Thursday, December 15, 2011

COMMENTARY>>Team Little Rock: The right combination

By Major Justin Barry

314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Roughly two weeks ago, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz was discussing the need to find the right combination of efficiency and effectiveness in light of forecasts for tight budgetary constraints through the foreseeable future. He said, “Finding the right balance of regular, Reserve and Guard forces is the key to maintaining future Air Force capabilities during (this) dramatic period of budget austerity.” This “right balance” is the key to the success of the organizational construct known as Total Force Integration, in which active duty and reserve component forces blend seamlessly to provide combat capability for our nation’s defense.

As is the case in so many areas, Team Little Rock and its Center of Excellence are in the vanguard of Air Force TFI efforts. As many already know, Team Little Rock is home to two active duty C-130 wings (the 314th and 19th), as well as the 189th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard. Helping cement the truly “total force” nature of our operations, we have with us now the lead elements of the 22nd Air Force’s Detachment 1 from the Air Force Reserves.

In a unique integration effort, our Reserve counterparts are blending into the daily operations of my Blue Aircraft Maintenance Unit, as well as those of our brethren flying in the 62nd Airlift Squadron. That alone does not make this integration unique. There are many blended units throughout the Air Force which utilize both active duty and reserve component personnel to accomplish their missions.

What is truly special about this TFI project? Over the next three years, the Reservists with Detachment 1 won’t only pick up the majority of the responsibility for launching, recovering, maintaining and flying our C-130H2 aircraft in support of Air Education and Training Command’s training mission, the Det 1 personnel will also be integrated and associated with the 189th. This integration is unique because Air Force Reserve Command personnel will be associated with an Air National Guard wing to perform a mission-set in support of an AETC requirement. That requirement, and our charge, is to produce combat-ready aircrews able to provide tactical airlift support at a moment’s notice, around the globe.

My counterpart, Maj. Richard Rogers, Detachment 1 maintenance commander, and I are working hand-in-hand to ensure our units are moving in the correct direction to meet all the milestones for the association with the Air National Guard and the time-phased handoff of our legacy Herc training mission. The same can be seen in the flying squadrons as well. This TFI effort is beginning to grow legs and gain momentum as more and more reserve personnel arrive each month. There is still a long row to hoe, but we are in it together to ensure safe, effective and efficient mission accomplishment.

General Schwartz said, “We need to capitalize on the incredible synergy we gain from Reserve and Regular Air Force Airmen working as one team. With the proper balance, I know we can create a strategic depth and an immediate-response force that is efficient, effective and has a combat capability second to none.” You see that synergistic and balanced team right here at TLR, the foundation and home of Combat Airlift.

COMMENTARY>>Holiday wishes from the top

By Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr.

Air Education and Training Command commander

The winter holidays bring an array of celebrations that highlight the diverse cultures that make our nation great. What unites so many of those festivities is a spirit of thankfulness for the many blessings we share. Teresa and I want to wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season and say thank you to all the men and women of Air Education and Training Command for making 2011 such a success.

Closest to our hearts are all the deployed members of the command and their families. Having gone through this experience ourselves, we know how deployments over the holidays can be particularly tough, not just on the Airmen, but particularly the families back home. This year, more than 6,000 AETC Airmen have deployed around the globe. Thanks to your exceptional diligence and readiness, AETC answered the call to send our people to multiple worldwide operations while also maintaining our total commitment to training and educating the world’s finest Air Force!

For those of us not deployed, I ask that as you make your holiday plans for quality time with family and friends, please know that I take personal interest in your safety and well-being. Be smart and make good decisions. If you’re traveling, use caution and allow yourself time for delays. Make arrangements ahead of time so you’re never in a position to consider drinking and driving. The world’s greatest Air Force is nothing without its number one asset – you.

As we celebrate together, I also ask you to remember the families of our deployed Airmen as well as our single Airmen. In the spirit of camaraderie that makes our Air Force such a special family, I hope you’ll welcome them into your holiday gatherings here at home.

The bonds we build today serve to strengthen the command for tomorrow…and continue to make our United States Air Force the most respected airpower in the world. Happy holidays, AETC. Thank you for all that you do to keep our nation secure.

TOP STORY >>Timely tips for tax season

By Airman 1st Class Regina Agoha

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Tax season is right around the corner. This part of the year can be very stressful and overwhelming if one is slothful at getting their documents together for filing their taxes.

Here at Little Rock Air Force Base, members who will be working at the tax center have given helpful tips to make sure everyone can get their taxes done in a timely manner and with as much ease as possible.

“The W-2s for the Air Force should be out at some point in January,” said Capt. Catherine Deist, 19th Airlift Wing chief legal assistant.

“For the tax center on base, which will be located at the Thomas Community Activities Center, Feb. 1 will be the first day for filing taxes, but people can start filing their taxes as soon as they get their W-2s.” said Capt. Tamera Kennard, 19th Airlift Wing chief of civil law

“There is a website that’s free for all military members and dependants to use to file their own taxes,” said Deist. “This website, (, can do Turbo Tax as well as H&R Block. It is recommended because it’s a very easy site to use. The website however, is not free for retirees.”

For those who will be using the tax center’s services, Kennard said, here are some documents needed: W-2s, proof of jury duty pay, proof of alimony received, social security statement (1099-SSA), dividend and interest statements (1099-DIV and 1099-INT), retirement distributions (1099-R), and brokerage statements (1099-B), along with statements showing when you bought and sold your investments.

Other tax documents are: HUD-1 Escrow statement for property bought or sold, summary of moving expenses, summary of educational expenses (college tuition and books not paid for by government), summary of child care, day care, or adult day-care expenses, IRA contributions (traditional, SEP, or rollovers), and student loan interest paid (1098-E).

Tax deduction documents include: health care expenses, real estate taxes, motor vehicle registration, mortgage interest paid (1098), gifts to charity (anything over $250 needs a receipt), last year’s tax preparation fees, loss of property due to casualty or theft, and gambling losses.

These documents may also be helpful to have for those using, or filing taxes on their own.

“A helpful note for military-tax filers who have rental homes,” Deist said, “is when you are renting your home, and you’re not making any money off it, and you profit, technically, if you’re renting it out for whatever the cost of your mortgage is, it’s still income. For example, if you’re renting your home out for $1, you’re making $1 per month in income, and that needs to be listed on your tax forms.” That’s a huge mistake Deist said she’s seen people make, and if they get audited, it’s a big deal.

This year the tax center is not doing rental property, so that website would be a good source for those who rent homes to use, said Deist.

“April 16 is the last day to file taxes and also the last day the tax center will be open,” said Kennard.

There are unknown penalties for not filing taxes on time, Kennard said. One can file for an extension but not through the tax center. They have to go to the IRS website at and file for an extension on line.

“If someone is deployed in a combat zone during tax season however, they get 180 days from the day they return to file their taxes,” said Deist.

The Spousal Relief Act is something military members need to ask their personal tax preparer if they qualify for, said Deist. “We get a lot of questions about this, but it’s only for very particular situations.”

Deist and Kennard want to make known that the tax center is really for easy taxes. It would be better to use th e military one source website for the more complicated situations. It’s very easy to use, and it will ask the right questions to help you step-by-step.

For more general questions about filing taxes, one can call the legal office at 987-7886. This number however, is not for legal questions because legal advice cannot be given over the phone.

TOP STORY >>Alcohol: Testing your knowledge

Mina Underwood

19th Medical Group – ADAPT Program, Certified Alcohol
and Drug Abuse Counselor

Just open the container and drink – right? Do you really know how to drink alcohol? You know exactly how many drinks it takes to get a buzz and how many to get drunk –right? If you’re a seasoned drinker you might think you have your drinking down to a fine science, but you could be wrong. There are so many factors that can throw your plan right out the window.

SLEEP: When you‘ve had a good night’s sleep, you feel great and having a couple of drinks may be no big deal. Some people have a difficult time sleeping and, since alcohol makes them sleepy, they may try to use it to sleep. The problem is that it prevents them from getting deep, restorative sleep. They stay in the superficial levels of sleep and wake up sore and tired. What if you haven’t slept well and you drink alcohol? You’re already tired and now you’re adding a depressant to your system – be aware of what your body is telling you.

MOOD: Keep your edge. Alcohol is a depressant, or downer, because it reduces brain activity. If you are depressed before you start drinking, alcohol can make you feel worse. Here’s a bit of advice that could save your life: If you’re depressed, don’t drink. The same lack of inhibitions that can lead a drinker to wear a lampshade as a hat, can have consequences that are far more tragic for people with suicidal thoughts.

Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in a large sample of suicide victims whose blood alcohol levels were measured post mortem, one in four had been legally drunk.

MEDICATION: Know the risks – alcohol is a drug. Mixing it with any other drug can be extremely dangerous. Alcohol and acetaminophen, a common ingredient in over the counter pain and fever reducers, can damage your liver. Alcohol mixed with drugs can cause nausea, vomiting, fainting, heart problems and difficulty breathing. Mixing alcohol and drugs can also lead to death.

YOUR PERSONALITY: Some people’s personality really changes when they drink. You’ve probably been around someone who was a mean drunk, a happy drunk and asloppy drunk. The bottom line is that there will be some kind of personality change. As your blood alcohol count goes up, your perceived ability to do something is increased. While in reality your actual ability is diminished. This is what causes people to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. They think they’re ok, but they’re not.

YOUR BEHAVIOR: The vast majority of people who consume alcoholic beverages do not engage in criminal behavior. However, it plays a part in domestic violence. Consider the statistics:

- Alcohol is present in more than half of all incidents of domestic violence, with women most likely to be battered when both partners have been drinking.

