Thursday, October 22, 2009

COMMENTARY>>Col. Howard Dallman – First Airlifter to earn Air Force Cross

By Chris Rumley
314th Airlift Wing historian

Feb. 5, 1968, Vietnam, the surrounded Marine Fire Base at Khe Sanh.

A C-130E, piloted by Lt. Col. Howard Dallman of the 314th Troop Carrier Wing, broke through thick cloud cover over Khe Sanh at 300 feet above ground level. Finding communications at the base inoperable, and having never landed at Khe Sanh, Colonel

Dallman chose to make a radar approach down through the mountains and into the clouds.

Perhaps with less critical cargo he would have chosen to land another day. As it was, the 35,000 pound load of ammunition, artillery shells, and mortar fuses was desperately needed. Colonel Dallman, an experienced pilot with 45 combat missions flying B-17s during WWII who survived being shot down and then survived a German prisoner of war camp, was greatly respected by his fellow C-130 teammates flying in Vietnam. He was also the right man to be piloting aircraft 62-1817 on Feb. 5, 1968.

Once safely on the improvised runway, the C-130 became an easy target for communist forces from Khe Sanh’s surrounding high ground. Marines there called the C-130s “Mortar Magnets” for good reason. As the enemy mortars began raining down, heavy machine gun fire tore into the fuselage of the aircraft igniting wooden ammunition crates and spreading to the wooden pallets holding artillery rounds.

Fearing the fire would result in an explosion that could kill nearby Marines and shut down the resupply operation, Colonel Dallman and crew remained on the aircraft and backed it to the far end of the runway. As he maneuvered the aircraft, his crew members fought the fire now spreading to other pallets and filling the fuselage with flames. Through their combined efforts, the crew extinguished the flames and began quickly unloading the cargo as enemy mortar fire bracketed the aircraft.

With the load safely removed, Colonel Dallman taxied the entire length of the runway to replace a front landing gear tire damaged by shrapnel. At one point, still under heavy enemy fire, the navigator left the aircraft to ground guide Colonel Dallman through a congested area on the runway. With the tire replaced, the crew prepared to take off only to have an engine knocked out by yet another enemy mortar round. After some hasty repairs, the crew taxied out onto the runway and launched the C-130 back into the air taking several more hits to the aircraft on the way out.

For his decisive action under fire, Colonel Dallman was awarded the Air Force Cross. He was the first tactical airlift crew member to be so honored with the Air Force’s second highest award given for acts of extraordinary heroism- second only to the Medal of Honor. His crew all received Silver Stars. Aircraft 62-1817 returned her crew home safely and had enough holes needing repair to earn the nickname “Patches”.

After service in Vietnam, Patches eventually ended up with the 43d Airlift Wing at Pope Air Force Base from where she deployed to Southwest Asia flying missions in support of the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. Patches was finally reunited with the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base in June of 2008 and is still flying missions with the 19th Airlift Wing from Little Rock today. Thus far in October, Patches has completed 28 sorties here.

COMMENTARY>>Remember why you joined

By Lt. Col. Scott Brown
19th Medical Group acting commander

I began my Air Force career, as did a number of my fellow officers, as an enlisted Airman. The year was 1984, and a co-worker at my civilian workplace had signed up with the Navy.

He was excited at the prospect of moving into a new and challenging career, at the opportunity to see other countries and experience new things. After listening to him and reading the information, it didn’t take me long to decide that the military seemed to be a great option for me. I’d attempted college one semester but just didn’t have the self-confidence or drive that it took to complete the classes, and my blue collar job at the time didn’t offer any real advancement opportunities or prospects for a stable career.

My wife and I talked it over, and the following week I met with an Air Force recruiter. Within a few short weeks, I’d completed the requirements for entry and locked in a guaranteed job as an information management specialist, all the while nervous and questioning why I would do this, especially at age 27. But my recruiter had offered an opportunity for me to build a real future for our family with the help of the Air Force while contributing to the strength of our nation as a member of the military, and I wasn’t going to pass it up.

Basic training was tough, especially having to leave my family behind, but during that time I learned things I wouldn’t have learned in most civilian jobs. I learned to push myself to the limit physically and mentally, and accomplish things I would never have thought possible. I learned that with hard work, I could build my endurance and complete all physical training requirements even though I hadn’t worked out regularly for years. I learned I was capable of completing academic goals and gained a level of self-confidence that would see me through every challenge that came my way. Most of all, I learned to take pride in the accomplishments of my teammates and the contributions and sacrifices each of us made in order to achieve our team’s goals. Despite the stress and the hectic pace, we knew we’d achieved those tough goals together and graduated as a team. Knowing we were now ready to put our new skills to work for the bigger Air Force team made all the hard work well worth the effort.

Fast forward 25 years and we’ve progressed from typewriters and hard-copy inboxes to computers and seemingly endless e-mails. Our nation has moved from a Cold War state to a state of war against terrorists. Many of us deploy regularly, leaving family behind and many times leaving short-manned work centers to cope with additional workload while we’re gone. We’re constantly asked to do more when we’re convinced we’ve reached our limits. But our nation and our Air Force team have a huge goal that they need our help with--to win the war.

This goal challenges each of us to recall our reasons for talking with our recruiters, to recall how tough basic training was and to remember the pride we felt when we graduated basic training as a team and then took on and overcame constant additional challenges. We will win the war and the pace will slow, and we will achieve that goal together.

Always take pride in your team’s and your accomplishments, use that self-confidence gained in basic training and keep a positive attitude. Remember why you joined.

COMMENTARY>>What does a person in trouble look like?

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

Can you spot someone who is having a trying time in their life?

There was a time that I would tell you I could pick them out quickly and then be able to render assistance. But the longer I live, the more I realize that people respond to stress differently, and I may not be as good as I thought at spotting warning signs.

Today we will have a series of commander’s calls on base; these come on the heels of losing four people associated with Air Mobility Command in the last week due to traffic fatalities.

