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Frontline Duty


M a g a z i n e o f Am e r i c a ’ s A i r F o r c e

July/August 2008

The Space Link Airmen provide out-of-this-world capabilities

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 to end segregation in the U.S. military. The order states: “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the president that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” — Courtesy Harry S. Truman Library and Museum



Official magazine of the U.S. Air Force July/August 2008, Volume LII, Number 5

Got something to say about Airman? Write us at, or visit www.airmanonline., to share views with fellow readers.

Director of Public Affairs Brig. Gen. Darren W. McDew Commander, Air Force News Agency Col. Clifton Douglas Jr.

Airman Staff Editor Louis A. Arana-Barradas Assistant Editor Orville F. Desjarlais Jr.

Airman at war

representation of the Air Force. And shame on you for running the photograph. Senior Master Sgt. Joe Kost Offutt AFB, Neb. Editor’s note: Sergeant Kost, I can assure you we’re not in the habit of running inappropriate photographs. This one slipped by inadvertently and for that we’re sorry. We’ve tweaked our review process so this doesn’t happen in the future.

True Warriors?

Absolutely the finest Airman magazine ever printed [May-June 2008]. From the cover to the Final Frame, the Airmen at War issue captured the true essence of today’s Airman warrior. And a poster too! Super work — keep it up. Chief Master Sgt. Neil McGillicuddy Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Inappropriate patch I have always appreciated your articles and the strides you take to cover the amazingly wide variety of skills and occupations our Air Force has to offer. I would also say that your accuracy is spot on 99 percent of the time. And while there may be an occasional inaccuracy, I have never felt the need to single one out. However, the MayJune edition’s “Airman At War” featured a picture I just can’t ignore. On Page 13, you chose to run a picture of a C-130 Hercules pilot wearing an extremely inappropriate “FUBAR” patch, while the only other patch on the captain’s uniform was an American flag. Quite the dichotomy. The world’s foremost symbol of freedom coupled with a disturbing symbol of vulgarity. Shame on the captain for the poor choice, and poorer


Lieutenant Hering, I read your comment in the latest issue of Airman magazine [May-June 2008 issue] and I’m appalled! By now I hope someone has corrected you and put you in your place. Civilians can, and do, earn the right to be warriors. For your information, civilians are combatants and do deploy. Our mere presence on the battlefield, as well as our support to combat operations, allows us to earn that title. For your information, civilian personnel have deployed beside their maintenance counterparts and performed repairs on the aircraft for decades. Most recently, the Air Force history program converted all of its active-duty slots to civilian. As I type, we have civilian historians deployed to the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. And we have civilian historians at several combined air operations centers in the war zone. And the office of special investigations sends civilian agents to the front lines regularly. After reviewing your email address, and assessing what unit you are with, I’m curious about just how much time you have spent on the front lines. As for me, well I am a retired senior NCO who deployed multiple times, including a short four-month stint to Iraq. I have done my time and will go back in my civilian capacity. Your disrespectful comments prove that you need to reassess your thought process and research your line of attack before sticking your foot in your mouth. Yancy Mailes 366th Fighter Wing historian Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

Instead of degrading an officer for his shallow views about the word “warrior,” I would like to personally thank all fellow veterans who have served in the military or in support as a Department of Defense civilian employee. We are all warriors in our own way, and have proven it to ourselves and others throughout the years. The overall mission success at any military installation depends equally on military and civilian personnel. In addition, many civilian employees have prior military experience. From the basic commitments to full retirement, we have made it possible for this young lieutenant to be where he is today. As an infant fighting for life in a mother’s womb, or servicemembers defending their country, neither one is less of a warrior. There are more important things to discuss than a word that might offend someone. We should focus on “taking the fight to the enemy,” not aiming shots at ourselves! Kevin Swiecicki Charleston AFB, S.C.

When I read about the new Airman online Web page, I didn’t think I would like the idea. But having browsed around a bit, I find it very easy to navigate and as visually appealing as any AFPIMS (Air Force Public Information Management System) site I’ve looked at. Very solid work! Tech. Sgt. Mike Hammond Randolph AFB, Texas The new, revamped Airman online looks great. The design is nice and very easy to navigate. Great teamwork for design and material. Master Sgt. Sonny Shoyeb via e-mail

Michelle’s Yellow Rose To the brave Villers family, it was with great honor that I learned of the valor your daughter demonstrated [“Michelle’s Yellow Rose,” March-April 2008]. Every day I also struggle, but persevere in serving the Air Force. My daughter, like yours, also suffered a life-ending virus, and each day I honor her courage and faith in her struggle for her life. Great people like your daughter inspire me to continue to serve my country with immeasurable love. Master Sgt. David Reyes Air Force Reserve, Lackland AFB, Texas

I personally think your magazine is the best I know. Thank you. Martin Van Der Merwe Kranskop, South Africa

Design Staff Design Editor G. Patrick Harris Designer Luke Borland Designer Mike Carabajal Designer Virginia Reyes Production Manager Andrew Yacenda

Contributors Copy Editor Doug Lefforge Copy Editor Janie Santos

About Airman Airman is published bimonthly by the Air Force News Agency for the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs. As the official magazine of the U.S. Air Force, it is a medium of information for Air Force personnel. Readers may submit articles, photographs and artwork. Suggestions and criticisms are welcomed. All pictures are U.S. Air Force photos unless otherwise identified. Opinions of contributors are not necessarily those of the Air Force.

Editorial Office Airman, AFNEWS/PAM, 203 Norton St., San Antonio, TX 78226-1848. Telephone 210-925-7757; DSN 945-7757, fax 210-925-7219; DSN 945-7219. E-mail:

Giving Iraq new wings

New Airman online

Look us up Air Force Link, the Air Force’s official World Wide Web home page.

For a Unit Subscription

Coalition Air Force Transition Teams, or CAFTTs, consist of 380 Airmen working to rebuild the Iraqi air force. Your MarchApril 2008 magazine did a great job telling the story of the training school at Taji, Iraq, which is a part of the team. Our crew is clambering to share copies of the magazine with others. Right now they’re fighting over the electronic issue they receive online, but it sure is hard to autograph. Thanks. Maj. Val Baker Camp Taji, Iraq Editor’s note: Here are just a few comments from readers who visited the new Airman online Web page.

Administrative support offices can send the unit’s mailing address and the total number of military and civilian Air Force people via e-mail to to start receiving copies on a regular basis.


After reading the story on Airman Paige Villers’ tragic death, I felt compelled to express to the Villers family my condolences, and to also thank them. Reading the story of her fight, and absolute willingness to endure to serve her country, reminded me of the excitement I felt when I went through basic training. And now, after close to four years of service and two deployments, it was starting to feel more like a day-to-day job, and a hassle just to work an extra hour or two, or to have to come in for weekend duty. Not anymore. Senior Airman Jeremiah Hunter Dyess AFB, Texas

One copy for every three Airmen and civilian workers.

For a Personal Subscription Send check or VISA/MasterCard number (including expiration date) to Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Telephone credit card orders 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Eastern time to toll free 1-866-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250. [24 hours] Call for costs.

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Contents July/ August 2008

4 Fear the hog

A-10 Thunderbolt II maintainers at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, know their “hogs” are helping win the war on terrorism. So they do what it takes to keep their jets flying.

10 The space link

“Space warriors” use high-tech, spacedbased systems to help coalition ground forces track down their elusive enemies.


14 A persistent presence

Pacific Air Force’s area includes 16 time zones, 43 countries in 100 million square miles. That’s a lot of space and responsibility for Gen. Carrol “Howie” Chandler.

24 Recruiting the force

The Air Force is not having problems recruiting people. But recruiters still look far and wide to find “the best and brightest.”

36 Keesler marches on


After surviving a near knockout blow, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is alive and kicking and training Airmen like before. Its post-Katrina transformation has put it back on track.


42 Vote of confidence

An army of voting officers worldwide is ready to help Airmen cast their votes in the upcoming election.

44 ‘FITTER’ to Fight

Many reasons can derail a fitness program. But in today’s Air Force, fitter is better.

2 Airmail 20 Profile 22 Heritage 30 Frontline Duty 48 Notebook


On the Cover photo by Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester design by Luke Borland



Bagram maintainers keep a-10s Fighting

by Louis A. Arana-Barradas photos by Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester


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A 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron ground crew secures an A-10 Thunderbolt II after a combat mission and before parking it. The aircraft is a workhorse that provides close-air support to coalition ground forces in Afghanistan, the job the Air Force built the ground-attack fighter to do.

After each combat mission, A-10 Thunderbolt II crew chief Staff Sgt. Damon Ballard checks his “hog” to ensure it’s good to go for its next mission from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. He deployed to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron with the 81st Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.


irman 1st Class Marissa Burke doesn’t fear the “hog.” Coalition ground forces fighting the war on terrorism don’t fear it either. They love to hear the distinctive hum of the A10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack fighter twin turbofan engines overhead. It means help is only a radio call away. But those who dare tangle with the hog definitely tremble in fear when it is near. Because the jet’s deadly 30 mm Gatling gun can end an insurgent’s career in a three-second burst of bullets. Bullets Airman Burke, an A-10 weapons load crew member at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, helps load on the aircraft. It’s a job she likes because of the final results.


