Thursday, December 20, 2012

top story>>Little Rock remembers: Arkansas’ first Tuskegee Airman

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

Little Rock Air Force Base Airmen of all ethnicities and backgrounds fly together in the air, fight together on land and win together by completing the missions with integrity and professionalism. They know that race doesn’t determine resilience, skin color doesn’t determine skill level and cultural diversity doesn’t determine dedication. No matter how different their wingman is, each Airman knows they need each other to get the job done.

It wasn’t always this way. Less than 100 years ago, the military wasn’t completely integrated, and African Americans weren’t allowed to perform certain jobs that whites felt they weren’t good enough for, one job being flying as a pilot.

Before there was equal education for all races, before there was equal opportunity for all races, before there were black astronauts and presidents, before there was a Little Rock Air Force Base, there was Milton Pitts Crenchaw and the Tuskegee Airmen.

On April 3, 1939, the Public Law 18 was passed in order for the Army Air Corps to expand. The law also stated that black colleges should create training programs for certain areas in the Air Corps support services. This law helped to prepare the blacks to be skilled at more than just the mediocre jobs.

At that time, Crenchaw, a native of Little Rock, Ark., was attending the Tuskegee Institute, founded in Tuskegee, Ala., by Booker T. Washington in 1881, where he was in the process of attaining his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After the training program surfaced, he put his degree on hold to train and become a pilot.

There were 11 white officers assigned to train 429 enlisted men and 47 officers at the institute, including Crenchaw, who would later be called the Tuskegee Airmen. Because the military was still segregated, some of the white service members didn’t agree with the training, they made it known. The Tuskegee Airmen had to endure hardships of the training, as well as ridicule from racist military officials, but they kept going and succeeded.

Crenchaw became one of the original Tuskegee Airmen of 1939 and the first African American from Arkansas to be trained by the federal government as a civilian-licensed pilot. He was one of 12 Arkansas natives documented who performed different roles at the Institute. Some of those roles included flight instructor, pilot, flight officer, engineer, bombardier, navigator, radio technician, air traffic controller, parachute rigger, weather observer, medical professional, and electronic communications specialist.

From 1941 to 1946 more than 2,000 African Americans completed training at the Tuskegee Institute; more than 900 qualified as pilots. Out of that 900, approximately half went overseas and fought during the war, and four of those Airman were from Arkansas. In 1948, President Truman ordered the desegregation of the United States Military.

Throughout Crenchaw’s career he donned many hats. He received his civilian pilot license and commercial pilot certificate and became a primary civilian flight instructor. He was a pilot training officer and one of the two original supervising squadron commanders at Tuskegee until 1946. Crenchaw taught aviation at Philander Smith College in Little Rock from 1947 to 1953. He was also employed by the Central Flying Service and worked as a crop-duster in the central Arkansas and Delta regions, just to name a few of his many careers.

In 1998, Crenchaw was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame. He was honored by Gov. Mike Beebe on March 27, 2007, for his efforts as a Tuskegee flight instructor and service to his country. Crenchaw, along with the other members of the Tuskegee Airmen, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush on March 29, 2007, in Washington, D.C. -The Tuskegee Airmen are the largest group to ever receive this medal. Crenchaw was also inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame on October 27, 2007.

Because of Crenchaw and the Tuskegee Airmen, all service members have a right to any job their skills qualify them for. Because of them, blacks, whites and other races can serve this country uniformed and unbiased. Because of this history, Little Rock can stand tall and say, “because of one man, we were there when history was forever changed.”

top story>>New commander takes charge at The Rock

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

Col. Brian Robinson, 19th Airlift Wing commander, accepted the guidon Jan. 31 and officially assumed command of the 19th AW from Col. Mike Minihan, the outgoing commander.

Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay, 18th Air Force commander, served as ceremony officiator and spoke enthusiastically about the future of the base.

“This is a great day for the Air Force,” he said during his speech. “It’s a great day for Team Little Rock and the community.” Ramsay would go on to say Little Rock is the busiest base in the Air Force, and will be for the foreseeable future, but he had confidence in the new commander to rise to the standard.

“We replaced the best with the best,” said Ramsay.

