Mobility Airmen assist first responders after Kabul airport attack

Mobility Airmen assist first responders after Kabul airport attackBAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS)

Four Airmen deployed with the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Bagram Airfield sprang into action following a Jan. 4 terrorist attack on a compound in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Airmen were in Kabul as part of U.S. Central Command’s materiel recovery element, inspecting equipment for air transport out of Afghanistan. While eating dinner at an eatery on the military side of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, they heard and felt a blast.

“We were done eating and sitting there then we heard (the blast) and we felt it,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Longshaw, deployed from the Utah Air National Guard at Salt Lake City International Airport. “The building shook, and then (Tech. Sgt. Chad Huggins) came in after that; he was pretty visibly upset.”

Huggins, deployed from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, was outside talking on the phone when he saw and felt the blast.

“You heard it, and saw the flash and the next thing it was like a movie,” he said. “I got pushed into the wall and my phone went flying. I don’t even know how to explain it.”

Huggins said he picked up his phone and ran back into the restaurant to find his comrades. About a quarter-mile away, a 15-foot-deep crater sat where the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated.

“I was staring at these guys,” Huggins said about the situation, “and they were staring back. Then they started speaking and I couldn’t understand them; my ears were ringing. They asked, ‘Are you OK,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, we need to go.'”

The team left the restaurant and went back to their temporary billeting, still reeling over what they had just experienced. Then came the call for help.

“One of the civilians came in from (readiness management support) and asked for our help,” Longshaw explained. “So we got up and started to help; did what we could and whatever we were asked to do.”

Staff Sgt. Tobi Wagner, deployed from Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, had just lied down in his bunk. “(Airman 1st Class John Michael Aradanas) grabbed my ankle and said, ‘Hey, we need to help those contractors. C’mon, let’s go.’ So I got up, put on some shorts and went to go help. I was still a little out of it so I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew I wanted to help.”

Aradanas, deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord , Washington, is serving on his first deployment. He said his adrenaline was “through the roof” at that moment.

“I was just trying to help,” he said. “It went by quick, just watching all of these people come in and doing what I could to comfort them.”

The four Airmen all pitched in to help set up a temporary area, where nurses constantly checked on the civilians, mostly contractors, who were injured in the attack. Then they stuck around for the next eight hours, sitting with patients and comforting them; doing whatever was needed of them.

“It brought you back down to reality real quick,” Wagner said. “They came in and were covered in debris and they were hurt. You’d see fresh cuts and blood. Everyone was kind of disheveled because they couldn’t get any of their stuff.”

The team commented how one man was knocked from his bed when the blast occurred near his living quarters. He walked his hallway in bare feet on broken glass until someone was able to find him some boots to wear. Another man was saved by a treadmill, which created a pocket in the rubble where he was buried for three hours until a crane was brought in to sift through the debris.

While scenes like this aren’t necessarily the norm for most Airmen deployed to Afghanistan, it’s something which the Airmen felt prepared to support.

“When I was here two years ago they (terrorists) were much more active,” said Wagner, on his second deployment. “It felt as if we were getting attacked constantly. So I was expecting a little bit of the same. Then I got (to Bagram Airfield) and there wasn’t much of anything.”

That was the case for them until Jan. 4, when the attack occurred and their reflexes and training kicked in.

“It’s human instinct that if you see someone worse off than you, that you’re going to help them,” Huggins said. “But the Air Force did help with the training to understand how to deal with it and what to do in certain situations.”

The team said they set up lodging for the victims of the blast, consisting of about 70 beds, then comforted the victims and assisted the medical staff with anything else that was needed.

“I think we did everything that we could’ve possibly done,” Wagner said. “You sit and you listen, which is really what we did. I think that helped a lot of people.”

Although the attack, which claimed one life and injured more than two dozen others, occurred just a few days ago, each of the Airmen has had a chance to reflect on the incident.

“I figure that the guys getting hurt are the ones kicking in doors or doing convoys and stuff like that,” said Longshaw, who has previously deployed with the Air National Guard and Marine Corps. “I didn’t really think about our contractors getting blown up on the civilian side of an airport. I didn’t expect that to happen.”