So I began to ponder how can we internalize the concept of a community of caring. Three of the four individuals who died last weekend were ejected from their vehicle. You see a person in trouble could be someone you know who doesn’t take wearing seatbelts or personal protective equipment on motorcycles seriously. They could even be a person who calls themselves a friend, but doesn’t have the courage to say you’ve had enough to drink before you get behind the wheel. Col. Greg Otey, 19th Airlift Wing commander, and I had a conversation this week with someone who had the chance to do the right thing in being a good wingman and looked the other way.

Team Little Rock, we cannot be bystanders. We have to be active participants in the lives of those we serve with. As we continue to complete our mission here and abroad, it becomes more important that each of us takes personal interest in the people around us. Ten years ago someone I worked with committed suicide and no one saw it coming. He didn’t fit the profile I had been briefed on, yet he completed this tragic act.

So as we get to know people better, we will be able to see if they’re not themselves and help them work their way back to stability and growth.

Thank you for taking the time to care for those around you as we continue to be the guardians of freedom.

Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>Commander’s Action Line: Bugged by insect bites


I have recently moved into base housing after living in Cabot for six months. While living in Cabot, I don’t think anyone in my family received mosquito or bug bites. However, since moving into base housing, we cannot seem to keep them off of us. I was wondering if this concern is being addressed or if you could tell me what is being done to try to keep the mosquito population down?


Living and working in a lakeside community has the recreational advantages of fishing and being close to nature. However, the lakes do tend to attract mosquitoes, especially in the summer months and during times of heavy rainfall. Little Rock AFB has received an abundance of rain this year -- 20 inches more than average -- which exacerbates mosquito issues.

The mosquito spraying season in Arkansas ends once the temperature drops below 50 degrees in the evenings. The mosquito population should be quickly reducing now since we’ve had several nights where the temperature has dropped into the 40s. Thank you for allowing me to address your concern.

In the future, if the mosquito problem is in family housing, call 983-9050 to report the problem. If it’s outside of base housing, call the 19th Civil Engineering Squadron customer service desk at 987-6553 or 987-6554, is the correct office to call to report a mosquito problem on base.

They will submit a work order to the 19th CES entomology shop. Entomology then contacts public health, who conducts a mosquito count of the requested area.

If public health personnel confirm the count is high enough to warrant a chemical application, Entomology will spray the area in question.


Article by Airman 1st Class Rochelle Clace • Photos by Staff Sgt. Chad Chisholm

Airmen from the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Fuels Management Flight keep the fuel flowing for combat airlifters by leading the way in the testing and fielding of more economical, environmentally friendly and sustainable aviation and ground fuels.

The base uses a lot of fuel to power successful operations as the world’s premier C-130 base. In order to maintain the base’s mission of answering the call to fly, fight and win, wherever combat airlift is needed, the fuel must keep flowing and the need to pursue less hazardous, environmentally safe fuels is higher than ever.

The fuels management flight has been selected to test two types of aviation fuel in an effort to save money and the environment.

“We’re the only base in the Air Force simultaneously testing the two types of aviation fuels,” said Senior Master Sgt. Donald Graham, 19th LRS fuels flight chief.

The first is the commercial grade Jet A. This fuel is cheaper and more common throughout the aviation industry; it’s a straight petroleum-based fuel.

“The money-saving difference is the potential for less additives. Fewer additives mean less hazardous, less expensive fuel,” said Sergeant Graham.

“Jet A becomes [similar to] JP-8 when we receive it and mix three different additives,” said Airman 1st Class Clinton Anderson, a 19th LRS fuels distribution operator. A static dissipater, a corrosion inhibitor and lubricity improver, and a fuels system icing inhibitor all of which meet military specifications.

“The theory is that if we can remove the additives, we can save the Air Force up to four cents per gallon with an estimated annual savings of $40 million” in the United States, said Airman Anderson.

Although fuel handling procedures for mechanics, fuel handlers and fuel system maintenance personnel do not change, the Air Force has the possibility of reducing the production of hazardous waste by eliminating the fuel system icing inhibitor from bulk fuel tank bottoms.

The second type of aviation fuel the base is testing is synthetic jet fuel, called SPK. It’s designed to reduce dependency on foreign oil.

“[This fuel] is derived from coal or natural gas by a 1920’s process known as Fischer Tropsch Synthesis. We are testing a blend of 50 percent JP-8 and 50 percent synthetic,” said Airman 1st Class Ronnie Miller, a 19th LRS fuels distribution operator.

“That means we can buy 50-percent less foreign oil if we adopt this type of fuel,” said Sergeant Graham.

The Air Force is dedicated to developing and implementing fuels which are better for the environment, are based on renewable resources, reduce dependence on foreign oil and save money.

The 19th LRS led the way in implementing successful E85 and biodiesel operations for ground equipment, and are blazing a path for the implementation of SPK and Jet A fuels. E85 is a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Biodiesel is 80 percent diesel and 20 percent organic byproduct, such as recycled cooking grease from restaurants.

“Our efforts here will provide an Air Force-wide source of information on how these aviation fuels will affect aircraft, pumping systems and refueling vehicles,” said Sergeant Graham.

The Air Force consumed almost 2.5 billion gallons of aviation fuel in fiscal year 2007 at a cost of almost $5.6 billion, according to Air Mobility Command. Aviation fuel accounted for approximately 81 percent of the total Air Force energy costs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

COMMENTARY>>Consider the consequences before you act

By Col. Donald Dickerson
314th Maintenance Group commander

Every day, we make thousands of decisions, most with very little conscious thought. If I asked you if you wanted to go to lunch today, you’d probably decide and answer immediately.

We give other decisions, like buying a new vehicle or home, a great deal of careful deliberation.

Unless it’s obviously of great magnitude, how often do you stop and consider the consequences of your decisions? Even the decisions we make in the blink of an eye can have life changing, sometimes life ending impact.

