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Cody meets with Airmen during NORAD, USNORTHCOM tour

Cody meets with Airmen during NORAD, USNORTHCOM tourPETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody met with Airmen from here and nearby bases as he toured North American Air Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command Feb. 10-12.

The top enlisted Airman held two all calls at Peterson Air Force Base to thank Airmen and NCOs, and to answer their questions ranging from performance reports to retirement plans.

He said he was impressed at the questions posed to him at both enlisted calls, citing his overall impression of today’s enlisted corps.

“We have amazing men and women serving in our armed forces,” he said. “When I get to spend time with Airmen, I see they’re dedicated, they’re proud, they’re motivated and they’re certainly very aware of what’s going on in the geopolitical environment, the instability that exists around the globe, and their role in ensuring our nation’s security.”

After speaking with the enlisted corps, he met with Fleet Master Chief Terrence Molidor, the NORAD and USNORTHCOM command senior enlisted leader, and toured the commands’ operations center.

“This was a great visit,” said Molidor, a 32-year Navy veteran. “I spoke to him as I do each service’s senior enlisted and said what we need from the Air Force is to continue sending us quality Airmen. Also, as the senior enlisted for the command, if we have a service-related issue we can’t address with my senior enlisted advisors, he’s the one I go to in order to get the final word, so just getting another chance to meet with him was helpful.”

This isn’t the first time the Air Force’s top enlisted leader has been to the command. He said he’s familiar with the unique mission sets of the command and the importance of defending the homeland.

“I certainly think 9/11 still weighs heavily on those who continue to serve,” Cody said. “There’s no lack of appreciation and understanding what those events signaled to our nation and how we have evolved from that time. I certainly believe our top leadership in Washington, D.C., clearly understands the importance of this command and what you do every day to secure our nation.”

He also gave thanks to the Canadian and interagency counterparts working shoulder to shoulder with U.S. service members, stopping to present recognition coins to four U.S. and one Canadian enlisted member for excellence.

“We can’t do it without the partnership,” Cody said. “We all understand that. We have common interests here to be as effective and as responsive as absolutely necessary we need to be a team.”

Overall, Cody said today’s enlisted force is the best trained, most educated and most experienced fighting force the world has ever known.

“They step up to the plate every single day to ensure the security of the nation and they will ensure the generations that follow in their footsteps are even better than them,” Cody said. “They’re just a dedicated great group of people and our nation should be extremely proud and grateful they have the watch.”

Yokota Airmen help prepare Sailors for refuels

Yokota Airmen help prepare Sailors for refuelsYOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS)

Airmen fuelers from the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron provided essential training on the R-11 refueling trucks to Sailors from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, at Yokota Air Base Jan. 25-29.

The training allowed members to prepare to support Navy aircraft at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, during exercise Cope North.

“The training they receive is important because they will be using our refueling trucks as they provide fuel to their aircraft,” said Senior Airman Tyler Sims, a 374th LRS Fuels Management Flight fuels training supervisor. “We prepared them for any potential tasks they will need to perform.”

The Navy personnel who received training on the R-11 refueling trucks learned how to drive, service aircraft, perform minor maintenance, and how to check fuel samples with the vehicle.

“It is imperative for us to learn how to operate the vehicles because it will ensure our readiness is where it needs to be and help us effectively complete our mission,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Christian Fakhoury, a NAF Atsugi Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron administrative assistant. “This course has been great because I have learned more mechanical knowledge on the trucks.”

Working alongside Air Force personnel has provided the Navy personnel with more than just a better understanding of how to operate a refueling truck.

“Working together with different military branches helps build camaraderie between our sister services, making it easier to work with each other towards the same goal,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Danford, a NAF Atsugi Carrier AEWS aviation electrician. “The training has also helped us learn about different Air Force customs and courtesies that we are not used to in the Navy. This will help us work more effectively in future missions.”

The fuels Airmen provided necessary knowledge and training to the Navy personnel during the weeklong event. The course was not only important for the Sailors to learn how to properly complete missions using the R-11 refueling truck, it also helped build teamwork and promoted camaraderie between sister branches.

After the Navy members completed their training, they went back to their home station and began preparation for exercise Cope North.

Exercise Cope North began in 1978 when it was first hosted at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Having more than three decades of multilateral training has ensured team Yokota AB, along with its allies, are ready for contingency and humanitarian operations at a moment’s notice. The exercise is designed to enhance each countries air operations. Additionally, the exercise includes humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training objectives.

Maintainers put the fight in fighter at Souda Bay

Maintainers put the fight in fighter at Souda BaySOUDA BAY, Greece (AFNS)

Let’s face it, things break. A kid’s toy, TVs, kitchen wear, automobiles, and yes, even a couple million-dollar airplanes can break. That’s when the maintainers of the 52nd Fighter Wing get called to fix what’s broken.