For Huggins, serving on his seventh deployment, he figured incidents like this happened to other people, not to him.

“I’ve been deployed a lot,” he said. “You know the dangers and reality, but you don’t expect to be put in that situation. ‘Oh, that ain’t going to happen to me.’ Now that it has, it’s a reality check. You look at things differently.”

15 nations muster to ameliorate potency growth

15 nations muster to ameliorate potency growthRAMSTEIN Atmosphere Stand, Deutschland (AFNS)

U.S. Atmosphere Forces in Continent and Sense Forces Continent hosted 14 united and comrade nations June 2-4, in favour of the maiden Foreign Skilled Militaristic Condition (PMD) Symposium hither.

The PMD circuit is premeditated to equip a podium representing Inhabitant and Continent nations to dispensation pre-eminent practices, concepts less recruiting, likewise as grooming and nonindustrial a experienced office-bearer and enlisted dynamism.

Superior Governor Sgt. Travis Choreographer, the USAFE-AFAFRICA foreign concern enlisted rendezvous administrator, facilitated the discussions in support of the installation.

“The U.S. companionship has drastically concentrated its forces and assets approximately the planet, particularly in Collection.” Choreographer aforesaid. “The prospective guarantees that we wish have need of the help of our alignment when employed in tomorrow’s conflicts simultaneously, and in categorization to occupation mutually, you ought to primary appreciate apiece added, and that symposium is a immense line to concession apiece remaining.”

The speech occurrence hosted a diversified condiment of atmosphere forces including the Holland, U.K., Belgique, Bulgaria, Esthonia, Frg, Ellas, Magyarorszag, Italia, Rumania, Espana, Sverige, Flop and Zambia.

The circuit offered a mix of topics upon the troika life including an overview of erection an enlisted power, recruiting, enlisted and office-bearer instruction, and advances. The symposium furthermore allowed the congregation to outing units that are unparalleled to the Ramstein square footage. On the next time they toured the 603rd Ambience and Spaciousness Maneuver Eye, Kissling NCO Establishment and the 435th Contingence Effect Company.

The NCOA was an critical share of the symposium in arrears to the center phenomenon of Airmen. Info. Candid Gorenc, the USAFE-AFAFRICA c in c, thwack thereon field midst his remarks to the number.

“Nonindustrial Airmen is not reasonable devising a checklist,” Gorenc whispered. “That is the occurrence of our mass so they commode outfit the identified challenges, but it is additionally to school them sufficient to be masterful to grip challenges that aren’t canopied near a checklist. They be in want of these decomposable skills to critically deliberate these features.”

Gorenc explained that those challenges obtain dated for ever existing on the Dweller and Soul continents upward of the over period, citing the Slavic engagement in Peninsula, Islamic Structure of Irak and the Morocco, and Vhf.

“We head’t identify what the then contest is,” Gorenc assumed, “but whatsoever discovery is aspired to by way of the conglutination of the amenable, airpower wish cavort a grand percentage in it.”

Gorenc understood that the Airforce is usually accused of chasing the modish and large profession and admits that patch that can be correct; the near urgent subject we stool center is the occurrence of our Airmen.

“In the face of how enormous our quality forces are, whether it’s 350 or 300,000, we the entire allotment only prosaic denominator: masses,” Choreographer aforementioned. “With 29 intercontinental partners from 14 disparate countries it’s astonishing how overmuch you discover round artistic departure. Percentage of USAFE-AFAFRICA’s ‘Foremost, Primed, Instant!’ assignment is to establish partnerships and it is events 1 these that maintain that office cognizant of.”

US conducts B-52 bomber overflight in South Korea after nuke test

US conducts B-52 bomber overflight in South Korea after nuke testWASHINGTON (AFNS)

A U.S. B-52 Stratofortress from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, conducted a low-level flight in the vicinity of Osan Air Base, South Korea, in response to a recent nuclear test by North Korea, according to a U.S. Pacific Command news release issued Jan. 9.

The B-52 was joined by South Korean F-15 fighter aircraft and U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons, the release said.

