Thunderbolt 3/28/2024

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News/Features:page2

A-10CThunderboltsadapt

News/Features:page3

AFWERX, tech sector meet

Week in photos:page4

Images fromthe week

Community: page15

Events, Chapel, more...

AU.S.servicememberparticipatesinaNorwegianFootMarchatMacDillAirForceBaseMarch15.The JointCommunicationsSupportElementhosted theevent,whichconsistedofan18.6-milerunormarchwitheachparticipant carryinga24-poundrucksack.Themarchwasfirstheldin 1915 bytheNorwegianArmyasatestofmarchingendurance forsoldiers.

Vol.52,No.13 Thursday,March28,2024 -
PhotobySeniorAirmanJoshuaHastings

NEWS/FEATURES

A-10CThunderboltIIadaptsforfuturefight

MOODYAIRFORCEBASE,Ga.—In the dynamicrealmofmodern warfare, adaptabilityiscriticaltomaintaininganedgeonthe battlefield. WeaponsAirmenassignedtothe 23rdMaintenanceGroupareensuringourA10CThunderboltIIpilotsremainadaptableby incorporatingtrainingontheMiniatureAirLaunchedDecoy.

MALDsaredesignedtomimicotheraircraft, makingtheminvaluableassetsindivertingenemyfire away frompilots. Priortotrainingwith thesedecoys, TeamMoodyweaponsloadcrews practicearmingA-10swithMALDstobolster pilots’abilitytosafelynavigatehostileenvironments.

“Atthispoint,itfeelslikesecondnatureloadingtheMALDs,” saidStaffSgt BrianDorsey, 74th FighterGenerationSquadronleadcrew chief. “Luckily, theloadingprocessisverysimilartoacoupleothermunitionsthatmostof us, experiencedAirmen, arefamiliarwith. For thosewhomaynothavethatexperience, it’s stillveryeasy.”

WhenMALDsarefiredtheydeceivedefense systemsandenemycruisemissilesgivingthe illusionthedecoyisanaircraft.MALDscan mimicthesignalofvariousaircraftsuchasF-

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U.S.Airmenassignedtothe74thFighter GenerationSquadronloada MiniatureAir-Launched DecoyontoanA-10CThunderboltII atMoody AirForceBase, Georgia, Feb.14.Loadcrew Airmen were timedandevaluated astheyperformedstandardloadingprocedures.

COMMANDER’SACTIONLINE

TheActionLineprovidestwo-waycommunicationbetweenthe 6thAirRefueling Wingcommander and theMacDillcommunity. Personnelmaysubmitquestions,concernsorcommentsviaemailto macdillwingcommander@us.af.mil or Facebook@6thARWCommandTeam

MacDill Thunderbolt

Publisher: Joe Deluca

Editor: Nick Stubbs

The MacDillThunderbolt ispublishedby the Times Publishing Company, a private firm in no wayconnected with the U.S. Air Force. This commercial enterprise newspaper is anauthorized publication for distribution to members of the U.S. militaryservices on MacDill. Contents of the MacDill Thunderbolt are notnecessarily the officialviews of,or endorsed by the U.S. government,the Departmentof Defense,

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Newsitems for the MacDillThunderbolt can be submitted tothe6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs office,8208 Hangar Loop Dr., suite14, MacDill,FL 33621. Call the Thunderbolt at828-2215. : 6arw.pa.macdillthunderbolt@us.af.mil.

Deadline forarticle submissions isnoon, Wednesdays to appear in the next week’s publication. Articlesreceived after deadline may be considered for future use. All submissions areconsidered for publicationbased onnews value and timeliness.

Everyarticleandphotographis edited for accuracy, clarity, brevity, conformance with the “Associated Press Stylebook andLibel Manual” and Air Force Instruction 35-101.

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PhotobyAirman1stClassSirWyrick

Passion-drivenleadership:

Col.GwendolynFostertalksmeaningful mentorship,balance,anddrivetoserve

FALLSCHURCH, VA—Beyourauthenticself” isamantraCol.Gwendolyn Foster, DirectorofStafffortheAir ForceSurgeonGeneral,has repeatedduringher22-yearAir Forcecareerwhile strivingtofind balance betweenperusingnewheightsinuniformwhileremainingpassionate aboutherworkhelping and supportingwomen.Anditisamantrashe continuestosharewiththeAirmensheleads.

Thatneedforauthenticityiswoventhroughout Foster’s careerand has helpedgetherwheresheistoday. Fosteris amongthreeleadersintheAir ForceMedicalService, includingCol. Jason J. Lennen,Air ForceDistrictof WashingtonCommandSurgeon,andCol.Eveline F. Yao, U.S. TransportationCommandCommandSurgeon,whowererecentlynominatedfor the gradeofbrigadiergeneral.

Whenconfirmed, FosterwillbethefirstBlack femaleonactivedutyto becomeageneralofficerintheAFMS. Shewillalso assumeresponsibilities astheNurseCorps chief andwill becomethefirst Black nursetoachieve that.

BornandraisedinSpringfield,Illinois, Fosteralwaysknewshe wanted tocareforwomengivingbirthandtheirfamilies, butshe hadasecondpassion…adeepdesiretoservehercountry. But,likemanyyoungadults, life

AFWERXdirectordiscusses roleof techstartups,quickinnovationin GreatPowerCompetition

WRIGHT-PATTERSONAIRFORCEBASE,Ohio(AFNS)—AFWERXleadersmetwithtechnologists, startupsandventurecapitalistsat SouthbySouthwestinAustin, Texas, March8-11todiscussnationaland globalsecurity challenges. AstheinnovationarmoftheDepartmentof theAir Force, AFWERXplaysacriticalroleinacquiringthecutting-edge technologiesneededtomeetthese challenges.

