Thursday, September 29, 2011

COMMENTARY>>1855: a special ‘tale’

2nd Lt. Mallory Glass
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Chief Master Sgt. Mark Marson, 314th Airlift Wing command chief, wrote in permanent marker, “she is an Airman,” on the 47-year-old skin of aircraft C-130E 62-1855 at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group here. The Vietnam-Era C-130E was delivered to AMARG, commonly known as the “bone yard,” following its retirement and change of the 314th AW flagship ceremony at a Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Sept. 20. The event marked the end of a 47-year relationship between the 314th AW and the C-130E.

Tail 62-1855 not only tells her own C-130E combat and training story but also represents the closing of an era for the wing. The retirement of 62-1855 to AMARG marked the departure of the C-130E model from the 314th AW’s inventory.

As the flagship, 62-1855 embodied not only the other 314th C-130s, but more importantly, the Airmen who maintain, fly and support the combat airlift training mission. Col. Mark Czelusta, 314th AW commander, stated during the retirement ceremony, “This airplane is as much of an Airman as I am. She has seen it all. Yet, as special as 1855 is, she is not unique for she actually represents the entire C-130 fleet old and new.”

At the retirement ceremony on Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., retired Airmen who were crew members or maintainers for 62-1855, the 314th AW or other C-130Es were in attendance. Several are Sliver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross recipients. “Their presence really shows the impact the C-130E model had and has on United States Airmen,” said Senior Airman Blake Lyles, a 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief.

The wing’s new flagship, C-130J 98-1358, was unveiled at the ceremony and toured by 314th Airmen, civic leaders, retirees and base leaders. The C-130J represents a new era for combat airlift; however, at the same time the Air Force never forgets its legacy.

The 314th AW has been flying C-130s since 1957 and C-130Es since 1964. When the wing was mobilized for service in Vietnam in 1966, C-130E 62-1855 began its years in combat operations, training missions, and Air Force competitions. During Rodeo 2011 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., the 314th AW won Best Air Mobility Wing in the world with 62-1855, the oldest C-130 in the competition. “Everyone agrees that 1855 is a special tail … Team Little Rock and, indeed, the entire nation watched with pride as she earned a perfect maintenance inspection (during RODEO 2011), one of only two planes to do so,” said the colonel.

Tail 62-1855 didn’t receive a grand welcome when it landed smoothly at AMARG. It joined the scores of other C-130s that had been delivered to the desert to be preserved in the nearly perfect conservation climate. As the crew looked out of the cockpit Staff Sgt. Sean Ryan, a 62nd Squadron flight engineer, observed, “I thought Little Rock had a lot of C-130s.”

Staff Sgt. Shawn Larson, a 314th AMXS crew chief, added as he looked out at the retired fleet of C-130s, “If it has a blue tail and has been through Little Rock in the past 10 years, I’ve probably seen it or worked on it.”

AMARG is 1,400 acres and hosts more than 5,000 government aircraft, including planes from all branches of the military. These aircraft remain an important part of the U.S. arsenal. About 1,000 can be returned to service, while the rest are on stand-by for parts, propped on pieces of wood or others even completely cut in half.

All Team Little Rock wings continue to fly legacy C-130Hs, and the 314th AW and 19th Airlift Wing also operate J-models. The 19th AW still utilizes a dozen C-130E models, which they will be gradually retiring to AMARG in the coming year. “So why do we feel nostalgic as if we are saying goodbye to an old friend?” the colonel asked. “Tail 1855 is a reflection of our ideals and the very best attributes we know are in eachof us. She is a great tail, but only because her crews, maintainers and support teams made her so … [she] shares the same source of greatness as our Air Force--its Airmen.”

Every crew member of 62-1855s retirement flight had a special tale about how she impacted his career as an Airman. The retirement flight was crewed by:

Pilot- Col. Mark Czelusta, 314th AW commander

Co-pilot- Lt. Col. James Schartz, 62nd Airlift Squadron director of operations

Navigator- Capt. Chris Stapenhorst, a 314th Operations Group evaluation navigator

Loadmaster- Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mackey, a 62nd AS loadmaster

Flight Engineer- Staff Sgt. Sean Ryan, a 62nd AS flight engineer

Crew Chiefs- Staff Sgt. Shawn Larson, a 314th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and

Senior Airman Blake Lyles, a 314th Maintenance Squadron crew chief.

Chief Master Sgt. Mark Marson, 314th AW command chief, also attended 62-1855’s retirement ceremony and delivery to AMARG.

The 314 AW received their first C-130 on 19 May 1957.

-On 31 May 1971 the 314 Tactical Airlift Wing transferred from Ching Chuan Kang (CCK) Air Base, Taiwan to Little Rock AFB.