- About 70 percent of alcohol-related incidents of violence occur in the home and begin with the greatest frequency at 11 p.m.; 20 percent of these incidents involve the use of a weapon other than hands, fists or feet.

YOUR PLAN: DWIs/DUIs, underage drinking, public intoxication and binge drinking continue to plague Team Little Rock.

Alcohol is not going anywhere. We will never go back to the days of prohibition. You’re going to have to decide what role drinking alcohol will have in your life. Are you going to control alcohol or is alcohol going to control you? What are you doing to make sure you don’t become a statistic? What are you doing to make sure your friends and subordinates don’t become a statistic?

Always ask yourself before you drink: You + alcohol = ?

If you think you have a problem with alcohol, or need some education, please contact the ADAPT Clinic @ 987-7338.

Statistics obtained from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

Friday, December 9, 2011

COMMENTARY >> Little Rock to test new Quick Don Mask for Airmen

By Karen Dooney
Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. – Little Rock Air Force Base is one of four bases testing the new Quick Don Mask in an effort to buttress Air Mobility Command’s aviation safety improvements.
 Did you know at or above 35,000 feet you have less than 10 seconds during a rapid decompression to don an oxygen mask before your time of useful consciousness is exceeded and you black out? This may not cross your mind while traveling on a commercial airline, but military service members must think of it every day. It becomes worse if a fire occurs...fumbling with a pair of smoke goggles is the last thing you want to be doing.

The Air Force’s current Quick Don Mask consists of a two part assembly: the primary oxygen mask and a separate anti-smoke goggle. Crewmembers required additional time to don the mask and goggle, distracting them from reacting to the situation at hand, and ultimately leading to safety concerns for the Air Force. In reaction to these safety concerns, the AMC commissioned AVOX Systems Inc, to develop a new oxygen mask integrating the breathing portion with the smoke goggles that met stringent Federal Aviation Administration requirements for the mask to be donned in 5 seconds or less. Additionally the AVOX Quick Don Mask was designed as a “one size fits all” mask and also accommodates members wearing prescription glasses.

Military members can breathe easier knowing that the new Quick Don Mask is being tested by Test Directors from the Air Mobility Command’s Test and Evaluation Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB-MDL), New Jersey. To cover AMC’s vast range of mobility aircraft, the modified AVOX Quick Don Mask is being tested in four phases: the C-130E/H at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; C-130J at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.; KC-135 at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.; and C-17 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N. J.

The new AVOX Quick Don Mask is just one of AMC’s aviation safety improvements. According to the Chief of Staff in 2010, “We recorded the safest year in aviation history for the second consecutive year, achieving decreases in flight mishap rates in almost every category, clearly illustrating our institutional commitment to preserving our equipment and people.” With the help of personnel throughout McConnell Air Force Base and the Air Force, we can continue to maintain the Air Force’s commitment to care for our airmen and their families, whether on the ground or in the air.

TOP STORIES >> Paws, gauze, claws

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Molly enthusiastically, but not without trepidation, walks through the swinging door of the base clinic and impatiently waits for her turn to see the doctor. She got a little nervous about her checkup during the car ride, but her fears were quelled by the calming presence of her friend beside her. Other voices at the clinic soothed her apprehension as well, but there is restlessness in Molly, she can’t stop fidgeting, and she won’t sit down in the waiting area. The receptionist flashes a smile at her, greeting Molly cordially, and Molly rushes towards her to say hi, but there’s something stopping her from going over all the way to the desk, a harness leash strapped on her back.

Molly is a miniature dachshund, and is going to veterinary clinic on base as part of a routine check-up. The base’s veterinary clinic is responsible for treating nearly 2,500 animals a year, including eight military working dogs, each worth more than $50,000 a piece.

“Our primary mission is to care for the military working dogs,” said Army Staff Sgt. Darlene Barrios, an animal care specialist at the base clinic. “They’re considered service members. They deploy like service members to places all over the world, including the AOR and we have to give them the medical treatment true service members deserve.”

Military working dogs are given an assortment of medical treatment to ensure their health and mission readiness. Treatments include biannual full-body physicals, special teeth cleaning and blood work to check the dogs for any health impediments.

In addition to giving the dogs extensive treatment, animal care specialists also work with the Security Forces Squadron to teach their kennel masters and handlers first aid for the animals, and ensure they are certified to handle the dogs.

“There are quarterly requirements to certify they are handler-capable,” said Barrios. “We give them a lot of training on top of taking care of the dogs ourselves. That’s the big mission we’re responsible for, making sure these dogs are taken care of and their handlers know how to take care of them is important for our mission.”

While the military working dogs are the most expensive, and important aspect of the clinic’s services to the Air Force, the majority of their clientele are domestic animals, Barrios said. The clinic offers a variety of services to pet owners on base including vaccinations, blood work, surgery, x-rays, dental work and treating illnesses.

Most of the animals that walk, or get carried, through the clinic’s doors are canines, like Molly, or felines, like Meow Meow, an elder medium-haired cat brought in for a routine checkup. From the waiting room the animals are taken down the hall where they are looked at by one of the doctors of veterinary medicine on staff.

Carolyn Stewart, D.V.M, will inspect the animals and give them routine tests such as finding their heart rate and taking their temperature. Some animals are happy and cooperative, like Molly. But some animals, like Meow Meow, aren’t as cooperative during their day at the doctor’s office. Several times during his checkup, Meow Meow jumps off the table and hides behind a chair in the corner of the office.

Stewart, weighing Meow Meow on the chrome scale located on the top of the check-up table, remarks that he could probably stand to lose some weight.

“Being overweight can lead to a lot of problems like diabetes,” she said. Stewart cautions the owner to help the cat drop weight by watching its diet.

Barrios said the workers at the clinic can give good health tips to pet owners and help ensure the safety and vivacity of domestic animals. She said that every pet owner should consider getting a microchip implanted in their animal; it’s a quick and harmless operation that can lead to the recovery of lost pets.
Additionally Army Maj. Mary Sprangel, installation veterinarian, would like all customers to know there has been a change in rules for transporting pets overseas. Information about regulations can be found at

“We have a great, dedicated, friendly and wonderful staff here,” she said. “We urge everyone to read on the rules for taking pets overseas, the more you know the better.”

For more information on the base veterinarian clinic or to schedule an appointment, call 987-7249.

TOP STORY >> Holiday driving safety reminder for the Rock

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

– Robert Frost

Frost-tipped tree branches, barren of leaves, bristling pines and the tranquil Arkansas landscape, evinced by rolling hills, bounding deer, and other wildlife, can be a charming and disarming site to spectators; however, Team Little Rock members shouldn’t let the calm, sterilized, atmospheric tides of winter put their awareness to sleep while driving those many miles , or else they may be thrown in tumult with consequences like damaged property, speeding tickets, traffic violations, and, at worst, injuries and casualties to themselves and others.

During the holiday season it’s feasible that service members may be given early-dismissal or late-reporting times. The base commander encourages TLR members to drive extra carefully when this occurs, and to always check with their chain of command to verify early-dismissals or late-reporting times.

“I want to make sure that every TLR member adheres to proper safety precautions when road conditions get dicey,” said Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “A base-wide speed limit of 15 mph will be enforced when there is an early-dismissal or late-reporting date.  Additionally, everyone should verify any changes to working schedules with their supervisors and chain of command. Posts made on social-media networks like Facebook may not apply to everyone on the base.”

The most hazardous time for drivers, especially in the winter time, is in the dead of the night, said Tech. Sgt. Ricky Carroll, 19th AW ground safety technician. The long stretches of rural roads with sparse surrounding and occasionally no street lights can turn a car into a dangerous machine.
“You are twice as likely to have a fatal accident during night as during the day,” Carroll said. “The sudden appearances of street lights or bright lights from other cars are real problems. The problems are only amplified when the road is slick from rain, snow or ice.”

Along with being cautious for weather changes, drivers should also remember to be on the look-out for pedestrians and wildlife, said Carroll. Also be advised of school-children, driving in school zones and above all, be aware of the other drivers on the road.

“It’s always best to practice defensive driving,” said Carroll. “Just take the steps to be courteous to other drivers even if you think they aren’t being courteous to you. Nobody wins when there’s a car collision or when a pedestrian gets struck because two drivers were not practicing safe driving techniques.”

Watch the weather forecast, he said. It’s not always perfect, but it’s a good indicator of what’s going to happen in the area, and can give drivers a heads up on preparing for snow, ice and inclement weather.
“We can get some chilly weather up here,” Carroll said. “Being the south, it seems like people aren’t always as ready for the snow as they should, or when the snow comes, they aren’t always sure how to react to it. Cold weather can be dangerous, heaters can break, cars can break down, accidents happen and cold weather can make it worse.”

It’s good to keep a stock of warm items in the car, he added. Flashlights, blankets, water, and extra warm gear can be helpful in the event of an ill-timed breakdown. It’s always prudent to think safety first no matter the time of year or place.

“Extra batteries are important in the winter time, and even a generator may be helpful if power is lost,” Carroll said. “The important thing is to think ahead and always try to be prepared. That way the odds of situations catching you unaware and leaving you in a bad situation are less. Luck favors the well prepared”

So while driving down those long, sometimes-isolated, stretches of Arkansas highway, byways and access roads, try to stay alert and save the sleeping, figuratively and literally, for the bedroom.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

COMMENTARY>>Ready ready roll

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

On a frosty morning, when most people are still snuggling a blanket in bed to stay warm, instructors with the 62nd Airlift Squadron were laboring over table-tops of details preparing themselves and their students for flight.

