Friday, March 27, 2009

Top Story>>Women taking the lead to save our planet

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

A Women’s History Month Luncheon was held Tuesday at Hangar 1080 to highlight women's contribution in the work force and to show appreciation for their accomplishments.

March is designated each year as National Women’s History Month, a time when events are held around the country to ensure the history of women is recognized and celebrated. Schools, work places and communities throughout the country present the historical achievements and accomplishments of women from all walks of life.

Sharing and gaining knowledge of women’s history provides a more expansive vision of what women can do when given an equal and fair opportunity. This perspective encourages women of all ages to think larger and bolder and can give everyone a fuller understanding and greater appreciation of the female experience.

The luncheon, which was hosted by the Women’s History Committee, was themed “Women taking the lead to save our planet.” It recognized the pioneering and fearless ways women have taken the lead in saving the planet.

It comes at a time when the world is discussing the problems and repercussions of dramatic climate changes and the recognition of diminishing natural resources.

In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote a researched expose, Silent Spring, which acknowledged the disturbing and irreversible hazards of a pesticide, DDT. The National Women’s History Project selected Rachel Carson as the iconic representation for the theme this year because she is often credited for inspiring the modern environmental movement.

“This year's theme "Women taking the lead to save our planet" and Women's History month go hand in hand. For generations women have been taking the lead by fighting for our right to vote,” said Ms. Regena Handley, 19th Medical Support Squadron secretary.

“This fight is being continued by women such as Lisa Perez Jackson, the newly elected administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” she said.

“Women taking the lead to save our planet is the special observance Department of Defense theme for this year and we decided to embrace it here at Little Rock. In our Air Force there are various ways we can all conserve energy and by getting educated on these steps we are indeed helping the Air Force and our communities,” said Chief Master Sgt. Bionca Lindsey, 19th Medical Group superintendent.

The goal of the luncheon was not only to become more aware of the contributions women have made in history but also to bring the importance of saving the planet to the front of all in attendance’s minds.

Ms. Cecilia Cunningham, First Electric Cooperative marketing representative, was a guest speaker at the luncheon, where she shared ways to promote energy efficiency.

“My passion is energy efficiency education,” said Ms. Cunningham. “I want you to
E.A.T. your way to a better world.”
E.A.T. stands for being educated on what the energy efficiency issues are, being aware of what’s using energy at home and teaching others about energy efficiency, she said.

Through celebrating Women’s History Month with events such as the luncheon, people are able to better understand the accomplishments of the women around them.

“Events like this continue to acknowledge all the contributions that women are constantly making to the Air Force and the world we live in. Without them we would miss the chance to mentor the next generation of young women,” said Ms. Handley.

“These events are centered [on] the diversity which makes up our great nation and the Air Force as an entity of our nation,” said Chief Lindsey. “The observance provides us with an opportunity to recognize the differences of others and what they bring. We are merely seeking acknowledgment that our contributions played a significant role in making this Air Force the greatest Air Force in the world.”

“This luncheon [was] a great opportunity for us to take time out of our schedules to really recognize the strength of our diversity,” said Col. James Johnson, 19th Airlift Wing vice commander.

At the end of the luncheon there was a drawing for a spa gift basket, which was won by Staff Sgt. Rachel Schultz, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hydraulics craftsman.

Commentary>>Do you have a plan?

By Chief Master Sgt. David A. Flebotte
314th Maintenance Group superintendent

One of my favorite sayings is “do you have a plan?” The other day I was talking to one of the sharpest senior airmen in the 314th Maintenance Group and I asked him if he was staying in the Air Force or getting out. The reply was, "I’m getting out, Chief." I, of course, asked him why. His answer was, "this isn’t what I want to do with my life" and he went on to explain his plan and I was impressed. I went on to ask, how he was doing on his degree. He explained it would take six years to reach his goal. He said his wife was in school and would graduate about five months after he separates. I was again impressed, thinking to myself, what a sharp couple. So, being the nosy parent, I asked who was paying for her education. His reply was, I am. That really got me going. The more questions I asked, the wider his eyes got. I could see he had not thought through his plan and let me tell you this Airman is sharp.

Being a chief near the end of my career, I am experiencing some of the things this airman is experiencing so why not share a little of my wisdom. Here are a few things to think about before separation.

First, two years before separation, go to the Transition Assistance Program at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. This program covers a wide variety of information, from resume writing to actually practicing for a job interview. They bring in Human Resource managers from all over Arkansas and set up job fairs. They have phenomenal programs and an abundance of free resources to help you plan!

Next, you need to calculate exactly how much you need to earn annually to sustain your standard of living. Create a budget and write down every cent you spend for a minimum of six months. That should get you close to your actual income requirements. Dig deep and think of things like, how much your car tags and auto insurance would cost in your home state. Make sure you have at least six months of income saved. The average time it takes to get a job in today’s economy is five months. Define your educational goals. If you require six years for your degree, the GI Bill will only cover three years. Would it be wiser to continue in the Air Force for four additional years and use Tuition Assistance to complete the first three years? If your spouse is working, is the job secure? Will you have enough income to sustain you while completing your education?

In today’s economy, lots of Air Force member’s extended families are under financial stress. Do not add to that stress with poor planning. They may not be able to come to your rescue.

After 30 years, I still don’t have all the answers, so I utilize all my friends who have already transitioned. Always look before you leap. It is not my intention to tell anyone to stay or go. If you completed four years of service you have done more for your country than most.

My goal is to help you make solid decisions and ensure a successful future for you and your family.

Commentary>>Lock it or lose it!

By Capt. Robert Shaw
19th Security Forces Squadron commander

Have you ever wondered why a personal possession was stolen? Or asked yourself why it happened to you? Often times, due to a false sense of security, one may overlook securing their vehicle, home, or other valuables.

When people are in a rush or they convince themselves that a theft won’t happen to them, they become a victim. For that reason, it is important to secure your personal property and be aware that not everyone has good intentions. In fact, recent trends show that on-base thefts and attempted thefts are on the rise.

