Thursday, July 30, 2009

TOP STORY > >Team Little Rock welcomes new 19 AW/CV

By Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The new 19th Airlift Wing vice commander is glad to be back “home.”

Col. Michael Zick, the 19 AW vice commander, is on his third assignment here and is proud to be part of the Little Rock Air Force Base Combat Airlift legacy

“I’ve always considered Little Rock AFB the ‘home’ of my career,” said Colonel Zick. “My Air Force career first took flight here in 1991 as a pilot in the 61st Airlift Squadron and I owe a lot of my success to what I learned here as a young officer. My wife, Emily, and I were thrilled when we found out we were coming back. It’s definitely good to be back home.”

As the new vice commander, Colonel Zick is focused on providing worldwide deployable C-130 aircraft, aircrews, support personnel and equipment for Air Mobility Command and Air Expeditionary Force taskings while providing for the health and welfare of more than 12,000 Airmen and families at Little Rock AFB.

“My goals are mission, member and family,” he said. “To complete our mission, we rely heavily on our Airmen and their families. It takes a total team effort as our Combat Airlifters deploy around the world on combat and humanitarian missions.

Our Airmen need to know their families will be well taken care of while they are away accomplishing their deployed missions.”

That’s where I and the rest of Team Little Rock can help, said Colonel Zick.

To do this, Colonel Zick said he’s planning numerous “meet and greet” visits with the men and women who make the base’s Combat Airlift mission soar.

“An Airman’s proximity to the flightline has no relation to how much impact they have on the mission,” said Colonel Zick.

“Whether you work in the flight kitchen, the personnel office or out on the flightline, every Airman plays an important part in providing Combat Airlift.”

The vice commander charges all Little Rock Airmen to practice personal responsibility and be a good wingmen to one another.

“It does not take rank to be a leader,” said Colonel Zick. “I want every Airman to know it is their duty to make things right if they see something wrong. In other words, don’t pass a problem by. Fix it, or find the person who can fix it. Take responsibility for yourself and those around you. I’m a firm believer that you’re only as fast as your slowest team mate. So if a fellow Airman has a problem, we all have a problem and we need to help them out. That way we all succeed.”

“Yes, I realize sometimes we have to burn the candle at both ends, but we should not be so consumed with doing the mission that we can’t take time to take care of those around us,” he said. “This is how people become burned out and start to feel isolated and depressed. That is why it’s critical to slow down once in a while and make sure you get out and enjoy yourself.”

It’s often said that the Air Force recruits individuals, but retains families. As vice commander, I have an opportunity to make a difference in the quality of life of Airmen and their families. “That’s a responsibility I take very seriously,” said Colonel Zick.

“Family connections are absolutely critical, because when an Airman retires, I want their family standing there saying they had a great time in the Air Force.”

Finally, communication is also a key element in fostering successful Airmen as well as ensuring mission success. “The reality is the mission won’t get any easier anytime soon, and the load placed on each of our Airmen’s shoulders won’t get any lighter either,” said Colonel Zick. “To deal with this, our challenge is to keep the lines of communication open. As long as we’re talking to each other, we can accomplish anything.”

Colonel Zick said he is honored to become Colonel Otey’s vice wing commander and an integral member in the Team Little Rock leadership.

“I’ve learned a lot from my mentors and Col. James Johnson did a fantastic job before me, so it’s a huge honor for me to return to Little Rock AFB as the 19 AW vice commander,” he said.

“At the end of the day, if I leave the base better than I found it, then my time here will have been well spent,” Colonel Zick said.

Colonel Zick is a C-130 Weapons Officer with more than 4,200 hours in the C-130 Hercules and has flown multiple combat and combat support missions including Operations Desert Storm, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

COMMENTARY>>Service before self

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

“Service Before Self,” the second of our core values, provides the vector for our Air Force. It keeps us pointed in the correct direction, the defense of our great republic, and provides the motivation which sustains our efforts over time.

Without Service Before Self, our direction, like that of many armed forces or military “professionals” throughout history, will stray into the realm of personal gain, power or status and our motivation will decay into more base “values” of personal comfort and ease.

Service Before Self, not the awards or medals we wear, is our true badge of honor. With Service Before Self as our core, future generations will have the chance of being made and kept free by those who serve with it as their honor.

In the coming weeks, we will say farewell to two of our own who have lived Service Before Self and our other core values. As in past wars when the commander often honored great service by naming individuals in after-action dispatches, I single out, as an example to us all, the service of Chief Master Sgt. Dave Flebotte and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Patrick, our maintenance and operations group superintendents.

In three decades of service, these warriors have served our Air Force and nation with constant direction and unwavering persistence and energy. The cost of their service is unknown to those who have not walked in their shoes — loss of friends and colleagues along the way, family sacrifices and the burden of defending what others often take for granted. Yet through the years they have not taken the easy path, but steadfastly held to the value of service. The 314th Airlift Wing, our Air Force and our nation are better because they chose to serve and thousands of Airmen continue to benefit from their commitment to developing professional Airmen and leaders.

