Friday, April 23, 2010

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

COMMENTARY>>Australian air force commemorates ANZAC Day

Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day, Sunday is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on April 25, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profoundimpact on Australians at home, and April 25 soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “ANZAC legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future.

Australians recognize April 25 as an occasion of national remembrance, which takes two forms. Commemorative services are held at dawn across the nation. Later in the day, ex-servicemen and women meet to take part in marches through the major cities in Australia and in many smaller centers. Commemorative ceremonies are more formal and are held at war memorials around the country. In these ways, ANZAC Day is a time when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war.

Members of the Australian air force visiting Little Rock Air Force base are commemorating ANZAC Day with a ceremony at 9 a.m. Sunday at Bldg. 160.

(Courtesy of

COMMENTARY>>First Command: AETC first to influence Airmen

by Maj. Gen. Anthony Przybyslawski
Air Education and Training Command vice commander

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – To the men and women of the First Command, I leave Air Education and Training Command after spending the past 20 months honored to be your vice commander. Boy, have you taught me a lot! Thank You.

Thank you for your tremendous devotion, service and professionalism.

We call ourselves the First Command because of what you do every day. Recruiters bring in the quality; military training instructors begin the process of shaping the “rainbows,” recruits in the first week of training; military training leaders polish and prepare the Airmen for their first duty; and instructor pilots create the world’s greatest aviators. Let’s not forget the intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force, Air University. And all your efforts are for one thing, and one thing only ... preparing the world’s greatest Airmen for combat!

I stood on the Lake Michigan beach in Chicago and administered the oath to 60 new recruits about to enter the Air Force. I watched as the recruiters there already started molding these young men and women as they marched these recruits in unison in front of the 1.2 million people there for the air show! The ceremony was being broadcast on the radio and as we ended with the, “... so help me God,” the roar of all those people along 10 miles of beach sent chills down my spine and literally watered my eyes. Those people realized these new recruits were aboutto join the Air Force for the good of the nation and to protect their way of life. That’s what you do!

I spent time at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, during the in-processing of these new Airmen. I was fascinated by the rainbow appearance and attitude of these individuals as they got off the bus and got their first introduction to our way of life. “Pull those pants up!” the military training instructor firmly stated. “Move it!” “Quit gazing; you a tourist?” I broke into a chilling, cold sweat as I immediately was thrust back to Feb. 22, 1971, my first day at basic military training and the raspy voice of Staff Sgt. Savoy, my first MTI. He got my attention immediately! That’s what you do!

That all changes in eight-and-a-half weeks.

When’s the last time you attended a BMT graduation? Looking for a re-bluing event, look no further! Every Friday we produce 600-800 brand new Airmen ready to move on and get their career going.

I was having lunch one day with a couple basic trainees set to graduate in a week and asked one of them what was the hardest thing about BMT. Her response floored me.

She said, “Before coming into the Air Force if I didn’t like someone, I would ignore them. But you taught me that if I didn’t get along with someone I would not be successful.”

And that’s when it hit me ... we aren’t just making Airmen, we’re making better Americans! Warriors ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. Whether they stay in for four years or 40, they will find a way to make things better because you taught them they have something to contribute and can make a difference. That’s powerful! That’s what you do!

I saw our military training leaders at our technical training wings take those “airmen” from BMT and make them into “Airmen.”

They build on what they learned at Lackland AFB and provide the elbow grease to polish the skills of the career field. I learned how to take out a gall bladder, set up a remote, world-class communications facility, and fire a sniper rifle well enough to plug the wing command chief’s coin.

Walk the halls of the Intrepid Center or Wilford Hall Medical Center and see the care and healing of our wounded warriors.

Someone trained those skilled technicians and medical staff. These instructors know that every airman they touch could find themselves quickly “outside the wire” in a combat situation regardless of the career field. The list goes on and on. You provide world-class training while instilling the American warrior ethos! That’s what you do!

I’m from the bomber “tribe” so I wasn’t sure about these “white jet” aviators. That changed quickly. I’ve flown with superb instructors in our T-1, T-6, T-38 and C-17 maintained by true professionals. I was in the C-17 jump seat for a night landing at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, with the pilots on night-vision goggles. I never saw the runway. Where did they learn how to do that? Our IPs do that for every aircraft in our inventory, even the crew of the Predator and Reaper. That’s what you do!