Criminals, like terrorists, will look for easy targets and will often act when they see a target of opportunity. A target of opportunity could be an unlocked locker at the gym, an unlocked vehicle with a bunch of high value items such as I-pods, GPSs, CDs, DVDs, etc., or leaving an unlocked bicycle at a base park. Either way, it’s important to remember that even in our fast paced life-style, it’s more important than ever to take the extra time to secure your personal belongings and valuables.

Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of theft and remember to report any suspicious activity or crimes in progress to Security Forces at (501) 987-3221 or the anonymous crime stop line at (501) 987-6600.

Commentary>>Importance of communication

By Master Sgt. Alisha Rowland
19th Comptroller Squadron superintendent

Communication is one of the most important and beneficial skills an individual can have. It is valuable for personal and professional development. Unfortunately, many individuals do not practice or understand the significance of the ability to communicate effectively. It does not matter if the individual is quiet, outspoken, eloquent or not; the ability to effectively express oneself should be an ability one strives to strengthen or improve upon.

Have you ever felt frustrated because you didn’t get information that would have been useful; or you would have wanted to know? Surely you can think of a few examples that pertain to you professionally, personally or both. An example of a communication breakdown can be related to the recent ROCKEX. The last ROCKEX ended on a Saturday evening; and a telephone recall was initiated to relay the information to all exercise players. Unfortunately, some people did not get the information; therefore, they stayed at home on Sunday, thinking they were on standby, and reported to work earlier than normal and out of uniform for a normal Monday morning duty day. That is a small example of why communication is important. Now, imagine how important communication is regarding critical medical information, explaining exactly what problems need to be fixed on a plane before its next mission or the precision needed for providing coordinates for military targets.

Effective communication consists of being truthful, thorough and tactful. One does not have to be eloquent to get a point across. In addition, an individual should not be elusive or harsh when communicating. Using complicated words, beating around the bush and being abrasive is less effective than constructive expression. No one wants to listen to 20 minutes of rambling, then hear the statement “to make a long story short, you need to follow checklist” or “you better follow the checklist!” Furthermore, no one desires to be disrespected; therefore one should talk to people in a manner they would want to be talked to.

Some reasons people do not communicate include being shy or introverted. They may feel that their ideas and opinions are insignificant, or they will not be heard or taken seriously. Sometimes people fear conflict, being incorrect or misunderstood. To those individuals, I say think about the next person. Consider the outcome of not communicating. Someone else could benefit from your information. Your input can generate creative or constructive ideas, it can correct something that was wrong or encourage something being accomplished right; and it can help another person in some form or fashion.

Effective communication not only contributes to working relationships, but it impacts our contributions to the mission.

Commentary>>Is the glass half empty or half full?

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

I believe there are two things we have control over as it relates to our impact on our mission, community and families. The first would be our attitude towards those things we encounter and the second would be the effort we put forth towards our challenges. Today, I’d like to discuss the attitude portion of this formula. So I ask you, is the glass of your life half empty or half full?

When looking at our challenges in maintaining unrivaled Combat Airlift for America, always, I can say without hesitation that the glass is half full. Regardless of the age of our fleet and tightening budgets, we have leaders who are fighting to recapitalize and modernize our fleet. In the meantime, we stress daily how safety is priority one so the task is accomplished while protecting our people and resources as a non-negotiable standard.

As we examine the future of our Air Force, I am confident the glass is half full. Daily I am awed by the selfless commitment our young Airmen make to our nation, many of whom entered the Air Force during a time of war. This is something I cannot claim, because when I joined there was no armed conflict going on.

Airmen such as Airman 1st Class Luz Escobar and Senior Airman Joshua Jones from our 19th Services Squadron understand service before self. They both perform at a high level daily but spend their off-duty time volunteering around our base to help out when needed.

Your attitude can determine your altitude. So I challenge you even if you see a half empty glass, never forget that you are part of an organization that supports each other. We are a family who lifts up each other and that fact alone should top off the glass you hold.
Combat Airlift!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Top Story>>Airmen participate in ROCKEX

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

Airmen participated in a ROCKEX March 13 and 14 designed to prepare them for short notice deployments throughout their military careers.

“The March 13 to 14 ROCKEX was a deployment exercise to test the wing's ability to pick up and go to war in preparation for possible real-world contingencies and our operational readiness inspection, scheduled for October 2011,” said Lt. Col. Arthur Dunn, 19th Airlift Wing Exercise and Evaluation Team deputy chief.

Due to the recent base realignment that placed the 19th Airlift Wing under Air Mobility Command as the host wing, Airmen must alter the way they train to meet growing demands.

“Since we just transitioned from an [Air Education and Training Command] base to an AMC base, the way we need to exercise has changed,” he said. “Being the only active-duty, [continental United States] lead C-130 wing, our deployment responsibilities have grown substantially, and our base exercise program has been expanding to meet this requirement.”

Colonel Dunn explained that normally during a full ROCKEX, Airmen practice all operational phases, which are initial response, employment, mission support, ability to survive and operate and redeployment. The base leadership elected to exercise only phase I during this ROCKEX.

“That translates to the base receiving an execute order to deploy to a forward operating base and immediately preparing and executing a plan to prepare and process required equipment, cargo and personnel,” he said. “The exercise ended after all personnel were processed and aircraft were loaded with cargo and equipment.”

Throughout the two-day exercise, personnel in key processes such as the Commander's Senior Staff, Command Post, Maintenance Operations Center, Aircraft Generation, Deployment Control Center, Personnel Deployment Function, Cargo Deployment Function, as well as all the “would-be-deploying” units worked tirelessly to meet the deployment timeline requirements.

The EET members were present at every location to evaluate the multitude of processes it takes to get a wing moving during a short notice deployment.

“The [Personnel Readiness Flight] line directors extended a helping hand to those individuals whose first time deployment this was – both the deployers and the processors. You could see a light turn on,” said Tech. Sgt. Alfrado White, Communications Squadron EET. “They were helping the individuals get a feel for things, making a link between theory and hands on in an extension of training.”