Maj. Doug Buchholz, a 62nd AS evaluator pilot, and Capt. James Sinclair, a 62nd AS instructor navigator, are flying with Capt. Matt Thomas, a 109th Airlift Squadron student co-pilot, and 1st Lt. Cameron Koehler, 47th Operations Support Squadron student pilot, on their “check” flight, the flight which will determine whether they become qualified C-130H pilots.

“If they finish this flight successfully they’ll be officially certified C-130H pilots,” said Buchholz. “The process to be (C-130H) certified is an 18-24 month process so passing the check flight is a big deal.”

The check flight will grade the prospective pilots on their ability to meet the mission’s criteria. Prior to the formation briefing the four-man crew sits together at their mission-table and discusses the day’s mission.

“You’ll be graded, but don’t hesitate to ask for help,” Sinclair tells the student pilots. “This is still an instructional sortie, if you make a mistake, roll with it.”

Buchholz expects the students, who they’ve been working with for nearly six month, to do just fine, but wants to make sure they’re not fazed by adversity during flights.

“They’ve made a lot of strides since they’ve gotten here,” he said. “Before (training) they only used (C-130)simulators, they’re a lot more involved now in the process then when they got here.”

After discussing preliminary flight concerns, the crew is summoned to the conference room for the formation briefing, delivered by the mission commander.

During the briefing the crew is instructed on the mission overview, objective, priorities, situational concerns and prospective threats.

After the formation briefing the crew reconvenes at their table and dives into the table-top briefing, the final major step before the crew steps out to begin their flights.

“This is the last chance for us to make any changes,” Buchholz said.

During the table-top briefing, Thomas thoroughly instructs the students on a number of topics concerning the flight, including the route points, navigational issues, flight plan and the most important part, the drop off.

Although they will be examined on a number of criteria, the most important thing the instructors are looking for is the ability of their students to communicate to the crew during their flights.

“If you have any questions at all for anyone don’t hesitate to ask,” Sinclair said. “You’ll need to be able to talk to everybody out there, including the loadmasters.”

As Sinclair concludes the table-top brief, and asks the students if they have any more questions about the day’s sortie, Buchholz agrees that the success of the mission primarily rests on the student’s ability to communicate with their crew.

Before leaving for the plane, Koehler and Thomas both express eagerness to complete the day’s mission and get certified as pilots.

“I’ve been here almost six months,” Thomas said. “It’ll be good to get back home.”

When he returns home, he hopes it’ll be as a certified C-130H pilot, and under the guidance and instruction of the 62nd’s instructors that may just happen.

TOP STORY >>Airmen’s names used in online scams

By Chris McCann
Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson Public Affairs

Thanks for replying to my ad. I’m in a hurry to find a buyer because I have a family emergency and I need to sell it before 22 November. My name is Larry. I’m an Air Force Staff Sergeant stationed at an AF Base in Anchorage, Alaska. The truck is here with me.

“This 2000 Toyota Tundra SR5 4 Wheel Drive, has 72,000 miles on it, Automatic 4SPD, 4.7L V8. A/C, Cruise Control, Heated Seats, Tow Package, Traction Control and more... It has no damage, no scratches or dents, no hidden defects....

“The price is $2,690. If you want to buy this SUV I will take care of the delivery to your door (with an AF cargo plane to the nearest AF Base) and I will offer 5 days to inspect the vehicle and take it to your mechanic from the moment you receive it (and the option to accept or reject it), before I’ll have your money...”

Sounds too good to be true?

That’s because it is.

This scam and others similar to it have circulated around Craigslist for a few years now.

Service members of all branches have had their names used as the “sellers” of these vehicles. Often, the ad even states that an Air Force tow truck will take the vehicle from the nearest Air Force base to the buyer’s house. The photos are taken from other Craigslist ads, photo-hosting sites and even car dealership websites.

Unfortunately, people can and do get conned into sending money, and the car of course never shows up.

Staff Sgt. Amanda Gibson, an approving official for the 3rd Munitions Squadron here, was a “seller” – much to her surprise.

“I found out through an email from someone at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, (Ohio),” Gibson said. “I thought it was over. ... Then I got a call from security forces at a base in Pennsylvania because a civilian had gotten in touch with them and asked if I was real.”

She was also mentioned in an article in the Hartford, (Conn.) Courant about the scam, she said.

In all, she has found her name in 61 scam advertisements and continues to get occasional emails about the vehicle she’s allegedly selling. Gibson has filed reports with the Federal Trade Commission and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, she said.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done. The scammers are not in the U.S. in most cases. FBI Agent Tim Gallagher, the section chief of the bureau’s cyber division, said that the FBI has arrested people in connection with the scams overseas.

However, that may be cold comfort to those who have been duped.

“I think service members’ names are chosen because it’s relatively easy to verify that we exist, and people want to trust military people,” Gibson said.

It’s also easy to search for a name and get results, even phone numbers, which makes potential victims think it’s legitimate. For example, even Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Kuehnl, the 673rd Air Base Wing senior enlisted advisor here, was shocked to get a call on her duty phone about a vehicle she was allegedly selling.

“I have sold things on Craigslist in the past, so the first email didn’t surprise me,” Kuehnl said. “But I would never use the duty phone. That spooked me.”

Alaska seems to be a good place for the scammers to claim as the car’s location, since it’s remote, Gibson said. Often, people don’t realize it’s a scam until they offer to make a trip to take a look at the car, which is almost always somewhere remote.

If a potential buyer offers to visit and test-drive it, suddenly there’s “another offer” and the car isn’t for sale anymore, or it’s “already crated and ready for shipping.”

And what if you discover that you’ve been “trying to sell” a beautiful vehicle at a fraction of its blue-book value?

Fortunately, said a representative from OSI, it’s usually not an actual case of identity theft, just theft of your name. Scammers use web-based email addresses, like Gmail, to do the transactions; they’re not hacking email accounts. They don’t need a person’s social security number, address or any other information – just his or her name and reputation as a service member – to get their money and disappear.

Most times, the ad states that “for your protection” the money will go to an escrow account with eBay until buyer and seller are both satisfied, officials said. But eBay and Craigslist have nothing to do with each other. Just like Toyota won’t repair your Ford, eBay won’t broker money for Craigslist.

Airmen who find that someone has used their name in connection with the scam should report it to local authorities as well as to and OSI also recommends Airmen inform their chain of command. Some potential victims think that service members are the scammers, so their command should know what happened as soon as possible.

Airmen can also file reports with the FBI, and it’s never a bad idea to have a fraud alert on your bank account and credit cards, officials said.

Craigslist and eBay both have prominent disclaimers reminding people not to use Western Union or MoneyGram for purchases, since once the money is sent, it’s gone, with no recourse for the sender. While those services might be good for sending money to a relative or friend, they’re also often used by scam artists.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

COMMENTARY>>Growing rock at Little Rock

By Chief Master Sgt. Jesse Stirling
314th Airlift Wing command chief master sergeant

In geology, rock is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals. In simpler terms, it takes a collection of bits and pieces to grow rock. Every element plays a critical role in the process and it still takes nature centuries to fully mature rock. Team Little Rock completes the same task in a fraction of that time. How is this possible?

How can a collection of people with such diverse backgrounds, working in three separate wings accomplish what Mother Nature takes generations to do? The answer to this question was clear from the first day of my assignment as TLR’s newest command chief. It started with the professional welcome we received from 19th Security Forces Squadron personnel at the main gate, continued with a courteous check-in from the folks at billeting and warm greetings from 314th leadership, followed shortly thereafter with an immersion brief from the 189th Airlift Wing.

Truth be told, in the first few days here, my wife and I received scores of briefings and met so many people that remembering what wing they represented was difficult. It was at this point that Kay and I realized Little Rock is a very special place. Our three wings work as one complete entity, supporting each other in the missions TLR is charged to accomplish. As in nature, our bits and pieces work together to create a solid aggregate … but we do it faster!

I join a fantastic duo of Command Chiefs dedicated to your success. Alongside Chief Master Sgts. Jim Morris and Gary Wynn, I work for you. Our collective goal is to ensure you have everything you need to be successful, whether it’s training, equipment or support programs for you and your families. You are our mission, and we take that mission seriously.

Kay and I are excited to be part of the team.

We have met many of you already and look forward to meeting all of you. Thank you for a very gracious welcome, allowing us to be part of your rock, and all you do every single day.

TOP STORY > >Life on the binge

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A night of, raucous partying, patchy memories, flaunting cash, empty bottles stacked up like trophies, no recollection of a beginning, middle or end, verbose bravado, delusions of grandeur, spastic drunk-dialing, bursts of emotion, enthusiastic sentimentality toward those they like, vitriolic disdain toward those they dislike, drinking games, shots, mixed drinks, beer bongs, the binge drinker lives for nights like these.

The morning after, stomach pain, nausea, cutting headaches, violent-vomiting, dysentery, dry mouth, indigestion, dehydration, dry heaving, physical agony, missing money from their wallet, a torrent of charges on their cards, inappropriate voicemails and text messages sent out in droves, bruises, cuts, scrapes from toppling to the concrete, perhaps a fight, perhaps an embarrassing display of sentimentality, social delinquency, perhaps they don’t mind the physical repercussions because their friends admire their alcoholic-fortitude, but perhaps they’re oblivious to the social anathema they’ve become or the physical repercussions of their behavior.

