Round the Reserve: Food Pantry Available to Help Airmen at Andrews|
Posted 5/25/2012 Updated 5/25/2012
from Various Sources
Air Force Reserve Command
5/25/2012 - Citizen Airman/June 2012 -- The 459th Air Refueling Wing Airmen and Family Readiness Program at Joint Base Andrews, Md., is hosting a Food Pantry to serve members of the wing who need assistance.
Airmen can donate non-perishable food items at drop-off locations throughout the wing.
"This program is open to everyone," said Master Sgt. Charlene Lowe, chief of Airmen and Family Readiness. "If you're an Airman or even a full-bird colonel and are in need of support, this program will help you."
Lowe said this is the first program of its kind within the wing. It was created to help with struggling families during this rough time in the economy.
"We did this to help offset the recession," said Tech. Sgt. Paul Gouge, NCO in charge of Airmen and Family Readiness. "We offer a variety of programs for those who have financial difficulty and provide another means of assistance for those who serve our country."
Lowe said all assistance provided under the program is 100 percent confidential. (Senior Airman Katie Spencer, 459th ARW public affairs)
Officials Complete New Tuition Assistance Policy Memo
When a new policy takes effect, probably this summer, schools will need to have a signed memorandum of understanding to participate in the Defense Department's Tuition Assistance Program, Pentagon officials said.
A 90-day extension that expired March 30 allowed DOD officials to work with stakeholders to address issues associated with the memorandum, and a revised memorandum now is complete, officials said.
When the new policy takes effect, schools that provide education programs through the DOD Tuition Assistance Program must agree to the new memorandum and have a signed copy on file with the Defense Department for service members receiving tuition assistance approval to attend their institution, officials said. The revised memorandum and the policy implementation date will be announced on the Defense Department's memorandum of understanding website at http://www.dodmou.com/.
The memorandum is meant to ensure service members have the widest variety of choices for their continued education, officials said, explaining that it puts important educational protections and government oversight into writing.
"I am pleased that over the past 90 days we have been able to collaborate with our partners, including the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; American Council on Education; National Association of Institutions for Military Education Services; and numerous veteran service organizations and military service organizations," said Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. "As a result, we have a stronger, clearer memorandum."
The revised memorandum contains these key guidelines:
* Prior to enrollment, schools must disclose all policies regarding admissions, transfer of credit and residency requirements, as well as costs such as tuition, fees and other charges to the service member;
* Prior to enrollment, schools must provide service members access to a financial aid adviser who will provide a clear and complete explanation of available financial aid, including Title IV, and appropriate loan counseling before offering, recommending or signing up a student for a school loan; and
* Schools must have a policy that bans aggressive marketing and inducements, and must refrain from aggressively marketing to military students or using inducements to encourage military students to enroll.
Once internal coordination of the revised memorandum is complete, schools will have ample opportunity to review and sign the memorandum before the policy goes into effect, officials said.
Academic institutions participating in the Tuition Assistance Program will continue to receive tuition assistance, regardless of whether they have signed the original memorandum with the department. Once the new policy goes into effect, only those schools that have signed a memorandum of understanding with the department will be able to receive tuition assistance.
Institutions that have signed or are in the process of signing the original memorandum will not have to re-sign or make changes to the document, officials noted.
"Even though more than 2,070 institutions of higher learning have already signed the memorandum, it is the department's intent to ensure our service members have the widest variety of choices for their continued education," Gordon said. (American Forces Press Service)
Final Mission Completes C-5 Conversion at Dover
Members of the 709th Airlift Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del., completed their unit's final C-5B Galaxy mission April 5, marking the end of an era for both of the 512th Airlift Wing's flying squadrons.
The 709th AS now flies the C-5M model aircraft, while the 326th AS flew the C-5B until its conversion to the C-17 in 2007.
"The C-5B has served the 326th and 709th Airlift Squadrons well over the years," said Col. D. Scott Durham, 512th Operations Group commander. "Many of the Reservists here at Dover have flown all four variants and will miss the last C-5B as it transfers to a different wing."
The aircraft flown in the last mission is now part of the inventory at Travis AFB, Calif.
"While we say adios to the last of our B models, it's not the end," Durham said. "Many of the B's will be modified to the M variant, so some of these planes will not see the boneyard for quite a few years but continue to support the United States in all its efforts."
Master Sgt. Dave Guertin was one of the 709th AS loadmasters who served with three other Reservists and nine active-duty Airmen on the historic final mission in and out of Afghanistan and through Europe. By the end of the 12-day mission, the mixed aircrew had moved more than 500,000 pounds of cargo and about 100 passengers.
"I thought it was interesting being a part of the final one," said Guertin, who has flown on C-5B missions since 2008. "You kind of felt like you were losing something but knew you were gaining something in return."
Guertin, who has also been flying on the C-5M model said he had forgotten about the difference in lighting between the two airframes.