“My job is cool because I know what I do impacts the war,” said the Airman from Archibald, Pa., who is on her first deployment. “I’m actually doing something that helps people, America and the cause over here.” She’s one of more than 200 aircraft maintainers who deployed with the 81st Aircraft Maintenance Unit, from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to join the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Their mission since January 2008: Keep their 12 jets flying. The “Spang” crew has done just that, said 1st Lt. Kristen Lainis, the unit’s assistant officer in charge. Since arriving at Bagram, maintainers have been busy keeping 81st Fighter Squadron jets flying. They “met every air tasking order with 100 percent flying schedule effectiveness and launched more than 1,300 sorties,” said the lieutenant, a three-year Air Force veteran. That equated to more than 5,700 combat flying hours of close-air support and show-of-force missions, she said. And squadron pilots dropped more than 130 bombs, launched more than 200 rockets and fired more than 65,000 of the heavy 30 mm rounds. “The ‘hog’ has truly become feared by our enemies,” Lieutenant Lainis said. And that has paved the way “for the motto that now de-

fines our unit — ‘Fear the Hog.’” Keeping the more than 30-year-old jets in the air is paramount to the success of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. But that can be a tough duty. “This is by no means an easy task to achieve, but teamwork is the main driving force behind the unit’s success,” the lieutenant said. That teamwork becomes evident to anyone who takes a stroll on Bagram’s busy aircraft ramp, day or night, and watches the maintainers at work launching or recovering the A-10s — especially if it’s one of their hogs. “If the aircraft needs liquid oxygen, the LOX crew springs into action,” Lieutenant Lainis said. “If there was a pilot-reported discrepancy during the sortie, the appropriate specialist is on the spot. This cohesive team expertly returns the aircraft to war-ready status in minimal time. “So you’ll rarely see an A-10 maintainer working solo,” she said. That’s a fact Airman Burke, who works with a team, can attest to. “You grow a lot closer to the people you work with — it’s more like a family here,” the Airman said. “Everyone is there for each other.”

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An A-10, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, taxis on the flightline for a combat mission. The A-10 is the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces.

Expediter Tech. Sgt. Steven Nealy checks his tool box before getting to work on his A-10 Thunderbolt II.

Crew chief Airman 1st Class Sean Story inspects the rudder of the oldest A-10 Thunderbolt II in U.S. Air Forces in Europe, in service since 1980.

The Airman has been in the service “Our aircraft have flown great this entire about a year and a half and may be too deployment. Our maintainers do an out“So you’ll rarely see “green” to know that, in maintainer circles, standing job keeping our aircraft fully misan A-10 maintainer the joke is weapons loaders can’t work unsion capable every day,” the captain from less in groups of three. But load crews are Fayetteville, N.C., said. “This is proven by working solo.” — 1st Lt. Kristen Lainis perfect examples of teamwork in motion. how well our aircraft have flown here. The teamwork and attention to detail is why “After a sortie where munitions have we have easily made every combat sortie.” been expended, you can see the hours of But launching and “catching” jets around the clock is a tough and training in the ‘load barn’ have paid off for load crews,” Lieutenant dirty business, and life on the A-10 ramp isn’t glamorous. For exLainis said. “Like a well-oiled machine, crews follow the letter of the ample, when an A-10 returns from a combat mission, its entire nose is law and safely reconfigure aircraft for their next combat mission.” sometimes black from the gun gas. The residue can be thick. But the same is true of all the maintainers, from crew chiefs to the “Although a blackened nose is a ‘badge of honor,’ it must be Airmen who work on the jets’ avionics, hydraulics, frame, engines or cleaned,” Lieutenant Lainis said. “And the light grey painted aircraft other systems on the flightline or in the back shops, Capt. Jennifer show every speck of dirt and splattered bug.” Gurganus said. She’s the officer in charge of the Spang maintenance unit. Luckily, no crew chief ever cleans his or her aircraft alone, she


Members of the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load foot-long 30 mm ammunition on an A-10 Thunderbolt II before a combat mission. The “hog’s” GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun is the business end of the Air Force’s premier ground-attack fighter, which has been in the Air Force inventory since October 1975. said. It’s not uncommon to see 10 people, no matter their job, working together to clean the jets. And sometimes hog handlers turn into tour guides when Soldiers pay a visit. “Soldiers come out to the flightline just to see the A-10 because our jets have helped them out of a tough situation,” the lieutenant said. “There’s no other airframe in the Air Force that can compete with the A-10 and its gun for providing combatair support to troops on the ground.” That’s why maintainers ensure their hogs are always ready to join the fight, she said. In mid-May, the unit had done its job and was ready to return home to Spangdahlem’s green and rolling hill country. Though she liked her Bagram experience and learned from it, Airman Burke was glad the deployment was almost over. So were her parents back in Pennsylvania, who didn’t relish the

thought of their daughter serving in a war zone. “My parents know I’m happy to be here, that this is what I want, that I needed to be here. So they accept it,” Airman Burke said. “They’re proud of me and brag to all their friends about me.” As the unit packed up to return home, another unit was arriving and settling in. Get in, do the job for four to six months and get out. That’s the now-familiar way of life for today’s Airmen. As they hit the Bagram ramp again — Airman Burke included — all the Spang crew wanted to do was launch their last hog, pack their gear and get back home.

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Airmen provide out-of-this-world capabilities BY LOUIS A. ARANA-BARRADAS


inding a fleeting enemy in Iraq’s vast deserts or the rugged mountains of Afghanistan is no easy task for coalition ground forces. And when the enemy hears a warplane overhead, they run away and hide, taking advantage of the knowledge of the land in which they fight. But coalition forces have a trump card. They know that high overhead, unheard and often unseen, a host of space-based systems — and other weapon systems that depend on the information these out-of-this-world technologies provide — help them find the elusive enemy. Then they can deal with them. This continual game of cat and mouse is a demanding task with life-and-death consequences. But it’s a mission Lt. Gen. William L. Shelton wants to simplify. Helping him is a vigilant force of more than 20,500 often unseen and unheard space professionals who operate the key Air Force space systems on which warfighters depend. The general commands Air Force Space Command’s 14th Air Force [Air Forces Strategic]. It provides missile warning, space superiority and situational awareness, satellite operations and space launch and range operations. And he heads U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space, which provides combatant commanders tailored, responsive, local and global space support. From his headquarters at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., General Shelton gave Airman magazine an update on the increasing role of space warriors.


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General Shelton: Space capabilities are now foundational to military operations in the 21st century. In fact, I would submit that every military operation today depends on space for either planning or execution, or both. As examples, satellite communications link our forces worldwide, provide mobile communications down to the tactical level and disseminate crucial intelligence information. The precision that GPS [Global Positioning System] provides is a tremendous force multiplier, not just as a navigational tool, but by also allowing more precise munitions, lower collateral damage and secure communications timing. Space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets are powerful tools to find, fix, target and kill our enemies — wherever they are. Many view the effects provided by space assets as “utilities.” But behind these space effects is the hard work of our great space team of active-duty military, civilians and contractors. These folks ensure the right effects are delivered on the timing and tempo requested by the warfighter.

: How are GPS satellites helping avoid collateral damage and unnecessary loss of life in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan?

: There’s a lot of talk about unmanned aerial vehicles, but little about satellites that support them. Can you please explain their relationship?

: Could you highlight a little-known space effect our Airmen are using that allows America and her allies to conduct military operations 24/7?

General Shelton: Satellite communications are an essential part of how we employ unmanned aerial vehicles. They allow UAVs to operate well beyond line-of-sight. In fact, we are flying UAVs from stateside locations. This greatly reduces the footprint in theater, not just for the crews, but also for the support those crews require. Satellite communications also enable real-time dissemination of the data collected by UAVs, allowing a wide range of users access to the critical data in real-time. In addition to satellite communications, our UAVs depend on GPS for very precise navigation. I think it’s fair to say that UAVs are critically dependent on satellite capabilities.

General Shelton: Most people are very familiar with GPS, and the navigation capability it provides. But few understand the crucial role of the GPS precision timing signal in both military and commercial applications. Extremely accurate timing allows for a higher data rate over communications channels. In today’s information age this is critical to pushing as much data as possible through our available communications bandwidth. Additionally, GPS timing allows secure encryption of communications by providing a common timing reference. Commercial users of GPS use the timing signal for applications such as time-stamping banking transactions and Internet timing, making GPS vital to our international business and networking.

: When people think of “Airmen at war,” they visualize boots on the ground. How do you see these “space warriors?”

General Shelton: We like to think of our space warriors as deployed-in-place forces because they are an essential part of the warfighting effort 24/7 — albeit from home station. Many in our space team have deployed forward in the U.S. Central Command area of operation, providing “boots on the ground” space expertise in theater, as well as a good conduit for reach back to our space team back home. Space operations are inherently global in nature and, as a result, space operators have a global perspective. But at the same time, we are

: What can you say about the immediate future of space operations in defense of our nation, and how do you prepare for the challenges that the future brings?

