Monday, June 29, 2015

TOP STORY >> Worth the wait

By Senior Airman Scott Poe
19 Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A field manager for the Air Force’s C-130 maintainer pipeline finally experienced the end product of his maintainers’ hard work and excellence – a flight aboard a C-130J.  

Stephen Reeves, an Air Education and Training Command advanced skills training manager, has served more than 37 years of combined federal service. For the past 17 years, he has managed field training for C-130 aircraft maintainers. 

“I work with new acquisition programs, new course development, specialized international training and manage more than 80 existing courses taught at 11 detachments ranging from Japan across the U.S. to England and Germany,” said Reeves. 

Reeves has flown on many C-130 simulator flights and been around the mighty Hercules for years, but had never flown aboard during a real-life sortie. 

With his retirement less than a month away, Reeves finally got his wish thanks to Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Lakin, 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 4, flight chief and the cooperation of the 48th Airlift Squadron. Reeves was ecstatic with the thought of finally getting to soar in a C-130.

“After all the lesson plans I’ve reviewed, all of the interactive computer displays I’ve seen, and all the simulators I’ve flown; now, at last, the real thing,” said Reeves.

Reeves sat in the flight deck as the aircraft soared over Arkansas. He watched as the pilots navigated the skies and cut through the clouds. The authentic smile on his face never vanished as he sat in the navigation seat.

“Every minute in the J-model was fun,” said Reeves. “I was enthralled by the professional work of the pilots and the view of the sky over central Arkansas. I could feel the more than 18,000 horsepower from those four Rolls Royce engines as we took off.”

Flying in the C-130 marks his final chapter in his career. Looking forward to his retirement, Reeves is thankful for the memories he experienced, at Little Rock Air Force Base.

TOP STORY >> Delivering Afghanistan’s fourth C-130H

By Senior Airman Harry Brexel 
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 
Since 2013, Airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base have advised and trained Afghan aircrews on C-130 operations. 

Two Afghan pilots completed the Afghan Air Force’s first-ever C-130 training flight September 2013 at Little Rock AFB. Approximately a month later, Afghanistan received its first two C-130H aircraft from the United States.

Since then, U.S. and Afghan Airmen have continued to work side-by-side to make significant progress on the Afghan Air Force’s combat airlift capabilities. 

Recently, Air Mobility Command Airmen delivered the fourth C-130H to Afghanistan. 

“This will be the last projected C-130 delivery to the Afghans,” said Capt. Adam Fletcher, a 52nd Airlift Squadron C-130H pilot and commanding officer of the C-130H delivery operation. 

The Afghan armed forces have relied heavily on helicopters for cargo air support over the past years. This fourth C-130H will enable the Afghan forces to have the same capabilities that NATO forces have used to successfully supply military outposts throughout the country.

In 2010, coalition partners recognized that C-130s could provide the Afghan Air Force with increased airlift, resupply and casualty evacuation capabilities, and a plan to supply the Afghan Air Force with a fleet of their own was born. Two aircraft arrived in mid-2013, with a third the following summer. The arrival of the fourth and final C-130 from the United States signifies a program five years in the making, and well worth the wait, said Lt. Col. Tyler Faulk, deputy director of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan’s Security Assistance Office..

“These C-130s are the Afghan Air Force’s first four engine aircraft with this type of expanded capability,” said Faulk. “This fleet allows them to transport supplies or troops within Afghanistan, as well as to partner nations where they can execute missions, trainings and exercises; a whole host of international activities.”

Faulk explained that the C-130 is a medium-lift aircraft, capable of expediting troop and supply movement, and allows for international reach, making it “a huge force multiplier.” 

“Afghanistan needs to perform more missions and having a fourth C-130 allows for that,” said Afghan Air Force Capt. Muhammad Azimy, a C-130 pilot who has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the aircraft. “We need to support more troops, moving them as soon as possible from one point to another, getting them into the fight faster. Getting commandos from the north to the south by helicopter would take days, but by C-130 it will take only a few hours.”