According to Colonel Dunn, the exercise was a step in the right direction towards implementing efficient, valuable training for the wing.

“Overall, the exercise was a success in that we gained valuable training and insight on processes that need refining,” said Colonel Dunn. “For the next ROCKEX we will build on what we learned here and expand the scope of our exercise operations to build realistic and effective training for the wing.”

Top Story>>Responsibility for giving

by Lt. Col. Jeffrey Collins
19th Services Squadron commander

I was little when Dad broke his leg and couldn’t work at the factory for a few months. Each week, someone stopped by with an envelope with some money to help with bills. It turns out my dad had been contributing a few dollars from each paycheck to an informal “emergency” collection fund at the factory – he’d never needed it, until he needed it.

The Air Force Assistance Fund is the same way. You don’t know when you’re going to need assistance. As a commander, I’ve seen example after example of AFAF helping our Airmen get through tough times. Of course AFAF never asks whether or not the individual needing help contributed to AFAF – they just help the Airmen. But I wonder if the individuals who receive the aid would feel better if they had contributed beforehand?

I’ve challenged 100% of my squadron to contribute something, anything, to AFAF this year. Getting in the habit of giving makes giving easier. It also brings a positive self-image. Even small contributions add up to big help for those in need.

Your contributions help support programs for all Airmen. The free childcare Services Squadron provides for deployed spouses, the give-parents-a-break childcare program and the permanent change of station childcare are all funded by the AFAF. Likewise, the extended duty care program – to take care of children during base exercises and real world deployments – is supported by your AFAF contributions.

My dad was never one to take help easily and I know he didn’t look forward to the arrival of the weekly envelope – he just wanted to get back to work. He could feel good, however, knowing that he had already done his part for others in a similar situation. And he contributed to that informal fund for years at that factory after he got back to work.

I hope all is well with you right now. I also hope you take the opportunity to contribute to the AFAF so that if you do need their help someday, you will feel better about taking the help.

Commentary>>Professional mindset...professional Airman

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

As I travel throughout our Air Force, I am truly amazed by the professionalism and commitment our force displays. But how did we get to where we are as a service? What makes every nation’s military envious of the United States Air Force? More specifically; how do we retain this title as the premier Air, Space, and Cyberspace Force?

It’s simple – our professional Airmen and a professional mindset.

So what constitutes a professional? More specifically, what constitutes a professional Airman?

By definition, a professional is someone who displays expert and specialized knowledge in a field of practice, carries an academic qualification, produces a high quality of work and a high standard of professional ethics, behavior and work activities while carrying out one’s profession.

Sound familiar? I would suggest that a professional Airman lives this definition daily through technical skill upgrade and proficiency training. A professional Airman understands the importance of the Community College of the Air Force and undergraduate and graduate degree programs. They further understand their role in professional military education and its role in their development. A professional Airman understands the importance of mission, people and community. A professional Airman understands the term “Fit to Fight”. A professional Airman lives within our Core Values to ensure an ethical mindset and displays the behaviors required to produce the combat lethality our nation requires.

The Air Force has done a tremendous job in ensuring our competency and has committed tremendous resources and professional development opportunities in support of all Airmen. Yet at times, professional Airmen stray from that professional mindset.

In my opinion, it goes right back to our Chief of Staff of the Air Force statement of “getting back to the basics.”

We all from time to time need that reaffirmation – that vector check to ensure we are doing our part as professional Airmen. Surprisingly, it is the little things that we take for granted, or choose to ignore, that develop into instances of poor decision making, lapses in judgment or completely checking our integrity at the door and keep us from maintaining our professional mindset.

We owe it to our nation and our service to do our part in developing ourselves, our subordinates and our profession of arms to ensure we remain the premier Air, Space and Cyberspace force in the world. It means maintaining that professional mindset as Airmen through good times and bad. Are you doing your part as a professional Airman?

View From The Top>>Why do we exercise?

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

One of our most popular chants on our base is “combat ready, combat proven.” Yet there are several aspects to being combat ready. Over the past weekend we exercised our ability to execute Combat Airlift. This required a huge team effort from every group on base as we all worked through the weekend to hone our collective skills.

Being combat ready requires us to have effective communication. When the call comes to our base to respond, we must first be able to gather our teammates in a quick and efficient manner. Also, ensuring that the right people and equipment gets where it needs to be takes a great deal of communication. We have to be able to respond whether things such as our computers or telephones are functioning or not.

Besides communication, working our individual processes effectively are force enhancers. Col. James Johnson, 19th Airlift Wing vice commander, is a huge proponent of continual process improvement. Each of us play a part in Combat Airlift and should look at better ways to perform our tasks each day. Recently Col. Johnson led an initiative that has reduced redundancy while increasing efficiencies in our administrative functions.

So our exercises give us a bird’s eye view of how well we work together through communication and unit processes. We must take each opportunity to hone our skills so that when the call comes to Team Little Rock we provide seamless support.

Each of you play a great role in helping us get better by communicating what you may have seen that will help move us forward. So, though we are happy overall with our progress we are challenged to keep striving for continued excellence. To be combat ready and combat proven we have to remain vigilant.

Combat Airlift!

View From The Top>>Precision saves lives

By Lt. Col. Ashley Salter
34th Combat Training Squadron director of operations

In the opening days of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Special Operations Forces called on U.S. Air Force crews for critical resupply in the most remote regions of Afghanistan. Although a core competency for the Air Force, the airdrop results were less than stellar. Enemy fire forced tactical aircrews to fly at altitudes higher than those for which they had trained. Just as an archer adds error to his aim with greater distance from the target, aircrews added error by climbing away from the threat. Airdrop loads released above weapons range sometimes landed as much as a half-mile from the goal. This proved doubly dangerous to troops on the ground: at best it meant a perilous journey under fire to recover the loads; at worst it resupplied the enemy. To achieve the needed precision, Air Mobility Command and the U.S. Army joined forces to quickly build and field the Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System.