"It was so dark on the C-5B," he said. "As a loadmaster, you can really appreciate the new lighting in the C-5M's cargo compartment. It's completely different."
The C-5 Galaxy aircraft, as a weapon system, has evolved since its inception in 1968, first from the A to B model and now, with the Avionics Modernization Program, to the M model. The newest C-5, referred to as the Super Galaxy, has a new engine system that delivers a 22 percent increase in thrust, a 30 percent shorter take-off roll and a 58 percent faster climb rate, allowing significantly more cargo to be carried over longer distances.
"Preliminary results on the reliability of the C-5M are challenging the results we see on the newer and smaller C-17," Durham said. "With this renewed airframe, we hope to field a more agile and reliable C-5M fleet crewed by some of the most experienced C-5 operators and mission movers the Air Force Reserve has to offer." (Master Sgt. Veronica Aceveda, 512th AW public affairs)
New Rifle Course Aims to Produce Good Fighters, Not Good Marksmen
In the chaos of a real firefight, it is not realistic to expect every Airman to calmly align a rifle sight on a single stationary target, maintain controlled breathing and steadily squeeze the trigger.
And that's why the Air Force has ended its decades-long practice of sending Airmen into combat zones with little more than basic marksmanship skills and has revamped its rifle qualification course to emphasize the weapon skills needed for engaging an enemy combatant.
"Airmen can expect better training and more realistic scenarios," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Zigarelli, a combat arms instructor at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
The new course began at the base in March but has been active at some locations since January. If the lessons learned at those locations hold true to form, then combat arms instructors of the 514th Security Forces Squadron can expect many more Airmen who need extra attempts to pass the test than what was common with the old course. Fortunately, Airmen must only retest on the portions in which they failed to qualify, and combat arms instructors will provide more personal attention to those who are retesting.
But the increased difficulty comes with an obvious benefit.
"Airmen will be more equipped for a situation where they have to use their firearm," Zigarelli said.
The major changes in the qualification course are intended to add duress to the training.
They include more stringent time constraints, target discrimination and verbal commands that are more typical of a fire fight.
For instance, Airmen won't hear the combat arms instructors say the traditional commands of "ready, aim, fire." Instead, they may hear commands such as "contact left" or "contact front," which indicate the specific target shooters should engage.
The new course will also address some common bad habits. For example, Airmen who only use their weapon at a firing range may develop tunnel vision in a real firefight.
Combat arms instructors will discourage the typical Airman from concentrating on a single threat and emphasize situational awareness to recognize emerging threats or the need to render assistance to a fellow service member.
Zigarelli said he doesn't expect the course to make all Airmen into weapons experts, but it will get them practicing and thinking about the right way of doing things.
The new course requires more time, both on the range and in the classroom. Overall, the typical Airmen can now expect to dedicate two full days to learning their weapon. (Shawn J. Jones, 514th AMW public affairs)
Homestead Fitness Center Undergoes Renovation
Already rated a five-star facility, the fitness center at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., is undergoing a $4.5 million renovation.
Construction began in May. Among the planned facility upgrades are a 1,200-square-foot expansion, new fitness rooms, a retail shop, a juice bar, steam rooms, a massage room, an overhaul of the lighting, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and updating of the exterior façade.
"The added square footage will be great because currently we have more equipment than we have space to put it," said Herb Tideman, 482nd Services fitness and sports director.
The project is estimated to take one year to complete. The temporary home of the base fitness center during construction will be accross the street from the base inside the old exchange facility.
"The remote location will offer the same services and fitness classes as the regular center with the exception of basketball, racquetball and showers," said Alice Fields, 482nd Services chief. (Staff Sgt. Lou Burton, 482nd FW public affairs)
Self-Service Initiative Allows Civilians to Request Updates to Personnel Records
Air Force civilians are now able to request updates to their personnel records through an online self-service initiative.
Air Force Personnel Center human resources officials at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, launched an initiative that allows civilians to submit online requests for name change and veterans preference inquiries. Previously, these requests were made by contacting a local civilian personnel office.
The requests are submitted via the Air Force Personnel Services website and are then routed to the appropriate servicing team for action. Employees should thoroughly read articles in AFPERS before submitting a change request, AFPC officials said.
"It's important civilians keep accurate data in their records during every aspect of their career, especially for pay and tax purposes," said Monica Grant-Gage, a supervisory human resources specialist at AFPC. "Additionally, veterans preference for reduction-in-force purposes can affect an employee's standing on a retention register."
Once logged into AFPERS, civilians will be required to upload appropriate documentation. For name changes, civilians should upload certified copies of a marriage license, decree or court order. For veterans preference, they should upload appropriate documentation from their military personnel records or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to the name and veterans preference updates, civilians may also submit updated resumes for inclusion in their electronic official personnel folder, or eOPF. Officials said they're working to add more self-service requests in the future.