Neither Chief Flebotte or Chief Patrick would ask to be singled out in a “commander’s dispatch.” They would instead point out another truth; their success was the result of the thousands of enlisted Airmen who have served with them. Our Air Force has great technology and has been capably led by commissioned officers, but it has been blessed and earned the reputation as the world’s best because of its unmatched enlisted force.

Our professional enlisted force does the daily work that produces combat success, exudes leadership and initiative that other militaries envy, and does it largely in anonymity. They understand and live Service Before Self. This war-winning advantage has been preserved and nurtured by servant leaders like Chief Flebotte and Chief Patrick. As you close out your careers in the service of our country, we simply say, “Well done thou good and faithful servants.”

COMMENTARY>>Financial Services transformation has begun

By 1st Lt. Sean Andrews
19th Comptroller Squadron

A financial services transformation is under way across the Air Force. This is an on-going Air Force effort aimed at enhancing customer service for members and their dependents through the use of computers and telephone systems for pay concerns.

The end result, from a customer standpoint, is much of the processing previously completed at Little Rock Air Force Base has been moved to the Air Force’s Finance Service Center at Ellsworth AFB, S.D. As the transformation moves forward, almost all services will be processed at the finance service center.

With your help, the overall service you can expect to receive will only improve. How? First “Click”, then “Call”, and when all else fails “Walk.”

“Click” refers to Web-based self service items accessible through the Air Force Portal. Members can now access tools such as a frequently asked questions page, calculators, links to MyPay, the Defense Travel System, LeaveWeb, demonstrations and more.

Coming soon, members will have access to a Pay and Travel Instant Advice tool as well as a Web Inquiry Form, which they will be able to use to send questions to the AFFSC.

The 19th Comptroller Squadron has recently begun using the PCS In-Processing System, known as PIPS, and the e-Finance system. Soon, a program called e-Voucher will allow members to submit all of their non-DTS vouchers without having to leave their workstations. These systems were designed to streamline the customer flow, paperwork and time spent waiting for assistance at the base finance office.

The “Call” function is the ability to inquire about or address concerns by calling the finance service center. This is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation co-located with the center. Members will be able to inquire about any finance issue, anytime, anywhere, beginning next year.

Finally, members can “Walk” into our finance office for complex issues. The finance office, located on the first floor of Bldg. 1255 in the consolidated support center, will remain after the transformation is complete. That being said, we need base-wide support for these programs. These changes are a very good thing.

By providing better services with less waste and cost, we become better stewards of taxpayer dollars. We can only do this with everyone on board.

COMMENTARY>>Practice the way you execute

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing Command Chief

As many of you read the paper today, our base will be celebrating the many awards received during our recent RODEO competition which took place at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. Winning trophies in areas of aviation, maintenance, support and aerial delivery is great; however, we must never forget these accolades capture the fact that Combat Airlift is being expertly executed daily.

You see, when we are fully engaged in the fight to maintain our way of life, as well as supporting our allies, we must practice the way we execute. Each day you show up to your duty section, it’s important to maintain this focus. Each task is important whether it’s here in Arkansas or overseas. Do you go about your daily activities with a sense of urgency or a sense of normalcy?

I can remember hearing of an interview of a college football player who made a game-winning catch and his response really stuck with me.

The reporter asked him why he wasn’t more excited about the catch he made. His response was “I do the same thing everyday in practice.” When you practice the way you execute, the stage may change, but the task is still the task.

So even though we won many trophies at RODEO, all this did was validate what we already knew. Simply stated: we have people who perform every day at an award-winning level, providing Combat Airlift and humanitarian relief around the world.

If all of us maintain the mindset of the football receiver and combat airlifter, then what seems extraordinary to others will continue to be the norm for us due to our focus and dedication.

We must continue to be a base of prime-time players, ready to dominate the opposition when our number gets called.

Remember: practice makes perfect. Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>Let’s celebrate our success

By Col. Greg Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

Today, I invite every Combat Airlifter to celebrate the success of Team Little Rock’s participation in Air Mobility Command’s 2009 RODEO competition. We brought home a combined total of nine awards, once again proving our place as THE center of C-130 excellence.

These awards, without question, reinforce what we have long known — the fact that Little Rock Air Force Base is the home of C-130 Combat Airlift. I am so proud of our teams and the men and women of the Rock, who make our Combat Airlift mission happen.

We sent roughly 110 of our Airmen to McChord AFB, Wash., to compete, but they didn’t win alone. It took months of training and the unwavering support of every person at The Rock to accomplish this mission. The Airmen who competed were an extension of the C-130 excellence Team Little Rock provides America every day and we can be proud to be considered the best of the best.

Our Combat Airlifters are mobility partners with the rest of Air Mobility Command. We definitely have a dog in the fight, as AMC aircraft are currently flying 66 percent of all aircraft missions in the on-going war effort. Last week, our Airmen again proved that we can stay in the fight - providing unrivaled Combat Airlift - while still demonstrating our skills to a large, international audience.

Now that we’re home safely, it’s time to celebrate.