-Since August 1971, the wing served as the primary training organization for all Department of Defense agencies as well as training aircrew members from selected foreign nations.

-From 1971 - 1997 while still responsible for aircrew and international training, the wing also served as a principal airlift unit involved with worldwide tactical airlift operations. In the end, the men and women of the 314 AW can cite dozens of operations where they contributed to American war efforts such as: Urgent Fury (US intervention in Grenada, 1983), Just Cause (US intervention in Panama, 1989), Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq, Provide Comfort (humanitarian aid airdrops to Kurdish refugees in Iraq, 1991), Restore Hope (US intervention in Somalia, 1992), Southern Watch (enforcement of the no-fly zone over Iraq, 1992) and Northern Watch (1997), Uphold Democracy (US intervention in Haiti, 1994), and Joint Endeavor (NATO intervention in Bosnia, 1995) to name a few.

-The wing was the base host-unit from May 1971-Oct 2008.

- Over the years the 314th has trained International students from 42 different nations.The 314 AW received their first C-130 on 19 May 1957.

-On 31 May 1971 the 314 Tactical Airlift Wing transferred from Ching Chuan Kang (CCK) Air Base, Taiwan to Little Rock AFB.

-Since August 1971, the wing served as the primary training organization for all Department of Defense agencies as well as training aircrew members from selected foreign nations.

-From 1971 - 1997 while still responsible for aircrew and international training, the wing also served as a principal airlift unit involved with worldwide tactical airlift operations. In the end, the men and women of the 314 AW can cite dozens of operations where they contributed to American war efforts such as: Urgent Fury (US intervention in Grenada, 1983), Just Cause (US intervention in Panama, 1989), Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq, Provide Comfort (humanitarian aid airdrops to Kurdish refugees in Iraq, 1991), Restore Hope (US intervention in Somalia, 1992), Southern Watch (enforcement of the no-fly zone over Iraq, 1992) and Northern Watch (1997), Uphold Democracy (US intervention in Haiti, 1994), and Joint Endeavor (NATO intervention in Bosnia, 1995) to name a few.

-The wing was the base host-unit from May 1971-Oct 2008.

- Over the years the 314th has trained International students from 42 different nations.irst assigned to the 516th Troop Carrier Group in July 1963. Joined the
314 TCW in Nov 1965 and went to CCK, Taiwan with the 50 TCS. Moved over to
the 345 TCS (still 314 TCW) in 1970 and stayed with the 345th when they were
transferred to the 374 TAW in May 1971. This aircraft served in Taiwan and Vietnam from 1966- 1974 (deployments to Cam Ranh Bay AB Vietnam, Don Muang AB Thailand, Tuy Hoa AB Vietnam, Naha AB, Tan Son Nhut AB Vietnam, and U
Tapao RTAFB Thailand)

There is no mention of which aircraft served in any particular operation,
but the aircraft likely served in the following Operations: Air Evacuation
of Kham Duc(possible, but maybe not plausible as there were only eight
C-130s involved), Re-supply operations at Khe Sanh, Dak To, A Shau Valley,
and An Loc to name a few.

In May 1971 the 314th transferred to LRAFB minus aircraft and personnel. The aircraft stayed in the 345 TAS under the 374 TAW at CCK. From 1976-79 it was
with the 21st TAS at Clark AFB, Philippines.

‘It showed up again in the 314th
in 1980 and stayed in the 314th until late 86. The Aircraft was transferred
to 1 SOW from 87-88 at Hurlburt, and then back to the 314th for a few months
before going to the 8 SOS at Hurlburt from 88-93. When this aircraft was
with the 8 SOS they participated in Operation Just Cause- Panama 1989,
Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm 1990-1991, Operation Southern Watch,
and Operation Provide Promise 1992.

The 8th SOS played a pivotal role in the success of coalition forces as they liberated Kuwait by dropping 11
15,000-pound BLU-82 bombs and 23 million leaflets and conducting numerous aerial refuelings of special operations helicopters.

The aircraft then went to the 16 SOS from 93-01 (Hurlburt, Operation Restore Hope- Somalia Dec 92- May 03; Operation Deny Flight Bosnia 93-95, Operation
Uphold Democracy Sep 94 Mar 95; Operation Deliberate Force- Bosnia 1995). Next it was with the 17 SOS 01 - 04 at Kadena AB, Japan, then retired to AMARC from Dec 2002 - 2005, and then back to the 62 AS at LRAFB in Feb of
05. Last C-130E retiring from 314 AW in September 11.

COMMENTARY>>Black Knight truths: Ensuring mission success

By Col. Mike Minihan
19th Airlift Wing commander

Black Knights, there are five truths that we hold dear to our profession. These truths guide us in our day-to-day operations to ensure mission success. Whether that mission is flying a sortie or saving an Airman from an alcohol-related incident, these truths cut to our core.