“The new fleet is a complete departure from anything the Afghan Air Force has owned before,” said Faulk.

Fletcher and a team of eight other Airmen made the trip to Kabul to deliver the aircraft, which was formerly assigned to the 19th Operations Group at Little Rock AFB. 

“I’m really excited for the trip,” said Senior Airman Kyle Miesbauer, a 50th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, assigned to the delivery flight. “I’ve never been to Afghanistan, but I joined the military to do things like this.” 

The cargo plane was modified for its new home and has its own Afghan Air Force tail insignia and lettering.

“Maintenance crews from the 19th AW, 314th AW and 913th Airlift Group worked on the plane for more than 70 total man-hours to ensure that it was in outstanding condition,” said Fletcher. 

The Afghan C-130H will be the second to come from Little Rock AFB.  The four aircraft are the largest planes in the entire Afghan Air Force fleet. 

The Air Force strategically picked a crew made up of Little Rock Airmen as well as Airmen from Peterson AFB, Colo. 

“Who better to ask than the 50th Airlift Squadron and the 52nd AS,” said Fletcher. “They are two of the last active-duty squadrons that specialize solely on C-130Hs.” 

Though this will be the last projected C-130 delivery, Airmen from Little Rock AFB will continue to help the Afghan Air Force make Herculean steps toward military independence through training their aircrews.

The C-130 formal training unit here has been training aircrew members from across the DOD and 44 allied nations for years. Afghanistan is among the newest nations to receive initial combat airlift training from the 314th AW at Little Rock AFB. The base is the only place equipped with the most experienced cadre of C-130 flight instructors and a $1.05 billion C-130 Aircrew Training System. 

Without the initial training provided by the 314th Airlift Wing’s tactical airlift “Center of Excellence”, the delivery of four C-130Hs to the Afghan Air Force would not have been possible. Aviators, mechanics and loadmasters trained here in preparation for the arrival of the fleet, and the Afghan Air Force can now conduct regular maintenance and training in country. 

As the Foreign Military Sales executor, the Security Assistance Office brought together the requirements needed from the Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air advisers, and connected them with available equipment in the U.S. inventory. After each plane’s arrival, they transitioned to supporting the sustainment of the aircraft. 

“Our end goal is to get them to self-sufficiency, and train them well enough that they are able to take over the entire process from development of the capability, through procurement, sustainment and even life cycle management,” Faulk said. 

Faulk has no doubts the Afghan Air Force will be able to step up to the challenge. He stressed the collaboration between Afghanistan and the Security Assistance Office played an important role in the successful procurement of the fleet. 

“This was a massive effort taken on by the Afghans, but we’ve been around every step of the way to help ensure the mission’s success,” Faulk said. 

“It’s a very effective aircraft, and will accomplish a lot of missions for the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior and even President Ghani,” said Azimy. “This fourth C-130 is very important to us.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

TOP STORY >> High Fly

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

The ramp of a C-130J is lowered into place, as a team of Airmen inch slowly toward the edge. A gust of cold air thrashes about the cargo area as four aerospace physiology Airmen depart the aircraft. 

The Airmen free fall 16,000 feet toward the earth before deploying their parachutes, landing safely at the drop-zone. The success of this operation rests in part with a successful exit at 20,000 feet; an objective that could not be accomplished without the Airmen of Aerospace Physiology. The High Altitude Airdrop Mission Support team has completed another successful mission, accomplishing multiple training objectives in the process. 

The HAAMS program is a vital asset of the 19th Medical Group, at Little Rock Air Force Base. Due to the nature of their mission, most of its members spend a great deal of time on the road each year. Rather than working at home station or within a clinical setting, they enable the mission by providing exceptional high altitude airdrop mission support to contingency operations through teamwork, excellence and innovation. As the only high altitude support mission in the Department of Defense, their duties take them to the farthest reaches of the globe, facilitating unpressurized airdrop missions above 20,000 feet for multiple government agencies.

