide a better opportunity for success. Don’t wait for another New Year to establish your goals. Set realistic goals, establish a schedule to track progress and you’ll be on your way to achieving success.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Top Story>>Comptroller excels above and beyond

By Airman 1st Class Rochelle Clace
19th Airlift Wing, Public Affairs

The 19th Comptroller Squadron, who previously reported to Air Education and Training Command, was presented the AETC Financial Management and Comptroller Organization of the Year Award in recognition of its outstanding achievements for the overall performance of the Airmen within the squadron from Oct. 1, 2007 to Sept. 30, 2008.

The Financial Management and Comptroller Organization of the Year Award is given to each major command’s highest performing comptroller organization. The squadrons must meet criteria in two categories, outstanding achievements and management of resources, in order to be selected for the award.

“All of us are required to do our job. So you have to distinguish yourself in certain areas above and beyond your peers. Here at Little Rock in particular, we had a very challenging year. We experienced an ORI in April 2008, prepared the squadron for a host base transfer to Air Mobility Command, “cut-over” to the new Air Force Financial Services Center at Ellsworth and we were a test base for several different financial systems for the Air Force.” said Maj. Rob Culpepper, 19th Comptroller Squadron commander.

The 19 CPTS were recognized for outstanding achievements, such as creating a Defense Travel System profile checklist that was adopted for use Air Force wide by Air Force Accounting and Finance offices to validate all user information.

The leadership of the Comptroller Squadron were proud when they heard that they had won the Financial Management and Comptroller Organization of the Year Award.

“It was not the accomplishment of one person [in the squadron], it was everyone coming together. I knew that they were working hard and doing great things and this just validated all the hard work that everybody put in over the last year. I was really thrilled for the squadron because it said something about everybody,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffery VanScoy, 19 CPTS superintendent.

“One of the hallmarks of the squadron I think is that we embrace change. We’ve really taken the lead for the Air Force in a lot of different ways in financial management. As a commander, there isn’t a better feeling then to stand in front of your [squadron] and to say to your guys that you have achieved the recognition of being number one,” said Major Culpepper.

“It just felt good to know that all the hard work that we did was actually recognized by the Air Force leadership,” said Master Sgt. Jerry Freeman, 19 CPTS financial services flight chief.

Within the squadron, the Financial Services Flight was also presented with the Financial Services Office of the Year Award at the Air Force and AETC level and Capt. Suzanne Overstreet was presented with the Financial Management Officer of the Year Award at the AETC level from Oct. 1, 2007 to Sept. 30, 2008.

The Financial Services Office of the Year Award is presented to the best financial services office in the Air Force each fiscal year. The award is judged on similar criteria as the Financial Management and Comptroller Organization of the Year Award, only at the flight level. Once the squadron or flight wins the command level award, they are then placed in the running for the same award at the Air Force level.

The Financial Services office is a highly prepared flight which received an excellent on their ORI in April 2008 and came up with a local Basic Allowance for Substance procedure, which the Air Force adopted and changed their Air Force Instruction. The procedure alleviated pipeline students from overpayments and debts.

The 19 CPTS plans to focus on further training and instructing their younger Airmen in the squadron and continue to embrace continuous improvement to their processes and products. The squadron is also planning to launch a marketing campaign, which will make the financial arena changes more visible to the Airmen on base.

“When I think about the two awards and as we go into the future, I think our focus has been, and will continue to be, ‘how can we best take care of our customers?’ What sets us above our peers is we’re 100 percent committed to taking care of the men and women at Little Rock Air Force Base,” said Chief VanScoy.

“We’re grounded in the fact that we know our mission is Combat Airlift and we know that everything we do is supporting that mission,” said Major Culpepper.

Top Story>>Housing residents offered cash back

By Tech Sgt. Kati Garcia
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

An entire months’ rent is just a pen scrawl away for housing residents here.

Current Hunt-Pinnacle residents are eligible for a “move-in special” between now and Feb. 28, even if they’re already residing in base housing, officials say.

There are two specials currently available. Any new tenant with dependents signing a one year lease, or any tenant with dependents renewing an existing lease for one year, will receive a check equaling the amount of one months’ rent.

Single Airmen currently living in base housing who renew their lease for a year will now be charged rent equal to the single-rate basic allowance for housing commiserative with their pay grade. This is a reduction from the “with dependent” rate single Airmen had been paying in the past. These Airmen will not receive a one month rebate on their rent. Instead, they will enjoy a reduced rent rate. These Airmen will still need to sign a new lease for a year.

Officials say the monetary incentives are part of Hunt-Pinnacle’s way of showing their commitment to residents to improve their quality of life.
Eligible personnel are any current American Eagle lease holders and any Pinnacle lease holders who have signed a year-long contract since November, 2008.

Pinnacle is honoring the “military clause” portion of the lease which will allows members receiving permanent change of station orders to break their lease without fault – meaning they will not have to pay back the rebated rent amount. However, members breaking a lease because of “convenience,” meaning they opted to move out of housing on their own volition, will be required to pay back the one months’ rent if the lease is terminated prior to the one-year mark.

The lease must be signed by the active duty member. Spouses can sign if they hold a current power of attorney giving them legal permission.

