Are You Prepared?
The Washington National Guard stays prepared for emergencies throughout the year.
Members of the Seattle Fire Department participated in a training exercise with the Washington Army National Guard aviators doing personnel movement on UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
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TUITION ASSISTANCE FOR GUARDSMEN?
Senate Bill 5197 would create a Washington National Guard Post-Secondary Education Grant Program. As a new incentive to join and remain a drilling member.
10 YEARS OF CHANGING LIVES AT WYA
Take a look at the last 10 years of the WYA and how it has trasnformed the lives of students throughout the state of Washington.
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE WITH EMD
Legislators this year are considering a plethora of bills and measures geared at helping schools, local governments and the public at large be more prepared for possible disasters.
partners participate in flood working group
During the half-day workshop, emergency managers learned about the Guard’s capabilities, what the expected time frame for response could be and how the Guard could work directly with emergency management officials to provide counties the best option at the lowest cost.
SEATTLE FIRE TRAINING EXERCISE WITH AVIATION
One of the Washington National Guard’s state missions is to assist with domestic operations. The formal relationship with the Seattle Fire Department is to work together on a quarterly basis, and this exercise meets that requirement.
WADS CONFINED SPACE EXERCISE
The Western Air Defense Sector conducted an arc flash injury exercise inside the WADS power plant Nov. 13, 2018.
THAI PARTNER EXCHANGE WITH AVIATORS
Members of the 96th Aviation Troop Command traveled to Lopburi, Kingdom of Thailand to share lessons learned with aviation professionals from the Royal Thai Army.
Proposed legislation seeks state tuition assistance for Washington National Guard members in school
Story by Joe Siemandel
When the economy and job market improve, the increase in the number of career opportunities often leads to a decrease in the number of young men and women who volunteer to serve.
“Our personnel numbers are the lowest they’ve been in years, and that threatens our organization’s ability to provide life-saving assistance and help our communities respond following a disaster,” said Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the state’s adjutant general and commander of the Washington National Guard. Daugherty testified before the Washington state Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee in support of Senate Bill 5197, which would create a Washington National Guard PostSecondary Education Grant Program. Washington state is one of just a handful of states that doesn’t provide up to 100 percent tuition assistance to its members of the National Guard as an incentive to join and remain a drilling member. “It’s a modest investment to help our Washington National Guard get back to full strength and prepared to assist our state and communities when needed.” If approved, Senate Bill 5197 / House Bill 1201 will provide tuition assistance to any active drilling member of the Washington National Guard in good standing who has not already earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. The member must enroll at an in-state institution of higher education accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. The grant would be designed to cover the cost of tuition that federal tuition assistance, federal grants and scholarships don’t cover. Most state’s already offer a similar program, to include Oregon and Idaho. “We have had members that live in the border communities transfer because they offer this benefit,” said Daugherty. “Others have chosen to leave our organization and take jobs with private organizations, like Starbucks, which offers tuition assistance to even part time employees.” “This is for members of the Washington National Guard that are reaching for their hopes and dreams,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, the prime sponsor on Senate Bill 5197. “Our members join the Guard to provide a better life for themselves, their families and ultimately their communities.” Currently Army National Guard members are provided the ability to use federal tuition assistance, or the Montgomery GI Bill. Air National Guard members have less education benefits. “Our Guardsmen want to serve our local communities while providing a good life for their families,” said Daugherty. “Providing tuition assistance and the opportunity for career advancement will help offset the time-commitment of serving in the Guard. It will also ensure that Washington employers have the skilled workforce necessary to succeed and support our economy.”
WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS IS A YEAR-ROUND PRIORITY FOR THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL GUARD Story by Sara Morris
It’s quickly becoming a summer tradition for the Washington National Guard, and not the good kind. Since 2014 more than 4,500 Guardsmen have been called from their homes and civilian jobs to respond to one of our state’s biggest threats, blazing wildfires that threaten lives and property across our state.
“Around 200 guardsmen get Red Card certified so they are prepared to work on one of the 10 hand crews that Washington National Guard is required to provide,” said McMahan. “These individuals are identified by either the Army or Air Guard, each of which must provide five hand crews.”
“From 2001 to 2013 we only saw a few activations for wildfires, now it is every year,” said Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general. “We are routinely training for fire season now.”
Hand crews are made up of 20 guardsmen that are Red Card certified. The Red Card certification is a 40-hour block and completes the requirements to be out on the fire line. Guardsmen have become valuable members out on the fire lines, often the crew bosses will fight to have them on their teams.
In 2013, Washington National Guard leaders identified the need for more soldiers and airmen to be ready to respond to wildfires. That summer more than 800 Guardsmen took part in Evergreen Ember, a wildfire training exercise. During the exercise several guardsmen earned their Red Card certification, as well as trained with many fire districts from across the state to build relationships and familiarization with the mission.
“I’ve been told that they work harder and cut fire lines faster. They are very sought after by the crew bosses when they arrive to a fire camp,” said McMahan. Certification isn’t the only thing the Guard has been working with DNR on to be prepared. They’ve been working with their sustainment office to have caches of equipment staged for needs.
“Aviators are generally the first to be called in to assist with fires and begin their training around February each year with the DNR aviators,” said Col. Kevin McMahan, Director of Operations for the Joint Operations “This year with DNR we were able to forecast sizes and equipment so we Center. “They do classroom training and practice bucket drop operations could preposition equipment,” said McMahan. “This way we don’t have to with DNR and receive a certification.” wait for DNR to open their warehouse.” Last summer all parts of Washington were covered with smoke and ash from wildfires, causing respiratory issues and decreased visibility for flights. The Washington National Guard was called in to assist the Department of Natural Resources.
The steps toward preparedness that the state has made streamlines the process for wildfire season. This way Guardsmen are prepared and ready when the time comes.
Proposed state legislation could provide Guardsmen equal pay during state activations
Story by: Joseph Siemandel
When members of the Washington National Guard are called to assist crews fighting growing wildfires across our state, they don the same uniform as fellow fire fighters. They’ve been trained and certified to fight on the front lines. And they stand side-by-side with professionals from other state agencies to ensure our communities remain safe. Yet members of the Washington National Guard are often paid less – sometimes even less than the state’s minimum wage – than others who perform the same grueling and dangerous work. Rep. Mari Leavitt and a group of state representatives from across Washington are pushing to change that with House Bill 1137. If approved, the legislation would ensure Washington National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are paid fairly while performing fire-fighting duties, and no less than minimum wage during other state activations. On Jan. 23, 2019, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general of the Washington National Guard and Scott Humphrey, Vice President, National Guard Association of Washington testified during a public hearing in the House Committee on Housing, Community Development & Veterans. “In 1989 the Legislature agreed to pay lower-level Guardsmen on State Active Duty 1.5 times the federal minimum wage,” said Daugherty. “Back then the state minimum wage was $3.85. The federal minimum was $3.80. Today there is a much greater disparity.” Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, while the state’s minimum wage is $12 an hour. Using the outdated formula established 30 years ago, lower level Guardsmen earn just under $11 an hour while supporting state disaster response. The proposed legislation would set minimum pay for State Active Duty to match either the state’s minimum wage or, during fire-fighting missions, the rate established by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, whichever is greater. “They are performing state work – while earning less than the state minimum wage,” said Daugherty. Fighting wildland fires has become a yearly occurrence for the Washington National Guard. In the summers of 2014 and 2015 the Guard responded during the worst wildfire seasons in state history. The governor activated the Guard again in 2017 and 2018 with more than 1,000 members fighting wildfires during the entire month of August. “Members of the National Guard are regular people, with regular jobs, working to provide for their families,” said Leavitt. “When we take them away from those jobs and pay them a lower wage than state minimum wage it hurts them and their families.” Humphrey, representing the members of the National Guard Association of Washington also provided support for the bill. If you would like to find out more about House Bill 1137 - https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1137&Initiative=false&Year=2019
Washington State Emergency Management Department meets with By Steven Friederich Legislature on proposed bills Legislators this year are considering a plethora of bills and measures geared at helping schools, local governments and the public at large be more prepared for possible disasters, including potential increases in funding for earthquake early warning, next generation 911, new planners and more tsunami sirens. Current law and the state constitution enacted during the cold war civil defense era only provide for continuity of government during periods of enemy attack, Robert Ezelle, the director of the Washington Emergency Management Division, testified before legislative committees. This needs to change to include catastrophic events, which overwhelms the government and exhausts all resources and requires national assets to come in. This could include earthquakes or even cyber attacks, Ezelle said. The legislation provides a process for an orderly succession and appropriate changes of leadership whether appointed or elected and processes and procedures to reconvene government.