HAAMS Airmen provide emergency response physiological care, as well as oxygen systems expertise to aircrew, parachutists and mission-essential personnel performing unpressurized operations. That care can range from the simple troubleshooting of a mask or changing out an oxygen bottle, to rigging an entire aircraft to support more than 60 high altitude-low opening and high altitude-high opening jumpers. On average, the HAAMS program supports over 125 taskings each year. 

“HAAMS personnel are a rapidly deployable force, able to respond to any global DOD operation,” said Staff Sgt. Abel Pelayo, an aerospace physiology technician. “We can support any mission that requires unpressurized flight at or above 20,000 feet on any aircraft. This can be a test operation at Yuma, Arizona, a NASA test at Edwards Air Force Base, California, or special operations’ contingencies. Our customers are diverse in mission and capability, and it is our ability to integrate with anyone from a scientist to a shooter that makes us an effective force multiplier.”

The Airmen who comprise this program are among the finest in the aerospace physiology career field. Each member is selected through an application process to attend the HAAMS Formal Course, which is offered bi-annually at Little Rock Air Force Base. This three-week course is designed to prepare technicians to operate independently in the field and includes a two-week flying phase supported by the various squadrons locally. 

“The course is a three-week intensive curriculum that covers over six months of material,” said Pelayo. “Our HAAMS course takes already experienced, highly motivated individuals and instills the capability and confidence required to integrate with the vast organizations we serve. Our students learn advanced oxygen equipment systems to sustain life at the extreme altitudes we work in and how to set up and manage these systems, regardless of aircraft type. We constantly test our candidates and present them with scenarios that force creative solutions.”

“At the core of our course is the human’s limit to altitude. We reintroduce students to altitude induced medical emergencies and how to effectively treat people in flight. By the end of the course our students have gone through 150 academic hours,” he said. “We try to simulate real world conditions as close as possible. By the time our students are done they possess a firm foundation on the application of operational physiology for HAAMS.”

The Airmen’s training does not end there. Students must demonstrate competencies on a minimum of three operational missions before they are considered for upgrade to mission-ready status; granting them full autonomy in the application of HAAMS. 

One thing is evident; this is not your regular altitude chamber unit.

TOP STORY >> Base safe after incident

By Arlo Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Base security forces engaged an armed suspect who attempted unauthorized access to the base gate on Monday.

The FBI identified the suspect as Larry McElroy, who passed away Tuesday at an off-base hospital. The suspect crashed his vehicle into a light post in front of the base’s Vandenberg Gate, began to exit his vehicle with a weapon and approach 19th Security Forces Squadron personnel. After the subject failed to comply with the Defenders’ commands to lower his weapon, they engaged the subject and took the proper measures to deter the threat.

The base was on lockdown for less than three hours as base security forces conducted a thorough sweep of the base to ensure the safety of personnel and their families.

The base commander said the daily vigilance of everyone in the Team Little Rock community is critical to safeguarding the base, especially in a crisis situation. 

“When incidents like this happen, our first instinct is ensuring the well-being and safety of our Airmen, their families and our community members. Our security forces Defenders are on the front line every day personifying our vigilance. I can’t be more thankful for their service and dedication to protecting our base and community,” said Col. Charles Brown Jr., 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander. 

“We exercise these scenarios with the 314th Airlift Wing, 189th Airlift Wing and 913th Airlift Group partners, and that training was put to the test,” the colonel said. “From reporting suspicious activity to following lockdown procedures, teamwork across the base was vital in our incident response.”

Post-lockdown security operations were a true team effort as the 189th Security Force Squadron sent two fire teams to augment post-lockdown operations. 

“We requested the 189th’s assistance to perform vehicle searches at the Arnold Drive and Harris Road Gates. It was a smooth transition; they integrated seamlessly, “said Senior Master Sgt. Walter R. Watkins, 19th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. “Their help was a force multiplier that gave us more manpower to manage traffic flow around base after the lockdown was lifted. It allowed us to concentrate our efforts on securing the incident scene and supporting the investigation.”