The offer ends on Feb. 28, 2009. Checks will be mailed within four to six weeks of the lease signing. Anyone who signed a year-long lease with Pinnacle after Nov. 5, 2008 will not be required to sign again. Pinnacle officials are currently searching their records to identify those people who will be grandfathered in after Nov. 5 who currently hold a valid, one year lease.

Contact the Pinnacle Management Office at 983-9044 for details.

Commentary>>Physical fitness: It's a measure of readiness

By Chief Master Sgt. Andy Kaiser
Air Force Personnel Center command chief

[Editor’s note: The 314th Airlift Wing leadership felt this article would be important to the members of the wing due to their dedication to physical fitness.]

Imagine you report for duty one morning and your supervisor notifies you of your selection for a 270-day deployment to a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. After the news begins to sink in, you then find out you must also complete some tough combat skills training at Ft. Bragg. Holy cow! Oh and finally, you need to be at Ft. Bragg in 10 days! As you start to regain consciousness 10 minutes later, you ask yourself, “Can I handle this? Can I physically complete the training, let alone the arduous demands at the forward operating base?” Beads of sweat form on your brow as you reflect on your recent PT test score. You met the standard by scoring a 77, but you realize now you are not in the shape you need to be. “Why didn’t I try harder during our unit PT sessions? Why wasn’t I more consistent in my own PT regimen, why didn’t I push myself harder? I’m going to be at training in a week and a half, and I’m going to have a tough time!” An important lesson learned the hard way– physical fitness is a vital measure of readiness.

Regardless of our AFSC, military Airmen are warriors! At any given minute, we can be tasked to deploy halfway around the world, in austere conditions, work crazy extended hours, and put lead downrange if necessary. This is why we are called to a higher standard. Do you think someone who increasingly looks like the Michelin Man, barely passed his PT test nine months ago, and has given minimal time to physical fitness is ready to deploy to an arduous location? I doubt it.

A reading of the latest Air Force publication “Portraits in Courage, Volume 3”, reminds us again of the critical role physical fitness plays in mission effectiveness. One of the portraits features Airman First Class Chad Kuykendall, a combat Airman who served as a convoy driver in Iraq. After his truck was attacked, he extracted his convoy commander from the smoked-filled vehicle. With his vehicle commander injured and unable to walk unassisted, Airman Kuykendall supported her as they moved to the nearest gun truck approximately 100 meters away. His fitness proved to be a large factor in the rescue.
I’ve been blessed to be assigned to units that required strong physical fitness standards because the mission demanded it. In the summer of 2001, some of my fellow Airmen in the 609th Air Communications Squadron dug 100-foot trenches by hand in 115-degree desert heat to lay critical antenna cable for the combined air and space operations center. The “Devil Raider” Airmen from my last unit, the 621st Contingency Response Wing, always have one Contingency Response Group on alert, ready to deploy on a moment’s notice anywhere in the world to establish an air base. Some of my previous units held “combat field days”, athletic events that hone military skills, and all of AFPC has been conducting unit runs (including an optional ruck march) for a few months now. These are a few of the thousands of examples around the Air Force highlighting this point – a high level of physical fitness is necessary all the time, not just two months before the next PT test.

“But Chief, when I deployed, I went from my air conditioned tent, to the air conditioned DFAC, to my air conditioned place of duty. It was less than a quarter-mile walk, and I never had to wear a flak vest or carry chem gear. It didn’t really matter that I wasn’t in the greatest shape.” Consider yourself very fortunate, my friend. With 29,000 Airmen deployed in the USCENTCOM AOR, and over 6,000 in joint expeditionary taskings on any given day, your next deployment could be far different indeed.

I’ll not spend a lot of time telling you the benefits of exercise, because it is a no-brainer by now. Physical fitness provides you with more energy, improves your cardiovascular system, diminishes stress, and helps you manage your weight… know all this. Most importantly, for the combat Airman (and all who wear the AF uniform are combat Airmen), your fitness level could be the difference between mission success or failure in the field.

Job knowledge and leadership are critical to your overall performance; and no one would consider trying to do a job they were not trained for….yet often I see Airmen trying to perform duties they are not “fit” for. Physical fitness and readiness are vital to your mission effectiveness.

General George Patton once said, “No b$!@* ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb b$!@* die for his country.” So how do we get the enemy to die for his country or cause? Many factors go in to that answer, but it’s no secret. Physically fit combat Airmen help fulfill General Patton’s mantra. It boils down to this: High Fitness = High Readiness = High Mission Capability. So if the most you can run is 2 miles, keep stretching it out a little farther each run. Before you know, 3 miles will be easily achievable. If you just completed your first 5K, that’s great, but don’t stop there. You can bust out 40 push-ups in a minute? OK, that’s good, but why not strive for 50, 60, or more? The more we push it (within reason now), the stronger and faster we become. And when we do so, we are personifying our core value Excellence in All We Do. Do not our fellow Airmen and beloved country call us to this? Don’t let yourself, your team mates and country down…be fit, be ready, be a leader!

Commentary>>What Black History Month means to me

By Senior Airman Dennis Gardner
19th Services Squadron Base Honor Guard assistant manager

When we limit our ways of thinking, we also limit what options and opportunities we have. People of all races and ethnic back grounds should always strive to learn more about those who are different from them and the month of February gives us that opportunity.