General Shelton: I’ve mentioned just a few of our space dependencies. But we also recognize that potential vulnerabilities General Shelton: GPS-guided muniaccompany that dependence. The space tions are the weapons of choice in Iraq domain is vast, but as more nations and and Afghanistan. But it’s not just air-decommercial consortia become space-farlivered munitions that depend on GPS. ing entities, it’s becoming more crowded. Other indirect fire weapons, like the We currently track more than 18,000 manGuided Multiple Launch Rocket System, made objects in space, rely on GPS for the to include everything precision that we now from active satellites take for granted. The we must build a strategy to to man-made debris. unprecedented accuAnd these are just the racy of these weapons preserve and protect our space objects that our senlimits collateral effects sors are able to track by allowing the use of capabilities against intentional and — there are many more smaller warheads and objects on orbit that we fewer munitions to unintentional hazards. know we can’t “see.” In ensure killing a given addition to these environmental hazards, target, thereby lowering the likelihood of very committed to providing all possible potential adversaries possess the ability unintended damage. Another important space effects needed by the various theto disrupt or destroy our space capabiliaspect of this GPS-aided precision is the aters, in most cases, simultaneously. Our ties. Therefore, we must build a strategy to confidence we have in dropping these operators are dedicated and innovative, preserve and protect our space capabiliweapons very close to our forces in conalways looking for new ways to maximize ties against intentional and unintentional tact with the enemy, thereby providing our space capabilities. They are truly an hazards. The starting point for an adevery effective close-air support. impressive group of people.


quate protection capability is robust space situational awareness, which we define as tracking all man-made objects in space, discerning the intent of others who operate in space, knowing the status of our own forces in real-time and understanding the natural environment and its effect upon space operations. In fact, space situational awareness is foundational for all space operations, which is why Air Force Space Command is hard at work developing improved capabilities. In the future, a decision maker’s ability to quickly answer the “who, what, when, where, how and why” questions regarding space events will help determine the proper course of action.

photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds

: How are space warriors and their assets helping “win today’s fight?”

: What else would you like to add that you feel is important to share with the rest of the Air Force?

General Shelton: As a nation, we need to understand the criticality of space superiority. Most of us intuitively understand the importance of superiority in other domains. Gaining and maintaining air, land and maritime superiority is a given in joint warfighting. Similarly, we can’t assume that someone will not challenge our current space superiority in a future conflict. Some would argue Saddam Hussein fired the first shot in this regard when he tried to jam our GPS signals in 2003. The Chinese demonstration of an anti-satellite capability in 2007 is further evidence of the growing threat to the space domain. Many of our potential adversaries have watched us successfully leverage space assets and, therefore, are actively seeking ways to deny our space capabilities. Clearly, space is no longer a sanctuary for operations. So we must prepare accordingly to deter and dissuade hostile uses of space. And if deterrence fails, we must develop methods to preserve our critical space capabilities. So, to achieve victory in future conflict, I believe we must be prepared to gain and maintain superiority in all domains: Land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.

About critical space operations, Lt. Gen. William Shelton said, “Clearly, space is no longer a sanctuary for operations. So we must prepare accordingly to deter and dissuade hostile uses of space.”

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photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III

Pacific Air Force commander Gen. Carrol “Howie” Chandler must wear three hats as he works to keep the Pacific Rim a peaceful region.

A persistent presence Pacific Air Forces: 100 million square miles of nonstop responsibility by Orville F. Desjarlais Jr.


t would take a C-17 Globemaster III more than 60 hours of nonstop flying to skirt the edges of Pacific Air Forces’ area of responsibility. It’s an area that includes 16 time zones and 43 countries in 100 million square miles. It encompasses the smoggy shores of Los Angeles to the pristine coasts of Alaska. The midnight sun of the Arctic to the land of the rising sun in Japan, and from the hot west coast of Africa to the icy glaciers of the Antarctic. That’s a big area — half the world’s surface — and a lot of responsibility, which falls squarely on the shoulders of Gen. Carrol “Howie” Chandler, Pacific Air Forces commander. He’s also the air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command and executive director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. With that many titles, it would be easy for anyone to be an uptight,


clock-watching, fast-talking commander. But General Chandler is the opposite. He seems as cool and reflective as a mountain lake. Sipping on a glass of lemonade, the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of ’74 grad sat back in a brown leather chair in his office and explained everything about the Pacific Air Forces: What’s important, what’s happening today, what to expect in the future. Command’s importance The general said that although the Pacific Rim may look peaceful, the area does have potential trouble spots. “We’re not at war in the Pacific, but we’re really not at peace, either,” he said, pointing out terrorist operations in the Philippines, pirates in the Strait of Malacca in West Malaysia and the ever-present threat of North Korea.

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photo by Marine Sgt. Andres Alcaraz

illustration by Virginia Reyes

“We’re very fortunate that the guns are silent, because three of the world’s 10 largest economies are located in this region of the world,” the general said. “Economic development and stability in this region is due, in large part, to the contributions of the U.S. security umbrella, along with our allies and coalition partners,” he said. “If you look at developments in the Pacific, our high-end adversaries are getting better. They’re making smart investments across the entire spectrum — militarily and economically — in this part of the world. “So, while we continue to work on low-end capabilities, we must also keep an eye on the high-end competition,” he said. “We’ll continue to posture forces — people and equipment — where we need them in the Pacific to do what the nation needs us to do.” In some cases that means providing relief when natural disasters — like the typhoons, floods and earthquakes — strike, like those that hit Burma and China in May 2008. “We are very grateful that the Burmese government allowed us to do one of the things our great Air Force men and women do extremely well — provide immediate and effective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to affected regions all over the world,” General Chandler said. Posturing weapons systems in the theater shows the command’s importance, he said. Three of the seven programmed F-22 Raptor squadrons in the Air Force are, or will be, at command bases. And the only two overseas-based C-17 Globemaster III squadrons are in the command. Plus, there are plans to beddown RQ-4 Global Hawks at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. “One of the things we continually emphasize here is a persistent

Hawaii Guam

Air Force bases in Alaska, Hawaii and Guam give the Air Force a strategic triangle in the Pacific from where it can help provide stability in the region.

photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder

Burmese military members form a line to unload much-needed water off an Air Force C-130 Hercules at Yangon International Airport, Burma. The plane, also brought food and medical supplies that provided relief to thousands of Burmese affected by the killer Cyclone Nargis in May 2008. area, “that’s a selling point,” he said. “Guam’s strategic location in the Strategic Triangle makes it an ideal location for Global Hawks,” General Chandler said. “It’s not only exciting for us, but for our coalition allies. They, too, are inThe Strategic Triangle terested in the same high-altiAfter he finished half his lemtude, long endurance UAV-type onade, the general got up and walked outside and continued to “We’re very fortunate that the guns system.” Unlike the Global Hawk’s talk about what’s happening at wartime mission on the front bases in the Pacific, specifically are silent, because three of the lines, the general sees many difthose that constitute the “Strateferent ways to use the tenacious gic Triangle” — bases in Alaska, world’s 10 largest economies are aircraft. Hawaii and Guam. “I can see a multi-faceted use “Each of those bases is imlocated in this region of the world.” of the system,” he said. “Unforportant because they allow us to — Gen. Carrol “Howie” Chandler tunately, we’ll probably have to project U.S. military capability use the system for humanitarian off of U.S. soil,” the general said. efforts during disaster relief.” “The changes we’re making at those bases today are going to dictate While Airmen at Andersen will launch and recover the unmanned the direction PACAF is taking for years to come.” aircraft, Airmen at Hickam will fly the missions remotely from the Called “50-year decisions,” the general said each base in the Strabase’s air operations center. tegic Triangle is being postured for the future. Hickam has one of the largest air operations centers in the Pacific. Standing in front of a static display of a Global Hawk erected A mixed group of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines command at Hickam a week earlier, the general talked about stationing unand control all the airpower in the Pacific, with the exception of the manned aircraft on Guam. Global Hawk is an unmanned aerial Korean peninsula, which is under 7th Air Force control. vehicle on steroids. It can fly for 35 hours straight, going more than “It truly is a joint and integrated operation,” he said. “We have 15,000 miles. And, when dealing with a 100-million-square-mile presence,” he said. “It’s important in this part of the world. What I’m describing here is being in a marathon, not a sprint.”

Capt. Bryan Spence checks his F-16 Fighting Falcon’s flaps and rudder to ensure there’s no ice build up before taking off on a Red Flag-Alaska training mission from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, in April. The captain is from the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan.