On Labor Day weekend some years back, two Airmen in the squadron I commanded made a decision to go race their cars in the middle of the night on a straight stretch of road near our base. Two Airmen from other squadrons elected to ride along.

After several runs down a quarter-mile course they’d measured and marked with cones, they stopped to chat about their performance.

After the conversation, they got in their cars to go back to base. One driver decided he wasn’t through racing and accelerated to more than 110 mph. He went off the right side of the road, overcorrected, shot off the left side of the road, spun and impacted a tree while moving backward at more than 80 mph. His 19-year old passenger died immediately.

The driver died in the emergency room, right in front of me, a few hours later.

Do you think the driver would have made a different decision had he spent more than a second thinking about the consequences before he chose to press the gas pedal to the floor?

Would the passenger have chosen to go racing with them had he given the decision more thought? We’ll never know.

How often have you made a decision to do something like that without considering what could go wrong?

Countless times since that terrible night, I’ve dealt with people who were facing failing marriages, financial crisis, career problems or injuries because of their failure to think before they acted.

I’m baffled when I watch people who spend five minutes trying to decide what to order at Starbucks make a decision to do something so risky it puts their future in jeopardy without a second thought.

Every decision we make has consequences. Think about those consequences before you act and encourage those around you to do the same. Spontaneity is great, but so is not going through life thinking how much better it would be if only you had thought before making a bad decision.

COMMENTARY>>Choosing to be uncommon

By Capt. Robert Shaw
19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander

One makes thousands of decisions every day. Whether to get out of bed in the morning, to stop at the next stop sign, to do physical fitness training today, to uphold the Air Force’s core values today and many more.

It sounds easy right? Well that isn’t always the case. The decisions an individual makes every day can have a profound effect.

They can both positively and negatively effect your own life and career as well as the lives and careers of those you care about.

These decisions along with the values, attitudes, ambitions and allegiances to which one adheres, and how we respond to adversity are how one can become uncommon.

When Coach Cal Stoll told his University of Minnesota freshman football team “Success is uncommon, therefore not to be enjoyed by the common man,” it really spoke to Tony Dungy. Dungy carried that mantra with him through his days as a student, as an NFL player and as a Super Bowl-winning coach. He realized early on that success doesn’t come easy and requires one to make the right decisions. Throughout Dungy’s playing and coaching career he lived life with purpose, character, integrity and courage, and he knew there was more to life than football.

Coach Dungy believed his primary job was building men worthy of being role models to a nation of boys who look up to them. He built men with confidence and humility who knew the value of family and faith. The thing that impressed me about Dungy is he stuck to his principles and values even through the suicide of his teenage son and countless other monumental hurdles in his life. I’m not saying he’s perfect, no one is; but he strove everyday to do the right thing for his wife, children, players, coaches, and friends. All the while understanding that his life was more than football; he realized that in his position he could positively affect the lives of many. It wasn’t about him.

So what does it take to be uncommon? It’s about doing the right thing, all the time; whether you’re on base, off base, on leave or TDY. It’s living the Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do 24/7/365. Not because the Air Force or your supervisor want you to, but because you know it’s the right thing to do for you and those important people who surround you. Your family, friends, and coworkers all benefit because you strive for excellence and integrity. Your example and actions will not only continue to make the U.S. Air Force the world’s most capable and feared Air Force, but will also make your career a rewarding one and give you a life of purpose.

I believe many of the life lessons gleaned from Tony Dungy’s book, “Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance,” transcend football and are very applicable to all of us in the Air Force. We are all role models and heroes and people watch what we do on and off duty. We can quickly be scrutinized for improper behavior or actions, or worse, be punished.

The next time you’re faced with a tough decision, think about the difference between the common person’s choice and the uncommon person’s choice. Being uncommon isn’t always easy and requires taking an uncommon path. Dungy passionately believes that there is a different path to significance, a path characterized by attitudes, ambitions, and allegiances that are all too rare but uncommonly rewarding.
So ... are you ready to be uncommon?

COMMENTARY>>Your attitude is contagious

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

If your attitude is contagious, then what are people catching when they come into contact with you? Our outlook and approach to how we come across each day is totally within our control. So this week I want each of us to focus on what type of attitude we project each day.

We all need to be mindful about how the attitudes of others can affect us. Think about the person who seems to drain the energy out of the room whenever they show up. Now also think about the person who gives you an energy boost when they come around you. Both of these examples are tied to the attitudes of the individuals. So my question to you is, what is the response that people have when you show up?

If you are a leader, you cannot afford to be negative or pessimistic. You must be able to make the best of what you have, while advocating improving your environment for your people. That’s what leaders do. Leaders don’t have the luxury of wallowing in self-pity or anguish; but conversely they have the mandate to encourage and support those around them.

Some of my best experiences in the military have been in tight spots during deployments, yet the attitudes of my teammates made those times tremendously rewarding. Recently I went home to visit one of my dearest aunts and she has lost sight in both eyes, yet her attitude about life is one that I find incredibly encouraging.

The point I’m trying to make is that each of us has the ability to positively influence someone, regardless of what is going on.

My challenge to you is to be the one that adds positive energy to the room and focus on those things that appreciate in life versus things that depreciate. Now that you realize your attitude is contagious, make sure people are catching the right thing.

Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>Help me spend our $50,000

By Col. Greg Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

On Tuesday, Gen. Arthur Lichte, commander of Air Mobility Command, announced the results of the AMC Commander-in-Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence. Little Rock Air Force Base placed second in what the general called an “extremely competitive” competition.

No. 2 in AMC is awesome; that’s No. 2 out of 15 bases. I spoke with members of the team and they relayed how impressed they were with Team Little Rock during their visit. Dover Air Force Base, Del., was named the overall winner, and they deserve to be congratulated. Members of the Installation Excellence Award evaluation team said Dover AFB won with mature processes that showed their installation excellence - their mature processes incorporated a lot AFSO21 into their way of life.