Truth No. 1 addresses courage, leadership and discipline.

Truth No. 2 addresses our wingman contract.

Truth No. 3 addresses global C-130 airlift.

Truth No. 4 addresses taking the right risk.

Truth No. 5 addresses physical fitness.

Over the next few weeks, every Black Knight will receive a card that addresses each truth. They’re meant to be carried with you as a visual reminder of what we stand for. They’re also meant to initiate conversations between supervisors and subordinates.

Talk about them. Truly understand what they mean and what they embody. Use them as an additional tool to ensure those who work for -- and with you -- conform to them.

These truths ensure and strengthen every aspect of our Combat Airlift mission.

It’s an honor to serve with each of you. Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice. You and your families are simply amazing.

TOP STORY > >Overturning underage drinking at Little Rock

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

Influences in today’s world have children and youth maturing at an earlier age.

Grade school students own cell phones. Sixteen year olds can drive cars, and some 17 year-old young men and women can choose to serve their country and sacrifice their lives for the freedom of others. All of these choices can be made before an adolescent turns 21. However, choosing to drink before that age is against the law. Breaking that law in the military is not – and will never will be – tolerated. In the state of Arkansas, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. Here at Little Rock Air Force Base, that law is strongly enforced as the 19th Security Forces Squadron, supervisors and Airmen work together to decrease the number of underage Airmen drinking their careers away.

From January of this year, to September of this year, 16 Airmen have been caught drinking under the legal age and five Airmen busted for contributing to the delinquency of minors, according to Joe Ott, 19th SFS industrial security.

“In the military, whatever the state you’re in, and what its law is on the drinking age, that’s the drinking age on the base,” said Cefus Benner, 19th SFS police services. “One of the big influences of underage Airmen drinking is who they hang around. I think a lot of it comes from people wanting to feel older, but what they don’t realize is the consequences that come with it.”

Consequences range from but are not limited to: loss of rank, loss of pay, an additional forfeiture of pay, restriction to the base and in maybe an extreme case, separation from the military.

Consequences are not determined by on or off-base law enforcement; they apprehend the Airman for violation of drinking underage. The commander of that Airman has the authority to rate the severity of the situation and make judgment on any chastisement.

Some Airmen believe that just because they are old enough to drink and others around them aren’t, they won’t get into trouble. If it can be proven that the alcohol was bought for the minor, that Airman who is old enough can be charged with an article 92, contributing to a minor, said Benner.

No one underage hardly ever gets caught actually drinking out in the open. The Airman may be walking their “buzz” off and is staggering a bit, a SFS member can stop that Airman and ask for their ID, and they will be caught that way. Most underage Airmen are caught drinking when they think they are being sneaky, either quietly in the dorm or having a party in the dorm. Random room checks from SFS are common in the dorms on base.

Benner’s suggestion to supervisors is gather all Airmen and check IDs as soon as they arrive on base. Supervisors should know who in their department are underage to drink, and send out a message to them, making them aware that it’s known who’s underage. It also sends a message to those who are of age not to buy drinks for those Airmen.

“For underage Airmen,” Benner said, “it’s all about personal responsibility. Put your personal opinions aside. The law of the land in Arkansas is 21. Don’t do it.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

COMMENTARY>>Hungry for feedback

By Col. Mark G. Czelusta
314th Airlift Wing commander

It was back in 2008 at my promotion ceremony to Colonel. While pinning the eagles on my shoulder, the officiating member, a retired Colonel herself, whispered a thought in my ear. It sent chills up my spine. She said, “Today is the last day that anyone will tell you the whole story.” Little did I know how prophetic her words would be.

As a wing commander, I see this as familiar territory, and 314th Airlift Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Mark Marson and I work hard to seek out the “ground truth.” But as I think of this situation, I realize that this challenge is not isolated to just wing commanders. Airmen of all ranks are hungry for feedback. And that’s where you come in.

Continuous feedback—both good and bad—is an essential element to continuous improvement. How many of us have been surprised by negative reports that we learned through the grapevine, or after it was too late, as at performance feedback or decoration time? How many of us have failed to make the tough call at our level and provided our fellow Airmen the feedback they needed? Perhaps we deferred this uncomfortable process to the superintendent or commander.

Worse yet, perhaps we just “firewalled” a report or approved an unearned decoration. Contrary to popular opinion, such actions are especially corrosive and don’t improve morale. Instead, they push the entire enterprise toward mediocrity. Marginal performers see no reason to improve, and strong performers may throttle back. Remember, “Excellence” by its core nature does not imply “Equality.”