The last time I attended a course at Maxwell AFB, Ala., was at Squadron Officer School in 1982. That was a long time ago, and I had a couple of opinions about that place. Boy, was I wrong.

Everything is relevant for today’s world ... support to the warfighter. Just think about what goes on there ... earn a master’s degree while deployed anywhere in the world, new officers develop combat leadership skills at Air and Space Basic Course, officers and enlisted share curriculum during the resident military education programs, senior leaders hone combatant command skills in the flag officer courses, the list is endless. I’ve never been what one would call a “strong” student. But I can unequivocally say our Air University faculty is academic giants who push, stretch and challenge each and every student ... to the fullest! That’s what you do!

This past week I had the thrill of welcoming the AETC Outstanding Airmen of the Year for their visit to AETC. At the first reception on Monday night, we were honored by having three former Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force Robert Gaylor, Frederick Finch and Eric Benken present. Seeing them mingle with the truly outstanding Airmen, I had another powerful realization. What we do is built on what those before us did for us. Here I was, in the presence of past great leaders, and the next generation of great leaders, who will take the Air Force to the next level.

So, we are the First Command for the Air Force. We take rainbows from across America, make them into Airmen and responsible citizens, and then continue to polish and refine for as long as they stay with us. It’s because we will not let down those who came before us and built today’s Air Force ... an Air Force we will make better for tomorrow ... to answer our nation’s call! It’s what we do!

I am so proud to be a part of this great command.

COMMENTARY>>Are your bags packed?

by Lt. Col. Samuel Skaggs
314th Airlift Wing plans and program chief

About 10 years ago, a group commander of mine liked to ask the question: “Are your bags packed?” He was speaking, of course, about readiness to deploy. The bags he referred to weren’t the A, B, C, D or E bags you might be thinking of - rather they are all the “things” we as Airmen need to do in preparation for a deployment - training, immunizations and our personal affairs.

Generally when we think of personal affairs, we think of finances, childcare, powers of attorney and so on. We have been trained, or at least encouraged, to maintain a current will, and are reminded of this each time we process for deployment. Most Airmen do, in fact have a will, but it’s less common for their spouses to have a will (or life insurance for that matter).

I suppose it’s human nature that many of us only worry about wills (and life insurance) for ourselves and not our spouses, since we’re the ones seemingly at the greater risk. Human nature or not, it’s just as important to maintain a current will for your spouse as it is for yourself. I can tell you from personal experience, the last thing you want to be concerned with after losing your spouse is how to handle their estate if he or she didn’t have a will. In many cases, the settling of an estate is covered by law (except where specific provisions have been included in a will), but it still makes the process more efficient if the deceased had one. I know that discussing wills can be difficult at best, and it’s definitely not a pleasant thought or topic of conversation. However, like life insurance the will is something we hope we never need, but are relieved we had it when the time comes.

Speaking of wills and unpleasant topics, you should also strongly consider discussing “living wills” for both you and your spouse. A living will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments. It’s important to have a living will as it informs your health care providers and your family about your desires for medical treatment in the event you are not able to speak for yourself. This is possibly the toughest conversation you and your spouse will ever have, but it’s one you will regret not having should you find yourself making decisions about your spouse’s survival -- especially if a family or someone else contests your decision.

If your spouse doesn’t have a will (and living will), have them get one. It’s a very quick, easy and free process through the base legal office. The effort will be well worth it, if you ever have the misfortune of losing your loved one (or representing their wishes for life-saving/continuing medical treatment). Consider it just a must-do task for your family readiness. So, are your bags packed?


The 19th Mission Support Group is comprised of six squadrons. The group ties together supply, transportation, contracting, aerial port, security forces, contracting, services and civil engineer functions to keep the base’s 6,128-acre “city” operating.

19th Contracting Squadron:

Obligated more than $2.2 million in March

19th Force Support Squadron:

The 19th FSS provides a full spectrum of services to Team Little Rock, including eligibility updates, child care, recreation, education and fitness.