In his farewell address Minihan thanked his family, civilian Airmen, Airmen and tenant units on base.

“To have fought with the Black Knights, to call this command my home, has been the honor and privilege of my life, thank you,” he said in his speech.

Robinson said he was excited to join TLR and embraced the opportunity to lead and serve what he says are America’s finest Airmen. He ended his speech by reaffirming the mission of TLR. “Somewhere, someone in the world expects us to deliver for them to prevail, and Team Little Rock will deliver,” he said.

top story>>Little Rock Remembers: Little Rock Nine

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

In 1957, nine African American students made a world-wide statement as they walked into Little Rock’s history books by courageously deciding to leave the comfort and safety of their black-only schools and integrate into an all white school that was not quite ready for change. Almost 55 years later, the actions of those nine students who have come to be known as the “Little Rock Nine,” are still a reminder to how far not only Little Rock but also Arkansas has come.

In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Supreme Court decided to outlaw segregation in the public education system. Virgil Blossom, the Little Rock School District Superintendent at that time, came up with a plan to begin to slowly integrate Little Rock’s schools one step at a time, starting with Central High School.

The school board began to ask for volunteering African American students from the local black schools such as Dunbar Junior High and Horace Mann High School; they also forewarned them that participating in extracurricular activities was out of the question. Because of that and the fact that many parents were threatened that their jobs would be taken away, the majority of black students opted to stay where they were… except nine.

For Minnijean Brown Trickey, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed Wair, Melba Pattillo Beals, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Gloria Ray Karlmark, changing schools would be a frightening change, but also a new beginning because Central High had much more courses and opportunities to offer.

“When my tenth-grade teacher in our Negro school said there was a possibility of integration, I signed up. We all felt good. We knew that Central High School had so many more courses, and dramatics and speech and tennis courts and a big, beautiful stadium,” said Trickey to Look Magazine, June 24, 1958.

On Sept. 4, 1957, the “Little Rock Nine” arrived at Central High and were met by a mob of angry bystanders. Some of the students were spit on and threatened. Little did the nine know that they wouldn‘t be attending classes that day. Because the mob outside and students in the hallways were so verbally viscous, the nine were turned away by the Arkansas National Guard.

“I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the mob-someone who maybe would help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat on me.” (This quote of Eckford was taken from, “A life is more than a moment: The desegregation of Little Rock Central High.”)

Media began to pick up on the story and the “Little Rock Nine” became a household name. Almost two weeks had passed from the attempt of equal education, and during that time the governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, and the U.S president came together to resolve the issue at hand.

On Sept. 23, with the command of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the units of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, (the Screaming Eagles), the first official African American students of Little Rock Central High were successfully escorted into the school for their first full day.

As time passed, the mobs got smaller and quieter and acceptance of integration slowly grew. For one of the nine, Trickey, acceptance wasn’t growing fast enough. She decided fight back and retaliate to some students’ mean gestures. In December, Trickey was suspended for dropping chili on some boys who wouldn’t let her get to her seat in the cafeteria. Ultimately, Trickey was expelled from the school February 1958, when she called a white girl, “white trash” for hitting her with a purse. The other eight continued on and stayed strong for the rest of the year.

Even though he was three weeks behind in all classes because of starting late, on May 25, 1958, Ernest Green, the only LR Nine who was a senior, was the first African American to graduate from Central High.

“It’s been an interesting year. I’ve had a course in human relations first hand,” Green told Life Magazine, June 1958.

The following year brought change for the high schools in the city of Little Rock. They were closed in order to bring those for and against segregation to one final agreement. When the schools were reopened, two of the nine, Walls and Thomas, returned to Central and graduated in 1960. Mothershed took correspondence courses and received her diploma from the school as well. The others, including Trickey, all graduated from other high schools.

Throughout the years, the Little Rock Nine have come from receiving threats and hateful looks from crowds and classmates to being honored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and former President Bill Clinton, a native of Arkansas. They have received the NAACP Spingarn Medal as well as the Congressional Gold Medal, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Though the beginning of this story for the history of Little Rock is gloomy and grey, it shows how innocent ignorance, once changed, can lead to a world of opportunity and great accomplishment. Little Rock has grown into a widely diverse area with the community mixed with not only whites and blacks, but many more ethnicities. This community is a stirring pot of different cultures and the aroma of equality gets sweeter and sweeter as the memory of the Little Rock Nine live on.