Feedback is not just top down. Your commanders and senior NCOs deserve your thoughts as well. Throughout my career, I have been lucky to be surrounded by those brave leaders, peers and subordinates who told me when I was wrong. The challenge for the recipient is to not shoot the messenger, but to contemplate the message. Still, messengers need to be patient and remember the core goodness in the recipient should that person not initially respond positively to the feedback.

In all cases, we need to base our feedback on facts, actions and outcomes, not emotion or personality. Dealing in facts and actions will allow the recipient to open up to reality. Never qualify your feedback with introductory phrases like, “with all due respect,” or “I’m not telling you how to do your job.” These qualifiers don’t serve the recipient. Rather, they only work to make the messenger feel better, and put the recipient on the defensive immediately. Don’t forget to offer alternative actions that could result in better outcomes. Feedback is tough, especially when it’s not positive, but it’s always good.

In the end, I would assert that outcomes of performance reports, decorations or other assessments should be little surprise. Feedback—good and bad—up and down—will enable this ideal. We’re all hungry. Let’s feed each other.

TOP STORY > >Col. Dale, former base commander, passes away

A former base commander passed away Sept. 9 in Alexander, Ark.

Retired Col. Theodore R. “Ted” Dale, 93, passed away Sunday surrounded by those dear to him. The Colonel, a World War II Army and Air Force veteran and an Air Force Veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, was the base commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., from 1968-1970.

The Colonel was an integral part of the transition to the C-130 at Little Rock AFB. As the commander of the 64th Tactical Airlift Wing, the bases’ host unit at the time, he supervised the arrival of the C-130 Hercules and the execution of its initial mission at the base.

The Colonel was born March 12, 1918, in eastern Kentucky. He graduated in 1941 from Ohio State University and commissioned into the Army the same year a field artillery officer. In 1943 the Colonel transferred to the Army Air Corps and later the Air Force. The Colonel had a diverse and impactful 30 year career. When he retired Aug. 1, 1970, he had logged more than 4,500 hours in 33 different aircraft.

He is survived by his wife, Dee Brazil Dale, Alexander; daughters, Terry Lutes and her husband Leroy of Blue Springs, Mo., Mary Dougherty and her husband Bob of Jacksonville; grandsons, Spencer Lutes and his wife Marianne of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Robert Dougherty and his wife Holly of Tennessee; Steven and Michael Lutes, Blue Springs Mo., Patrick Dougherty of Jacksonville; granddaughter, Christy Dougherty of Tampa, Fla.; great grandchildren, Spencer, Hunter and Jessica Lutes, Juliana and Max Dougherty.

Funeral service and burial were held Thursday. Full military honors were provided by the Air Force. Memorials may be sent to the Michael V. Aureli Arkansas Hospice Perpetual Endowment Fund, c/o the Arkansas Hospice Foundation, 14 Parkstone Circle, North Little Rock, Ark. 72116. (

TOP STORY > >Celebrating 64 years of air superiority

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

Team Little Rock will celebrate the Air Force’s birthday Sept. 23 at Hangar 1080 with stories, cake and camaraderie.

“It’s important to know historically where we come from,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hoffman, an alternate birthday bash project officer with the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron.

Hoffman said the event will be casual and fun, and it will feature a cake ceremony and live band.

But there’s more to the Air Force’s history than 64 years of airplanes and Airmen.

The Air Force started out as the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps on Aug. 1, 1907. Although the creation of the division occurred less than four years after the historic flight by the Wright brothers, the aircraft of choice then were balloons and dirigibles. By 1909, the division accepted delivery of their first airplane from the Wright brothers. This event paved the way for Army Airmen to experiment with different aircraft and the formation of the 1st Aero Squadron in December 1913, according to

In an effort to improve the Signal Corps’ flying capabilities, the Army created the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps on July 18, 1914. Weeks later, the first World War erupted. By the time the United States entered the war in April 1917, the other major combatants had already developed aircraft industries that exceeded the Americans. Because of this, President Woodrow Wilson established the War Department’s Army Air Service on May 24, 1918. Six months later, when the armistice was signed, more than 19,000 officers and 178,000 enlisted men filled the ranks of the Air Service, the web site said.

One of the lessons learned from the war was how difficult it was to coordinate air activities under the current organization. So the Army Reorganization Act of 1920 made the Air Service the official air combat arm of the Army.

Most air activities through the mid-1920s were focused on hosting air shows for various occasions, establishing records, testing newequipment and making headlines.

In July 1926, the Air Corps Act changed the name of the Air Service to the Air Corps after acceptance of the Morrow Board proposal. The board recommended the name change to allow the corps more prestige but rejected the idea of a separate department of air. The creation of a department of defense was previously suggested but rejected as well. The Air Corps Act also created an air section for each division of the General Staff.