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photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo

killed tens of thousands of people in China. Command C-17 Globemaster III flew in to deliver tons of humanitarian relief supplies. “In a strange way, and it’s unfortunate, but the natural disasters that we have seen occurred — all the way from the tsunamis to some of the other things that have happened here — have caused a lot of nations in this region not just to work bilaterally, but multilaterally to try to solve some of these problems,” the general said. “So if there is anything positive to come out of this, it’s that fact.” Relationships with others Hawaii’s warm trade winds kicked up and nearly blew the general’s flight cap from his head. A smile appeared as he took a quick verbal detour to talk about Hawaii. “It’s no secret that living in Hawaii is a pretty good deal,” he said. “I feel extremely lucky to be here to represent some 45,000 men and women who work in the Pacific every day. I’d like to think that we offer meaningful work that contributes to the defense of our nation.” Walking on, the general said engagement, in terms of stability and security, is a top priority and the most important thing U.S. Pacific Command expects of his command. Using his analogy again, he said engagement is a marathon, not a sprint, and that it takes allies and partnerships to finish first. “These relationships were developed over the years by my predecessors. By young captains and lieutenants who had gone out and flown together and worked together, who have later grown to be the chiefs of their services,” he said. The Air Force has partnerships with such nations as Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. As the wing commander at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., the general has first-hand knowledge about one of these relationships. “The Republic of Singapore Air Force had a squadron at Luke where they trained,” he said. “So, I find myself, many years later, knowing many of the general officers in the Republic of Singapore Air Force because they flew at Luke. We are very fortunate to have these types of relationships. They pay big dividends. When it comes to promoting security and stability, I think we’ve been very successful over the years. And they were all interested in being associated in some way shape or form with the Air Force.” In many ways, the general said these countries not only want to be associated with the Air Force, many want to emulate it. “I see the U.S. Air Force as the envy of the other air forces in the world in terms of how we organize, train, equip, educate and teach our leaders, both officer and enlisted,” he said. “We have the luxury of giving our enlisted as much responsibility as they’re willing to take, as quickly as they’re willing to take it. I think that’s true throughout the Air Force — whether you’re a young Airman, a midlevel NCO, a young captain or a major.”

C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster Master Sgt. Joseph Salvador (left) explains what he does on the transport to members of the Philippine air force before a mission from Clark Field, the Philippines, in February 2008. The mission was part of exercise Balikatan ‘08. Training and interacting with Airmen from Pacific Rim countries is big business for Pacific Air Forces because it increases joint security efforts. Sergeant Salvador is with the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 204th Airlift Squadron at Hickam. liaison officers from other nations, as well. At the same time, many of the things we do in the theater are bilateral.” A good example of this bilateral cooperation is missile defense. Japan has Patriot missiles on Kadena and Yokota air bases. “Japan is a partner with us in solving this problem about how to provide missile defense in the theater,” the general said, adding that Yokota’s bilateral air operations center plays an important role in the partnership. Bases in Alaska provide the third leg of the Strategic Triangle.


Alaska’s rugged terrain and harsh weather, similar to that in Afghanistan, made it a natural location to expand Cope Thunder exercises — once held in the Philippines — to a much bigger Red Flag-Alaska. “Alaska gives us a very good range complex that provides us the opportunity to engage with our allies and our partners from around the Pacific, the Canadians, the British and other European nations, as well. So, we’ve got a great opportunity to train, and I can’t think of a better place for young Airmen to grow up and

learn their trade than here in the Pacific.” All exercises great and small The general said the command doesn’t always need to have large, flying exercises. The little ones are just as important. For instance, command planners created a small exercise around the C-17 transport. About 50 doctors, dentists and civil engineers flew to three separate islands in Micronesia. They examined 4,000 patients, trained about 1,000 islanders in first-responder medical skills and worked in three different clinics — all in 96 hours. Another key mission occurred in May 2008, when an earthquake

The future Since other 50-year decisions for the Pacific region have already been made, all that’s left to do is to make the plan a reality. “For the next several years, we’ll be in the process of working out all the kinks and things we didn’t think about when we signed all the papers,” General Chandler said. “The Pacific Air Forces will play a large part in what we need to do in terms of security and stability from now until as far as I can see into the future. And, I think our Airmen in the Pacific will be training with the best equipment the Air Force has in its inventory. “All I can say is that I’m extremely proud of every officer, enlisted and civilian in the Pacific — in terms of providing security and stability in the region,” he said. “It’s important work, and some of them do it far away from home and far away from their families. I appreciate what they do.”

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photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III

C-17 GLOBEMASTER III PILOT Capt. Scott Raleigh

Home unit/base:

535th Airlift Squadron Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. Hometown:

Richland, Wash. Entered Air Force:

May 5, 2000.


62 temporary duty assignments since 2000 with 500+ combat hours. Marital status:

Married and expecting. 20

There are three great aspects to my job. First, the chance to fly varied missions around the world. Experiencing new locations and immersing in other cultures is an unbelievable benefit of Air Force life. Second, working with so many talented and motivated individuals. I’m always amazed at how professional our Airmen are and of their commitment to improving our community. And third, the opportunity to not only teach, but to do so outside of a classroom and inside a jet. Instruction is the absolute highlight of my job. Taking new pilots and molding them into combat-ready crewmembers is exciting to do. When teaching, it feels great. And it’s amazing to see, a ‘light bulb come on’ over a student. To be able to share experiences and resources ensures our crews only improve over the previous generation. I have the best job in the Air Force.


©2008 Paid for by the U.S. Air Force. All rights reserved.

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Staff Sgt. Alberto Vazquez, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit

A-10 Thunderbolt


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The muscle of the U.S. Air Force is a powerful deterrent to would-be aggressors. No modern war has been won without air superiority, so the strength of our Air Force alone discourages potential threats. Today many other countries are strengthening their air power and vying to take the lead. To stay on top, we must be faster, stronger and more forward-thinking than all the rest. The U.S. Air Force stands ready as the decisive force for the 21st century. Š2008 Paid for by the U.S. Air Force. All rights reserved. The Air Force logo is a registered trademark of the United States Air Force. The tag line, Above All., is also trademarked by the United States Air Force. Both marks are the exclusive property of the Department of the Air Force.

Recruiting the Force

Meeting the goal is no reason to stop

by Staff Sgt. Matthew Bates Photos by Master Sgt. Jack Braden

Destination 1

Destination 2 Destination 4

Destination 3

Air Force recruiter Tech. Sgt. Frank McMahon III works in one of the largest recruiting regions in the United States. The 368th Recruiting Squadron sergeant works out of Great Falls, Mont., but travels throughout the northeastern part of Montana to find and recruit potential Airmen.


Airman J July/August 2008



ech. Sgt. Frank McMahon III’s dark blue Ford Explorer rambled down the two-lane blacktop highway, the scenery vanishing in a blur past his driver’s side window. Not that there’s much to see anyway, except long stretches of prairie. This is Montana’s “Big Sky Country” — a wide open area where the wheat field-dominated countryside is broken up only by the occasional herd of cattle. Even trees are rare; single ones adorn the landscape, looking out of place and forlorn. The road stretches on for what seems forever, disappearing only at the horizon. There’s seldom another vehicle in sight. Out here, the driver is alone — his only companions being the occasional voice breaking through the static on the radio and the gentle whirring of tires on the pavement. So, he keeps driving. This is something Sergeant McMahon does a lot. He’s a recruiter with the 368th Recruiting Squadron and in charge of the largest recruiting area in the country. Based in Great Falls, his Montana domain stretches east to North Dakota, north to the Canadian border and west to the base of the Rocky Mountains.

Airman First Class Astacia Anderson discusses the week’s schedule with recruiter Tech. Sgt. Frank McMahon III before he leaves to visit Montana schools. Airman Anderson was one of Sergeant McMahon’s recruits. She returned to Great Falls as part of the Recruiters Assistant Program. “It’s definitely a challenge having such large area,” he said. “And a lot of it is really remote towns that have small schools.” Growing up, remote was something Sergeant McMahon didn’t have to deal with. He’s from Marlton, N.J., a town of about 10,000 people just outside Philadelphia. “New Jersey is the most populated state in the U.S.,” Sergeant McMahon said. “Montana is one of the least populated.” Still, it’s not like Sergeant McMahon didn’t know what he was getting himself into — after all, he volunteered for the job. “When I signed up to be a recruiter, I knew I wanted to come somewhere like this because I love the outdoors,” he said. “All the guys in my recruiting class thought I was crazy, but I love it here. The hunting is great, the fishing is great and there’s a lot of outdoor stuff to do.” Not that he has much time to enjoy them. Being the only recruiter in such a large area keeps Sergeant McMahon very busy. There are the constant phone calls, the school visits, the meetings with parents and the seemingly endless piles of paperwork. And then there’s the driving — miles and miles of it through the Montana countryside. “I’ve definitely logged a lot of time behind the steering wheel,” he said. His blue Explorer, with its well-worn engine and odometer that spins more like an electricity meter, is a silent testament to this fact.


Filling a need Over the past decade, thanks to recruiters like Sergeant McMahon, the Air Force has consistently met or exceeded its enlistment goals. In light of this, there are those who argue against the need for the Air Force to invest time and money into recruiting. Some people say, “The Air Force is making its recruiting goals, so why does the service need so much money and people devoted to it?” Easy, recruiting officials say. The goal of recruiting is to find quality men and women who have the right skills, at the right time and in the right numbers to sustain the combat capability of America’s Air Force. But the Air Force can’t hope qualified candidates will simply walk through the door. “You can’t just stop recruiting because you’re making your goals,” said Col. Stan Chase, vice commander, Air Force Recruiting Service at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. “We need to have recruiters out there, pounding the pavement and telling the Air Force story to young people. How else are they going to know about all the tremendous opportunities the service offers?” This is one reason Sergeant McMahon became a recruiter in the first place — it gave him the chance to talk about the Air Force. He joined the service right out of high school and never looked back. “I love the Air Force,” he said. “And I want other people to be able to experience what it has to offer. Recruiting gives me the perfect opportunity to do this.”