Please join me and the rest of Team Little Rock’s 2009 RODEO Team at the Conference Center today at 3:30 p.m. This free event is our way of saying “Thank You” to the entire base community for all their support. Our RODEO team could not have done it better - and they could not have done it without you!

Team Little Rock – Combat Airlift!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

COMMENTARY>>It’s been a great ride

By Col. Mark Vlahos
314th Airlift Wing Vice Commander

It’s been a total pleasure to serve as a member of Team Little Rock the past two years. Julie, the children and I will certainly miss Central Arkansas and all the great folks here. My going-away lunch and C-130 final flight were both very special, and are memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to all the behind-the-scenes heroes who made these events happen. My family and I truly appreciate your efforts. Thank-you.

I will certainly miss being part of something far bigger than myself which is the daily teamwork producing combat airlift for our nation and Air Force.

My message today is simple: The mission of Little Rock Air Force Base is bigger than the mission of its component wings.

Under the leadership of three great wing commanders, chiefs and senior NCOs, Little Rock AFB will continue to shine and remain the C-130 center of excellence and the gem of Central Arkansas.

Never lose sight of our core mission: fixing and flying safe airplanes, producing combat airlift and taking care of our Airmen and families along the way.

That’s nothing new here, just common-sense leadership. If you’re not having fun along the way, then I suggest you step back and take a look at yourself.

Remember: balance in life is the key.

As I depart from Little Rock, another great Airman, Colonel Kirk Lear arrives ready, willing and highly qualified to assume the duties as the vice commander 314th Airlift Wing. Colonel Lear will step right in and focus on the critical mission of training the world’s best combat airlifters to fly, fight and win.

As my family and I depart for Randolph Air Force Base, I will miss the sound of props -- the “four fans of freedom” turning and I will certainly miss all of you.

God Bless and Godspeed. It’s been a great ride.

COMMENTARY>>Education – take the time, go for it!

By Maj. Sergio Vega
Air Mobility Command headquarters
Detachment 3 director of operations

If you’re like me, I was happy to have a bachelor’s degree, and was completely satisfied and done with school.

How wrong I was. It seemed the Air Force had other plans for me: Air Force Professional Military Education, and technical training which involved Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and undergraduate navigator training. Then came my commander’s questions, “Have you started a master’s degree?” which led to me to the understanding that my education is never over.

Completing a master’s degree seems like a distant goal after just graduating and becoming a second lieutenant or pursing a bachelor’s degree after enlisting. Whether you’re an officer or enlisted member, pursuing a higher education should become part of your career plans - military or civilian.

I’ve heard the arguments, “The timing is just not right”, “I’m deployed” or “I just want to have fun.” They’re good excuses, but not deal breakers. It seems we will look for any excuse to stay away from opening the books. I’m guilty of using all of the above.

If you’re asking yourself what my incentives are, take a look at your co-workers and see who’s getting promoted or read your commander’s and superintendant’s biographies. Education has been a building block for Air Force leaders, a focal point in growing as Airmen, and highly encouraged to get to the next level. Money is usually a common incentive. After you separate from the Air Force, having a degree can improve your chances of getting a better-paying job and can give you a leg up on your competition seeking the same job.

Take advantage of what the Air Force offers you: the Montgomery GI Bill or Post-9/11 GI Bill, tuition-assistance, scholarships, Community College of the Air Force, spousal support programs, commissioning programs and an education office with counselors.

The Air Force paid for my master’s degree. That money can now go toward my children’s college funds.

Talk to your peers, supervisors and commanders. Find out where your peers are going to school and get information about on-line courses and costs.

Take the time to invest in your future – the Air Force and you will be better for it. Pick up the phone and call the education office at 987-3417 to set up an appointment.

COMMENTARY>>Our mission is about trust

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing Command Chief

As I flew to Colorado Springs, Colo., the other day on my way to witness our base participate in the Air Mobility Command Airlift Rodeo 2009 challenge, the concept of trust began to play out in my mind.

Colonel Greg Otey, 19th Airlift Wing commander, was piloting the aircraft that 35 of us were on and each one of us trusted him with our lives.

Our nation goes about its business daily with a similar trust that our military will maintain our way of life for every citizen. The foundation for each unit in our organization is knowing the person next to you has taken their responsibilities and training seriously. In combat, trust is the lifeblood of a unit because no one has the luxury to second-guess their abilities or anyone on our team. If this trust is violated, then lives can be lost and the mission compromised.

We establish and maintain trust through our Air Force core values and training on technical aspects of our mission. Whether it’s delivering vital supplies to unclog choke points during combat operations or providing humanitarian airlift, those on the receiving end of our mission are trusting us to be at the right place at the right time. No unit can expect to maximize their abilities if trust in leadership, resources and opportunities aren’t fully developed.

As we continue to meet current and emerging missions, trust in our training and leadership will continue to be the glue that keeps our team together. As Colonel Otey landed the C-130, I was glad he took his training and core values seriously. All of us on the aircraft trusted him and the other crew members were totally focused on the task at hand.

My challenge to each of you is to focus on what you are responsible for and honor the trust given to you by our nation by being the most polished professional possible.

Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>‘Reveille’ sounds sour note

Q) In the past, “Reveille” was not played in base housing, but it seems since the new Giant Voice speakers have been installed it now plays at 7 a.m. I understand it’s a military base and that “Reveille,” retreat and “Taps” are played every weekday, but is it necessary for it to be played in the housing area? My daughter is only 10 months old and is getting abruptly woken up every morning. I have spoken to many other individuals who live in base housing and they are also unhappy with the recent decision to play “Reveille” in the mornings. I am pleading with you to please reconsider this decision for all of the families, flyers on crew rest and night shift workers on base. Thank you very much.

A) First and foremost, the Giant Voice system is an emergency communications tool. We recently replaced the Giant Voice speakers because the old ones were not loud enough for residents in some parts of base housing to hear during an emergency.

We play “Reville” at 7 a.m., the National Anthem for retreat at 4:30 p.m. and “Taps” at 8 p.m. Playing these time-honored traditional military songs helps remind us of our unique culture and offers a minute or two of reflection on the sacrifices many of our teammates and comrades in arms have made for the flag and our country.

I encourage each of our military members to share with their families the importance of these traditions, regardless if they live on or off base.

Again, The Giant Voice system serves a primary purpose of alerting the base populace in emergency situations.

If I were to have the towers removed or the volume lowered in the housing areas, it would also impact any emergency alert warnings. We would be sacrificing the safety of hundreds of base personnel during life-threatening events.

We care too much for your safety, the safety of all the families on Little Rock AFB, and the pride of our nation and our Air Force traditions to modify the sound system at this time.

TOP STORY > >Team Little Rock Airmen compete

By Senior Airman Nathan Allen
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Little Rock Air Force Base Combat Airlifters are testing their skills against the world’s best at Air Mobility Command’s RODEO competition at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., that ends today. Teams from both the 19th Airlift Wing and the 314th Airlift Wing are showing why Little Rock AFB is the C-130 Center of Excellence.

RODEO is AMC’s Olympics of Air Force professional airlift abilities. To test these skills, teams from all over AMC, as well as international teams, came together to compete in events including aerial refueling, airdrop, aerial port, maintenance, military security forces, and aeromedical evacuation.

About 110 Airmen from Little Rock AFB competed this year.

Chief Master Sgt. Richard Turcotte, 314th Airlift Wing command chief, said each Airman from the Rock represented the base well.

“It’s inspiring. It’s nice to be able to watch our Airmen employ the tools they train with daily as members of Team Little Rock and present their combat power to the rest of AMC,” said Chief Turcotte. “This is their chance to show what we at Little Rock bring to the fight.”

Master Sgt. James Langston, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO-in-charge of aerial delivery and aerial port team chief, said that along with showing off skills, RODEO gives each competition the chance to network with contacts both new and old.

“This is an esprit de corps thing,” he said. “I catch up with these old guys I haven’t seen in years. At the end of the week, we’ll start asking questions like ‘how’d you do this’ and ‘how’d you do that.’ We start thinking ahead and that’s a big thing for us.

“To be able to see where we’ve been and talk about where we’re going ... this is our premiere airlift event,” Sergeant Langston added.

Staff Sgt. Nick Palmer, a member of the 314th AW’s joint airdrop inspection team and a 48th Airlift Squadron J-model instructor loadmaster, said an unrecognized factor at RODEO is all the people who don’t compete but still play a vital role in supporting the mission.
“A lot of people have to do their job to put me in the position to do mine,” said Sergeant Palmer. “Whether it’s services, weather shop, life support or maintenance, they contribute to my ability to be in the best position I can be to do my job. That motivates me to be as professional as I can be. To not do my best is disrespectful to everyone who makes my job possible.”

The competition ends today with the posting of official scores. Visit for complete RODEO 2009 coverage.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TOP STORY > >NCO Academy graduates

Nine Little Rock Air Force Base NCO’s have graduated from the NCO Academy in a ceremony held July 9 at Keesler Air Force Base,
Miss. Team Little Rock congratulates the following graduates:

Tech. Sgt. Robby Hilpert, 19th Component Maintenance Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Chad Lile, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Mays, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Clay McConaughy, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Pickett, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Amos Pittman, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Mellissa Reynolds, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Ebony Stewart, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Timmy Waters, 19th Maintenance Operations.

COMMENTARY>>Good mistakes

By Col. Donald Willhite
314th Maintenance Group commander

Is there such a thing as a good mistake? You bet. For example, in our profession, if you’re uncertain about calling the room to attention, call it to attention. If you’re uncertain about saluting, salute. If you’re uncertain about saying “sir” or “ma’am,” say “sir,” “ma’am.” If the action wasn’t required, at least you erred on the side of a good mistake. Someone might mention you didn’t need to do it, but that’s beneficial too; you generated a friendly discussion about proper procedures. We learn from our mistakes, so don’t think of them as faults or errors, but an education.

Can you think of other, more profound examples of good mistakes? How about when someone in your work area is showing signs of a significant problem? What do you do? Ignore it? Live and let live? Hope he gets a clue, figures it out for himself?