More than 15 F-16 Fighter Falcons assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, are on a forward training deployment at Souda Bay, Greece, for bilateral training with the Hellenic Air Force until Feb. 15.

“What we’re here for is to get our pilots and maintainers trained and prepared for any future deployments that could send them downrange,” said Capt. Erik Ringstad, the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge. “My role here is to supervise and coordinate the maintainers we have, approximately 230 to provide safe, reliable and secure aircraft for our pilots.”

Once an aircraft lands and is handed over to the maintainers, it can take up to three hours to turn around the aircraft and ready it for the next pilot.

Hellenic Air Force maintainers have been working with the 52nd FW maintainers to get a better understanding of hot pit operations, Ringstand added.

“They currently don’t run that operation here, which is essentially refueling the aircraft while the engine is still running to expedite turn on the aircraft,” he said. “They have been working with our guys to actually get an understanding and to eventually apply that here.”

The U.S. Air Force’s forward presence in Europe allows the U.S. to work with allies and partners to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining regional security.

With flying times starting in the morning and into the late afternoon, it takes more than one shift of Airmen to maintain the aircraft.

“Right now we’re on 10-hour shifts with the ability to go to 12-hour shifts if needed,” said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Parsons, the 480th EFS AMU superintendent. “It’s an open ramp environment which is good for the maintenance aspect of it, as long as the weather cooperates. When it rains, there is not a lot of cover out there.”

For maintainers to get out in an expeditionary environment like this and see what kind of challenges they can face is good training, Parsons said. This deployment also shows continuing contributions to develop and improve air readiness while maintaining security and building long-lasting alliance capacity.

“My mission makes me feel proud and important,” said Staff Sgt. Thai MacLeod, a 480th EFS AMU aerospace ground equipment craftsman. “If we don’t provide power to the jets, the maintainers can’t fix the jets, and jets can’t fly. We play a pretty big part, and I like that.”

They may not be fixing TVs or kids’ toys, but the maintainers spend countless hours each day doing what they say they do best: fixing and maintaining the aircraft of the 52nd FW.

“At the end of the day, from a maintainer’s perspective, we make sure we are proficient and give the aircrew reliable aircraft,” Ringstand said.

AF awards contract for next Air Force One

AF awards contract for next Air Force OneWASHINGTON (AFNS)

The Boeing Company was awarded a contract Jan. 29 for risk reduction activities for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which will field the next Air Force One.

This is the first contract the Air Force has awarded for this program. Additional modifications will be made to this contract in the future to purchase the commercial 747-8 aircraft, as well as to design, modify and test those aircraft to meet the presidential mission.

These efforts are the first step in a deliberate process to control program risks and life cycle costs. These activities will include the definition of detailed requirements and design trade-offs required to support informed decisions that will lead to a lower risk Engineering and Manufacturing Development program and lower life cycle costs.

“This is the start of our contractual relationship with Boeing. It will allow Boeing to begin working on what will be the next Air Force One,” said Col. Amy McCain, the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program manager. “This initial effort is about reducing risk, really understanding where the tough work will be, finding affordability opportunities, and getting the best value for the taxpayer, while continuing to meet the needs of our commander in chief.”

The secretary of the Air Force has made it clear that affordability will be a key element of the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program.

“We will continue to insist upon program affordability through cost conscious procurement practices,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

“The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America at home and abroad,” James said. “We will ensure the next Air Force One meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest.”

The Air Force wants to own enough of the technical baseline to permit competition for modifications and sustainment throughout the aircraft’s planned 30-year life cycle. Competition can keep costs down, spur innovation and provide technical options.

“We are focused on ensuring this program is affordable,” McCain said. “This contract gets us started on determining how to modify a 747-8 to become the next Air Force One, and finding opportunities for cost reduction through detailed requirements choices, competition of subsystems, and in the sustainment of the aircraft after it has been fielded.”

“The current fleet of VC-25A presidential aircraft has performed exceptionally well, a testament to the Airmen who support, maintain and fly the aircraft,” James said. “Yet, it is time to replace them. Parts obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and increased down times for maintenance are existing challenges that will increase until a new aircraft is fielded.”

Ramstein hosts 8th CMSAF

Ramstein hosts 8th CMSAFRAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS)

Ramstein Air Base hosted the eighth chief master sergeant of the Air Force for a visit of the base Jan. 25-29.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Sam E. Parish spoke with more than 700 of the Air Force’s newest chiefs and future NCOs during his visit. He saw the mission of the 86th Airlift Wing, the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing. He also visited with U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Airmen.

