Thursday, September 30, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Mission is “Theme No. 1”

By Col. Mark Czelusta
314th Airlift Wing commander

When I reintroduced myself to Team Little Rock, I outlined my five leadership principles that are preeminent in the 314th Airlift Wing’s perspective: mission – standards – partnerships – innovation – focus.

Today’s focus is the mission – one that we as Airmen take personally. We “own” our mission.

Let’s be frank. That’s a nice sound-bite, and easy enough to digest, but what am I really talking about? What do we mean by the mission? And how do you own it?

To answer these questions, I will invoke some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Interestingly, it was back in 1986 when I was a third class (sophomore) cadet at the Air Force Academy, and just beginning my career. The Commander in Chief of Strategic Air Command, General John T. Chain, spoke to the Cadet Wing, and as usual, he took questions at the end. The first was a real softball, but his answer was anything but that. A cadet asked him what his single best advice was for someone beginning his or her career in the Air Force. General Chain actually had three pieces of advice: “Know and do your job; know and do your job; know and do your job.”

I will never forget that advice. Mission has to be “Theme No. 1” in our professional lives. Colonel Mike Bauer, the 314th Operations Group Commander discussed this just last week in his commentary. And let me tell you, his perspective is spot-on.

Take the time to re-read it.

In a very practical sense, I am asking each of us to truly own our mission and see it as a personal reflection, and therefore something we want to do well. But what else can we do toward this end?

Thoroughly understanding how your individual mission contributes to the larger unit and Air Force missions is a good first step.

General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, reminds us that every position counts. There is no “slop” capacity or unnecessary positions. For the 314th, every person has a direct linkage to our mission of “training the world’s best C-130 and C-21 Combat Airlifters to fly, fight, and win!” I would expect us all to be able to explain our individual linkages.

Second, every individual needs to know in detail the professional guidance associated with his or her role, and to ensure compliance. Make it a priority to be known as an “expert” in your career field — be so good that you are sought out. When I was a co-pilot, my goal was to be asked by one of the squadron’s senior aircraft commanders to be her or his co-pilot for their next annual checkride. That meant I needed to be good not only in the airplane, but also in the books and technical guidance.

It meant I had to be respected by all the crew positions in a C-130. And this leads to my third piece of advice: figure out the parallel mission-related goal in your own career, and chase down that personal marker.

There is a lot of additional advice out there, and I encourage you to search it out. Again, mission is “Theme No. 1.” Next up is the standards principle, and we’ll discuss this next month.

TOP STORY > >Get ready for Thunder Over the Rock 2010

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

The countdown clock is ticking as Team Little Rock gears up for the “Thunder Over the Rock 2010” air show Oct. 9 and 10.

Gates will open at 8:30 a.m. both days and admission and parking are both free. This year’s air show will feature performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team.

Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander, said hosting the air show is a chance to thank the local community for the world-class support they provide Airmen every day.

“The air show is a perfect opportunity for the community to see our Airmen in action,” said Colonel Minihan. “They will see the pride, professionalism and precision that make Team Little Rock the home of Combat Airlift.

“This will also be an opportunity for the Airmen of Team Little Rock to say ‘thank you’ to the citizens of Arkansas for their gracious support,” Colonel Minihan adds. “Thanks to our community partners, no matter where our Airmen are from ... we are home at Little Rock Air Force Base.”

More than 17 different performers are scheduled to appear including the U.S. Army Golden Knights, Shockwave and the Canadian Forces SkyHawks. The air show will also feature approximately 46 aircraft static displays, a Security Forces K-9 demonstration, Kid’s Zone, food and fun for the whole family.

This air show director is excited to share this year’s event with the Central Arkansas community.

“I absolutely still enjoy air shows. The first air show I remember attending with my Dad was in about 1974, it featured the Thunderbirds and I loved it. I still enjoy watching the all the performers, seeing new aircraft and just as importantly, seeing the vintage aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Bill Otter. “The most enjoyable thing for me now though is helping inspire alove of flying in a new generation.”