February is designated Black History Month. It is important to observe this month and recognize the achievements and contributions of African Americans to American society.

History is what makes us who we are and it reminds us of where we come from. Black History Month not only illuminates the accomplishments of blacks, it illuminates the fact that we all can accomplish great things despite our circumstances.

We should celebrate the invention of the gas mask by Garrett Morgan, which was initially made to provide clean air for firefighters and coal miners. Today, we are fighting a War on Terrorism and the gas mask is critical to our survival while deployed. Garrett Morgan’s invention laid the groundwork for the gas mask we use and for that it is a part of history and important to acknowledge.

Our remembrance of those who have fought for the equality, freedom and justice for all people, is a way to show appreciation for the doors they have opened. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation and less than 45 years later we witnessed history with the election of our first Black U.S. President.

Our future is symbolizing change and for those of us in uniform, we should reflect on our military progression and remember the Buffalo Soldiers, the Tuskegee Airmen and times when we defended the nation in segregated combat. We are now united and depend on one another for support within our military services both at our duty stations and deployed environments.

It is important for us to understand, appreciate and remember those trailblazers who set the standards for achieving equality and overcoming diversity. For that I am proud to celebrate and embrace my heritage.

View from the Top>>Are we really that different?

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

As we finished the wing run last week, I made my way back to our headquarters and stood under the U.S. flag for a moment and began to reflect. We are all a part of a great nation built on working everyday to become a more perfect union. Yet, I do believe it’s important to understand the unique backgrounds each of us bring with them. So I’m also a fan of learning opportunities that celebrate our diverse culture. But when the base as a whole ran together in our PT gear, I couldn’t tell who was who, all I knew was that I was part of a tremendous team.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that those things that we have in common are the things that make us who we are. Those of us that have worn the uniform, past and present, or support those that wear the uniform have decided we care enough about our way of life to defend it with our lives. I also think most people want to live in decent neighborhoods, have employment and health security while establishing a leg up for their offspring. Although, I can notice the distinctions in people, such as color, gender, cultural traditions, and language to name a few; I still believe deep down that we aren’t that different.

I believe our challenge is to take the opportunity to better understand each other, while all of us take care of our mission our families and our communities. We can equally celebrate the things we have in common while developing a strong knowledge of those unique attributes each of us bring to the table. If we are going to continue to become a more perfect union, then let’s focus on those things that unite us, while eliminating those things that divide us. Are we really that different?
Combat Airlift!

View from the Top>>Three wings, one team

By Col. Gregory S. Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

Team Little Rock – Home of Combat Airlift

There are three words we hear daily as we go about our business here. They’re on letterheads and the marquees, used in e-mails and Commander’s Calls, written in performance reports and spoken at staff meetings. They are: “Team Little Rock.” You can’t taxi a Herk or drive through our gates without running across the phrase.

Bases across the Air Force have come to embrace the term “team” and it may seem almost cliché to some. But most clichés are cliché for a reason – they’re so prevalent they become true. At The Rock, we take the team concept to an entirely new level and use it to impact operations around the world.

Anyone who makes their living in or around the C-130 gets their start here. Col. C.K. Hyde commands the 314th Airlift Wing. Their mission is to lay the foundation for the finest C-130 aviators and maintainers in the Air Force. They train these airlifters to fly, fight and win. More than 900 professional Airmen make this happen every day.

Additional training is provided by Col. Jim Summers and the men and women of the Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing. They train C-130 aircrew to become instructors in their respective crew positions so they can return to their units and keep their members combat ready. They are also one of two flight engineer schools that provide entry-level flight engineer training.

The 314th AW and the 189th AW work in concert to train and educate providing the foundation for all Combat Airlifters. The 19 AW takes their product and with a little additional training and equipping we make them deployment ready. We ensure these Airmen are equipped and ready to answer our nation’s call. When that call comes, it doesn’t matter what patch you wear or what your wing guidon says. When we provided medical evacuation and security to the people of Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi following Hurricane Gustav, Americans didn’t thank a wing – they were grateful to a team. A tsunami rocked the Southeast Asian region known as Myanmar and Burma and we got the call. The world didn’t see lifesaving supplies from a squadron or group – they watched in awe as tail flashes proudly announced “The Rock” was there to help. A U.S. Marine, Soldier or one of our own Airmen performing a Joint Expeditionary Tasking with convoy duty will express his or her gratitude each time we’re able to take one of their convoys off the road in Iraq. They are not just thanking the Black Knights of the 19th AW, they are thankful “Team Little Rock” was producing Combat Airlifters.

Your actions each day are the embodiment of what it means to be part of “Team Little Rock.” I am very proud to lead this team and all its Combat Airlifters. You put the "Air" in Combat Airlift!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Top Story>>New wing commander discusses priorities

by Staff Sgt. Juan Torres
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing welcomed Col. Gregory S. Otey, former Air Force Expeditionary Center vice commander, with a change of ceremony held Jan. 28 at Hangar 276.

Colonel Otey, who previously served here as Weapons Officer at the C-130 Weapons School from 1995 to 1997, felt very fortunate and excited to return to Little Rock Air Force Base as the host wing commander.
“[My wife] Lisa and I met here,” he added. “We lived here for two years. Two of my sons, Jacob and Chris, were born here and I have been to Little Rock AFB numerous other times throughout my Air Force career for temporary duties and training—it truly is the Home of C-130 Combat Airlift.”