JPADS combines navigational computer software that determines a highly accurate location to release the airdrop load and a Global Positioning Satellite guided, steerable parachute to maneuver the load to the drop zone. Aircrews remain out of reach for insurgents on the ground and airdrop loads reach the teams that need them.

Using the JPADS computer, C-130 crews improved high-altitude airdrop accuracy by 56 percent and C-17 crews increased their accuracy an impressive 70 percent. In addition to these achievements, the capability to deliver supplies by air to remote forward operating bases has reduced the need for hazardous ground convoys and the inherent exposure to road side bombs.

The joint development and employment of JPADS is a great example of inter-service teamwork at its best and one way that AMC is saving U.S. lives while prosecuting the Global War on Terrorism.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Top Story>>Hearts out to the spouses

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

The Airman and Family Readiness Flight is planning a free Heart Link Orientation for military spouses March 27 at 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, bldg. 668.

The purpose of the orientation program is to inform the spouses about military life at a basic level and to give the bases leadership a chance to show their appreciation for the support spouse’s offer Airmen. It’s targeted towards spouses that have been exposed to the military lifestyle for five years or less.

“A lot of times it can take spouses years to learn how to navigate the military and the culture,” said Ms. Julia Noe, Airman and Family Readiness Flight community readiness consultant.

The orientation is designed to give spouses the opportunity to intermingle with different agencies that they would come in contact with the most and give them a better understanding of the resources available to them.

The commanders will provide a mission brief, which will make it easier for the spouses to understand exactly what the Airmen do here at Little Rock Air Force Base and what mission they are supporting.

“The Heart Link Orientation is key to spouses new to the Air Force understanding the base's mission, AMC/AETC mission, and tie that into the overall mission of the Air Force,” said Mr. Phil Thierry, Airman and Family Readiness Flight chief.

The spouses will receive briefs from the first sergeants, Tricare, Chapel, Health and Wellness Center, Services Family Advocacy, Airmen and Family Readiness Center, Legal, Army and Air Force Exchange Services, Spouse Panel, protocol, personnel, finance and Department of Defense Military and Family Life consultants.

“Spouses become aware of all the helping agencies in the Air Force who's primary function is to take care of Airmen and their family members. Spouses are better prepared to deal/cope with separation should the active duty member deploy, which is almost a given under present circumstances,” said Mr. Thierry.

Throughout the day, the spouses will be given the opportunity to meet with one another, which will strengthen and expand their support system to other spouses. They will also meet with the key spouses on base.

“[The veteran spouses] can teach a lot of the new spouses what they’ve learned over the years to make their life a lot easier,” said Ms. Noe.

Heart Link differs slightly from base to base and is tailored to each base, Ms. Noe explained.

“For instance, I added a C-130 aircraft tour that gives the spouse a more tangible connection to not only Little Rock but what their [Airman] does,” she said.

It will give them a visual connection that everyone is supporting the C-130 aircraft.

At the end of the orientation, spouses will be greeted by the 19th Airlift Wing commanders and command chief, where they will be given the opportunity to ask questions.

“It’s very important that they are shown by leadership how much they’re supported and that they appreciate the support and the sacrifices that the spouse makes, said Ms. Noe. “It’s one thing to say we appreciate you; it’s another thing to show it by showing up and telling them that.”

The commanders will also explain the significance of carrying a coin within the Air Force and what it means to the Airmen. They will then present the spouses a Heart Link coin to signify their graduation and participation of the program that was created just for them.

Ms. Noe explained that the program also helps the military member because if they know they have the support they need from their spouse, then it takes the stress off of them from having to do everything.

“Through the spouses better understanding the culture and how to navigate the different agencies, it takes a lot of burden off the military member in having to explain this to them,” she said.

The Airmen and Family Readiness Center will also provide childcare reimbursement during the hours of the program to spouses who attend. It’s up to the parent to go through the Family Childcare Program or to find another childcare provider. They then bring the receipt to the AFRC and they will be reimbursed.

Breakfast and lunch will also be provided for the spouses.

“We appreciate the sacrifices the spouses make and the support that they provide, so we don’t want this to come at their expense,” said Ms. Noe.

There will be four Heart Link Orientations throughout the year and space is limited. Spouses who wish to partake in the event will need to register in advance. For more information or to register for the orientation, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Flight at 987-6801.

Top Story>>First Chief Master Sergeant of AF dies

by Senior Master Sgt. Sean E. Cobb
Office of the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Paul Wesley Airey died March 11 in Panama City, Fla.

"Chief Airey was an Airman's Airman and one of the true pioneers for our service," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff. "He was a warrior, an innovator, and a leader with vision well ahead of his time. His legacy lives today in the truly professional enlisted force we have serving our nation, and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude."

"Chief Airey is the most respected enlisted Airmen in the history of the Air Force," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley. "When we speak of today's Airmen standing upon the shoulders of giants as they reach for the sky and stars – it was upon Paul Airey's shoulders they stood. We will truly miss his leadership, counsel and friendship."

The first CMSAF was always a leader. During World War II he flew as a B-24 radio operator and additional duty aerial gunner. On his 28th mission, then-Technical Sergeant Airey and his fellow crewmen were shot down over Vienna, Austria, captured, and held prisoner by the German air force from July 1944 to May 1945. During his time as a prisoner of war he worked tirelessly to meet the basic needs of fellow prisoners, even through a 90-day forced march.

Chief Airey was born in Quincy, Mass., on Dec. 13, 1923. At age eighteen, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Airey quit high school to enlist in the Army Air Forces on Nov. 16, 1942. He later earned his high school equivalency certificate through off-duty study.

Chief Airey held the top enlisted from April 3, 1967 to July 31, 1969. During his tenure he worked to change loan establishments charging exorbitant rates outside the air base gates and to improve low retention during the Vietnam Conflict. Chief Airey also led a team that laid the foundation for the Weighted Airman Promotion System, a system that has stood the test of time and which is still in use today. He also advocated for an Air Force-level Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. His vision became reality when the academy opened in 1973, becoming the capstone in the development of Air Force Senior NCOs.