The Air Corps continued to grow even after World War II broke out in September 1939. The Department of War established the Army Air Forces June 20, 1941, making it the new aviation element for the Army equal to the Army Ground Forces, according to

The AAF quickly expanded after the attacks on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, gaining a variety of training, transport, reconnaissance and bomber aircraft. Toward the end of the war, AAF aircraft and Airmen dominated German and Japanese airspace.

In light of the AAF’s superior track record during the war, the United States Air Force finally won its independence when the National Security Act of 1947 was signed on Sept. 18 and became full partners with the Army and Navy.

Since 1947, the Air Force brought air superiority to the forefront of various conflicts and missions. Airmen played a critical role in breaking the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948 during the Cold War, provided United Nations ground forces with close air support over the Korean peninsula in the early 1950’s, brought essential air support to Operation Rolling Thunder in Vietnam in 1965, and helped bring victory during Operation Desert Shield.

The Air Force also proved its capabilities throughout the 1980’s in operations including Urgent Fury in Grenada, El Dorado Canyon in Libya, and Just Cause in Panama.

Despite undergoing a complete reorganization of the force in the 1990’s, the Air Force was called into action time and time again. Airmen deployed to the Persian Gulf for Operation Northern and Southern Watch and provided humanitarian aid in various exotic locations including Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti and the Balkans.

As Airmen prepare to celebrate the force’s birthday, they remain ever prepared to provide speed, precision and flexibility to give what former Secretary of the Air Force Donald B. Rice called “global reach, global power.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Driving safely saves lives, careers

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

The concrete road is edged with tar and litter around its boundaries, sparsely populated with pot holes and chips in the pavement and wildlife roaming the outskirts of the woods nearby. In the daytime, the sun’s heat ripples off the pavement while the aura of humidity complicates the conditions. In the evening, the moon’s reflection illuminates the long roads otherwise sparingly lit by highway posts and street lamps. When the weather turns inclement, the conditions on the highway become more dangerous. Thunderstorms, violent rains and tornados can make the roads a tumultuous course for even cautious drivers, much less reckless ones.

Despite hazardous conditions and the potential for danger, cars, trucks, vans and other automobiles can be seen careening at alarming speeds in all directions, disregarding traffic signs, rules and etiquette. The operators of these vehicles flagrantly flaunting traffic rules are not only putting themselves in harm’s way, but are also placing unassuming others in danger as well. Drivers failing to drive safely can cause damage, monetary loss, impair a person’s career or, worst case, harm themselves or another.
Driving accidents and incidents are a common problem in Arkansas and can affect the Airmen of Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., said Joe Wooding, 19th Airlift Wing safety specialist. Despite being the 14th least populated state, Arkansas has the sixth most traffic fatalities in the United States.

Although Arkansas ranks high with deadly accidents, and leaders warn their Airmen about driving safely, traffic mishaps remain a common incident on and around the base, said Cefus Benner, 19th Security Forces Squadron supervisory police officer.

“The biggest problem we have as far as what we respond to on base is backing accidents in the BX or Commissary parking lot ... we average four to five a week,” said Benner.

Many of the accidents that happen on base are a case of simple negligence and driving distracted, said Benner.

“People not paying attention is the biggest problem I see,” said Benner. “Whether talking on cell phones without using a hands free device or just not paying attention to what you’re doing.”
Wooding agrees that most of the accidents and mishaps are caused by distractions that could be preventable.

“It could be texting or even eating while driving,” said the safety specialist. “one particular mishap here on base ... somebody hit the barriers up at the main gate at 45 miles per hour, which is 10 miles over the speed limit to begin with, but the cause of that was distraction. We heard three different versions of what distracted the driver. One was that he was choking; two that he was reaching for something on the floor, and the last one was that he was reaching over his seat to eat some of his lunch. Yet either way distracted driving was the cause of the accident.”

Although distracted driving is a common problem, drivers on base need to be particularly considerate of other things such as traffic signs and exit ramps that surround the highway outside of base, said Wooding.

“Every exit ramp out here is different,” said the safety specialist. “They’re not even similar ... nothing is consistent. There are plans to change that, but those plans are a ways down the road.”

Even though the driving conditions on and around base may be unique, Team Little Rock members still need to obey the rules, Benner said.

Driver’s on base need to constantly heed the speed limit, which is 10 mph in parking lots, 15 mph in school zones when the lights are flashing, 25 mph in base housing and 35 mph everywhere else on base, said Benner. All drivers are cautioned to obey the speed limits everywhere, but especially in school zones.

“We will pull people over for going one or two miles per hours over the limit in school zones,” the supervisory police officer said. “There is a zero tolerance there.”

