Round the Reserve: C-17s to Replace C-5s at Wright-Patterson AFB|
Posted 5/18/2010 Updated 5/18/2010
from Various Sources
Air Force Reserve Command
5/18/2010 - Citizen Airman/June 2010 -- The Air Force will begin next year replacing 10 C-5 Galaxy aircraft belonging to the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with eight C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
The secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force chief of staff approved the change March 12.
Air Force officials anticipate that the first four C-17s will arrive at the 445th in fiscal year 2011 after five of the C-5s are retired from service. They expect delivery of four more of the newer aircraft in FY 2012 after the remaining C-5s are retired.
From a manpower standpoint, replacing the C-5s with C-17s will result in the wing gaining 29 traditional Reserve officers, losing 111 enlisted TRs and gaining 21 full-time air reserve technicians, for a net loss of 61 positions. (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)
DOD Officials Identify More Phases for Iraq Medal
Department of Defense officials announced March 10 that additional campaign stars are authorized for wear on the Iraq Campaign Medal.
The campaign stars recognize a service member's participation in DOD-designated campaigns in Iraq.
Airmen who have qualified for the ICM may display a bronze campaign star on their medal for each designated campaign phase in which they participated. The stars will be worn on the suspension and campaign ribbon of the campaign medal. One bronze service star shall be worn for each campaign served. A silver service star will be worn instead of five bronze stars.
The additional campaign phases and associated dates established for the ICM are:
* Iraqi surge, Jan. 10, 2007, to Dec. 31, 2008.
* Iraqi sovereignty, Jan. 1, 2009, through a date to be determined.
Four other phases, previously identified, include:
* Liberation of Iraq, March 19, 2003, to May 1, 2003.
* Transition of Iraq, May 2, 2003, to June 28, 2004.
* Iraqi governance, June 29, 2004, to Dec. 15, 2005.
* The "national resolution" phase, which began Dec. 16, 2005, has been determined to have ended Jan. 9, 2007. (Courtesy of Air Force Retiree News Service from a DOD news release)
Automation to Improve Post-9/11 GI Bill Processing
With 153,000 veterans enrolled in the Post-9/11 GI Bill during spring semester and new automation tools implemented to improve processing procedures, the Veterans Affairs secretary declared the program "on track" and headed toward greater efficiency.
Secretary Eric K. Shinseki acknow-ledged that the Post-9/11 GI Bill got off to a rocky start after it took effect Aug. 1.
He said he was surprised when many colleges and universities took months to submit the student enrollment certificates VA needed to begin cutting checks to the schools as well as enrollees.
"They must be well-endowed," he said referring to those schools that covered the up-front costs of students' tuition, room and board without seeking prompt reimbursement. "But because I don't have that certificate, I haven't paid them tuition. But neither have I paid kids their monthly living stipend or their books, because they are all tied together."
By the second week of December, the end of the fall semester, VA was still receiving 1,500 to 2,000 certificates of enrollment a day for students who had been attending schools since August, he said. In fact, some were still trickling in to VA as late as April.
"We learned a lot," Secretary Shinseki said. "We learned we had to talk to 6,500 schools and say, 'We have got to do better.' We needed to work with them and explain to them, 'Whether you think it is important or not, the veteran doesn't get paid until you send us this certificate of enrollment.' So for the veteran's sake, we need to do better."
Secretary Shinseki credited the VA staff with stepping up to the plate, contacting schools directly to solicit those enrollment certificates and then going into overdrive to manually process thousands of certificates a day. He convened a late-night meeting in November, bringing together the education directors from VA's regional offices to come up with ways to further speed up the processing.
"We took out steps that were redundant," he said. "In the process, we have simplified and re-engineered the business process. We have worked the bugs out of an imperfect system."
By the end of the fall semester, he said, all 173,000 enrollees were being paid through this new process.
As of Feb. 1, 131,000 of the 153,000 students enrolled in the system were being paid, and VA officials were "knocking down" the remaining certificates at the rate of about 7,000 a day, he said.
"So I feel pretty good about how this is going," Secretary Shinseki said. "Our numbers are up and our payments are up, and we still don't have an automated tool."
The first of those new tools went online in April, with more capabilities to follow in July, November and December. By year's end, Secretary Shinseki said, the system will be fully automated.
"I think we are on a good track," he said. "Now, when automation comes, we are going to have a tremendous gain." (Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service)
March ARB Welcomes First Full-Time Chaplain
Standing in front of a wooden altar, leather-bound Bible in hand, Chaplain (Maj.) Craig Benson looks like any other chaplain in the sanctuary of the chapel at March Air Reserve Base, Calif.1
What sets Chaplain Benson apart is his status. He is the first of six full-time chaplains the Air Force Reserve is placing at six of its busiest locations. In addition to March, the locations are Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Patrick AFB, Fla.; Schriever AFB, Colo.; and Westover ARB, Mass.
According to Chaplain (Col.) Don Smith, Air Force Reserve Command command chaplain, March and the other locations were chosen because of high deployment rates and operational tempos. The idea is that full-time chaplains will help people better deal with major stresses in their lives.
In his new position with the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, Chaplain Benson augments five Reserve chaplains and provides full-time support to the base.