Chief Airey retired Aug. 1, 1970. He continued advocating for Airmen's rights by serving on the boards of numerous Air Force and enlisted professional military organizations throughout the years. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Airmen Memorial Museum, a member of the Air Force Memorial Foundation and the Air University Foundation.

After retirement, Chief Airey lived in Panama City, Fla. with his wife Shirley. Mrs. Airey died in 2001.

Chief Airey was always proud of Airmen. "I have seen many changes as we progressed from simple air power to today's aerospace force. The enlisted corps has kept pace with that progress, for it is pride and dedication that keep enlisted men at their posts, not the lure of an easy life and secure future. It is the desire to serve our country that motivates today's Air Force," he said at the Air Force's 20th Anniversary ceremony in 1967.

On the north wall of the Air Force Memorial in Washington D.C., Chief Airey's thoughts on Airmen are immortalized, "When I think of the enlisted force, I see dedication, determination, loyalty and valor."

The Air Force Association honored Chief Airey with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Chief Airey truly spent a lifetime serving a nation and a force he loved, said Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force. "From his first days flying World War II combat missions in Europe, to his work improving the welfare of enlisted personnel as the first Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and his recent role as a mentor to today's Airmen, Chief Airey was a man of honor and commitment to things greater than himself. His passing is mourned by all Airmen around the globe."

Commentary>>In the Line of Duty

By Maj. Gen. Anthony F. Przybyslawski
Air Education and Training Command vice commander

It's a true honor to serve as the vice commander of this great command ... the First Command! I'm associated with world class professionals focused on our mission everywhere I go. But there is one drawback to the position: I chair the reviews for all the fatalities within AETC. Many of you have participated in the video teleconferences we've held covering these fatalities. These briefings always leave me saddened and, more importantly, concerned about a trend I've noticed in the ranks.

Specifically, I'm troubled with some of the off-duty decisions our Airmen have made that ultimately result in the tragic loss of a military member, someone who believed in the same thing you and I believe in, the defense of our great nation. It's heartbreaking when tragedy strikes our professional and personal families, especially when unwise choices and unlawful actions were the cause, leaving the surviving family potentially without the protection of Air Force benefits.

Did you know if, as a result of overindulgence of alcohol, an Airman dies or sustains an illness or injury resulting in inability to perform military duties for more than 24 hours, there will be a line of duty investigation?

Did you know if the line of duty investigation determines that an Airman's death, illness or injury is due to personal misconduct and finds the Airman was not acting in the line of duty, substantial government benefits could be lost?

Did you know that your actions will affect the ones you leave behind? Even if you survive, your future medical care following separation from the Air Force could be lost if it is determined your actions were not in the line of duty. Which begs the real question: should you expect the same benefits for an act of irresponsibility as for an act of bravery and honorable duty?

Don't let this happen to you, especially when this type of tragedy is preventable. Operating a vehicle after drinking alcohol can only result in a dangerous situation. Most recently, our losses were a result of this fatal combination ... apparent reckless driving (80 mph in a 35 mph zone) and "off the chart" blood alcohol levels (0.27 blood alcohol content!).

Here are a couple key points to consider next time you decide to put yourself at risk. If there are any complications from an injury deemed "not-in-the-line-of-duty," the Veteran's Administration may determine the Airman is not eligible for VA benefits. Any further medical care would then be chargeable to the Airman and his/her insurance company. If you can't cover the cost, think of the expenses your family members might end up paying for you. If you die as a result of your misconduct, your dependents will not receive the more than $1,000 per month in VA Dependency and Indemnity

If you choose to drink, you must do so responsibly. And keep this in mind: although it sometimes gives us a feeling of invincibility, alcohol doesn't make us immune to accidents.

I encourage you to educate yourself on line of duty determinations. If you need more information, talk to your commander or first sergeant. And always remember who you are and what you represent ... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A finding of "not-in-the-line of duty" due to misconduct may also impact an Airman's:
– Disability Retirement and Severance Pay: If an Airman is injured such that a medical disability separation occurs, a LOD determination of "not in line of duty" will prohibit any disability compensation from being awarded.
– Forfeiture of Pay: You may not be entitled to pay if you were absent from regular duties for a continuous period of more than one day because of injury that was directly caused by or immediately following an alcohol related incident.
– Extension of Enlistment: An enlisted member's period of enlistment may be extended to include that period of time he or she was unable to perform duties because of his or her intemperate use of alcohol. Any time the Airman was not present for duty due to hospitalization, being on quarters or being on convalescent leave is counted as "bad time." Bad time has to be made up. This means that an Airman's estimated time of service date will be moved back one day for every day the Airman is not present for duty.
– Veteran Benefits: The Department of Veteran Affairs may use a member's official military records, including an LOD determination, when determining veteran benefits. If an Airman is found not in the LOD, the resulting loss of certain benefits could cost a dependent child or spouse $250,000 or more in monies and benefits that are denied. These include but are not limited to, VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Montgomery GI Bill Death Benefit, medical and dental benefits up to three years from the date of death of a member and access to base facilities.
– Survivor Benefit Plan: If you die on active duty and "in-the-line-of-duty," your surviving dependents may be eligible for benefits under the SBP. If an LOD investigation determines that your death was due to alcohol-related misconduct, your surviving dependents may be ineligible for SBP benefits.
– Basic Educational Assistance Death Benefit: Certain survivors of deceased members entitled to basic educational assistance may be entitled to death benefits, which are jeopardized if there is a finding the member was not in the line of duty.

Commentary>>Celebrating Women's History Month

Throughout history, women in the military have made significant contributions. This is especially true in the Air Force whether they are flying A-10 Thunderbolt IIs or commanding thousands of Airmen.

Women's History Month officially started in March 2000 by order of President Clinton when he signed a presidential proclamation highlighting women of the past and future. He encouraged all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities, and to remember throughout the year the many contributions of courageous women who have made this nation strong.