Most Airmen are acquainted with the Air Force’s mantras against driving under the influence and drinking underage. Moreover, many Airmen are familiar with the consequences of such actions. Yet, often lost amidst the discussion of preventative measures for DUIs and aiding in the delinquency of a minor are the social, physical and professional hazards of binge drinking.

According to a 2009 study released by the University of Minnesota and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled “Binge drinking in the military,” 43 percent of more than 16,000 military members polled admitted to binge drinking during the past month.

In an article published on the first author of the study remarked about the significance of these results.

“Our study clearly shows that binge drinking is a significant public health problem in the military, which is dangerous to both the drinkers and to those around them,” said Mandy Stahre, Master of Public Health, a doctoral candidate in alcohol epidemiology. “It also underscores the importance of implementing effective strategies to prevent underage and binge drinking, such as maintaining and enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age.”

From the standpoint of Master Sgt. Nichole Reynolds, the 19th Medical Operations Squadron certified drug and alcohol counselor flight chief, there is no fool-proof way of determining just how much of the base population binge drinks, but thinks that the majority of the problems rests with a negative perception stemming from alcohol-related incidents.

“I think we have a perception that there’s a lot of binge drinking on base,” she said. “It’s always the few that get in trouble that get the most attention. A lot of the 18-24-year-olds may think that everyone else is doing it, but unfortunately we don’t have a way of knowing all of the binge drinking problems except for our patients, I think it’s a case of most people doing the right thing, but the people getting in trouble changing the perception.”

Reynolds said the Air Force defines binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks per occasion for males, and three or more drinks per sitting for females. However, number or drinks consumed is not the sole indicator of being on a binge.

“Basically, if you’re drinking with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time, that’s a binge,” she said.

Going on a binge is a problem, Reynolds said. It’s a problem that people often live in denial about by rationalizing or bargaining with themselves or others.

“A lot of people we talk to are asked to define what they think an alcohol problem is,” she said. “I’ve found that people often fit that definition with what doesn’t include their drinking habits. I always tell people that even if you only drink once a year, but you intentionally drink to the point of intoxication and it causes a problem, then you have a drinking problem.”

The CDAC flight chief said a lot of patients make concessions or excuses for themselves because they want to avoid being labeled or associated with the stigma of “having a problem.”

“A lot of people don’t want to be given that label, but the majority of the people we see in here are commander-directed,” she said. “Not many people want to self-refer, and I a lot of that has to do with the perception that they don’t have a problem or don’t want the stigma.”

It’s always better to self-refer than be commander-referred to programs, Reynolds said. People that think they have a problem shouldn’t be afraid to self-refer.

“People have a lot of complicated feelings over self-referring,” she said. “It’s a lot better than being commander-referred or getting in a bad incident.”

Binge drinking comes with a massive amount of health risks, Reynolds said. Problems that mass-drinking can cause include mental and respiratory problems and the typical physical ailments such as vomiting, but can also shorten a person’s life-span by 15 years.

“The physical danger is that after three drinks your judgment is impaired,” she said. “After four drinks your coordination is impaired and you may put yourself in bad situations where you can get hurt. Alcohol is the one drug that affects every single system in your body, and there’s a laundry list of problems it can cause.”

Aside from the typical post-binge reactions such as headaches, nausea and vomiting, binge drinking can cause more severe physical damage such as damaging the liver and several types of cancer, Reynolds said.

“People who drink more than three drinks per day have an almost tenfold higher risk of esophageal cancer than do those who drink less than one drink per day,” the flight chief said.

Even though people get routinely educated about the dangers of excessive drinking, they’re still reticent to self-identify their problem, Reynolds said. The admission of having a problem may cause some people to feel they’re being labeled.

“Sometimes I do have people that are considering coming to talk to me,” she said. “They’ll come in and the questions they ask are: Will I be put on a profile? Will I not be able to deploy? What is my commander going to think about me? … They think their chain is going to look down on them if they admit they have a problem. They think that it’ll be looked at as a sign of weakness.”

Fears about being stereotyped as a weak person by their chain-of-command are unfounded, said Reynolds. In her experience, most commanders and chains-of-command appreciate the self-responsibility involved in identifying and voluntarily tackling a personal problem.

“I always tell people in that situation we’ve had patients referred to us that have actually gotten into alcohol related incidents,” she said. “(They) made bad decisions while under the influence, and the commanders are very supportive … having them get the help that they need. Our job is not to kick people out; it’s to help people become fully functioning members of the Air Force again. So if the commanders are going to be supportive of somebody who actually had an alcohol-related incident, then they’re going to be even more supportive of someone who didn’t wait until they had an incident … I think the Air Force is very supportive of that.”

Reynolds said that self-referring is a good step for a person who recognizes they have a problem, but not the only one. There are numerous paths to recovery available, and members should be encouraged to seek out which one fits their sensibilities the best.

“If someone thinks they have a problem with alcohol, I recommend going to AA meetings and trying to quit, not just cut back, if you don’t want to self-refer,” she said. “If you realize you can’t do it on your own, come to ADAPT and we’ll work with you to get you in the right level of treatment. We’re not here to try and trick anyone into something. We will be very open and honest and happy to answer any questions. Our primary mission is to help people become a fully functioning member of the Air Force.”

TOP STORY > >Program reduces disability-benefits waiting period after separation

By Eric M. Grill
Air Force Personnel, Service and Manpower Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) – Air Force officials held a training conference recently to teach those operating the Integrated Disability Evaluation System how to process service members who, because of medical conditions, may no longer be able to serve in the Air Force.

The conference, held jointly between the Air Force Personnel Center and the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, was attended by more than 250 base-level physical evaluation board liaison officers, who guide service members through the disability evaluation system, and medical physicians, who recommend service members for the disability evaluation process.

The Integrated Disability Evaluation System combines the military services’ disability evaluation and that of the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits claims processes into a streamlined process to minimize the gap between service separation and VA benefits delivery. The program was introduced in 2007 as a pilot program at three military bases and steadily expanded to full Defense Department-wide implementation at the end of September.

The IDES provides a more seamless transition to veteran disability benefits with more consistent ratings between DOD and VA than the previous system, said Lt. Col. Lorianne Hodge, the Air Force Personnel Center’s Air Force Physical Disability Division deputy division chief.

“Physical evaluation board liaison officers are the ‘boots on the ground’ responsible for compiling and routing all case paperwork and are the primary point of contacts for Airmen as they go through the process,” Hodge said.

“Equally important are the physicians who make the determination that an Airman must be considered for potential separation or retirement.”

The main goal of the training conference was to arm the PEBLOS and providers with the information and tools to process the member through the disability system effectively and succinctly, said Maj. Teresa Clark, the Air Force Medical Operations Agency health benefit analyst and IDES program manager.

Under the previous Disability Evaluation System, Clark said, the processing time was significantly longer. This included a set of medical examinations by military physicians, a series of boards to determine if the member was still able to serve, and if not, assignment of a disability rating used by the Defense Department to calculate disability disposition. Service members could not begin to apply for disability compensation and benefits from VA until after receiving a dischargedate from their service.

With the new IDES, she said, “there is only one set of medical exams, performed to the Veteran’s Affairs standards, which provides medical information needed by both departments.”

The VA issues disability ratings that will immediately be used for veterans’ compensation and benefits once the service member is no longer active duty.

The integrated process still takes a little more than nine months, Hodge said, but now when the service member is finished with the military process, a disability claim is already filed with the VA so veteran disability compensation and benefits can begin after one month in veteran status. That is the earliest allowable under current law.

“Conferences like this provide for an open, candid forum to exchange input with the field on how the (IDES) process is operating and to foster ideas on how the system can be improved,” said Bret Stevens, the DOD’s director of transition policy for the office of wounded warrior care and transition policy. “It’s also an opportunity for conference attendees to receive an update of where the program is currently at and for me personally to get an insight from those who work closely with the individuals who are transitioning through the process.

The people who attended this conference “are truly committed to providing a program that meets both the individuals’ and services’ needs,” Stevens said.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

COMMENTARY>>AETC commander wishes safe, joyous Thanksgiving

By General Edward A. Rice Jr.
Commander of Air Education and Training Command

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Thanksgiving is a holiday of reflection, a look back at the many things we are thankful for, and Teresa and I want to first thank each of you and your families for the great things you do for our nation. It is your commitment and professionalism that allow Air Education and Training Command to develop the next generation of Airmen.

The First Command is an organization of wingmen dedicated to seeing each other succeed. One such example was Brad Shimp, an Air Force Recruiting Service Internet advisor, who took actions to save an Airman’s life when his resilience was at its lowest. Brad could have passed the Airman off to another hotline or professional, but he stayed on the line, made the connections to save the Airman’s life and in less than an hour, his first sergeant was knocking on his door to help him through the trying times.

We saw it again when 1st Lt. Ryan McGuire graduated pilot training – the first officer to do so as an amputee. Through his own sweat and determination, he overcame and succeeded, but he could not have done it without his wingmen there to support and encourage him.

We also have countless mission successes to be thankful for. For instance, two AETC C-17 crews from Altus AFB supported combat operations in Libya as part of Operation ODYSSEY DAWN. On a moment’s notice, they were ready to transition from their day-to-day training operations to real-world contingency operations.

Also, due to the motivated street and specialty recruiters of our Air Force Recruiting Service, we met 100 percent of the active-duty enlisted and line-officer recruiting goals for the fiscal year. In addition, we graduated the first class of combat systems officers, our Air Advisors taught countless Iraqi and Afghan Airmen to lead their services, and we welcomed the arrival of the first F-35ALightning II joint strike fighters to Eglin AFB. With too many to recount here, these are just a few examples of our successes and each is a testament to the dedication of the professionals within The First Command.