TOP STORY>>First Lady samples food transformation initiative

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

First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Hercules Dining Facility here Feb. 9 to survey the pilot food transformation initiative program on base.

The visit was part of a three-day tour by the First Lady commemorating the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move!” program designed to combat childhood obesity.

In addition to hearing about the specific healthy eating efforts on base, the First Lady also made an announcement about the military’s drive to provide a variety of nutritious foods to all service members and their families.

“I am truly proud to be here today as the Department of Defense is making a groundbreaking commitment to the health of our troops and their families,” the First Lady said.

“And this is a big day,” she continued. “That’s why we brought all these people. It’s huge. As Dr. Woodson explained, for the first time in 20 years, the DOD is updating their nutritional standards to include more fresh fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products with every single meal. So that means more DOD installations will offer the kind of fresh, healthy food that the Air Force’s Food Transformation Initiative helped bring here to Little Rock.”

Obama said the announcement meant that more DoD facilities will be able to provide service members the same variety of nutritious food available because of the FTI program on base.

“The DOD is also going to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of every single (American) military base to make sure they’re serving healthy food not just to those in uniform, but to their families,” the First Lady said. “They’ll be looking to improve the food served in dining facilities, school cafeterias, vending machines, snack bars and any other places where military families purchase food.”

“So this isn’t just a drop in the bucket,” Obama continued. “I mean, this is really a big splash. This will affect more than 1,000 dining facilities and nearly 1.5 million troops. Simply put, this is an example of America’s entire military once again stepping forward to lead by example.”

The First Lady said the service members of Little Rock have provided a model of what will be seen throughout the entire armed forces. She credited the base’s leadership with having the foresight to jump ahead, and the service members for doing their best to jump on board with the new program.

“So I want to make sure that you tell your families thank you, from me,” the First lady said at the end of her speech. “Tell them that we are proud of them all. We are working hard for them as well, because you all know that as you sacrifice, they are sacrificing right alongside you. So these benefits have to affect them as well.”

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and director of Tricare Management, also delivered a speech at the Hercules DFAC to an assembly of base leaders, 19th Force Support Squadron Airmen cooks, and assorted Airmen from around the base.

“Obesity is a national challenge that can only be solved by a national effort,” the doctor said during his speech. “Although our service members and their families are healthier on average than the general population, the military is not isolated from the influence of poor nutritious choices, that are affecting the larger society.”

Woodson said the health problems related to obesity are more than enough reason for the DOD to turn its attention to a progressive nutritional awareness campaign.

The First Lady visited nearly 16 months after Little Rock Air Force Base adopted the FTI program, a pilot program designed to enhance food service quality, variety and availability to customers by overhauling the previous food service system. Previously the base food production model was a traditional cafeteria model. When surveys projected a low satisfaction rate among customers, the Air Force responded by introducing a new food model, the FTI.

Initial response to the FTI included an increase in customer satisfaction. According to a customer satisfaction survey, based on the American customer Satisfaction Index, overall satisfaction with dining facilities under the FTI increased from an aggregate score of 67 under the old model to a score of 75.

The nutritional value of food provided to service members and their families is an important issue for the White House, which maintains childhood obesity has become a national security issue, with more than one-quarter of the nation’s 17-24 year-olds too overweight to serve in the U.S. military. The Department of Defense also spends an estimated $1.4 billion per year on medical care associated with excess weight and obesity.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

COMMENTARY>>2012 review and happy holidays

By Col. Brian Robinson
19th Airlift Wing commander

Black Knights and Team Little Rock!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

You and your families are amazing, and this year has been incredibly successful for Team Little Rock. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Thank you for your continuous accomplishments in executing the mission and defending our great land; you are truly inspiring. I would like to offer a special thanks to those who will work through the holidays, both at home and deployed. Those in harm’s way and their loved ones at home are especially in our thoughts this time of year.