The new wing commander describes his leader style as “servant leadership.” According to the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in a 1970 essay titled “The Servant as Leader” which states “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions...The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.”
he colonel also described his main leadership philosophy. “Simple—mission first, people always, 19th Airlift Wing excellence always,” he said.

Colonel Otey discussed some of the quality of life issues he would like to champion to benefit Team Little Rock Airmen and their families.

“Some of the issues that I would like to tackle are privatized housing, a base our Airmen and families are proud of and to help improve schools for our kids in the local area,” he said.

When asked about his goals while in command of the 19th Airlift Wing, Colonel Otey said he has purposely not set any goals at this time because he wanted see which areas would be the most effective use of resources.
“I want to see what is working and what we can improve on and create goals based on that to take us to the next level,”said the colonel.

The commander described Team Little Rock's Combat Airlift mission and its importance “as an enabler in this nation's ability to fight the Global War on Terrorism.”

“Combat Airlift helps provide sustainment for the warfighter. It takes convoys off the road, reducing ground force exposure to enemy attacks. Through our airdrop capability it provides resupply for isolated troops who cannot get resupplied by other means. It transports wounded warriors to lifesaving care,” he added.

The colonel views the relationship between Team Little Rock and the local community as outstanding.

“Take a look at the number of community leaders who came out for the change of command...there were a lot.” he said. “The local community takes pride in their Air Force Base and the Airmen of Little Rock AFB are very fortunate to have such great community support. I want to help that relationship grow to the next level.”

The colonel concluded by expressing his thrill at returning to the center of the C-130 universe and describing his plans while here at The Rock.

“I am very excited to be here and look forward to leading the 19th Airlift Wing Black Knights and Team Little Rock,” he said. “I plan to work with our Airmen and community partners to ensure that when people hear about Little Rock AFB they will know it is the Home of C-130 Combat Airlift and we provide Unrivaled Combat Airlift for America...Always!”

Top Story>>Little Rock Air Force Base military working dog passes away

By Senior Airman Richard Saab
19th Security Forces Squadron

The 19th Security Forces Squadron recently lost a valued member of its base defense team. Rex, an Explosives Detector Dog, served honorably for over eight years. He entered the military like all other defenders at Lackland AFB, Texas, on March 30th, 2000 at two years of age. Following his training, Rex distinguished himself with impeccable service in many different environments, time and time again. He was frequently selected to protect highly distinguished U.S. political figures and foreign dignitaries alike. On one special assignment, he and his handler were charged with the protection of heads of state from nine separate Central American countries. Further, Rex and his handler provided world-class security and screening during multiple U.S. presidential visits, performing admirably at each event. Rex’s last handler, SSgt Benjamin Bomar, related that “Rex was very loyal and reliable and could always be counted on to get the job done.” Following the 2001 attack on the U.S. and the anthrax scare only the best could be entrusted with the protection of the United States, again Rex answered the call. In February of 2002, Rex supported the successful Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Rex served selflessly with a flawless record in 10 different overseas deployed locations with eight different military working dog handlers over his career. He searched hundreds of vehicles and buildings each day, enabling safe and secure military operations across the globe. Rex protected innumerable personnel, critical assets, and military resources over his career. Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Eha, 19th Security Forces Squadron kennel master, related that “He was loved by those he served with and will be sorely missed.”

Rex succumbed to severe respiratory complications and passed away at the age of 11. He spent his entire military career in the protection of others and his presence let the populace breathe easy. Rex was a hero among us and will not be forgotten.

Commentary>>Warrior: Affirming the Air Force ethos

I am an American Airman, Wingman, leader and warrior

By Col. Charles K. Hyde
314th Airlift Wing Commander

The United States Air Force is the dominant global force in history – deterrence, global strike, global mobility, combat delivery, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, special operations – our Air Force brings unprecedented capabilities to combatant commanders and our nation. We possess cutting edge technology, outstanding facilities, and have an unrivaled and unique understanding of how to bring air power to bear, but these are not the foundation of our true strength. Our strength emanates from the world’s greatest Airmen.

Yes, people are our strength, but it is more than people. Many airlines, companies, and civic organizations have excellent people. What makes Airmen different is the warrior ethos. I am an American Airman – Wingman, Leader, WARRIOR. We are heirs to a great legacy which includes great warriors such as Rickenbacker, Gabreski, Bong, Sijan, and Levitow; and great achievements such as Big Week, the Berlin Airlift, the relief of Khe San, and air power’s unprecedented role in Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The Airmen’s warrior commitments to fly, fight, and win is what makes us the world’s greatest Air Force.

In the 314th Airlift Wing, warriors train warriors. Our instructor force has over 100,000 hours of combat experience. The ability of the Air Force to fulfill its role of operational and tactical airlift depends upon the foundation that the 314th AW builds. A strong foundation is essential for success in the long war against terrorism, success on battlefields that we can’t predict, and in battles that our students, and not us, will fight in the future. This warrior ethos and commitment to
mission accomplishment start at Little Rock AFB and the 314th Airlift Wing.

We should be proud of the world’s greatest Air Force and our heritage of combat excellence, and promote the warrior ethos that is essential to our nation’s defense.