Base Explosive Ordnance Disposal team members conducted the search on the subject’s vehicle; the Little Rock Fire Department Bomb Squad assisted in responding to the suspect’s home; both were negative for explosives.

The incident is a joint investigation with the Little Rock Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Jacksonville Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI. 

The FBI is the lead agency in the ongoing investigation, and all questions regarding the subject and incident should now be directed to their staff at 501-217-2633.

TOP STORY >> Standing up airdrop capabilities in Iraq

By Senior Airman Harry Brexel 
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 

Capt. Peter Gac, a 48th Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot instructor/evaluator, has deployed multiple times throughout his Air Force career. His most recent assignment to Iraq, however, was unlike any other previous experience. 

“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” Gac said. “But I knew it would be a unique training opportunity.” 

Gac is assigned to the 314th Airlift Wing here at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and helps support the mission of the C-130 formal training unit – the largest C-130 FTU in the Department of Defense. This C-130 Center of Excellence routinely trains students from 47 partner nations as well as sister services of the U.S. military. 

The combat airlift training by Air Force C-130 experts doesn’t always end for partner nations in the Formal Training Unit at Little Rock AFB. Last March, Gac applied his training and skills Baghdad, helping to aid in the instruction of Iraqi Air Force members. 

Gac made the best use of his time. With only 30 days at Al Muthana Air Base, near the Baghdad International Airport, his contributions aided in the standing up of Iraq’s first airdrop capability.

The Iraqi Air Force has nine C-130 cargo planes in its fleet. However, none of the aircrews had been trained to perform combat airdrop functions. That changed at the end of 2014 when U.S. forces began an airdrop training program.  

“Prior to the training initiative, supplies and passengers were delivered by traveling from one air base to another or by using remote dirt runways,” Gac said. “Our goal was to continue training pilots, loadmasters, riggers and joint airdrop inspectors to create a new self-sustaining aerial ability.”  

Gac became part of a small mobile training team made up of U.S. Airmen and soldiers. The team worked together to teach, reinforce and certify functions that are necessary in performing C-130 airdrops. 

“It was great working with Iraqi Airmen,” said Gac. “I had experience working with them before and even recognized guys who I had trained at Little Rock AFB.” 

Iraqi Airmen received the same training at Little Rock’s C-130 Center of Excellence as U.S. Airmen. However, they did not intend to perform airdrops until mid-2014. As a result, there was no training programs or infrastructure in place to support the capability.  

While assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, Gac trained Airmen from the Iraqi Air Force 23rd Squadron. 

“Our team helped in providing tools that enabled them to properly load and drop cargo. The pilots were already very experienced, so through hands-on training and instruction they were able to execute multiple air drops.” 

Gac was able to witness the Iraqi Airmen reach one of the maximum capabilities that C-130 cargo planes are equipped to perform.

“They were very eager to learn, so it was exciting to see them perform these elaborate airdrops,” said Gac. 

With help from the U.S. mobile training teams, the Iraqi combat airlifters reached a pinnacle in their aviation history. Iraqi Airmen have now dropped training pallets, food, water, medicine and a variety of other supplies from their C-130s.

“Though my job there is done, the aircrews there will continue to train, adhere to standards and appreciate the complexity of their new aerial ability,” said Gac. “After several months of training, Iraq is now among the advanced nations in the world that have combat airdrop capabilities.” 

Friday, June 12, 2015

TOP STORY >> Unlocking memories

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

It started out as a normal Friday. Jane Utley, a 19th Contracting Squadron procurement analyst, picked up the base newspaper as she headed to her office. She sat down at her desk and began flipping through the pages of the Combat Airlifter while enjoying her cup of coffee. All of a sudden, she saw a familiar face. 

“It was my late husband,” said Utley.  