The scheduled order of appearance for flight demonstrations is:

1. U.S. Army Golden Knights

2. Pat Carter: Acroflights

3. Les Schockley Jet Shows: Shockwave

4. C-130J Demonstration

5. Greg Koontz air shows: Alabama Boys

6. Tora Tora Tora

7. Air Combat Command A-10 East Demonstration Team Demonstration

8. Disabled American Veterans Demonstration

9. Mike Rinker and Pink Floyd, an aerobatic SU-26

10. Canadian Forces SkyHawks

11. Capabilities Exercise Demonstration

12. Otto the helicopter

13. CAPEX Recover

14. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier demonstration

15. Les Schockley Jet Shows: Shockwave

16. FA-18 Super Hornet Demonstration

17. Thunderbirds

18. Pyrotechs

The order of appearance is subject to change at any time.

TOP STORY > >Sky’s the limit

by Ashley Mangin
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs volunteer

Air shows are a great opportunity for civilians to gain a better understanding of the military mission.

They allow adults, children and entire families to feel like kids again. They also occasionally spark interest in aviation.

Capt. April Brown, 41st Airlift Squadron pilot and training officer, became interested in flying while attending an air show at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

“My first air show was the Miramar air show in San Diego, Calif., when I was about 10 years old,” Captain Brown said. “My father worked for Red Baron Pizza, who were sponsors of the air show, and he got flightline tickets along with a few other perks.

Meeting the pilots and getting up close to the planes were a few [of the perks].”

That experience would prove to be aquintessential moment in Captain Brown’s life.

“At the Air Show I became in awe of what being a pilot entailed, and thought it would be the coolest job in the world to get paid to fly an airplane,” she said. “After watching the Blue Angels and other acts fly that day, I knew I wanted to be a pilot.”

Being from San Diego and experiencing an air show on a Marine Corps Air Station didn’t keep her from joining the Air Force.

“I felt I had a better chance of flying in the Air Force,” she said.

Her parents backed her decision to follow her dream into the wild blue yonder.

“According to my mom, in middle school I began talking incessantly about becoming a pilot and I became interested in attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs,” she said. “I’ve always been a focused individual and very goal-oriented, so I set out to make my dream come true even as a child. My parents were very supportive of me and always told me I could do anything I put my mind to. They claim they didn’t do anything but encourage me, which was obviously enough.”

“[Going to the Air Force Academy] was like a dream come true. Everything I worked so hard for was finally paying off,” Captain Brown said.

Captain Brown’s dedication is noticed and appreciated by those around her.

“Since her arrival at the 41st Airlift Squadron, Captain Brown’s performance has been impressive,” said Col. Gilberto Martinez, 41st Airlift Squadron commander. “We are happy to have her as part of the Black Cat team.”

She believes that her dream was worth the wait.

“My face always hurts from smiling so much when I land,” she said. “I can’t believe I get paid to do this. It’s the best job ever.”

Even though Captain Brown has achieved her dream of becoming a pilot, she’s not done yet.

“As far as my goals as a pilot go, I would like to upgrade to aircraft commander followed by instructor pilot.”

To all of the little Combat Airlifters who have a dream for when they grow up, Captain Brown offers words of wisdom.

“You can do anything you put your mind to. The sky is the limit - literally - and you can become anything you dream of being.”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Charter school plans gain momentum

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

Base leaders co-hosted a town hall meeting here Sept. 8 with Lighthouse Academies officials to give families the opportunity to address questions and concerns about the proposed on-base charter school.

More than 60 people attended the meeting to discuss the benefits associated with the new school.

“The town hall meeting was very well received,” said Col. George Coggins, 19th Mission Support Group commander. “Principal Ryan Dean and his staff highlighted the education opportunities Lighthouse offers including curriculum, testing and the ability to adjust teaching styles to be tailored to the students.”

The next town hall meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. October 5 at the base theater.

One question raised by parents was concerning costs of attending the charter school.

“There is no cost because this is a public school funded through the Department of Education,” said Colonel Coggins.

Parents concerned with moving their children from school to school also were curious about mandatory enrollment.

“No one will be forced to go to this school; it’s purely a voluntary opportunity for those who are interested,” Colonel Coggins said. “One of the key things is with this being a public charter school, in the event there is more demand for this school, then by state law they have what is called an ‘open enrollment’ policy.