Avoid telling anyone because you don’t want to be a rat, seem nosy, or get someone in trouble? How about being a good wingman, going to your first sergeant, and telling him or her your concerns. There’s no one better to confide in, and your shirt will know what to do, or how to find out what to do. And you can leave it at that; you’ve done your part.

If it turns out to be minor, a non-issue, then no harm, no foul — it’s a good mistake. You were being proactive, a good friend, a good Airman. On the other hand, if it’s major, you might save a life, a family, a marriage, a career. There’s no mistake in doing that.

It’s not a mistake to speak up and talk with your shirt. And in many cases, it’s actually your responsibility to do so.

I’ve got a true story to back this up. We, right here at Little Rock AFB, lost a good Airman two years ago who had a drinking problem he couldn’t control, and it drove him to suicide. Many of his friends and co-workers knew he had a problem, knew he was drinking too much, and saw this happening over a long period of time, but no one came forward. He did his job; he was “good-to-go.” His leadership, both officer and enlisted, didn’t know he had a problem, but to a certain extent that’s to be expected. Shirts, chiefs, and officers can’t be everywhere all at once, and we can’t know everything.

We certainly can’t know things if people don’t communicate, or sweep them under the rug. When the problem finally came to light, our leaders took action. We executed our processes, disciplinary, medical, and rehabilitative.

But it was too late. His addiction was too deep, we couldn’t pull him back, and eventually he chose suicide. Now there’s a wife without a husband, kids without a father, and one less capable, promising Airman in the Air Force.

It takes a team effort, and as a team, we depend on each other to speak up. Maybe you see someone struggling with a financial problem, a drinking problem, or a family problem. The individual needs help, but isn’t getting it; and his work and his personal life are faltering.

Not sure where to turn or who to talk to? Contact your first sergeant. If need be, tell him (or her) you don’t want to be a rat, and you may be completely off the mark, but you know something you’re concerned about and you’re not certain who to turn to, so you came to him.

Your Shirt will take it from there. Remember, if it’s a non-issue, no harm; it’s a good mistake. But if it’s a major issue, it’s not a mistake at all; in fact, you’re following through on your responsibilities.

There is such a thing as good mistakes. Your good mistake may actually turn out to be the best thing you could do for a friend or Airman in need.

COMMENTARY>>Doing the right thing is a choice

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing Command Chief

Every day we wake up, we are faced with many decisions that personally affect us as well as those around us. They range from what we decide to eat or being on time for our obligations, to what type of effort will we put forward during our workday. Yet each of us has the ability to choose to be a positive impact in our environment based on the choices we make.

I believe each of us has control over two aspects of our lives: the effort we put out and the attitude we carry with us everywhere we go. When faced with the opportunity to badmouth a peer or teammate, do you jump straight to negative comments or attempt to find productive ways to address your concerns? Some people have moved up in life because of relationships versus competence, only to hurt the organization later on due to lack of ability. When faced with doing the right thing, do you let relationships outweigh reality? Regardless of the situation, each of us has the ability to positively control how we conduct ourselves.

I’ve heard it said “If you have to hurt someone to help someone, all you’ve done is hurt someone.” Doing the right thing may be uncomfortable, but in the end you walk away with your integrity and credibility intact. Even though doing the right thing is a choice, it’s a choice each of us needs to make. I can recall as a young Airman that another Airman around my age died due to not following proper checklist safety. Twenty years later, I still reflect on how this tragedy could have been avoided.

Our nation was founded on standing on the principle of doing what is right over what is convenient. So let’s all endeavor to fight the temptation of taking the easy way out as we do the right thing for ourselves and those around us.

Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>ID checks help keep base safe

Q: My wife and I entered the base at about 1:30 p.m. and traffic was backed up. When we asked the gate guard about it, he said there was a 100 percent ID check. I told him that had we known about it before we reached the gate, my wife would have had her ID ready. He pointed to an overhead sign – one we certainly didn’t notice on our way in. Leaving base, I asked my wife to look at the sign and see if she could read it. We could each see black lettering on a less than white background. Although nothing was said, I could tell the gate guard was frustrated because the sign was on but not many saw it.

When we entered the gate is I was intent on watching the car in front of me to avoid an accident and not glancing around the area, which is probably why I did not notice the sign between the two flashing red lights. However, because this sign is not obvious to those of us who have been coming in the LRAFB gate for a long time, you may want to place an eye catching sign in the roadway about 100’ from the gate to alert drivers when there is a 100 percent card check.

A: As we strive to make installation entry as convenient as possible; making things convenient doesn’t always mesh with security. In fact, convenience is often times inversely proportional to safety and security. The pre-Sept. 11entry methods are forever a thing of the past, and sacrificing security for convenience cannot outweigh the other.

Although I cannot reveal specific security measures, I will do my best to explain. The 100 percent ID check signs at the gates are pre-Sept. 11 with an original purpose of notifying motorists during nighttime hours when the checks were in progress.

Since Sept. 11, these checks have been incorporated during random daylight hours as well. In the near future, our hope is to eliminate the signs altogether. If a would-be terrorist is aware we’re checking all credentials, he’s more likely to turn away.