Traffic rules like speed limits are put in place for safety reasons and drivers need to understand that being inconvenienced is no reason to become an aggressive driver, said Benner.

Slow down, calm down and relax, the supervisory police officer said. Additionally people need to be reminded about the consequences of drinking and driving.

“Drinking and driving is bad,” said Benner. “It goes beyond simple negligence and becomes a crime. Drunk drivers are criminals. Getting a DUI can end your career.”

While people have been brow beaten over the consequences of drinking and driving it is important to drive safely all the time, said Wooden. People need to obey traffic laws and understand that drivers have to focus on driving, and not allow themselves to be distracted.

Benner said that although there are many distracting things that can divert people’s attention, the individual needs to take responsibility for obeying the rules of the road.

“Slow down, don’t drink and drive, pay attention to your surroundings, watch out for other drivers and try to be a more defensive driver than offensive driver,” Benner said. “Doing so may prevent an accident, injury or fatality.”

Stepping Stones to Success: Mentoring

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

(Editor’s note: this is the second in a series of articles that will provide young enlisted Airmen and supervisors with advice to help make their careers in the military a success.)   

The act of mentoring and being mentored are rooted throughout history and extends its influence from contemporary culture back to the ancient Greeks. Mentors and their protégés have left an undeniable stamp on culture and have impacted history throughout the ages. For example Plato, Socrates’ protégé, wrote down his mentor’s lessons, which made both scholars famous in the future. Often the mentoring process results in a symbiotic relationship that not only benefits the protégé but the mentor as well.
Mentoring is a staunch tradition in the military and one that many successful Airmen have become acquainted with. The Air Force is more than an occupation for many of its members. The life of an Airman can encompasses an entire sub-culture comprised of diverse people tasked with a variety of missions where success or failure has the ability to influence the entire globe. The second paragraph of the Airman’s creed states that Airmen uphold “A Tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor.” How else can the future leaders of Airmen hope to uphold these standards if they don’t absorb and learn from leaders and peers?

“Mentoring is important because it gives you the opportunity of learning from people who’ve already experienced different things throughout their careers,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Morris, 19th Airlift Wing command chief master sergeant. “People who have made it through the ranks and achieved success ... you can learn from those. Mentoring gives you an opportunity to gain insight and experience before experiencing them yourself.”

Although a mentor can share their success stories, protégé’s are just as likely to learn from people who have experienced hardships or failures, said the command chief. Additionally, good mentors may give young Airmen the occasional push.

“I have had certain key people throughout my career that have grabbed me by the back of the neck and put me in positions that I would not have been in on my own,” the command chief said. “For instance, I was sitting in a private organization meeting one day and they needed a treasurer and my first sergeant volunteered me to be the treasurer.”

The senior enlisted member of the 19th Airlift Wing said that he never would have volunteered for the position personally, but learned a lot from the experience that helped him later on in his career, and he was grateful for the push.

“Mentors sometimes have to give you the cold hard facts,” said the command chief. “If you’re not going down the right course, you may not always like what the mentor has to say, but if it’s a good mentor, they will tell you the truth to get you on the path that you need to be on.”

While Airmen should seek guidance and leadership from successful people who have risen in the ranks, mentoring can be done at any level. For Staff Sgt. Adam Mangin, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron flight administrator, being a good protégé relates directly to being a good mentor.

“I had an awesome mentor from my first two bases, I actually had the same rater” said Mangin. “He was a guy I always felt like I could call if I had a problem. He was my rater when I was an airman basic and he was a staff sergeant and I saw him make tech sergeant and master sergeant his first time so he was a good example for me too. He was always the go to guy for everybody, and that is something I strive to be in my career field.”

Having a positive influence and excellent mentor left a positive impact on his career, said Mangin. Although he has learned nearly as much from negative influences.

“My sponsor at my first base ... he emailed me back once out of the six or seven times I tried to contact him,” said Mangin. “He picked me up at the airport, which was where I worked, didn’t really show me around the base, didn’t tell me anything. He picked me up ... dropped me off in my room without furniture or supplies.”

Mangin said that sitting solitary in his empty dorm room, with only his luggage, gave him  an early lesson in avoiding negative influences.

“I figured out right away I don’t need to be following this guy around,” said Mangin.

Mangin said that he had to take it upon himself to find positive influences and mentors who would steer him on the right path.

Getting Airmen on the right path may not always be easy, but mentors and protégés do not have to have a complicated relationship, the command chief said. Airmen just need to seek out mentors who have similar career goals and have taken similar paths.

“For young Airmen, the first thing that I would tell them is to think about what they want to do with their lives and with their careers,” said the command chief. “Then seek out a person who’s gone down that path and been successful when they’ve gone down that path.”