Lest we forget, there were sorrows this year as well. For some AETC families, this Thanksgiving will never be the same as they mourn Airmen who lost their lives. May we never forget them and may we continue to keep faith with their families as they will always be part of our Air Force family.

As you take this opportunity to recharge and relax with family and friends, I ask each of you to use good judgment and make sound choices. Watch out for your wingman. Have a plan...don’t drink and drive. Use caution when travelling and don’t overextend yourselves. Our nation needs all of you back safely, ready to continue the mission.

Teresa and I thank each of you and your families for your service to our nation and we wish you all a safe and joyous Thanksgiving holiday.

COMMENTARY>>AMC commander: ‘Thank you for serving others’

By Gen. Ray Johns
Commander, Air Mobility Command

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – As we gather together with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, this is the perfect time to reflect upon how much we have to be thankful for. For one, I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with all of you – Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, Civilians and Commercial Partners. Serving selflessly, you all demonstrate tremendous commitment and dedication every single day. When the nation calls, you never hesitate. You say “goodbye” to your loved ones instead of “good night” and you go forward to deliver hope, fuel the fight and save lives. You answer the call so others may prevail.

Whether that call requires you to airdrop critical supplies to a remote post in Afghanistan, refuel aircraft to fight a ruthless dictator in Libya or provide aeromedical evacuation support in the midst of the Antarctic winter, you find a way to answer it with a “Yes.” Mobility aircraft often represent the first sign of hope for both warfighters on the ground and victims of natural disasters. But we must always remember, the aircraft itself has no heart – it’s comprised of cold steel and titanium. The heart of the aircraft is found in the Airmen who make the mission go – aircrews, maintainers, porters, security forces, intel analysts, communications technicians… all of you!

Each and every one of you represents an integral part of this command and an indispensible part of our Air Force. As such, it’s vital that safety remain a priority throughout the holiday season. The Air Force has designated Nov. 18 through Jan. 3 as its Holiday Safety Campaign to help raise awareness of personal risk management.

You may be driving across the country to spend time with loved ones – or just going a few blocks down the street – but in either case, it’s critical that you maintain situational awareness of road conditions and keep distractions toa minimum. Hazardous conditions, fatigue, speeding, alcohol and cell phone use can all make navigating the roadways very challenging. Plan accordingly, get plenty of rest, and have a Plan B ready, just in case.

Of course, for many of our deployed members, driving home for the holidays is not possible right now. Diana and I would ask that you hold all of our deployed Airmen in your hearts and remember them and their families this holiday season. Their wartime mission is a noble and necessary sacrifice to ensure our great nation can live in peace and security. We look forward to their safe journey home.

We wish all of you, at home and abroad, a very safe and happy Thanksgiving.

TOP STORY > >SecAF addresses current, future challenges for Air Force

By Tech. Sgt. Richard A. Williams Jr.
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley addressed approximately 300 Airmen, industry officials and Air Force Association members in a keynote speech at the AFA’s Global Warfare Symposium in Los Angeles, Nov. 18.

During his remarks, the secretary provided symposium attendees with an update on the Air Force today and its future budget outlook.

Donley said part of the Air Force’s planning for a more constrained defense budget started with former Secretary Gates’ initiative to root out waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness. Through this effort, Air Force officials identified $33 billion in efficiencies, which the service was allowed to reinvest across the future years defense plan.

“The planning behind these efficiencies is coming to fruition with the start of fiscal year 2012, and we are depending on Airmen in every command and activity, and on every contractor with whom we work, to help us reduce our costs of operation and make us more efficient in what we do,” Donley said. “But in this budget environment, we know that efficiencies will not be enough.”

Donley said though it will be tough to achieve the $450 billion in defense spending reductions over 10 years required by the Budget Control Act, they are considered achievable as Defense Department officials review the department’s roles and missions and examines all areas of the budget for savings.

“To get these savings, we will need to accept greater risk in some areas, terminate some lower priority programs, streamline others, continue driving efficiency in our operations and make some tough choices about the core tenets of our national security strategy,” he said.

The secretary acknowledged that there’s a great deal of uncertainty right now as the Air Force moves through the budget reduction process, but assured the audience that multiple leadership meetings are taking place throughout the Pentagon at the highest levels to discuss the matter. Furthermore, he said that President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders and the service secretaries and chiefs are discussing future national security requirements.

“We are working through the implications that budget reductions and shifting priorities will have on our national security strategy,” Donley said. “While there are many unanswered questions right now, and no final decisions have been made, a number of alternative plans and options are being considered.

“It’s safe to say that every single line of the budget is under scrutiny,” he said. “We are approaching the conclusion of our strategic review and will shortly begin finalizing major program decisions thatwill be consistent with the revised strategy and will get the most out of available resources.”

Donley also said, importantly, both Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey have made a commitment to ensure the U.S. military has everything it needs to protect national security at a time of considerable fiscal challenges.

In his remarks, the secretary also addressed the importance of supporting Airmen and their families while at the same time protecting the ability of the Air Force to sustain its core missions and capabilities.

“Despite the daunting strategic challenges and uncertain defense funding outlook ahead, the Air Force is committed to charting a path that fulfills vital Air Force missions today and in the future while staying true to our Airmen and their families,” he said.

Donley said there are certain capabilities the service will protect and that he and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz are determined to set the right course to make the right investments so that the Air Force evolves in positive directions, even with limited resources.

“First and foremost, we must continue to support our military personnel and families who serve this nation,” he said. “But with about 35 to 40 percent of our Air Force budget committed to personnel costs, and with areas like the cost of medical care of growing concern, everything needs to be on the table for consideration. Our obligation to those who serve is to ensure that the compensation and benefits they earn are sustainable for the Air Force over the long haul.

“Any potential changes to our military retirement system must be carefully considered to make sure we retain the highly motivated and experienced workforce necessary to execute the Air Force mission,” Donley said. “As Secretary Panetta has indicated, this would include grandfathering the current force where appropriate.”

Donley also took a moment to address concerns about the care of fallen service members at the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operation at the Dover Port Mortuary.

“The proper care of our fallen service members and their families is more than a critical mission -- it is a sacred trust,” he said. “The Air Force is accountable to our joint teammates and to the families to carry out this mission with dignity, honor, respect and reverence. The highest standards of mission performance are required and expected by the American people.”

After reports by employee whistleblowers alleging improper handling and preparation of remains at Dover Port Mortuary, the Air Force inspector general initiated an investigation in June 2010.

Donley said he and General Schwartz take personal responsibility and sincerely regret the lapses in standards at the Dover Port Mortuary.

“We deeply regret the pain this has caused to the families,” he said. “There is no question that the system was broken. It is our responsibility to fix, and I can attest that corrective action is well underway.”

He said a new commander has been in place at Dover mortuary for the past year, policies and procedures have been improved, and internal labor relations are being rebuilt.

“These changes will put this mission on a better path for the future,” Donley said. “I have also been directed by Secretary Panetta to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action was taken in regard to the Dover mortuary -- a charge I take very seriously. Our review will be exceedingly thorough and rigorous, as our fallen and the families they leave behind deserve nothing less.”

In addition, an independent panel of the Defense Health Board will review the adequacy and effectiveness of the Air Force’s corrective actions and will make recommendations for further improvements.

“The professional staff at Dover takes great pride in their solemn duty to care for America’s fallen,” Donley said. “I want to assure all Americans -- most particularly service members and military families -- that our fallen are being treated, and will continue to be treated, with the utmost reverence, dignity, and respect.”

The Air Force is committed to earning and rebuilding the public’s confidence in its stewardship of this sacred mission, he said.

TOP STORY > >Tricare data breach deemed low risk

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Science Applications International Corporation is mailing letters to affected military clinic and hospital patients regarding a data breach involving personally identifiable and protected health information.

On Sept. 14, SAIC reported the loss of backup tapes containing electronic health care records used in the military health system to capture patient data from 1992 through Sept. 7, 2011, in San Antonio-area military treatment facilities.

This includes patients filling pharmacy prescriptions and other patients whose laboratory workups were processed in these same MTFs, even if the patients were receiving treatment elsewhere. The data may include Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions. There is no financial data, such as credit card or bank account information, on the backup tapes.

The risk of harm to patients is judged to be low since retrieving the data on the tapes would require knowledge of, and access to, specific hardware and software and knowledge of the system and data structure. As a precaution, the assistant secretary of defense (health affairs) determined that SAIC should notify potentially impacted persons or households of this incident by letter.

As directed by Tricare Management Activity, SAIC will provide credit monitoring and credit restoration services for one year for patients requesting them. The credit restoration services being provided exceeds current industry standards for responding to a data breach.

SAIC’s Incident Response Center is available to answer patient’s questions, including helping with signing up for credit monitoring, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Concerned patients should call the response center to ask questions and verify authenticity of the letter:

- United States, call toll free at 855-366-0140

- International, call collect at 952-556-8312

For more information, visit

(Courtesy of Tricare Public Affairs.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

TOP STORY >> Avoid safety-awareness hibernation this winter

By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

After navigating through the scathing cauldron that was the summer weather at Little Rock Air Force Base, Team Little Rock members are probably ready to simmer down, cool-off and enjoy the hopefully more amiable conditions in the fall.

However, TLR members shouldn’t let brisk weather, pleasant gusts of wind, and resplendent foliage lull them into a stupor. Safety measures should be a priority at all times of the year, and the weather changes in November and December prove no exception. Safety hazards at the end of the year include strong winds, heavy and frequent rains, surprisingly low-temperatures for those unprepared and the ever-present driving hazards constantly plaguing Arkansas.