early warning. “It will also allow us to more accurately detect and alert for earthquakes that rupture along faults that are long such as the Cascadia Subduction Zone fault,” Dixon said. “Allocating money shows how serious we are at reducing risk in Washington, which helps make it more likely that we will get continued funding from federal funding opportunities at a later date to complete the job. … And for ShakeAlert to be successful, everyone must understand what it is, how to get the alert, and what actions to take to protect themselves. Ezelle also testified in favor of legislation granting the governor more emergency powers during an emergency, noting that some rules and regulations need to have the ability to be waived.
Besides approval of the proposed legislation, a joint resolution would also need to be approved by the voters in November. State Sen. Dean Takko of Longview is one of the legislators helping to push the measure forward. “My district is basically ground zero for the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami,” Takko said during his hearing on Jan. 25. “If and when this ever happens, we can continue to operate on both the state level and the county level and keep things moving.” Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed $1 million for the Washington Emergency Management Division to work with local schools to develop, plan and exercise emergency response plans. Jason Marquiss, the deputy director of the Washington Emergency Management Division, advocated for legislation to make the school planning efforts a priority. “Daily, more than a million children attend school in Washington state,” Marquiss told legislators during a hearing on Feb. 20 “One of our key priorities is ensuring their safety.” “We really need to up our game on our incident response plans and planning,” state Sen. David Frockt of Seattle said during the hearing. “We’re a little behind the curve of where we need to be. We need more planners. That’s really the essence of emergency response.” The governor’s proposed budget also included funding for: • Earthquake Early Warning ShakeAlert: $5 million for procurement and installation of 83 seismic monitoring stations, as well as $240,000 for public outreach; • Hazardous Materials Program: $1.04 million to continue assisting local emergency planning committees statewide with hazardous materials plans; • Tsunami Sirens for Coastal Cities: $928,000 to procure and install 16 all-hazard alert broadcast (AHAB) sirens to increase inundation zone coverage; • Enhanced 9-1-1/ Next Generation: $9,975,000 to enable the agency to finish the transition of and operate a new network, which will be more resilient and provide advanced capabilities including text to 911, improved location accuracy, and the ability to transmit data and video. “We’re not quite finished with the network, but this funding if approved will help us get there,” said State Enhanced 911 Coordinator Adam Wasserman. Maximilian Dixon, the earthquake program manager for Washington Emergency Management Division, said he’s hopeful the funding requests will make it through the rigorous budget process, especially for the increased tsunami coverage and earthquake
“Even simple things like debris removal can be delayed because of certain laws and regulations,” Ezelle testified on Feb. 1, adding that water and sewage, agriculture issues and even firefighting efforts can also be impacted. “This bill allows the governor to waive certain laws and regulations during a time of emergency,” said Sen. Hans Zeiger of Puyallup. “Of note, there are limitations of the powers that are extended under this bill and the Legislature would have to extend those powers under concurrent resolution or in writing beyond 30 days.” Bills: HB 1077/SB 5012 Continuity of Government HB 1200 / SB 5247 Catastrophic Incident Plans HJR 4200 / SJR 8200 Catastrophic Incidents SB 5260 Governor’s Emergency Powers
WASHINGTON YOUTH ACADEMY, CHANGING LIVES FOR 10 YEARS Story by Sara Morris
Amy Crigger’s future was in jeopardy. Struggling in school and in life, she made the life-changing choice to apply to the Washington Youth Academy, a decision she says was the best she’s ever made.
Historical Date for class 16-1-19-1 Recruited to Graduated
“I think that it has saved my life,” Crigger said. “I do not regret coming here and I really appreciate all the cadre for pushing me through this.” “From the day operations planning began at the Washington Youth Academy in January 2008, the WYA adopted a continuous improvement philosophy,” said Larry Pierce, WYA director from 2010-2019. “We continue to live that philosophy and embrace positive, meaningful change that improves services to our cadets and graduates and working conditions for our employees.” The WYA is a division of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. Established under authority of both federal and state law, it is a state-run residential and post-residential intervention for youth who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out. Youth ChalleNGe incorporates a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self-discipline, personal responsibility and positive motivation. In 2011, the Rand Institute conducted a study and found the return on investment for students involved in ChalleNGe brings in a $2.66 for every dollar spent. Academy graduates are more likely to graduate high school, earn college credits and get jobs with a higher wage. The WYA welcomed its first class in January 2009. By Class of 2018-2, it had more than 2,600 graduates. However, there is a disparity in cadets from the eastern side of the state. “Looking at the map, the Eastern Washington counties aren’t applying in numbers equal to the western side,” said Amy Steinhilber, the current WYA director. “I would also factor that around 50 to 70 percent of our youth applicants are impoverished in some capacity.” Finances are an important factor as families do have a small monetary responsibility, including providing transportation for their student to attend the academy. It’s a burden too large for some, which Steinhilber says is unfortunate because they’ve seen a burgeoning recruitment population from the Tri-Cities area. Considering that applications are already double what the WYA can accept, even without a campus located more centrally to the eastern side of the state, it’s easy to see the need for a second location. Steinhilber also highlighted the fact that the families have to drive the applicants to Bremerton for the on-site orientation and then, if they are
409 383 366
165 164 160 138
accepted, will have to travel to and from the program four additional times. This can be a physical, psychological and financial barrier for the students and their families, especially in the winter months. “Just imagine if we’re getting twice as many applicants than we can take now. If we’d open an academy on the eastern side of the state, there’s no doubt in my mind that number would quadruple,” Steinhilber said. The WYA includes a 22-week intensive residential phase and a 52-week (one year) post-residential phase where the youth receives intense mentoring and placement follow-up. A class cycle is 154 days, including up to seven days for home pass and placement activities for the post-residential phase. Placement activities include job search, educational appointments, vocational/technical training and a return to high school classes. Program activities include academics, service to community, leadership, mentoring and personal development. A number of small unit training and educational enhancement activities supplement the program including an additional 7th period in the academic program to assist individuals in need of extra assistance and limited special education services. Students attend classes, but are also given life-coping skills. All graduates are trained in Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, earn a food handlers card, and are certified in First Aid/CPR/AED. In further preparation for post-residential transition, all cadets tour two of the three campuses for Bates Technical College and
WASHINGTON YOUTH ACADEMY CADET REGISTRATIONS/GRADUATES (2009 to Cl. 2-2018 - 82.3% Graduation Rate)
2,546 / 2,095 - 82.3% Pass Rate
128 / 115 - 90%
3 / 1 - 33% *.23%
9 / 8 - 89%
17 / 15 - 88% *1.07%
GRAYS MASON HARBOR 32 / 20 *1.08%
509 / 406 - 80%
WAHKIAKUM 3 / 3 - 100% *County % of total state population
6 / 5 - 83%
6 / 2 - 33%
23 / 18 - 78% *1.52%
247 / 202 82%
2/ 2 - 100%
1 / 1 - 100%
4 / 4 - 100% *.16%
42 / 36 - 86%
184 / 168 - 91%
54 / 40 - 74%
10 / 7 - 70%
146 / 127 - 87%
0 / 0 - 0%
5 / 4 - 80%
961 / 792 - 82%
4 / 0 - 0%
9 / 8 - 89% *1.07%
KITSAP 235 / 190 81%
9 / 6 - 67%
1 / 1 - 100%
6 / 6 - 100%
188 / 161 - 86%