2012 has been a significant year in the lives of Team Little Rock Airmen, their families and our community. Maureen and I thank you and your loved ones for your service and recognize the sacrifices each of you have made to ensure the safety and effectiveness of Team Little Rock.

I would like to highlight a few events from the past year. These events were only successful due to the teamwork and dedication of our Airmen, their families and our community partners. The First Lady’s visit recognized our base’s leadership and development to the DoD Food Transformation Initiative. You executed multiple changes of command, including Col. Brewer’s and my own; we could not have received a warmer welcome. You planned and implemented a world class air show with zero mishaps, record attendance and featured our international, DoD, Air Force and TLR mission. Furthermore, the base was awarded the Dick Schram Memorial Community Relations Award, which is presented each year to the military base that in planning and implementing its air show, not only exhibits traditional community relations as it considers the needs of its civilian neighbors, but sets new standards of excellence in this area by including its community in the planning and execution of the event. We furthered our already strong relationship with the community through a joint effort to display one of our very own C-130s at the Jacksonville-Little Rock Air Force Base University Center. Currently the 314th AW and the 189th AW are undergoing a Consolidated Unit Inspection, during which they are showcasing their plans, programs, procedures and most of all their Airmen. Thank you for the team approach in making sure our partners were enabled for success.

Combat Airlifters will continue to make a global impact in the weeks, months and year ahead. At any given time this year TLR has approximately 500-600 Airmen deployed. The deployments show no sign of stopping; more than 200 Airmen are scheduled to deploy in the upcoming months. The 314th Airlift Wing’s Center of Excellence trained approximately 1,500 C-130 crew members this year to support DoD and international tactical airlift requirements.

Our successes and challenges this year have brought out and showcased the best wingmen, leaders and supportive friends and family the Air Force has to offer. I remind each and everyone one of you to adhere to our core values and the highest standards of professionalism. This is not optional. All Airmen are encouraged to courageously lead by example, by taking care of themselves and those around them. The term Wingman stems from a time-honored tradition that essentially says a “lead” pilot will never lose his/her Wingman, and the formation’s success depends a great deal on the Wingman. It’s a promise, a pledge, a commitment between Airmen.

May this holiday season be a time of happiness, health and amity for you and your families. It’s an honor to serve alongside the Airmen and families of Little Rock Air Force Base at home and abroad. In 2013, we look forward to every effort we know we’ll see to win the fight, strengthen the team and shape the future!

TOP STORY>>Staying fit through the holidays

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

Tis the season for family get-togethers, office holiday parties and cookie drives. What do these events have in common? Food…lots of food. As people load their plates with cakes and pies, getting a good workout drops on the priority list.

Why do people fall into this annual holiday trap?

“People are so busy that they don’t take time to stay with their fitness program,” said Jeffery Vaughn, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron exercise physiologist. “The other thing is all the wrong foods are readily available. People stop watching portion control and get away from their regular diet.”

Vaughn said people can cut calories by making wiser choices before heading out to the next holiday party.

“Even though there is going to be plenty of food and choices, you can still make better choices,” he said. “You’ve got to have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you fall into a trap and just eat whatever’s out there.”

Indiscriminate binge eating and lack of physical activity make up the perfect recipe for adding on holiday pounds.

“Most people don’t realize one can put on 10-15 pounds in a week,” Vaughn said. “How much is 10 pounds? Well, try grabbing a 10 pound medicine ball and running with it.”

Jill Hinsley, 19th AMDS registered dietician, recommends limiting splurges and choosing healthier foods.

“Fill up on fruit and veggies at your next holiday party,” said Hinsley. “You get the fullness and satisfaction without taking in too many calories and carbs.”

Health and Wellness Center staff members say a little indulgence is acceptable but advise people to have a fitness plan to avoid adding extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

“On the fitness side, a lot of people think that if they don’t spend an hour or more in the gym, then it’s not beneficial,” said Vaughn. “If you have 15-20 minutes and can be consistent, you’ll burn calories and maintain cardiovascular fitness. The bottom line is you can break up your workout however you want to and still have time to spend with the family.”