Airmen can find mentors anywhere, said the command chief. The only necessary trait of a mentor is to be straightforward and honest.

Mangin said that the most important trait of being a good mentor is simple: availability.

“Make sure you’re always available, always approachable,” said Mangin. “Definitely having the open door policy so that somebody, if they have a problem, they can come to you and you can prepare them.
Preparing Airmen for facing challenges doesn’t necessarily mean babying them or holding their hand, said Mangin. Airmen need to be taught and given the tools to face challenges on their own. If they aren’t, the consequences can be disastrous.

“If you aren’t available to your Airmen they might be unprepared,” said Mangin. “If they can’t ask their mentor, their supervisor ‘What do I need to do?’ then they won’t know what to do. Especially with something like an inspection, if they don’t know where to find the answer there will be consequences.”

Being proactive is sage advice for mentors and protégés alike, said Mangin.

“Don’t sit around and wait for someone to learn from,” the flight admin said. “You can look to people in your own work section or back home; one of my best mentors is my band director from high school. I still go to him for advice.”

The command chief said Airmen should keep an open mind when looking for mentors to learn from. Teachers can be found anywhere; the most important things are if they will provide honest assessment and successful tips to their younger protégés.

“A mentor doesn’t have to be a person from a specific career field, it doesn’t have to be a specific rank, it’s just somebody who has done what you want do successfully,” said the command chief.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

TOP STORY > >Obama: Unite in spirit of service on Sept. 11

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Services

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – President Barack Obama called on the American people Aug. 29 to come together in the spirit of service and remembrance as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches.

“In just two weeks, we’ll come together as a nation to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks,” the president said in his weekly address.

“We’ll remember the innocent lives we lost,” Obama said. “We’ll stand with the families who loved them. We’ll honor the heroic first responders who rushed to the scene and saved so many. And we’ll pay tribute to our troops and military families, and all those who have served over the past 10 years to keep us safe and strong.”

The worst terrorist attack in American history brought out the best in the American people, he said. Americans lined up to give blood; volunteers drove across the country to lend a hand; schoolchildren donated their savings; and communities, faith groups and businesses collected food and clothing.

“We were united, and the outpouring of generosity and compassion reminded us that in times of challenge, we Americans move forward together as one people,” the president said.

On Sept. 11, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will join the commemorations at ground zero, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon.

Even Americans who can’t be in New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia, he said, can be part of the commemoration by participating in the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.

“In the days and weeks ahead,” Obama said, “folks across the country in all 50 states will come together in their communities and neighborhoods to honor the victims of 9/11 and to reaffirm the strength of our nation with acts of service and charity.”

In Minneapolis, volunteers will help restore a community center, the president said. In Winston-Salem, N.C., they’ll hammer shingles and lay floors to give families a new home. In Tallahassee, Fla., they’ll assemble care packages for U.S. troops overseas and their families at home. In Orange County, Calif., they’ll renovate homes for veterans.

Obama and the first lady also will join a local service project, he said. Those who wish to participate can learn more about local opportunities at the

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost -- a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11,” the president said.

On this 10th anniversary, he said, the nation faces great challenges.

“We’re emerging from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes,” Obama said. “We’re taking the fight to al-Qaida, ending the war in Iraq and starting to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. And we’re working to rebuild the foundation of our national strength here at home.”

None of the challenges will be easy, he said, and it can’t be the work of government alone.

“As we saw after 9/11,” Obama said, “the strength of America has always been the character and compassion of our people.”

The president called on Americans to mark this solemn anniversary by summoning the same spirit shown 10 years ago on Sept. 11.

“And let’s show that the sense of common purpose that we need in America doesn’t have to be a fleeting moment,” Obama said. “It can be a lasting virtue -- not just on one day, but every day.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

COMMENTARY>>To mobility Airmen and their families on this Labor Day: Be proud, be safe

By Gen. Ray Johns

Air Mobility Command

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – For over 100 years America has celebrated Labor Day as the first Monday in September. It is a day to pause and recognize the contributions of the American worker to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our great nation. It has also evolved to include a day of rest and signifies the end of summer. For Airmen in Air Mobility Command, Labor Day may not always be a day off work; however, it is a day to thank you and your families for all that you do to answer the call of others in need around the world.

Every day of the year mobility Airmen fuel the fight, deliver hope, and save lives. Each day is filled with service to country and service to others. After the privilege of nearly two years serving you as the commander of AMC, I continue to be inspired by the hard work and devotion of our Airmen. Recognizing your accomplishments this Labor Day is a small way of saying thank you to you and your families who sacrifice so muchand ask nothing in return.