Commentary>>Successful change lies with solid leadership

By Senior Master Sgt. Leslie Snyder
19th Communications Squadron superintendent

I remember the moment well. My fellow high school freshman English students and I paced around nervously, waiting to begin our first public speaking assignments of our lives. Mrs. Zink, our teacher, tried to calm our anxieties by reminding us that the two biggest human fears are death and public speaking.

Mrs. Zink may have been right about those two fears, but I believe she should have added “change” to that list. Most tremble at the thought of anything out of the ordinary – starting a new job, getting married, permanent change of station moves, even getting a new supervisor or the uncertainty that goes along with the extra responsibilities of being promoted. But it does not have to be that way.

If you would like to get a different perspective on change, I highly recommend you read the book “Who Moved my Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, MD. This short book will certainly give you a different perspective on change. If you are in a position of leadership, this book will help make you a better leader because it will help you guide your subordinates through change. Solid leadership is vital when adapting to change.

If you want to make a difference as a leader, it is imperative that you overcome your fear of change. In fact, the best leaders are willing to lean forward and shake things up. Do you want to be remembered by your subordinates and co-workers as someone who just helped your section meet mission requirements, or do you want to take it a step further and be remembered as someone who truly made a difference? The best leaders find a better way of doing things, persevered through problems or successfully navigated a shortage of people and resources to get the job done, smarter and more efficient.

Our Air Force is in the middle of some of the most dramatic changes since the inception of our branch of service in 1947. According to Airman Magazine, fiscal 2007 end strength of our active force was 328,808, which is the lowest total ever. Guard, reserve and civilian end strength remained steady. The fact that our force is challenged with limited personnel yet remains deeply involved in supporting the Global War on Terrorism speaks volumes about the change many of us are feeling in our daily work lives. Air Force leaders at every level are taking on the challenge of maintaining mission accomplishment with fewer resources. But what can we do to help our youngest Airmen adjust to the additional stress of change?

A good place to start is to assess a question our new 19th Airlift Wing commander, Col Otey, has been asking several Airmen. “What is your role in making the Combat Airlift mission successful?” Vision is critical component in overcoming change. Supervisors have a responsibility to make sure those under them understand their role in the unit and how it supports the bigger picture of Combat Airlift. This lays the foundation to successfully navigate through the changes we are experiencing in our career fields, as it will keep a clear sight of vision and goals and the overall priority for every member of the base. Once each person in your section or unit has a grasp on their place in completing the mission, it is time to embrace several leadership qualities that will lead us through these turbulent times.
– The determination to share the vision of embracing new ideas and challenges with every Airman who shares a stake in Combat Airlift mission success
– The energy to inspire subordinates to action in order to successfully achieve goals.
– The foresight to empower the right people to learn new skills and stretch their capabilities.
Negotiating change depends on leaders who can energize operations; inspire those under them, capture the purpose of the change and turn it into commitment to the overall goals of the organization. Look around this base, whether it is the Airman filling a prescription at the medical group, an NCO maintenance supervisor on the flight line or the company grade officer executive officer in one of the groups. There is one common theme – smart, dedicated people who are willing and able to persevere through challenges to ensure the Combat Airlift mission is successful. The people are in place, we just need to persevere through it.

View From The Top>>Communication, an airpower essential

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

How many times in the last week have you had to stop what you were doing to re-address something that you thought you had clearly communicated. Whether it’s on the job, or with our friends or even in our homes, miscommunication can lead to wasted time and other frustrations. On the other hand, good communication pays huge dividends to our professional and personal lives.

When I joined the Air Force 25 years ago, the preferred form of communication was actually talking to people. What a concept. Of course back then most of my work was done on a typewriter; I’m sure I just lost the younger generation with that reference. Fast forward to 2009 and people use e-mail or text messaging versus looking a person in the eyes. These are great forms of reaching out, but I believe nothing can replace the human touch. You ever notice that people will say things over e-mail that they would have trouble saying face to face?

Yet, I submit to you that with advances in technology and a robust mission, effective dialogue is the difference between good and great results. We cannot solely rely on Web based training, e-mail, text messaging or manuals to develop our Airmen. Lt. Col. Ken Walters, 19th Airlift Wing director of staff, put it in perspective for me today. His point was interpersonal communication establishes and solidifies healthy working relationships.

Wherever our Airmen are, supervision should be visible and actively communicating. No better sight is there than a supervisor doing over-the-shoulder training with a new Airman ensuring safety and checklist discipline. Good leadership understands communication is a bridge builder and uses it to develop the best team possible. My question to you is, are you an automated wizard or a hands-on leader? Automation is a tool, yet hands-on leadership brings vision to life. Talk to you soon.
Combat Airlift!

View From The Top>>Servant leadership

By Col. Gregory S. Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

January was a time of change for Team Little Rock. On Jan. 20th our nation's military welcomed a new Commander in Chief in President Barack Obama. Eight days later, I took command of the 19th Airlift Wing and Little Rock Air Force Base.

I haven't always been a commander and not that long ago, I stood where you are today. Anytime there is a change in leadership, it's common for every echelon of command to place a temporary hold on making certain changes or decisions.

This is many times justified by saying "Let's wait to see what the new guy wants." A change of command often times brings about a change in direction, but no one should be left wondering what "the new guy" wants.