“What this means is when you have more demand than capacity they go to what is called a ‘lottery system’,” he added. “It’s literally where they take all the names of the people who have applied, build the list and, starting at the top of the list, begin notifying parents that their children have been selected for enrollment.”

Another topic of discussion at the town hall meeting was the general timeline of events for the project.

“We wanted to update folks on where we are in the process,” said Colonel Coggins. “As of now, we have provisional approval by the Arkansas Board of Education allowing Lighthouse to explore expanding its classrooms to an additional campus here on base.”

The next few steps in the process include signing a lease for the facility to Lighthouse Academies after the first of the new year then beginning renovation of the building by March.

The school is planning to begin classes in fall 2011 at the old conference center on Cannon Drive.

“Having the charter school at that location is a great first step. However, we have a longer term vision,” said Colonel Coggins.

The colonel mentioned the creation of a 77-acre educational campus similar to the base joint education center. The campus would be located behind the 19th Medical Group clinic and include a school building, support facilities and sports field.

“The reality is this is bigger than just opening one facility,” Colonel Coggins said. “I think the important message we all need to walk away with is this is not to replace any schools, but this is all about increasing the educational opportunities for military children and children from the local community.”

Community leaders, led by Mike Wilson, a Jacksonville lawyer and former state representative, filed a charter school letter of intent June 24 with the Arkansas Department of Education to amend the school’s charter.

Mr. Wilson’s organization evaluated several charter management organizations and chose Lighthouse Academies based on its curriculum and record. Lighthouse Academies currently operates a charter school for grades kindergarten through 6 in Jacksonville. Lighthouse staff filed a proposal with the Arkansas BOE, asking for approval to amend their existing charter and secure additional classroom space on base.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate outside of the control of a local school district but are still held to the state’s academic standards by the state’s board of education.

For more information on Lighthouse Academies charter schools, visit

COMMENTARY>>C-130s flex muscle at Thunder Over the Rock

by Arlo Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

“Thunder Over the Rock” spectators will have an up-close view of the unique capabilities of C-130 aerial delivery Oct. 9 and 10.
Gates open at 8:30 a.m. both days and parking and admission are free.

The capabilities exercise, or CAPEX, will show how C-130 Combat Airlift is used in operations around the world. The Herculean formation will feature five planes each from the 19th and 314th Airlift Wings and two planes from the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing.

The CAPEX will show Team Little Rock’s trademark teamwork and precision aerial delivery skills. A mass C-130 formation aerial resupply to “Jax DZ” - also known as the base airfield – with two heavy equipment simulation loads from the 189th AW aircraft.

One minute later, 400 Army 82nd Airborne paratroopers will jump out of the other 10 aircraft and secure the airfield in a small-scale seizure exercise demonstration.

Most Arkansans only see C-130s from afar while flying on training missions, but the CAPEX will show the action of combat aerial delivery, said Maj. Sam Kraemer, CAPEX coordinator. He’s proud to show off what C-130 Combat Airlift can do to base neighbors who don’t usually get to see the delivery part of their mission.

“[Our] C-130s go the last tactical mile to put boots on the ground at the right place and at the right time, projecting power on behalf of the nation’s interests,” he said. “[‘The Rock’] trains and executes this mission every day with the support of our local community and the state of Arkansas. We hope our civilian guests share our pride through this demonstration.”

Major Kraemer said the training missions Little Rock crews fly over Central Arkansasare critical to the successful sorties crews fly all over the world. He is thankful for the support of the base’s neighbors, especially those who live near low level training areas. Low level training is a key component in making certain C-130 Combat Airlifters are ready for whatever mission comes their way.

“There’s no level like low level ... at least in Arkansas,” Major Kraemer said. “Thank you for letting us fly over your beautiful country, daily reminding us why we love to serve our nation in a ‘Herk’.”

Little Rock Air Force Base is known world-wide as ‘Home of the Herk’ and is the home of the largest fleet of C-130s in the world.