Number of Airmen fitness tested in March: 834

Number of customers served in March: 2,411

19th Communications Squadron:

The 19th CS has 149 military and civilian personnel responsible for $43 million of information systems, meteorological equipment, air traffic control and airfield landing systems. The squadron provides command, control, communication and computer support to the 19th Airlift Wing, 314th Airlift Wing and 29th Weapons School.

Number of information technology tickets closed since Jan. 5: 1,289

19th Civil Engineering Squadron:

Completed 628 work orders in March19th Security Forces Squadron:

Trained 1,179 Team Little Rock personnel on the M-16, M-9, M-4, M-249, M-240 and M-203 in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom since Jan. 1

COMMENTARY>>Arming yourself for the social media cyber war

by Bob Oldham
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Coming to a workstation computer screen near you in the very near future is the ability for Airmen to engage in social networking, but with that new capability, Airmen also accept an awesome amount of responsibility.

While there has been a lot of discussion about network security and preserving that “weapon system,” what we can’t get lost on is that Airmen and their family members still need clear guidance to succeed in the latest battle space.

Make no mistake. The information war is ongoing and is often engaged before and after actual hostilities have ended. While there might not be actual casualties in the battle for information supremacy, there can be real consequences for those who engage without being fully armed. No one deploys to Iraq or Afghanistan without proper training, so why engage social media without first checking out some do’s and don’ts? For your protection and guidance here are 10 rules to help prepare you before traveling the mine field that can be social media.

Rule No. 1. Information is classified for a reason. You don’t want to be the one caught putting military secrets online. In the Air Force, we practice security at the source. That means if you say it or post it, you’re responsible for it.

Rule No. 2. Stay in your lane; write about what you know. If you’re a C-130 crew chief, tell people how heavy those C-130 main tires are to handle. Believe it or not, every job has its cool factor. Crew chiefs: way cool.

Rule No. 3. Operational security, or OPSEC. This is another way to earn an express-lane trip to the commander’s office. I doubt that you want to break news on your blog that a specific unit is deploying on a specific day to a specific base for a specific number of days with a specificnumber of unit members. That’s a lot of handy information for the enemy. That said, family members should also be careful about what they post when their loved one is deployed. If you post it, consider that the enemy just read it.

Rule No. 4. Photos. Nothing is more distracting than a photo with someone not wearing the uniform properly. You’re in the Air Force; you’re not a cowboy in the wild, wild west. If the dress and appearance instruction doesn’t allow it, don’t photograph yourself in it. A quick way to overpower your message is with a poor, distracting photo. A great photo, however, can draw people in.

Rule No. 5. Videos. Most have probably seen a funny video of an Airman on a flightline dancing or doing something silly. Have you ever looked in the background to see what was going on? Videos can be very telling to the enemy. Oh, and if you want to shoot video on the base’s flightline or take pictures on the flightline, you need to coordinate with public affairs first.

Rule No. 6. Correct misinformation. If you know something online is inaccurate, then politely correct the record.

Rule No. 7. Use common sense. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother, then you probably shouldn’t post it. Also, be careful how much personal information you post online. Posting your address, phone number or other personally identifiable information online only helps those with bad intentions to cause you harm.

Rule No. 8. Don’t lie. If you don’t personally know it to be true, don’t say it or type it.

Rule No. 9. When in doubt, defer to public affairs for expert guidance.

Rule No. 10. See rule No. 1.

The enemy is already engaged in the battle space, and every Airman should engage there, too. After all, we’re all communicators.

TOP STORY > >Air Force officials reduce Palace Chase obligation

by Daniel Elkins
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Air Force officials here recently reduced the Reserve commitment for officers and enlisted members participating in Palace Chase temporarily as part of Air Force management measures to balance the force while meeting a congressionally mandated end strength.

The three-to-one officer and two-for-one enlisted Reserve obligation for each remaining year of active-duty service commitment have been reduced to a one-for-one commitment.

The expanded fiscal 2010 Palace Chase Program provides Airmen in select Air Force specialties an additional waiver for active-duty service commitment to transfer from active military service to the Air Reserve component.

Eligible Airmen may apply for the expanded waiver through June 30 and must separate from active duty by Sept. 1. The obligation reduction does not apply to members separating under regular Palace Chase guidelines.

