Wednesday, November 24, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Arnold Drive earns Blue Ribbon for overall excellence

Arnold Drive Elementary School was one of 314 schools across the country recently recognized as a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School.

The school is also one of four in Arkansas to receive the coveted award.

During a recognition event attended by base and community leaders Monday at the school, Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander, said students, parents and teachers are part of the “Triangle of Excellence” and praised them for their accomplishments.

“Arnold Drive Elementary is creating the future of service and excellence,” said Colonel Minihan. “We always knew the quality of this school and now everyone knows.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private schools meeting the criteria of being ranked among the state’s highest performing schools based on state assessments.

“The award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students consistently achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement especially among disadvantaged and minority students,” said Terry Shaw, 19th Force Support Squadron school liaison officer. “Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds.”

School officials see the award not as a pinnacle of success, but the start of greater things to come.

“Last year the school ranked fifth in Arkansas,” said Julie Davenport, Arnold Drive Elementary School principal. “The teachers and administration were challenged to surpass their previous achievement and they went above and beyond. This staff demands success.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan honored the National Blue Ribbon Schools Nov. 16, 2010, during an awards luncheon in Washington, D.C.

(From compiled reports)

COMMENTARY>>Message of thanks

As we enter the holiday season, I find myself reflecting on the many blessings for which I am thankful. I give thanks for the love and support of my family, the many joys of the season, for the opportunity to work with the wonderful members of Team Little Rock and for the freedoms we Americans enjoy.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a declaration that a day of “Thanksgiving” would be held on the last Thursday of November. At the height of the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed, “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart ... In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict ... Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship ... and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving ... And I recommend to them that (they also) commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable ... strife in which we are unavoidably engaged ...”

My time in the Air Force has given me many opportunities to travel to other countries and to explore other cultures. I can say truthfully, that of all the countries I have seen, none holds the promise and opportunity of our great nation. Our nation was founded on the sanctity of individual rights and the freedom to pursue our goals, aspirations and desires. What a precious gift with whichto be presented. I find myself humbled and thankful for the incredible foresight and strength of purpose our forebears demonstrated during the fledgling days of our country. I am equally humbled by the dedication and sacrifice I see freely given every day by family, in the community, on base and throughout the world as Americans strive to continue to improve our nation and assist others around the globe.

I hope you find time this holiday season to relax and enjoy good company, good memories and good food with those you love. I am keenly aware that many families have members serving in other parts of the country and overseas who will not be able to gather with them this year. It is because of their service we are able to enjoy the holidays as we do. To all those families we owe special thanks. Freedom is not free. America is the “land of the free” because of the brave.

Thank you for all you do and God bless.

TOP STORY > >Prevention strategies for cold and flu

As “cold and flu season” approaches, the 19th Medical Group has a few tips to help people minimize their risk of catching or spreading respiratory viruses such as the flu or common cold.

Although cold and flu activity remains low at this time, early prevention can decrease the impact of these illnesses in future months, according to base medical officials.

“The most effective method to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year and wash your hands often. Good habits such ascovering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands with soap and water frequently can also help stop the spread of viruses and prevent illnesses like colds and the flu,” said Lt. Col. Robert Grant, 19th Medical Group chief of aerospace medicine and public health emergency officer.

Here are a few simple tips to help stop the spread of viruses:

1. Limit close contact

Limit close contact with people who are sick. When a person is sick, they should keep their distance from others to protect them from getting sick also.

2. Stay home when sick

If possible, stay home from work and school, and avoid running errands when sick. This will help prevent others from catching the illness. Depending on the illness, people may need an additional day or two at home after they feel well. Airmen should contact their supervisor to obtain permission to stay home until they’re feeling better, or call the appointment line at 987-8811 to obtain authorization for quarters.

3. Cover mouth and nose

People should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around them from getting sick.

4. Clean hands

Washing hands often with soap and water will help protect people from viruses. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

5. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth

Viruses are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

6. Practice other healthy habits to keep a strong immune system

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For more information, visit these Web sites provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

(Courtesy of the 19th Medical Group)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Never miss an opportunity

Never miss an opportunity to have a positive impact on someone’s life.

In today’s Air Force, we find ourselves extremely busy - deploying; fixing, loading and flying aircraft, processing travel vouchers, making new ID cards; preparing for the next inspection - the list goes on. Even in our busy lives, we must find the time to impart our wealth of knowledge and experiences onto our younger airmen to help shape their futures. We may not realize the impact we make just by spending a few valuable moments with someone looking for direction.