The picture dated back to 1987 when Little Rock Air Force Base personnel were ending their participation in the intercontinental ballistic missile mission. The picture had been included in the weekly paper as part of Little Rock Air Force Base history series to commemorate the base’s 60th anniversary this year. The picture showed the presentation of the key to missile silo 373-6 during the deactivation ceremony of the Titan II missile silo in Antioch, Arkansas, when the Missileers turned over the site to the Civil Engineer Squadron for site decommissioning. 

Utley’s husband was the real property officer of the 314th Civil Engineer Squadron at the time. 

“It was amazing to see the picture and realize I had the key,” said Utley. 

Utley is unsure what her plans are for the key. She’s considering donating it to the Jacksonville History Museum.  

The 19th Airlift Wing historian said stories like the Utleys’ are part of Team Little Rock’s rich heritage and hopes more people will share their story as the base’s anniversary approaches.

“Our past experiences have helped us grow and become the people we are today. If we continue to share our memories with others we can all learn by connecting the past with the present. Little Rock Air Force Base personnel have many stories to share that remind us of where we have come from and where we are going,” said Jennifer Blankenship, 19th Airlift Wing base historian. 

People who wish to share their Team Little Rock stories can submit them via e-mail at

TOP STORY>> Tech Sergeant selectees announced

Courtesy Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — The Air Force selected 8,446 staff sergeants for promotion to technical sergeant, officials announced today. Selectees represent 23.55 percent of the 35,863 eligible.

To see the selection list, go to the Air Force Portal at and select the promotion link, or go to myPers at,  select "Any" from the drop down search menu and enter "Active Duty: Enlisted Promotions Home Page" in the search window. Scroll down to "Promotion Selects and Statistics."

Airmen selected for technical sergeant will be promoted according to their promotion sequence number beginning in August. Selections are tentative until the data verification process is complete, which is no later than 10 days after the promotion release date.  Personnel officials will notify Airmen, via military personnel sections, if their selection is in question.

Airmen will be able to access their score notices on the virtual MPF, accessible via the secure applications page and the Air Force Portal.

For more information about Air Force personnel programs go to the myPers website. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following these instructions on the Air Force Retirees Services website.

Friday, June 5, 2015

TOP STORY >> Eagle Eyes vital to spotting danger

By Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

At Little Rock Air Force Base whether active duty, retired military, civilian or family member; everyone plays a vital role in the protection of our Nation’s safety. 

The Air Force Office of Special Investigation administers an Air Force-wide program called Eagle Eyes. It is an anti-terrorism initiative that teaches individuals how to identify and report possible terrorist activity. The program provides a 24-Hour hotline, allowing information to be reported as soon as suspicious activity occurs. Reports are disseminated among federal and local law agencies as well as to commanders in order to ensure appropriate action is taken. 

“Throughout the Air Force, the ‘every Airman is a sensor’ concept is briefed to all,” said Special Agent Bedard. “Besides being just a buzz phrase, we can easily fulfill this concept by being aware.” 

The following categories of suspicious behavior are guidelines of what to look for and report.

Surveillance-Overt and Covert: This is the first and most important element to be cognizant about. Examples of overt surveillance: Any person recording or monitoring activities to include using cameras (still or video), binoculars, note taking and drawings or maps. Covert surveillance is different. An example would be someone on the side of the road pretending to be fixing a flat tire. 

“To the untrained eye, this is a typical sight to the daily driver passing by,” said Bedard.  However, that person fixing the tire has positioned his vehicle in which he can ‘fix’ his flat and observe his target while remaining undetected for a significant period of time.” 

Elicitation: The attempt to gain information about military operations, capabilities, or personnel through methods such as mail, fax, telephone, or in person. 

Tests of Security: Attempts to measure reaction times and security strengths and weakness’, such as causing a commotion at the base gate to see how long it takes security forces to react and what procedures they follow.

Acquiring Supplies: Obtaining items such as weapons, ammunition, detonators, timers, military uniform, decals, badges and passes.