16 / 14 - 88%
OKANOGAN 4 / 4 - 100%
BENTON 83 / 63 76% *2.63%
5 / 4 - 89% *.30%
GARFIELD 0 / 0 - 0% COLUMBIA *.03% *.32% WALLA 0 / 0 - 0%
191 / 166 87% *1.19%
3 / 2 - 67% *.87%
606 / 512 - 84.5% Pass Rate
3,152 REGISTRATIONS / 2,607 GRADUATES
experience hands-on activities related to various trades and vocations. In the 10-year history of the youth academy, it’s easy to see its impact on students throughout the state of Washington. Melissa Welsh, a former cadet, commented that the academy was able to teach her things she felt she wouldn’t have learned otherwise. “It helped me get better as a person,” Welsh said. “Ever since I got back home to start post-res I was almost always mentioning the academy to any students that were having grade issues or was at risk of dropping out. I loved talking about it. I am also thankful for my nature science teacher for taking me on the career day fair trip that had me find out about this place.” With a retention rate holding at more than 12 percent better than the national standard of 70 percent (the program achieved 90 percent in December 2016), the WYA has maintained an average of 138 cadets graduating each class cycle over the last five years. The key to any ChalleNGe program’s longevity and success is in building and maintaining supportive partnerships in the state it serves, beginning with the educational infrastructure. In a state where education is designated as a “paramount duty” in the articles of its constitution, the founders were keen to position the WYA as a partner with the Office of Superintendent of Public
In establishing the WYA as a credit recovery program, OSPI ensured it would always strengthen and never compete with its primary referral partners – the schools. In sharing the goal of on-time graduation with more than 300 school districts and jurisdictions statewide, the program engendered a multitude of instant youth applicant referral partners. Demand for the program continues to result in qualified, target applicants being turned away over the last four cycles due to space limitations. The WYA maintains a “future candidates” and “waiting” list to address this demand. At no point during the last 10 years in operation has the academy failed to exceed the national retention standard of 70 percent. The average retention rate over the past five years (current class levels included at week 11) is 85 percent while the average for the past two years – 87 percent - attests to the Academy’s continual drive toward excellence in serving the youth of Washington state. “[It’s] one of the greatest places on earth for young men and women that would like to make changes in their life,” said Kathy Russell, a grandmother of a former cadet. Russell said that she has seen firsthand all the wonderful changes to her grandson, from more self-esteem, confidence, new skills and a very respectful attitude and school grade improvements. The interaction between the cadets and staff at the WYA does not end after they graduate the residential phase. After the cadets finish the residential phase of the WYA they begin a post-residential mentorship for the next year. “Back in the early ’90s when they were building the skeleton of this program, they didn’t have a mentorship piece,” Steinhilber said. “When they finally tacked on the mentoring initiative it was so we could build a lifeline back to the skills that they
“Eight Core Component” curriculum •Academic Excellence •Leadership and Followership •Life Coping Skills •Job Skills •Service to the Community •Responsible Citizenship •Health and Hygiene •Physical Fitness
were learning here at the academy and keep them connected.â€?
Opportunities for jobs, scholarships or provided by the WYA foundation. This provides the different stakeholders of the organization a quantifiable result from the academy.
The mentors involved in phase two of the WYA are completely empowered by the academy staff. They fill out paperwork, get background checks and receive training from the WYA staff. Ten years of success at the Washington Youth Academy is made possible by the Steinhilber believes mentors are the key to success for the cadets. relationship between staff, cadets, mentors and parents, working in concert with the school system. Allowing more than 2,600 students to recover credits and get The mentors help WYA staff stay in contact with the cadets and get visibility back on track to graduate. Imagine how many more students could be impacted on their successes after graduation from the residential program. Mentors also from this resource through a second campus. connect the cadet with the different opportunities the staff might have for cadets.
Cadets at the Washington Youth Academy problem-solve during robotics. This class has been the favorite amongst those offered at the Academy.
Former Cadet Amy Crigger, class 18-02, â€œI think that it has saved my life. I do not regret coming here and I really appreciate all the cadre for pushing me through this.â€?
Washington Air Guard logistics unit trains in Aviano
Photo and Story by Senior Airman Timothy Tweet
More than 30 Airmen from the Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Logistics Readiness Squadron based at Camp Murray took part in annual training at Aviano Air Base, Italy for several days in November.
Dawaughn Washington of the 31st LRS complimented vehicle maintenance Airmen from the 194th who “came in and took on a vehicle that had a slew of parts to fix and problems, and they got it done in a day. Without their help I don’t think we could’ve gotten it out in that short time period. It doesn’t matter if I have a crazy job for them, they just say, ‘Ok, we’ll do it.’ It is nice to see.”
Members of the 194th LRS traveled from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. to Aviano following their November drill weekend. After an eleven hour flight on a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 117th Air Refueling Wing, Alabama, the The Airmen of the 194th were complimentary of their hosts as well. 194th LRS Airmen were in Aviano, seven time zones away. “They are respectful, they are nice, they are friendly and most of all they are A climate survey earlier in the year revealed that Airmen of the 194th LRS professional,” said Staff Sgt. Rebecca Boles, an equipment manager assigned to wanted to be given the opportunity to do an annual training overseas. the 194th LRS. “The training I have received in Italy has been very valuable. In a The younger Airmen of the 194th LRS had never been given the valuable deployed in environment I may be working in a flight service center, and I have experience of picking up shop and training in a new environment. gone from basically not knowing anything a flight service center does to having a basic understanding of what to do and what kind of roles I may be tasked with.” Maj. Tyrone Clark, commander of the 194th LRS, is confident that the annual training in Aviano was the right choice. The reason the 194th LRS went to Italy is straightforward, with a clear objective of training, said Clark. “It is a win-win—training objectives getting complete and providing our Airmen with an experience of a lifetime,” said Clark. “Our squadron wins “I have received nothing but accolades and kudos from the 31st LRS,” said Clark. by having the opportunity to train in a deployed-like environment and the “I couldn’t be happier or more pleased with our guys here, everything I’ve seen camaraderie that comes with it, while the 194th Wing [the 194th LRS’s parent has pointed towards our men and women absolutely knocking it out of the organization] wins by providing a valuable experience that our Airmen will park. The trip has been a success and the folks here at the 31st LRS have been remember fondly, a memory of the Air National Guard to share with their absolutely fantastic in making us feel welcome.” friends and family back home.” In Italy, members the 194th LRS trained with the 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron, which is assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano, Italy. The 31st LRS is no stranger to training. More than 60 percent of the squadron are first term Airmen according to Lt. Col. Sharonda L. Graham, commander of the 31st LRS. Training objectives fresh in the mind of the NCOs and plenty of work to be done, the Airmen of the 194th and the Airmen of the 31st formed a working partnership. “The 194th LRS Airmen have been focused on training from the beginning, easy to work with, asking questions, being hands on and willing to learn,” said Staff Sgt. Semarria Shoulders, aircraft parts store supervisor, assigned to the 31st LRS. “From our perspective it has been very productive for our parts store, and they of course would be welcome back!”