Air Force women who have made a difference include Marty Wyall, serving in the Women Air Force Service Pilots; Betty Gillies, the first woman pilot to qualify for the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron; Sergeant Vanessa Sheffield, a C-130 Hercules maintainer back in the '70s when there weren't many women in the maintenance career field; and 2nd Lt. Raquel Dronenburg, currently training to be an unmanned aircraft operator. And these are just four of the thousands of women who have helped make this the greatest Air Force in the world.

Other highlights:

– Esther Blake, the first woman in the Air Force, who enlisted the very first day, the very first minute, July 8, 1948, that women were authorized to serve in the active-duty Air Force
– In 1995, Captain Martha McSally becomes the first female to fly combat missions
– Colonel Eileen Collins became the first female space shuttle commander on July 22, 1999. (Courtesy of Air Force News Service)

View from the top>>How's your balance today?

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

Lately, I have seen a few things that may be seen as indicators that some people are feeling the stress of maintaining professional and personal balance. I’ve heard it said that pressure can produce diamonds or burst pipes. The outcome of what you produce is linked to how you handle stressors that come into your life.

Daily we handle a robust deployment rate that has a couple of effects. These range from stress for those left behind to pick up the slack on the job as well as in the home. Even those deployed have to deal with the challenges of being in a foreign environment, while keeping a stiff upper lip due to missing family and friends. So, how we balance these concerns will determine whether diamonds are created or whether pressure pipes in our lives will burst.

Proper balance can be achieved by simple things like eating healthy versus eating what you can get your hands on. Something that I know that I need to do better is to exercise regularly. These two steps in concert can reduce stress while helping each of us take the pressure that’s put on to create diamonds in our work and home environments. Think about a lump of coal that has immense pressure, and once all of the impurities are removed a flawless diamond is left.

Spiritual and mental balance is vital through reading and meditation. I was chatting today with Capt Everson from the Mission Support Squadron and he relayed that we must keep our work, family, and personal issues in harmony. Too much of anything is not good; and I care about each and every one of you out there.
So let’s continue to stress keeping balance in our lives as we look out for one another. Because at the end of the day, that’s what good teammates do.

Combat Airlift!

View from the top>>Lead from the front

By Lt. Col. Jeff Brown
29th Weapons Squadron commander

We all want to be led by a person we can see, who has the authority to make a decision and who, despite making errors, has judgment – Judgment derived from knowledge and experience and executed with a “can do” spirit. Everyone can be a leader. Everyone can take pride in our ability to get the mission done, our innovation, and our boldness.

Mission. As a leader we are asked to do a lot of things, but must decide which things are important for the mission. When you take a hard look, some things we do are directly related to the mission and some are on the peripheral. In a recent review of my squadron’s 111 “mandatory” additional duties, many of them existed solely because they are inspected periodically, not because they did anything useful. Process for process’s sake is exactly the opposite of getting the mission done. As a leader it is your job to speak up and ask the question: Does this help us get the mission done? Keep the main thing, the main thing.

Innovate. Innovation is an American hallmark, but it requires us to do things that are, by definition, not “in the book.” We all have a long list of rules, regulations, manuals, operating procedures and so on to help us accomplish our mission. While these tools can be extremely helpful, as a leader you shouldn’t just stop with the “book” answer. Certainly, there is wisdom in recording our collective experience in operating procedures and manuals, but we need to remember not to use these tools as the end all, or we will stifle innovation. Use the book as a good starting point.

Be decisive. As a leader, making a decision should not reside in the fear of “what if something happens.” A “what if” question should prompt you to look at different outcomes or possible scenarios, not cause you to shy away from doing something. Often we bypass these “what if” decisions by asking for permission, which selfishly transfers risk to someone else. At times this is entirely appropriate, but in others we have failed to lead, deferring to the next echelon something that should be solved at our own level. Be bold, lead from confidence.

In short, our goal as leaders is to get the mission done, innovate, and be decisive. Lead, follow, or get out of the way!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Top Story>>Tax Center ready to assist

With April 15 around the corner, the Little Rock Air Force Base Tax Center is available to help with this year’s taxes. Capt Betty Dintelman, a Judge Advocate assigned to the base legal office, is spearheading this year’s Tax Center.

Appointments are available for all eligible beneficiaries, i.e., active duty and dependents, retirees and dependents and all Guard and Reserve members on active orders and their dependents. Assistance is available by appointment only. Appointments are booking up quickly so be sure to schedule ahead as much as possible to ensure a smooth process for you and your preparer. Call 987-1040 to schedule an appointment.

Before you schedule your appointment, make sure you’re ready to file. Here are a few suggestions:

– Bring all the necessary documents needed to your appointment to prove what you will be stating in your tax paperwork. This may include items such as: social security cards (for all family members), military IDs, W-2s, 1099s, broker’s statements (if you have stock) and bank account information with routing numbers handy. Active duty military members will need to bring a recent Leave and Earnings Statement. The fewer trips you have to make to the Tax Center, the sooner you can enjoy having your taxes out of the way for another year!

– In order to deduct medical expenses, you will need to be able to document this. Most charities can provide donors a letter, which is intended to aid in tax preparation. If you want to deduct education-related expenses, such as books or interest paid on student loans, please bring appropriate documentation.

– Although the Tax Center can help file most forms, there are some we cannot such as a Schedule C, C-EZ or 1099 MISC. These are typically for people who are self-employed, independent contractors, running daycare out of their home, do Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc. Also, due to specific issues involved in New York state taxes, we are unable to prepare New York state taxes. You will need to find a preparer who can file for your specific needs, but please keep in mind that most professional tax services come with a fee.

– Retirees may call Mr. Jimmy Sinks at 987-6380 or Mr. Jim Shannon at 987-7670 to schedule an appointment. Utilizing these points of contact saves time for both the Tax Center and retirees.

Please note that we will be operating under limited manning during the week of RockEX, which is March 16 to 20. Please do not plan on visiting the Tax Center for tax preparation during this week, if possible.