I want to thank each of you for your great work. As I have said in the past, you all make me proud to be part of such a great team. To echo Gen. Lichte, I’m proud of the energy displayed, the pride we show in our mission, our productivity and the work we perform daily to improve the quality of life here. None of this could have been done without massive amounts of teamwork - from each of our three wings and our community supporters.

You could not have done better in your presentations to the evaulation team. Team Little Rock truly “Rocked.” Second place and $50,000 is something we can all be proud of.

Now, how should we spend our money?

You won this award; this money is for us to improve Team Little Rock. You should help decide how the money should be spent. I am soliciting suggestions from all Team Little Rock members on how we can improve our quality of life while rewarding our entire team for their hard work and dedication. $50,000 won’t take care of every need on base - for comparison, the push-up pad at the War Fit Track cost roughly $200,000 - but it can take care of some needs.

Therefore, I’m looking for your ideas. Please send your suggestions to me directly, through my action line, at I am open to ideas that will benefit us all.

Please send your suggestions to me no later than Friday, Oct. 30. We will announce the decision in a future edition of the Combat Airlifter.

Again, thank you all for the hard work and great attitude throughout our preparation and execution during AMC’s selection process.

A special thanks to the world’s greatest military community and our Team Little Rock Community Council.
Combat Airlift!

TOP STORY > >19 AW goes Medieval on heritage

Article by Airman 1st Class Rochelle Clace

T he 19th Airlift Wing held the first ever Black Knight Heritage Dinner Oct. 9 at Hangar 276.

19 AW Airman celebrated the first anniversary of the standup of the 19 AW, as well as 82 years of Black Knight history.

Master Sgt. Krista Stroup, 19th Comptroller Squadron Quality Assurance Manager, assisted the 19th Directorate of Staff’s group in setting up their area for the event. “It was a night that allowed Black Knights to pay remembrance to our heritage,” she said.

According to Sergeant Stroup, the night was also educational.

“We watched a phenomenal video that traced back our 82 years and really showed where we’ve come from,” she said. “The 19th Airlift Wing has been a part of so many important campaigns in our nation’s military history. This night proved to be an entertaining way to look at all we’ve accomplished while still having fun.”

The event included a medieval dinner and tournament with jousting, horse racing, quarterstaff fighting and archery.

“The activities of the evening were very successful,” said Mrs. Lisa Otey, wife of Col. Greg Otey, 19 AW commander. “All the folks who had a hand in planning and implementing the evening’s events deserve a round of applause.”

The attire for the dinner was medieval costume or the uniform of the day, which was altered and accessorized to reflect the medieval theme.

“It turns out there’s a little medieval in all of us,” said Mrs. Otey. “Most everyone came dressed in costumes which were from very diverse periods in history. Folks chose costumes from the Arthurian time, 500 A.D., all the way through the extended
Renaissance Period 1700’s.”

Many attendants agreed that making the event an annual dinner would be a good idea.

“At the end of the evening I went around and asked several groups of people if they enjoyed the evening and if they would like to make it an annual event,” said Mrs. Otey. “The replies I received were an resounding and enthusiastic, YES!”

Sergeant Stroup said the event’s combination of fun and humor was the perfect mixture to create a successful heritage dinner.

“As a wing, we work very hard in our duties. It was our chance to let our hair down and have fun while still celebrating our roots.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

TOP STORY > >New law prohibits texting while driving

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

Law enforcement is now able to ticket people who text and drive.

Arkansas Act 181, also known as “Paul’s Law,” prohibits drivers of motor vehicles from using handheld wireless telephones to engage in text messaging effective Oct. 1, said Master Sgt. Mark Evans, 19th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent.

“It was named in honor of Paul Davidson of Jonesboro, Arkansas who was killed when his car was hit head on by a texting driver,” said Sergeant Evans.

The law’s purpose is to improve the safety of Arkansas roads for all drivers and passengers by preventing accidents caused by the distraction of text messaging.

“It’s designed to stop motorists of all ages from driving distractedly and dangerously by banning e-mailing or reading and writing text messages while behind the wheel,” said Sergeant Evans. “Arkansas is the 19th state to ban texting while driving and Little Rock Air Force Base enforces Arkansas traffic laws.”

The texting ban isn’t exclusive to privately owned vehicles; President Barack Obama issued an executive order Oct. 1, banning all federal employees from texting while driving government vehicles.

“The president’s order applies to all military and government employees and will especially help on military installations located in the 31 states where a text ban has yet to be imposed,” said Sergeant Evans.

“If a motorist is looking at their phone, it’s basically a violation,” said Sergeant Evans.

Another law taking effect Oct. 1 is that anyone under 18 can’t use a phone at all while driving and 18 – 20 year olds must use a hands-free device.

“I believe this is a step in the right direction,” said Rick Myers, 19th Airlift Wing ground safety manager. “This will give our younger drivers a mindset of practicing safer driving techniques which should reduce vehicle accidents caused by the distractive practices such as text messaging and cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle.”

According to Arkansas State Police, there were at least 787 crashes in Arkansas in 2008 involving drivers who were distracted by electronic communication devices.

“Bottom line, if you don’t have a hands-free device when you’re operating a motor vehicle on base, your cell phone is nothing more than a paper weight,” said Sergeant Evans.

COMMENTARY>>The ‘264 days of other’

By Lt. Col. Carleton H. Hirschel
19th Mission Support Group

Congratulations, you’ve made it through the “101 Days of Summer” without incident. But now what? Many self-help groups take things “one day at a time,” they use time frames to help break down ideas like safety into something more manageable.

The “264 Days of Other” have just begun and will continue until summer starts again. If we borrow a page from those self-help groups and practice safety “one day at a time” during the “264 Days of Other,” I guarantee you’ll stand a much higher chance of being successful.

Incorporating safety into your everyday life puts the focus exactly where it needs to be. Commanders and supervisors stress safety in the workplace and at home. There’s always a safety briefing at our Commander’s Calls or before a holiday weekend.