“The Airmen from the 194th LRS lending a hand has helped out a lot. Between today and yesterday we have put away over 500 parts, and that is more than double the amount we usually would process,” said Shoulders. NCO’s from across the 31st LRS echoed Shoulders’ sentiment. Tech. Sgt.
WASHINGTON NATIONAL GUARD PREPARES FOR FLOOD SEASON WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS Story by Joeseph Siemandal
During disasters, Washington National Guardsmen routinely find themselves working directly with emergency management professionals from across the state. Pre-coordination and synchronization is key to finding success in these types of high stress situations. “It isn’t like the movies, we don’t just roll into a situation,” said Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn, Commander, Washington Air National Guard. “We need to know what you need and, most of the time, it starts with knowing what we have.” That’s why the Washington National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters staff meet with 10 county emergency managers and planners from the Washington Emergency Management Division for a flood response workshop on Jan. 4, 2019 at Camp Murray. During the half-day workshop, emergency managers learned about the Guard’s capabilities, what would be the expected time frame for response and the process to request Guard support. “We want the counties to call us, and we will work to make sure they have utilized all local and state resources before we get the Guard involved in the disaster,” said Alysha Kaplan, Mitigation Response & Recovery Unit Manager at the state Emergency Management Division. “We work with the Guard to ensure that we aren’t pulling in traditional members while pulling them away from their civilian employer for no One way the Guard is getting it right is with the creation of “Mission Ready Packages.” reason.” These are assets the Guard can call rapidly to get moving in the event of a disaster. These range from trucks and soldiers or airmen to the disaster relief bed-down system that was The meeting focused directly on counties that experience flooding recently deployed for hurricanes in the south east United States. traditionally. “These packages are just examples of what we can do,” said Maj. Marco Brettmann, Joint “We have been working tirelessly on planning for a Cascadia Force Headquarters, Operations. “We work with the emergency managers to provide the Subduction Zone Earthquake, and we are getting great at fighting fires, best assets available.” but it is everything in between that we need to focus on,” Horn said. The Washington National Guard sent 40 soldiers from the 1041st The Washington National Guard also is regionally aligned to deal with disasters in all Transportation Company to Sprague, Wash. in March 2017 to assist corners of the state, with armories in 33 cities in Washington and full-time staff ready to with sandbag filling, but hasn’t seen a major activation for floods in 10 deploy as needed. years. “Our Rapid Response Force for floods can have eight full-time members move out to a “We want to provide the citizens of Washington with the best buy for disaster within 12 hours, operate for up to 72 hours, while providing enough time for us to the tax dollars,” Horn said. “So, getting it right here, helps us get it right get our traditional members in-processed, geared up and out the door,” said Brettmann. out there.”
10th CST conducts training exercise with local Fire Departments
Photos and Story by: Sara Morris
The phone rings, an emergency situation is taking place and first responders need the help of the Washington National Guard’s 10th Civil Support Team. Guardsmen grab their gear, identify the vehicles they need and head to the scene. This scenario recently happened when a suspicious package was left at a state building in Olympia. Today however was just a drill, a chance for the 10th CST to train with local fire departments and police. “Working with first responders is a vital part of our mission, and any time we can drill with them to increase our relationship it is a win for everyone involved,” said Staff Sgt. Ian Crocker.
On November 15, the 10th Civil Support Team conducted a no notice training exercise with the Lacey Fire Department at the Regional Fire Training Center. The exercise had the Fire Department recognize hazards beyond their scope and call in for support from the Guard’s first response team. “With changes in team personnel, it is always good to take time to exercise our tactics, techniques and procedures,” said Warrant Officer 1 Daniel Jones, survey team leader for the 10th CST. The survey team, comprised of Tech Sgt. Tara Broad and Sgt. Darin Munhall, gathered their materials and donned their Level-A suits in preparation to enter the scene. Once they arrived in the rooms they took photographs and reported their findings back to operations. Normally, once this action was complete, Maj. Wesley Watson, the science officer would take the samples and run initial analysis and hand off samples to the responsible agency. “Consistently exercising like this, regardless of our busy schedule, allows us to hone and adjust our practices to best fit our present team makeup and civilian partner requirements,” said Jones. Crocker, acting as the incident commander during the exercise said there were two goals. The first was to gain some experience with the Lacey Fire Dept. and their hazmat procedures, and secondly how we fit into their response. “It did accomplish both those things,” said Crocker, as well as ensures that the 10th CST will continue to train with both the Lacey and Olympia Fire Depts.
Washington National Guard and Malaysian Army plan for upcoming exercises By Joe Siemandel
large piece of this exercise as we team with the 11th Brigade of the Malaysian Armed Forces,” said Col. Shaughnessy Hodge, commander, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “Our staffs will work together to develop common operating procedures and share best lessons learned.” While Bersama Warrior is taking place in Kuala Lumpur, just a few miles away at Buloh Camp, more than 40 Washington National Guardsmen will be participating in Keris Strike 19, a detailed subject matter expert exchange between U.S. Army members and the units from the Malaysian Army. “During the month of March, there will be two main efforts, Bersama Warrior and Keris Strike; they are run at the same time, but two completely different exercises,” said Thanh Wallace, exercise planner, United States Army Pacific Command. “All the events we are doing this year are gearing us up for the larger exercise in 2020.” Keris Strike will mainly focus on subject matter expert exchanges or SMEEs focusing on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear operations, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Information Operations, Public Affairs, Medical and Special Operations.
With the goal of finalizing plans for multiple bi-national exercises, the Washington National Guard wrapped up the final planning conference for exercise Bersama Warrior and Keris Strike 2019 on Dec. 6, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Washington National Guard routinely takes part in multiple exercises throughout the year to engage soldiers and airmen in quality training and prepare them for potential federal call-ups. In March 2019, Guardsmen will participate in two unique exercises that will challenge them both mentally and physically. Bersama Warrior is an annual Malaysia Armed ForcesUnited State Military bilateral exercise designed to advance interoperability and build capacity to plan and conduct joint operations.
“We may have a smaller group this year than we did last year during Keris Strike, but we will be highly effective,” said Lt. Col. Sebastian Andres, director, State Partnership Program, Washington National Guard. “In 2020, more than 800 personnel will be on the ground here for Keris Strike so this allows us to build up for next year.” “We are focused on strengthening our strategic relationship with our State Partnership teammates in Malaysia as well as building cohesion and familiarization,” said Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn, commander, Washington Air National Guard and deputy commander for the exercise. “We really hope to develop capacity to respond quickly to a crisis with greater interoperability, mission effectiveness and unity of forces.”
Since signing a formal State Partnership Program agreement with the Malaysian Armed Forces in August 2017, the Washington National Guard has increased its participation with the Southeast Asian country. In September, leaders from Malaysia came to Washington to build a multi-year plan that would highlight training opportunities with the Guard and Washington Emergency Management.
More than 60 Washington National Guardsmen will join their Malaysian counterparts at Bersama Warrior 2019, focusing on a number of topics including air-to-ground operations, reconnaissance and civil security.
“We want to not only build stronger partnerships, military to military, but expand civilian partnerships as well,” said Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general. “Part of the long-term success will include emergency management.”
“The 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team will have a
Around the Department Holiday Magic, put on with help from JSS, looks to relieve some of the financial burden of military families struggling to provide gifts during the season. Service members and veterans were able to submit requests to participate in the Holiday Magic event and given the opportunity to collect gifts based on family size and children’s ages. (Photo by Sara Morris)
Col. Bryan Grenon was promoted to Brigadier General in front of family and friends at a ceremony at Camp Murray.