Even though the deterrent factor was successful, we’d rather have him in handcuffs versus searching for another target. With the unknown on our side, the element of surprise is with our civilian contract security officers. From an antiterrorism and force protection perspective, 100 percent ID checks have produced countless detentions and arrests of people attempting entry.

We appreciate your concerns and will continue to do our best to facilitate secure, safe and expeditious base entry ultimately resulting in Team Little Rock producing Combat Airlift.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

COMMENTARY>>The American Team

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

The fifth 314th Airlift Wing goal is to “Represent our Air Force to our community, joint partners and allies,” and as we reflect on our nation’s 233nd birthday, I’d like to expound on the partnership between the military and our community, the American people.

I’ve stated many times that we all need others to be successful and the strength of our military comes from the support of the American people, but these are not new concepts. Our Declaration of Independence closed with these solemn words, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance of the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” This was not a creed written for the Continental Army or the exclusive use of the armed forces, but a pledge by civilian representatives of the American people.

Our war for independence was fought and won not solely by regulars and militia on the field of battle, but by the exertions of an entire people tethered to the cause of freedom and justice. And their exertions were many. Consider the fifty six signers of the declaration. Almost all suffered some form of deprivation because of their stand--some were captured and tortured, many had their homes and property burned, some lost sons killed or captured, and many died either bankrupt or in abject poverty.

The fate of the American people and those they elected was directly linked to the soldiers of Valley Forge and Yorktown.

Today the partnership between our military and the American people is often more distant. This is especially true when we consider that in World War II, 16 million Americans served in the armed forces out of a population of 120 million. Almost everyone had an immediate family member or neighbor in uniform or lived near one of thousands of bases. The American people had a direct connection with our military which is gradually receding with the passing of the World War II, Korea and even Vietnam generations. Today less than 1 percent of the population serves in the armed forces out of population of 310 million, and we have consolidated into fewer, more centralized bases.

These facts are not bad in and of themselves--we have become more effective and are able to defend our nation with a smaller portion of our population--but they threaten to undermine the ultimate strength of our military which emanates from the American people. The direct connections are fewer, and the importance of building and cultivating relationships with our community has increased. The commitment to be ambassadors of the USAF and our armed forces is a responsibility we must embrace and it is not based on numbers, but on something far more valuable--relationships with those we serve.

It is an honor to be associated with the patriots of central Arkansas who love and support our Airmen and their families. It takes all of us working together to be successful in the defense of our country. May the pledge of our forefathers continue to be a light to all who love freedom.

COMMENTARY>>There’s no ‘I’ in team

By Chief Master Sgt. Randy Patrick
314th Operations Group superintendent

There is no “I” in team. You may have heard this term used before, but I beg to differ.

I say there are “I’s” in team. Without two or more “I”ndividuals, you cannot have a team.

According to Webster’s desk dictionary, team is defined as: “A group of persons joined together in some action or contest.”

Every team is not always successful as you normally have a losing team such as in a sporting event. The successful or winning team is comprised of individuals who are dedicated to a cause and work together to overcome obstacles to achieve victory.

Our military is comprised of several teams that work together to meet mission objectives. Our aircraft maintenance teams provide the maintenance support to put our aircraft in the air. Our C-130 aircrew work as a team to airlift personnel and cargo to re-supply our combatant commanders and train our next generation of C-130 combat airlifters. Our medical teams work together to ensure the health of our military forces and family members. Security forces work as a team to provide security for our personnel and base infrastructure. All support organizations and many more teams do their part to complement our military teams.

All the teams comprised within our military must have one objective: to work together to maintain our nation’s security. If only one of our teams should fail, it would be an obstacle that would have to be overcome by the remaining teams in order to achieve victory.

“I” am proud to be a part of our military team. “I” took an oath of enlistment swearing “I” would support and defend our Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. “I” pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

Our Airmen’s Creed has 45 “I’s” embedded within it.

“I” say, that if anyone says to me that there is no “I” in team, I would have to say that they are wrong. “I” am on America’s Team!

COMMENTARY>>Don’t fear failure

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing Command Chief

Some of the people I admire the most are the ones who have the ability to keep moving ahead despite setbacks in their lives.
I believe if you live long enough you will see challenges along the way; and if you don’t believe me, just keep on living. But my question is: “Do you let your setbacks stop you, or do you keep pressing toward excellence?”

This question is typically answered by how each person views failure. Some look at failure as the end of a quest, or validation that their efforts were in vain. If this is your outlook, then there is a chance you will never reach your full potential. Yet others view failure as opportunities to learn and improve for the next attempt at a particular goal. I’ve heard the term to “fail forward,” and it captures the mindset to retool and refocus while viewing setbacks as setups for your comeback.

If you talk to any inventor, great athlete, leader of industry or military tactician, there will be a common chord. I believe they will all say their successes were built on the lessons learned through their failures or others they have witnessed. The key is understanding that learning is a continuum and not a destination, so with that in mind, never forget there will be a few potholes along the way.