What I want from you is simple. I want each of you to place the mission first; take care of people always; and demand 19th Airlift Wing excellence always! It's just that simple. I believe strongly in servant leadership. This approach emphasizes each leader's role as a steward of the resources -- human, financial, and otherwise -- provided to them by their organization. Servant leadership allows each of us to serve others while we stay focused on achieving great results based on the Air Force's Core Values.

Being a servant leader calls for selflessness. Selflessness may mean that a leader must make an unpopular decision because the leader feels it's in the best interests of those they serve. An example that comes to mind is that of a politician who champions an unpopular policy when they believe it's in the best interests of the country.

Servant leaders are devoted to serving the needs of the organization's members. This means they focus on meeting the needs of those they lead; developing employees to bring out the best in them; coaching others to encourage self-expression; facilitating personal growth in everyone who works for them; and listening and helping build a sense of community.

To be an effective servant leader you must apply all of these facets, but the one I'm most honed in on now is maintaining and expanding a sense of community and teamwork. This sense of community extends beyond the base gates. It's vital that we continue to strengthen the great ties with our central Arkansas neighbors.

I have been careful not to set any goals for the wing yet because I believe it is important to take time to observe how the mission is accomplished, see what is working and why, and then see what can be improved upon. Then I will work with the great team of leaders here to create goals based on what is necessary to take us to that next level.

We have a great history of providing unrivaled Combat Airlift for America always. If each of us acts as a responsible steward for our resources, remains loyal to those we serve and continues to place the mission first, there will be no need to wait for a new set of goals. The 19th Airlift Wing Black Knights and Team Little Rock have worked hard to earn their distinction as the home of C-130 Combat Airlift. That shouldn't - and I believe won't - change based on whose name is at the top of our organizational chart. Combat Airlift!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Top Story>>Team Little Rock Airman trains Iraqi firefighters

By Senior Master Sgt. Trish Freeland
U.S. Air Forces Central - Baghdad Media Outreach Team

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi firefighters are more than half-way through the firefighter apprentice course being taught for the first time in Baghdad’s International Zone. The class was previously conducted at Taji Military Base just north of Baghdad but the location lacked advanced live fire trainers and had a very limited capacity for students.

“The maximum class size at Taji was 10. In the IZ, we have five extra instructors from Civil Defense who enable us to teach an additional 24 students for just one class,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian Partido, a fire rescue advisor deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

The new location allows firefighters from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense, which includes the Iraqi air force and army, to come together at one location for training. This particular training session marked the first time the two ministries worked together at this level.

“It was easy to show how beneficial the training would be. The Iraqi air force firefighters weren’t getting the training they needed at Taji,” said Maj Trenton Roney, a training advisor deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va.

“Combining the course not only helped the MoD, but also the MoI. They were granted access to the Iraqi air force fire truck and firefighter suits that are being used for the training,” said Major Roney, a self-labeled military brat whose parents reside in Davidsonville, Md.

The sixty-day course was designed and conducted by the Coalition Air Force Training Team, a division of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and augmented by U.S. Air Force firefighters from the Department of Public Works and nearby Sather Air Base.

“We took the fire apprentice course from the U.S. Air Force and adapted it to the way Iraqi firefighters operate here and then had it translated into Arabic,” said Partido, an El Paso, Texas native.

The course consists of six training blocks that cover various areas including medical issues, basic fire principles, fire control, hazardous materials, structural training and aircraft firefighting.

“We took them through a structural trainer that is a brand new state of the art propane driven trainer,” said Partido. “We gave them the baseline knowledge of being able to enter a facility safely, extinguish a fire and operate on a fire and emergency scene.”

“Since the MoI and MoD will often have to work together to fight fires, it’s best for them to receive the same level of training so they'll be able to accomplish this more easily,” said Major Roney.

The class brought together an eclectic mix of firefighters with different levels of firefighting experience. The experience levels ranged from those with no firefighting experience at all to veterans with 20 years experience.

Colonel Juher Jumhor Al Azawi, director general of the Training Academy, has been a firefighter for the last four years. He said the class was a good refresher.

“I’ve had rescue and firefighting training before but this class offered a lot of new information,” he said. “I never worked with airbags before this.”

1st Lt Ra’ed Hussein Alwan, is a 16-year Iraqi air force veteran. He previously served as a mechanic but transferred to firefighting after the war started in 2003.

“I chose to be a firefighter because it’s a humanitarian thing, just like doctors helping sick kids,” he said. “Even if I’m on vacation, I can use my skills to help with car accidents, volunteer at hospitals, or put out neighbors fires.”

Upon graduating in early January the firefighters will return to stations throughout Iraq to put their newly sharpened skills to use.

“We started with the basics and worked our way to the more advanced techniques,” said Sergeant Partido. “It’s amazing to see how far they’ve come in such a short amount of time. I think they’re going to do excellent.”

Commentary>>Our airlift heritage

By Christopher Rumley
314th Airlift Wing historian

William H. Tunner is not a name many people outside the airlift world would know. This American hero remained largely obscure even during the pinnacle of his career. As a young officer in the Air Corps, Tunner realized early on he was more adept at doing the Air Force’s paperwork than flying its airplanes. As a lieutenant in 1935, while stationed in Panama, he learned that he loved the attention to detail required to manage the men and planes of an airlift. The knowledge gained would serve him well in the years to come.