U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Mary Calkin takes photos of U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Eric Smith after a final exercise at Ban Chan Krem during Cobra Gold 19, Kingdom of Thailand. Calkin, a California native, is with the 122nd Public Affairs Operations Center on Camp Murray, Washington. Brig. Gen. Horn, one of the leaders of the Youth Academy, spoke to cadets at the class 19-01 acclimation graduation. “You have an incredible opportunity here in the next five months to be surrounded by people who see greatness in you, that are not constrained by where you came from but by where you’re going and that’s an incredible opportunity for you.”
Major General Bret Daugherty and SPC Jacob Stroud cut the cake for The National Guard Birthday party at the Washington National Guard Museum! Thanks to National Guard Association of Washington for donating the cake!
The Western Air Defense Sector annual award winners pose with their Bigfoot trophy Dec. 1, 2018 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Pictured from left to right are Category I Drill Status Guardsmen of the Year Staff Sgt. Catherine Pearce, 225th Support Squadron emergency management specialist; Airman of the Year Senior Airman Zachary Fleet, 225th Air Defense Squadron interface control technician; NCO of the Year Staff Sgt. Jared Denton, 225th ADS NCOIC of surveillance training; and SNCO of the Year Master Sgt. Sara Haynes, 225th SS NCOIC of logistics. Not pictured are: DSG Company Grade Officer Capt. Colette Muller, 225th Air Defense Group public affairs officer; CGO of the Year Capt. Marvin Yamada, 225th ADS weapons flight commander; Category I Civilian of the Year Barry Arzberger, 225th SS HVAC technician; and Category II Civilian of the Year Bruce Robie; 225th SS National Airspace System Defense program manager. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Kimberly D. Burke)
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Brig. Gen. Bruce Linton, former Land Component Command Commander, retired after more than 35 years of dedicated service.
Sgt. 1st Class Leyla Oxford of the Washington National Guard 10th Civil Support Team conducts sweeps using a device that detects radiation at a parking deck near Mercedes-Benz Stadium Jan. 28, 2019. The National Guard CST conducted searches and sweeps of heavily trafficked areas in Atlanta during the Super Bowl LIII festivities. (photo by Spc Tori Miller)
The WA National Guard Museum dedicated the new Reed Jarvis Research Library on Dec. 5, 2018 The library is named after, late CSM (Ret) Reed Jarvis for his many years of service to the Museum, the WA Army National Guard, the WA State Guard, the United States Navy, the National Parks Service, and to his State and Nation.
Cpl. Andrew Traciak, Delta Company 898th Brigade Engineer Battalion, joined some very elite company when he was presented with the U.S. Army Distinguished Rifleman Badge by Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty. Traciak became the first Washington National Guard member to earn the prestigious award. “This is just the second time in my career I have seen this badge,” said Daugherty. In September Traciak earned the “President’s 100” as part of the AllNational Guard team. The Tab is awarded to the top scoring 100 rifle and 100 pistol shooters who compete in the President’s100 match each year at the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
The Seattle Fire Department conducts training with the Washington Na If a natural disaster hits, the Washington National Guard aviators will have to work with multiple agencies at a moment’s notice. “I really think it’s a matter of when, not if, we end up working together,” said Maj. Andy Collins with the Washington National Guard. Collins is in a unique position as both a member of the Guard and the Seattle Fire Department. Recently, he teamed with both organizations as they trained moving personnel and assets from one place to another. “So, the more training we can do together jointly, on the front end, the better the incident response is going to be when the time comes,” Collins said. The Seattle Fire Department would be invaluable during a natural disaster with hazardous material technicians, heavy equipment capabilities and marine firefighting. “We’re practicing the movement of personnel using National Guard air assets, particularly the Black Hawk helicopter,” said Lt. Frank Brennan, Seattle Fire Department Rescue Company. “Sometimes there’s geographic obstacles we have to overcome, or in the interest of speed of transportation. We’re moving those resources from inside the city to wherever they might be needed in the state.” One of the Washington National Guard’s state missions is to assist with domestic operations. The formal relationship with the Seattle Fire Department is to work together on a quarterly basis, and this exercise meets that requirement. “This is a great opportunity for our members,” Collins said. “Seattle Fire is not the only department around but we are the largest department and we have a regional presences. This training allows us to practice with a unit that may give us a ride somewhere. Or that we may end up finding on a large incident. It’s getting to train together, build proficiency and work out the bugs before disaster strikes.” Some of the 50 firefighters at the training had worked with guardsmen before during the Oso (SR 530) landslide. “Our team deployed to Oso and we worked with the National Guard on their aircraft to set up LZs (landing zones) for extraction of human remains. That was the main mission of my team, but we couldn’t get vehicles into the area so it was nice to have the helicopters help with that,” said Lt. Kevin Dean, Seattle Fire Members of the Seattle Fire Department participated Department Station 25. in a training exercise with Washington Army National Guard aviators doing personnel movement on UH-
The general sentiment of the Seattle firefighters in attendance was 60 Black Hawk helicopters. The SFD and Guardsmen how the partnership with the Washington National Guard helps train together on a quarterly basis. the state leverage its interagency relationships and respond to any disaster throughout the state.
Photos and Story by Sara Morris
Military Intelligence Battalion focuses on language training for emergency situations
Story by Jospeh Siemandel
The Washington National Guard routinely trains and prepares for all sorts of disaster emergency situations. Guardsmen get Red Cardcertified for fires, helicopter pilots re-certify with Department of Natural Resources annually to drop water on fires. The Guard prepares for the potential Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Meantime, one unit finds different ways to train every day for a potential call up to assist local first responders.
language proficiency which is done through a state-of-the-art language lab, and sending more Guardsmen on overseas deployments for training events to immerse themselves in the languages they speak.
The 341st Military Intelligence Battalion, a linguist battalion, has continued to focus many training events on language skills proficiency. They believe this will help them in the event of a large-scale call-up of the Washington National Guard.
Under the Defense Language Transformation Roadmap (DLTR) and Proficiency Enhancement Program (PEP), the goal is for Defense Language Institute graduates to be at 2/2/1+ meaning their comprehensive listening proficiency in their target language at Level 2, reading is at a Level 2 and speaking at 1+.
“Our members have proven they can fight fires and fill sand bags; they are soldiers. They train for the physical mobilization,” said LTC Teresa Wenner, commander, 341st Military Intelligence Battalion. “However, they also possess language skills that could become critical during state activation.” Wenner’s analysis isn’t far from the truth. In the past five fire activations, first responders have discovered they are working in locations with multiple language barriers, including parts of Washington that are primarily Spanish speaking. “King County, alone, has 93 different languages being spoken daily; that creates an issue because what if you need to communicate for services and don’t speak that same language?” Wenner said. “Our goal is to work directly with the state’s Emergency Management Division to close those language gaps.” The 341st annual training plan includes maintaining and increasing
“Currently, linguists in the 341st are proficient in over 25 different languages, and more than 90 percent of those linguists are maintaining their language at a high level,” Wenner said.
“If you are a current Guardsman, we encourage you to take a Defense Language Proficiency Test to see if you could be a qualified linguist,” Wenner said. “Certain languages come with additional incentive pay, meaning some Guardsmen are making $400 more a month for speaking a foreign language.” For individuals in the Guard that don’t speak a foreign language, the unit encourages them to take the Defense Language Aptitude Battery. This assessment tests an individual’s potential for learning a foreign language. “We have languages that allow our members to travel around the world and work right here at home,” said Wenner. “Japanese linguists go to Japan. Thai linguists work in Thailand. They are not just used for war zones, but also to strengthen our partnerships in the INDO-PACOM region.” If you are interested in learning about the Defense Language Proficiency Test or the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, please contact CPT Kristaps Birznieks at (253) 983-7391.