One way Sergeant McMahon does this is by making his recruits who are entering special operations jobs give him a set of push ups every time they come to his office. “I think it’s cool and it shows he’s invested in us and wants to see us succeed,” said Patrick Preston, a senior at Great Falls High School who enlisted as a combat controller. “He’s a good guy and he’s got a tough job.” Tough is not the word. Sergeant McMahon’s job is part recruiter, part parent, part marketing specialist, part secretary, part travel

agent and part taxi driver. “Yeah, but I’m all Air Force,” he said. And Sergeant McMahon is not the exception, but the norm. He’s only one of less than 1,300 recruiters scattered across the country. Many work extensive hours and drive long distances, all while competing with recruiters from the Army, Navy and Marines. In fact, for every Air Force recruiter there are about nine Army, five Navy and three Marine Corps recruiters. “Yet, we keep making our goals,” Colonel Chase said. “And we’re

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No walk in the park Ironically, making its recruiting goals is almost a double-edged sword for the Air Force. “Recruiting is not easy,” Colonel Chase said. “But by always making our goals, it almost looks like it is. Yet, the fact of the matter is recruiting is a challenging and demanding job.” Sergeant McMahon can attest to this. On an average week, he works anywhere from 60 to 80 hours — many spent on the phone, filling out paperwork or ferrying prospective recruits to and from the Military Entrance Processing Station in Butte, Mont., which is about a two- to three-hour drive away from his office. Then there are the meetings and checkups with individuals who have already enlisted and are in the Delayed Entry Program. “I check in with them regularly and expect them to check in with me, too,” Sergeant McMahon said. “I make sure they’re making good decisions and staying fit and ready to head to basic training.”

Tech. Sgt. Frank McMahon III counts the flutter kicks done by recruits Dan Myles (left) and Patrick Preston, both from Great Falls. Because both recruits will join demanding career fields, Sergeant McMahon has them do push ups and flutter kicks when they meet to prepare them for basic training.

Tech. Sgt. Frank McMahon III puts a lot of miles on his government vehicle. And it’s not uncommon for him to travel more than 800 miles in one week during his monthly site visits to schools in often remote areas of Montana.

Airman J July/August 2008


Recruiting for the Air Force takes Tech. Sgt. Frank McMahon III to many rural Montana schools. At Brockton Public Schools, the student body numbers just 135 students — in kindergarten through 12th grade, There are just 14 juniors and 11 seniors at the school. recruiting the best and brightest.” The numbers back this statement up. Among Air Force recruits, 79 percent score within the top three categories on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, 99 percent have a high school diploma or equivalent and only 9 percent need a waiver for drug or other criminal issues. All of these numbers are significantly better than those of the other services. “We’re not only finding quality recruits, but we’re doing it cheaper,” Colonel Chase said. On average, it costs the Air Force approximately $7,900 to send a person through the enlistment process. The next closest service is the Marines, who spend a little more than $13,000 per recruit. The Army, meanwhile, is triple the Air Force at $26,000.

Tech. Sgt. Frank McMahon III helps students at Wolf Point High School, Wolf Point, Mont., with an exercise that compares Air Force pay and benefits to going directly to college or joining the civilian job market.


Needle in a haystack Finding recruits is difficult. According to a recent Department of Defense market survey, about 73 percent of American youth are not qualified to join the military. Weight, medical or conduct reasons disqualify more than half of them. “When almost three quarters of your audience is already disqualified, it makes the job that much harder,” Sergeant McMahon said. Adding to this challenge is the population, or lack of, that Sergeant McMahon is in charge of scouring. “There are actually more cows in the state of Montana than there are people,” he said. Within Sergeant McMahon’s area there are also some 40 schools the Air Force classifies as priority three — schools too small or too remote to require regular visits. Sergeant McMahon is only required to visit these schools once a year. “Some of these schools have four or five seniors in the entire class,” Sergeant McMahon said. “And many of them work on farms with the rest of their families and expect to do this when they graduate.”

Team this with the fact that many of these students aren’t familiar with the Air Force and there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. “Sure, the job has its challenges,” he said. “But the rewards outweigh them by a long shot.” Namely, finding and recruiting the Air Force of tomorrow. But, the Air Force of tomorrow isn’t simply going to walk into his office and ask where to sign. And out there, somewhere, is a person looking for adventure, a way out of an uncertain life or who can’t afford college on his or her own. Or who just wants to serve. So, Sergeant McMahon and his blue Ford Explorer keep on driving. And recruiting.

0 7 2 1 1 8 3 More Details To learn more about becoming an Air Force recruiter, visit To talk to the Air Force Recruiter Screening Team, call DSN 665-0584 or commercial 210-565-0584; or email questions to

Airman J July/August 2008


Duty Frontline secure feeling.

Airman 1st Class Kelliea Guthrie (left) and Senior Airman Greg Ellis provide security as a ground crew does an engines-running offload of a C-130 Hercules transport at Feyzabab Airfield, Afghanistan, in April. The Airmen are members of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Fly Away Security Forces Team at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Airman Guthrie is deployed from the 9th Security Forces Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. Airman Ellis deployed from the 355th Security Forces Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway

Frontline Airmen perform beyond ‘to do’ list


t a bleak outback airfield in Afghanistan, Airmen land their C-130 Hercules to deliver much-needed cargo. As the transport’s engines run during the unloading at Feyzabab Airfield, other Airmen — hands on their weapons — guard against any attack. Across the globe in California, other Airmen show off the Air Force to visitors at an annual air show at March Air Reserve Base. And back at Balad Air Base, Iraq, Airman 1st Class Troy Spence — and many others — help maintain and keep the much-in-demand MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft ready to fly. These are just a few examples of what Airmen do each day, whether doing their part in the war on terrorism or keeping Americans abreast of their Air Force’s capabilities. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, in a May Letter to Airman, said Airmen continue meeting the demands of their often stressful jobs to ensure American the best protection in the air, space and cyberspace. “At every level of action, mission success requires clear goals, defined objectives, and an innate grasp of how those objectives are to be achieved, he said. “Knowing the mission extends beyond daily ‘to do’ lists,” the secretary said. “It requires seizing every opportunity to improve how the Air Force provides global vigilance, global reach, and global power.” That’s nothing new to today’s Airmen. —Airman staff


Airman J July/August 2008


Duty Frontline

patient care.

Maj. Patrick Hsieh prepares 3-year-old burn victim Al Amreeki for a flight to the United States in March. Doctors had given the child 48 hours to live, but two months later the Air Force flew him and his mother to a stateside hospital for more treatment. The major is a member of the 332nd Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight critical care air transportation team at Balad Air Base, Iraq.

photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Allen

careful steps.

A little girl carefully walks down the cargo ramp of a gigantic C-5 Galaxy during AirFest 2008 at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., in May. A host of military and civilian aircraft were on static display at the air show, which coincides with the 90th anniversary of March as a military base, and the 60th anniversary of the Air Force Reserve.

photo by Val Gempis

tail rotor check.

Crew chief Staff Sgt. Tait Delzer reinstalls the tail rotor cover on an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter at Balad Air Base, Iraq, earlier this year. The sergeant was performing a 300-hour preventative inspection of the helicopter. The sergeant, from the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., deployed to work at Balad’s 64th Expeditionary Helicopter Maintenance Unit.

photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter


predator upkeep.

Checking for technical data on his laptop computer is part of the maintenance process for MQ-1 Predator crew chief Airman 1st Class Troy Spence at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The Airman deployed earlier this year to the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron from the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The unit’s main job is to launch and recover Predators.

photo by Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester

Airman J July - August 2008


Duty Frontline

making friends.

Senior Airman Mark Ostrander shakes hands with an Afghan boy during a foot patrol through a town market in Afghanistan’s Pashwan District in April. A member of the Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team’s police technical advisory team, he’s deployed from the 55th Security Forces Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway

smoke alarm.

A firefighter at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., walks through a thick cloud of smoke that simulates an aircraft crash on the Charleston flightline. The demonstration was for an exercise in preparation for the 2008 Air Show held at the base. photo by Senior Airman Nicholas Pilch

Welcome to china.

Maj. Anthony Davis exchanges salutes with Chinese Senior Capt. Guan Youfei at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, China, in May. The major piloted a C-17 Globemaster III to China filled with relief supplies bound for people affected by a major earthquake. Maj. Wu Qian (second from left), a staff officer at the Chinese Ministry of Defense’s American and Oceanic Affairs Bureau, and Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hooper (left), the U.S. defense attaché in China, also met the plane. The pilot is with the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 204th Airlift Squadron, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The senior captain is deputy director of the ministry foreign affairs office.

wrapping it up.

photo by Tech. Sgt. Chris Vadnais


Firefighter Airman 1st Class Adam Baumgardner wraps up a fire hose after advancement and pump training at Balad Air Base, Iraq, in April. Balad firefighters train daily to stay ready for emergency situations. Airman Baumgardner is with the 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and deployed from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter

boom patrol.