Some Airmen, like Staff Sgt. Jaclyn Cole, 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 4 hydraulic instructor, know how difficult it is to get back in shape.

“Some people just sit around and get fat and unhealthy while they’re pregnant, which I kind of did with my first pregnancy,” Cole said. “I learned my lesson when I had to recover afterward. I had to work my tail off to get back to where I could score above a 90. I exercised every day to get back in shape.”

Cole said she likes food and sweets as much as anybody but knows she needs to work out that much harder.

“It’s hard, especially during the holidays, because food is more abundant,” she said. “It’s OK to give in a little bit, but that is an even more reason to work out.

“I believe it’s important to stay in shape,” Cole adds. “It’s your body. You have to keep physically fit so you can live longer and healthier.”

TOP STORY>>Breaking barriers

By Staff Sgt. Russ Scalf
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

On a cool morning in central Arkansas, a group of students are up before the sunrise, ready to meet a new set of challenges. The lessons being learned here will break through cultural and language barriers. They are international military students, training alongside Air Force C-130 Airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

Each year, service members and civilians from all over the world arrive in Little Rock to train with the 314th Airlift Wing, the nation’s tactical airlift Center of Excellence. Their origins and backgrounds are as diverse as the capabilities of the aircraft they are here to study.

On any given day, the student population may feature a maintenance student from Canada or a loadmaster from Nigeria. For most of the approximately 250 international students training here this year, the experience begins at the 714th Training Squadron.

“The thing that’s really important to us is making sure this is a positive experience,” said Col. Scott Brewer, the 314th Airlift Wing commander. “It’s is about coming to America and spending time with Americans, especially the folks in Central Arkansas.”

Maj. Jason Oatley and Master Sgt. Tim Geiger, both 714th TRS international military student office managers, are the first to welcome the new students into training.

The 714th TS trains students from 44 allied nations on C-130 operations and maintenance procedures.

“We all work as one big team here,” Geiger said. “We have a short time to get the students into training, and it’s not really even enough time to properly introduce them to the base. We give them an introduction to what our expectations are and local laws and customs. The No. 1 goal is to ensure they complete training safely and successfully.”

Each year, more than 1,800 students pass through the Center of Excellence to meet the training needs of C-130 aircrews from the Department of Defense, Coast Guard and more than 40 allied nations.

For many of those students, Little Rock is their first exposure to American culture outside of TV and movies.

“We saw the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and all this stuff,” said Polish Tech. Sgt. Wojciech Bober, a loadmaster student. “You’ve got more interesting things because you’ve got everything here. You’ve got ocean, you’ve got sea, lakes, mountains and all this interesting stuff.”

To help international students better adapt to their surroundings, 714th TRS instructors participate in the Field Studies Program, which provides a balanced understanding of the U.S. government, society and institutions. It covers a set of pre-established objectives through events and activities and helps the students better understand American human rights, political processes, free market system, education, media, and health and human services.

“We take our students out into the local community and help them learn more about the culture and try to help dispel any misconceptions about Americans and our ways of life,” said Geiger. “We may take them to the state capital, the Clinton Presidential Library and occasionally we do overnight trips to places like Memphis.”

That familiarity of local customs frequently plays a crucial role for international students. For some students, the time spent here may be as short as a week, while others often stay for up to seven months. They face many challenges along the way, in addition to learning the innumerable intricacies of flight.

“The courses are extremely challenging for the United States students, who speak English as their primary language,” said Lt. Col. Jon Steckbeck, the 714th TRS commander. “To bring the international students up to the level to meet the prerequisites set in place for English-speaking, high-school graduated and college-level Americans, puts a tremendous amount of pressure on them. Their training pipeline helps them with that. By going through the Defense Language Institute, they are prepared for the courses they are going to go through. We take a lot of effort to ensure the students get what they need in order to make it through the course.”

Regardless of the course, once training begins, the level of care and attention to student needs continue to be a point of emphasis within the 314th AW. The instructors often stay after class, working one on one with international students to make sure they have a comprehensive understanding of the material being covered in the classroom, flight simulators or on the aircraft.

Lt. Mike Gohier and Maj. Greg Castagner, Canadian C-130 pilot initial qualification course students, take off inside a C-130 simulator. The simulator features the most advanced technology in C-130 flight simulation.