During my first tour as an instructor pilot at the Flight Training Unit, I was able to fly an aircraft to Texas for an airshow static display. During the flight, I began asking questions in hopes of finding out a little bit about each crewmember. I got to know more about our young staff sergeant crew chief and continued to ask what his future plans were in the Air Force. He said he thought about trying to become a flight engineer, but was happy to stay a crew chief and retire after 20 years in the military.

His response frustrated me and I proceeded to throw my helmet bag back at him, and told him if he had no other ambition in the world than to stay in the same job he was in, he could get off my flight deck and ride in the back of the plane. My intent was not to disparage maintenance or even to praise operators, but to highlight that everyone must continue to strive for more in life; otherwise, we find ourselves stagnating. Throughout the weekend, we continued to discuss available opportunities and what steps were necessary to go down certain paths.

Five years later, I returned for my second FTU tour, and as usual, during a walkthrough of the squadron, I met the new folks and got reacquainted with others I had not seen for a while. As you spend more time in the service, the names and faces and places sometimes get jumbled. I was greeted by a master sergeant whose name and face looked familiar, but I could not place where we had served together. During our discussion, I admitted I didn’t remember where we had flown together, and his reply shocked me. That young crew chief decided he would take a chance and went on to become a flight engineer and was back as an instructor in the FTU. He reminded me of the helmet bag incident and explained it was that event that forced him to look at his future and what he wanted to accomplish.

My actions that day were nothing spectacular. I was merely pushing an individual to continue to work hard and not stagnate. But to that staff sergeant, it was the trigger event that propelled him to a new job and new experiences.

No matter what paths we have taken in our careers, someone else has travelled that same road before us. Search out those that have gone before us, and take the time to share our experiences with those who will follow in our footsteps. And never miss an opportunity to have a positive impact on someone’s life.

COMMENTARY>>Chief promotion lists

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) – Air Force officials selected 504 of 2,287 eligible senior master sergeants for promotion to chief master sergeant, for a selection rate of 22.04 percent.

The average score for those selected was 661.37, with an average time in grade of 3.33 years and time in service of 23.30 years, respectively. The average score was based on the following point averages: 135 for enlisted performance reports, 24.49 for decorations, 70.24 for the Air Force supervisory exam and 381.46 board score.

The chief master sergeant promotion was released publicly Thursday, at 8 a.m., on the Air Force Personnel Center's public website. Airmen can access theirscore notices at the same time on the Virtual Military Personnel Flight and the Air Force Portal.

Those selected for chief master sergeant will be promoted according to their promotion sequence number beginning January 2011.

The promotion release using the Web is one of the many technological initiatives AFPC has taken to effectively deliver personnel services, allowing Airmen around the world 24-hour access.

Another tool recently developed is an online video that offers senior NCOs a comprehensive look at the complete central evaluation board process.

"The senior NCO evaluation board video provides a look into how an evaluation board is conducted, from the date the board convenes to its adjournment," said Maj. Tammy Schlichenmaier, a recorder for the Air Force Selection Board Secretariat. "The video will help demystify the board process and provide Air Force senior NCOs a firsthand look at procedures used to conduct an evaluation board."

The video includes information on board member demographics, the Air Force chief of staff's formal charge, board member responsibilities and overall board processes and procedures.

"This video will assist Airmen in better understanding the board process, so when their record meets the board they will know they are receiving a fair and equitable consideration for promotion," said Col. Jaimie Pease, the chief of Air Force Selection Board Secretariat.

For more information about the promotion board video, visit the AFPC Personnel Services website at and type "4953" in the search engine. Airmen can also contact the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102.

(Courtesy of Air Force Personnel, Service and Manpower Public Affairs)

COMMENTARY>>New commander takes reins of AETC

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Gen. Edward A. Rice took command of Air Education and Training Command from Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz during a ceremony here Wednesday.

“The set of activities for which the United States Air Force is responsible is extremely complex,” said General Rice, who previously commanded U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force. “Finding and developing the types of men and women who cannot only execute these activities in today’s highly dynamic environment, but who can shape the future in a way that allows us to continue to be dominate in the years ahead is a breathtaking responsibility.”

AETC, headquartered in San Antonio, is the Air Force major command responsible for recruiting, training and educating America’s Airmen through innovation. With an assigned force of more than 70,000 active-duty Airmen, Reservists and civilians, AETC trains and educates more than 340,000 American and international students each year on bases throughout the country.