A KC-135 Stratotanker maintainer checks the aging tanker’s aerial refueling boom. The check was part of a preventative maintenance inspection at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., in May. photo by Senior Airman Daniel St. Pierre

a cut above.

Senior Airman Brandon Johnson cuts a stuffed pork loin during the Iron Chef competition at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in March. The competition pitted one Airman from Hurlburt against one from Eglin and Tyndall air force bases. Airman Johnson, of Tyndall’s 325th Services Squadron, won the inaugural event, for which he received a trophy and a culinary knife set. photo by Senior Airman Sheila deVera

Airman J July - August 2008


photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

U.S. Air Force photo



Trainees march past the intersection of D Street and Hangar Road at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., in April 2008. That’s something they wouldn’t have been able to do three years ago, when Hurricane Katrina flooded the road, submerged vehicles, felled trees and left tons of debris in its wake.

On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s 18-foot storm surge hit Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., with a vengeance and changed the training base forever. The storm flooded the intersection of D Street and Hangar Road.

A Training base bounces back from Hurricane Katrina’s fury by Master Sgt. Kimberly Spencer


s Airmen march to and from technical school classes today at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., it’s no big deal. But three years ago, they would have been wading through five feet of floodwaters. Today, visitors would never realize the transformation that has taken place at this training base in the three years since Hurricane Katrina tried to rub it off the map. When the category-4 storm bashed the Gulf Coast Aug. 29, 2005, with its 140-mph winds, it changed the region and Keesler forever. The massive storm surge submerged more than half the base. It damaged about 95 percent of the infrastructure, with nearly three-quarters of the industrial facilities sustaining roof damage and a quarter

of the buildings unusable. It destroyed much of base housing, filled the base exchange with five feet of water, flooded the basement of the Keesler Medical Center and displaced many Airmen and their families. The base was a disaster area almost beyond comprehension. Some people thought it would never recover from the blow. But it did, and today it thrives. “We want everyone to know Keesler’s back and running strong!” said Col. Greg Touhill, the 81st Training Wing commander. Everyone who sheltered on Keesler survived the storm. And although the base had taken a devastating blow, it was the least-damaged major facility on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Airman J July/August 2008


photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

cour tesy photo

U.S. Air Force pho



Then As Hurricane Katrina raged around them, volunteers held lanterns as doctors (above left) performed an emergency Caesarian section on Stephanie Post at the Keesler Medical Center. They safely delivered Sage Madison Post. That was on Aug. 29, 2005. A year later, the little girl (above right on left) celebrated her first birthday at the medical center’s official reopening ceremony with (left to right) her mother, sister, Austin and father, Senior Airman Aaron Post. photo by Tech. Sgt photo by Master Sgt. Efrain Gonzalez


. Cecilio Ricardo

Three years after Hurricane Katrina’s fury, Tech. Sgt. Melissa Jones-Johnson still gets emotional when looks through the pictures of the home she and her husband, Master Sgt. Steven Jones-Johnson, lost on Aug. 29, 2005. A hope chest made by her grandfather was one of the few things the couple was able to save. The first order of business was clearing a pathway through the devastation. “Although the runway was littered with fish, sea turtles and debris, every available hand worked hard. Within 11 hours, aircraft were able to land on the runway,” wing vice commander Col. Richard Pierce said. Keesler survived the storm more intact than many of the surrounding communities. As soon as base Airmen recovered enough to go outside and assess the damage and resume some kind of operations, they went beyond the base gates to help the people of Biloxi and other surrounding communities. The base quickly became a hub for relief activity. Katrina destroyed thousands of Gulf Coast homes, many reduced to mere foundations. Electrical power, telephone and cell phone services went out. Bridges washed away and roads filled with downed trees, overturned cars, beached boats and debris. There were nearly 300 dead or missing. Today, very few reminders are left of the $950 million in damages Katrina caused. Still, many people don’t know that Keesler is 100 percent and marching on. “When my colleagues heard I was coming here, they called to ask me if I was going to live in a tent,” the colonel said. No tents. In fact, the base currently has a $287.8 million housing project underway, the largest in Air Force history, he said. “More than 1,000 new homes will be complete by 2010,” he said. While the storm devastated much of the base, the training facilities survived. This allowed training operations to “come back online within days,” said Deb Sterling, the 81st Training Group chief of resources and operations. The Air Force safely evacuated Airmen who were close to graduating


to their next duty station, she said. Others left with the understanding they would complete their training on-the-job at their first base. And some students graduated while still living in shelters. The team also identified temporary locations for training throughout the command and students and instructors evacuated there. However, base officials quickly revised their initial assessment that it would take up to six months to get training back online. Barely five weeks after Katrina struck, Keesler resumed training for the most critical courses. The return of the students to the base was a milestone on the road to recovery. Their arrival was another step toward normalcy that boosted the morale of the base community. While the recovery and rebuilding were underway and training had resumed, it took time to complete all the repairs. “I got here eight months after the storm and the base still looked devastated at the time,” Colonel Pierce said. However, the colonel was amazed at the strength of those working to rebuild, he said. “The effort has been a work of passion from the heart,” he said. That attitude helped the base rapidly progress despite incredible adversity. Base members gave 100 percent while struggling to rebuild their own lives. Base officials set up a one-stop-shop of support activities poised to help meet the needs of the base members, including legal, finance, life skills and family support offices. Teams from throughout the Air Force provided aid to the devastated base both by taking in evacuees, and by deploying personnel to help with the recovery. As help arrived, Keesler members had the chance to check on their homes.

Then Hurricane Katrina’s pounded many housing areas, destroying many homes (above left). Today, Airmen move into new homes built as part of the Air Force’s most robust housing project, which is still ongoing. The project, due for completion in 2010, will provide more than 1,000 new homes at the base.

photo by Master Sgt.

Efrain Gonzalez

photo by Tech. Sgt. Ceci

lio Ricardo



A Keesler Bay Ridge waterfront home (above left) lies in ruins after Hurricane Katrina swept it away with all the homeowner’s possessions. The hurricane’s brutal storm surge, which reached 18 feet, submerged half the base and destroyed many homes. Today, many of Bay Ridge’s waterfront homes are now rebuilt and families have already moved into 36 new houses in the housing area.

Airman J July/August 2008


photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

New trainees arrive at Keesler’s Levitow Training Support Facility before attending one of the base’s technical schools. The base is back on track with the vital training mission Hurricane Katrina almost ended. But less than six weeks after the killer storm, the base was again training high-tech warriors.

Personal loss After working non-stop for several days, people began making their way to their homes on and off the base — struggling through the devastation. “We had to go around trees, boats, fences — you name it. I just kept thinking, ‘thank God the kids are safe at my mom’s,’ ” said Tech. Sgt. Melissa Jones-Johnson, of the 81st Security Forces Squadron. As she and her husband, Master Sgt. Steven Jones-Johnson, the unit’s operations superintendent, made their way up the road to their home, a feeling of dread washed over them. Thankfully, their boys, Christopher and Tyler, had evacuated to her mother’s house in Camden, Tenn.


“First, I saw one of our dogs lying dead in the street,” she said. “After that, I was afraid to look in the house. But I knew I needed to find our other dog and our cat.” They tried to enter through the front door, but debris blocked their entrance. “We went to the back door and I looked through the window. It looked like someone had filled our house up with water, spun it around in circles and then dumped it out,” she said. “My hand was shaking so hard I could hardly get the key in the lock,” Melissa said. “The water had gone all the way to the ceiling, and in several places the ceiling had caved in.” They were unable to find their other dog, but the cat was hiding in the rubble and had made it through the storm just fine, the sergeant said.

It would be several long months before they would be able to get into a new home and reunite with their children, she said. “An experience like this tests you,” she said. “It has shown my husband and me how strong we are as a couple.” But they weren’t the only ones who suffered. About one-fourth of Keesler’s people lost virtually all their possessions. However, the couple did manage to save some of their things. One was a treasured cedar hope chest Steven eventually restored. “The cedar hope chest was made by my grandfather and passed down to me by my mom when I got married,” Melissa said. Saving the hope chest was symbolic of the optimism shown throughout the base. Members like the Jones-Johnsons’ did not only survive, they overcame.