“It’s a little bit of a slower pace because of the language barrier,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Thomas, a loadmaster instructor with the 62nd Airlift Squadron. “But my hope is that they are going to be successful loadmasters and use the knowledge that we’ve given them and go out and make a difference.”

Many students said the instructor expertise is the highlight of their experience, while others said it’s the opportunity to train in one of the more than 20 flight training devices and simulators.

The simulators, which look like massive pod-like space vehicles, are housed in three-story-tall hangers, while the devices employ the latest technology in C-130 flight simulation. They are the key feature of the state of the art $850 million C-130 aircrew and maintenance and training system contracts managed by the 714th TRS.

“I think back home they would maybe be surprised about how much I know about systems right now,” said Singaporean flight engineer Sgt. Junrong Wu. “I think I’ve got an advantage because I’ve got more time in the ‘sims,’ learning how to deal with malfunctions.”

Once students have completed the classroom portions of their training, it’s on to flight operations at the 48th and 62nd Airlift Squadrons. These sister squadrons are responsible for flying more than 15,000 hours annually, utilizing the world’s largest training fleet of C-130J and C-130H model aircraft to accomplish the wing’s mission.

“I actually was thinking that flying as a crew was really hard,” said Nigerian Airman Peter Alafuka, a loadmaster student, “But I found out that if you have good crew resource management, that you can fly with any crew. My first flight I had a really good crew, and it went really well.”

To accomplish its mission, the 314th AW employs approximately 1,200 military and civilian personnel that make up the 714th TRS, and the 48th and 62nd Airlift Squadrons. These squadrons are tasked with training all five C-130 crew positions: pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer, and loadmaster.

Additionally, the 314th AW works closely with the 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 4, part of the 82nd Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, training C-130 maintainers from 15 nations.

“Just the fact that you’re flying with a known entity, and you know what training they’ve been through builds a certain level of confidence in a formation, exercise or whatever it may be,” said Lt. Col. Todd Lindell, the 714th TRS director of operations. “If you’re flying against an unknown and you don’t know what kind of training they’ve had, it requires a higher level of awareness because you don’t know what to expect out of that crew. It adds a certain level of stress to the mission.”

The proud tradition of international diplomacy at the 314th AW shows no signs of slowing. Current projections forecast a 20-percent increase in international students in 2013.

“This is a great mission with international importance,” said Col. Scott Brewer, the 314th AW commander. “We’ve been growing our international training as we’ve been reorganizing the active duty and Air Reserve component mix, which has brought some of the international training back to us. These partnerships matter. We are part of the grander engagement strategy in the United States. As countries buy and operate C-130s, that starts international agreements that bond our countries diplomatically.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

COMMENTARY>>Air Force launches holiday safety campaign

It official…the 2012 Holiday Season is upon us. Traditionally, many of us decorate our homes, cook turkeys in a number of new and different ways and hit the roads to get home for the holidays.

Statistically speaking, the holidays can be a very dangerous time of year as well. While we as an Air Force were fortunate to have had no fatalities during fiscal years 10 and 11 between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, last year there were six. Four were between Thanksgiving and Christmas and two between Christmas and New Year’s.

The Air Force recently launched the 2012 Holiday/Winter Safety Campaign entitled “Safe-n-Sound, All Year Round” focusing on seven modules with three optional modules. The campaign began Nov. 16 and runs through Jan. 2, 2013. It was developed to ensure information and seasonal safety tips are made available to the Air Force community.

Team Little Rock has not had a holiday season mishap since 1999. We’d definitely like to continue that trend. In order to help manage the risks out there, the safety team here at The Rock has made all of the Air Force Safety material available to leadership and safety professionals on the 19th Airlift Wing Safety Community of Practice at

The holidays are a time for extra vigilance on the roads, extra attention to trip planning and preparation, and attention to detail when hanging those holiday lights in high places. Armed with the information provided in this campaign plan, supervisors have more resources at their fingertips as we continue to move forward in a quest for zero mishaps.

Happy Holidays from the Team Little Rock Safety Team.