Thethree-day eventfeaturedpanelsandfireside chatsfocusedonprovidingpracticaladvicetosmallcompaniesabouttopicssuch asartificial intelligence, autonomy, cybersecurity, venturecapital,foreignownership issuesandnavigatingthedefenseinnovationecosystem.Theeventcomes astheDepartmentoftheAir Forceundertakesoneofitsmostsignificant recalibrationsinrecenthistory, positioningtheAir ForceandSpace Force tomaintainsupremacyinaneraofGreat PowerCompetition.

DuringhisMarch 8 keynote speech, “Chasing Innovation: Lessons Learned,” Col.ElliottLeigh, AFWERXdirectorandDAF chiefcommer-

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U.S.AirForceCol.GwendolynFoster,outgoingDefenseHealthAgency SacramentoMarketdirectorand60thMedicalGroupcommander,speaks duringtheDHASacramentoMarketchangeofdirectorshipandthe60th MDGchangeofcommandceremonyatDavidGrantUSAFMedicalCenter,TravisAirForceBase,California,July13,2022.

eventsinfluencedher path.

In1988, at age 17, FosterjoinedtheIllinoisArmyNationalGuardand served as afieldmedicintheArmyGuardandReservesuntilherhonor-

Col.ElliottLeigh,AFWERXdirectorandchiefcommercializationofficer fortheDepartmentoftheAirForce,deliversakeynoteaddressatSouth bySouthwestinAustin, Texas,March8.Leigh’sbriefing,“Chasing Innovation:LessonsLearned,”sharedthebreadthofAFWERX’sportfolio andhowtheorganizationunleashesAmerican Ingenuitytorapidlyprovidenoveltechnologytothewarfighter.

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PhotobySeniorAirmanKarlaParra
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PhotobyMatthewClouse

WEEKINPHOTOS

Airmenassignedtothe6th AirRefuelingWingassist BlueStarFamilyvolunteersduringaNourish the ServiceeventatMacDill AirForceBaseMarch20, 2024.NourishtheService isaBlueStarFamiliessupportedeventdedicatedto bringinginstallationpersonneldonationsthroughouttheyear.Theevent providedfreefooditems, hygieneitemsandalarge stockoftoys.Overthe courseofsixhours,more than300servicemembers and75volunteersattended theevent.

AU.S.SoldiercompletesacircuitduringaNorwegianFootMarchat MacDillAirForceBase,March15.TheJointCommunicationsSupport Elementhostedtheeventwhichconsistedofan18.6milerunormarch with each participantcarrying a24-pound rucksack. Themarchwas firstheldin1915bytheNorwegianArmyasatestofmarchingenduranceforsoldiers

Membersofthe6thAirRefuelingWingcommandteampresentthe GeneralMarkA. WelshIII“OneAirForce”awardtothe6thand927th AircraftMaintenanceSquadrons,ontheflightlineatMacDillAirForce BaseMarch22.TheGeneralMarkA. Welsh III “OneAirForce”award isawardedtoateamthatdemonstratesimprovedeffectiveness,operational readiness,andmissionaccomplishmentthroughintegrated solutions.

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PhotobySeniorAirmanJoshuaHastings PhotobySeniorAirmanJessicaDo PhotobySeniorAirmanLaurenCobin

Theskyislimitless

TYNDALLAIRFORCEBASE,FL—EveryMarchtheUnitedStates observes Women’sHistoryMonthtohonortheachievementsandcontributionswomenofallbackgroundshavemadeinourcountry. Through thecontributionsofthesewomen,manydoorshavebeenopenedforthe moderngeneration.

Recentstudiesindicatemorediverseteamstendtobemoreefficient, manyindustrieshavebenefitedfromthisculturalshift,includingthe U.S. Air Force. Careerfieldsacrossthebranchhaveseenanincreasein womenenteringpreviouslymale-dominatedprofessions, includingfightersquadrons. AmongthemisCapt.Audrey Wilson,95th FighterSquadronF-35ALightningIIpilot,whoknewatanearlyagethatshe wanteda militarycareer.

“WhenI wasajuniorinhighschool,Iwenttoarecruitingoffice,” explained Wilson. “Initially, I wantedtodopararescue, butrealizedIhad thebonedensityofa chicken,sotherecruiterssuggestedthatIexplore becomingapilot.It wasfromtherethatIdecidedtogothecollegeroute

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Fromtheleft,U.S.AirForceCapt.JustinSplainandCapt.AudreyWilson, 95thFighterSquadronF-35ALightningIIpilots,walktowardstheflight lineat TyndallAirForceBase,Florida,Feb.22.Wilsonwashighlighted during Women’sHistoryMonthasoneof Tyndall’sfirstF-35pilots.

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Photoby VenessaArmenta

NEWS/FEATURES

Women’sHistoryMonth:Closingthe1A(pilot)gendergap

KoratRoyalThaiAir ForceBase, Thailand— Eachyear, theDepartmentoftheAir ForcerecognizesMarchas Women’s History Monthto honorwomen,pastandpresent,whohavecontributedtotheservice’ssuccess. The8th Fighter Wingisfollowingsuit, spotlightingwomen ofvariousAir ForceSpecialtyCodes throughoutthemonthtoshowcasehowfemaleAirmen areessentialmembersofthe Wolf Pack andits Fight Tonightmission.

ThelatestAir Force PersonnelDataCenterdatashowsthat21.4percentofactiveduty membersarewomen.Althoughcontentfeaturingsomeofthe326thousandfemaleAirmenis deliberatelyprioritizedduringMarch,according toleaderslikeCol.MatthewGaetke, 8th Fighter Wingcommander, showcasingthediversityof ourforceisapriorityyear-round.

“Thediversityofourforce, inethnicity, culture, religion,andgender, givesusanedgethat setsusapartfromothermilitaries,” saidGaetke. “RecruitingandretainingAirmenfromallbackgrounds, eachofwhombringsuniqueperspectivesandexperiences, andthenbreakingdown barrierstotheirserviceandcontributionby makingsuretheirvoiceisheardisessentialto theinnovationweneed.Thatcertainlyincludes thevoicesofwomen.Whilewe’vemadeprogress

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2ndLt.BrynnLunaas,80thFighterSquadronF-16FightingFalconpilot, reviewsaircraftcertificationsbeforeflyingatrainingsortieatKoratRoyalThaiAirForceBase,Thailand,March6.The U.S.AirForce recognizes Women’sHistoryMontheachyeartohonorthe women,pastandpresent,whohavecontributedtothe service’ssuccess.