“Driving has always been a problem around here,” said Tech. Sgt. Ricky Carroll, 19th Airlift Wing ground safety technician. “Fall driving particularly presents a lot of obstacles for drivers. Some of them are the driver’s fault, and some are the work of mother nature, but drivers need to remember to be cautious at all times.”

Driving accidents are indeed commonplace in Arkansas, said Joe Wooding, 19th AW safety specialist.
Despite being the 14th least populated state, Arkansas has the sixth most traffic fatalities in the United States.

This staggering statistic means that Team Little Rock members should be extra cautious when driving and particularly conscious during dangerous time periods.

Two of the most hazardous times for drivers are sunrise and sunset, said Carroll. Sudden changes in the lighting or glare from the morning sun can present special problems for some drivers.

“It seems obvious, but sunglasses are a big help in getting rid of the sun-glare that pops up during these hours,” he said. “Although people need to use common sense and know when to take the glasses off, obviously you shouldn’t have the shades on at night time, this is especially dangerous.”

While dawn and dusk are hazardous times for drivers, the most hazardous time is in the dead of the night, said Carroll. The long stretches of rural roads with sparse surrounding and occasionally no street lights can turn a car into a midnight-motorized menace.

“You are twice as likely to have a fatal accident during night as during the day,” Carroll said. “The sudden appearances of street lights or bright lights from other cars are real problems. The problems are only amplified when the road is slick from rain, snow or ice.”

Along with being cautious for weather changes, drivers should also remember to be on the look-out for pedestrians, said Carroll. Also be advised of school-children, driving in school zones and above all, be aware of the other drivers on the road.

“It’s always best to practice defensive driving,” said Carroll. “Just take the steps to be courteous to other drivers even if you think they aren’t being courteous to you. Nobody wins when there’s a car collision or a pedestrian gets struck because two drivers were going at it.”

Driving may be one of the biggest hazards in Arkansas, but the season changes can present other, more predictable problems that can be overcome by simply planning ahead, said Carroll.

Watch the weather forecast, he said. It’s not always perfect, but it’s a good indicator of what’s going to happen in the area, and can give people a heads up on preparing for snow, ice and inclement weather.
“We can get some chilly weather up here,” Carroll said. “Being the south, it seems like people aren’t always as ready for the snow, or when the snow comes, they aren’t always sure how to react to it. Cold weather can be dangerous, heaters can break, cars can break down, accidents happen and cold weather can make it worse.”

It’s good to keep a stock of warm items in the car, he added. Flashlights, blankets, water, and extra warm gear can be helpful in the event of an ill-timed breakdown. It’s always prudent to think safety first no matter the time of year or place.

“Extra batteries are important in the winter time, and even a generator may be helpful if power is lost,” Carroll said. “The important thing is to think ahead and always try to be prepared. That way the odds of situations catching you unaware and leaving you in a bad situation are less.”

So, even when the scorched earth of the summer is a thing of the past, TLR members shouldn’t go into safety-awareness hibernation, but should always stay vigilant for those safety stumbling stones that could lead to pitfalls and bring on a winter of discontent.

TOP STORY >> Black Knights receive Meritorious Unit Award

The 19th Airlift Wing was awarded the Meritorious Unit Award Monday for exceptional conduct and outstanding service to the United States in direct support of combat operations from Aug. 1, 2009 – July 31, 2011.

“The Black Knights make no compromise when it comes to war fighter support,” said Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Our Airmen and their families worked incredible hours to ensure those in harm’s way have the Combat Airlift they deserve. Combat Airlift is our mission, and nobody does it better than the Black Knights.”

During the time period, the wing deployed the most aircraft and Airmen for Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn out of the entire Air Force. Throughout the time period, the hard work, dedication and resiliency of Black Knights resulted in more than 10,000 sorties being flown, 100,000 passengers being transported, and 25,000 tons of cargo being shipped in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Responsible Drawdown, Coronet Oak and OEF – Horn of Africa.

 In addition to providing service to the nation abroad, Black Knights also responded to crisis at home when a tornado tore through the base, damaging more than 270 homes, several aircraft and caused more than $80 million worth of damage. In spite of the destruction and devastation all around the base, the wing was able to deploy 16 aircraft and more than 400 personnel within 48 hours, and continued to support overseas contingency operations while simultaneously beginning to repair the base.

According to an Air Force Personnel Center fact sheet, in March 2004, the secretary of the Air Force approved the Meritorious Unit Award to recognize organizations for outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations.

The MUA is given to Air Force active duty, Reserve and Guard units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations for at least 90 continuous days during the period of military operations against an armed enemy of the United States on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion Of Merit. Superior performance of normal mission will not alone justify award of the MUA. Service in a combat zone is not required, but service must be directly related to the combat effort. Squadrons, groups and wings may be recommended for this award.

The MUA is not awarded to any unit or unit component previously awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award or unit awards from other service components for the same act, achievement or service. The base MPF will be updating the award for everyone attached to the 19th AW. The records should be updated within a couple of weeks, and if someone finds the award is not reflected in their records at the end of the month they should contact the MPF.

(Courtesy 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Thursday, November 17, 2011



Anyone having claims against or indebted to the estate of Airman 1st Class Kyle C. Truitt should email 1st Lt. Kris Yarlett, at


The base chapel invites all members of the base and community to join them each Sunday in the month of February to celebrate black history month. This year’s theme is “Black Women in American History and Culture,” and the chapel will be hosting different events each Sunday to honor this occasion.

Feb. 5 – Hat and Glove Sunday, any style, color or shape. Speaker: Sister Teresa Baker Street

Feb. 12 – Youth Sunday (Marching in cadence for Jesus) Speaker: Sister Alicia Golden

Feb. 19 – Warrior Sunday (We’re requesting active duty members to support us in uniform on this Sunday) Speaker: Sister Ella Colvin

Feb. 16 – All Women Gospel Choir (Rehearsal Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m., Chapel) Guest speaker will be Mr. and Mrs. Massie Street, Jr. Speaker: Sister Cassandra Swift.


Crossroads Café hours are Mon.-Fri. 4-10 p.m. Weekend hours will remain the same, Sat. and Sun. 12-12 a.m.

Crossroads Café needs volunteers. Everybody is welcome to volunteer: officers, enlisted, retired and spouses. For more information, call Rachael Deason Lewis at 987-5051.


Effective Jan. 1, the 19th Medical Group campus became tobacco free. All tobacco use will be discontinued upon entering and prohibited from being used within the defined medical campus. The defined medical campus includes all space in and around building 1090 (main clinic) within the boundaries of Texas Ave., Arnold Dr. and hole number 3 of the golf course. Medical group parking lots are considered part of the medical campus. Tobacco use will not be permitted in private vehicles on the medical campus. This policy is consistent with current Arkansas state law that prohibits smoking on medical campuses and most importantly promotes healthy lifestyles for our Airmen and all our beneficiaries. If you have a desire to quit tobacco use, contact Ms. Kim Dean, Health Promotion Educator, from the Health and Wellness Center at 987-5960.

TOP STORY > >Panetta urges leaders in budget decisions

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AFNS) — In his strongest language to date, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta called on Congress Nov. 8 to “show some leadership” in the budget process.

Panetta, speaking at the National Guard’s Joint Senior Leaders Conference here, said that the sequester mechanism built into the Budget Control Act is “like shooting yourself in the head.”

Defense Department officials understand there must be cuts and $450 billion in cuts is already factored in over the next 10 years. If Congress does not agree on further cuts, the sequestering mechanism will kick in, doubling the amount that must be cut from defense.

“What they are basically saying,” Panetta said, “is that if they don’t do the job they are supposed to do, if they don’t provide the leadership that they are supposed to do, they are going to allow these cuts to take place across the board.”

The cuts, he said, would cripple the ability of the department to protect America.

“I have said to members of Congress, ‘Look, my friends. I have men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to sacrifice for this country,’” the secretary said. “’You sure as hell can sacrifice and provide a little leadership to get the solution we need in order to solve this problem.’”

The DOD is united in approaching fiscal issues, Panetta said, noting there are parameters that DOD leaders will follow. The first, he said, is the United States will maintain the best military in the world in the years to come.

The secretary vowed not to hollow out the force. Through history, he said, this has been the effect of reductions in defense spending. He cited the experiences following World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War. Across-the-board cuts that were made then, he said, reduced the effectiveness of the military.

The scope of demobilization following World War II was so precipitous, the secretary added, that the military went from the strongest and best equipped in the world, to one that barely survived the North Korean attack a mere five years later.

“We have to learn the lessons of the across-the-board cuts approach,” Panetta said. “It is not the way to do this, as it weakens everything in defense if we do it that way.”

This doesn’t mean there cannot be cuts, Panetta said. DOD leaders are looking at every area in the budget to find efficiencies, duplications and programs that must be cut.

“The Pentagon is a big, damn bureaucracy,” Panetta ruefully said. “Going from the CIA to the Pentagon is like going from the corner hardware store to Home Depot.”

Procurement reform is another area of attention, Panetta said, and the department is looking for ways to streamline its procurement systems and reduce the time taken to develop and field new systems.

“We also have to look at the area of compensation,” the secretary said. “We have to look at those areas for savings. Health care, alone, in my budget is almost $52 (billion) to $53 billion.

“But in doing that ... I’ve got to maintain faith with those who are serving,” Panetta continued. “We have promised them benefits and we need to stick to it.”