The Tax Center is located in the Wings Room of the Conference Center, the old Officer’s Club. The entrance is through the double doors to the right of the main entrance. Please call 987-1040 to schedule an appointment or for other information.
(Courtesy of 19 Airlift Wing Legal Office)

Top Story>>Air Force teams with NASCAR to aid recruiting

By Master Sgt. Eric M. Grill
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

The Air Force was on display at the Shelby 427 race Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada as the Air Force NASCAR was on hand for race fans to see and the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, performed.

A crowd of 200,000 people witnessed Lt. Gen. Ronald F. Sams, the Air Force inspector general, enlist a group of future Airmen prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race.

Just before the race, the Thunderbirds flew over the racetrack. Members of the Thunderbirds also were on hand during the race to sign autographs.

NASCAR fans got an upclose look at the Air Force paint-schemed No. 43 car on display during the weekend.

"Advertising and marketing that goes beyond the race track will help us connect with fans and emphasize the speed, power, precision and teamwork that is common to both NASCAR and the Air Force," said Col. Timothy Hanson, Air Force Recruiting Service strategic communications director, in January.

Additionally, the sport of racing aligns well with the fans' interests and the Air Force's brand of speed, teamwork and technology, inspiring young Americans to consider the Air Force as a great career choice.

Air Force officials partnered with Richard Petty Motorsports and the storied No. 43 car, which Richard Petty has driven to 200 wins while winning seven Cup championships. Reed Sorenson is the current driver of the No. 43 car.

"Representing the Air Force in itself is a great honor for not only me, but for everyone on the team," Mr. Sorenson said. "Having Richard Petty as part of our team as well is an added bonus. There is a lot of stuff going on and there are a lot of great sponsors like the Air Force to represent, and also having to back up the 200-plus wins that the No. 43 (car) has; we have a lot of good things going on for our team."

What parallels the Air Force mission and NASCAR is teamwork and what it takes to get the mission done, he said.

"I think that the teamwork that you see on the race teams and the teamwork you see in NASCAR kind of follows up with the teamwork you see in the Air Force," he said. "Every race is kind of like any type of mission that you would do in the Air Force. They seem to correlate together. They're both about speed and being fast; those go together as well."

NASCAR and the Air Force are a natural fit, "because of the high-tech industry that you're dealing with," said Master Sgt. Jeff Phillips of the 368th Recruiting

"NASCAR correlates directly with the Air Force when you're talking about our airframes, power plants and different things like that even though (they are) completely different with internal combustion engines and a jet engine," Sergeant Phillips said. "Still, high-tech, very-dedicated individuals – the very people that are committed to what they do with NASCAR – team with the Air Force."

Having a presence in NASCAR gets Air Force in front of people and "that's ultimately what we're looking for," Sergeant Phillips said. "We have to have the time to interact with young people (and) parents. "It's actually a good event for us to interact with the parents and grandparents and people like that because they're also the influencers that we have to sell on the Air Force lifestyle as well."

The Air Force-sponsored No. 43 Dodge finished the race in 34th place after spinning in turn two of lap 138.

While the Air Force is the primary sponsor on the No. 43 car for four of the 38 races in the 2009 season, the Air Force has a presence on the car as an associate sponsor throughout the rest of the season. Mr. Sorenson will drive the Air Force paint-schemed No. 43 Dodge at Talladega Superspeedway, Ala., Lowes Motorspeedway in Charlotte, Daytona International Raceway, Fla., and at Dover International Raceway, Del.

Commentary>>AMP combines Active Duty, ANG resources

By Lt. Col. Rick Richard
189th Airlift Wing pilot

The 314th and 189th Airlift Wings are now combining work efforts more than ever before. Recently, Air National Guard members from the 154th Training Squadron have joined the ranks of subject matter experts at the 714th Training Squadron. Master Sgt. Adam Kavan and I are now working side by side with fellow 314th Airmen in the development of the C-130 avionics modernization program.

This program modifies the C-130 fleet of combat delivery aircraft with the most advanced avionics. Additions to the venerable Herk include heads up displays, terrain advisory and warning system, dual mission processors, upgraded radar system, automated flight control panels, digital datalink capability and numerous safety and situational awareness features.

The Arkansas Air National Guard currently has two crews assisting in the developmental test program of the three initial C-130 amp aircraft at Edwards AFB, Ca. The 714 TRS currently has two pilots and two flight engineers type 1 trained in the AMP and are working with Lockheed Martin on courseware development. Type 1 training means that the crew members are qualified to fly the aircraft with an instructor aboard. The first simulator is scheduled to arrive here in late March and the first aircraft is scheduled to arrive in the fall this year.

The most exciting advances in our C-130 fleet are fast approaching. The men and women of Little Rock AFB, guard and active, are mutually engaged in developing C-130AMP operational tactics and training. Together, we will transition legacy crews into C-130 amp crews in order to safely and effectively execute future combat delivery missions worldwide.

Commentary>>The role of the mentor

By Col. Mark Vlahos
314th Airlift Squadron vice commander

Mentorship is probably the most important role that supervisors and leaders at all levels engage in everyday, many times without even thinking about it. Why is this? Simply because regardless of who you are, what rank you are, or what position you hold – the Airman under you and around you are always watching how you interact and train them while executing your duties. Mentorship occurs every day with no prior planning involved. About 10 years ago, one of my mentors in the Air Force mentioned to me that the most important thing we all do every day is train our own replacement. I’ve thought about this phrase countless times and I can tell you it holds true. I’ve never started a new job without the knowledge and confidence that I could execute the duties required; this is because of all the prior training I received from my mentors.

Every Airman is worried about their next assignment and what they can or should be doing to help get them to where they want to be. My advice is to tell these Airmen not to worry about getting that next job, but to focus on their current job while trusting their leadership to work that next job for them. So how can you as a leader become better at this? Take a look each of your Airman and their records. Know their education level, previous job history, and performance and decoration track record. By knowing what your Airman have and have not yet accomplished, you can look for holes in their record and be able to tell them what they should or could be doing to strengthen their record and thus have a better chance at that next job they desire. Remember, your Airmen trust you as leaders to do this for them, so do it! The great thing about the Air Force is that there are many tracks a career can take and still be very successful. The way you got to where you are may not be the same road your Airman desire.