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PhotobySeniorAirmanKarlaParra

GENDERGAP

overtheyears, westillhavealotofworktodobreakingdownbarriers!”

Whileofficialbarriershavebeenremovedforwomentoserve, some dutiesstillhaveagenderratiogap. The1AAir Forcespecialtycode, pilots, isonecareerfieldthatisstillstruggling.

Today, ofthe21.4percentfemaleAirmenrecordedin2023,only8percentarepilots, andthenumberalmostcutsinhalfwhenspecifieddown tofighteraircraftliketheF-16 Fighting Falconthatthe8th Fighter Wing employs.

“Thenumbershavestayedataboutthreetofourpercentsincethey openedupfighterstowomenbackinthe80s,” saidCapt.SarahGregory, 35th FighterSquadronfighterpilot.“Thegoalistoincreasethatnumber, getmoreladiesinaircraft,andbeapartofour awesome, ‘chickfighter pilot’community.”

Despiteonlybeingoneoftwowomeninthesquadron,Gregorysays she’sreceivedaregularfighterpilotexperience,

“Idon’treallynoticethatI’mdifferentoroneofonlyahandful, and thatisatestamenttoalltheguys. It’s notuntilanotherwomanshows uptothesquadronorI’moutatanevent, andyounggirlscomeuptome thatI’mreminded…”

Observanceslike Women’sHistoryMonthhavegivenfemaleAirmen acrosstheforcelargerplatformsfortheirmessagesandcreatedspokeswomenoutofwomenwhoworkinmale-dominatedcareerfieldssogirls andyoungwomen can hopefullyemulatethemin thefuture. Proudto representthecommunity, Gregoryhasaslightlydifferentmessagetothe nextgenerationthatshe wantstopushthisyear,

conpilot,donsonhelmetbeforeflightdepartureatKoratRoyalThai AirForceBase,Thailand,March4,2024.TheU.S.AirForce recognizes Women’sHistoryMontheachyeartohonorthewomen,pastandpresent,whohavecontributedtotheservice’ssuccess.

“Youdon’thavetohaveafemalerolemodeltodoit!Theredoesn’thave tobeawomanwhocamebeforeyouorwhodiditfirstinorderforyouto doit. Setyourgoals, findpeopletohelpyou—whethertheylooklikeyou ornotdoesn’tmatter…keepdrivingtowardsyourgoal.”

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PhotobySeniorAirmanKarlaParra Capt.MeganLangas,right,80thFighterSquadronF-16FightingFal-

Airmenassignedtothe6thLogisticsReadinessSquadronFiretruckandRefuelingMaintenanceandMaterielHandling Equipmentmaintenanceflightsadjustcomponentsduring a hydrostatichosetestatMacDillAirForceBaseMarch 12.Thetestcertifiesthe6thLRSpetroleum,oilsandlubricantsflight’s capabilitytoperformhotpit refueling withtheir R-12 refuelingtruck.

MacDillFuelsManagementFlightexpediteshotpit refueling procedures;findsnewavenueforinnovation

storyandphotosbySeniorAirmanZacharyFoster 6thAirRefuelingWing,PublicAffairs

The6thLogisticsReadinessSquadronfuelsmanagement flightrecentlyimplementedaninnovativeapproachtohot pitrefueling.

Hotpitrefuelingallowstheaircrafttolandandkeep theirenginesrunningwhiletheyrefuel. Thetechniquerequireshighlyspecializedequipmenttoperform–untilnow.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt.CharlesAshworth,6thLRS FiretruckandRefuelingMaintenance(FARM)andMaterielHandlingEquipment(MHE)maintenancesection chief, firstconsideredtheideatoutilizeoneoftheflight’stankless trucksfollowingaconversationwith6thLRSpetroleum, oilsandlubricantleadership.

AccordingtoAshworth,aPOLtechnicianposedthequestion:“Whycan’tweuseourR-12refuelersinsteadoftheR11s?”Theanswerbeing:“I’veneverseenittried.”

TheR-12refuelingtrucksprovideadistinctadvantage overthepreviousmodel,theR-11, withitscapabilitytotap intotheinstallation’sfuelstoragetanks. Thenewtruckuses undergroundfuellinesdrawingfromtwo1-million-gallon fuelcontainersasopposedtoitspredecessor’s 6,000-gallon mobiletank.

Missionrequirementsdictatetheneedforfuelfollowing

aflight,however, U.S. Air ForceSeniorAirmanNaomiMejia Brandi,6thLRSPOLfuelsequipmentmaintenanceteam lead,approximatesthatatypicalrefuelforaKC-135Stratotankerrequires10,000-18,000gallonsortwotothreefull R-11crews. Areductiontoone, usingtheR-12,woulddrasticallyreducethestrainonmanpoweracrossthesquadron.

Ashworthtookontheprojecttouncoverwhetherthetask wassafeorevenpossible, seeingitasanopportunityto challengehimselfandhisteam

“Ispentawhileresearchingtoseeifanybodyhadtriedto implementthis,” Ashworthsaid “Ireachedouttocontacts fromotherbasesandourhigherheadquarters;nobodyhad anydocumentationonpreviousattemptstousetheR-12.”

Ashworthandhisteampooledtheirexperiencetoidentifylimitingfactorsintheprocess Evidently, therewerenot many. RefuelingusingtheR-12fallswithinthetypicalresponsibilitiesofaPOLtechnicianandonlyrequiresafew additionalsafety checkstoensurethecurrentfleetoftrucks arecapableofperformingthetaskwithenginesrunning.