“Nearly every C-130 mission around the world, no matter which country is flying it, has a connection to Little Rock,” said Thunder Over the Rock Director Lt. Col. Bill Otter. “If it is not a Little Rock-based C-130 flying the mission, the crew and or maintainer likely learned how to fly or fix the C-130 at Little Rock, learned how to instruct others to fly the C-130 here at Little Rock or learned how to improve their combat tactics here at Little Rock.”

Colonel Otter said he’s thrilled to showcase the Little Rock Air Force Base mission at the air show and open house.

“Little Rock Air Force Base enjoys spectacular support from the greater Little Rock community, but it is important for everyone to see first-hand what happens here at the base and to see some of the capabilities of their Armed Forces,” he said. “Thunder over the Rock is an opportunity for all of us that serve in the Air Force to share some of those experiences with our neighbors in the community.”

View continuous updates to the 2010 open house, including air show line up, and find more information at, For more information about the Thunderbirds, visit

COMMENTARY>>How do you serve?

By Maj. Justin Barry
314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander

Last week, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Marson wrote a great editorial in which he discussed integrity and excellence. I will continue in that vein and discuss what I believe Service means; and more specifically, how we can most effectively serve.

Several years ago, as I prepared to leave Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., for Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to take command of my first squadron, my group commander gave me a piece of advice that remains with me. He told me simply, “Never forget, that to command is to serve.” Over the intervening years, and now in my second command, I have often returned to that advice to help guide my choices and to ponder the many subtle nuances inherent in that short sentence.

Many serve our great nation. Whether a military member, government civil service, a family member or government contractor, you provide for the defense of this great nation. But when did you last consider how you serve, or how to make your service most effective?

I have come to believe that effective service begins first with understanding. Understanding the goals and needs of your nation and the Department of Defense, certainly, but that is a bit loftier than I am shooting for here. At the level of mission execution, where we live and work every day, we must strive to understand the needs and goals of our unit, our boss and our people.

Strive to understand: 1. Where your leaders are trying to take the unit; 2. How that direction supports the demands and needs of the mission; 3. What the people working with, around, and for you will need to make that happen; and, 4. How you fit into that larger scope. From there, you can determine what you can do to further these goals and how to execute the missions with which we are presented.

Following understanding, you have to commit to doing those things right and necessary in order to further these goals. Not by accident or happenstance is it, that when we enlist, reenlist, or accept a commission, we incur an “Active Duty Service Commitment.” Famously, our brethren of the Marine Corps ran a recruiting campaign which stated simply, “We Don’t Accept Applications, Only Commitments.” Committing to the achievement of our goals implies that you understand success is not often easy or simple. Committing means you understand that success will require hard work and sacrifice. Committing to a goal means that you consciously decide to act and persevere through fog and friction; that you will do all things within your power to ensure success. Your level of commitment directly impacts how successful we are in our charter to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

As a commander, I understand what we ask of you and your families is at times difficult. I understand that at times, the hours are long and the conditions austere. Know that I and all commanders are committed to providing meaningful and understandable goals, which support the needs of those above us. Further, we commit to ensuring those working with, around, and for us are provided with the most appropriate support, training, equipment, and organizational structure possible to meet the demands of our mission.

Every day I marvel at the achievements and successes of our military branches and our personnel. It’s a privilege to see the commitment to service which you embody. Continue to strive for understanding and commit to action. The demands are great, but you are up to the task. Thank you for all that you do, and thank you in advance for all that you will do for our great nation.

TOP STORY > >Honoring 63 years of Air Force heritage

By Col. Mike Minihan
19th Airlift Wing commander

We mark our Air Force’s 63rd birthday on Saturday with a celebration at Hangar 1080. For those young and young at heart, this is an opportunity to celebrate our heritage, honor, and valor since our birth on Sept. 18, 1947.

It’s also a time to reflect on those who’ve come before us, and the accomplishments that ensure our role as the nation’s sword and shield. We fly wing with great Airmen like Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell, Gen. Curtis LeMay and Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Dick Red. All legendary Airmen in our Air Force. General Mitchell was recognized as the top American combat Airman of World War I and a tireless advocate of airpower. General LeMay was the Air Force’s fifth chief of staff and an organizer of the Berlin Airlift. Chief Red was the first enlisted person to receive the Legion of Merit, awarded for his efforts to modify aircraft to capture imagery in flight in North Africa during World War II. Chief Red worked right here on Little Rock AFB.