The importance of your work and the AMC mission cannot be overstated. We continue to support the warfighter in Afghanistan and Iraq; we stopped a ruthless dictator from killing his people in Libya; and we gave hope to the people of Japan after a devastating earthquake and tsunami. To do this takes an extraordinary effort by Airmen across the Total Force -- active duty, Guard, Reserve as well as civilian employees, who make these selfless contributions to America and her Air Force. I am truly honored and proud to serve with all of you.

Along with the contributions of our Total Force team are the contributions made by the families and friends who support us every day. Your sacrifices and hard work are commendable, and let there be no doubt you are absolutely key to the success of everything we do.

As you celebrate some well-deserved time off with family and friends this weekend, please remember to keep safety as your top priority. Though this weekend marks the traditional end to the Critical Days of Summer, ensure safety and risk assessment remains a part of every decision you make. Remain alert at all times and please be good wingmen who dare to care about each other.

While enjoying the Labor Day festivities, don’t drink and drive, fasten your seatbelts, drive at reasonable speeds and avoid distracted driving. Calculate the risk and weigh your options in whatever you are doing because we cannot afford to lose anyone on our AMC team due to unwise decisions.

Diana and I thank you and your family for your service and sacrifices you make every day throughout the year. Please take time to remember our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines deployed around the world on Labor Day. We are so very proud of the hard-working AMC team and their families and want you to know we cherish your contribution to our global mission every day.

TOP STORY > >314th AW Rodeo team is named Best Air Mobility Wing, Airdrop Wing

By 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Air Mobility RODEO 2011 team members from the 314th Airlift Wing gathered on the base flightline Monday after hearing some surprising post-award ceremony news: the wing earned the Best Air Mobility Wing and Best Airdrop Wing trophies.

A programming error in the AMC RODEO 2011 scoring system resulted in a change to several major awards, including the Best Air Mobility Wing.

After hearing the news about the scoring programming error, 314th AW RODEO team members received another surprise: the new trophies would be presented by Maj. Gen. Frederick H. Martin, Director of Operations, Headquarters, AMC, and RODEO commander.

“It’s an honor for me to be here,” Martin said during an award ceremony Aug. 29, 2011, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. “This award is part of what you’ve done. There is no finer balance between operations and maintenance than what you have here at the Rock.”

Col. Mark Czelusta, 314th AW commander, credited the RODEO success to the strong partnerships enjoyed by his wing.

“We have an incredible partnership with the 19th Airlift Wing and the local community,” said the colonel. “The community is such a big part of this trophy and we couldn’t have accomplished all this without them.”

AMC officials found the programming error Aug. 18 during a thorough scrub of all the results prior to posting the detailed scores for RODEO competitors to access.

“There is an automated process in the scoring algorithm which improperly assigned a median score for an event,” said the general in a news release. “This program error was not found in testing. All manual scoring processes were triple checked; however, there was not a final check for one critical portion of the automated scoring process.”

The error was isolated to the C-17 and C-130 Container Delivery System airdrop scores. No international team awards were affected.

The corrected results are as follows:

n Best Air Mobility Wing (Moore Trophy) was awarded to the 314th AW. It was incorrectly awarded to the 97th Air Mobility Wing, Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

n Best Airdrop Wing was also awarded to the 314th AW. It was incorrectly awarded to the 97th AMW. The 97th AMW actually finished in third place.

n Best C-130 Airdrop Aircrew was awarded to the 19th Airlift Wing (AMC) which incorrectly finished in second place. It was incorrectly awarded to to the 314th AW (C-130E). The 314th AW actually finished in second place.

Maintainers and flyers from the 314th AW RODEO team previously lassoed up the Maintenance Skills Competition Award – C-130 maintenance and the Maintenance Skills Competition Award – overall winner. The C-130E team snagged the Best Overall Maintenance Team award, Best Team Overall (Maintenance and Operations), Best Overall Aircrew Team and Best Overall Airdrop Score.

“This is a very unfortunate programming mistake,” the general said in a news release. “I will tell you that all of the competitors at RODEO were outstanding. The scoring was very close, and it was obvious that the best-of-the-best were competing. This scoring error should in no way detract from the incredible efforts our mobility forces put forward every day to ensure mission accomplishment.”

General Martin said actions have been taken to prevent this type of issue from happening in 2013.

Air Mobility RODEO, sponsored by AMC, is an international Mobility Air Force’s readiness competition focusing on improving worldwide air mobility wartime core abilities. RODEO 2011 was held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord from July 24-29.

From an international perspective, seven countries competed at RODEO 2011. Representatives from more than 20 other countries were on hand to observe. “ RODEO provides a very unique forum for our Airmen and international partners to interact and share the best tactics, techniques and procedures for the mobility mission,” Martin said.

Air Mobility Command Public Affairs contributed to this report.