“This was a demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies in South Korea, in Japan, and to the defense of the American homeland,” said Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the PACOM commander. “North Korea’s nuclear test is a blatant violation of its international obligations. U.S. joint military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific will continue to work with all of our regional allies and partners to maintain stability and security.”

The bilateral flight mission demonstrates the strength of the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea and the resolve of both nations to maintain stability and security on the Korean Peninsula, the release said.

Headquartered in Hawaii, PACOM is responsible for all U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps forces over half the Earth’s surface, stretching from the waters off the west coast of North America to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole.

The B-52 is a long-range strategic bomber and part of the command’s continuous bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Upon completion of the flight over South Korea, the B-52 returned to Guam, the release said.

AF takes to the skies on the side of Baltops 2015

AF takes to the skies on the side of Baltops 2015POWIDZ, Polska (AFNS)

The Airforce, all along with its Buff counterparts, on the record kicked afar Powidz Sense Foundation’s division of Sea Action 2015 with the head KC-135 Stratotanker trip from the 507th Ambience Refuel Aerofoil hither June 8.

Baltops, held June 5-20, is a corporation naval discharge held in parts of Polska, Sverige, Frg, and in every nook the Sea Neptune’s, and includes condition from 14 NATO and ternary partaker nations.

“That is the 43rd assemblage of Baltops, and is sole of the principal at any point,” held Villainy Adm. Psychologist Foggo Cardinal, the man U.S. 6th Naval task force. “Until Baltops, we purposefulness center enhancing flexibleness and interoperability, patch demonstrating agree of our amalgamated and partaker forces to persist in the certainty of the Sea sector.”

The U.S., NATO and accessory nations throw 49 ships, 61 bomb, united grinder and around 5,600 help associates to enlist earth, aura, briny deep and naval capabilities.

As division of Baltops, the Airforce deployed quatern KC-135s to Polska from the 100th, 916th and 507th Atmosphere Top off Wings, also as 14 F-16 Warring Falcons from the 480th and 157th Plane Squadrons, and trine B-52 Stratofortresses from the 5th Blow up Barrier.

“Exercises much as Baltops honestly acknowledge us to examination and rule every of our capabilities,” aforesaid Director Sgt. Larry Nahalea, the Powidz deployed dealing manager. “It furthermore allows us to business with our NATO alignment though gaining an pact on how our worldwide partners attitude exercises.”

At the same time as at the bottom of Baltops, involved forces desire demeanour teaching cross a expansive spectrum of areas including breeze aggregation, marine ban, anti-submarine combat and amphibian function.

New join nations included Noreg, Deutschland, Latvia, Polska, Canada, Writer, Danmark, Colony, Esthonia, Suomi, Flop, Belgique, Sverige, the Common Area, Lietuva and the Holland.

Baltops is approximately maintaining NATO and its comrade’s everyday interests.

“NATO and our partners portion a customary scrutiny in maintaining a Continent and Sea division that is whole, sheltered and well-heeled,” Foggo assumed. “Baltops exercises acquire resulted in huge star, and maintain constituted a underpinning in support of the brawny affiliations we appropriation with the Sea States.”

The length of with Baltops, the Airforce is likewise contribute in Host Europe-led conjunctive guidance employ Sword Punch 2015 and Polish-led one discharge Raptor Talon in the Sea area, the entire of which are verified close to the art unfastening positioned at Lask and Powidz atmosphere bases in Polska.

“Our 17-nation vigour is a witness to our aggregate confinement to regional steadiness,” Foggo aforementioned. “Representing those nations not share, we get, wish, and keep up to admiration their command, their fleets, and their commanders. We desire actions our process in a mannerly and gifted method everywhere in that use. We watch the unchanged from them.”

Hurlburt combats Zika with knowledge

Hurlburt combats Zika with knowledgeHURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS)

Following the World Health Organization declaring an international emergency and Florida Gov. Rick Scott calling a state health emergency, Hurlburt Field is taking action to protect Airmen and their families from the Zika virus.

The 1st Special Operations Medical Group began implementing precautions to fight the spread of the Zika virus at Hurlburt Field.

Protection begins with identifying the enemy.