“What we do here matters a great deal,” General Rice said. “I am honored to join your team today as we continue to meet the vital mission of recruiting and developing the Airmen who will keep our Air Force and Nation strong today, and tomorrow.”

A distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1978, General Rice is a command pilot with more than 3,900 flying hours. He has considerable experience in combat and contingency operations, including commanding bomber operations during the first four months of Operation Enduring Freedom as the commander of the 28th Air Expeditionary Wing. He also served as commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service.

(Courtesy of AETC Public Affairs)

TOP STORY > >189th AW family named Guard’s best

Senior Master Sgt. Duane Moore, 189th Airlift Wing Operations Support Flight, and his family were presented the Air National Guard Family of the Year award Aug. 2 in New Orleans, La.

The Moore family is truly an involved Guard family. All five members of the Moore family have been involved within some area of the Air National Guard Family Program.

The Family Program is a way for the Air National Guard to bring military families together and get them involved in various programs such as the Key Spouses.

Sergeant Moore and his two youngest children, Kyle and Eden, have been very involved in the annual food and toy drives.

“Their assistance with food and toy drives has allowed the Family Program to impact the lives of several wing/GSU families by providing valuable donations to many local charities,” said Stephanie Wynn, 189th Airlift Wing Family Program manager.

Sergeant Moore’s daughter, Dara, was a fundamental player in the formation of the wing’s youth group. Since the group’s inception, she has been an active member by attending meetings, participating in activities and working on the various community service projects in which the group gets involved.

Lisa Moore, Sergeant Moore’s wife, not only attends Family Readiness Group meetings, but she quite often instructs the training. She also developed a Financial Readiness program and provided briefings and training for the wing as well as several individual squadrons, upon the commander’s request.

“The 189th [AW] has provided a working environment for Duane that has been wonderful for our family, and we want to give back to the wing because of this,” said Mrs. Moore. “On a personal level, I have a passion for making sure our military families are fiscally healthy. Finances affect every area of our lives, including military careers and the ability to carry out the mission without the distractions that financial stress entails.”

In addition to all of the support this family provides to the Arkansas National Guard, they’re also extremely involved in their community and church.

Mrs. Wynn says, “This family is the epitome of an involved National Guard family. Their dedicated work has helped improve the lives of many Guard families.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Kicking the habit: Snuffing out tobacco

Team Little Rock members will have extra support to quit tobacco use Monday during the base’s observance of the Great American Smokeout.

An information booth will be set up in the fitness center lobby from 8 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m., said Kim Dean, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron health promotion educator.

“We’re going to show the hazards of tobacco use and inform people about our tobacco cessation program,” Ms. Dean said.

“Quit kits” will be handed out to encourage tobacco users to kick the habit. Kits include an information booklet, bookmark and chewing gum.

The goal is to go 24 hours without using tobacco, said Ms. Dean.

“We’re hoping people will think ‘If I can do it for 24 hours, then maybe I can do it for 48 or even 72 hours or more ... maybe this is something I can really do,’” she said.

Ms. Dean also said staying a “quitter” is the most difficult part of snuffing out tobacco use.

“Many of our Airmen may quit before they deploy, but with the level of stress [in the area of responsibility] they start back,” she said. “People are successful at quitting, but ‘staying quit’ is a difficult task. For some individuals, it may take three to 10 times before they can actually quit and ‘stay quit.’”

Team Little Rock’s observance of the Great American Smokeout is for all three wings including all active-duty Airmen, retirees and their families. Even non-users can participate.

“[Non-users] can do things such as adopt a smoker or encourage someone to quit smoking, dipping or chewing,” said Ms. Dean.

Statistics show nearly a third of the base population use tobacco products.

“Tobacco usage on Little Rock Air Force Base is 29.3 percent (approximately 4,000) from metrics reported from the dental clinic,” said Ms. Dean.

The national observance of the Great American Smokeout is Thursday.

For more information or tips on quitting smoking and chewing, visit

COMMENTARY>>Hangout gets makeover

The base’s newly renovated Youth Center, located at Bldg. 1992, celebrated its grand reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 9.

“This is a great example of turning an idea into action, into support that Airmen and families can feel from the get go,” said Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander.

The goal of the Youth Center is to offer a place for children age 9 to 18 to make new friends, discover new interests, develop into productive citizens and have fun.