Thelargestportionoftestingiscompletedbythe6thLRS FARMandMHEteams. Together, techniciansperformed a hydrostatichosetesttoensuretheconnectingequipment hastheintegritytowithstandextendedpressure.

“Hydrostatichosetestingisanuncommonpracticefor

U.S.AirForceSeniorAirmanStineWilliams,6thLogisticsReadinessSquad statichosetestinspectionatMacDillAirForceBaseMarch13.Thetestcertifiesthe6thLRSPOLflight’scapabilitytoperformhotpit

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(Farleft)Airmenassignedtothe6thLogisticsReadinessSquadronpetroleum, oilsandlubricantsflightprepareequipmentduringapost-hydrostatichose testinspectionatMacDillAirForce BaseMarch13.Thetestcertifiesthe 6thLRSPOLflight’scapabilitytoperformhotpit refuelingwiththeirR-12 refuelingtruck. (Left)U.S.AirForceAirman1stClass MaKensie Ty ler,6thLogisticsReadinessSquadronvehiclemaintenance technician, re ducespressureduring ahydrostatichosetestatMacDillAir ForceBaseMarch12. U.S.AirForceSeniorAirmanStineWilliams,6thLogisticsReadinessSquadron petroleum,oilsandlubricantsflightlaboratorytechnician,checksequipmentforapost-hydrostatichosetestinspectionatMacDillAirForceBaseMarch13.Thetestcertifiesthe6thLRSPOLflight’scapabilitytoperformhotpit refuelingwiththeirR-12 refuelingtruck.

abledischargein1997.Hermilitaryservicehelpedoffsettheexpensesof college.

“Iinitiallystartedcollegeaspre-med, but I marriedyoungandhadmyfirst littleonewhilewewereboth stillin undergrad,soI was concerned aboutbalancingafamilywhileinmedicalschool,” said Foster “I endedup switching to nursing, which wasablessingindisguise. I’veneverlookedback.”

Aftercollege, sheworkedinprivatepractice asa midwife, butthe call to servehercountry wasalwaysrunninginthe background.Likemanywho areservingnow, Foster hadafatherwho wasa Vietnam Warveteran.

“Formyfamily, it wasnot aquestionofwillyoujoin,it wasaquestion of whenyouwilljoin,“said Foster.

Whetherinuniformornot, Fosterdidnot wanttocompromisebeing a midwifeandbeingthereforwomen atsuch apivotaltimeoftheirlives. Herpassiontocareforwomendidnotfully alignwithher desiretoserve thenationuntil2001.

“Then9/11happened,andIknewIneededtoraisemyrighthand again andserve,” said Foster “IwenttoanAir Forcerecruiterandasked where there wasaneedformidwives, whereIcouldhavethebiggestimpact. ThenextthingIknew, I wascommissioned andlanded at thedoorstepsof LangleyinMarch of 2002.”

Assoonasshejoined, Fosterknewwhereherprimary focuswould alwaysremain-servingmilitaryfamilies.

“Beingamidwifehasbeenmycalling,” said Foster. “Midwife literally means‘withwomen,’and everything Idoand every positionthatIhold, I reallydolookforhowIcan bringoutthe bestinsomeone. Asamidwife, I lookfor waysIcanbringoutthatinner strengthinmy patientsthey have alwayshad.”

Foster’sdedicationtoherpatientsdidnotgounnoticed,andleaders encouragedhertotakeroleswithmoreresponsibility. Whilegrowingwith theAir Force, sheencounteredoneofhercareer’sbiggest challenges.

“AsImademy wayto become flightcommander, Ilearned howtoadjust myscheduleandmeetthedemandsofbeingaleaderandfoundtimeto careforpatients,” said Foster. “Butwhat wasloominginthe background wasthat,eventually, I wouldhaveto stop(caringfor patients)ifI wanted tocontinuedownthispath.”

Shedidnot wanttheincreasingdemandsof beingamanagertocompromiseherabilitytoseepatients. Ashertwo desiresconflicted, sheacknowledgessheworkedthrough abit of an identitycrisis.

“It washardtounderstandinitiallyuntil anothermidwifementorsaid, ‘Youareimpactingwomen at the bedside and the staff youarewithinthe room. Justthinkoftheimpactyoucanhave bybeing inleadershipwhere youcanhaveabiggerinfluenceovermoremidwives andthecarereceived bywomenandtheirfamilies,’” said Foster.

That was, as Fosterputit,her“ah-ha” moment, knowingshecouldalwayscallherselfamidwifenomatterthetitle andrank-itwillalways be hertradeandpartofheridentity. Fosterdoubleddown on herneedtobalancebothroles.

“Whileitisnotcommontopushtoseepatientswhile taking on manyof theleadershiprolesIhavehad, Iknow it is possible,” said Foster. “Evenin mycurrentrolesupportingtheSurgeonGeneral,Itoldmyleadershipthat whiledirectorofstaffismyprimaryduty, Iwould also liketosee patients

IworkhardtoensurethereisneveraconflictofinterestandthatIfulfill myprimarydutiesfirst.ButIalso wanttohavethatoptiontocontinue caringfor womenandtheirfamilies.”

Fostersaidmentors-throughsharingtheirstories, experiencesandencouragement-empowered hertoseekbalance She saidshediscussed her concernswithacommanderwho wasanorthopedicsurgeonbytrade but continuedtreating patients.

“Hereallyshowedmehowhebalancedhisleadershiprolewithpatient care,” said Foster. “Whentheopportunitycameuptogotomilitaryeducationinresidence, heencouragedmetothrowmynameintherunning. I wasinitiallyuncertainbecause, atthetime, Ionly viewedmyselfas a midwife. Butbecauseofthat20-minuteconversation,myentirecareer trajectory changed.Now, I encourageallleaderstosharetheirexperiences because younever know whoisunnecessarilyself-eliminatingfromopportunitiessimplybecausetheydon’tknowitispossible.”