194th Wing awards its Airman and Company Grade Officer of the year for 2018 The Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Wing has named Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Andrews of the 194th Intelligence Squadron as the 194th Wing Airman of the Year for 2018. Andrews joined the Air Guard at the age of 23 and joined the 194th IS, serving as a geospatial targeting analyst.
Recently promoted to the rank of staff sergeant, Andrews was selected for the Airman of the Year award for his accomplishments as a senior airman. “Being selected for the annual award is not so much a recognition for me but a recognition for my Squadron, officers, supervisors, mentors and family who have assisted, advised, and guided me to the multiple opportunities the Air Force has to offer. Without such an amazing support system and enabling unit, there is no way I could have accomplished what I have this last year,” said Andrews.
Andrews was born and raised in Polson, Montana before moving to Steilacoom, Washington with his wife. After moving to Washington, Andrews joined the Air Guard, looking for a career that offered purpose and growth opportunity. He was influenced to join the military by his youngest brother and aunt’s service in the armed forces and ultimately settled on the Air National Guard because they seemed like the best branch for his family, he said.
194th Wing Airman of the Year for 2018
Andrews faced a hardship at one point in his Guard career. “One moment of my career that stands out the most is when I blacked out after a fit test,” Andrews recalled. “I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Not only was I blindsided with a diagnosis that would require lifelong medication and care but jeopardized my newfound career. My unit was and has always been 100% behind me from visiting me at the hospital, to navigating the challenging admin, to making sure that my family was provided for. Without their support and unyielding loyalty I would not have been able to rebound as fast or as fully as I have. That event made me realize just how much my Squadron had become a family and has been a constant motivation for me to be worthy of them,” said Andrews. In his free time, Andrews enjoys spending time outdoors hunting, fishing and enjoying the mountains. His favorite activities are centered on learning and self-improvement, he said. He enjoys strength and functional fitness training, likes to read everything from fantasy to military history and is also a part time college student.
Capt. Damarces Sharkey, a flight commander in the Washington Air National Guard’s 111th Air Support Operations Squadron, was selected as the 194th Wing Company Grade Officer of the year for 2018.
For Sharkey, serving in the Air Force uniform is a family tradition. Sharkey grew up in an Air Force family and associates the military with some of his fondest childhood memories. “At a young age, I was exposed to the camaraderie, diversity, and structure of the military – it shaped me into the man I am today,” said Sharkey. “When I was finally of age, joining was my way of giving back to an organization that helped mold me into the man I am proud to be.” While reflecting on his career in the Air Force thus far, the one thing that stands out above everything else is the mentorship he’s received. “My mentors have helped to keep me motivated, encouraged, and they challenge me to be better. I’ve met great leaders outside of the military, but the most impactful have been the members I’ve served with,” Sharkey said.
On being named the 194th Wing Company Grade Officer of the year, Sharkey said, “Being selected for this award is very humbling. I am honored to accept this award and present it to the members who made it possible – my flight. A goal cannot be achieved without vision and execution, and my flight brings the execution piece to every drill. They put their trust in me, and I in them. They motivate me to be the best officer I can be. This award is a direct reflection of their hard work.” In his civilian career, Sharkey works as for the Defense Contract Management Agency, as a Quality Assurance Specialist. He develops surveillance strategies that assess and validate a government contractor’s capability to successfully manufacture products according to international, aerospace, and other techincal requirements specified within their contracts. He currently provides surveillance over many products used by warfighters, such as body armor, aeropsace components, STRYKER vehicles, and missle systems. Sharkey currently lives in Puyallup, Washington. Coming from a military family, Sharkey laughs when asked where he’s from. It’s hard to nail down a hometown. “I would say the two places I’ve always thought of as home are McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey and Tampa, Florida.”
194th Wing Company Grade Officer of the year for 2018
State Guard members receive DAART training Story and Photo by Sara Morris
During major disasters, the Washington Emergency Management Division works directly with the counties, cities and tribes to coordinate resources, and the Washington National Guard works with first responders to assist citizens in need. But there is another branch of the Washington Military Department that also works hard during state emergencies -- the Washington State Guard.
Recently, state Guardsmen were at Camp Murray and received training on DAART, Domestic Operations Awareness and Assessment Response Tool to enhance communication abilities during a response.
“The training helps the Washington State Guard provide greater utility to both the Army and Air National Guard in support of domestic events and emergencies,” said Capt. Russ McRee, Washington State Guard.
The training with the 194th Air Intelligence Squadron and Joint Operations Center personnel helped Washington State Guard DAART team soldiers expand on their data acquisition expertise with the ability to add, manage and share data in the DAART environment. “The training received is invaluable to Washing State Guard soldiers,” said Sgt. First Class Joshua Keliikoa, Washington State Guard. “It provides us opportunities to understand the available platforms within the military and our private sector counterparts.”
DAART is a web-based, geospatial intelligence capability designed, developed and operationalized by the National Guard Bureau Joint Intelligence Directorate in partnership with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. DAART provides both civil and military first responders the capability to process and share enhanced situational awareness information. The tool provides imagery, video, geospatial information and more to teams at the federal, state and local levels. It offers collaboration within the interagency incident awareness and assessment community supporting National Guard civil missions across the U.S.
Receiving training like DAART keeps the Washing State Guard members relevant as a force to the citizens of the state. Helping them to remain ready and poised to provide Incident Awareness and Assessment of affected areas. “Being able to provide a usable product to Federal, State, Local, and Tribal communities is valuable,” said Keliikoa. “Those entities now have the ability to be informed, make a more collaborative based decision of the affected area while allowing a safer operating environment for responders to work around.”
Yoga: Bringing flow to Washington’s Guardsmen
Story and Photo by Sara Morris
“Yoga teaches you how to listen to your body.” These are words every practicing yogi knows to be true. Every Tuesday and Wednesday at Camp Murray, Guardsmen, their families and civilian employees, have the option to attend a free yoga class. Audrey Hockman, a behavioral health coordinator at Joint Services Support, brought the idea for yoga to the Washington National Guard in 2017. “I have a background in wellness, as well as mental health counseling, and I thought, ‘you know what people need?’ We need some kind of self-care program,” Hockman said. “I thought, from a wellness prospective, let’s just promote health, prevent disease and let’s just offer tools for self-care.” This step towards wellness brought in the Veterans Yoga Project and yoga instructor, Jaime Yslas. Jaime, a veteran as well, began teaching
yoga at Camp Murray in the fall of 2017 and also put on mindful resilience training for trauma recovery. In 2018, he was joined by Master Sgt. Samantha Stewart with the 194th Wing, and now there are two classes of yoga available each week. “I noticed a flyer offering free yoga classes in my building and reached out to the JSS,” said Stewart. “I asked if they needed other people to help teach and we established another day to teach yoga. We keep it very basic, very intermediate, since a lot of people who come have never done yoga before.” Veterans Yoga Project is an educational and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of military veterans. They offer opportunities for intensive training in a proven, mindful approach to teaching toga to veterans and their families. “When we get distressed, our breath gets shallow, so if I can slow down and breathe its
good,” says Yslas. “The movement speaks for itself, when you get the movement in concert with breathing you really begin to see what happens, people who have suffered trauma sometimes feel as though their body has betrayed them in some way, and so we’re trying to get people to feel the present moment/movement sensation.” Hockman has been incorporating several different approaches to wellness, through the JSS. They’re currently getting ready for their “Tools to help you thrive” workshop on January 30. If you would like to check out a yoga class Jaime teaches every Tuesday at the Pierce County Readiness Center, or Master Sgt. Samantha Stewart’s class Wednesdays at the 194th Wing Auditorium building 109. Both classes are at 11:15 a.m.