“Little Rock Air Force Base’s greatest treasure is the Airmen, NCOs and officers that maintain and fly our nation’s airplanes,” said Timothy Perkins, 19th Force Support Squadron fitness center superintendent. “Their greatest treasure is their families. Those families share the unusual burdens of the military life and these shared sacrifices bind them together in the ever strong heritage of the military family.”

The overall mission of the youth programs is the care and well being of the children of Team Little Rock.

According to the 19th Force Support Squadron Web site, the Youth Center has a wide variety of activities planned everyday that will fulfill the needs of anybody that walks through the door. The staff focuses on five main categories when planning the programs, which are: character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; informal youth sports; and fitness and recreation.

The center’s re-launch coincides with Comprehensive Airman Fitness, promoting positive behaviors and holistic health.

“For you all to take an older building, to give it new vision, new life, and refurbish it in the manner that you did is not only the right thing to do by our Airmen and our families but it’s the right thing to do by our servant leaders,” said Colonel Minihan.

The recreation hours of operation at the Youth Center are 3 - 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 2 - 7:30 p.m. Saturdays. The annual membership is $20 or $2 a day. For more information, call the Youth Center at 987-6355.

COMMENTARY>>Yacht Club reunion

While the surrounding communities of Little Rock AFB enjoyed the Thunderbirds screaming overhead, the Golden Nights silently falling from the sky as our National Anthem played, and a multitude of other attractions that came with this year’s “Thunder Over the Rock” airshow, behind the scenes another time honored tradition took place.

On Oct. 8, the 62nd Airlift Squadron hosted the annual “Yacht Club” reunion. Originating in 1971 as a means to bring the members of the 62nd Troop Carrier Squadron together, it has since opened its alumnus to the men and women of the 62nd who have participated in combat and contingency operations ranging from WWII, to Korea, to Vietnam up through and including current operations and finally the Airmen whose current mission is to produce the finest legacy C-130 Combat Airlift aircrews in the world.

In June of 1944 Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower implemented the invasion of France, codenamed Operation Overlord, with a key supporting operation named Operation Neptune providing the insertion of airborne forces behind enemy lines. Composed of 925 aircraft and six regiments of paratroopers from both the 82nd and the 101st Airborne Divisions, more than 13,000 men took off from England to conduct what would be the first night-time airborne insertion of troops.

Imbedded within this mass operation were 18 C-47 aircraft, 78 commissioned officers and 241 enlisted men of the 314th Troop Carrier Group, 62nd TCS, operating out of Saltby Field, England. As such, “Thunder Over the Rock”, and the hospitality of the Thunderbirds opening up their VIP tent, treated the visiting World War II warriors to a front row surprise as a large formation of C-130 Es and Hs airdropped approximately 350 paratroopers from the 82nd, reminiscent of the 62nd TCS’s role in airdropping the 82nd Airborne into their designated drop zone during the Normandy invasion.

It was a distinct pleasure to see the warriors who laid the foundation of Combat Airlift regale the newest generation of airlifters with their memories of flying in Operations Overlord, Neptune and Market Garden while surrounded by the newest weapon systems that have long since replaced the C-47. In turn, the newest generation explained to these heroes how the lessons, tactics, techniques and procedures, developed over six decades, evolved with technology to enable the aerial delivery of supplies from over 10,000 feet with a delivery precision of up to 50 meters through the advent of GPS guided parachutes. Listening to the various generations of airlifters compare notes, it became apparent that technology was the only difference in the ability to provide time-critical supplies to airborne forces – whether they were surrounded by the German army in the Ardennes forest, or US Special Forces operating in remote locations in Afghanistan.

The heritage of the United States Air Force, though in its infancy compared to sister services, is one full of warriors, tales of bravery, and as shown by the gathering of four brothers of the 62nd TCS who travelled as far as 1,000 miles to gather with Combat Airlifters of the past, present and future a testament to the profound legacy and importance of the mission of tactical airlift.

Thank you to Jack Downhill, Bill Hyden, Ben Setliff, and Ted (Tex) Walters, original members of the 62nd TCS who made the trip to spend time with each other, as well as the men and women of the 62nd AS. It’s a true honor to have hosted such a fine group of warriors, friends and guests who travelled great distances to not be thanked, but to say “thank you” for allowing them to be a member of the “Yacht Club.”

TOP STORY > >C-47 dedication

Every major era of combat airlift is now represented at Heritage Park with the addition of a C-47 Skytrain static aircraft, the workhorse airlifter of World War II.

The Team Little Rock Airmen who worked for several months repairing and repainting the C-47 to match its June 1944 D-Day paint scheme christened the aircraft Wednesday during the Veterans Day Retreat ceremony in memory of all veterans.