The reality though is that each and every one of us needs to practice safety every day. During the “264 Days of Other,” I’d like all of us to pay attention to the following three areas: personal, mental and physical safety.

Simply put, if we make a mistake or take unnecessary risks that result in our death, our mental and physical safety have already been compromised. This makes personal safety the most important of the three. So the question then becomes, how do we practice personal safety? A simple approach is to just follow the basic rules we all learned in kindergarten (i.e., follow regulations and use common sense): Look both ways before you cross the street (be aware of hazards in your environment at home, at work, and at play); Don’t play with fire (avoid dangerous activities, including abusing alcohol and drinking/driving); No running in the hallways (observe the speed limit and don’t drive too fast for road conditions); Obey your parents (follow the rules); and play nice with others (be a good Wingman). Your personal safety is taken care of. What else do you need to do to remain safe?

Mental safety has become very important in recent years. Suicide rates across the Air Force have been up over the past couple of years. Annualized rates as of August 7, 2009, were 24 suicides (12.4 per 100,000). The EOY numbers for suicides in CY08 was 40 suicides (12.4 per 100,000).

Suicides over the past 10 year have averaged 35 (9.9 per 100,000) per year. If trends continue this year we could potentially lose another 16 individuals before next January. This is not acceptable. Our goal for attempted and completed suicides across the Air Force must always be zero, as one loss of life to suicide is one too many. Commanders, supervisors, and friends all need to be involved; however, the most important person in this equation is you! In order to maintain your mental safety, you need to make sure our relationships with friends and acquaintances are healthy, maintain an optimistic outlook, believe in something higher than ourselves, be a member of or participate in a club or community, and seek assistance with problems as early as possible. These coping mechanisms are shown to reduce your chance of committing suicide.

Lastly, we all need to take steps to ensure our physical safety. As the Air Force has become more expeditionary, the focus on fitness has continued to increase. General Jumper established the new Fit-to-Fight program in the summer of 2003. Since then, we’ve seen the focus on fitness increase tenfold as the Air Force has come to realize that being in shape can be the difference between life and death. General Jumper set a new and higher expectation for fitness when he said, “I want to make very clear that my focus is not on passing a fitness test once a year. More important, we are changing the culture of the Air Force. This is about our preparedness to deploy and fight. It’s about warriors. It is about instilling an expectation that makes fitness a daily standard -- an essential part of your service. Commanders, supervisors, and front-line leaders must lead the way -- through unit physical training, personal involvement and, most important, by example.” This emphasis on fitness has only grown under General Schwartz, including PT testing twice a year. If you’re not working out regularly, get with the program. Your physical safety depends on our fitness.

We all need to make sure we practice personal safety, mental safety and physical safety “one day at a time” -- each of our lives depends on it.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you next Memorial Day so together we can successfully end the “264 Days of Other” and kick off the start of another winning “101 Days of Summer.”

COMMENTARY>>Leaving ‘The Rock’ better than we found it

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

In my 25 years of active-duty service to our nation, I’ve had the privilege to serve alongside some of our most influential Airmen and leaders. I’ve had the opportunity to experience Air Force missions throughout the continental United States as well as several continents and countries.

What I have come to realize is one very important theme – pride in ownership and leaving something better than you found it is what makes us the best at what we do.

We have an awesome responsibility as public servants to preserve and enhance those areas and mission sets entrusted to us by the American people. Our nation has been at war since 1990, and in today’s climate of fiscal constraint, we must continue to do our part in maintaining our facilities, aircraft and weapons systems so that we can continue to react with the lethality needed to achieve victory.

We must also be ready to carry out humanitarian missions for those who don’t have the means to help themselves.

Our Air Force Core Value of Excellence in All We Do provides the motivation to aggressively implement policies to ensure the best possible cradle-to-grave management of resources.

You can’t walk 100 feet on Little Rock Air Force Base without seeing an improvement to a facility, infrastructure or aircraft – each example is a testament to our Airmen and their commitment to excellence.

I had the privilege last week to watch our contracting and comptroller teams work end of year closeout.

They completed a truly arduous and amazing task when I think about all that is involved in improving the quality of life, infrastructure and mission readiness for our base. Many of you had a hand in making this year a successful one in the preservation of material resource excellence. I didn’t see residual funds being used to purchase “nice-to-have” items.

Instead, I saw investments that will enable our Air Force and Combat Airlift for years to come.

There’s still much work to be done, but I am confident that the professionals of Team Little Rock will continue to take pride in ownership while we are here to ensure we leave “The Rock” better than we found it.

COMMENTARY>>Keeping each other honest

By Lt. Col. Paul Pethel
19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Have you ever led a group activity when someone questioned a decision? How did you react? Did you objectively analyze the input and discuss before committing to action, or did you have a different reaction?

I was seven years old when I learned the basics of swimming the wrong way - by nearly drowning. On a typical summer day my brother and his friend, who were 11, decided to take me with them to engage in what we all considered a pretty exciting activity - boat flipping. There was a large pond in our neighborhood, and kids would paddle out in a neighbor’s small boat and flip it to hang over the sides and swim around/under/over, etc. The boat of choice was an old Sunfish sailboat that had no mast, no keel, no rudder--it was trashed, but floated when overturned--a pretty good attribute in case you got swamped in rough water.

I was excited to finally be included in some “big kid” event as we cut through yards to reach the water’s edge. Strangely, the little Sunfish was missing that day, so my elders decided to use the next best thing, a standard aluminum Jon boat. I couldn’t swim at the time and was both nervous and excited, but my brain still registered a difference. I’d watched them do this before and recognized the beat up white Sunfish as the only boat they’d used.

I asked my brother and his pal if this boat floated when flipped...they declared, in unison, “of course it will float -- it’s a boat!”