Most importantly, we celebrate you. You and your families are what make this Air Force great. You and your families are what make Team Little Rock the home of combat airlift. Right now...this very second ... Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are in harm’s way and counting on us to do our job. We will never falter ... we will never fail. You are making history and it is an honor to serve with you.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for all you do!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Air show tradition

by Ashley Mangin
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs volunteer

Little Rock Air Force Base’s biannual air show falls on the base’s 55th birthday this year.

In 1955, Little Rock AFB was in its infancy. Structures were still being built and aircraft squadrons were still being assigned. But on Oct. 9, 1955, the base opened with much more than a ribbon cutting.

The first-ever open house was preceded by the official flag raising in front of the headquarters building for the 825th Air Division, Little Rock AFB’s first permanent unit. A mere eight years after the Air Force was formed, Little Rock AFB opened its gates and welcomed the public to the beginning of what is now the home of C-130 Combat Airlift.

The open house was a prestigious affair, with a speech by the Secretary of the Air Force, who proclaimed Little Rock AFB as “a bulwark of peace–but a peace that means very much more than merely the absence of war.”

The Arkansas Gazette reported “the base’s big show will consist of a lineup of Air Force brass, Air Force planes and Air Force specialists.”

“[The first air show] was huge,” said Larry Wilson, First Arkansas Bank and Trust chairman, chief executive officer and president.

“It was the first time many in central Arkansas got to see the base and the airplanes. The United States Air Force now had a base in central Arkansas and was opening up their gates for all to see. It was the talk of the area.”

Even with all the planning done in 1955, officials didn’t expect 85,000 people would attend.

“No one had accurately predicted how large the crowd would be and there was little advance planning done for traffic,” said Mr. Wilson. “It was gridlock and people sat in long lines of traffic.”

A lot has changed since then, but some things remain the same.

“The air show is an opportunity for the Air Force to interact with the community,” said Cynde Maddox, 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs. “It’s a way for us to showcase the C-130 mission here on base as well as the other opportunities the Air Force has to offer.”

The air show has become a tradition at Little Rock Air Force Base, inspiring and entertaining children and adults alike.

“The men and boys looked at the airplanes, the girls looked at the Airmen and the women tried to keep track of all three,” reported the Arkansas Gazette Oct. 10, 1955.

“It was an exciting adventure for all involved,” remembered Mr. Wilson.

COMMENTARY>>Standards and discipline

By Chief Master Sgt. Mark Marson
314th Airlift Wing command chief

“Be tough! Set your standards high and insist that your people measure up. Have the courage to correct those who fail to do so!” - Retired Gen. Louis Wilson, Pacific Air Forces commander

Have you ever been a part of an organization that earned an “Outstanding” rating from the inspector general? Have you ever been assigned to an organization that was recognized as “Best in Command” or “Best in Air Force?”

I’ve had the good fortune to be part of several organizations that earned such ratings and accolades. As the senior enlisted leader of those organizations, I attribute our team’s success to many things to include two areas I’d like to highlight here today: standards and discipline.

Let me outline a few basic standards common to all: As professionals we don’t violate established directives to include Air Force and unit level guidance. We’ve read and understood the rules and follow them all; that’s “Integrity First.” Each individual must attain and maintain a skill-level commensurate with their rank and position. We look and act like professionals dedicated to a calling; professionals who’ve answered their nation’s call and are willing to correct those who fail to measure up. Our resources, vehicles and equipment are treated as if they are our very own. Facilities and housing units are clean, safe and secure; our leaders conduct visits to ensure our people’s needs are met – Quality of Life is a must!