Photo and Story by Kim Burke
e s i c r e x e e c a p s d e n t fi n n a o l C p r e w o p S D at WA
The Western Air Defense Sector conducted an arc flash injury exercise inside the WADS power plant Nov. 13, 2018. The exercise was designed to help the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire Department become accustom to working safely around the WADS unique power plant equipment and practice confined space rescue procedures.
flash is a direct short with explosion,” explained Kelly Thomas, 225thSupport Squadron electrical systems specialist. “In this scenario, one of our team member’s extremity was blown off and debris kicked out causing third degree burns. The other team member fell into the generator pit after being startled by the arc flash and resulting explosion.”
An arc flash, or flashover, is part of an arc fault, a type of electrical explosion or discharge that results from a lowimpedance connection through air to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system. “Basically, an arch
First responders from JBLM Battalion 103, Station 105 and 106, responded to the call quickly and began rendering first aid to the two simulated injured victims. Due to the depth and the confined space inside
the generator pit where the second patient fell, a special rigging team was needed to extract the victim. The rigging team was able to rig a ladder slide in order to rescue the patient and not damage the generator in the process. “Overall, the exercise went extremely well,” said Clint Stephens, 225th SS chief of utilities. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure the JBLM Fire Department can operate safely when the WADS has to shut electrical equipment down.”
Steinhilber selected to lead Washington Youth Academy Photos and Story by Timothy Chacon
Steinhilber started as a cadre at a youth academy in Texas in 1997 and came to Washington in 2008 to help start the program here. In 2013, she went to Idaho as the deputy director to help create the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy. She returned to the Washington Youth Academy family in 2015 as deputy director. “Larry has been instrumental in shaping our strong foundation and I wish him a retirement as fulfilling as his work at the Academy,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity Gen. Horn and Gen. Bret Daugherty have given me to lead this next phase in expanding the Academy to meet the demand.” Pierce says he will travel and enjoy time with his family, including his granddaughter. He’ll still be involved with the Academy, serving on the non-profit Washington Youth Academy Foundation. He also plans to be involved in a motorcycle rally conducted every year to raise money for cadets. He’s a big fan of motorcycles, with three Harley-Davidsons in his collection. “Amy is one of the brightest people I know,” Pierce said. “She knows this program, and the struggles these cadets go through. She’s going to bring a whole lot of energy to this position.”
The Washington Youth Academy in Bremerton is celebrating the retirement of its director Larry Pierce and welcoming a new director, starting January 4. Pierce is retiring after 36 years of state service, the last 10 with the Washington Youth Academy. He’ll be replaced by Amy Steinhilber, who served as Pierce’s deputy director and brings more than 20 years of passion and commitment to the Youth Challenge Program. “She’s uniquely qualified with the passion, skills and experience to take our program to the next level, including expanding beyond our current Bremerton location,” said Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn, commander of the Washington Air National Guard, in charge of the Washington Youth Academy. “I’m really excited that she’s agreed to take this on.” Pierce started his career in the U.S. Army and then spent decades working as an administrator in the tribal school system and the community college system. He became the deputy director of the Washington Youth Academy in 2008 and was hired on as director in 2010.
The Washington Youth Academy is a quasi-military training and mentoring program for at-risk high school teens. The goal of the program is to give youth a second chance to become responsible and productive citizens by helping them improve their life skills, education levels and employment potential. Students live on the Bremerton campus for just shy of six months and recover up to a year and a half of credits. More than 2,600 cadets have graduated since the first class in January of 2009.
Washington National Guard Aviation partners wit
th Royal Thai Army for exchange
Photos and Story by Joseph Siemandel
For more than 30 years, aviation safety has been a critical element of the Washington National Guard. Pilots and crews ensure that standards are met, maintenance is completed and crews receive the best training routinely on new equipment. Members of the 96th Aviation Troop Command traveled to Lopburi, Kingdom of Thailand to share lessons learned with aviation professionals from the Royal Thai Army. “The group focused on standardization flight evaluations, instrument proficiency, inadvertent instrument meteorological condition, maintenance and just sharing best practices,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jeff Burkhardt, the officer in charge of the group. “We identified the needs and challenges with our intent to build a foundation for future engagements.” Since 2011, Washington National Guard aviation crews have partnered with the Royal Thai Army to conduct subject matter exchanges. The primary focus is to assist the Thai aviators in developing a proficient flight program. During the trip in January, the exchange focused on the UH-72 “Lakota” and UH-60 “Blackhawk.” “Our team enjoys coming out to Thailand and sharing their experience; this is amazing relationship building,” said Burkhardt. “They are excited to get back later this year to continue working with the Thai aviators.” The aviation exchange is just one of many subject matter expert exchanges the Washington National Guard conducts routinely with the Royal Thai Army. The partner countries have continued to share knowledge on engineering, homeland assistance disaster response, infantry, medical and cybersecurity.
Focus on recovery needs at winter tabletop exercise By Steven Friederich
Dozens of state agencies gathered on Camp Murray to discuss not just how they would respond to potential winter weather emergencies, but how they’d lead recovery efforts after the fact. It was a different kind of tabletop exercise, one spurred by recovery efforts ongoing in California after the wildfires and hurricane-damaged areas of Texas, Puerto Rico and the East Coast, said Ed Taylor, Accreditation Program Manager for the Washington Emergency Management Division. “Recovery is an entirely different animal compared to response,” said Major General Bret D. Daugherty. “We’re working on a new framework, some new support functions. It’s in development stages. We believe a lot of those response functions will fall outside the normal scope of operations and emergency management.” Pre-disaster recovery planning is planning for circumstances both foreseen and unforeseen by mitigation and emergency management plans. For example, disasters often trigger hazard mitigation action items, updated zoning codes, and new building regulations that may impact a community’s rebuilding effort. Acting quickly following an incident helps establish a pattern for success and avoid the tendency for a community to return to old routines before the recovery is even underway. “We are focused on recovery – two weeks, two months and two years after the disaster hits,” Taylor told the agency heads and their designees assembled at the Pierce County Readiness Center. After the initial response to an incident, the focus shifts to recovery and could be on agencies responsible for helping recover flooded documents in a library or how to dispose of dead livestock. Debris removal could be an issue – balancing environmental laws while also trying to get people back into their homes as fast as possible when a log jam could make flooding worse. Then, there could be issues with temporary housing shortages, drinking water and getting pharmaceuticals to people who need them. Long-term, it’s all about getting infrastructure back on-line after power is restored, people back into their homes and figuring out ways to prevent future flooding. Quinn Butler has been leading recovery efforts for the Washington Emergency Management Division, crafting the Washington Restoration Framework with a steering committee of state agency representatives. He hopes to have the framework to the Governor’s Office for review by the end of 2019. Portions of the plan are online at https://www.mil. wa.gov/recovery
“The main idea is that the Washington Restoration Framework aims to make those local and state resources stretch as far as possible because we’ll be limited on our own resources until the federal government steps in,” Butler said. “And even after the federal agencies step in, we’ll still need to make these programs go as far as possible. … It’s a blue-sky day with no disasters on the immediate horizon and we have this opportunity to establish this framework and build those partners to make sure we have a more resilient and more effective recovery.” The dialogue and planning around recovery, especially recovery from a catastrophic event will continue as the state collaborates with local jurisdictions and federal partners on the next Cascadia Rising Exercise in 2022 which is based on a big 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami along the coast of Washington. A CSZ earthquake will place unprecedented demands on the state for both response and recovery.
Washington Air Guard assists with election cyber security An elite cyberspace operations unit within the Washington Air National Guard had worked in support of the state’s Office of the Secretary of State through election day, November 6, to help secure and protect the Washington State voting system. Secretary of State Kim Wyman entered an agreement with the Guard in July, kicking off a multi-step process in advance of the election. “It’s an interactive process between their team and ours,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Pries, commander of the 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron. “Our task is to go and say, ‘How can we make it even better than it is today?’” Some of the service members who are involved work full-time for leading Pacific Northwest technology companies, while also serving in the 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron on a part-time basis and gaining expertise in securing cyberspace critical infrastructure.