This was spoken as if obvious, and they didn’t want to be bothered with stating the obvious – because it was hot and there was a pond that needed jumping into. I didn’t ask for a life jacket because this boat was going to float, and I was just going to hang onto the sides until we had had enough. No assessment, no evaluation, just complete dismissal. I was like most little brothers and had unconditional faith in what my big brother said, so out we rowed to the center of the pond. Without any hesitation, they started rocking the boat and after a couple of good dips it took on water and started to sink!

In my panic, I saw my brother and his pal exchange a bug-eyed look, which would have been comical in different circumstances. It told me everything I needed to know, they had no clue what would happen when they flipped this boat. There we were floundering in the water, and I remember watching the stern of that trusty old Jon boat slip below the surface. I started gyrating with the best of them, sucking in mouthfuls of water. As I continued my death throes, I decided it would be safer to climb my brother and stand on his head. Of course, he shoved me off, screaming we’d both be dead if I choked him (as if that was a good compromise). Somehow we made it to the edge of the water after what seemed like an eternity. As the three of us lay there gasping, my brother looked at his friend and said “I had no idea that thing would sink.”

Sometimes, the newest and most inexperienced set of eyes can be the best thing your team has. Sometimes, even the youngest and newest member of a team can identify a hazard. Our Airmen who’ve just joined us from technical training and the First Term Airmen Center are our newest eyes, and even though they may not have much time in service, they can definitely spot issues in processes we’ve been doing for years. That’s exactly the danger. We may have been doing it incorrectly for years and gotten complacent. We may even hear, but gloss over their questions because we don’t fully understand what we’re doing ourselves.

If you’re familiar with the tragic fatality at Charleston AFB, S.C., that resulted in a C-17 maintainer being crushed to death by a flight control surface, you can understand the need to take inputs and address them -- and if you can’t address them, stop what you’re doing until you can.

We owe it to our Airmen to take their inputs, listen to their questions and address them fully -- not marginalize them because they just joined the team. I am consistently amazed at the quality of young Airmen that come into our squadrons every day.

They’re articulate, intelligent and committed -- they are the team and we have to lead and coach them the right way if we’ll be successful.

Our newest members have faith in what we tell them because we can demonstrate proficiency and explain down to minute detail why we do things a certain way. When your team members raise issues, how will you respond?

That boat’s probably still on the bottom of the pond, so there’s no real evidence of our collective brain dump, but I came through unscarred. Ironically, my brother went on to spend 11 years as a Navy search-and-rescue swimmer before earning his commission -- he finally got signed off on the proper way to conduct a water rescue; and yes, I still talk to him!

COMMENTARY>>Is the baby ugly or pretty?

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

There’s something many people have trouble doing, and that’s giving honest and candid feedback. Sometimes we get frustrated with people because they aren’t doing as well as we think they need to; yet often times we haven’t given them sound feedback.

I’m sure some of are sitting there saying, “I always give useful and timely feedback.” Okay then think about the person who always likes to get close to you when they talk, and they have morning breath no matter the time of day when they talk to you. Have you sat down with them and given them feedback or even offered them a breath mint? I use this humorous, yet real, example of human interaction to illustrate how important it is to be straight up with people.

One of the most valuable things we can do for those around us is to have the courage to give thoughtful and honest feedback. It takes courage, because typically people don’t like to receive feedback on areas that they are not excelling in. Often you will find the person wasn’t even aware of the issue being attributed to them. Whether it’s your job or a personal relationship, being honest and open can increase understanding while positively developing the partnership.

If you are a leader, then you don’t have a choice in giving honest or accurate feedback. We fail our people when we hold back because we aren’t sure how to approach the issue. Seek counsel and use different approaches to communicating, but you must get in there and help those around you. Life is a learning continuum full of adjustments and we owe it to one another to be frank and honest always.

Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>Way to go, Team Little Rock!

By Col. Greg Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

Team Little Rock, you watered the eyes of the Air Mobility Command Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Award team Monday.

At the outbrief Monday afternoon, they used words like “blown away” and “phenomenal” to describe what you do for our base and our nation, providing C-130 Combat Airlift.

With that said, we’ll still have to wait for a final result. It could come as early as today or it could be as late as Oct. 16.

Regardless of the outcome, I’m proud of each of you for the effort you put into this visit. Two words: Simply amazing.

The evaluation team members said they’ve been to other bases that talk about teamwork among the host and tenant units, but they’ve never seen anything like the teamwork that occurs between our three wings. Some bases talk the talk, but we’re walking the walk!

What they saw were people like Senior Airman Dynasty Horton, 19th Security Forces Squadron, who schedules by-name reservations for Airmen to fire their weapons for qualification. Her efforts have doubled efficiencies, allowing more shooters to fire during each session.

They also saw Connie Oxford, 19th Medical Group, who oversees the base’s exceptional family member program. She put together a comprehensive parent toolkit for new arrivals to the base to help parents transition to the base and find the appropriate care their children need.

Then there’s Tech. Sgt. Chynita Morgan-Davis at the Sports and Fitness Center who brought new energy to the fitness center by assigning special events, like an eco challenge event, to Airmen to orchestrate, which helps prepare them for more responsibility as they move into the NCO ranks.

They also saw Terry Gardner, a 19th Component Maintenance Squadron propeller mechanic, who is recognized as the “premier” C-130 propeller valve housing expert in the Air Force, providing support not only to maintainers here at “the Rock” but also to maintainers overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lastly, they saw 2nd Lt. Joeli Field, a 34th Combat Training Squadron intelligence officer. She was singled out for her knowledge of the complexity of her unit’s mission, which is deployment readiness exercises, training Combat Airlifters for real world Combat Airlift missions and being part of AMC’s initial cadre to train C-130 and C-17 airlifters on the Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System, which uses global positioning system data to more accurately airdrop pallets of cargo.

Each of those people received the team’s coin for excellence, and so did Lt. Col. Brian Heberlie, 19th Communications Squadron commander, for his efforts in leading our preparation and execution for the visit. Brian put in a lot of sleepless nights and had a team at his disposal that had the same enthusiasm and energy all the way to the end.