“To be able to see the looks on the (faces of Airmen) when you are talking to them is just absolutely awesome,” Parish said. “Knowing what they (what challenges they face) and that I have lived it and to try to convey the message that it can be a great life is unbelievable. It’s a great honor to serve and to be able to meet with these young Airmen.”

The Airmen of the 86th AW demonstrated to Parish how they generate and employ air mobility enabling theater and strategic airpower by operating a key Air Force power projection platform at Ramstein AB. For one Airman who briefed Parish, the most rewarding thing of the event was hearing the contrast of when Parish retired and today’s Air Force.

“It was an honor and privilege because we got to show him how the Air Force has advanced and how Airmen perform,” said Tech. Sgt. Greg Flores, a 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “It’s great to hear the differences of how he came up in the Air Force and how we are operating now.”

Many things have changed around Ramstein AB since Parish was the command chief at USAFE. Fighters use to fly from the ramps of the base, and nowadays cargo movers dominate the skyline.

“It’s great and unbelievable to be back in USAFE (and) to see the changes,” Parish said. “Nobody would believe what I saw when I first came to Ramstein and now it’s as different as night and day.”

New wings, missions and faces but the same great Air Force, Parish said. But some things live on such as paying respect to the Airmen reaching the highest enlisted rank, chief master sergeant. Parish ended his visit by helping induct the newest chief master sergeants during their ceremony.

AF announces stand up of Integrated Wing

AF announces stand up of Integrated WingWASHINGTON (AFNS)

The Air Force will stand up an Integrated Wing pilot program at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, according to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.

“The Air Force remains on its flight path toward increasing our effectiveness and efficiency as an integrated total force service while meeting our nation’s military objectives,” James said. “The Integrated Wing concept is an opportunity to more fully integrate and break down barriers between the components as we operate as one Air Force.”

The I-Wing concept evolved from an extensive review and analysis of Congress’ National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force report, originally delivered in 2014. The I-Wing is an in-garrison model designed to better leverage the strengths of each component while balancing capacity, capability and readiness. Although there are several possible I-Wing models, all are designed to functionally integrate similar organizations and streamline chains of command in order to more effectively meet mission requirements. In our current fiscally constrained environment, initial analysis suggests this new total force construct could help the Air Force more effectively provide mission capability and capacity at best value.

The I-Wing is scheduled for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2017. If successful, this model has the potential, together with the highly successful unit associate program, to offer home station commanders another organizational construct to meet mission requirements. The testing phase is expected to take three years, but planners will adjust the timeline as necessary. Lessons learned from the initial I-Wing testing will influence the scope and timing of follow-on locations.

“We are excited about this opportunity to test our highly successful active association at the 916th (Air Refueling Wing) with a new Integrated Wing model,” said Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, the chief of Air Force Reserve. “This pilot program will determine whether additional synergies can be garnered at this unit during the test and whether any lessons learned are repeatable at other locations in the Air Force.”

The I-Wing structure will not be identical, nor implemented, at every location due to the complexities inherent in each organization. It is also not designed to replace successful unit organizations. Factors such as location, mission, airframe, and composition will necessitate tailoring the exact structure and framework to effectively accomplish the mission while still taking care of our Airmen and families.

Currently, Air Reserve component and active component Airmen are working together in an active association at Seymour Johnson AFB. The 911th Air Refueling Squadron, an active component tanker unit, functionally falls within the organization of the 916th ARW, an Air Force Reserve Command wing, but reports administratively to the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill AFB, Florida. Under the current construct, the organizations work together but are administratively separate, with two corresponding chains of command. In the new I-Wing model, all units will effectively function as a single organization to accomplish the mission.

“The Air Force is always looking for ways to better integrate our components, from the Air Staff to the tactical level. It’s all about making the Air Force more effective and efficient,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “We believe the Integrated Wing is one of the concepts that will take us to the next level of that effort.”

Specific implementation details, such as final wing structure, unit manning documents, and required exceptions to policy are still in concept development, and courses of action will be finalized prior to the I-Wing’s initial operating capability date.

February issue of Airman magazine now available

February issue of Airman magazine now availableFORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS)

The February issue of Airman magazine is now available to download and is viewable through a Web browser.

In the cover story, “Missing in America,” you’ll read about a group of former service members who walk the streets of Los Angeles searching for homeless veterans to help.

In the next feature, you will read about an original Rosie the Riveter from World War II, who worked on airplanes for almost 50 years.

Lastly, you’ll learn about the sacrifices involved in being a part of the U.S. Air Force Drill Team.

You can download Airman magazine’s February issue for your tablet here:

• Apple version

• Android version

Airman magazine provides an interactive experience for tablet readers and a limited interactive version is viewable in Web browser format. Click here to read this issue on your PC/Mac.

For more stories, visit Airman Online, the website for the official magazine of the U.S. Air Force.

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