When World War II broke out he had climbed to the rank of major. By the spring of 1942 he was promoted to colonel. His reputation for order and detail helped land him a position in Air Transport Command’s Ferrying Division. Leading the division, he was responsible for finding, organizing and training pilots to deliver the aircraft coming out of America’s assembly lines. Finding himself short on pilots, he established the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron and the Women Airforce Service Pilots – giving American women pilots their first chance to participate in the war effort. He encouraged his staff to take initiative and act, “If you get a job to do, do it”, he would tell them. He asked to have decisions made at the lowest possible level and to only be kept informed. Under his command the division grew to 45,000 people all working together to deliver more than 120,000 aircraft in 1944 alone.

In 1942, the Japanese advanced on mainland China, and cut off the re-supply routes for US and Chinese troops over the Burma Road. The only means to provide for the Army was through an airlift from India over the 16,000 foot high Himalayan Mountains. This airlift, nicknamed “The Hump” because of its flight path over the mountains, had horrendous safety records and low morale when Tunner took command. In the last half of 1943 alone, there were 153 major accidents and 168 fatalities. Tunner turned the operation around in a hurry and earned the nickname “Willy the Whip,” for his insistence on order, discipline, and mission. Initially, he was resented and despised by the pilots and crews, but a sense of pride and teamwork quickly dispelled any doubts that he was the right man for the job. Before Tunner arrived, the record for supplies delivered in one day was 2 million pounds.

By the time the airlift was over, crews were delivering 10 million pounds a day and the accident rate diminished exponentially. “I wanted to know what every airplane was doing on every base every day,” he said, “Our operating procedure policy was that each plane must be flying, undergoing maintenance, or be in the process of loading or unloading every second of every day…this is how you build up tonnage, by the constant utilization of equipment.” After the war, Tunner went back to Washington DC and spent the next three years caring for his wife, who died of cancer in 1947, and caring for the two young sons he had seen so very little of since their birth.

In 1948, while reading the newspaper at his breakfast table, now Major General Bill Tunner learned there was an airlift in Berlin. The Russians had blockaded the city and its 2.25 million citizens were cut off from the rest of the world. Their only means for food and coal to get through the long winter was the American airlift. The United States, unwilling to give Stalin a free hand in Germany and Western Europe stood on the precipice of yet another world war. If the airlift could not provide for the people of Berlin, war seemed the only alternative. With the peace of the world hanging in the balance of a successful airlift, Tunner asked to take command. Thirty days into the airlift, he got his wish. When he showed up at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, Tunner noticed a lot of confusion on the ground. Pilots were inside waiting for flight paperwork or eating by the snack bar while their planes sat waiting on the air field. Tunner restricted pilots and crews to the airfield and brought everything needed out to them, including the prettiest women of Berlin working in the snack trucks. In three days of command, Tunner reduced the turnaround time at Tempelhof from 1.5 hours to 30 minutes. “The actual operation of a successful airlift,” he would say, “is about as glamorous as drops of water on stone…the real excitement from running a successful airlift comes from seeing a dozen lines climb steadily on a dozen charts.” Tunner may have been the only man in the world who actually believed this airlift could succeed.

Ever the innovator, Tunner would try just about anything to improve the airlift. One day he invited a group of pilots over to his office and simply listened as they ate and finished off a keg of beer. That day he began implementing changes based on what he had heard. At other times he would wear a jacket and hat without rank or insignia and wander around an airbase to see how things were running. He would pick the most obscure hours of the night and walk into the control tower and observe for awhile. He wanted to remind people that the airlift was a 24 hour operation every day. When he took command, the airlift was delivering just under 500,000 pounds a day. Ten months later, the daily average had climbed to more than 16 million pounds a day. By spring of 1949, the city was being completely supplied by the airlift and the Russian blockade was an embarrassment to Stalin. On May 12, 1949, after it was proven pointless by the airlift, the Russians lifted the blockade.

General Lucious D. Clay, the U.S. European Commander in Berlin, returned home to a ticker tape parade in New York City. General Curtis LeMay, commander of the US Air Forces in Europe, went on to become one of the most beloved generals of the twentieth century. Credit for the airlift was routinely credited to LeMay, and he claimed responsibility for many of Tunner’s innovations. There were no bands playing when Tunner left Berlin and there was no hero’s welcome back home. “Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this airlift,” one reporter would write, “was how unremarkable the whole thing seemed to be” – and that is just the way Bill Tunner wanted it. He had quietly architected an airlift others deemed impossible, and in so doing, helped save the city of Berlin and stopped the spread of communism across Europe.

Commentary>>Making a difference by getting involved

By Lt. Col. Lisa Redinger
19th Mission Support Squadron commander

As families move from one base to another, the decision on where to live is influenced by the quality of local schools. The desire of every parent is to provide the best educational opportunities for their children. Our base and our feeder schools are committed to making this goal a reality. Together we’re working to build a partnership with parents, school administrators, and private organizations to champion world-class facilities, a safe learning environment, and quality school performance for our dependent children.

Our district may not have the best facilities, but looking a little deeper reveals that our feeder elementary schools – Arnold Drive and Tolleson – are performing very well in comparison to others in our district. Volunteers from the base have played a vital role in this success.