Imagine if the first time your child took a step and you saw them fall you never let them attempt to walk again. Well, as ridiculous as that sounds, there are many who stopped chasing their dreams due to a small stumble along the way. Each of us have a chance to help encourage and develop those around us. So let’s continue to push each other to explore new things with the understanding that failure is just a learning opportunity... and we’re all learning.

Remember, failure only turns into defeat when you quit, and we’re not quitters. We’re Americans; not Americants.

Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>When will new teen center open?

Q. When will the new teen center open and how far in advance can someone make hourly childcare reservations at the Child Development Centers?

A. Childcare and helping Airmen take care of their families is critical to readiness and among the command’s top priorities.

We had hoped to have the new Teen Center open by spring break, but the contractor ran into difficulty completing upgrades to the mass notification system in the facility.

This system is required to ensure the safety of the teens who will use the new center.

Our civil engineering and contracting squadrons are working to complete the upgrade in time for the new center to open before the school year begins.

In the meantime, the 19th Services Squadron continues to offer the same fantastic programs for teens at the former teen center (by the Thomas Community Activities Center) and many youth center programs are also open for teens. For information, check the Services insert in the paper weekly or call 987-6355.

The Department of Defense offers top notch childcare for children 6-weeks to 6-years-old in our CDCs.

At Little Rock, we don’t have a waiting list for childcare.

Since March 2009, Services has invited families to take advantage of hourly childcare opportunities at the CDC. Reservations may be made seven days in advance by calling 987-6130.

This is a great service for our base and I encourage you to take advantage of this benefit.

TOP STORY > >Crime in base housing drops, thanks to cops, vigilance

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

An increase in crime at Little Rock Air Force Base had been plaguing servicemembers living in base housing from January to June. Most of the crimes were reported in March and April.

“Recently there was a spike in personal property thefts at Little Rock AFB’s housing area, which affected more than 20 families losing high value items out of their vehicles, including the theft of a vehicle,” said Capt. Robert Shaw, 19th Security Forces Squadron operations officer.

Security forces statistics show a total of 25 thefts reported in base housing this year, which is unusually high compared to past years.

“Twenty one break-ins were reported throughout March and April 2009 alone,” said Captain Shaw. “Over the past seven years, the base has averaged 3.5 thefts in March and five in April.”

The thefts were investigated by Rodney Kizzia and Adam Neely, 19th SFS investigators and Jacksonville Police Department due to civilian involvement in the crimes.

“Two of the three suspects were non-military affiliated and were brought on base by family members of servicemembers,” said Investigator Kizzia.

As a reminder to base personnel, the current sponsorship age is 18 and servicemembers must be aware of whom they and their dependents are sponsoring onto base. The responsible military member is held accountable for all actions of their dependents and guests.

“Due to the 19th SFS arrests and help from base housing residents, property theft trends have dramatically reduced,” said Captain Shaw. “There was only one reported property theft in May and none in June.”

Any visitor requesting a visitor pass must present a valid driver’s license, state-issued registration and either personal or corporate-issued liability insurance. No visitor will be issued a pass without the sponsor present. Passes may be issued for up to five days. If the pass is needed for longer than five days, the sponsor and visitor must report to the pass and registration office at Bldg. 1255 with their pass issued from the visitor’s center.

According to the Security Forces investigation team, even with the downward trend in property thefts, Airmen should remember to secure their personal items and lock their homes and vehicles to deter criminals from targeting them.

“It’s extremely important for everyone to remain vigilant and lock up valuables as this will deter most property thefts,” said Investigator Kizzia.

They should also report suspicious activity to the law enforcement desk at 987-3221 or crimes in progress to the crime stop line at 987-6600.

“Everyone can do their part to prevent crime and keep members of Team Little Rock safe,” said Captain Shaw.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

COMMENTARY>>What motivates you?

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

Motivation doesn’t always come easy. You see it from time to time, you expect it from others and sometimes you look deep within yourself to find it. For me, it manifests itself within my children, when I put on the uniform or when I witness a selfless act.

It’s been said that if you want to make things happen the ability to motivate yourself and others is a crucial skill. At work, home and everywhere in between, people use motivation to get results. It requires a delicate balance of communication, structure and incentives.

Leaders motivate using several different techniques and tools. Some use performance recognition, kindness, deadlines, short and long term goals, constructive criticism and some, as a last resort, use consequences. There really is no limit to what motivates someone to perform.

As supervisors and leaders, it’s our responsibility to identify both strengths and weaknesses; not only within ourselves, but in those we wish to lead. This isn’t a simple task and it requires a great deal of communication, commitment and honest feedback on the part of the leader and those they serve.

We owe it to each and every Airman to create an environment that is challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Seek out feedback and get excited about what you do for our Air Force. Find out what motivates you and look for ways to exploit that response daily. You will be surprised at how contagious motivation and enthusiasm can be when others see you at your best.

COMMENTARY>>Get outside and experience Arkansas

By Lt. Col. Philip Everitte
714th Training Squadron commander

As we approach the Fourth of July weekend we should all feel fortunate to have so many opportunties for fun and exploration in our backyard.