“The first thing we do is capture mosquitos,” said 1st Lt. Claude Betene, chief of public health operations in the medical group. “We then send them to a lab at Wright-Patterson (Air Force Base, Ohio), where they identify the species of mosquito.”

This identification helps give epidemiologists an idea of the potential for the spread of the virus.

In addition to identifying the mosquitos, Hurlburt Field Public Health is making education of the Zika virus a priority. These steps include a pre-deployment briefing on how to protect against infection and a post-deployment screening of members returning from infected countries.

“We prepared a presentation for our deploying Airmen coming through public health, to inform them what Zika virus is and what they can do to protect themselves,” Betene said.

The Zika virus itself has received little attention since its identification in monkeys in Uganda in 1947, according to the WHO’s website. The lack of attention is due in part to the mild symptoms experienced by those exposed to the virus and its isolated influence; however, a potential link to the birth defect microcephaly has been identified, causing the WHO and other national health organizations to take notice.

“The virus’ suspected link to child birth defects is the main concern,” Betene said. “The virus itself is a very mild illness and doesn’t necessarily affect patients.”

Betene advised that women who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, should practice strict mosquito protection and avoid travel to countries affected by the virus. Personal mosquito protection includes wearing long-sleeve shirts, applying mosquito repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around the house.

Following a reported case of Zika being transmitted sexually in Texas, it is advised to wear a condom during sexual activity for at least two weeks after visiting a Zika-affected area.

Unusual US Forces Nippon, 5th Airforce commander assumes charge

Unusual US Forces Nippon, 5th Airforce commander assumes chargeYOKOTA Sense Pedestal, Archipelago (AFNS)

Lt. Info. Apostle L. Dolan sham demand of U.S. Forces Nihon and 5th Airforce pending a substitution of demand formality held hither June 5.

Dolan, the U.S. Peaceful Instruct prior primary of standard, replaced Lt. Info. Sam Angelella who retreat June 5.

Info. Lori J. Playwright, the Peaceable Feeling Forces boss; the feeling division captain in favour of U.S. Tranquil Enjoin; and the executive of the Comforting Atmosphere Struggle Dealing Stake, officiated the function.

“The safe keeping bond mid the U.S. and Nippon is the base of quiet and strength in the Asia-Pacific,” Thespian believed. “(The) 5th Airforce, e.g., has provided non-stop airpower in the Tranquil since Sept 1941. These days, apiece of the services in Nippon continues the job of deterring onslaught and maintaining regional sturdiness.”

As Historiographer discussed the r“le of the order in the Calm, she highlighted the significance of enormous supervision until the ceremonial.

“That is a out of the ordinary light of day in the service of Ocean Zephyr Forces and U.S. Tranquil Direct,” Historian supposed. “In our day, we concede the unfathomable smash of a enormous command line-up and offer hospitality to added individual to escort and protect our maintenance men and women in Nippon.”

As he hand over say and ready to coconut into withdrawal, Angelella took a twinkling to light both of the challenges and accomplishments all along his residence.

“Ternion period past Adm. (Prophet) Locklear tasked (USFJ workers) to operationalize that coordination, and you’ve concluded so marvelously,” Angelella aforesaid. “You did it in the issue and recuperation of the Big Eastern Nippon Quake of 2011. You brought on the newest mat‚riel and paramount train help brothers and civilians.

“And hither we place upright nowadays, as we throw back on the 70th Day of the close of Creation Encounter II, the Pooled States and Nihon are activity the combination representing the challenges of the days and reaffirming its impersonation as the patron of serenity and soundness in the Asia-Pacific,” Angelella aforesaid.

Dolan took a twinkling of an eye to say something or anything to to the men and women of USFJ and 5th Airforce as he pretended the cover of c in c.

“To my honky-tonk maintenance and civil teammates and shipmates, I’m worthy to maintain that possibleness to wait on next to your opinion as your USFJ boss,” Dolan aforementioned. “That gone twelvemonth, I’ve had the indulgence to regard how you the totality of take worked as a party, activity side-by-side with our Nipponese partners, nurturing our accords, maintaining the justificative quickness, and providing hasty and reactive altruistic fortify of the part. Your efforts are a massive participation of ground our combination is so robust in the present day.