COMMENTARY>>Our flag, our symbol

By Col. Lee A. Flint
314th Operations Group commander

It’s one of those things that hits you after you’ve been away from a military base for a while. My family and I moved to Little Rock from the Pentagon last summer. After two years of off-base living, the playing of “Retreat” followed by the National Anthem at the end of the duty day gives a sense of pride and patriotism that is often taken for granted. Sometimes, if you aren’t aware of your surroundings you won’t realize it’s happening. You see cars coming to a stop, and you look in your rear view mirror for the fire truck. Then you look at the clock, turn down the radio, and sit quietly while the Anthem plays. If you’re lucky you’ll spot the flag as a small team of Airman lower Old Glory with reverence.

Do you remember a little about the history of our flag? You probably haven’t thought about it for awhile. According to historian Duane Streufert, our flag was likely designed by Congressman Francis Hopkinson from New Jersey. The “First Flag Act” was passed by Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The text read, “Resolved. That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” By the time the act was ratified, the patriots had been at war with the British for more than two years, and the outcome was not yet assured. The flag was then, and remains to this day, a rallying point for all those who serve.

It should not come as a surprise, then, that military members and their families are more likely to fly the flag often, and take offense when proper courtesies are not rendered to the flag. You know facts such as:

During hoisting and lowering, all personnel face the flag, stand at attention. If in uniform render salute, civilians and military members not in uniform place right hand over their heart, or headgear at left shoulder w/ hand over heart.

The flag is displayed to the flag’s own right (observer’s left). It should always be to the right of all other flags.

The flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness.

It should not be displayed on days when weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is used.

When displayed against a wall the union should be uppermost to the flag’s right.

The flag is never used as apparel, bedding, or drapery.

For Air Mobility crews, reverence for the flag has taken another form, one that was very personal to me as a C-130 squadron commander. Many of us have been called upon to transport a fallen service member from forward deployed bases on his or her way home to the United States. The first view of the flag draped transfer case always brings a wave of sadness, but as it is brought aboard the aircraft, the sadness is replaced with a sense of pride and resolve.

So today, when “Retreat” plays, stop, face the music, and salute at the first note of the National Anthem. Remember those who risked everything to make it stand for something important, and those who fight to defend and protect it today.

TOP STORY>>Physical therapy: Pain and gain

By Airman 1st Class Rusty Frank
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

When someone walks in to the 19th Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy clinic and signs in at the front desk, they might hear the sounds of machines, people having their injured muscles stretched or a needle puncturing their skin. Though it may seem weird to new customers, working with these conditions is an everyday experience for the members of the clinic, who keep the Airmen on base fit to fight by providing top class physical therapy.

The members of the clinic support the mission at Little Rock Air Force Base by providing physical therapy to help people recover and prevent further injury.

“Our primary contribution is to keep the guys who fly the planes, the guys who take care of the planes, and the guys who take care of them, healthy so the mission can continue,” said Maj. Brian Langford, 19th MDOS physical therapy flight commander.

There are many treatments the clinic provides including joint and muscle manipulations. They also use foam rollers and lacrosse balls to keep muscles pliable and mobile, said Capt. Alexander Ford, a 19th MDOS physical therapist.

A new treatment provided at the clinic is trigger point dry needling. Langford said trigger point dry needling is where the physicaltherapist uses a small needle to puncture the skin to release or resolve muscular trigger points that are overly tightened or inflamed fibers within a muscle, said Langford.

Having a physical therapy clinic on base is important and financially beneficial to the Air Force, compared to sending people to expensive off-base clinics, said Ford.

“It (the physical therapy clinic) gives easy access to the people on base; it’s also a lot more cost effective for the Air Force to have us on base facilitating their physical therapy needs,” said Capt. Alexander Ford, a 19th MDOS physical therapist.

Another benefit to having a military physical therapy clinic on base is having physical therapists that know the physical requirements of the military physical fitness program.

“Since we know what they are expected to get back too, we have a pretty good idea of what their jobs entail and what there PT test and their mandatory PT programs are, we can tailor their recovery and prevention to the specific needs of the Air Force,” said Langford.