Any changes adopted – like proposed changes to military retirement – will be grandfathered for those in service today, the secretary said.

TOP STORY > >Looking for some hot stuff

By Airman 1st Class Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Stop, drop and roll...out the red carpet for the base’s fire department.

Not only does this highly decorated department of 55 employees respond to 300-400 emergencies a year that aren’t fires and carry out education programs on fire prevention, but they also work along with medical agencies, the department of emergency management and several fire departments in-state and out to gain experience and share training with each other.

“Our mission is protection of the forces, aircraft and people associated with Little Rock Air Force Base,” said Don Smart, Little Rock Air Force Base’s fire chief. “It goes a lot further than just responding to emergencies. We’re dedicated to training people on safety and technical engineering, which include making sure fire prevention is enforced throughout the base. Additionally, as an emergency response entity, we work routinely with the other agencies surrounding the base. Fire departments in general tend to work together so we can bring additional resources to the table when necessary.”

Smart said by training together, each group can share their experiences and build rapport with each other.

“The department has a limited number of people, and if we have a large event or emergency, the only way we can truly sustain a response is to rely on our partners,” said Smart. “Those partners happen to be outside the gate. We are a support agency to medical responses on the base. The Jacksonville fire department is the medical responder for the base, so we work hand-in-hand directly with them, almost on a daily basis.”

The give and take method is one that works well with the base’s fire department and its joint partners.

“We have mutual aid agreements with Jacksonville, North Little Rock and Little Rock,” said Smart. “We also get involved as much as we can to support these other agencies. In some cases we have a training mechanism that we can bring to the table to help them out. For instance, the firefighters that are on standby at the Little Rock National Airport, receive their annual live-fire training that’s required of them to maintain certifications on the base. We not only support them, but we support everyone that flies in and out of Little Rock National Airport.

“The specific resources that we have contain a capability that not all fire departments have,” said Smart. “Because of the support of our aircraft, we have some vehicles that are equipped with foam which have a capability of fighting certain types of fires, such as large flammable liquid spills containing gasoline or diesel. Most fire departments don’t have the quick capability to produce enough foam to fight fires such as those. When other agencies outside the base request assistance from us or need us, it’s typically because of what we can bring that other agencies can’t.”

By working together jointly, Smart said they can bring different visions of firefighting together and improve and increase their capabilities beyond what one department alone is capable of.

“When they bring their experiences to us, we get trained and that makes both groups better at what we do, which is better for the community and safer for our fire fighters,” said Smart.

The fire department is not only highly trained, but they are highly decorated. In the past year they’ve received 65 different types of individual and team recognition, awards and decorations from various groups throughout the Air Force.

“With only 55 people, the fact that we’ve received 65 types of recognition, I think, is pretty significant,” “Last October we had a 40-acre fire on the base during the air show,” said Smart. “It was threatening to stop the air show. It was also threatening to get into the woods across the runway. Had it done that, it would have been absolutely devastating. Fortunately, we were able to fight that fire and put it out in a very quick time frame, which allowed the show to continue and allowed us to protect the environment on that side. It’s very rare for a fire fighter to get a decoration for fighting fires-that’s what we do. The event was so significant, ten fire fighters plus other volunteers were decorated because of it.”

The fire department also received achievement medals and recognition from Air Force leadership throughout year. They received the 2010 Fire Prevention of the Year award from Air Mobility Command and were AMC’s 2010 fire department of the year.

Smart said the first goal of the department is fire prevention. They strive to prevent fires through education, technical engineering and a lot of code enforcement. That effort to prevent fires puts them in a position where they respond to very few fires annually. There have been six reported fires this year. That’s the lowest number they’ve had since 2005.

“All our fire fighters have to be trained and certified in different areas,” said Smart. “In those areas, we maintain a 10 percent average above the rest of the Air Force’s Career Development Course program and the rest of the Air Force’s fire services as well. That 10 percent average has been maintained for seven years. Without a doubt, I believe that Little Rock Air Force Base has the most successful training program in the fire service. Our fire fighters are instilled with the motivation to succeed.”

Smart is not the only person who displays pride and utter respect for the fire department due to their work ethic and honorable discipline.

“Team Little Rock benefits from a highly skilled and motivated group of fire fighters who selflessly stand ready every day,” said Lt. Col. Lance Clark, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. “They’ve proven their ability on big stages such as the pyrotechnic fires and off-course paratroopers during the 2010 air show. Also during the base’s worst tornado ever, they fought their way out of their damaged fire station to rescue our Airmen and their families and began clearing lines of communication to recover the base and keep injuries to a minimum. They’ve established benchmark relations with the surrounding community and Team Little Rock’s first response teammates. It’s no wonder they’ve been AMC’s most highly decorated fire department over the past year.”

In addition, they were recently recognized as one of 19th Airlift Wing’s 10 outstanding teams during the recent operational readiness inspection, said Clark.

The alliances between the base’s fire department and other agencies have shown to be successful due to the low numbers and preventions of devastating fires throughout the base and community. That in return melts fears and flames up confidence in their services. If one can’t stand the heat, call the fire department because they can.



THE COMBAT AIRLIFTER CLASSIFIED DEPARTMENT will take ads by phone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 982-9421, or you may mail your ad to 404 Graham Rd., Jacksonville, Ark. 72078. You may also e-mail them to Deadline to advertise in Friday's issue is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

THRIFT SHOP open to the public. MWF, 10 am to 2 pm, first Saturday monthly. Great bargains. All revenues used to support mission. Volunteers and donations welcome. Jacksonville Care Channel, 201 Elm, 982-4647.

A  free one-year membership in Military Officers Association of America is available for active, reserve, & national guard officers who are  not prior members. Contact Central Arkansas Chapter Secretary (


DRIVERS: $1,200 Orientation Completion Bonus! OTR Openings! CDL-A OTR experience required. Koch Trucking, 1-800-213-7696.

CUSTOMER FRIENDLY person needed to conduct demos at LR Commissary. Must be at least 18 with base access. Excellent compensation. Call Calvin (407) 722-9085.

DRIVERS: $1,200 Orientation Completion Bonus & make up to .43 cpm! CDL-A OTR. Experience required. Many routes available! Call now: 1-800-213-7696.

FULL-TIME HAIR Stylist needed in Gravel Ridge salon. Commission paid weekly. Call Tina 834-2204.


HORSES: LUCKY Acres Boarding Stable, TLC for your horse, box stalls and paddocks, clean pastures, indoor and outdoor arenas, riding instruction and training program. Dressage our specialty. (501) 988-2458.


55 GALLON aquarium w/black stand, light etc. Stand has some peeling on bottom, tank is excellent condition, $200 obo. (501) 941-8595.

FREE TO good home, lg. 4 yr. old orange tabby cat. 988-0524.


2011 CAMARO ILT/RS, victory red, 4,500 miles, tons of options, 3.6L V6 eng., must see! $28,500. (989) 820-8205.

ENCLOSED CARRY-ON trailer, 6'x12', white, interior lights, loading ramp, side door, like new, comes w/mounted trunk & accessories, $2,500. Call or text (828) 302-7366.

2003 HONDA CR-V EX 4WD, silver, 4-cyl., 2.4L, 132K miles, all power, sunroof, towing pkg. lots of extras, runs great, $8,500. (501) 238-0078, Allen.


1999 HONDA Shadow VT1100CT, 37K miles, windshield, hard case saddlebags, luggage rack, backrest, Vance & Hines pipes, new tires, $4,500. (501) 773-3336.

14' FLAT bottom boat, $100. (501) 902-9243.


PAINTBALL GEAR: Freak kit barrels, $90; pod packs w/pods, $20; Proto elbow pads, $15; knee pads, $10; gear bag, $10. (785) 317-4904.

COLLEGE BOOKS: Portfolio Keeping, 2nd ed. $4; Easy Writer, 4th ed, $17; 50 Essays, 3rd ed. $17; The Craft of Revision, 5th ed., $40. (501) 786-3803.

CRAFT FIREPLACE insert with blower & heavy duty grate, good condition, $250 cash. 843-7939.

NEW, NEVER opened black 16 gb iPad 2 wifi, $479. (304) 541-0164.

54" RCA, blk. floor model TV, not working, $50. You must pick up. (501) 247-8130.

MODERN WARFARE 3, excellent condition, $50 obo. (501) 786-3802.

50" SAMSUNG DLP HDTV model HL-S5086W w/black glass TV stand, $500 obo. (281) 919-7745.

ELLIPTICAL, 2011 Pro-Form 785 F, like new, barely used, $600 new, asking $300 obo. 410-2752.

WINE STORAGE rack, 50 bottle, metal, lockable, 44" high, 22" wide, $45. (501) 837-2906 or e-mail

5-PC. CB drum set w/pedal & cymbals, Zildian, great condition, $200 obo. (501) 941-8595.

COMPAQ/HP laptop, 2006, Word, DVD player/ripper, etc. Runs a little slow, needs a little TLC but everything functions, $60. (501) 410-2752.


Sherwood/Jacksonville areas. Beautiful 2, 3 & 4 Bedroom Mobile Homes. Large lots, in quiet safe park, close to LRAFB. Clean, quiet, & safe park. $450-$695 plus deposit. (501) 835-3450.

CABOT: 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2-car garage, hardwood/tile floors & new fixtures in 2010. $1,075 month, $1,000 deposit, 1 year lease, no smoking, no pets. (501) 628-1225.