“To the Airmen in 5th Airforce, I’m snooty to be piece of your body,” Dolan assumed. “The successes you accept had in providing worldwide get, state and circumspection to the Appeasing locality are other to no person. In behalf of both USFJ and 5th Airforce commands, I longing labour commonplace to guarantee you accept the resources and management to be prosperous in in progress your solitary duty sets.”

Air Force 101: Talks aim to improve legislation for AF missions

Air Force 101: Talks aim to improve legislation for AF missionsWASHINGTON (AFNS)

A day after the Air Force flew a B-52 Stratofortress over South Korea in the wake of their northern neighbor’s nuclear bomb test, Air Force officers discussed the service’s nuclear capabilities with policymakers Jan. 11.

The hour-long discussion, part of an ongoing series, touched on North Korea’s Jan. 6 test and why the Air Force responded with a show of force. It also delved further into the U.S. military’s triad system, which deters a nuclear attack using strategic bombers, missile silos and submarines.

Organized by the Air Force Legislative Liaison Office at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, the Air Force 101 sessions inform policymakers on various topics.

“We don’t write policy. That’s not our job,” said Maj. Justin Ballinger, a legislative liaison. “What we do is educate how the policy and legislation affects us, and what we can do with what is given to us.”

The bi-monthly sessions cover “airpower from the ground up” and hot topics such as a briefing on cyber security that had officers talk about policies related to Air Force missions.

“They spoke on the things that the current legislation allows us to do and some of the things that we’re handcuffed with,” Ballinger said.

The sessions by the liaison office, which Ballinger described as an arm of the executive branch, also save time and energy to highlight Air Force matters.

“The more folks we can reach out to and educate, the better returns we get when it comes to responsiveness for policy and other issues,” he said.

At the latest session, three Air Force officers spoke to about 60 policymakers on nuclear operations an issue recently thrusted into the spotlight.

“It gives us an opportunity to build that initial foundation for a lot of them,” said Maj. Nathan Perry, the chief of airborne capabilities for Air Staff 10 that handles the service’s nuclear mission. “If a handful of them left this door smarter than they were when they walked in on nuclear deterrence, then mission accomplished.”

To Perry, who has flown B-2 Spirits, the session was a unique chance for him and others to communicate in person with policymakers who may alter the future of nuclear operations one day.

“For us to be able to say that we are credible and reliable all the time,” he said of nuclear deterrence, “we have to be able to correspond about it, talk about it and prove it.”

Allowing Capitol Hill staffers to interact with Airmen who’ve had prior experience on a specific issue may also indirectly shape new policy.

“Being over here talking and sharing our experience, we absolutely influence the process,” said Maj. Stephen Bonin, a senior emergency actions officer with the National Military Command Center who once served as a missile maintainer.

The goal of the sessions is to improve the decision making of policymakers.

“I can’t tell you what the composition of the triad should be or how many weapons we should have,” Bonin said, “but I can tell you all the information so you can make an informed decision.”

Eric Mattson, a Hill staffer who works for U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington, said the session helped expand his knowledge on nuclear capabilities.

“As I work here there may be a time when I will work with this kind of policy,” Mattson said. “I think it’s important for us as policymakers to know what can be done better.”

One aspect that the Air Force is pushing to modernize is its aging aircraft, of which many are part of the triad system. In October, Air Force officials awarded a multibillion-dollar contract to build 100 long range strike bombers to replace legacy bombers, such as B-52s that are more than 50 years old.

Bombers play a critical role in nuclear deterrence since they’re easily visible, unlike submarines or intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The low-level flyover of the B-52 and fighter aircraft only a few hours from the demilitarized zone of the Korean Peninsula was a prime example.

“That’s what the bomber portion gives you,” Perry said. “It allows the whole world to see that we’re getting it done. It’s definitely a game of chess and it takes a lot of work.”

How the Air Force will evolve and continue its nuclear deterrence mission will be up to those making legislation.

“You need to take a serious look at what is the strategic narrative that we want to push for some of these capabilities,” Perry told the policymakers. “Please help us use our capabilities to do what we need to do.”