The first stage was a two-week assessment in which Guard members “figured out what the networks look like,” said Borchers. Members became familiar with the systems so they knew “what normal looks like,” said Kolar. Based on this assessment, members were able to identify “some opportunities for improvement,” said Pries. The second stage also took place over a two week period and focused on implementing system improvements, said Pries. Stage three, now underway, is about identifying whether “we have any deeper problems,” said Pries. “We call it the hunt mission. Now that we have situational awareness, we’ve secured terrain, we’re going to do a deep dive and see what we can find.” The goal is to allow the Secretary of State to give voters “an enhanced level of assurance that their vote will count as it is intended to be counted.”
Election systems are recognized by the federal It is the first time that the Washington Air government as critical infrastructure systems National Guard has taken a role in helping to under Presidential Policy Directive 21, along with protect state elections. “We’re assisting only,” other systems like government buildings, military said Col. Kenneth Borchers, commander of the 252nd Cyberspace Operation Group, the parent organization of the 262nd Squadron. “We’re providing advice on cyber security and risk mitigation for Secretary Wyman’s office. This has very much been part of their routine. It’s the latest in a long series of cyber assessments.” “The Guard has been amazing to work with, helping us to test our systems and helping us to strengthen our security,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. The Guard’s work has improved training and security awareness for elections officials, she said. Borchers praised Secretary Wyman’s office for “outstanding cooperation.” It has been a “great partnership,” said Pries. Mission participants are helping Secretary Wyman to “raise the bar even more” in deterring adversaries, said Capt. Benjamin Kolar, a cyberspace operations officer in the 262nd. Kolar said that the Office of the Secretary of State has taken “an active approach” to strengthening the state’s election systems. The mission has unfolded in three parts—survey, secure, protect—according to Borchers and Pries.
Photo By Tech. Sgt. Paul Rider, Story By Capt. Hans Zeiger
installations, and sewer, water, electrical and traffic control systems.
Beyond elections, the 262nd has taken on a variety of federal and state critical infrastructure missions, including assessments of public utilities, military defense systems, and the energy delivery system in Antarctica. A group of Airmen from the 262nd recently traveled to Japan to support cyberspace operations for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Members of the 262nd train for their mission on Air Force-funded simulators that mimic critical infrastructure systems. According to Lt. Col. Scott Howard, director of operations for the 262nd, operators train to assess electrical utilities to “see where power gets diverted” as they “interface with these training systems programmatically.” Pries hopes that his unit’s work in support of the Washington Secretary of State will open the door for additional tasks in election security, “opportunities in the future to build on what we’ve done today,” he said.
242ND COMBAT COMMUNICATIONS SQUADRON HAS LOCAL AND GLOBAL IMPACT story by Chief Master Sgt. Eugene F. Lewan
On January 23, 2019, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning to parts of the Pacific Northwest, with the possibility that areas of Spokane County could see significant accumulations. As this warning was broadcast, members of the Washington Air National Guard’s 242nd Combat Communications Squadron prepared for a battle with the elements, making sure operations at Fairchild Air Force Base continued without interruption. These airmen have volunteered to perform the additional duties required to keep the base prepared to respond to any local, state or global incident.
there are other kinds of challenges all throughout the year, and the members of the 242nd Combat Communications Squadron have responded when called.
Recently, the increase in the need for wild land firefighting has required effort from the 242nd. When many are enjoying their summer months in Washington State, the airmen of the 242nd volunteered to take on some of the largest forest fires the State of Washington as ever endured. In 2014, members of the 242nd helped establish the base camp just outside Leavenworth, Washington to battle the raging wildfires. Then in 2015, members Over the years, members of the 242nd have served in of the 242nd divided forces and took on multiple a variety of domestic and foreign missions. During conflagrations across the state. the 2008-09 winter season these airman rapidly deployed across the Spokane area to quell multiple In 2016, members prepared for the projected building collapses caused by that season’s record response to another natural disaster, an earthquake. breaking snowfall. They cleared the roofs of many Along with local, state and federal agencies, local schools, preventing the potential for serious teams of communicators traversed the state injury, or damage to these public structures. during the exercise, Cascadia Rising, to initiate a communication backbone designed to bridge Severe weather conditions occur often here in the potential gaps caused by problems associated with Inland Northwest during the winter months. But tectonic movements within the Cascadia subduction zone. Then 2017 brought about the largest mobilization in the unit’s history. With more than half the unit serving overseas in the Middle East and Africa, the remaining airmen, some who also recently returned from other overseas deployments, stepped up to support the response after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. The JISCC team rapidly set off to assist in the response. The JISCC (Joint Incident Site Communications Capability) suite of equipment provided communications links and wifi connectivity to areas where the communication infrastructure was destroyed. Not only are these volunteers battling these natural disasters, they also volunteer to make a local environmental impact by participating in the “Adopt-A- Highway” program. Since 2009, members have provided their time to clean Washington highways, and during this period they performed over 500 hours of volunteer work beautifying the roads in the community. As the current winter season progresses and the fire season approaches, members of the 242nd CBCS are on call for duty. They will be there as Red Card trained fire fighters, snow plow operators, caretakers of our causeways, and communicators who will serve around the globe.
The Washington National Guard responds to requests for aid from Eastside Fire and Rescue during the snow storms in February 2019. guardsmen assisted in snow clearance, health and wellness checks and assisted the department in reaching citizens that were trapped by the snow.
Command Chief Jennie Bellerose
Command Chief Jennie Bellerose, 194th Wing, joined the military in 1989 and has a Masters in Science, Heath Education, from Purdue University. While most of her career has been with the Western Air Defense Sector, she came to the Wing in 2012 as the FSS Superintendent. Her focus as command chief is all about personal and professional growth, hoping to provide Airmen with opportunities to become increasingly skilled and effective and helping grow wellrounded people results in resilient, motivated and highly skilled Airmen. Hobbies when not in uniform: Spending time at the gun range and baking. I’m also a certified pastry chef and I coach gymnastics. How the guard has impacted your life:
I am who I am today because of the Guard. The Guard has allowed me to support my family as a single parent, allowed myself and both of my kids to get a college education, and allowed me to build relationships with folks who will be in my life even after I retire.
Best experience in the guard:
Wow…so many to list. I would have to say that what brings me the most joy about being in the Guard is how we all pull together to take care of each when we need it. The Guard truly is a family and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Favorite quote or parting words:
“My favorite quote is ‘Leadership is action, not position.’ I’m not sure where it originated, but my supervisor gave it to me when I was a staff sergeant (after I had just been non-selected in a promotion board to tech sergeant). The feedback I had received from the board was ‘it’s just not your time.’ I was frustrated with the feedback, because it didn’t give me anything that I could work on to be a better staff sergeant. My supervisor and I talked about it, and the next day he gave me a set of tech sergeant stripes with a sticky note that said, ‘leadership is action, not position.’ It was that moment that I realized that being a leader meant so much more then wearing the rank or being in a position. It was an attitude…so I changed my attitude and became a leader among my peers. It’s about the attitude you choose to have, not the position you’re sitting in.
“I didn’t wait till someone else told me it was my time. This is reason you hear me say…‘perform at the rank you want to achieve and it will come.’”
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Photo by Jason Kriess
Are you prepared? In Washington we face wildfires, floods and snowstorms. Get two weeks ready and be prepared for anything.
Published on Feb 28, 2019
Are you prepared? In Washington we face wildfires, floods and snowstorms. Get two weeks ready and be prepared for anything.