As Foster’sleadershiprolesgrew, itoftenmeantshe wastheonlyperson wholookedlikeherat thetable WhiletheAir ForceMedicalServicehas madesignificantstridesindiversifyingitsleadership, Fostersaidshe frequently foundherselfeitherbeingthehighest-rankingwomanorhighestrankingBlackwomanatabase.

“WhenIstartedmyleadershipjourney, it washardtoseeanyonewho lookedlikeme. Ididn’thave awomangroupcommander, norhaveIhad awomanwingcommander,” said Foster. “Itisthatthoughtthatkeepsme goingwhenthingsget challengingoroverwhelming. Iamnotjusthere for myself, butfor thosecominginbehindme. Evenonmylowestday, Iknow thereisabigger purposethanmyself.”

Fromelementleadertogroupcommander, Fosterremindedherselfand other Airmentoremainauthenticandtobeaguidepostforfuturedecisions. SheencouragedAirmentofindthat“redline” and knowwhatthe rightthingis, evenifitmeanshavingdifficultconversations. Itisabout doingwhatisrightattheendoftheday.

“Youwillhavemomentswhereyouwillnotbedirectlyaskedtodosomething, butyouwillfeelobligatedto, andthatiswhen youmighthavetoask ifthisisadirectorder,” said Foster “OneofthefewtimesIhadtoaskthat waswhenwewerebeingaskedtoincreaseaccesstopatients. Iworked withmyteamtofindefficiencieswherewecouldwithoutcompromising ourworkloador patientsafety ButIstillfeltasifwewerebeingaskedto domoreeventhoughweweredoingthebestwecouldwithourresources. IknewIhadtospeakup, andI wasmentallypreparingtogiveupmy role, becauseIknewwecouldn’tdomorewithoutimpactingpatientsafety WhenI asked mycommanderifthis wasadirectorder, I wasthankfully toldit wasn’t.”

“It wasthefirsttimethatI hadreached aredlineandIknewIneeded to usemy voicewhensomethinglikethathappens. IfIhadn’tspoken up andwehadabadoutcomeasaresultofpushingbeyondourlimits, Iwould not have beenabletosleepatnight.Neverlosesightofyourauthenticself andwhatisright.”

While FostercurrentlysitsatAFMSheadquarters, surroundedbyleadersatthe helm ofmakingdecisionsimpactingtheenterprise, she wantsto continuetoempowerandencourageAirmenwho wanttocreatetheirown leadershipjourney.

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FOSTER

us becausethey’reonlynecessaryeverythreeyears,” said U.S. Air Force StaffSgt. KevinGomezSoto, 6thLRS MHE technician. “Typicallybases outsourcetheinspectiontoindustrypartners, butwe’vetaken onthe responsibilitybecauseitletsusinternallytrackeverything going on with thevehicleandaddressconcernsfar quicker – anditsavesasignificant amountofmoney.”

AccordingtoGomezSoto, thetestconsists ofrepeatedly pressurizingthe hosetocarefullyassessanyweakpointsand evaluatewhetherit’ssuitable forsuccess.

“We’relookingforanyleakage, bulges, defects–anythingthatlookslike itmayposeathreat,” explainedGomezSoto. “Theendpiecesfeelthemost pressuresoweusespecialcagestoblockthe waterinanemergency. We want thistesttogowell,butwe’regoingtoprotectourselvesincaseit doesn’t.”

Afterathoroughinspection,theteamconcludedthehoseandrestof equipmentpassedalloftheirrequirementsandcouldmoveonto thenext roundoftesting.

The FARMandMHEtestused watertocontrolthehose’spressureand provideasafematerialfortechnicianstohandle. Followingthehydrostatic testing, thehosemayhaveresidual water clungtoits walls. Accordingto MejiaBrandi, thiscouldinfluencethequalityoffuelbeingtransferred fromthetruck tothe aircraft.

Anadditionaltestisrequiredto closelyexamine a sampleafterthehose hasbeenflushedwithjetfuelinthePOLoutdoorlaboratory.

“Afterahydrostatictestisdoneonthehoses, werunatleast300gallons

[ofjetfuel]throughthesystemtomake sureany waterisflushedout,” said MejiaBrandi.“Ourlabtakesafewsamplestomakesurethatthefuelfilterand waterseparatorisworkingasitshould.”

MejiaBrandifurtherexplains, thefuelusedinaircrafthasaunique chemicalcomposition. Thepresenceof watermaydilutethatcomposition whichcouldhave adverse effects withintheengine, puttingtheaircrewin danger However, testssuchasthesethoroughlyidentifyanyissues long beforereachingtheaircraft.

FollowingthePOLlaboratoryresults, thefirsttruck wassuccessfully certified forhotpitrefueling.

“Thereasonwetooktheinitiativetodothis wasbecausethisisthe timeandplaceto experiment,” Ashworthsaid . “Whenwe’reinadeployed environment,themissionneverstops. Stateside assignmentsareanopportunityfor ustobothfamiliarizeourselveswiththeprocessandexcelinour domains That waywecan share thatinformationwithourteammatesand slowlydisseminateimprovements toproceduresacrosstheforce.”

Despitethe 6thLRSPOL’s capacity tocompletehot pitrefuelingwith thetraditionalmethod, Ashworthandhisteamtookituponthemselvesto expediteproceduresatthelocallevelwiththeintenttosharetheirexperience.

ThenewAir Forcegenerationmodelisdesignedtosparkinnovationand tocarrytheframeworktodeployedareasofresponsibility. Ashworth,Mejia BrandiandGomezSotoprovedthe6thAirRefueling Wingisreadyand willingtoleadthejointforce, anytimeandanywhere.

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16s, B-52s, andF-35s To getthe decoyintheair, weaponsAirmen quicklyadaptedtoloadingthenew munitionontotheA-10andcontinuouslyworktokeepitapotent forcein warfarescenarios.