“Palace Chase allows the total force to retain critical skills and training invested in the development of Airmen and provides them a means to continue serving,” said Senior Master Sgt. Cindy Clendenen, the Palace Chase Program superintendent at the

Air Force Personnel Center here. “The decreased mobility also allows Airmen to maintain stability for their families.”

Senior Master Sgt. Sean Strong, the Western Sector superintendent for Air National Guard in-service recruiting, said family and education top the list of reasons why people choose Palace Chase.

“Many active-duty members want to pursue a college degree full time, which can be tough to do given the active-duty operations tempo, shift work and permanent changes of station,” Sergeant Strong said. “Just as many are looking to separate so they can be near loved ones again, settle down or start a new career.”

Other advantages include having control over where one chooses to live, and the flexibility of serving just two days a month and 15 days of annual training per year, he said.

Keeping that sense of military camaraderie with a new level of freedom and independence along with retaining access to most of the military benefits they enjoy now are also key factors why Airmen choose to continue their service in the Reserve or Guard, Sergeant Strong said.

Air Force leaders in November initially expanded Palace Chase transfers by waiving active-duty service commitments to allow officers to voluntarily fulfill their commitment through the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a force management measure to help meet a fiscal 2010 end strength of 331,700. However, an insufficient response to the program led Air Force officials to retool the transfer obligation period as part of their expanded measures announced March 25 and appeal to a wider number of Airmen, including enlisted.

One Airman taking advantage of the opportunity to separate from active duty early is Capt. Nicole Hagerman, the aircraft maintenance unit officer in charge for the 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Among her considerations, what appealed most to the five-year veteran was a chance to be closer to home while still serving in the Air Force at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind.

“It all really depends on what the individual is looking for,” Captain Hagerman said. “I am looking to get closer to my family and start a family of my own. It is sad leaving active duty, but exciting about starting a new life.”

Sergeant Clendenen said she recommends the first step members should take if interested in Palace Chase is to contact an in-service recruiter for additional information on the program.

Reserve in-service recruiters arelocated at every military personnel section. Master Sgt. Mitchell Randle, Little Rock Air Force Base Reserve Recruiter, can be contacted at 987-7188 or e-mailed at

The Air National Guard has in-service recruiters at 24 bases, including Little Rock AFB. See Master Sgt. Ken Esaw, (501) 246-9224, about opportunities in the ANG, or visit

1st Lt. Danielle Hummert of Malmstrom AFB, Mont., also recommended talking with someone who went through the process and remaining patient.

“Each step in the process takes time. It can be a little overwhelming trying to navigate each step and ensuring the application is received by AFPC with all of the requirements,” she said. “Bottom line, talk to the in-service recruiter frequently, read all of the application instructions, and be proactive. You are the only person that is most concerned about your future.”

As a military personnel section program manager for the 341st Mission Support Group, Lieutenant Hummert had conducted a few re-enlistment ceremonies for the Reserve in-service recruiter at Malmstrom AFB before asking him to explain Palace Chase in greater detail.

“The thing that appealed to me the most about this program was the fact that I could still serve in the Air Force part time while being able to pursue a second career or go back to school,” she said.

She admitted that leaving active duty was the most difficult part of her decision, but lists family as foremost among reasons for joining the Reserve. Other considerations she cited in her decision included job security in an intimidating civilian job market, financial concerns and the challenges of her husband also serving on active duty.

“Deciding to serve was one of the best decisions I have made,” Lieutenant Hummert said. “It is difficult to think about life without the Air Force being a huge part of it.” Lieutenant Hummert separates in June after three years of service and will be assigned to the 940th Reserve Wing at Beale AFB, Calif. “However, the Air Force instilled in me many marketable leadership and management skills that I’m sure will pay off.”

Separations officials at AFPC said they will approve applications based on Air Force specialty manning in order to preserve minimum sustainment levels. Consideration of the expanded waiver for those previously approved for Palace Chase under force management will be made on a case-by-case basis considering the best interest of the Air Force.

Eligible Airmen may submit Palace Chase applications using the online application located on the Virtual Military Personnel Flight. To learn more about eligibility criteria for Palace Chase and any possible restrictions under force management, visit the AFPC personnel services Web site or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.