While cleaning out their litter-strewn home, they would invite friends over for barbecues, enjoying each other’s company and being happy to be alive, the sergeant said. “We would just make the best of it,” she said. Knowing the struggle wing members were going through and the devastation they were dealing with, Colonel Touhill is determined to make the base an oasis. The commander, who is now on his third tour of duty at Keesler since entering the Air Force, knows exactly what the post-Katrina base was like, and is continuing the vigorous base beautification program started right after the storm. So far, base members planted more than 2,000 trees — three for every one lost in the storm. They’ll have to plant a total of 4,000. One of the trees they were able to save is a majestic live oak, thought to be more than 100 years old. It now flourishes in a place of honor in front of Keesler Medical Center. The hospital, one of the facilities hardest hit by the storm, was back to its pre-Katrina state within a year. Staff members celebrated the first birthday of Sage Madison Post — daughter of Senior Airman Aaron and Stephanie Post — at the hospital’s official reopening. Doctors had delivered the now 3-yearold by flashlight during the storm. The lessons learned in the aftermath of the storm are helping build a better Keesler. A variety of preventative measures are now in effect that will help ensure the loss of electrical power, and a myriad of other problems encountered during the hurricane, do not happen again. The chances of another major catastrophe like Katrina hitting the coast will always exist, so the base is postured and ready in case it happens again. “Those coming to the base can rest assured we are prepared,” said base Fire Chief J.D. Donnett, of the 81st Civil Engineering Squadron. “Between Keesler, Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss., there’s nothing we can’t handle. We are now one of the most prepared areas in the nation.” It might be better prepared to weather another Katrina-like storm. But Master Sgt. Kristina Keeton said Keesler needs to do more. It has to remember, but also bury its past. “We are to the point now where we want to look forward and move on,” said Sergeant Keeton, the training wing’s protocol superintendent. Base officials are already moving forward with new training missions on the horizon. “We’re looking at the virtual campus concept, which will allow us to physically move anywhere as needed,” training group commander Col. Prince Gilliard said. “The loss of a classroom would have little impact on our operations.” A good part of the training will be in the cyber world, the colonel said. That will benefit the base, which trains Airmen for electronic, computer, weather, medical, personnel, comptroller, and information management career fields, to name a few. “We already have a significant stake in the training of our hightech warriors. And now, with the stand up of U.S. Cyber Command, our training mission will continue to expand in that area,” Colonel Touhill said. The colonel said Keesler has come a long way since Katrina. Along the way, the lessons learned from the disaster are making the base safer. Base Airmen continue their daily operations — and helping the communities around them. And while Keesler is back — and marching on — it also keeps an eye on the horizon and any future killer storms. But even during Katrina’s worst moments, it people never lost their mission focus. “Training is our middle name — and will continue to be our priority,” the colonel said.

Airman J July/August 2008



Airman Kelly Anderson (left) and Airman 1st Class Andrew Jennings have never voted. But both realize their vote does matter, so they will cast their ballots in the November 2008 elections.

by Louis A. Arana-Barradas photos by Lance Cheung

Airmen encouraged to cast their ballots 42

irman Kelly Anderson doesn’t consider herself a complete person, yet. Granted, she’s only 19 and has barely been in the Air Force a nanosecond. But she desperately wants to shed her sedate, York, Pa., upbringing and make an impact on the world. Her first step toward doing this was joining the Air Force. The spunky Airman can’t wait to finish security forces training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, earn her blue beret and join the coalition team fighting the war on terrorism. The second step in her transformation is to vote, something she’s never done. “There are a lot of things happening in our government I don’t agree with,” she said. “But when you vote, you say: These are the things I believe in — the things I want to see change.” When she votes in the November 2008 presidential elections, Airman Anderson joins the millions of other servicemembers who’ve cast votes, many while serving in posts around the globe. It’s a tradition dating to the turn of the 19th century, and all the wars that followed. To ensure Airmen, Air Force civilians and their families get the chance to vote, the Air Force has an army of voting officers at all its bases worldwide that provides voting assistance — one for about every 25 people. At the top of that help pyramid are members of the Air Force Personnel Center’s special programs branch at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In a nutshell, voting officers help people with the process of voting, no matter where they are, or at what level, branch chief Gil Harrison said. A retired senior master sergeant from San Antonio, he knows how important it is to provide the proper guidance. “There are specific instructions for things all voting officers must do at each base for federal programs, as well as local voting programs,” he said. “They’re involved in all voting.” Voting officers mainly focus on the Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act. But with Airmen serving in all corners of the globe, they provide more than just voting information. They also provide guidance and information about absentee voting, which is even more important for the thousands of Airmen serving in the Middle East and other locations overseas, Mr. Harrison said. “Whether you’re going to vote at home, in Texas, Germany or Iraq, voting officers provide you with the means to do that,” Mr. Harrison said. Voting officers down to the unit level have a responsibility to make contact with servicemembers, civilians and their families to remind them “how important it is for them to vote.” “But in the Air Force, we expanded that so our points of contact can help with local, state and other primary elections, too,” Mr. Harrison said. At Lackland’s Medina Annex, Airman 1st Class Andrew Jennings passed the grueling airborne mission specialist course with the 344th Training Squadron. The Airman from Gillette, Wyo., will move to Tinker AFB, Okla., to finish his training to become a computer display maintenance technician aboard an E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system aircraft. He’s never voted either, figuring his vote wouldn’t count much. But he’s changed his mind, a change of heart brought on when he joined the Air Force. Now he can’t wait to cast his ballot. “Every vote counts,” Airman Jennings said. “The whole is made up of many ones. So I’ll vote in this election. Because I know the next president — whatever his or her views are — will have a direct impact on me as an Airman.” Absentee votes are important, Mr. Harrison said. That was true during the 2000 elections, when there were problems tabulating Florida ballots, he said. The world spotlight fell on overseas ballots. Suddenly these votes, most from servicemem-

“Whether you’re going to vote at home, in Texas, Germany or Iraq, voting officers provide you with the means to do that.”

— Gil Harrison

Gil Harrison heads the office that oversees the thousands of unit voting officers that help provides Airmen voting information, no matter where their duty station is. bers, were vital to the election outcome. Airman Anderson was only 10 years old then and not much into politics. But she wants to get involved and today she now knows America’s future is in the hands of its voters. “When you vote, that’s one more person who can help make change,” she said. “We’re one of the few countries whose people have a say in how their government runs. That’s important to me.”

For more help For more voting information visit these web sites • • •

Airman J July/August 2008



volution and progression have been a way of life for the Air Force since its creation more than 60 years ago. But while many people focus on the technological side of the evolution, there’s a physical side as well. You only have to look back less than five years when the Air Force tested Airmen’s fitness with a bike test. Exercise was not part of Airmen’s daily culture. Today the service marks four years under a new fitness program and, as of August, one year since the Air Force made fitness an integral part of all Airmen’s performance reports. The message is clear — our evolution to an expeditionary force also requires an evolution into a “fitter” force. But while fitness facilities across the Air Force are seemingly brimming with customers, many Airmen are still not tapping into their potential. For some, the operational tempo doesn’t allow time for organized physical training. For others it’s a profile that gets in the way. And for many, it’s a lack of motivation.

The reality is, no measure of unit PT will reverse the excuses — being physically fit and ready to succeed in the deployed environment begins with each Airman. Each person has to make the conscious decision to get in shape. Not doing so can not only threaten his or her safety, but also the safety of his or her wingman. Longer-term, both career and health are at risk. Airmen must look past PT scores. Though a means of measurement, scores should only serve as a snapshot of a person’s fitness, not a once-a-year affair they prepare for only to then resume a couch-potato lifestyle. Being fit to fight requires a yearround focus. “Training to test won’t help as much as a mix of cardiovascular, muscular and flexibility training,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley said in a message to Airmen last spring. “To successfully boost fitness levels, we must all make regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle a part of our daily regimen.”

warrior ethos demands fitness evolution by Airman Staff


Airman J July/August 2008


Fitness program directors like Byron Black, from the health and wellness center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, couldn’t agree more. To develop a regular fitness program, Mr. Black said it comes down to a simple principle — the FITTER principle. “It stands for frequency, intensity, time, type, enjoyment and rate of progression,” he said, adding that applying this principle not only ensures a good program, but a program that a person can do long term — adapting and adding changes along the way. “The key is picking something you enjoy, and applying the principle to ensure you’re getting a good workout out at the same time,” Mr. Black said. How does someone do this? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends working out at a: Frequency of 3 to 5 times a week at an... Intensity of 60 to 90 percent of maximum heart rate for a... Time of 20 to 60 minutes using a... Type of aerobic activity that uses a large muscle group that a person can... Enjoy doing, and one where they can monitor the... Rate of progression by — continuing to challenge themselves, workouts become easier. While applying the FITTER principle to a workout may be simple, many Airmen are not sold on swapping their running, push-ups and sit-ups workout. After all, that’s the standard. For those Airmen, a future injury may eventually change their minds for them. “Running is brutal on the body,” said Jim Wood, fitness center director at Lackland’s Gateway Fitness Center. “Airmen should run occasionally to check their performance, but should use a variety of aspects of aerobic activity to gain better endurance.” And there’s proof in this advice. Mr. Wood runs the fitness program specialized for Lackland trainees on “medical hold.” He developed a circuit training workout to help trainees reach fitness goals. “Circuit training enables them to find unique ways to work out,” Mr. Wood said. “Though they’re not running, we’re building endurance, and we’re doing it in a safer manner.” Fitness specialists like Mr. Black and Mr. Wood, who see thousands of new Air Force recruits, are no strangers to Airmen who develop overuse injuries. To avoid these injuries, they recommend adding more variety to workouts. “Most units have their Airmen run, do push-ups and sit-ups at PT, which makes it even more critical for Airmen to do something different on the other days,” Mr. Wood says. So, while running is easy and people can do it everywhere, it’s not the solution for everyone. Not only do many find it boring, but injuries can result from overuse and heavy impact on joints. What else can a person do? Here are just a few ways Airmen can become FITTER to fight. 10. Balance caloric intake: It’s a simple equation: To lose weight, caloric intake must be less than calories output. While most Airmen focus on burning calories, the calories they ingest can have a negative impact. It’s true: All calories are created equal. So why not put in calories that also positively influence a fitness routine — like lean protein, fruits and vegetables? “If you think of your body as a car, then you know that the better grade of gas you put in your car, the better it will perform,” Mr. Black said. “If you eat healthy foods, then your body will have good fuel to use during exercise.” 9. It’s free — just ask: Nearly all Airmen have access to a free fitness facility or health and wellness center. As leaders put more emphasis on fitness, these facilities continue to improve with better equipment and programs. If the numbers game is confusing, or the