“NowtheA-10hasmoremunitionsandcansupportwhateverthe missiontaskingisdemanding,” said CarlosCarias-Rodriguez, 476th MaintenanceGroupsupervisor “TheA-10scannowsupportother airframesbylaunchingthesedecoys, ordowhatit’sbestknownfor, whichis closeairsupport.Ibelieve thisstrategicmoveiswhathelps employtheA-10smissiongoingforward.”

Theloadcrews–Airmenand evaluators–areworkinghardto continuouslyensurethatwhen loadingtheMALDsandothermunitions, areabletobeusedinthe capacity.

“It’shoursoftedious watching andevaluatingforus,” saidMaster Sgt.Mark Webber, 23rdMaintenanceGroupweaponsstandardizationsuperintendent “Makingsure thesecrewsknowhowtoloadeverymunition correctlyandsafely, sowhenthepilotpushesthebutton,thebombormunitionthey’re launchinghitsthetarget,orinthe MALD’scase, drawstheattention ofenemydefensesystems away fromourA-10andallyaircraft.”

Webberelaboratedthatincorporatingtheadditionalmunitionsto theA-10demandsAirmentoacquireanewmasteryofskills. Nevertheless, loadcrewshavedemonstratedcommendablededication toguaranteethesuccessoffuture missions.

Together, theseAirmenplay a pivotalroleinkeepingourA-10s preparedforthe challengesoftomorrow’sconflicts, exemplifyingtheir commitmenttostayingaheadofthe curveandshowcasinghowTigers lead.

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A-10C FromPage2
(Above)Fromleft,U.S.AirForce StaffSgt.ConcepcionRodelo,Airman1stClass KylerStenke,and SeniorAirmanAnisaPrice,74th FighterGenerationSquadron load crew, discuss trainingatMoody AirForce Base,Georgia,Feb. 14. Loadcrewsaremadeupofthree membersandare responsiblefor loadingweaponsandmunitionson adesignatedaircraft. (Left)U.S.AirForce Airman1st ClassKylerStenke,74th Fighter GenerationSquadronloadcrew member,tightensboltstosecure aMiniature Air-LaunchedDecoy onto an A-10CThunderbolt II at MoodyAirForceBase,Georgia, Feb.14.AMALDisusedincombat todrawenemydefenseweaponry awayfromaerialforces,allowing aircrafttomovefurtherintoenemy territorymoresafely. PhotobyAirman1stClassSirWyrick

cializationofficer, saidthedepartment’s transitiontoanenterprisefocusedonGreat PowerCompetitionwillrequireapipelineofcutting-edge technologiesfromstartupsandmilitarypersonneltoAFWERX.

“Weworkcontracts—werunthefrontendofthepipeline,” Leighsaid. “We do prototypes, and we transitionthose technologies, but thereare otherelementsofthis. It’sreallypeoplethatwinthe wars. It’sAirmen andGuardians, membersofourarmedservices. It’ssoldiersandsailors. It’sMarines. You’regoingtoseethe whole jointcommunityherethis weekendtalkingaboutthis.”

But,whileit’scriticaltoinnovate, LeighaddedthattheUnitedStates alsoneedstofieldtechnologiesfirst,beforeitsadversariesdo, tohavethe greatestimpact.

“Weneedtoquicklymovethoseandgetthemintothehandsofsomebodywhocandosomethingwiththem,” Leighsaid.“Thatgives[warfighters]anadvantage—whatIliketothinkofasanunfairadvantage— overtheiradversariesina wartimeenvironment.”

LeighreiteratedthatAmericaningenuityisthecountry’s“superpower,” givingitanedgethathelpsitwin wars.

“Weknowouradversaries wanttotapintothatsuperpowerofAmericaningenuity,” Leighsaid.“It’swhythey’reattendingouruniversities. It’swhythey’retryingtobuyintoyourcompanies It’swhythey’reinterestedinyourintellectualproperty Itisoursuperpower.”

Leighprovidedexamplesofthe U.S.’s adversariesinfluencingits neighborsandprojectingmilitaryandeconomicpower. Additionally, he providedsuccessstoriesforeachofAFWERX’sfourdivisions:AFVentures, Prime, SpaceWERXandSpark.

Also, onMarch8,LeighjoinedleadersfromtheDefenseInnovation UnitandNavalXtomarkthelaunchofthe JointDefenseInnovation SpaceinAustinwitharibbon-cuttingceremony. Thejointworkspaceis locatedatCapital Factory, thehomeofAFWERX’s AustinHub, inthe OmniHotel.

“Thisnewspaceisatestamenttothestrongcollaborationhappening acrosstheDOD’sinnovationorganizations,” Leighsaidduringtheceremony.

Theco-locationoftheseorganizationsisanefforttobetterscalethe adoptionofcommercialtechnologyacrosstheDepartmentofDefense,

Col.ElliottLeigh,AFWERXdirectorandchiefcommercializationofficer fortheDepartmentoftheAirForce,helpscuttheribbontocelebrate theofficialopeningofTheJointDefenseInnovationSpaceatCapital FactoryduringSouthbySouthwestinAustin, Texas,March8.AFWERX, DefenseInnovationUnitandNavalXhavejoinedtogethertolaunch a newjointdefenseinnovationworkspaceinAustintobetterprovidecollaborationopportunitiesacrosstheorganizationsandtomakethem moreaccessibletostartupcompanies.

leadingtogreaterstrategicimpact. Additionally, thesecoordinatedeffortsarepartoftheDoD’sfocusonimprovingthedemandsignalstothe commercialtech sector, makingiteasierfortechcompanies, particularly startupsandsmallfirms, toengagewiththedepartment.

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AFWERX FromPage3
PhotobyMatthewClouse

WOMEN

andjoin[theReserveOfficers’TrainingCorps]withthe mindsetof wantingtopursuebecomingapilot.However, Ididn’tnecessarily wanttobeapilot;I wantedtocommit myselftoarunmissionsetinthemilitary.”

Though aviationishistoricallyamale-dominatedfield, Wilsonsaysthisis changing, astherehasbeenasignificantsocietalshiftinlargepartthankstoevolvingleadershipandwomenjoiningthecareerfield.