Suspicious Persons out of Place: Anything out of the ordinary; a person who looks out of place or doesn’t look like they belong in your neighborhood, office space, or commute.

Dry Run: Putting people in positions or moving them according to their plans without actually committing the terrorist act. 

Deploying Assets:  This is the final behavior and last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act takes place. People and supplies are put into motion to commit the act. 

If something looks out of place, do not hesitate. Alert the proper authorities through all channels possible. Any information can be helpful. It is always better to report an incident to security and law enforcement officials. 

“If something or someone makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and you dismiss it as being paranoid, the incident you observed might have been something of value to Force Protection” said Bedard.

For more information about the Eagle Eyes program or to report suspicious activity, visit You can also contact the Little Rock AFB law enforcement desk at 501-987-3221, Security Forces-Crime Stop at 501-987-6600 or OSI hotline at 501-779-0043.

Knowing what to look for and the procedures to take in the event you notice suspicious activity are key to mission effectiveness.  

TOP STORY >> Forging new international partnerships

By Senior Airman Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 

Contingency training with coalition partners is nothing new to Little Rock Air Force Base Airmen. However, the GREEN FLAG 15-07 exercise that recently took place fostered international partnerships like no other. 

More than 50 Airmen from across Little Rock AFB participated in the exercise. 

“This exercise truly encompassed Team Little Rock,” said Maj. Jeremy Wagner, 34th Combat Training Squadron director of operations.  “Active-duty Airmen, guardsmen, and reservists all played a role.” 

Along with local combat airlifters, the operation included members from across the U.S. Department of Defense as well as several international partners. For eight days, the 34th Combat Training Squadron took part in the large-scale air mobility exercise that involved approximately 4,600 people.  

This year was the first time that members of the Colombian Air Force traveled to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, to participate in a joint combat airlift exercise. Twenty-one Colombian Airmen made the 2,500-mile journey aboard their C-295 twin-turboprop aircraft. 

“The training that we have received here has been amazing,” said Lt. Col. Jose Polo, the Colombian Military Airlift Command human development department chief. “We’ve learned new tactics and procedures that we can now use in our own country.” 

The Colombian Air Force has successfully performed multiple airdrops before, but GREEN FLAG 15-07 was the first instance where they displayed their aerial delivery capabilities during an international exercise. The crew also performed a combat offload for the first time in their history. Designed for austere locations, a combat offload occurs when an aircraft partially lands and rapidly offloads pallets from the rear cargo ramp.  

“The Colombians have been fantastic to train with,” Wagner said. “This exercise gives us an opportunity to build partnership capacity with  (the Columbian Air Force). By working together, we have been able to standardize combat airlift procedures that we each perform.” 

Though the Colombians were newcomers to Green Flag, the Royal Australian Air Force participated for the fourth time in the combat airlift training operation with the 34th CTS. 

The Aussies are no strangers to the challenges of Green Flag operations. 

Thirty-nine members of the RAAF made the long trek to the center of “The Natural State” in a C-130J aircraft to participate in GREEN FLAG 15-07.  

“One of the main purposes of this visit was to train our junior crewmembers about coalition interaction,” said RAAF 37 Squadron Leader Simon Kerr. “Coordinating information flow is paramount in operations like this.” 

Though the RAAF C-130J is slightly modified in comparison with the USAF C-130J, Airmen of both countries were able to learn from and teach each other. 

“The Australians are top-shelf aviators,” Wagner said. “They are a great contingency partner that can perform just about everything we can when it comes to air mobility.”

Prior to their departure, the Australian Airmen already looked forward to more opportunities training with their American counterparts. 

“I have already expressed our desire to return again,” said Kerr. “The training opportunities are definitely worth it.” 

The 34th CTS hosts Green Flag exercises six to ten times per year, practicing advanced combat airlift tactics and techniques with joint and coalition partners. 

“The 34th CTS at Little Rock AFB is the only place that has the resources to serve as a focal point in providing the most realistic, tactical-level, joint combat airlift training,” Wagner said.