The physical therapy clinic is here to help prevent injuries, take care of already injured Airman, and help keep the mission at Little Rock Air Force Base successful.

“We get people back to flying, more importantly flyers have to be able to run a certain distance in order to fly, so in that respect, we get them back in the air because we get them running off of their profile,” said Staff Sgt. David Pienta, a 19th MDOS physical medicine technician.

TOP STORY>>Team Little Rock action board shaping more resilient Airmen

By Lt. Amanda Porter
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Resiliency. Readiness. These terms have become a culture and way of life for today’s Airmen and their families.

The Community Action Information Board is a key player in the process and implementation of resiliency and readiness programs Air Force wide. The board supports the entire installation including Airmen, families, Air Force civilians, contractors and retirees. The Team Little Rock CAIB is a total force team made up of active duty, National Guard and Reserve members.

“The overall goal of the CAIB is to take a strategic, cross-functional look at quality of life, personal readiness, and community issues to formulate long-term solutions,” said Stephanie Wynn, community support coordinator and executive director for the CAIB.

“Our purpose is to provide what Airmen and families need, and if we don’t have it, find out how to get it,” said Frank Cope, alternate executive director for the CAIB. “Sometimes the law or AFI prevents a certain resolution, but at least you’ve answered the question.”

The CAIB works diligently to address each issue, which requires collaboration across helping agencies on the installation. This is where the Integrated Delivery System comes into play. The IDS is a team of all of the helping agencies on base, functioning as the action arm of the CAIB.

“The IDS implements the vision and direction of the CAIB, and then briefs the CAIB on a quarterly basis on trends, programs and community issues,” said Wynn.

“People want to be listened to, valued and get an honest answer,” said Cope. “The IDS can’t do everything; then we go to our CAIB and say, ‘You’re the decision-makers and control the funding. How can we do this?’”

The IDS also develops a comprehensive, coordinated plan for integrating and implementing community outreach and prevention programs (e.g., financial management; violence awareness; sexual assault prevention; suicide prevention; health promotion, etc.). At the heart of theseprograms are the four Comprehensive Airmen Fitness pillars (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual). The key to IDS success is collaborative partnerships and coordinated activities of the human service programs.

“In the last four years, I have seen tremendous improvement in the IDS and CAIB commitment and added value,” said Cope. “We at Little Rock Air Force Base are finally making it what it was intended to be—making agencies work together to improve the quality of our services and ensure people know other services are available.”

CAIB membership is determined by AFI, while the IDS is open to those working with helping agencies and those invited to provide input from the units. However, there are ways to make your voice heard.

“The Community Forum is a great place to participate, as well as participating in Caring for People forums,” said Wynn.

“We’ve seen some changes,” added Cope. “Caring for People and CAF all came back to IDS work. Now we’re seeing money come down as a response and giving us some answers.”

There are a couple projects on the horizon for the IDS at Little Rock AFB, one of the largest will be Leadership Pathways—a base-level incentivized education program. The goal is to build resiliency through attending classes that will be offered on base. Moreover, it will incentivize Airmen and family members to attend by recognition.

The program will offer a variety of classes in the four CAF pillars. Airmen and family members may attend the classes they feel they need the most help in.

“Leadership Pathways is not the eight-hour resilience training,” said Wynn. “But it can be follow-on training for that training, Wingman Days or any of the resilience surveys.”

“We’re trying to provide [our people] a comprehensive, accessible training venue for self-improvement,” said Cope. “In the past when people have come forward and said, ‘I need this in my personal, professional or academic life,’ we’ve sent them to the subject matter expert. This is a one-stop shop.”

Leadership Pathways is scheduled to start at Little Rock AFB in January 2013. It will be the focus the base’s next Wingman Day. Classes will be available to all active duty, Reservists, National Guard, spouses and civilians. A course catalog will be published and available with a listing of all classes in the near future.

“Leadership Pathways is a great way to expand your knowledge in areas that you may be weak in or areas that are needed at a particular time,” said Wynn. “It gives you, the individual, choices in what you learn and when you learn it.”

Those interested in getting involved with the CAIB or IDS or that have any questions about Leadership Pathways, contact Mrs. Wynn at