“Particularly those Combat Airlifters who carried the paratroopers to their designated drop zones under enemy fire, then resupplied and maneuvered American troops across Europe in the last days of the Second World War. For their service and sacrifice, we are eternally grateful,” said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Russell, 48th Airlift Squadron.

The U.S. Army Air Corps ordered its first C-47s in 1940, and by the end of World War II, procured a total of 9,348. These C-47s carried personnel and cargo around the globe. They also towed troop-carrying gliders, dropped paratroops into enemy territory, and air evacuated sick or wounded patients. A C-47 could carry 28 passengers, 18-22 fully equipped paratroopers, about 6,000 lbs. of cargo or 18 stretchers and three medical personnel.

“We, Combat Airlifters, all trace our lineage back to the C-47. There are seven squadrons on base whose heritage is based partially on this aircraft,” said Chris Rumley, 314th Airlift Wing historian. “All seven active-duty flying squadrons flew this plane during World War II.”

The base now has at least one airlift aircraft representing every major era the base’s squadrons flew in: World War II (the C-47), Korea (the C-119), Vietnam (the C-123 and C-130), and the modern era (the bases’ two static C-130s, in addition to the 84 operating C-130s assigned to the base.)

(Courtesy of the 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

COMMENTARY>>High Standards – No Apologies!

By Col. Mark Czelusta
314th Airlift Wing commander

Last month we discussed our perspective on the mission as leadership theme No. 1. As you recall, our mission is one that we take personally as a reflection of individual contributions to our Air Force during these challenging times. For the 314th Airlift Wing, that sense is embodied in the phrase, “Everyone is an instructor.”

Let’s springboard off this perspective and talk about our second leadership theme: standards. Our standards are high and without apology.

I know we have all heard it and we all have even fallen into the trap of repeating it: “The minimum wouldn’t be the minimum if it wasn’t good enough.” Few phrases are more corrosive to a unit’s success. For us as Airmen, the minimum is largely irrelevant, for our core value of excellence demands that we always perform to our best with a sense of “raising the bar.” Never forget the 314th Airlift Wing prides itself as being a “Center of Excellence” and not the “Center of Satisfactory.”

Oftentimes, discussions of standards become mired in emotion – and for no good reason. The way physical fitness testing has become a lightening rod is just one example. Let’s be clear: haircuts, uniform wear, customs and courtesies, and physical fitness matter ... they are standards and indicators of the sense of pride, professionalism and spirit within a unit. A unit that looks and conducts itself with high standards in these areas will probably accomplish its mission well, too. Sadly, the opposite is also true. Bottom line: through my 21 years of service, I have not seen this rule proven otherwise and I don’t expect any changes soon.

But don’t forget that, particularly when it comes to our daily tasks as operators, maintainers and mission support professionals, standards also include items such as tech order and regulatory compliance, communication skills, checklist discipline and so on. Never let someone say compliance hinders mission accomplishment. To the contrary, compliance guarantees mission accomplishment. By the way, compliance is inherently safe too.

Standards include our professional ethics. And again, the minimum standard is irrelevant when compared to doing what is right.

Just because something is “allowed” doesn’t always mean it is right. I encourage everyone to remember this when we write performance reports, file travel vouchers and make official – and unofficial – statements.

Finally, standards are self-sufficient and independent of relativism. Unit “X’s” or base “Y’s” failure to uphold a standard or simply pursue the minimum does not at all suggest we should follow suit. Society’s abandonment of a certain ethic means little to us. One example is performance reporting. You are not “ruining” anyone’s career by fairly, accurately and uniformly reporting on individual performance against high standards. When it comes to our role in this process, I will always argue for “standards inflation” over “EPR/OPR inflation.” Parallels to this example can be drawn in all areas of professional, technical and ethical standards. For us at Team Little Rock, standards well beyond the minimum are not the “target” or some “goal,” they are the expectation. In the end, what goes on in other units or bases when it comes to standards falls squarely in the category of “interesting, but not compelling.”

If you think about it, standards are the Air Force’s way of demonstrating concretely that our contribution matters. If our contribution didn’t matter, there wouldn’t be a standard against it. Don’t be afraid of standards beyond the minimum ... embrace them, stick to them and enforce them. Safe, effective and decisive mission accomplishment – and deep pride – will no doubt follow.