Recently, Arnold Drive Elementary was designated as a National Distinguished Title I school, only one of two schools in Arkansas to earn this distinction. Arnold Drive earned this award based on exceptional student performance, strong professional development; and partnerships among schools, parents, and communities. Another testament to their educational commitment, the principal, Ms. Jackie Smith, was recently evaluated as a “Master Principal.” Only one of three from Arkansas to make it to the final stages, she had to demonstrate school progress, and student and community involvement. We can clearly see the difference community involvement has made for this school.

At Tolleson Elementary, the school earned academic honors when one of their third grade teachers, Ms. Allison Brown, garnered the 2008-2009 Teacher of the Year Award.

Ms. Brown stated the best thing about her school was that the staff “…creates an atmosphere of the utmost respect, professionalism, and the highest expectation of students, faculty, and parents.” Living up to these expectations, the base community is also involved at Tolleson. Last year, base volunteers assisted with the school’s cereal drive by helping gather 250 boxes of cereal. This was the most in the district, earning Tolleson extra money for school improvements. Our commitment to our schools, really can make a difference.

Awards and recognition like these at the elementary school level show that community involvement in schools is vital and yields measurable results. It is easy to say you won’t live somewhere based on a school’s reputation. It’s much harder to commit to helping a school improve.

Our base leadership recognizes this need for involvement, and commits to making a difference in the education of our children. Each of our feeder schools is now partnered with a group from the 19th Airlift Wing: the 19th Mission Support Group with Arnold Drive Elementary; the 19th Operations Group with Tolleson Elementary; the 19th Maintenance Group with Northwood Middle; and the 19th Medical Group with North Pulaski High School. Each of these groups is actively seeking volunteers to assist with various projects throughout the school year, at each of the schools.

We’ve proven that community involvement makes a huge difference in our schools. We can’t expect our schools to succeed on their own. It takes an entire community invested in the education of our children to build a great school. Whether you have no children or five children, you too can make a difference. Volunteer your time, today – it all starts with you.

View from the Top>>Vector check

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

Monday, I found myself going through my weekly ritual of trying to determine what this week’s article would be about, and as usual I conferred with Mrs. Pat Sheppard. She gives me many inspirational thoughts and concepts to ponder and I’d like to share another with you. As the first month of 2009 passes, where are you in regard to your plans or resolutions? When she made this statement to me, I immediately thought about the things I determined to do and began to assess my progress.

As she continued to give me her perspective on why plans are made but often not fulfilled, it began to resonate with me. Pat suggested that many of our goals fail because they are outside goals, meaning they are dictated by others and not fully embraced by the person making the statement. It’s good to have people provide perspective, but true growth takes place when the inward self decides this is needed. So to paraphrase Pat, growth and change are internal. So my question is, is your heart involved in your decisions to improve or are you just talking?

I don’t say this to criticize but to challenge, just as Pat challenged me. What are the things you have decided to enhance; is it your spiritual, physical, mental, educational or family that is a higher priority this year? Before we look up, we’ll be saying “where has the year gone” and I believe life is too short and precious to have regrets. I am thankful to be surrounded by people who try to hold others around them accountable. Mrs. Sheppard is a classic example of those who make Team Little Rock a place of continual growth and improvement. We are the best because we strive to get better everyday. Now don’t let another day slip away; stay focused.
Combat Airlift!

View from the Top>>A Homecoming

By Col. Gregory S. Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

Lisa and I are thrilled to be back at The Rock! This assignment is very much a homecoming and one my entire family welcomes. I was stationed here as a weapons officer in 1995 at the C-130 Weapons School as part of the initial cadre. Little Rock Air Force Base and the surrounding communities have a long and storied history in Combat Airlift and I could not be more proud to return as the commander of such a fine team.

Team Little Rock is known around the world as the Home of Combat Airlift. It's not the distinct gray airplanes that give this base its well-deserved reputation - it's the people. The Airmen here have shown time and again, both at home and abroad, that they are the best at what they do. The base has grown and the mission has evolved in the decade since I was last here but the one thing that has remained the same is the steadfast dedication of an entire team – active-duty, civilian, Guard, family members, retirees, community – to accomplish a mission like no other.

I have been handed a great legacy and it is my goal to improve upon it. We will all work together to provide America with a peerless Combat Airlift capability and the world's best Combat Airlifters. We will continue to ensure Combat Airlift is delivered on time, at the right time, to the expeditionary commanders who depend on us. And we will strive to make even more quality of life improvements that will enhance your lives, careers, and our mission effectiveness.

A keen focus on the Combat Airlift and training missions here are vital to our nation's defense, but we must also focus on community engagement. This base has a solid partnership with our surrounding communities and I encourage you to continue these efforts. The strides you've made in teaming with local community leaders and schools are paying great dividends for both. The $5 million donation by the citizens of Jacksonville to build a joint education center is an unprecedented example.

We are dedicated to providing our Airmen the best education possible and we have made that same commitment to our local schools. Our continued commitment and involvement with our local schools will pay dividends for our children and our neighbors' children.

I look forward to meeting all of you as Lisa, I and our children settle into our new home here at the Rock. We thank each and every one of you for a warm welcome home.
Combat Airlift!