“Weareatatimein aviationwherealotofwomenhave adaptedthefieldandmadeimpactful changestomake morespace,” explained Wilson.

Wilsonrecallsbeingoneof15femalepilotsatherfirst A-10squadronatOsanAirBase, makingupaquarter oftheteam, withawomanoccupying aleadership role ateverylevel.Currently, sheistheonlyfemalepilotassignedtothe95thFS, but Wilsonmentionshowtherestof herteamhasbeenmorethanwelcoming. The95thFSis smallerinsizecomparedtoothersduetotherecentestablishmentofthesquadronasTyndallcompletedamission transitionlastyear.

Wilsonmentionshowshehasbeenfortunatetohave notfaced muchpushback.In her experience, themost significant challengeforwomeninthefieldisthefactthat noteverythingisdesignedwiththeminmind.

“Ifsomethingisnotcateringto you, orsomethingis workingagainstyou,it’sveryrarelyamaliciousthing. Thebiggest challengeislearningthatallyouneedtodois speakupbecauseoddsaretheyjustdon’tknowthatsomething’smissing,” Wilsonsaid.“Onceyoufindtherighttact tospeakuptotherightpeople, it’samazinghowquickly theywillmovetheworldtomakeroomforyou.”

Wilsoncaveats thisstatementbysayingsheunderstandsthismaybeuncomfortable. Still,peopledon’talwaysknowwhatisnotbroughttotheirattention,which istheadviceshewouldgiveanyoneinterestedinentering the aviationfield.

“It’sokaytoaskfor changes. It’snotsomethingyou shouldbeafraidoforfeelbadabout.It’sjustanadaptationthatneedstohappentomakeroomforeverybody,” said Wilson.

Wilsonhashadtheprivilegeofhavingmanyfemale rolemodelsthroughouthercareer.

“Idon’tliketothinkofrolemodelsasfar-offpeople you’venevermet,” stated Wilson.“Theyarepeopleinyour lifethatyougettosee, workwithanddothethingsyou hopetodo. Myweaponsofficeratmyfirstsquadron was thefirstfemaleinstructorIhad.It wasexcitingtoseehow muchcommonalitywehad.Iappreciatedtheopportunity tolearnfromsomebodywholookedandexperiencedthe worldlikeme Itmademe wanttobeinthatpositionfor someoneelse.”

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EVENTS

FSSAirFesthours

Forafulllistof6th ForceSupportSquadronprogramfacilities, diningoptions, andrecreationalfacility closuresduringthe2024AirFest,visitmacdillfss.com/airfestwkhours_24.

DownloadfreeAirFest2024app

Getreadytosoaratthe Tampa BayAirFest,featuringthe U.S. ForceThunderbirds!Downloadthe freeAirFest2024Apptodaytoaccesstheschedule, performers, sponsors, staticdisplays, gatemap, food andbeverageoptions, hangar2exhibitors, and FAQs. Don’tmissout onthisthrillingeventfromMarch 28-30–downloadnow(availableon theAppStoreandGooglePlay).

Eastermeal

StopbyDiner’sReefonMarch 31stfrom11a.m.–1 p.m.foran EasterCelebrationmeal—perfect forthosepressedfortimeorsimplynotinthemoodtocook.Indulge intheirdelectableofferingsand letthemtakecareofyourEaster feast! Formoreinformation,visit macdillfss.com/Easter-Menu-Flyer.

Outdooradventuretrips

Experiencethethrillofadventurewith6thFSSOutdoorAdventure Tours, frommasteringthe basicsofkayakingtoembarking onexhilaratingkayaktours, swimmingalongsidemajesticmanatees, andexploringthedepthsthrough scubadiving. Visitmacdillfss.com/ outdoor-adventure-tours/toursto viewupcoming classesandunforgettabletripssellout quickly.

Conrolledburn!

ForestrytechniciansassignedtotheAirForceWildlandFireBranch, AvonParkWildlandSupport Module,providefiresupportontheairfieldatMacDillAirForceBaseMarch19.Acontrolledburnwas executedinpreparationfortheA-10CThunderboltIIDemonstration Teampyrodisplayat TampaBay Airfest2024.

CHAPELSCHEDULE

Normal Hours- Monday - Friday - 9 a.m.to 3p.m. After hours chaplain, callthe Command Post at 828-4362/4361.

Monday-Wednesday Mass - 12:10p.m. www.macdill.af.mil/chapel

Catholic Mass - Sunday - 9:30 a.m. (confessionsby appointment)

Findmoreeventsat:macdillfss.com

Protestant services - Sunday - 11 a.m. Contact the Chapel at 828-3621or email at 6ARW.HCADMIN@us.af.mil for inquiries regarding Protestant religious education.

Jewish - Monthly Lunch and Learn: For schedule &tojoin distro,pleasecontactelimelach.estrin@us.af.mil

Islamic Service - Friday 1:30 p.m.(space reserved)

OtherFaith Groups - Pleasecontact the Chapelat (813)828-3621orviaemail at 6ARW.HCADMIN@us.af.mil

Formoredetailsandinformation,visittheChapelFacebookpageat http://www.facebook/6amwhc/ or MacDill’s Chapel website is:https://www.macdill.af.mil/chapel

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PhotobySeniorAirmanJoshuaHastings
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6th ForceSupportSquadron