Arkansas has 52 state parks; many national parks including Hot Springs, the Buffalo National River, a portion of the Trail of Tears National Historical Trail; numerous nature centers, waterfalls and waterways for kayaking, canoeing, hiking, swimming, and fishing.

One of my favorite activities includes a canoe or kayak trip on the Buffalo River. The Buffalo can be challenging or relaxing depending on which stretch of the river you pick and it is a great way to deal with the heat, which has just begun to demonstrate its presence for you folks new to the area.

The White River, Little Red River, and other area rivers also offer welcome respite with cool water generated from the bottom of dams at Bull Shoals Lake, Greers Ferry Lake, and Lake Ouachita. If you are into boating or fishing these areas may be for you.

Within a few minutes of the base is the new Witt Stephens Jr. Nature Center, located along the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. The center is a great introduction to the sportmans’ paradise which abounds in the state. More examples of fun waiting to happen here in Central Arkansas include hiking at Pinnacle Mountain or biking/hiking on trails in Burns Park or the 15 mile river trail that includes the Big Dam Bridge. If you want to venture a little further, Petit Jean Mountain, Mount Magazine and Mount Nebo also offer great hiking and camping with outstanding views of the Arkansas River Valley.

Your career in the Air Force can offer unique opportunities to get outside and find out what many areas have to offer and a chance to be a part of those experiences.

I say get outside and enjoy them while in Arkansas.

COMMENTARY>>Slow down to get there faster

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley
19th Airlift Wing Command Chief

This week put into perspective that being the first out of the gate doesn’t guarantee finishing on top in a race or in our professions. In our give-it-to-me-my-way-and-give-it-to-me-now society, we end up repeating things we should only have to do once. This typically happens because we are in such a rush to finish versus providing the best product possible.
As we continue to operate in various parts of the world, executing at the proper pace while following correct procedures will determine our ability to project Combat Airlift. A good friend of mine would often say to me, “where there is heavy traffic, there will soon be an accident.” This was his way of telling me that, if not careful, moving too quickly or without proper preparation can lead to problems.

There are many ways to slow down to ensure all of us arrive together at our destination. One is to take an interest in those around you. Investing time in people may slow you down initially, yet the investment in them will yield great results. If we slow down to get to know those we see daily, maybe they may slow down and think when they are performing a task on-or-off duty. Can you recognize a person who may be having personal stress or are we too busy to notice the signs?

Many motorcycle fatalities are a result of people moving at excess speeds. I just got a sobering briefing today on a 21-year-old Airman who recently died on a motorcycle where excessive speed was a factor.

As teammates, are you aware of those around you who may be involved in activities that could put them at risk? Ironically, when we rush to do things and they don’t go as planned, we end up stopping to assess the damage. So let’s all endeavor to slow down to get there faster in regards to how we live, work and play.

Combat Airlift!

TOP STORY > >Delivering humanitarian airlift

By Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron are key components in Little Rock Air Force Base’s Herculean mission crucial to wartime and humanitarian Combat Airlift efforts.

“This year alone, the Aerial Operations Flight has moved 5,000 passengers, processed 1,250 tons of cargo, serviced 5,162 planes and rigged and recovered 6,874 air drop loads and tactical training bundles in support of Air Mobility Command, Air Education and Training Command and Air Combat Command missions,” said 1st Lt. Francine Kwarteng, 19th LRS Aerial Operations Flight commander.

The Aerial Operations Flight also provides support for the Denton Program, a commodities transportation program authorized by the Department of Defense.

According to the U.S. Aid website, “more than 600,000 pounds of humanitarian goods were sent to 17 different countries through the Denton Program.”

The flight recently supported two Denton program missions requiring humanitarian aid supplies.

The flight palletized more than 3,900 pounds of cargo for transport in May to needy children in Iraq. They also packed a ton of donated humanitarian aid supplies, including eye glasses, wheelchairs and other medical items that departed Little Rock Air Force Base June 24 bound for Honduras.

“The Denton Program allows the use of extra cargo space on U.S. military cargo aircraft to transport humanitarian assistance materials donated by non-governmental organizations, international organizations and private voluntary organizations,” said Lieutenant Kwarteng.

“Other places that have received humanitarian aid from us are Haiti, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands,” said Master Sgt. Javier Holst, 19th LRS NCO-in-charge of aircraft services.

In addition to providing humanitarian airlift, the flight also supports missions such as Joint Airborne/Air Transportation training.

Lieutenant Kwarteng said her flight members hold themselves to high standards of excellence.

“It’s our responsibility to ensure all missions landing and departing from this base receive the world-class support AMC customers have become accustomed to,” she said.

Sergeant Holst attributes his flight’s success to the positive “can do” attitude demonstrated by supervisors guiding Airmen through daily training and taskings. The senior NCO said there is a certain satisfaction from completing missions on a daily basis.

“At the end of the day, it’s satisfying to know that our flight provides training and airdrop loads to the world’s C-130 aircrews because it allows our aircrews the training to ensure both wartime and humanitarian Combat Airlift success,” said Sergeant Holst.