He's excited about serving as a trailblazer in this developing program.
1"I feel like this is a great opportunity and something that is very rewarding," Chaplain Benson said. "It's a new position, and we are creating it as we go. We really don't know how it will change or what it will look like two years from now."
At a Reserve base, people don't live on the base or close by. The chaplains are part-time, and they are here only during that one weekend a month. But stuff happens during the week, not just on the drill weekend. You need someone full-time to work those issues, get coordination going and be there for the air reserve technicians, the civilians and the Reservists who are on two- or three-day tours, and we can provide that help," he said. (2nd Lt. Zach Anderson, 4th Air Force public affairs)
Air Force Officials Announce Uniform Policy Changes
Air Force officials announced April 12 uniform policy updates resulting from recent Air Force Uniform Board decisions.
The following policy modifications are effective immediately unless otherwise stated and will be incorporated into Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Air Force Uniform Dress and Appearance.
The tucking of trousers on utility uniforms into boots will remain optional. This reverses a mandatory tuck-in requirement previously announced by the 98th Air Force Virtual Uniform Board. When tucked in or bloused, the trouser must be even and draped loosely over the top of the combat boot to present a bloused appearance.
The green fleece watch cap is approved for wear with the all-purpose environmental clothing system, improved rain suit, cold weather parka, sage green fleece and physical training uniform.
Air Force officials encourage all Airmen to affix name, rank and service designator tapes instead of waiting for the Oct. 1 mandatory wear date. However, officers wanting to wear a watch cap with the sage green fleece must now have their name, rank and service designator tapes affixed to the fleece effective immediately.
Other authorized cold weather items remain unchanged. They include the black or sage green leather, suede or knit gloves; black scarves that are tucked in; and black earmuffs.
Uniform officials remind Airmen that the sage green fleece can still be worn as a liner for the APECS without name, rank and service designator tapes. The black fleece will no longer be authorized for wear as an APECS liner on Oct. 1.
Air Force officials also modified the 97th AFUB decision that stated the women's A-line skirt would become the primary mess dress skirt for the Air Force. The change allows the side-slit mess dress skirt to continue to be worn as an optional item.
For more information on uniform policy changes, contact your chain of command or call the Total Force Service Center toll free at (800) 525-0102. (Air Force Personnel Center public affairs)
Westover Tests Communications Package
Reservists at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., conducted field exercises in April using a new mobile communications package.
The 439th Communications Squadron is the first Air Force Reserve Command unit to receive the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability system, said Capt. Jeremy Downer, the organization's officer in charge. He and a group of communications Airmen started the field exercise the morning of April 1 by rolling out components of the mobile communications kit, all of which fit inside of a 19-foot trailer and on the back of two flat-bed trucks.
The National Guard developed the system in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to address the problems military and other government agencies who responded to the disaster encountered in communicating with one another, Captain Downer said. AFRC is adapting the capability to provide its bases with flexible emergency response communications.
Captain Downer said the package will allow Westover communications Airmen to respond to a man-made or natural disaster on site with a "command post in a box."
"Hurricanes, floods -- whatever we would be asked to do inside or outside the wire, we can do with this system," he said.
JISCC includes satellite equipment, communications terminals, a 30-foot antenna, a trailer and a tent. The entire package costs more than $300,000 to field, but the capability it provides, in terms of saving lives and property, is immeasurable for organizations responding to disasters.
During the field exercise, JISCC proved its value by providing for the constant flow of vital information in a seamless manner, Captain Downer said.
Its radio systems are compatible with those of other military and government agencies. In addition, the package provides local area networking capability for laptop computers to access the Internet and other key networks. It comes with everything necessary to make JISCC completely self-sufficient in the field.
Plans call for 11 other AFRC bases to eventually receive the mobile communications package, Captain Downer said. (Andre Bowser/Tech. Sgt. Andrew Biscoe, 439th Airlift Wing public affairs, Westover ARB)
Persistence Pays Off in Selection for Tops in Blue Team
After years of dedication and determination, Tech. Sgt. Katie Badowski of the 446th Services Flight at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., made her dreams a reality.
Sergeant Badowski saw Tops in Blue -- the Air Force special unit made up of 35 vocalists, musicians, dancers, comedians, magicians and dramatists -- perform while she was in the Washington Army National Guard. She was immediately hooked. Sergeant Badowski said she started her Air Force career with every intention of joining Tops in Blue. She achieved her goal this year.
"You can't knock down someone who has a dream," said Lt. Col. Patricia Keenan, 446th SVF commander. "When you have something inside of yourself that you want to express, it's bigger than you are."
Applying for the entertainment group involves filling out a long application, providing an audition video and, if selected, participating in an arduous 10-day competition at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
Two other Air Force Reservists also made the 2010 Tops in Blue tour. They are Master Sgt. Robert Clark, a vocalist from the 482nd Fighter Wing at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., and Tech. Sgt. Kevin McGovern, a vehicle operator from the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.
Tops in Blue is celebrating its 56th year as the Air Force's premiere entertainment showcase. Sergeant Badowski reported to Lackland AFB in early March to begin a 45-day training period to prepare for the 2010 show season. The schedule of performance dates and locations was supposed to be released in May. (Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Moody, 446th Airlift Wing public affairs)