TelephoneExtensions Prefix828

Commander 2823

Deputy ................................................2823

OpsOfficer 2703

Mortuary Affairs 6597

Unit Readiness 2252

Senior Enlisted Leader 3969

HonorGuard 5190

First Sergeant... 4153

Marketing & Publicity.. 3055

Military& Family Readiness Flight..0134

Military& Family ReadinessCtr......0145

Child& YouthServicesFlight.......5097

ChildDevelopmentCtr1..................3332

ChildDevelopmentCtr2.................2244

ChildDevelopmentCtr3..................0195

FamilyChildCare..............................7760

SchoolAgeCare.................................5971

YouthCenter......................................7956

Civilian PersonnelFlight................4286

Civilian Personnel.............................6090

Human ResourceOffice(NAF).........2911

CommunityServicesFlight............2921

Arts& CraftsCenter..........................4413

AutoHobby Shop...................373-6545

WoodHobby Shop.........................2093

Bay PalmsGolfComplex................0046

8IronGrill.........................................1507

Information, Tickets& Travel...............2478

MacDillBowlingLanes.....................4005

Hangar6Grill...................................7735

OutdoorRecreation/Equip Rental/ FamCamp................................840-6919

Pool............................................769-9901

Marina.......................................840-1513

Skeet Range...............................488-1244

ForceDevelopmentFlight.............7320

Airman LeadershipSchool..............2299

Base Theater......................................3607

Education.............................................3115

Library.................................................3607

ProfessionalDevelopment...............1229

Training...............................................4004

Manpower/OrgFlight .....................9977

Manpower............................................3711

MilitaryPersonnelFlight

ResourceMgmtFlight

FitnessCenter...................................4496 MacDillInn-

CACAppointment Line...............828-6673 6fss.fsmps.deersidcards@us.af.mil
.....................1449
ServicesFlight ........0034 2BrewsCatering......................840-2020 Diner’s Reef Dining Facility...............2412 FlightMeals....................................4998
PrivateOrganizations.......................6962 Sustainment
Lodging........................4259 Rickenbacker’s..............................7425
Restaurant.............840-1451 BreakawayEventCtr/Boomers..840-2020 6th Force SupportSquadron’sMonthlyHighlights–aSupplement to theMacDillAFBThunderbolt “Refuelthe Force” APRIL‘24 News macdillfss.com
SeaScapes

•Shoot

•Bouncie

2 u WWW.MACDILLTHUNDERBOLT.COM u Thursday, March 28, 2024 u MACDILL THUNDERBOLT 2 6FSS NEWS April‘24
MARINA
50% OFF Boat Rental - Thu Only
BOGO Kayak Paddle Canoe - Wed Only
Boat Rental - Rent 5, Get 1 FREE Rental SKEET
•Frequent
& Save - Buy 9, Get 1 FREE EQUIPMENT RENTAL
BOGO Bike Rental Mon-Thu
Houses $25 OFF Mon-Thu April Specials CHECK-OUTTHE LATEST TRIPS! macdillfss.com/outdoor-adventure-tours/ YO UT HC EN TER Registration starts April 26 for YC Members Non-Membersstarting May 1st Register online or in person Call for more info (813) 828-7956
MACDILL THUNDERBOLT u Thursday, March 28, 2024 u WWW.MACDILLTHUNDERBOLT.COM u 3 April‘24 6FSSNEWS 3 BounceBack Menu Featuring... Salads, Wings, Nachos & MORE! OPEN THU & FRI 3-8PM Food | Full Bar | Pool Tables TVs | Thursday Billiards & BBQ | Friday Stampede inside Breakaway EventCenter B LET US COOK DINNER! Call in Order To-Go Food Served 3-7PM ESM Welcome! MENU FEATURING... Nachos, Salads, Beach Time Favorites, Baskets, Sandwiches & MORE! TUE-THU 11AM-9PM • FRI 11AM-10PM • SAT 3PM-10PM FOOD SERVED: TUE-FRI 11AM-8PM • SAT 3PM-8PM BAR: OPENS AT 3PM For Inquiries Regarding Special Events at SeaScapes Phone: (813) 840-2020 6FSS.2.brewscatering@us.af.mil CHECK OUTTHE MENU! OPEN FOR LUNCH& DINNER! BENTO BOXES GRAB & GO! POWER EATS SHORT FITNESS CENTER Weekend Dining “Just for Kids” Exclusive to All Children (12 & Under) 8 IRON GOLF Mini Golfer • $6.50 (6:30-10:30am) One Large Fluffy Pancake with Choice of Topping & Whipped Topping (Blueberries, Banana, Chocolate Chips or Sprinkles), Side of Meat (Baconor Sausage), and Small Fountain Drink • $6.50 HANGAR6 Little Striker • $6.50 (Lunch /Dinner 11-8pm) 3 Piece Chicken Tenders, Curley Fries, Mini Fruit Cup, and Small Fountain Drink OPEN THU & FRI 3-8PM FA MI LY FI RS T SP EC IA LS NEW!
4 u WWW.MACDILLTHUNDERBOLT.COM u Thursday, March 28, 2024 u MACDILL THUNDERBOLT 4 6FSS NEWS April‘24 $15/HR All Positions Starting At or Higher macdillfss.com/open-jobs/ Benefits include: Access to on base facilities, bowling, fitness center, golf and tax free shopping. PLUS MUCH MORE! HOSPITALITY ADMINISTRATIVE RECREATION CHILD & YOUTH macdillfss.com @macdillfss INFORMATION,TICKETS & TRAVEL Ticket Counter: (813) 828-2478 LeisureTravel Office:(813) 828-1860 https://macdillfss.com/information-tickets-travel/ Discover Disney Florida Resident Tickets Tickets are good Apr. 2,2024 thru Sept. 28,2024 Reservations are required. Each person must show proof of residency DescriptionAdult Child 3 Day Base $215.00 $215.00 4 Day Base $231.00 $231.00 3 Day Hopper$254.00 $254.00 4 Day Hopper$270.00 $270.00 3 Day Base Plus (Water Parks & More)$250.00 $250.00 4 Day Base Plus (Water Parks & More)$265.00 $265.00 3 Day Hopper Plus (Water Parks & More)$269.00 $269.00
Day Hopper Plus (Water Parks & More)$285.00 $285.00 “L ET SGE T WI LD” EXTENDED TO APRIL 28! ...morethanjusttickets! The Lesiure Travel Officecan book your trip around the corner or around the world. Individual & personalized service 813.828.1860
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