Would just issuing standards be good enough? It has been said standards are as good as the paper they are written on if they are not enforced. In military terms, discipline constitutes this enforcement. Discipline can come from several different places. It can come from within ourselves as self-discipline (the best form), it can come from our peers (not wanting to let them down), it can come from a task (“this task is so important that I must do it right”) or it can come from someone else and be imposed (the least preferred method). Typically if a standard isn’t met, it’s already time for imposed discipline because all the other forms have broken down and the standard hasn’t been met. If discipline isn’t imposed, the standard is worthless. Without discipline, there is no need to establish standards and units will falter or fail, putting this great nation at risk.

The bottom line is: The effective use of standards and discipline enables us to accomplish our mission and achieve “Excellence in All We Do”. As Airmen, we must have the integrity to correct those who fail to exercise discipline and remain mindful to save our highest praises for those who are “Truly Among the Best.”

TOP STORY > >‘Thunder Over the Rock’ named Southern Treasure

It’s official! Thunder Over the Rock, the Little Rock Air Force Base’s Oct. 9 and 10 Open House and Air Show, was named a Southern Travel Treasure by AAA’s magazine, “AAA Southern Traveler.”

Featured in the September /October 2010 issue of “AAA Southern Traveler,” Thunder Over the Rock was selected as a Southern treasure for its appeal to typical AAA members.

This year’s show features the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds’ unmatched air power, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, a C-130 capabilities exercise, A-10 Thunderbolt II and F/A-18 Super Hornet demonstrations, the Canadian Skyhawks, Shockwave the Jet Truck, numerous vintage aircraft demonstrations and many other aerial acts and ground displays.

The biannual event is a way for the base to say “thank you” to its neighbors with a free, world-class air show, as well as introduce them to the people who make the base’s unique mission happen.

“’Thunder Over the Rock’ Oct. 9-10 gives us the opportunity to showcase Team Little Rock and our C-130 combat airlift mission to our Central Arkansas neighbors,” said Bob Oldham, 19th Airlift Wing chief of public affairs. “It’s a great deal, especially for families, because you can’t beat the price – admission and parking are free.”

“AAA Southern Traveler’s” popular Travel Treasure series is part of each bimonthly Issue that circulates to more than 210,000 AAA homes in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 70 percent of readers choose the South for their vacation destination.

“We’re pleased to add Thunder Over the Rock to the growing list of ‘treasures’ in our region,” said Michael Right, editor and publisher of “AAA Southern Traveler.” “Our members recognize the South has endless travel and recreational opportunities. We try to offer events like this to our readers to encourage more exploration of local sites and attractions.”

For details, visit, or the base’s Facebook page

(From compiled reports)

TOP STORY > >‘Thunder Over the Rock’ named Southern Treasure

It’s official! Thunder Over the Rock, the Little Rock Air Force Base’s Oct. 9 and 10 Open House and Air Show, was named a Southern Travel Treasure by AAA’s magazine, “AAA Southern Traveler.”

Featured in the September /October 2010 issue of “AAA Southern Traveler,” Thunder Over the Rock was selected as a Southern treasure for its appeal to typical AAA members.

This year’s show features the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds’ unmatched air power, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, a C-130 capabilities exercise, A-10 Thunderbolt II and F/A-18 Super Hornet demonstrations, the Canadian Skyhawks, Shockwave the Jet Truck, numerous vintage aircraft demonstrations and many other aerial acts and ground displays.

The biannual event is a way for the base to say “thank you” to its neighbors with a free, world-class air show, as well as introduce them to the people who make the base’s unique mission happen.

“’Thunder Over the Rock’ Oct. 9-10 gives us the opportunity to showcase Team Little Rock and our C-130 combat airlift mission to our Central Arkansas neighbors,” said Bob Oldham, 19th Airlift Wing chief of public affairs. “It’s a great deal, especially for families, because you can’t beat the price – admission and parking are free.”

“AAA Southern Traveler’s” popular Travel Treasure series is part of each bimonthly Issue that circulates to more than 210,000 AAA homes in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 70 percent of readers choose the South for their vacation destination.

“We’re pleased to add Thunder Over the Rock to the growing list of ‘treasures’ in our region,” said Michael Right, editor and publisher of “AAA Southern Traveler.” “Our members recognize the South has endless travel and recreational opportunities. We try to offer events like this to our readers to encourage more exploration of local sites and attractions.”