Don’t forget to take into account your Airman’s family. If you are going to recommend an Airman take a remote assignment to get some GWOT experience, don’t forget to discuss the follow-on assignment. A successful military career must be one of balance. Don’t push your Airman into that job that has a 2-1 deployment dwell or one that he or she will miss every meal with the family right after a remote assignment, thus causing undue stress at home. My take on a successful military career is having a family present to witness a retirement ceremony – that is a true measure of success, not necessarily what rank was obtained. Balance is important.

When all this is said and done, your Airman will remember you as a Mentor more than anything else. Knowing what it takes to get the mission done is easy; our Air Force is better organized, trained, and equipped than any other aero-space force on the planet. A leader, who is adept at executing the mission, while growing future leaders, is the one we all should aspire to be. Remember, in only a short matter of time you will be replaced. Make sure your replacement is ready to carry the torch where you left off.

Commentary>>Air Force's top enlisted Airman to retire

The Air Force chief of staff announced the pending retirement of the 15th chief master sergeant of the Air Force Feb. 26 here.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley will retire this summer after serving for 30 years.

Chief McKinley has served as the chief master sergeant of the Air Force since June 30, 2006.

"Chief McKinley is an incomparable leader and an exemplary Airman," Gen. Norton Schwartz said. "He has devoted his entire adult life to our Air Force and to taking care of Airmen and their families. Chief McKinley has accomplished so much throughout his career, but as chief master sergeant of the Air Force he has made monumental contributions."

"I will always be an Airman," Chief McKinley said. "This time as chief master sergeant of the Air Force has been especially humbling for me. Everywhere I travel around the globe, I see Airmen and their families sacrificing, striving and fighting for our Air Force, our great nation and its ideals.

"We've been involved in a momentous struggle against agents of terrorism," the chief said. "We have never faltered in our duty and every day we stamp out the wanton destruction terrorists would like to bring to our nation and our allies. It's been an honor and privilege for me to serve alongside the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who I am confident history will regard as some of the greatest warriors of all time."

A formal retirement ceremony for Chief McKinley and appointment for the 16th chief master sergeant of the Air Force is planned for June 30. The Air Force chief of staff selects the individual to fill the position of chief master sergeant of the Air Force.
(Courtesy of Air Force News Service)

A View From The Top>>Feedback is a two way street

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

Recently I was getting fitted with my chemical warfare gear by Airman 1st Class Gamble of the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and began to reflect on how much each person on our team matters. We finished our equipment checklist a bit early, so I took the opportunity to chat with Airman Gamble. My first question to him was how was Little Rock AFB treating him? He then began to talk about the transition he and his family were making here.

I immediately saw that this was a young man with great promise and dedication. Already in possession of his college degree, this sharp Airman is ready to make a positive impact. I then asked him to give me some honest feedback about how I was doing as his command chief. He gave me a puzzled look and I assured him that I was serious. I learned a long time ago that each of us has the ability to make our workplace environment and community better, regardless of position or rank.

Airman Gamble proceeded to give me some suggestions on some things that I was doing well, as well as areas to continue to focus on. One of the big takeaways I left with was that he and his fellow Airmen want to be heard, and I agreed that we owed them that. I told him that the leadership of this wing works for him and others like him, so it’s important that all understand feedback is a two way street.

Often those of us in leadership are great at giving out information, but sometimes not as good at listening to those around us. So my challenge to you this week is to take seriously the perspectives those around you have to offer, no matter who they are. Thanks for listening this week.

Combat Airlift!

A View From The Top>>The 189th Airlift Wing: part of the total force

By Col. Jim Summers
189th Airlift Wing commander

Teamwork is in our blood here at The Rock. It’s at the heart of what we do every day to make all of the base’s missions successful. Whether we’re flying training lines or preparing to deploy, it takes a total force, everyone pulling together – Guard, Reserve, and active duty to be truly successful. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our civilian and contractor partners here on base, especially Lockheed Martin for the incredible job they do.

If you are new to the base, you may be wondering what it is the Guard actually does. I’ll bet you didn’t know that some of us are embedded into your individual organizations. From the 62nd Airlift Squadron to the Chief’s Group, we’re there with you – side by side. Engaged. Relevant. Ready.

We have a lot to offer, such as experience, leadership and ability, which explains why so many of our Airmen are in high demand these days. We’re successful because many of our traditional Guardsmen are instructors and are willing to do additional workdays when needed to train students. Of course, our primary concern is ensuring our instructor school candidates complete their coursework and flying events in a timely manner. But through creative flight scheduling, we’re able to lend a hand when needed. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

We may wear a different patch, but we’re on the same team. Ultimately, we work for the same chain of command: 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command and the chief of staff of the Air Force.

Our uniqueness is we have another chain of command that runs through the Arkansas adjutant general, the governor and the director of the Air National Guard.

There are many challenges facing the one remaining active-duty AETC C-130 training squadron. While they continue to train C-130 initial and mission-qualification students, the 62 AS has been hampered by weather, old C-130Es and a shortage of C-130 instructors, all of which are out of the squadron’s control. There’s no doubt in any ones mind that they’re doing the best they can with what they have.

But without the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing, Team Little Rock’s C-130 school house would be even farther behind. The first time we partnered with the 314 AW and Lockheed Martin to train additional students was four years ago, when we helped break the log jam of initial- and mission-qualification loadmaster students. This time, we’re partnering on all crew positions. How will we get through it? The same way we always have. Everyone on this base, military and civilian, will roll up their sleeves and get to work to ensure students graduate on time.

Failure is not an option. The units tasked with deployments deserve the best Combat Airlifter that we can give them, and they deserve them in a timely manner. Teamwork will get us there, and the 189 AW has shown over the years that it is ready to do its part to accomplish our total force mission. In fact, if you can’t tell by looking whether an individual is in the Guard or the Active Duty, then we must be doing something right!

Combat Airlift!