While inspectors focused their attention on the base and its mission, they couldn’t overlook the fact we have the best community support of any Department of Defense organization—our community is key to Team Little Rock success.

The pride and enthusiasm they have for our base and our Air Force was reinforced at an evening social sponsored by the base’s community council. There, they heard first hand from our civic leaders why Little Rock Air Force Base is the best base in

Air Mobility Command and the Air Force.

We’ve done our part, and we left nothing on the field. They saw the best of Little Rock Air Force Base on Monday—you and what you do to provide our nation C-130 Combat Airlift. Thank you very much for your effort I am proud to be associated with all of you. Combat Airlift!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

TOP STORY > >By Col. Charles K. Hyde 314th Airlift Wing commander On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fie

By Capt. Joe Knable
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

(Editor’s note: this is the third article in a three-part series about the upcoming visit by five colonels from Air Mobility Command headquarters who will visit the command’s three finalists for the Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award.)

During the 2009 fiscal year, Team Little Rock stood up the 19th Airlift Wing as AMC’s newest C-130 wing. The move bolstered the base’s world class Combat Airlift support to combatant commands around the world, continued its role as the C-130 Center of Excellence to create and sharpen combat airlifters in all crew positions for the entire U.S. C-130 fleet and for 34 partner nations, and deployed 1,656 combat-ready war fighters from its three wings and tenant units.

For these reasons, and so many more, Team Little Rock is a finalist for AMC’s nomination for best base in the Air Force.

Everyone on base needs to understand why the inspection team is here Monday and should be ready to share why Team Little Rock is the best base in the Air Force, according to Col. Greg Otey, 19th Airlift Wing and Little Rock Air Force Base commander.

A year’s work for the more than 6,300 active-duty military and civilian members that comprise Team Little Rock was summarized into a four-page, 173-bullet nomination package that clinched the base’s selection as an AMC finalist. Little Rock Air Force Base is “AMC’s busiest base, period!” according to the nomination package. It is the largest base in the world for C-130 training, deployment, and global execution of C-130 Combat Airlift.

The blue ribbon team of inspectors will focus on seven categories during the inspection. They will evaluate how the base has:

Improved the installation’s work environment or physical plant;

Improved the installation’s quality of life;

Enhanced productivity of the installation’s work force;

Increased customer satisfaction or improved customer service;

Encouraged bottom-to-top communication and team problem solving;

Promoted unit cohesiveness and recognized outstanding individual efforts; and

Promoted energy conservation and environmental safety to include compliance, remediation, and stewardship.

In the past year, Team Little Rock has improved its work environment and physical plant by orchestrating a $22 million medical clinic renovation, and through precise design phasing kept the project on track with no break in service for the 17,000 members served by the clinic.

The base has improved quality of life by pushing the Air Force to accept a $5 million gift from the local community for a joint education facility that will serve both the base and the community, the first in its kind and a model for future ventures.

Team Little Rock enhanced the productivity of its work force because it contains the DOD’s largest aerial delivery operations.

Airmen built 1,485 platforms and 2,366 bundles and provided vital training for 1,800 aircrew graduates.

The 19th Communications Squadron improved customer service by developing e-files for 776 buildings making data 80 percent easier to retrieve by the base’s 469 users. This was lauded asa command benchmark program.

The base also encouraged bottom-to-top communication and team problem solving by returning the security forces squadron to eight hour shifts after five years of 12-hour shifts. Communication from the bottom up also helped relocate 844,000 aircraft parts valued at $24 million during a re-warehousing project, resulting in a 99 percent inventory accuracy.

Just a few of the outstanding achievements of Team Little Rock Airmen include Air Force Materiel Management Airman of the Year Award, Air Force Fuels Flight of the Year and the Air Force’s Best Financial Services Office. Team Little Rock members also brought home nine 2009 AMC Rodeo awards including best C-130 Wing, best Aerial Port Team and best C-130 Maintenance Team.

The base promoted energy conservation and environmental safety in many ways including saving $400,000 per year in fuel costs with the purchase of 139 low-speed vehicles. The savings will pay for the new vehicles in just two and a half years.

Colonel Otey explained why Team Little Rock is the best base in the Air Force. “We have more C-130s here at Little Rock than anywhere else in the world. I learned to fly the Herk here at the C-130 Center of Excellence, I helped stand up the C-130 weapons school here, and now I am proud to command the world’s premier C-130 Combat Airlift wing here. Every member of Team Little Rock is an integral part of this proud tradition of combat airlift excellence, and it takes every member to make combat airlift happen. These combat airlifters are doing a great job to accomplish this while conserving our resources, preserving our environment, and making the quality of life for our Airmen and families better.”

COMMENTARY>>Training: the Field of Friendly Strife

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

On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fields bear the fruits of victory.

Army Gen. Douglas McArthur

I had the privilege of leading a contingent from the 314th Airlift Wing to the United States Air Force Academy last week to interact with the cadet squadron we sponsor.

Several of our team received orientation flights, and we reciprocated by taking the cadets on C-130 tactical flights, informing them about our mission and attending the Falcon football victory with them.

It was inspiring to interact with the next generation of Air Force leaders. Each day they are engaged in the “friendly strife” -- academics, military training, intramurals and intercollegiate sports such as football, which teach them lessons essential for future success. As we watched the game, I thought of General McArthur’s direction, when choosing the leader of a difficult
World War II mission, to “find me a West Point football player.”

The Academy and other Air Force training programs sow the seeds of adversity, which our newest Airmen must overcome, and stretch them beyond their comfort zone and what they thought was possible. These experiences of “friendly strife” prepare them, just like previous generations, for difficult missions on future battlefields.

Likewise, our mission of training the world’s best

C-130 combat airlifters to fly, fight and win prepares crews for success on future battlefields which they will fight long after many of us have retired our uniforms. However, our training differs in one significant way. It’s immediately put to the test in the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Failure is not an option for combat airlifters, and we must give 100 percent, 100 percent of the time to make sure our newest warriors have the professionalism and skills to succeed in the current fights.