For details, visit, or the base’s Facebook page

(From compiled reports)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Another new chief in our Air Force

By Col. Kirk Lear
314th Airlift Wing vice commander

By the time this article’s printed, I’ll have had the honor of officiating at a chief master sergeant promotion ceremony for a widely respected senior NCO, one that so many of us said was “sure to be a chief” as we worked with him over the last oh-so-many years. Like other Airmen who achieve this coveted rank, he was inspiring to work with - innovative, patient, considerate and clearly wedded to hard work. I was always impressed at how credible and direct he was when he guided us officers and how quick he was to make time for a younger Airman in need of some mentoring.

I’m really looking forward to the event, of course. While it’ll be short and simple, it’s a huge honor to tell his wife and children, “thanks for your support and love that helped him get here, through all the long days and short-notice deployments and family events that he missed while serving our nation. He couldn’t have achieved this day without you.”

I expect I’ll try to recount with humor how he met his wife, stumbled clumsily about trying to win her, and now reminds himself every day how lucky he is that she’s not on to him.

I suppose I’ll remind him - he knows he’ll hear it and not for the first time - that “to him who has been given much, much more will be expected.” He’s up to whatever will be thrown at him next, I’m sure of it - true to the old Chief’s Creed that “Chief Master Sergeants ... do not hesitate to take chances ... and are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular.”

Toward the end, perhaps I’ll lead the applause from his gathered peers, friends, past and present mentors, plus the inevitable group of young Airmen who rightly perceive that this is a very special event, but can’t yet fully appreciate the contribution this man has made to our Air Force and to his fellow Airmen. Another smiling chief will happily unload the “jeep” he’s been carrying for a month or so, and like so many of his predecessors, our new chief will exit stage right into a never-ending maelstrom of personnel decisions, inadequate resources and Airmen with seemingly insurmountable personal problems. He will lead, and lead well, and our Air Force will be better for it.

For all you Airmen with your eyes upon this new chief, you who aspire to “be as honest in small things as in great ones” and “whose ambitions are not confined to your own selfish desires and interests,” know that it’s a long road to the pinnacle of the enlisted corps, but our Air Force needs you there. Our chiefs still set the example on leading our greatest resource - people - and the baton is yours for the taking, if you’re only willing to shoulder the wonderful burden.

COMMENTARY>>A message to Mobility Airmen

By Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr.
Air Mobility Command commander

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – As we look toward the Labor Day holiday and the end of the active summer months, I want to take a moment and tell you how very proud I am of the work you are doing here at home and around the world.

Each of you is making a difference in our world every day. Whether you’re supporting the mission from your home station or you’re deployed to a forward operating location, the work you do is incredibly important.

Sometimes it’s not about “what” we do, but “why” we do it and for “whom” we do it.

Your job in Air Mobility Command is to enable the success of others, and you are very good at what you do. Our Mobility Air Forces deliver forces to the fight (or the humanitarian operation), we sustain them, and then we bring them home again. That’s what we do.

And we don’t do this for ourselves. We do this for our joint force, for our coalition allies and for our civilian partners so our nation can achieve its critical objectives. As we leverage our three core capabilities - air refueling, airlift and aeromedical evacuation - we are touching lives and saving lives. That’s what we are all about. That’s “Global Reach for America ... Always.”

As we continue this important mission, and as our operations tempo continues to rise, you must take time to take care of yourselves, your family and your fellow Airmen.

As you enjoy the final months of summer, I urge you to keep safety at the forefront of everything you do. No matter what you’re doing, please take the time to practice proper risk management. Whether you’re driving your car, riding your motorcycle, barbequing at home with family and friends, or enjoying water sports, the few seconds it takes to calculate the risks and weigh your options could save your life and possibly someone else’s.

Do whatever it takes to stay safe, and remind others to do the same.

Each of you is a valuable member of our AMC and Air Force family, and one life lost is one too many. Accidents will happen, but if we can take a few seconds to think about safety, we can help ensure lives are not lost.