COMMENTARY>>Respecting reveille

Each morning the night sky fades away, and as dawn breaks on Little Rock Air Force Base, a familiar sound is met with equally familiar greetings. Starting this month reveille found itself echoed by “To the Colors”, a not uncommon pairing. We use this pairing as an opportunity to pay respect to our nation’s flag; and a glimpse back reveals that reveille has long been a part of military tradition.

According to the web site, the word “reveille” originated in medieval times, around 1600, to wake the soldiers at dawn. The name comes from “réveille” (or “réveil”), the French word for “wake up.”

Reveille was first used by the U.S. military in 1812 and was used to muster units or as a means to conduct roll call, as cited on the web site. It was not originally intended as honors for the flag.

Today, reveille serves a twofold purpose, according to the web site. It signals the beginning of the official duty day. It also serves as a moment to pay respect to the flag and those who serve it. It begins a dignified homage to our national flag from its raising in the morning to its lowering in the evening.

Whether in uniform or not, at the first sounds of reveille, stop where you are and turn to face the flag, or in a case where the flag is not visible, turn in the general direction of the music and, if in uniform, stand at parade rest. If not inuniform, protocol still dictates that you stop and face the flag out of respect.

In uniform when you hear the first note of “To the Colors”, come to attention and render the salute. Do not salute if you are not in uniform. Instead, come to attention and place your right hand over your heart. If you have on a hat, remove it with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder while the right hand is over the heart. Hold the salute and/or hand over heart until “To the Colors” has finished playing.

It is only on occasion that the civilian public has a chance to pay tribute to our flag. We’re privileged to show our respect at the beginning and end of each day. We embrace this opportunity that few experience, and continue to appreciate the freedom that it represents.

(Courtesy Airman Leadership School staff)

COMMENTARY>>Enlisted Perspective: Even one suicide is too many

By Cheif Master Sgt. James A. Roy
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An alarming trend is happening in our Air Force and we need your help. We’ve had a drastic increase this year in the number of suicides among our total force Airmen - active duty, guard, reserve and civilians. Last year we lost 84 Airmen by suicides; this year, we’ve nearly reached that number and it is only October. Even one suicide is too many.

We all take Suicide Awareness training, but that’s just the first step - we must take immediate action and get involved. We need to look out for each other and understand that we’re not alone. Be ready and willing to assist your Wingman and ask for help when you need it. We must all take the time to care about those around us. That’s what good Wingmen do and that’s what our Air Force needs.

Supervisors at every level must act now. Get to know your Airmen better and understand their personal and professional challenges. This is not a time to sit idle and think this won’t happen in your unit. No one is immune. Suicides range the spectrum of ages, locations, major commands and career fields. The two most common factors we’ve seen are problems with relationships and finances.

We need to be good Wingmen for others and also need to develop and maintain trusted relationships and friendships where we can talk openly and honestly about things happening in our own lives. We need to feel comfortable exchanging ideas, views and experiences with those who are closest to us. There is always someone available for you.

So many people care about you - more than you may think; family, friends, co-workers, supervisors, first sergeants, commanders, chaplains, medical professionals and senior leaders are ready and willing to listen and help. Just give them a chance. Don’t ever think you are alone or that no one will understand. We will understand and we will help you. It doesn’t matter whether you write, call or e-mail, please reach out. We are an Air Force family and you mean a lot to all of us. If you feel you are at the end of your road, you are not - talk with someone. We care about you and will ensure you receive the help you need.

You should never be afraid of seeking help for fear of reprisal. Our lives should be the priority. The Air Force also has many resources to help. Military and family life consultants, chaplains and medical professionals are all available. Also, Military One Source counselors are always available by calling 800-342-9647 or visiting their website by copying into your web browser.

With everyone’s help, we can and must step up and reverse this devastating trend.

TOP STORY > >777th EAS/EAMU owns the night

By Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq – Charles Lindbergh, American aviator, said, “Whether outwardly or inwardly, whether in space or time, the farther we penetrate the unknown, the vaster and more marvelous it becomes.”

The same can be said about the aviators and Airmen of the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and the 777th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit, deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark, who brave all weather conditions and missions to defend the U.S. and assist its Iraqi allies.

The 777th EAS, or “Triple 7 Dueling Dragons,” is the largest forward-deployed airlift squadron in Operation New Dawn. Comprised of more than 100 Airmen and a fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft, the 777 EAS has five primary missions: hub-and-spoke air-land missions, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation, distinguished visitor airlift and communications, and command and control for Joint Airborne Battle Staff support to Coalition forces on the ground.