Our students are entering the service of our country in a time of war. They face an enemy whose ideology is every bit as evil and dangerous to our nation and our principles of equality, freedom and democracy, as communism and Nazism were before it. We stand against an ideology that seeks to destroy, enslave and impose its will on free peoples and those who yearn to be free around this world.

It’s our job to make sure that our mission, executed in the friendly skies above Arkansas, plants the seeds of victory that America’s combat airlifters will reap in our current and future wars.

We are responsible for the foundation of America’s combat airlift capability.

COMMENTARY>>Embrace your Airman identity

By Col. Adam Dickerson
314th Maintenance Group commander

A few days ago, we celebrated the 62nd birthday of our Air Force. A conversation I heard on the morning of Sept. 18 brought to mind a story a first sergeant told me she had heard from a chief years before.

The chief related the events of a trip he took around the Central Command area of responsibility with the general for whom he worked during Operation Desert Shield. While standing in a dining facility line during a visit to a Marine unit, the general nudged the chief and pointed to a sign hanging over the serving line. The sign read, “No more than two milks per Marine.” The chief looked at his tray, then told the general, “Yes sir. I only have one milk.” The general said, “No chief, read the sign.”

Confused, the chief repeated his original response.

Feigning exasperation, the general said, “The sign says, ‘No more than two milks per MARINE.’ If this sign were in an Air Force facility, it’d say, ‘No more than two milks per PERSON or INDIVIDUAL.’ Everyone here thinks of themselves as a Marine first. We could use more of that in the Air Force. We think of ourselves as pilots, crew chiefs, cops or whatever before we think of ourselves as members of the Air Force.”

Now, that story from the Desert Shield days is 19 years old now and we’ve made great strides in instilling an “Airman” identity in our culture. But I think there’s still some truth to the unknown general’s words. The Air Force has trained us in skills needed to execute our mission and we still tend to identify with those specialties or functional areas.

When a civilian asks what you do, how often do you say, “I’m an Airman?” In my observation, most of us either respond with a generic, “I’m in the Air Force” or we offer the name of our specialty; “I’m an aircraft maintenance officer.”

The fact is, we are all Airmen first. We have a specialty because the Air Force needs those skills, but our job is to serve in whatever capacity needed to achieve mission success.

Before we are heavy equipment operators or med techs, loadmasters or paralegals, we are Airmen. Embrace that identity.

As Airmen, we are part of an unmatched team. No other military organization in the history of the world can dominate the battle space at any point on the globe like the Air Force. True, our technology gives us an undeniable edge over nearly all potential adversaries, but the real reason our Air Force is the envy of the world is you, the American Airman.

We are all fully justified in being proud of our career fields and the culture built around them, but it takes all of us to move the mission. You’re part of an amazing team and when asked what you do, you should take great pride in saying ... I am an American Airman!

COMMENTARY>>It’s your career,make it count

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

By the time most of you read this article, Col. Greg Otey and I will be in Colorado Springs, Colo., standing up the 52nd Airlift Squadron, our newest active-duty associate unit.

This unit will add to the mission assets assigned to the 19th Airlift Wing. In the not-too-distant future we will stand up two other geographically separated units and expand our wing as we continue to be the largest C-130 base in the Air Force.

So as our mission and responsibilities continue to grow, I want to remind each of you that you get out of life what you put into it. Some people ask themselves, as they reflect on their career, what’s in it for me? First of all, we are all in the service of our nation, and keeping our country free is a huge dividend gained for honorable military service.

Secondly, it’s important to understand that the Air Force will train, educate, house, provide tremendous health care and travel for those who enter our ranks.

Studies have shown that the average person that separates from the military has about a $20,000 shortfall in order to maintain their standard of living. This is due to benefits such as health care and facilities they have access to.

To those who ask, “What’s in it for me?” I say hard work is its own reward. My question is what are you willing to work for? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life is not a dry run, you get one chance to develop and exploit your talents.

The people that get ahead aren’t looking for a hand out but a hand up. They don’t ask what’s in it for me? They simply take advantage of each opportunity that presents itself.

We have a large installation, but I can tell you who on this base is making a positive difference; and they are earning great recognition and personal growth. As the young people say, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Because at the end of the day it’s your career so make it count. Combat Airlift!

COMMENTARY>>We’re in it to win it!

By Col. Greg Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

By now, we’re all aware that “the Rock” is one of Air Mobility Command’s top contenders for the Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award. Sunday, we will welcome the IEA review board. This five-member team will spend two days with us, seeing first-hand all the ways Team Little Rock truly excels.

In July, we were named the C-130 world’s best of the best at the AMC Rodeo. Now it’s time to take it to the next level and show our base is also the best AMC has to offer.

The review board will take a close look at 26 different areas across the base and this is our time to shine!

Each of us can be proud of how we contribute to installation excellence.

From the pride we take in maintaining base housing to the cohesiveness of our units, we have what it takes to be the best. Our energy conservation programs and initiatives are unrivaled. “The Rock’s” customer service support personnel are heads and shoulders above anyone else. We are an amazingly productive workforce and one that places quality of life as priority No. 1.

I knew when I took command of this installation in January that I would be leading the best the Air Force has to offer. So far, you have proven me right, and I have no doubt you’ll show the IEA team the same with the pride, dedication and motivation you display each and every day here in everything you do.

This award isn’t about whose base is the newest or whose buildings are the prettiest. This award is about who does the best they can with what they have to make their base better in some way every day.

We’ve all heard you should always strive to leave someplace better than you found it. We take that to a new level and make our base better every day. It’s not by chance we were chosen as a contender in this competition – it’s because of you. I’m proud to have each of you on board as we slam-dunk this round of inspections and press on to compete at the Air Force level!

It’s time to show the rest of the Air Force what we’re all about. Combat Airlift!