TOP STORY > >AETC Commander visits 314th AW Airmen

By Capt. Joe Knable
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz, commander of Air Education and Training Command, the parent command of the 314th Airlift Wing, the C-130 Center of Excellence, visited here Aug. 27.

General Lorenz, who leads the Air Force command that trains nearly 340,000 students per year, discussed key issues with wing leaders and spent time with Little Rock Airmen one last time before his upcoming retirement.

After meeting briefly with leaders from the 314th Airlift Wing, the largest C-130 training wing in the world, the Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing and Air Mobility Command’s 19th Airlift Wing, General Lorenz addressed an auditorium packed with 314th AW and 189th AW Airmen. There he fielded candid questions and shared with passion and humor topics ranging from the

Air Force budget, to the base’s new Air Force Reserve unit, to new PT standards.

“It’s great to be here at ‘The Rock,’” he said. “I appreciate all the things you do.”

The visit came just one week after Colonel Mark G. Czelusta assumed command of the 314th AW.

“I was impressed with his understanding of the C-130 community,” Colonel Czelusta said. “The crowd appreciated his candor and I appreciated his optimism.”

Speaking from four years experience as the director of the Air Force budget, General Lorenz explained how the budget has been consistently rising since 2001, but leaders are facing new challenges now that the budget has leveled off.

“Are there going to be challenging times? Yes, but will we make it! Yes. Will you still produce students? Yes,” he said.

Being in the C-130 community, which has an open assembly line of J-models, is a great place to be, he added, and the training opportunities continue to expand. “There are people standing in line to get C-130 training here at the Rock: internationals, active duty, guard, Reserve.”

General Lorenz addressed the challenges of training all three Air Force components– active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve– as well as coalition partners from 38 nations. He also addressed changing models and changing dynamics on base with the Reserve standing up a new unit to take over legacy H-model training.

“Those are issues where we all have to work together as a team toward a common goal and objective of continuing the legacy and tradition of ‘The Rock’ being the center of excellence for all C-130 training in the world,” he said.

“Everything in life is about balancing shortfalls – you never have enough time, money or manpower,” he added. “There are only two ways to take on any issue: efficiency and effectiveness.” As Airmen face these challenges and the high operations tempo, the general encouraged them to draw courage from generations past, such as Americans fighting in World War II.

“They made it. If they made it, we’ll make it…,” he said. “Your generation has challenges. The World War Two generation left and went off to war for three years. We don’t do it that way anymore.” Today’s Airmen change assignments every three years or so while at the same time deploying back-and-forth to combat zones. The general continued, “this generation – the people sitting in this room – is the next greatest generation.”

“This is an enlisted people’s war,” he added. While the Air Force has traditionally sent its officers off to war, the majority of deployed Airmen today are enlisted. The mission requires a “teameffort” from both enlisted and commissioned active duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen.

After General Lorenz explained how changes in Iraq and Afghanistan might affect Air Force deployments – expect deployments to continue – he explained why certain manpower programs are necessary to bring the Air Force end-strength to within
Congressionally mandated limits (one percent of 332,000.)

An Airman asked his opinion on the new fitness standards. The general encouraged all Airmen to meet the new challenge head-on. “There are going to be people who aren’t moving fast enough. Move faster. Train. You know what I was doing at six o’clock this morning before I got up here? I went to the gym and I worked out. I try to get to the gym every day I can and I’m 58 years old.”

For the final question, the general addressed the growing cyber threats and challenges he has tackled in his commands – challenges that the young Airmen in the room will continue to fight.

“Do you know that when I took over [at AETC], there were no patches on the commander of AETC’s computer?” he explained. “I have to live under the exact same standards that you live under so I understand what’s going on. Leaders should never ask people to do something they’re not willing to do themselves.”

The general left his audience with encouragement.

“Always remember this ... we are so blessed,” he said. “We are the military of a democracy. We swear allegiance to precious ideas on a piece of paper called the Constitution. I cannot believe every day I get to wake up and go to work and hang out with people like you, and serve an institution bigger than myself. This is not about me – this is not about you – this about us and the nation.”

“And you are training internationals and guard and Reserve and active-duty people all over the world because you are the center of excellence on C-130s and nobody in the world does it better.”