machines are a mystery, don’t walk away, there’s help nearby. Gym and health and wellness center staffs have a wealth of knowledge about fitness and nutrition and can help to develop a workout plan. Just ask. 8. Show up: Almost every unit in the Air Force runs some type of PT program. Whether it’s in the form of formations or a sign in sheet, groups of Airmen everywhere are shouting cadences of exercises with the goal of getting each other in shape. Some units have trouble fitting PT into the duty day because of operational demands. But that shouldn’t be an excuse to not work out. 7. Team up: Check with the sports director or fitness center about a sports calendar. Almost every base has some type of intramural sports program. While the climate may impact the types available, intramural sports offers a great way to add variety to fitness routines, and socializing may increase the likelihood of sticking with it. Want a challenge? Ask about base varsity sports programs, or enroll in the World Class Athlete Program to compete at the Olympic level. 6. Compete: Need a competitive edge for motivation, but can’t commit to a seasonal sport? Look for local competitions. Most cities host athletic events throughout the year, like runs, family walks or basketball. Check local papers or search the Web for events held nearby. Friendly competition boosts workouts and may help find a group of new friends to work out with. 5. Plug it in: Not everyone likes the social scene, and not every climate allows for outdoor activities. But that doesn’t mean a person can’t be active indoors. Most sports stores carry workout DVDs tailored for a variety of fitness goals. So whether the interest is kickboxing, yoga or step aerobics, don’t let bad weather hamper a fitness routine. Even more, these DVDs are perfect to take when you’re TDY or on leave and may not have access to a gym. 4. Lace it up: Running each day can cause injury, but it’s still a great workout to mix with aerobic and strength training routines. All that’s needed are some good running shoes and comfortable clothing. Or try power walking with light weights for more resistance. 3. Let the weather decide: Though winter’s frigid temperatures, snow and ice may put a damper on some outdoor activities, why not go with the flow? Skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing are great activities to add to a workout. The same goes for summer. Take advantage of warm weather at nearby lake with water skiing, swimming or beach volleyball. 2. Try a class: Bodies respond to workouts differently and people must find the workout that fits best for their body. Instead of dismissing exercise classes, give them a try. If nothing else, group classes add a great change of pace to an individual workout routine. 1. Short on time? Circuit training may be the right workout. Not only can a person complete a workout in about 20 minutes, but it may actually boost fitness levels better than running laps around a track. Overweight and out-of-shape individuals aren’t suited for “high-impact, weight-bearing activity,” like running, states a recent study by the Cooper Institute. These people also lack endurance for long periods of exercise, the study states. The study put overweight and out-of-shape people through shorter bouts of circuit training, enabling them to not only boost their overall levels of fitness, but also pass PT tests. All Airmen — big and small, thin and thick — can benefit from a year-round focus on fitness. Gone are the days of exercising vigorously a few weeks before a fitness test. A healthy lifestyle should be a part of everyone’s daily regimen. Remember, the Air Force expects you to be “fit to fight” every day.

our evolution to an expeditionary force also requires an evolution into a “fitter” force Airman J July/August 2008



Hope for today’s youth T w Bates Story by Staff Sgt. Mat the

photos by Master Sgt. Jack Braden

here’s no hope for today’s youth. Or at least that ’s what some people would have you believe. no good, They are disrespectful, lazy and some say. t. And, in some cases, they’re righ k toOverall, though, I disagree. I thin us. day’s youth continue to surprise the ugh thro trip a ng I saw that duri tana. I Mon of ries prai the on s town small learnr, uite was there “shadowing” a recr back as job the of ing the ins and outs Airof e issu this in le artic ground for an e 24). man (“Recruiting the force,” Pag e in I was sitting in the recruiting offic in. e cam man ng Great Falls when a you While following Tech. Sgt. Frank McM to ahon III through the vast stretches of n give e nam nick a Per,” Mont ana where he He was a “DE works as a recruiter, Staff Sgt. Matt Bate Ens found plent y of time to write his story yed Dela the of part are who [Recruiting the recruits force, Page 24] detailing the Air Forc e’s continued need to recruit new Airm ing en. Sergeant Bates listment Program and who are wait said many of the potential recruits he met during his trip were eager to join land the Air Force. to leave for basic training at Lack for e ther was He s. Texa e, Air Force Bas y desk the the Air Force. And not to get cush r in one of his regular “check ins” with And because as a combat controlle l trainnica tech fter ht-a jobs or some soug be recruiter. Air Force he knew his job would jobs the ian civil regood ing get noth to use was e ing they can At first glance, ther important. of the two care ring , ente hair ’re ggy they Sha . e, him Nop . ut later out markable abo And, when most kids his age are fields In most hardest, most specialized career ifree attitude, T-shirt and jeans. telev hing watc es, gam o vide ing play . from offer kid r to the Air Force has ways he resembled any othe ick is esion or listening to their iPod, Patr Neither of these young men is disr ups any other part of the country. sit and ups running and doing push the oper Rath im. that good nce no or eara lazy app his tful, n’t spec But it was ling to make sure he’s ready for the grue kids like posite. So maybe there are more pressed me. It was his mindset. . ergo und to ut abo he’s ing train nd the ersta und Pres ick who Patr kids this out there — He introduced himself as zing. eAma som of part be uate to t grad e wan -to-b who big picture, ton, a 17-year- old soon ick is the exception Patr se, cour of But, than do asked thing special, who would rather from Great Falls High School. I disreto the rule. Kids these days are Air the join to ded deci watch. he’d y why him t? The spectful, lazy and no good … righ h of toAnd maybe it’s not that the yout rForce. dete t all be as hard-charging and can’ good. no and do lazy l, to ctfu ted wan espe day are disr “It’s something I’ve ? they can ick, Patr as ed to min tend went Maybe it’s just that because we for a long time,” he said. He then Myles. He was anDan met I n The who ones the bat give so much attention to on to say he was going to be a com uate of other 17-year- old soon-to-be grad like Patare, we forget about the ones — er, controller. DEP t Falls High. He, too, was a Grea it’s t ’t. “Bu . aren said who he — w,” Dan rick and “It’s not easy, I kno and a normal-looking kid. e One thing’s for sure: There is hop consure going to be fun.” bat com a be to g goin not ’re “You tana Mon life to his t for today’s youth. One trip So, here was a kid — who spen troller, too, are you?” I asked. ing on proved that to me. uegrowing up in rural Montana work resc “Nope, I’m going to be a para — who a wheat farm and going to school man,” he said. Not to same dreams of joining the Air Force. Wow. Here are two kids from the not d, ter pay for college, not to see the worl mat that for s, clas e sam the school — . He was even to have a steady paycheck to join bit the at ping chom are who — a team. joining to be a part of something,


Looking for some specific or hard-to-find information about the Air Force? Here are just a few Web sites to visit that provide a variety of informative and useful facts: — Official Air Force Web site. It includes current news, features, radio and television stories, biographies, photos and a lot more. — Official community Web site for the Air Force total force. Get information on installations, education, parenting, deployments and a lot more. — Site of the Department of Defense-sponsored Automated Housing Referral Network, which aims to improve the process of finding available housing for relocating military members and their families. Just register and log on. — Home of the Air Force Portal. Sign up for this site to access tons of Air Force information, from the latest Letter to Airmen from the secretary of the Air Force to how to access the latest military pay tables. — New Web site for the retiree community. It includes information on a host of topics, from the Survivor Benefit Plan to a global list of Air Force retiree activities offices. and — Interested in an Air Force career? These are the site to visit for information about the Air Force, its way of life, career and educational opportunities and more. Get some cool downloads, too. — Official Web site of the Department of Defense — a good starting point to find information about the U.S. military, in general. — Link to the Air Force’s official charity. The agency promotes the Air Force mission by helping “relieve distress of Air Force members and their families and assisting them to finance their education.” — The one stop for Air Force military and civilian personnel matters. — Home page to all Air National Guard activities. — Home of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command. — From the Air Force Services Agency, this Web site provides information on all service-level sports programs and the World Class Athlete Program. index-main.html — Go Falcons! Official Web site of U.S. Air Force Academy athletics.

Flare check. | photo by Val Gempis

Tech. Sgt. Truong Nguyen prepares to install test equipment on the left main landing gear flare bucket of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., in April. The device does a functional check to ensure the transport’s countermeasures flare dispensers work properly. The sergeant is an electronic warfare technician with the reserve’s 452nd Maintenance Squadron.

Airman Magazine July - August 2008  

Fear The Hog

Airman Magazine July - August 2008  

Fear The Hog