STUDIO APARTMENTS - Jacksonville. Cozy 1 bedroom apts. Bed pulls down from wall in living room. Wood burning fireplace, $275 mo. & util. Military discount available. No children, no pets. Camp Construction, 982-0434.

3 & 2 BEDROOM, 2 bath mobile homes, central heat & air, newly remodeled. Hwy. 107, 3 miles north of back gate. No mowing, water & gas paid on 1. (501) 988-5187. Ask for Ed.*

CABOT SCHOOL District, 1,800 sq. ft., 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 15 minutes to base, large lot, covered patio. $1,000 deposit, $1,300 month rent, no pets. (501) 681-8400.

JACKSONVILLE: 1 bedroom duplex, carport, storage area, washer/dryer hookups, $395 rent, $300 deposit. (501) 833-3781.

319 WEATHERING Lane, Austin. Custom built in 2007, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, split bedroom plan, separate laundry, 2 car garage, deck, privacy fence. Washer, dryer & refrigerator included. $124,000. (501) 416-2331.

3 BEDROOM, 2 bath, 16x80 mobile home with 8x10 storage building. New carpet, new paint, new linoleum. Approximately 5 miles from back gate. Nice quiet community park. $500 month. (501) 833-0307.


FOR SALE: Jackonville, 2 BR, 1 1/2 bath, kitchen, dining room, den w/large play area. Large fenced backyard. Owner finance w/down payment an option. Call 983-9000.

FOR SALE by owner. Priced to sell $199,900. 188 Obsidian Drive, Sherwood. Min. to LRAFB. 2K sq. ft., 3 bdrm./2 bth., 2-car garage. Spacious floor plan, crown molding w/built-in shelves, fireplace, fenced yard w/covered porch. Buyer's agent welcome. View at, MBO214165. Call (501) 251-7200. OPEN HOUSE: Feb. 4 & 5.

Friday, November 11, 2011

TOP STORY >> Little Rock AFB commander, wife nominated for O’Malley award

Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander, and his wife, Ashley, were nominated for Air Mobility Command’s 2011 General and Mrs. Jerome F. O’Malley award for distinguishing themselves in the performance of outstanding service to the base for the year of 2011.

The O’Malley Award annually recognizes the wing commander and spouse team whose contributions to the nation, the Air Force, and the local community best exemplify the highest ideals and positive leadership of a military couple in a key Air Force position.

“While Ashley and I are humbled to be AMC’s recipient and Air Force nominee for this award, our nomination is really recognition of everything the Airmen of Little Rock Air Force Base have done this year,” the colonel said. “This award really belongs to each Airman and their family. I want to thank each of you for the privilege of being your commander.”

The dedication shown by Team Little Rock members over the past year was highlighted by their rapid response to a disastrous tornado with determination and commitment to the mission. Despite the tornado causing more than $82 million worth of damage, affecting 273 homes, 60 buildings, five aircraft and causing a power failure on base, Team Little Rock members placed service before self and were able to provide immediate shelter and relief for 54 displaced families and had the base operational again within 12 hours, launching aircraft and deploying more than 400 Airmen to support the Air Force’s needs in the area of responsibility within 60 hours.

Team Little Rock members also worked together to prove their mettle during the Air Mobility Command Logistic Compliance Inspection Program and the wing’s first ever Operational Readiness Inspection as the host unit. The hard work of the Airmen and civilians impressed the LCAP and ORI inspectors as the wing received a grade of “Excellent” for the LCAP, and a grade of “Satisfactory” for the ORI, certifying the wing is war-capable and mission-ready.

Additionally, the base opened the $14.5 million Jacksonville-Little Rock AFB University Center in January, a first-of-its-kind education center at the base’s perimeter that was funded in part by a $5 million donation from the city after it taxed residents over a two-year period.

Also on the education front, a partnership with local community leaders resulted in Flightline Academy, a Jacksonville public charter school, opening on base in August, giving area on- and off-base residents an alternative education choice for children in fifth through eight grades.

(Courtesy of 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

COMMENTARY>>Relationships generate results

By Chief Master Sgt. Brian Stevens
314th Maintenance Group

Recently I found myself at the barbershop and realized how long I had been going to the same place and the same barber (almost 15 years). The thing is I know there are closer and cheaper places to get my hair cut, but we have built a relationship of trust over time. He knows how I like my hair cut and that I’m usually in a hurry, we Americans tend to be very bottom line orientated and mission focused. Then it dawned on me, these types of committed relationships bring results that produce success in every aspect of life.

I continued to think about this as I recently attended a noncommissioned officer academy graduation at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. I was running the track around the flightline, affectionately known as I-81, and my mind started pondering this relationships-equals-results hypothesis.

For example, the first time I was at Keesler AFB was in the 1980s when I attended a six-week communications school. It was a great time, and I also learned a few things and built up my network of contacts. Fast forward a few years to Operation Desert Shield, and I’m at King Khalid International Airport north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when I get a phone call from my old school instructor. He’s gone back to his original career field, and is now part of the Gen. Charles Horner’s, the then U.S. and Allied Air Operations commander, flying crew. My contact says his aircraft has a navigational aid problem he’s trying to fix, found out I was in the area, and said he needed my help. I immediately got to work, and a little while later I was able to get him the parts and test equipment he needed to fix the aircraft. Relationship = results.

The next time I was at Keesler AFB was 1997, and I was attending the Mathies NCO-Academy. Once again I learned a few things, had a great time and built even more contacts. Fast forward a few years again, and now I’m at Osan Air Base, Republic of South Korea. One of the folks I worked with had a death in her family. We needed to get her on an aircraft back to the states as soon as possible. I called over to the transportation squadron to see if we could get her to the airport quickly and discovered one of my former classmates was the NCO in charge of the office. With no hesitation, he was able to delay a truck heading to the international airport while my Airman packed, and in less than 20 hours, she was back home. Relationship = results.

By the time I had gone through these memories in my mind and finished my run, a light bulb came on in my mind. Without these connections I wouldn’t have been able to help or be helped. It became very clear that the relationships we make during our lifetimes help us succeed and produce the results we are looking for. Relationships = results!

One of my favorite relationships is with a great American we have right here at Little Rock Air Force Base, retired Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Tucker, 314th Airlift Wing Cost-per-Flying Hour program manager. This man has been a tremendous mentor and resource to me and many other folks here at the base – without him, many things wouldn’t have happened as smoothly or at all.

At the end of this month Tucker will have served our nation as an active-duty Airman and civil servant for 50 years. In that time he has cared for Airman of all ranks and their families.

He still keeps giving, and what he gets in return is fellowship and the knowledge that his relationships are strong enough to help him succeed in whatever needs to be done. Relationship = results.

What relationships do you have in your life and career? Are they strong? Can you rely on your contacts to help you out? Can they rely on you for the same reason? You never know who’s on the other line to help you see results.

COMMENTARY>>2011 year in review

By Col. Mike Minihan
19th Airlift Wing commander

To say that 2011 has been a significant year in the lives of Team Little Rock Airmen, their families and our community would truly be an understatement. Ashley and I thank you and your loved ones for your service and recognize the sacrifices each of you have made to ensure the success and growth of all three wings here at “The Rock.”

This year has been one of unprecedented challenges and achievements. Some of the significant events this year include opening of the Jacksonville-Little Rock Air Force Base University Center, 314th Airlift Wing’s “Excellent” Unit Compliance Inspection, and the 19th Airlift Wing’s March ROCKEX. The 22nd Air Force Detachment 1 stood-up on base and now gives Team Little Rock members a new opportunity to continue answering their nation’s call to service as reservists. An incident that will continue to impact the base for years to come was April’s tornado and the amazing Team Little Rock and community recovery efforts in the aftermath of the estimated $82 million worth of damage. The 41st and 50th Airlift Squadrons also deployed 48 hours after the twister with eight C-130Hs models, eight C-130Js and more than 180 personnel -- no small feat. The 189th Operations Group transitioned to the Avionics Modernization Program flight training unit in May and in June the 189th Air Wing Rapid Augmentation Team won the Air National Guard and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Team Award. In June, the 19th AW geared up for inspections with an operational readiness exercise. The 314th AW returned from the July RODEO highly decorated as the Best Air Mobility Wing.

Any of these accomplishments singularly would be the sole significant event at any civilian business or other base for the entire year; however, at Little Rock AFB, we have risen to each occasion. Operations tempo like this has brought out the best wingmen, leaders and supportive friends and family the Air Force has to offer.

August and the months following brought on a whole new definition of operations tempo. The 314th AW finished their 2011 LCAP with flying colors, the Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School Flightline Upper Academy opened its doors to middle schoolstudents, the 53 AS deployed to support OEF and OIF, and the 19th AW scored an “Excellent” on their LCAP. In September the 19th flew away to Volk Field for their last practice before the operational readiness inspection. The base was awarded $100,000 as the AMC runner-up for the Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award for quality of life improvements. October winds brought with it the 19th AW’s dominating performance during the AMC ORI and the celebratory Air Force Ball for all of TLR; it was undoubtedly a world-class event!!

Combat Airlifters will continue to make a global impact in the weeks, months and year ahead. From Jan. 1 to Aug. 1, 2011, 371 TLR personnel deployed to the area of responsibility. The deployments show no sign of stopping, more than 220 Airmen are scheduled to deploy in the upcoming months.

The dedication and attitude of each and every Airman on this base is what makes the difference. That infectious, can-do spirit leaves a lasting impression on every IG inspector, competition judge or community neighbor you meet – Team Little Rock Combat Airlifters are second to none.

It’s truly an honor to serve alongside the Airmen and families of Little Rock Air Force Base at home and abroad.